Easy Carmelitas

Baking date: October 3, 2018

Each year, as part of Customer Service Appreciation Week, my organization has a number of events in support of the great work our front-line customer service staff do. Last year included a chili cook-off, so that was too much like making dinner and I did not participate. Sort of like how I feel about making dinner at my house every night of the year.

But this year, the category was brownies, or brownie-like bars. I was in. Until I heard they needed three 9″ x 13″ pans of your entry for official “best in show” judging and the “staff favorite” contest. Because three pans of anything like that is a big ask for someone like me who doesn’t get home until 6:00pm and gets up at 5:00am to start her next day,

I almost said no. But I cracked open the Out of the Box Desserts cookbook, and searched for the easiest 9″ x 13″ brownie or brownie-like recipe I could find.  The Easiest Carmelitas Ever fit the bill! Baker’s note: be sure you buy the biggest tube of cookie dough.The regular size will not be big enough. and not every store carries the 30 ounce larger size.



A better look at the recipe

The competition included 5 entries, which seems like a pitiful showing when you have over 650 staff on site. But I guess a lot of other people had concerns about making 3 trays of brownies on a work night. This is my entry:

Easy Carmelitas

So, I didn’t win the grand prize in the company bake-off, as judged by an esteemed panel of our executive leadership.

But this girl’s Easy Carmelitas recipe was voted Fan Favorite by all the other staff who sampled the entries in the contest.


I get to keep the trophy until next year, when we have the next contest. For now, it sits on a top shelf in my office for all to see.

Trophy on Shelf


Candy Corn Pumpkin Blondies

Baking date: November 22, 2015

The inspiration for this treat came in the form of Twitter. A co-worker in another department tweeted this at me, and another co-worker chimed in:


Names and twitter handles redacted

Since the request to please make these happen was included, I had to make them.

I followed the recipe, but I would say the baking time should be about 5 – 7 minutes longer than what is recommended. The blondies were a bit soft and appeared slightly undercooked in the middle even though I used a cake tester before pulling them out of the oven. My son and I both tested one and he said they were good – nice and soft. Still, I like blondies to be a bit firmer.

Another thing about the blondie that I was super excited for was the flavor of the maple syrup, but I really didn’t taste it.

I iced them a little differently than the inspiration recipe. I only tinted the yellow portion. For the orange, I used orange sugar sparkles. This is how mine turned out:


I left a sample on my co-workers’ desks and gave the rest to our Customer Service Department to say thanks for all they do every day.

New Years Goodies

Baking Date: December 31, 2013

This year, we attended a low-key New Years celebration. It was four families getting together with their kids to say goodbye to 2013 and welcome the possibilities that 2014 might bring.

I am always on dessert detail, and this year was no different.Two years ago for a New Year’s party I made cookies for the kids and liquor-infused cupcakes for the adults. I made a 2 year old cry because he could only have one of the cookies and not a cupcake. Won’t make that mistake again!

I made devils food cupcakes, topped with milk chocolate icing and then dipped in turtle crunch topping.

The devils food turtle crunch cupcakes

The devils food turtle crunch cupcakes

Cupcakes - up close

Cupcakes – up close

There were no liquor-infused goodies this year, but I had seen a recipe for salted caramel chocolate chip bars.  So I decided to make it for this crowd.

I used 1 bag of the caramels for the recipe, but I would say you could take about 5-7 of the individual candies out before you melt them with the heavy cream. The recipe indicates that the caramel layer should not touch the sides of the pan, and removing a few of the candies makes this easier. You still have plenty of the caramel mixture for the middle layer of the bars.

Here are the cookie bars going into the oven:

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Bars Going into the Oven

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Bars Going into the Oven

And here’s how they looked once they were out of the oven, chilled, cut, and ready for eating.

Hope you found a sweet way to ring in the New Year!