Take 5 Bars are my favorite lately and these cake mix cookie bars have all the Take Five flavors – pretzel, caramel, peanut butter, and chocolate!
I’m going to share with you a long story about how a little stuffed dog made me cry the other night. All to illustrate why I needed to “take five” at the end of my Monday with these cookie bars. They have a cake mix “crust” that’s filled with crushed pretzels, topped with a cream cheese and peanut butter layer, sprinkled with caramel bits and chocolate chips, then finished with another cake mix top. All that flavors of a Take 5 bar.
It was Monday. We started our day with Julia’s 2 year well check, which went much better than her 18 month appointment. Off to a good start. Work was busy and frustrating, but not much more than usual. Still going ok. Bob worked late so we had dinner at my parents and played in the yard with bubbles. Still going good.
Things started to go awry when we got home. Julia was taking her bath and there was a little poo incident <<Is this where I want to go with this story? On my food blog? Well, it happened, and it contributed to my story, so, yes.>>
After we cleaned up and finished our bedtime routine, things were going fairly smoothly. Until she started asking for her “pink doggy”. I had absolutely no idea where it was. I laid her down, told her we’d look for it tomorrow, and shut the door. Through the monitor, she kept whimpering “pink doggy”, which turned into all out crying. I scoured the house then finally went up and got her to look through her closets. She was relieved to see me but never stopped uttering “pink doggy” every three seconds for about 45 minutes. She doesn’t usually get so upset so that, on top of the frustration of not being able to find something at the end of a long Monday, drove me to tears.
At least once I got her situated, I had these Take 5 Bars to look forward to on the couch. I probably could’ve used some vodka, too, but I stuck with baked goods.
Take Five Cookie Bars
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup butter at room temp
- 2 Tablespoons milk I used 2%
- 2/3 cup broken pretzels
- 1/3 cup + 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 4 oz cream cheese at room temp
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 caramel bits
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the cake mix, egg, butter, and milk, and beat on medium until it comes together into a thick batter. Divide the batter in half and move half to a separate small bowl - put this bowl into the fridge until you're ready to work with it.
- In the half of the batter that's still in your mixing bowl, pour in the broken pretzels and mix on low until distributed.
- Press the batter until your prepared baking dish. [If your batter is too sticky to press down, put it into the freezer for a few minutes - it'll be much easier to work with!]
- Bake for 8-9 minutes - the batter should just barely be set.
- While the bottom layer is baking, in a large bowl, add the other egg, peanut butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
- Once the bottom layer is done, carefully (the pan is hot!) spread the peanut butter layer on top.
- Sprinkle on the caramel bits then the chocolate chips.
- Remove the remaining batter from the fridge and flatten it into small pieces and evenly over the top.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes until the cake batter is puffy and golden.
- Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing into bars.
Bob, who had never even seen the “pink doggy”, found it the next day and got to be the hero. Figures, right?