4 Favorite Dessert Bar Recipes

Here are 4 of my very favorite dessert bars. I love how quick they go together, no fussing around scooping out cookies! Always a hit or parties and cookouts or for a day that just needs a bit of something sweet.

If I can make bars instead of cookies I almost always do. They are a time saver and are just as good, if not better than cookies!

These all are tried and true vintage recipes straight from our Grandma’s recipe collection to you! I hope you find your family’s new go to dessert bar recipe.

Lemon Bars

Sweet and tangy my personal favorite. I always make these for Easter. I really love these Lemon Bars and so does everyone that tries them! The shortbread crust with the tangy lemon filling is a winning combination.

Be sure to foil line your pan. The lemon wants to stick if you don’t.


Oatmeal Bars

Delicious chewy oatmeal bars. This recipe has lots of room for you to customize with what you like best or make due with what you have on hand. I like to be indulgent and eat these for breakfast! Maybe adding raisins would make them healthy!

This recipe makes a very large batch! I made a half batch and had plenty to share. These would be ideal for a bake sale or as part of dessert trays.


Mystery Bars

The mystery must be, how can something so simple be so delicious? We love these bars. With no fancy ingredients these are easy to make for no special reason! Mystery Bars taste like a visit with Grandma! That old fashioned comfort we all love.

Coconut is one of my very favorite dessert ingredients so of course Mystery Bars are one of my personal favorites.


Dream Bars

Another great vintage recipe! Cornflakes add a really good crunch and flavor. Make a batch of these for your next potluck! These remind me of 7 Layer Bars my Granny used to make. Not as much work but a similar rich flavor.


So there they are! What one are you going to make first?

Potato Chip Cookies: An Old Fashioned Favorite

Potato Chip Cookies

Now the name was enough to make me sceptical but fans on the Your Everyday Heirlooms Facebook page assured me they are amazing!

They were not wrong! A perfect mix of sweet and salty. One of my favorite combinations.

We did have a bit of a discussion on weather to use butter, like the ingredients say, or shortening, like the directions say. In the end my sister in law settled the argument saying that Grandma used shortening. It was her recipe so that’s what I used.

Next time I might experiment with butter. As well as a slightly shorter bake time. I baked mine for 12 minutes and they were pretty crispy. I will try 10 and see how that goes.

As usual I skipped the nuts. I also want to try other kinds of potato chips. When crushing the chips I made sure to leave some larger pieces.

Potato Chip Cookies: Recipe


  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C sifted flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 C chopped nuts
  • 1/2 C crushed potato chips (Pringles)

Cream shortening, add sugar until fluffy, add egg and vanilla. Beat well. Add flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir until mixed. Stir in potato chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10-15 minutes at 350.

I covered my cookies sheet with parchment paper.

What I didn’t feed to the teenagers I sent with my hubby to work. People were surprised about potato chips in cookies but loved them!

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

My Mom’s sweet neighbor picked me some rhubarb and I was excited to get to baking.Much to my son’s dismay I do not have a copy of the rhubarb pie his Great Grandma and Aunt made.After asking around I finally decided on Oma’s Rhubarb Cake. A poster in a Vintage Recipe Group on Facebook shared this one with me.It is delicious! The crunchy top goes perfect with the soft moist cake.

Next time I will definitely be using another cup of rhubarb.I did use half brown sugar and half white. I love the flavor brown sugar gives. You could easily sub in more if you like.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake


  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups diced rhubarb
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • ground cinnamon, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking soda, salt and 2 cups flour. Stir in the eggs and sour cream until smooth, then fold in the rhubarb. Pour into the prepared dish and spread evenly. In a smaller bowl, stir together the remaining 1 cup sugar and butter until smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup flour until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the cake then dust lightly with cinnamon.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Need more rhubarb recipes? Here are a few I found.

Rhubarb Cobbler. This sounds so delicious!

Rhubarb Meringue. I love the idea of meringue and rhubarb together.

These Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars look amazing!

Lemon Bars: Best Ever

I had lost my lemon bar recipe and was so excited to try these. This recipe is from r/old_recipes. People are sharing all sorts of wonderful sounding recipes!

This was a much loved family recipe. The person who posted said their Grandma always made them and now she is gone and they do. Such a nice way to carry on a memory.

The recipe is extremely popular and many people have tried and shared. Of course I had to too!

They are delicious. Ridiculously can’t stop eating them good.

My son says they are way better than the ones I made before. Going to write this one down for my recipe box!

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bar Recipe:
  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 cup butter or margarine

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Cream and press into ungreased 9 x 12 pan. Bake 20 minutes at °350.

  • Beat 4 eggs

  • add 5 to 7 Tbsp lemon juice.

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 4 Tablespoons flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Pour on baked crust while hot.
Bake 25 minutes at °350. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while still warm. Let cool all the way before cutting.

Be sure to fully cream the crust.

The edges will likely get dark and stick. Be sure the center is cooked through.

Canadian Cottage Cookies: No Bake

I was very excited to find this Canadian Cottage Cookie recipe in Grandma R’s recipe box. They looked like a fancy version of the classic no bake cookies I grew up with!

Of course I’m always happy to find gluten free dessert recipes for me. Between these and 4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies I can satisfy my sweet tooth.

These are perfect any time of year but not needing the oven is a huge perk for the summer months.

I’m surprised how many of these old recipes are typed!

Canadian Cottage Cookies: Recipe


  • 2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C cocoa powder
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 2 1/4 C quick oatmeal
  • 1 C shredded coconut
  • 1/2 C nuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Boil sugar, cocoa, milk, and butter for 5 minutes. Start timing once at a full boil. Stir in oatmeal, coconut, nuts, and vanilla. Drop on waxed paper.


As usual I skipped nuts and added 1/2 C more coconut. Also used old fashioned oats because that’s what I had on hand. They were delicious!

If there is too much of the chocolate sauce sprinkle in and mix small amounts of oatmeal. It should not be dry but also not soupy.

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Wacky Cake: WWII Era Goodness

Wacky Cake Recipe

It was definitely the name that caught my eye! I mean who doesn’t want cake that’s wacky? This recipe for Wacky cake is wacky because it contains no eggs, milk, or butter. Plus you can mix it up right in the pan you will bake it in. So wacky! Even more wacky is how delicious it is even missing what we assume are essential cake making ingredients. 

This chocolate wacky cake is so good you won’t even be able to tell there are no eggs or butter! It’s that good! 

No eggs and no butter makes this vintage cake vegan, low sodium, and it has no cholesterol. Not to say it’s a health food by any means but, if those are things you are watching this is a good choice for you.

I actually found two versions of this cake. One in Grandma R’s recipe box and one in my estate sale find. They were very similar but I decided to go with the one from Grandma R’s box. How adorable is this recipe card! I wish I could find ones like this now!

Wacky Cake History

Wacky Cake was likely created during WWII. When milk and eggs were scarce because of rationing. How resourceful you had to be to come up with meals and desserts without what we consider to be must have ingredients. 

After posting in r/Old_Recipes I learned that this was a really popular cake! In a handwritten recipe group on Facebook one person said it is the cake their Mom always made for birthdays. I just love recipes with such an interesting history. What connections we have from old recipes like this. It’s always fun to know others over time have been making and enjoying the same foods.


Wacky Cake Frosting Suggestions. 

The recipe didn’t specify if it needed frosting or not so I let it cool and tried a piece. Obviously I thought it needed frosting. It would also be good dusted with powdered sugar too. I hate to admit to you all that I used store bought frosting. What can I say I was in a rush and panicked ! This cake is so delicious, light, and moist. Amazing and not to sweet. It would be an excellent cake to top with a decadent homemade frosting. If you have seen my White Fudge Frosting recipe you will know I’ve yet to perfect one of my handwritten frosting recipes.  

I now have the best and easiest Cream Cheese Frosting recipe to share with you! Thanks to my friends in the Vintage Recipe Test and Share Facebook group. Please feel free to join us in testing vintage recipes so we can preserve them here and share with family and friends. 

This Buttercream Frosting Recipe from Cooking with Curls looks like it would be perfect!

This is another one of those hand written recipes that came from…..somewhere…..at some point…..

Is how she describes the buttercream recipe! I think we can all relate to that! 

Baked Broiled and Basted has a Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting recipe that sounds so yummy! Chocolate and peanut butter are such a great combination.

Wacky Cake Recipe:

Wacky Cake

  • Servings: 9
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Print

A classic chocolate cake named for its lack of eggs and butter. Born out of necessity from WWII rationing, Wacky Cake is a family favorite.

Credit: YourEverydayHeirlooms.com
Once cool frost with your favorite frosting or dust with powdered sugar.


  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C cold water


  1. In 8×8 ungreased pan stir all ingredients until mixed well.
  2. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes. The whole surface will look uniform when done.


Per Serving: 245 calories; 9.5 g fat; 39.2 g carbohydrates; 2.5 g protein; 0 mg cholesterol; 269 mg sodium.

Wacky Cake Recipe Tips

  • Don’t dirty a bowl! Mix this easy cake right in the 8×8 pan you are going to bake it in!
  • Try to not poke the cake to check if it’s done. This can cause the cake to collapse. It will still be delicious but won’t look as pretty. When it’s done the top will be look uniform.
  • Substituting the 1 C of water with 1 C of cold coffee adds a nice flavor for coffee lovers.

Be sure to check out some of my other vintage recipes! I think you will enjoy Potato Chip Cookies, the chips add just the right about of salty and crunch. Grandma S’s Cavatini would be the perfect type of home cooking to serve with this classic cake!

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Mystery Bars

I found this recipe in Grandma R’s recipe box. Her’s is very neatly organized in an old floppy disk box! It’s marked home ec in the corner. Makes me guess it’s from her highschool home ec class.

I really wish I knew how these bars got their name! What’s so mysterious about them? Maybe how fast they disappeared!

These bars definitely have the gooey factor but stay together surprisingly well.

I sent the leftovers with my hubby to work and someone wanted the recipe! I was so excited to write it out for her on a cute recipe card. It’s the little things right?

I’m going to have to ask around and see if I can find someone that knows more about these.

This one’s written in pencil and a bit hard to read.

As usual I skipped the nuts. I decided to add extra coconut and it worked just fine. If you like nuts the use those!
I’m going to rewrite this one a bit just to make it easier to follow.

Mystery Bars

For the crust.

  • 1 C flour
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1/2 C brown sugar


  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C coconut
  • 1 C nuts

Cream butter and 1/2 C of brown sugar. Add sifted flour. Mix to a crumbly mess. Pat it evenly into a well greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 300 degrees until pastry is browned.

Remove from oven.

Beat two eggs until light and lemon colored. Add 1 C brown sugar, 2 Tbsp flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir well. Add coconut and nut meats. Stir until combined. Carefully pour and spread over baked pastry. Bake 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Let cool before cutting.

Use a light hand when spreading the filling. It’s best to pour in a long line across your pastry and gently spread to the edges.

Using a pizza cutter made cutting much easier.

Coffee Cake Muffins

Let me just start by saying these were delicious. It’s well known in my house if something looks ugly then it probably tastes good!

Beautiful right?

I do not excell at things that require using the same amount consistently. Meatballs, cookies, muffins all give me trouble! Next time this will be made in a loaf pan. I’ll let you know how that goes.

When this recipe says “spoon in a small amount of batter” It’s serious. Like a tiny small amount not a big fat spoon full.

Because of this I ran out of batter at 8 muffins instead of 12. I also had quite a bit extra of the sugar mixture. So I just put that on top. It did make them have a nice crunchy top but, they looked burnt. As usual I skipped the nuts.

None of this bothered the teens in my basement. They ate them right up. I try to do my backing when my son has his friends over to play RPGs. It’s at least 2 nights a week so I get lots of chances to experiment on them.

I wish I knew more about who this recipe was from. This was one in the recipe box I bought at an estate sale.

Coffee Cake Muffins

  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C chopped nuts
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • Combine above and set aside.

  • 1 1/2 C sifted flour
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 C shortening
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 C milk + 1 Tbsp OR 1/2 C buttermilk + 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Sift dry ingredients into bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles crumbs. Combine egg and milk. Add all at once to flour mixture. Stir just till moistened.

    Grease muffin pans or line with paper cups. Spoon in a SMALL amount of batter, then layer of nut mixture. Repeat layers filling pans 2/3 full. Bake in moderate oven 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until done.

    Makes about 1 dozen.

    As I typed this up I noticed another thing I did wrong. I only did one layer of the nut mixture.

    You can see the sad little layer here.Regardless of all the mistakes they were very good. I hope you will give them a try!

    Banana Bread: Your New Go to Recipe

    Since we have already made Cranberry Spice Bread, an alternative to banana bread. It only seemed right to try out a new to me banana bread recipe to share. This one came to from my grandmother in law’s recipe box. I wonder if she ever made it.

    It seems like I’m forever buying bananas only to have them go bad. Does this happen to you too? As soon as they get too brown I pop them in the freezer. Once I have 2 or 3 it’s time to use them up! I had enough saved up so I decided to give this banana bread recipe a try.

    My son’s best friend is banana bread crazy. It’s one of his favorite things. So I was excited to test this one out on him. He loved it. Hands down better than my other recipe.

    If you have been following along you will know that I don’t like nuts so I don’t use them. Plus they are expensive! This recipe is no exception. I didn’t add nuts or raisins.

    This recipe is very similar and delicious as it is. However you could easily jazz it up with vanilla and cinnamon. Using brown sugar would also be nice.

    Update 7/22/20

    This recipe never disappoints. I’ve made it at least once a month since discovering it. I have switched to only using brown sugar and it really adds a deep rich flavor.

    I finally got a mini loaf pan and this recipe is perfect for it! The pan I got has space for 4 mini loafs. Baking time for mini loafs is only 45 minutes at 325. Having the mini loaf pan really made it easy to share.

    Banana Bread

    2 eggs

    1 C sugar

    1/2 C shortening

    1 C mashed bananas 3 or 4

    2 C flour

    1 tsp baking soda

    1/2 C raisins or nuts

    Mix all together and pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 300 or 325 for 70 to 75 minutes.

    Fresh from the oven

    Boy was it hard to wait for this to cool. It smelled amazing!

    It didn’t take long for the teens to eat this up!