Today I'm going to share a recipe that I got from one of my dearest friends, Brenda, that was passed down from her mother, a wonderfully crazy South Carolina woman. Shirley used to make this delicious dessert bar every year during the holiday season. Now that Shirley is no longer with us, Brenda has taken over the tradition. I made it the other day and it was so good, I thought I'd pass it along.
(Not a great picture, but at least you can tell what they look like!)
Chess Bars are a sweet, rich southern pastry, sometimes called Chess Pie or Chess Cake. They are so simple and quick to make yet they pack a lot of flavor and literally melt in your mouth. There seems to be a lot of speculation about the name Chess Bar. Some food historians think the word 'chess' is actually derived from the word 'cheese'. Chess Pie has an ancient tradition of puddings and pastries with the rich mixture of cheese. The Chess Bars are made with eggs and cream cheese, also making a custard-like filling.
Here is the recipe:
Southern Chess Bars
1 Boxed butter yellow cake mix
1 Stick of butter (softened)
1/2 chopped pecans (optional)
1 Box Confectioner Sugar
8 oz cream cheese (at room temp)
In large mixing bowl mix cake mix, 1 egg and butter. Mix well until combined. Spread and pat dough into bottom of 13 x 9 pan. At this point, you could add the pecans if desired. In same bowl, mix confectioner sugar, eggs and cream cheese until blended well. Pour mixture over crust and smooth out any bubbles. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting. They taste great with a cup of hot coffee!
OK, I realize that its the beginning of a new year and everyone wants to lose those holiday pounds and here I've gone and given you a delicious and not-so-fat-free dessert recipe. So, to make up for it, here's a link that I found on the Southern Living website. It's their Healthy and Light page. On there, you can find several ideas and recipes perfect for eating lighter foods and less calories. One section that caught my eye is the Ladie's Luncheon. There are twenty light recipes to try, like Chunky Chicken Barley Soup. This soup is full of flavor and only has 208 calories and 3.9 grams of fat per serving. I am a big soup fan so I'll be making this one for sure.
Thanks for coming and visiting today and I do hope you get the chance to try these wonderful Chess Bars and if you do, please let me know how you liked them. See you next Saturday in the kitchen!
By the way, today is the first time I'm participating in Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking Series, so pop on over and check out all of the great food-related items being featured on the blogs today! If you're a chocolate lover, you should definitely check it out - remember, Valentine's Day will be here before you know it! (hint, hint)