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Picnic friendly desserts

Published 7:41am Saturday, May 29, 2010

The sun is out, spring breezes are blowing – it’s time for a family picnic!
If you’re ready to enjoy an afternoon in the great outdoors, pack up a basket or cooler and head out to a nearby park or arboretum. The backyard makes a great spot, too.
Be sure to allow time for exploring and playing. In addition to playing things like tag and Frisbee, try some of these fun activities:
•Scavenger hunt – make a list of things to find, like a bird feather, a pine cone and an acorn.
•I Spy – a great way to help kids learn to observe nature.
•Art al Fresco – use paper plates as canvases. Let the kids draw things they see or create collages out of natural objects.
No picnic would be complete without a fun – and easy – dessert. These bar cookies are a tasty way to wrap up a day of family fun. You can find more picnic-ready treat recipes at TollHouse.com

Layers Of Love Chocolate Brownies
Makes 16 brownies
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Nestlé Toll House Baking Cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut in pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup Nestlé Toll House Premier White Morsels
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
3/4 cup Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease 8-inch-square baking pan.
COMBINE flour, cocoa and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Reserve 3/4 cup batter. Spread remaining batter into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle nuts and white morsels over batter. Drizzle caramel topping over top. Beat remaining egg and reserved batter in same large bowl until light in color. Stir in semi-sweet morsels. Spread evenly over caramel topping.
BAKE for 30 to 35 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.
Nutrition Information per serving: 310 calories; 150 calories from fat; 17g total fat; 8g saturated fat; 55mg cholesterol; 135mg sodium; 38g carbohydrate; 2g fiber; 22g sugars; 4g protein

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Makes 5 dozen bars
2 cups peanut butter, divided
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar, divided
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups (12-ounce package) Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels, divided
GREASE 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
BEAT 1 1/4 cups peanut butter and butter in large mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in 1 cup powdered sugar. With hands or wooden spoon, work in remaining 1 cup powdered sugar, graham cracker crumbs and 1/2 cup morsels. Press evenly into prepared baking pan. Smooth top with spatula.
MELT remaining 3/4 cup peanut butter and remaining 1 1/2 cups morsels in medium, heavy-duty saucepan over lowest possible heat, stirring constantly, until smooth.
Spread over graham cracker crust in pan. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until chocolate is firm.  Cut into bars. Store in covered container in refrigerator.
Nutrition Information per serving: 140 calories; 80 calories from fat; 9g total fat; 3.5g saturated fat; 5mg cholesterol; 85mg sodium; 14g carbohydrate; .5g fiber; 10g sugars; 3g protein

Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.

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