Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ooey Gooey Butter Bars

Ooey Gooey Butter Bars.  Gooey Buttercake, if you're Pauler Deen.  I grew up calling it Chess Pie Squares.  This is my mom's recipe and it reminds me of my childhood.  My childhood doesn't seem like it was that long ago.  But I just turned 30, so I guess it was a long time ago.  Weird.

Anyway, whatever you want to call these yummy little squares is just fine.  It really won't matter what you call them at all, because you won't be able to stop eating them.

I've taken it to people when they had a baby.  I've taken it to Bible study many times.  (Aletta, this one's for you!)  I've taken it to friends' houses, to "pitch-ins" (for anyone south of the Mason-Dixon line, that's just a potluck), and pretty much any other excuse I could come up with to make this fabulous yet simple dessert.

If you're new to Ooey Gooey Butter Bars, it falls into the category of a bar cookie.  We'll make a crust and then top it with a cream cheese mixture and bake it all together.  Easy. 

The only way to mess this dessert up is to overcook it.  I find myself saying that a lot.  So, the truth is, when it comes to cooking and baking in general, don't overcook it.

There now.  Let's get going.

Take a box of yellow cake mix.  Betty knows best, so I buy Betty.  I stock up when they're $1/box at Kroger.  Have I mentioned how many ways you can use a box of cake mix and no one would ever know that you used a box of cake mix?

For the crust, we'll need a stick of butter and an egg to mix with the cake mix.

You can either use room-temperature butter or melted butter.  I've tried it both ways and it really makes no difference in the outcome.  Once again, this is a fool-proof recipe as long as you don't overbake it.

In a mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the cake mix, the egg, and the butter.

It's going to be stiff and very un-cake-like.  Rather, it will resemble a ball of stiff dough.  Like this:

Grease a 9x13 glass dish and put the crust in.  Considering that there is an entire stick of butter in the crust, I doubt the crust would stick to anything even if you wanted it to.  But I have a compulsion when it comes to greasing dishes that I'm going to bake in, so I spray it with some baking spray first.  But it's probably entirely unnecessary to do so.  But if you have issues like me, go ahead and grease your dish.  I can't believe I just wrote an entire paragraph about greasing your baking dish.  Moving on.

Okay, pat out the stiff dough into the bottom of the nicely greased dish.  No need to be perfect here.  Just make sure the crust is roughly the same thickness throughout.  But again, it just doesn't matter that much.  Because the only way to mess up this recipe is to overbake it.

Third time's a charm.

Here it is all patted out:

Those indentations are from my fingers.  I also ate a couple pinches of the dough, okay?  I love cake mix.

Now, take the same mixing bowl that you made the crust in.  Don't clean it out.  A few crust crumbs won't hurt the topping at all.  Because, as we all know by now, the only way to mess up this recipe...

I'm not going to say it again.

Into your dirty, crusty mixing bowl, put a block of room-temperature cream cheese, a pound of powdered sugar, two eggs, and a teaspoon of vanilla.  In case you buy your powdered sugar in 2-lb bags like I do, a pound of powdered sugar is roughly 4 cups.  But in the event that you don't use powdered sugar like I do, just buy a 1-lb. box.  It's easier than measuring it out because I inevitably manage to sprinkle it on my dog's back, who stands underneath my feet whenever I cook.

Use the same paddle attachment you used for the crust and beat the topping together.  It will be smooth and creamy, provided you follow instructions well and used room-temperature cream cheese.

Pour it over the crust.  Just like this.

Put it in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  35 minutes, tops.  Tops.  When you take it out, it won't be set so don't expect it to be.  Jiggle it a little.  It should still jiggle.  If you cook it until it's set, you will know that you broke the cardinal rule of this recipe.  And that would be a crying shame.

Take out your not-set-and-still-jiggly Ooey Gooey Butter Bars and let it cool on the counter.

My list of "How to Use a Boxed Cake Mix" is about 3.5 miles long, and this is at the top. 

When it's cool, cut it into squares and serve it to your friends.  They will follow you anywhere and do anything for you.

Just be sure to serve it on plates you got as a wedding gift becasue it's just special that way.  And this dessert, even though it's incredibly simple, is so special.

Ooey Gooey Butter Bars

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs, divided
1 stick of butter, either melted or at room temperature
1 8-oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 lb (or 4 cups) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 glass dish with nonstick cooking spray. 

Using a mixer, combine the cake mix, one egg, and the butter.  It will be a thick, stiff dough.  Press it into the bottom of the baking dish.

In the same mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese, two eggs, powdered sugar and vanilla until it is creamy.  Pour it on top of the crust.

Bake 30-35 minutes.  It will still be jiggly when you take it out of the oven.  Cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.


Anonymous said...

I'm so special, I get my own post! Thank you for sharing. You know the next question is to see your "how to use a box cake mix" list. I can only think of one, now two, ways to use one.

Aletta :)

Elizabeth said...

It was just for you, Miss Aletta! I'll have to create a category of how to use a box cake mix. :)

Dorothy said...

This is the same recipe I have been using for 30 plus years. I got it from your Grandma and have always called it Chesscake like she did. The first time I took it to a church dinner here in St. Louis, everyone called it "gooey butter cake" which apparently is a St. Louis specialty.

Dorothy said...

I mailed this to Kansas City for Melissa's birthday in March. It did fine.

Anonymous said...

Does it need to be refrigerated?

Elizabeth said...

No need to refrigerate, thought if you're trying to cut them into neat squares, it would be much easier to do if they're cold. But I always serve at room temperature!

Anonymous said...

I cannot wait to make these.

Elizabeth said...

Hope you love them, Mary!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to try this and let y'all how it is 😅😅😅

melinman1 said...

I want THIS recipe but want to add pumpkin

Anonymous said...

I have made this cake many favorite cake mix to use with this recipe was SPICE cake!!!! TRY IT YOU WILL LOVE IT!!!


LaDonna said...

can you use pineapple cake mix?

Shelly said...

These bars look so good! I found your pin on Pinterest.

Kathy Perry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathy Perry said...

This recipe looks delicious, I'm going to make this one!! Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Paula Deen's Family Kitchen in Pigeon Forge, TN serves a similar cake with chocolate chips added. Don't know if it's from a mix or scratch. Delicious!

Stacie said...

Can we have a list of your other box cake list recipes? This was awesome!

53AndNeedingANewWeigh said...

Looks amazing! We love lemon bars in our house. Could you add lemon extract and if so how much would you add?

Glass Tiger said...

Just made this recipe & it's incredible! Belly up to the table ;-)

Glass Tiger said...

Just made this recipe & it's incredible! Belly up to the table ;-)

Alicia said...

Made these and took them into work. OMG. They are insanely delicious and so easy to make. Thank you for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a mixer. What would be another option?

susan in st. louis said...

Somebody asked if they needed a mixer for cake batter. I just mixed it with a large spoon. Also, didn't have enough powdered sugar for cream cheese filling so I added some ..artificial sweetener called 'Stevia', just enough for taste. Thank goodness, nobody could tell the difference. We LOVE this cake. I have to make it at least twice a month. Sooo simple!! Thank you

Janice Young said...

Susan I love your cander in'substitutions'. We like McArthurs bakery in the city but can't drop by on our 2 hour commute.😊

Anonymous said...

I would just use lemon cake mix