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Maple Gooey Butter Bars

There are all kinds of desserts out there – fudgy, creamy, crunchy – but the gooey variety don’t seem to get quite the attention they deserve. And why not? Eating something with a custardy smoosh is always so satisfying. These easy bars are based on the ever-wonderful Gooey Butter Cake (which really celebrates the greatness of ooey-gooeyness) but with some maple-flavored flair. They’re rich and indulgent, but they still make it pretty hard to stop at just one.

Their base is a dense pecan-studded layer that’s fashioned from cake mix, butter, and an egg. It’s a hearty crusty layer that stands up to the ooey-gooeyness that’ll top it. The next layer is much more pourable – a mixture of cream cheese, eggs, maple syrup, and powdered sugar.

As they bake, the cream cheese layer sets up a bit – but not completely – so when they emerge from the oven there’s still a jiggle going on.

Which means that when you bite into one of these bars, you are greeted not just with the crunch of pecans and a cookie crust but also with a gentle gush of buttery, custardy maple. They prove the point that gooey desserts deserve just as much acclaim as their fudgy, crunchy, creamy cousins.

Maple Gooey Butter Bars

45 minutes to prepare serves 10-12

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 4 tablespoons pecans, finely ground
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, divided
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 (16 oz) bag powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
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Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and line a 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on each side.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, pecans, butter, and 1 egg until thoroughly combined. Press mixture firmly into bottom of prepared pan.
  3. In a clean bowl, mix together the cream cheese, remaining 2 eggs, maple syrup, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until well combined. Pour over cake mix layer and spread out evenly with a spatula if needed.
  4. Bake until edges are lightly golden and center jiggles slightly, about 30 minutes.
  5. Cool completely in pan. Lift bars out using parchment paper and slice into squares. Dust lightly with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bakers Royale.

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