When my mom emailed me the recipe for this bar cookie topped with Peeps, I gagged a bit. Then I decided to make them just to experience the absurdity that is this explosion of sugar.
I spent the whole next day chuckling at the prospect of making these, and I’d say they’re sort of worth it on the basis of sheer spectacle. A colleague walked into my office before I’d dismantled the panful, and she said just seeing them brightened her day. She didn’t want to eat one, mind you, but the sight of them is inarguably cheerful.
That being said, they’re gross. I mean, they’re gross in the sense of complete, brain-melting, aneurysm-inducing, processed sugar bonanza. The individual components aren’t bad – a yellow cake mix “cookie” base and a surprisingly tasty white chocolate fudge layer both doused in sprinkles – but the overall experience is way too intense for most avid sweet-tooths.
(To anyone that I fed these to – I apologize if you’re offended by my characterization. I just couldn’t even with these bars).
Even my undergraduate students (who polished off half the pan) jokingly labeled them “Diabetes Bars,” and only half of them actually ate the whole single-Peep section they picked up.
But, to do as I constantly remind my students to do in their writing and to be more specific… the cake layer was fluffier than I anticipated, and I think I would have preferred something more dense. It puffed up a lot more than I was expecting when it baked, and then fell back as it cooled. In the end, I resented having to sacrifice my next morning’s breakfast by using up the last of my eggs with the (unnecessary) four egg yolks this calls for.
The white chocolate fudge layer was tasty, and I might use that for something else in future. There was entirely too much of it for a 9×13 inch pan, so if you’re going to recreate this, I’d suggest coating the cake with a thin layer and pouring the rest into another pan to just be fudge on its own.
The M&Ms, while festive, detracted from the vanilla/white chocolate flavor palette. I’d definitely skip those if I made it again.
And the Peeps… well, it just depends on how you feel about Peeps, I suppose.
Absurd Easter Bars (from My Cupcake Addiction)
Grade: spectacle – A; taste – C-
For the cookie layer:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 1 15.25-ounce box yellow cake mix, like Betty Crocker
For the fudge layer:
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 packages Peeps
- another generous helping of sprinkles
- (a handful of pastel M&Ms – but I would skip these)
Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray and preheat the oven to 325.
Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add egg yolks and egg, and beat until incorporated, about 30-60 seconds. Add cake mix in 3 stages over low speed until fully incorporated, and then fold in the sprinkles.
Bake for 16-20 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven, and let sit until cooled.
To make the fudge layer: Fill a large saucepan with about an inch of water. Set a large heatproof mixing bowl on top, and add the sweetened condensed milk, white chocolate chips, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Heat on medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and pour over the cookie layer.
While the fudge is still wet, garnish with Peeps, sprinkles, and candy. Let cool completely, and cut into squares.
I got the transcript of the recipe and instructions from an article on Wimp – which is what my mom originally sent along.