Well, no matter how many times I tried to tell myself this when I saw these bars on Cookies and Cups, I could never quite convince myself. I obsessed over them for a little under a week when I finally caved and hurried to the store, head hung in shame, to gather the few additional ingredients I needed to undertake my baking endeavors. I needed my "fix," after only three days of being "on track" with eating better and exercising. The good thing is, although I ultimately gave in, my craving was satisfied and more, as these bars are SO rich that I only needed a very small piece to feel fulfilled. The scale never reflected my weakness! Hooray!
I ended up taking these to book club and also to work to share, as well as the kids (brother included) and Chris, of course, tried them. They were an all-around hit. Everyone was raving about them. Even Chris. I know, right? Now you KNOW that they must be divine, right?
The bottom layer consists of the beloved boxed cake mix vamped up with a few additional ingredients. The middle layer, which is my personal favorite, consists simply of cream cheese mixed with dark chocolate hot fudge sauce. Heaven...on...earth... Top that off with toffee bits and dark chocolate chips, sprinkled with a few of the leftover crumbs from the crust layer and you have yourself and rich, decadent, deliciously and sinfully chocolate dessert that is packed with layer upon layer of indulgence.
If you're anything like me, you are probably already drooling. So without further adieu, I give to you the gift I call Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge Cream Cheese Cake Bars...
Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge Cream Cheese Cake Bars (Adapted from Cookies and Cups)
- 1 18.25 oz. package chocolate cake mix
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp. coffee (or cream/milk would work, too, I just happened to have coffee)
- 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 16 oz. jar Hershey's Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce
- 2 cups dark chocolate chunks
- 1 cup toffee bits
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13" cake pan with foil, leaving enough excess on each end to create handles. Lightly spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter, egg, and coffee using your hands. Press all of this mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan, reserving 1 cup for topping.
3. In the same large bowl, mix together the cream cheese and hot fudge sauce using an electric mixer until creamy and well-blended. Pour over the crust.
4. Sprinkle the dark chocolate chunks and the toffee bits over the cream cheese layer, then sprinkle the reserved crust mixture over the top.
5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, then cool to room temperature on wire rack, at least 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator for at least three hours, then cut into bars and serve. Store in refrigerator, but these bars are best served at room temperature.
Anyone else find it hard to stay strong when recipes like this are sitting in front of you, staring at you, calling to you and beckoning, just begging to be baked, eaten, and enjoyed???