"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Goodie Bars/Gooey Butter Bars

Goodie Bars/Gooey Butter Bars
Last time I worked, one of the CNA's came at 2PM and brought a tin can of cookies and bars. I had a taste of some of them, but this one really made me ask for a recipe. She did not have the recipe on hand, and just described the ingredients somehow, but promised me that she would write it down sometime and leave a copy in my mailbox.

You see, there was a time I was in a baking frenzy making "bars" using the recipes on Nestle and Hershey's chocolate websites, but after tasting several of them, I was sick all too soon with the sweetness, and I had a tough time cutting through the bars that they did not look at all like the ones in the photos (must be something I did wrong, but the results discouraged me from making them again). I cut them bite-size (because I could not tolerate a big chunk) but they lasted a whole month with nobody in the household taking a second serving. I chucked the whole batch then...hard and dry already. What a waste.

On the contrary, that goodie bar was something that I had to restrain myself from getting some more, so as to leave enough for the other co-workers. It was that good.

Well, as soon as I got home, despite the start of a migraine attack, I dreadfully faced the glare of my laptop to look for a recipe with the few ingredients I remembered my co-worker told me it had. This one came close. So last night I baked it (without the almond toffee bits because I mistakenly got a package of milk chocolate toffee bits instead and opted to just leave that out). The result???

It was the right recipe although it seemed sweeter.

After baking it for 45 minutes (because I was afraid the 50 mins recommended might dry up the whole thing), I let it stand overnight, with the pan resting on a cooling wire rack, the top protected by a sheet of paper towel. It was still super moist by the time I cut it (completely cold then) and I made a mental note to bake it for the full 50 minutes next time). I had a hard time cutting through because it was sticky, but nevertheless, it was so good, crunchy at the bottom and gooey at the top. After cutting them into bite-size pieces, I let them stand with enough space in between to further dry up the pieces.

The kids loved these. They munched quite a lot when they came home from school. They said, "This is really good!"

I let hubby taste it and he liked it alright. He said his mom made something like it when he was a child, but it was called Congo squares and with chocolate bits. However, he told me not to bother with those, because as long as I make the cookies that I made today with a cookie press, he'd be happy (I will post about it next).

Goodie Bars recipe by Mike and Alicia Orth of Creative Pixels

1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 large egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) box confectioners' sugar (you may want to try to mix in 12 oz first and taste the dough if you don't want it too sweet; optional to save some for sprinkling on top)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup almond toffee bits (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.

2. With an electric mixer stir together the butter, cake mix and 1 egg. Spread into the greased pan and pat down. (I used a hand mixer.)

3. Still using an electric (hand) mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat well. Reduce the speed and slowly pour in the butter. Mix well. Fold in the toffee bits (I did not).

4. Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. (Optional to sprinkle some confectioner's sugar on top). Bake for 50 minutes. Don't be afraid to make a judgment call on the cooking time, because oven temperatures can vary. You want the center to be a little gooey, so don't bake it past that point!


  1. Manang dear...Uy! Timing na timing, I have all the ingredients in my pantry. Masubukan nga today ang recipe na 'to :)

  2. I might try this one, Manang - it might even be better than food for the gods!

  3. Sarap sarap naman.. i love to try it at home.

  4. Mitzi, you won't regret it! Everytime I take the cover off these, the aroma of it is so enticing! My older son gave some to his "classmate" girl friend (not GF)...

    sharon, I have not had food for the gods in decades!!! That reminds me, I should try baking that too!

    Queenie, Thanks for dropping a note! You are very talented in photography and scrapbooking! I wish I had that talent coupled with cooking/baking!

  5. Manang, masarap nga! It was a little too sweet for me (will reduce sugar next time) pero sold out sa mga little boys ko. Even the 5th-grader girl who comes over to our house after school loved it at nagbalot pa to take home.

    This is one good way of using my stockpile of yellow cake mix and cream cheese that I got dirt cheap (80 cents/box and $1/block respectively) last holiday sale.

  6. Mitzi,
    I thought it was too sweet, too (even suggested to my co-worker the other night to lessen the sugar if she would make it and bring to family gathering). But when I said that to my son, he said, "I did not think it was that sweet." So I guess I will stick to the stated amount :( . Haha!

  7. nice post, ty for sharing

  8. Hi, I found this exact recipe on line and it's called "gooey butter cake". I made it for my nephew's bday party and everybody loved it. It's very yummy...

  9. Hi Anonymous,
    So that's another name for this recipe. Thanks! I agree, this one is very yummy! Guaranteed to be loved by everyone!

  10. hi manang! i'd love to try this. i just want to ask, can i use yellow cake from scratch instead? will it have the same proportion of ingredients if i find a recipe for a yellow cake? many thanks! -crystal

  11. Hi crystal, I think you could if you use a yellow cake MIX from scratch (as in, just dry ingredients). :)


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