I do not know how many pans of bars my mom has baked over the years, but there always seems to be either Texas brownies or lemon bars on her countertop. As my family grew, I soon realized why mom baked so many pans of bars. They were easier than cookies and quicker than cakes. It seems like I’m always bringing a pan of bars with us where ever we go. A friend, who is a great farm cook, said she will spread her cookie dough out in a large pan and make bars out of them. I tried it with overflowing results; too much dough and too small of pan. Now I either split my cookie dough between two 9-by-13 pans or use a much larger pan.

  These first two recipes are the first ones I ever made successfully. Today these bars are also found on my countertop, just like Mom’s. When it is too hot to turn on the oven, I whip up the no-bake date bars. I found this recipe years ago, and it has also become a family favorite. A nice naturally sweet treat. The last recipe I found scribbled down in my collection of neat sounding recipes. With Grandma in the name, how can it be bad?


Texas brownies by Becky Dowell

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup butter 4 tablespoons cocoa

1 cup water

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk with a little vinegar)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside. Bring butter, cocoa and water to a rapid boil and pour over dry mixture. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased and floured 10-by-15 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 -25 minutes. Don’t over bake. Cool and frost.



1 stick butter, melted

4 tablespoons cocoa

3 tablespoons milk 

Powdered sugar


Mix butter, cocoa, milk and vanilla together in mixer. Gradually add powered sugar until creamy. Beat on high. If too thick, add a few drops of milk or vanilla and beat well again. These brownies freeze great, if they can make it to the freezer. Wonderful snack to grab and go.


Lemon bars

1 cup butter, cold

1 cup powdered sugar

2 cups flour

4 eggs, beaten

2 cups sugar

4 tablespoons lemon juice and rind lemon

4 tablespoons flour

Sift powdered sugar and flour together. Cut in butter like a pie crust. Press into a greased jelly roll pan (10-by-15). Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over baked crust. Return to oven for 18 to 20 minutes longer. When cool, sift powdered sugar over the top.


No-bake date bars

2 8 oz packages of chopped dates

1 1/2 cups coconut

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup honey

Boil these ingredients for 3-4 minutes.

Add 2 1/2 cups rolled oats

2/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Spread in a 9-by-13 pan lined with wax paper. Refrigerate, cut and serve. Keeps well in the refrigerator for a cool treat to grab and go.


Grandma’s raspberry bars

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup raspberry jam

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13 pan. Mix together sugars, flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Spread 2/3 of the mixture in pan and press lightly. Spread jam over mixture. To the remaining crumble mixture, add oats and walnuts. Sprinkle on top of jam. Bake for 30 minutes.

As their four children pursue dairy careers off the family farm, Natalie and Mark are starting a new adventure of milking registered Holsteins just because they like good cows on their farm north of Rice, Minnesota.