Forgive me dieters. Forgive me those of you trying to adhere to a healthier eating plan. Forgive me die-hard, from scratch bakers. I share your concerns, admire your convictions and apologize for sharing this one, tiny, indulgent bit of temptation.

There are moments in life made for sweet cheats: forgotten birthdays, busy holidays, bake sales, the arrival of unexpected guests, potlucks, business after-hours and PTA baking committee obligations to name a few. Some of them come with very short notice. When these opportunities arise, why not embrace them with this simple, decadent dessert that is easy on your schedule.
While I encourage you to make this dessert from scratch whenever possible, there is no dishonor in cheating. There. I said it. There is no dishonor in cheating. I know that life doesn’t always provide enough hours in a day to accomplish everything you want, much less make every cookie and brownie from scratch. When you are short on time but in need of a home-baked dessert, I hope you will remember these dressed-up bars.

The following technique can be a life saver and there is no reason not to have a few tricks in your arsenal for when your doorbell rings unexpectedly or those last-minute phone calls come late at night, ”Can you please make something for our bake sale tomorrow? I know it’s short notice, but we’re really hoping we can count on you.”
Count on me you can!

The Skinny
(no pun intended, and yes, I took a bite)


To make these Double Decker Chocolate Chip Turtle Brownie Bars, choose your favorite chocolate chip cookie and brownie recipes, or buy your favorite mixes (it helps if you keep them in stock). When I cheat, I happen to be a fan of Ghirardelli’s Caramel Turtle Brownie Mix and Betty Crocker’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. Both are insanely delicious and can be prepared in a snap using eggs, butter, water and oil.

To begin, prepare the chocolate chip cookie batter according to the recipe or instructions. Prepare the brownie batter according to the recipe or instructions. Grab your favorite baking dish—mine is an odd, 11×9x3″ dish as it produces bars that are neither too thick nor too thin, which could affect baking times and/or temperatures.

Spread the chocolate chip cookie batter evenly in your baking dish; spread the brownie batter evenly over the top of the cookie batter without disturbing the bottom layer. Set baking dish in a preheated oven, at 350 degrees F. Cook times should follow (approximately) what is stated in your brownie’s recipe or instructions. Note - because we’re making these bars a bit unconventionally, you may have to adjust baking time up or down, as well as oven temperature if necessary, dependent upon the size baking dish you are using.

Halfway through the baking time, check to see if the outer edge of the brownies are becoming too brown—if so, simply lay a sheet of aluminum foil (loosely) over the baking dish without crimping around the edges. If the bars are almost done, but still too moist in the middle (a toothpick inserted in the center needs to come out clean), turn the heat down to 325 and continue baking until the center is set when jiggled and a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. When cool, cut into bars and store in an airtight container until needed. Enjoy!