49 Contest-Winning Brownies & Bars

Updated: Dec. 08, 2023

These decadent brownies and bars are downright delicious—and hand-held, too, making them the perfect portable potluck treat!

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Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

I’m a chocolate lover, and these cream cheese brownies have satisfied my cravings many times. No one guesses the brownies are light because their chewy texture and rich chocolate taste can’t be beat. My family requests them often, and I’m happy to oblige. —Heidi Johnson, Worland, Wyoming

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Coffee 'n' Cream Brownies

A friend gave me the recipe for these rich cakelike brownies topped with a creamy coffee-enhanced filling and a chocolate glaze. I like to garnish each square with a coffee bean. —Michelle Tiemstra, Lacombe, Alberta
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Chunky Blond Brownies

Every bite of these chewy blondies is packed with chunks of white and semisweet chocolate and macadamia nuts. It's a potluck offering that stands out. —Rosemary Dreiske, Lemmon, South Dakota
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Rhubarb Custard Bars

Once I tried these rich, gooey bars, I just had to have the recipe so I could make them for my family and friends. The shortbreadlike crust and the rhubarb and custard layers inspire people to find rhubarb that they can use to fix a batch for themselves. —Shari Roach, South Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Five-Star Brownies

There’s a bit of my state’s history behind these brownies’ name and shape. In 1990, when I entered them at our state fair, Kansas was celebrating the 100th birthday of a famous native, Dwight Eisenhower. In fact, that occasion was the theme of the fair. So I renamed my brownies, in honor of the rank he’d achieved as a general and cut them out with a star cookie cutter. They ended up winning a blue ribbon! —Pam Buerki Rogers, Victoria, Kansas
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Strawberry-Lime Bars

Our family loves fresh strawberries, so I look for different ways to use them. This tempting, yummy dessert has sweet strawberries, tart lime and salty pretzels. —Alexandra Barnett, Forest, Virginia
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Frosted Fudge Brownies

A neighbor brought over a pan of these rich fudge brownies along with the recipe when I came home from the hospital with our baby daughter. I asked her how to make brownie frosting like that, and I've made them ever since for family occasions, potlucks and parties at work. —Sue Soderlund, Elgin, Illinois
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Raspberry Patch Crumb Bars

To give these fresh, fruity bars even more crunch, add a sprinkling of nuts to the yummy crumb topping. Everyone will want to indulge. —Leanna M. Thorne, Lakewood, Colorado
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Snickerdoodle Blondies

When asked to bring a dessert for my boys' football team to share, I whipped up these unique blondies and was instantly named "the greatest mom" by all. —Valonda Seward, Coarsegold, California
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Mint Brownies

One of the best things about this recipe is that these mint chocolate brownies get moister if you leave them in the refrigerator for a day or two. The problem at our house is no one can leave them alone for that long! —Helen Baines, Elkton, Maryland
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Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars

I received this recipe from a co-worker who made these heavenly bars for a potluck. Since they combine two favorite flavors—chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake—in one bite, they were a hit with our three grown children. —Jane Nolt, Narvon, Pennsylvania
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Oreo Brownies

You won't want to frost these brownies, since the marbled top is too pretty to cover up. Besides, the indulgent cream cheese layer makes them taste as if they're already frosted. The crushed cookies add extra chocolate flavor and a fun crunch. —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon
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Shortbread Lemon Bars

I've put together two family cookbooks over the years, and this recipe ranks among my favorites. The special lemon bars have yummy shortbread crust and refreshing flavor. I always make this dessert for guests because I know it'll be a hit with everyone. —Margaret Peterson, Forest City, Iowa
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Fudgy Oat Brownies

These cakelike brownies have a rich, crunchy oat crust and a smooth homemade chocolate frosting. A packaged brownie mix makes the recipe easy to prepare. You can make it even easier by using canned frosting. —Diana Otterson, Canandaigua, New York
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Banana Squares

When we were first married, my husband was in the Navy. Stationed in Puerto Rico, we had banana trees growing in our yard, so I found ways to use dozens of ripe bananas at a time. I made these banana squares often. They freeze well and make a great snack to have on hand when friends drop in for coffee. —Susan Miller, Raleigh, North Carolina
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Blueberry Lattice Bars

Since our area has an annual blueberry festival, my daughters and I are always looking for amazing new recipes to enter in the cooking contest. These lovely bars won a blue ribbon one year. —Debbie Ayers, Baileyville, Maine
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Frosted Brownie Pizza

It's impossible to eat just one piece of this dessert pizza with a chewy, chocolaty crust, creamy peanut butter frosting and mouthwatering sweet and crunchy toppings. It's warmly received wherever I take it. —Paula Riehl, Boise, Idaho
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Seven-Layer Cookies

The addition of dulce de leche makes this a decadent new take on traditional seven-layer bars. You can cut this recipe in half and make it in an 8x8-in. pan. —Andrea Barlow, Hot Springs, Arkansas
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Cherry Coconut Treats

My great-grandmother created this recipe more than 100 years ago, so these tasty bites have appeared at many family parties. If you're preparing these for the holidays, make them festive by using both red and green maraschino cherries. —Anne Mullen, Windsor, Ontario
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Banana Split Brownies

How’s this for a dish? All the joy of a banana split without the mess. Everything in this recipe fits into one pan of delectable brownie bars. —Constance Sheckler, Chestertown, Maryland
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Cherry Chewbilees

This is a good dish to carry to potlucks and parties. It's a hit at home, too - my husband rates it as one of his favorite desserts. —Debbi Smith, Crossett, Arkansas
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Cappuccino Cake Brownies

If you like your sweets with a cup of coffee, this recipe is good for you! These no-nut brownies combine a mild coffee flavor with the richness of semisweet chocolate chips. They're a quick and easy dessert or anytime snack at our house. —Mary Houchin Swansea, Illinois
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Raspberry White Chocolate Bars

A co-worker's mother gave me this gem of a recipe a few years back. I can never decide what's more appealing—the attractive look of the bars or their incredible aroma while they're baking! Everyone who tries these asks for the recipe. —Mimi Priesman, Pace, Florida
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Honey Pecan Triangles

After stirring up batches of these tasty bar cookies for many years, I know to include plenty on cookie trays. They have all the goodness of pecan pie and are so easy to serve to a crowd. —Debbie Fogel, East Berne, New York

Use up extra pecans by making this pecan brownies recipe!

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Fudge-Topped Brownies

If you love brownies and fudge, why not combine the two? Mix up a pan of these exquisite brownies for any holiday or special gathering—or just when you want to treat yourself to the ultimate chocolate dessert. —Judy Olson, Whitecourt, Alberta
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Maple-Glazed Cinnamon Chip Bars

When I make these, the kitchen smells like Christmas. Cinnamon chips add fabulous flavor to the bars, and the maple glaze fancies them up a bit. —Lyndi Pilch, Springfield, Missouri
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Fudge Nut Brownies

There's no brownie recipe or mix I've ever tried that's better than this! And it's so easy—you can mix it in one bowl in just a few minutes. My husband's grandmother passed the recipe on; now our son makes these brownies for after-school snacks. —Becky Albright, Norwalk, Ohio
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Coconut-Pineapple Rhubarb Bars

I make this crunchy, buttery dessert bar with homegrown rhubarb. For an added attraction, serve it warm with frozen yogurt or ice cream. —Raymonde Bourgeois, Swastika, Ontario
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Gooey Chocolate-Peanut Bars

These are so easy to make and take no time at all. They’re great to package up for those college kids looking for something from home. Everyone will want this recipe. —Elaine Grimme, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
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Lemony Coconut Bars

These lemony and chewy bars make a refreshing addition to the holiday cookie tray. Try lime juice and zest for a zingy twist. —Nancy Zimmerman, Cape May Court House, New Jersey
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Chocolate Crunch Brownies

The first time I took these brownies to work, I knew I'd better start making copies of the recipe—they disappeared fast! My husband and kids gobble them up quickly, too. —Pat Mueller, Mitchell, South Dakota
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Rustic Nut Bars

My friends love crunching into the crust—so much like shortbread—and the wildly nutty topping of these chewy, gooey bars. —Barbara Driscoll, West Allis, Wisconsin
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Cinnamon Brownies

For Christmas one year, a friend gave us a pan of these delicious brownies. Before I figured out their secret was cinnamon, half the pan was already gone! —Gail Mehle, Rock Springs, Wyoming
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Double-Layer Cheesecake Bars

Can't choose between chocolate and vanilla cheesecake? Have both when you make this bar recipe with two distinct layers. —Andrea Price, Grafton, Wisconsin
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Humble Bumble Crumble Bars

While developing a treat for my bingo group, I asked my husband for ideas. He suggested a fruity bar. This berry bar is lightly sweet and so easy. —Nancy Phillips, Portland, Maine
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Chocolate Chip Brownies

People love these rich chocolate chip brownies so much that I never take them anywhere without bringing along several copies of the recipe to hand out. The treats are wonderful to take on a picnic because you don't have to worry about melted frosting. —Brenda Kelly, Ashburn, Virginia
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Bacon Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Blondies

There's nothing better than a cookie, brownie and cheesecake mixed together, with bacon to top it off! —Katie O'Keeffe, Derry, New Hampshire
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Glazed Apple-Maple Blondies

My 6-year-old son and I conjured up this recipe to use the last of the apples we picked from the local apple orchard. Each bar goes beautifully with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. —Heather Bates, Athens, Maine
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Chocolate Buttermilk Squares

Every time I take these squares to a potluck, my pan comes back clean. At home, they vanish as fast as I make them. —Clarice Baker, Stromsburg, Nebraska
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Peanut Butter Popcorn Bars

If you're looking for a fun snack for kids, try this chewy peanut butter popcorn recipe that have a mild peanut butter taste. They're easy to mix and can be pressed into a pan to form bars, or shaped into balls. —Kathy Oswald, Wauzeka, Wisconsin
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Salted Pecan Shortbread Squares

My shortbread squares are the ultimate go-to for cookie trays and gift-giving. The buttery caramel and toasted nuts make it tough to eat just one. —Diana Ashcraft, Monmouth, Oregon
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Cranberry Eggnog Cheesecake Bars

My family loves everything cheesecake. These bars combine tart cranberries and rich cream cheese, and taste even better when chilled overnight! —Carmell Childs, Orangeville, Utah
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

My husband and I have two sons, and I sent these peanut butter brownies to them regularly when they were in college. They told me that they used to hide a few from their roommates just to make sure there would be some left! —Patsy Burgin, Lebanon, Indiana
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Warren's Oatmeal Jam Squares

At 102, I still love to bake. I make these bars in my toaster oven for my fellow residents at our assisted living home. —Warren Patrick, Townshend, Vermont
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Apple Kuchen Bars

This recipe is about family, comfort and simplicity. My mom made this delicious sweet treat many a winter night and served it warm with some of her famous homemade ice cream. I like to make a double batch and pass on the love! —Elizabeth Monfort, Celina, Ohio
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Sour Cream and Cranberry Bars

I turned sour cream raisin pie into a cookie bar with a crunchy oatmeal crust, custard-style filling and crisp topping. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon