Brownies + Bars

Homemade brownie recipes and cookie bar recipes ranging from Black Bean Brownies, Caramel Cookie Bars to Butterscotch Blondies. These dessert recipes are the best for parties and potlucks because you can spread it into one pan to make a whole batch instead of baking several batches of cookies.

In addition to being a time saver, you can transport them easily in just a plastic bag or aluminum foil and not have to mess around with dish.

So what are the most common questions about how to make brownies from scratch?

Are homemade brownies better than a box mix?

This is really a matter of personal preference. My BEST brownies from scratch are pretty darn good, but I’ve had some stellar box mix brownies too.

You can easily customize a box mix to make them even better.

Box Brownie Mix Hacks:

  • Add nuts, toast them first for more flavor
  • Add chocolate chips or butterscotch chips
  • Add your favorite candy
  • Add pretzels or potato chips
  • Add 1-2 teaspoons of your favorite extract
  • Top with caramel sauce, praline sauce or fudge sauce
  • Top with fruit sauce or fresh fruit
  • Add dried fruit
  • Swirl in cheesecake, peanut butter, caramel or sweetened condensed milk
Thick and chewy M&M Cookie Bars are perfect for your cookie exchange, dessert potluck or an after school snack using just a few ingredients! #cookiebars #easydessertrecipes
M&M Cookie Bars

Should I use oil or butter in brownies?

You can use either type of fat, but butter tends to make a more cakey brownie and oil leads to a more fudgy brownie. Both are chocolate, both are good.

If you want fudgy brownies, use a higher fat-to-flour ratio, which can be butter, oil and/or chocolate. These moist brownies won’t rise as high, but can still be delicious.

Cake-like brownies use more flour than fats and tend to rise higher being light and fluffy.

Soft Butterscotch Blondies are soft brown butter brownies loaded with butterscotch chips and drizzled with salted caramel sauce. #brownbutterbrownies #butterscotchbrownies
Butterscotch Blondie Recipe

Do I need to add vanilla to brownies?

Vanilla extract certainly adds to the flavor of brownies, but chocolate is really the star of the show, so vanilla can be omitted if desired.

But you can also use other flavorings and extracts instead of vanilla. My favorites are almond, rum and butter.

Try adding 1-2 teaspoons of extract to your box cake mix too. It is such a small amount of liquid that you don’t need to worry about adding more dry ingredients.

Triple Chocolate Cookies Cheesecake Bars Recipe- Soft and Chewy with a fudge cake mix cookie crust and chocolate cheesecake topped with milk chocolate crumbles. A chocolate lover's dream come true!
Triple Chocolate Bars

What is a cookie bar?

A cookie bar is just batter or dough spread into a baking dish and baked into a large bar. Sometimes they are more like brownies, other times cookies and sometimes a little of both, these are called brookies.

Cut cookie bars into squares or diamonds for a little bit of pizazz.

An example of a cookie bar is M&M Cookie Bars or Scotcheroos.

Scotcheroo Recipe

Some of our other favorite brownies, blondies and bars are:

collage of brownies and bars for pinterest

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