Chess Pie Bars Almost Like Pecan Pie But Easier

These bars would be great for a summer picnic or reunion, a quick fix dessert, or a “just because I feel like baking day.” They are delicious but very sweet!

Chess Pie Bars in pan cut in 1 x 1" squares.Chess Pie Bars

As promised, I am sharing this Chess Pie Bar recipe with you.

I intended to share it sooner but life gets in the way. The backstory to these bars began when I made a Chess Pie from Colonel Sanders recipe booklet, and we tripped across a lady selling Chess Pie Bars at a gas station. The pie is a fabulous and tasty comfort food and the bars were delicious. I decided to find a Chess Pie Bar recipe and figured it would take awhile. However, when I checked my *Farm Journal’s Homemade Pies, Cookies, & Bread cookbook, it had the recipe! I just needed to find an occasion to make them so I could share with you.Picture of cookbook: Farm Journal's Homemade Pies, Cookies & Bread By the Food Editors of Farm Journal.

With an upcoming potluck, this was a perfect time to try out this recipe. As you know, I mostly follow the recipe and make changes as I want to. My changes for Chess Pie Bars were: using Einkorn Flour instead of white flour, coconut sugar (the 1/2 cup for the filling) instead of white sugar, and 1 cup of pecans instead of 1/2 cup.Picture of Chess Pie Bars from cookbook.

These bars were easy to make and can be done without any electric kitchen tools. I made sure my butter was up to room temperature, and it was easy to use my hand pastry blender to make the crust.Pastry Blender in a bowl with flour, butter and brown sugar. I did have to use a knife to scrap goop off the pastry blender during the mixing process. Also, I ended the mixing with a fork to finely blend the ingredients. Crust mixture in a bowl with a fork for the fine blending of ingredients.When pressing the dough into your 13 x 9 x 2″ pan, note that is spreads real thin but bakes up nicely.Baked crust for Chess Pie Bars in 9 x 13" pan

As I noted in my recipe changes, I doubled the pecans. It just seemed to me that this would make a better bar, and I like lot of nuts. If you do this, I recommend you cut the nuts small so it is easier to cut the finished bars. The batter was easy to stir by hand. I would recommend using a fork to break up any hard sugar lumps before adding liquid to the sugars. I used my crust mixing bowl for the batter as no new ingredients were introduced to the bowl that would cause cross contamination with flavors. To the melted butter I added the sugars, milk, flour, and eggs. I then mixed this by hand removed any hard sugar lumps by squishing them between my fingers (thus my recommendation for you to do this before). Last, I stirred in the pecans. Chess Pie Bar filling mixture in a bowl with a mixing fork.

Watch your bars closely when baking for the golden brown. You don’t want to overbake. I cooled my bars down but chose to cut while still warm. Of course, we had to sample them and they were good! When mixing the batter, I had tasted it and it was real sweet. The crust helps mitigate the sweetness but this is a very sweet bar. Pouring of Chess Pie Bar batter onto crust in 9 x 13" baking pan with a spatula.Almost like pecan pie but in a very thin bar. Deciding to cut these bars into about 1″ x 1″ squares netted 48 bars. They are delicious but very sweet! They are also sticky, so line your storage container with waxed paper and also put it between bar layers.

Cut Chess Pie Bars on purple plate.These bars would be great for a summer picnic or reunion, a quick fix dessert, or a “just because I feel like baking day.” (#feellikebaking) I hope you’ll give them a try, share them, and enjoy them. Is there a favorite pie you love that you make in a bar version? I’d love to hear what you enjoy.Baked Chess Pie Bars in 9 x 13 cake pan.

*Farm Journal’s Homemade Pies, Cookies, & Bread, By the Food Editors of FARM JOURNAL, Greenwich House, Distributed by Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, 1983 edition.Open cookbook in background with flour, brown sugar and butter in mixing bowl with pastry blender on outside of bowl.

 

 

P.S. Did you notice the waffles to the side of the baking pan in the batter pouring picture? Be sure to check out the Raspberry Sausage Waffles post.

 

Lime Cheesecake Bars

Next time, I would like to put in lime juice for extra flavor and forgo the crumble topping. A great summer, Fourth of July, or family reunion dessert.

9 x 13 cake pan with baked Lime Cheesecake Bars and cookbook on tableThis Cheese Pie-Bar Cookie was turned into a Lime Cheesecake Bar with a few tweaks to the recipe.

Coming from one of my staple cookbooks, Farm Journal’s Homemade Pies, Cookies & Bread by the Food Editors of Farm Journal.

Given that St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, it was appropriate to substitute the lemon peel for lime peel and to add green food coloring to the filling (2 drops). Instead of all white flour, I used part whole wheat and part Einkorn. The whole wheat gives a full body flavor to the crust. Baking with Einkorn can change the texture of baked goods but I haven’t found this significant. Einkorn is an unhybridized, ancient wheat. It has more of a nutty flavor compared to other flours.

Blended crust in mixing bowl with hand pastry blender in bowl. Flour canister, bowl and other utensils in background.

I doubled the recipe and put the crust in a 9 x 13 inch pan. My crust turned out thicker than if I used two 9 x 9 inch pans. Crust of cheesecake bars in pan on table with other bowl, measuring cup, and a plate with spatula, spoon and measuring cup on itI also used 8 oz. of cream cheese instead of the doubled quantity of 6 oz. because I like cream cheese and wanted to use the whole brick.

Green lime cheesecake filling in a mixing bowl These bars turned out fine. The filling formed up nicely after the bars cooled and were refrigerated. A nice thick crust is a good base to hold the filling for finger food. Next time, I would like to put in lime juice for extra flavor and forgo the crumble topping.Picture of recipe

This treat would make a great summer, Fourth of July, or family reunion dessert.

Picture of recipe book: Farm Journal’s Homemade Pies, Cookies & Bread by the Food Editors of Farm Journal

Published by Greenwich House, Distributed by Crown Publishers, Inc., New York.

Fresh Baked Goods . . . Oh My!

With the selections made, milk was a righteous choice. Neither bar was too sweet.

3 chess pie bars on white styrofoam trayWe happened to trip across an opportunity at the Valero gas station in Emory, TX. After fueling the truck we went inside. On the way inside we saw a Mennonite woman selling fresh baked goods on 2 tables. We did a quick look see.

In anticipation of purchasing treats, we bought some whole milk from the quick mart part of the gas station. Gotta have milk, right? My husband definitely thinks so.

With the selections made, milk was a righteous choice. We selected coconut pecan bars and chess bars. Oh my! Neither bar was too sweet. The coconut pecan bars had the right balance of nuts to coconut. The chess bars reminded us of chess pie, only better.3 coconut pecan bars on white styrofoam plate

Would we pick out more goodies at this location in future when driving through? Most definitely! I do have a new mission though—to find a chess bar recipe.

Recently, I picked up a 1938 cookbook entitled, “100 Southern Recipes.” I’ll be sharing more about the antique haunt I found it at and some recipes. This Chess Pie recipe is from this cookbook. I haven’t had meringue on a chess pie before, but this recipe looks interesting. Soon, I’ll share Colonel Sanders’ chess pie recipe and it is fabulous! It is also much simpler to make than this recipe appears.

What delectable treats have you tripped across and wanted a recipe for?

Shoo Fly Pie Bars — A Twist on a Traditional Recipe

Turning a traditional Shoo Fly Pie into bars, this recipe has 3 parts. Tasting Shoo Fly pie with “mile high” crumb topping was my inspiration to first learn to make this dessert.

Shoo Fly Pie Bars with vodka bottle, pastry blender, serving utensil, and cutting board in backgroundWhat do you do when you promised to make your friend a pie and can’t find your rolling pin? You improvise.  My husband came to the rescue with the blue vodka bottle you see in this picture with the Shoo Fly Pie bars.

Taking a traditional Shoo Fly Pie recipe, I turned it into bars by putting my homemade pie crust in a square pan.  The blue vodka bottle worked great as a rolling pin and of course I washed it off before using it.

The green handled wire tool next to the bottle is a pastry blender.  I highly recommend this tool if you want to make your own pie crust.  It also comes in handy when mixing the crumb topping for this recipe.  If you don’t have this tool, you can use a knife and fork to achieve the same results.  You just keep pulling the knife back and forth through the fork in your crumb topping mixture until it is mixed to the desired fine crumb texture.  You will need to unclump the mixture as it sticks to the knife and fork during this process so you can keep cutting the butter into the flour and sugar.

There are 3 parts to this recipe.  The crust, the filling, and the crumbs.  You will want to make the filling first so it can cool down before adding the beaten egg, but I’ll explain later.

  • Filling–Combine 3/4 cup dark molasses, 3/4 cup boiling water, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.  Stir until the molasses is dissolved in the water.  Set aside to cool.
  • Flour crust of your choice–You can make it or buy it.  Grease your 9 x 9 baking pan (or use a round pie pan) and put your crust in the pan.  Set aside for now.
  • Crumb Topping–1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed.  Note:  make 2 batches of this crumb topping.  One batch goes in the pie when you assemble it and the other goes on the pie once it has baked for 15 minutes.  Blend ingredients together until they are a fine crumb mixture.

Assembling your Shoo Fly Pie/Bars:

  • First, add one beaten egg to the cooled molasses mixture.  Stir in well.
  • Next, pour 1/3 of liquid into shell and sprinkle 1/3 of batch 1 crumbs on top.  Repeat 2 more times ending with crumbs on top.
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes.  After 15 minutes has passed, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle on batch 2 of the crumbs.  It will be piled high.  Return to the oven and bake for the remainder of the time.
  • Near the end of the baking time, be sure to check with your nose and eyes if it is done a bit early.  You don’t want it too brown on top or the start of a burned smell in your kitchen.  Check that it is done with a toothpick inserted into the middle — should come out clean.  Also, the sides of the bars should be slightly pulling away from the pan.
  • Let cool to allow the pie/bars to set.  Adding the egg gives a “wet bottom” Shoo Fly Pie/Bar.

Shoo Fly Pie Bar piece

Shoo Fly Pie Bars have a historic base in the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish Community.  I still remember enjoying a piece of Shoo Fly pie with “mile high” crumb topping in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  It was my inspiration to learn to make this pie.  What has inspired you to learn to bake a dessert?

Shoo Fly Bars in Pan