This recipe isn’t for you if you run like a loon to avoid sweet, creamy cookie bars with a delicate flaky upper crust and a soft browned cake-like bottom crust. If you are the kind of person who says, “No thank you, I would rather have more broccoli” when asked if you would like a dessert with a creamy soft middle – then this isn’t for you. In fact, if you have any kind of refined sugar issues AT ALL– just skip this recipe entirely and scroll on down the main page where there are other things that will suite your diet better. This is NOT the one for you!
However, if you occasionally splurge on decadent and delicious treats – keep reading! You have come to the RIGHT PLACE!
This recipe makes a full 9×13 size pan of cookies – so make sure that you have someone with whom to share these Old Fashion Chess Bars. Sharing is important. Someone will really love you a lot if you take some of these to visit!
Recipe inspiration for Chess Bars
Chess Bars are something I remember from when I was a child. They were a staple at church dinners. Who wouldn’t want to get a whole church basement full of children amped on sugar and then send them home? That is what church is for, right?
Just because I was curious, I looked up the history of Chess Bars and found that they are a derivative of Chess Pie. Chess Pie recipes came over to the America’s with settlers many many years ago. The name is a mystery and is attributed to Southern pronunciation of “Just Pie”.
I have about 20 recipes for Chess Bars. The one I used here is one I adapted from an old church cookbook that I have from 1974. I added the extracts and salt and cut the sugar by a little (if you can believe that!).
Anyway, you will love Chess Bars. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. They have a classic taste. So, fix them as a special treat. I don’t recommend them as an every day pantry staple – but everyone can have a treat now and then – right?
I have included some step by step photos in this recipe so that you will know what each step should look like. I admit – the individual steps look a little strange before the final product. But oh man. The final product!!! WHOOT WHOOT!
Have fun with this one and enjoy!
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. ~ Romans 12:9
Step by Step Photos of Old Fashion Chess Pie
- I package of yellow cake mix
- 1 stick of butter – softened
- 4 eggs, divided
- 3 ½ cups confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
- 1 block of cream cheese
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare a 9x13 casserole dish as follows: Line with aluminum foil and then spray the aluminum foil with a baking spray such as Baker’s Joy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with your hand mixer – or if you are really strong – with a big spoon), combine cake mix, butter and ONE egg.
- Pat the cake mixture into the bottom of the 9x13 pan.
- Mix together the sugar, eggs, cream cheese, extracts and pinch of salt (will look like cake batter or pancake batter) and pour this over the cake mix layer.
- Bake in center of the oven for 35-45 minutes (my oven takes more like 45 mins +) – it is done when it gets puffy and starts to brown on the top. Shake the pan and when the center has just stopped jiggling, it’s done. Allow to cool before serving so that the center can gel. Don’t bother with the toothpick test – doesn’t necessarily work on this one.
As a note, any of you who have been reading my monthly “Behind the Scenes” will know that our sweet dog, “Spooky” has been having some health issues. Last week, Spooky’s health took a sudden turn for the worse and we had to say goodbye to our dear sweet friend. I miss her terribly, we all do.