Brownies and Bars/ Dessert/ Recipes

chocolate peanut butter mounds bars

I was going to save this post for Monday but I just can’t. I can’t! I mean, it’s Halloween weekend and all. You probably need an excuse to eat another candy bar.

You down? Okay good. Let’s have a chat then. You see, even in the 20’s, my great grandma knew what was up.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I was lucky enough to inherit all of my great grandmother’s amazingly retro dessert recipes. That big plastic orange box of faded recipe notecards is one of the most valuable things that I own.

And then last night, after sobbing my way through Private Practice and eating way too much sweetened flaked coconut, I had a complete epiphany!

And that epiphany was taking on the challenge of baking through every single one of my great grandmother’s recipes (except the recipe I just found for creamed english peas…that doesn’t count)

I’m going to count out all the recipes tonight, but by just looking at the box I would say there are about two hundred there ranging from her secret refrigerator roll recipe and “mock” apple pie to prune cake and some interesting “egg toast bread”. Whatever that means.

Are you still with me????? Good.

We’re starting with her special mounds bars.

Like I said, she knew what was up. A crunchy golden graham cracker crust topped with coconut, melted chocolate and peanut butter! These guys are so much better than the packaged candy bar version….and incredibly easy to make, too.

I like to think of my great grandma making these bars for special occasions in her tiny Minnesota kitchen. These freeze great so if you’re anything like me, you’ll hide them from yourself deep in the depths of your freezer….until you’re home alone, reading trashy magazines and talking to your cat. That’s when all hell breaks loose and no homemade candy bar is safe.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mounds Bars

makes about 25 small bars

Print this recipe!


19 graham crackers, crushed (2 sleeves)

1 stick butter, melted

ยฝ cup sugar

1 14-oz package sweetened coconut flakes

1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

12 oz chocolate chips, melted

2 tbsp peanut butter


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Pat down into a greased 9″ or 13″ pan. Bake for 10 minutes until golden.

In another bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and coconut. Spread on top of the baked graham cracker crust and return to oven to bake for 20 more minutes.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Once melted, add the peanut butter and stir until well combined. Spread over coconut layer once bars come out of the oven. Place in the fridge to cool and let the chocolate harden. Once hard, cut into small squares and serve.


2 hours (includes cooling time)

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  • JJ @ 84thand3rd
    October 29, 2011 at 4:48 am

    What a wonderful, beautiful idea, can’t wait! I love old fashion recipes – my 1965 Gold Anniversary edition of the BH&G cookbook is one of my most treasured – that and my grandmother’s Thanksgiving recipes, sigh. Oh, and those bars – insane, good insane but insane none the less – love the (very good) note at the top of the card!

  • Sweet and Savvy
    October 29, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Wow. These look amazinggggggg! Good luck On getting through the recipes! ๐Ÿ™‚ you’re Definitely forgiven for passing up on the peas recipe!

  • Joy
    October 29, 2011 at 4:58 am

    I love love love this idea

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    October 29, 2011 at 4:59 am

    Jenna these look amazing!!

    I grew up in Minnesota and my grandma’s cooking (and my mothers and the women in my church) usually involved a can of sweetened condensed milk and graham cracker crumbs. And if there was a way to incorporate Cool Whip or marshmallows, even better.

    And yes to this, what a gift: “That big plastic orange box of faded recipe notecards is one of the most valuable things that I own.”

    Thank you for sharing these treats. They remind me of Seven Layer bars or Magic Bars….and my childhood!

    Beautiful pics!

  • Renee - Kudos kitchen
    October 29, 2011 at 5:15 am

    You ARE incredibly lucky to have inherited your grandmothers recipes. What a treasure! This recipe looks so yummy. This is one of my favorite candy bars (Mounds) and the addition of peanut butter sends me reeling. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll be making these soon!

  • Lauren @ What Lauren Likes
    October 29, 2011 at 5:19 am

    I cannot wait to try this! Looks fab ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Debbi
    October 29, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Maybe you could at least post the creamed peas recipe, even if you don’t make it? Some of us LOVE peas (although the frozen ones I ate the other night aren’t nearly as good as the ones I grew last spring). I’m excited to follow along as you cook your way through Grandma’s recipes. The mock apple pie was almost a staple at our house when I was growing up, but I’ve never made it. It really did taste exactly like apple pie though. (Low-carbers probably wouldn’t want to try it. Heh.)

  • Christena
    October 29, 2011 at 5:26 am

    “These freeze great so if youโ€™re anything like me, youโ€™ll hide them from yourself deep in the depths of your freezerโ€ฆ.until youโ€™re home alone, reading trashy magazines and talking to your cat. Thatโ€™s when all hell breaks loose and no homemade candy bar is safe.” <– LOL at this.

    LOVE that you are going to be baking through your grandmother's recipes! Can't wait!

  • Linda Sue
    October 29, 2011 at 5:28 am

    The Mock Apple Pie will be terrific – I’ve had a recipe file for years with nifty old note cards of recipes. Looking forward to the series – woo hoo!

  • Khushboo
    October 29, 2011 at 5:44 am

    This remind me of the Julie and Julia movie where she tries to recreate all the recipes ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Amanda
      October 29, 2011 at 8:21 am

      That’s what I was thinking too! I love this idea! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Kristen
      October 31, 2011 at 6:22 am

      That was my first thought too! Sounds fun.

    • Hayley
      November 1, 2011 at 10:50 am

      Me too!!! I specifically came to the comments section to post that!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Nadine
    October 29, 2011 at 5:49 am

    First, I LOVE that (at least this one) the recipes are so simple. But, I’d be lost at ‘a pkg’ of coconut — cause they ‘do’ come in different sizes, right? And, hey didn’t you use twice as much butter and twice as much peanut butter as Great-Grandma did ??!

    • jenna
      October 29, 2011 at 7:21 am

      I took a chance on the coconut!! I figured it couldn’t have changed THAT much…that and the condensed milk! The butter stayed the same (1/2 cup = 1 stick) but you’re right, I did at a teeeeny bit more peanut butter ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Molly@ This Life Is Sparkling
    October 29, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Those look amazing:) I think your goal is so creative and I’m sure you’ll accomplish it!

  • kathleen @ the daily crumb
    October 29, 2011 at 5:53 am

    was so excited to see a saturday morning recipe from you!! drooling over here…

  • Gillian G. @ When Bread Is Broken
    October 29, 2011 at 5:54 am

    I LOVE that idea! Can’t wait to see all of them – I’ve often looked for challenges like that, but alas, no recipe book to be inherited.

  • Mabelle @ Dance, Love, Dine
    October 29, 2011 at 6:25 am

    All I have to say those bars look supper yummy!!!!!!! Mail me some! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • laura
    October 29, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Jenna this recipe is insane. I love the idea of going through all of her recipes, that is going to be so much fun to read.

  • Erin @ small things
    October 29, 2011 at 6:52 am

    You have to make the peas! b/c what if you find out that they are good?? there is only one way. DO IT. please?

  • Katrina
    October 29, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Mmm these sound awesome!

  • Kathryn
    October 29, 2011 at 7:05 am

    What a great challenge, I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  • Julie @ Sugarfoot Eats
    October 29, 2011 at 7:22 am

    That is so sweet of you to bake your way through your great-grandmother’s recipes! You’ll feel so close to her while you do it…especially during the holidays!

  • caroline
    October 29, 2011 at 7:24 am

    New book idea! Looking forward to seeing you work your way through your great-grandmother’s treasured recipes and reading your thoughts on each experiment.

  • Jen
    October 29, 2011 at 7:26 am

    I like when you post a recipe on the weekend. These look great. But these were always a tradition growing up – combining chocolate, graham cracker and coconut was never unusual? I’ve also thought of getting a cat but worry I might become the crazy cat-talking lady ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Krystina (Organically Me)
    October 29, 2011 at 7:28 am

    I bet these taste incredible.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    October 29, 2011 at 7:31 am

    These look beautiful! I’m not even a coconut type of girl but I’d still make em! That’s so wonderful that your great grandmother shared the same passion for cooking that you do. And I can’t wait to see you bake through them all – sort of like Amy Adams in Julie & Julia! Particularly curious about the mock apple pie.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Karen
    October 29, 2011 at 7:31 am

    I LOVE that you’re planning to do this! Like Julie and Julia! But better!!
    And I love even more that you’re going to share them with us! SO cool.
    Thank you!!

  • Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries
    October 29, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Oh my goodness, these look like bars my grandmother makes me for all my birthdays. They are to die for! She still hasn’t given me the recipe which is a good thing so I don’t make them all the time and eat them in one day. But now you shared the recipe (or at least a similar one), and it’s staring me in the face. I suppose I have no other choice now other than to make them! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Mellie
    October 29, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I love the idea of baking ALL your grandma’s recipes! Now I kind of would like to do the same. Those bars look sooo good!

  • Moni'sMeals
    October 29, 2011 at 7:46 am

    you just made my morning and Halloween! I love making homemade versions of candy bars. And when grandma’s (or great grandma’s I should say) are involved, we know we are good to go! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    October 29, 2011 at 7:48 am

    What a great idea! It’s a little Julie & Julia-esque but so much cooler since it’s your great grandma!

  • Amber
    October 29, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I’m excited about the retro recipes.

  • Krista
    October 29, 2011 at 8:22 am

    My dad would love these! I’ve been bugging my parents to check out what cookbooks and recipe boxes my grandma left, but all I hear is that they were probably thrown out.. it’s a shame, but I’m glad you were able to get your grandma’s recipe box– I can only imagine what she has in there! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mel @ Post Grad Mel
    October 29, 2011 at 8:42 am

    This sounds like a wonderful idea! I have a bunch of recipes from my Grandma as well, but her handwriting is a bit difficult to read. I think I’ll have to sit down and really try and decipher them one day. What a wonderful tribute to your Grandma though! I’m sure she’d love it!

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    October 29, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Grandmothers know best. My grandmother’s recipes aren’t very specific though. Her recipe card has random ingredients written out. When asked, “Grandma, how much flour do you use?” She will ALWAYS answer, “How much ever that you want to.”

  • Amy Bounds
    October 29, 2011 at 8:56 am

    What a great idea! Looking forward to reading all about your adventure.

  • Meredith M.
    October 29, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Thank you so much for posting this. I saw it and HAD to run to the store to get some coconut flakes and make it. Sounds so delicious.

  • Heather M
    October 29, 2011 at 9:02 am

    I love that you are going to make all of your Grandmother’s recipes. It’s even better that you were the one who recieved them. Have fun with them, and the candy bars look great.

  • Nicole @ Giraffelegs
    October 29, 2011 at 9:08 am

    mouth is watering.

  • sherri
    October 29, 2011 at 9:19 am

    i just might have to forward you some of my ggma’s recipes, too. i remember her mock apple pie well…. ritz crackers instead of apples. amazingly delicious!

  • Liz
    October 29, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Such a sweet idea, can’t wait to see what’s in store for us!!

  • Kate
    October 29, 2011 at 9:26 am

    “Egg toast bread” is possibly/probably challah?

  • Mary Beth
    October 29, 2011 at 9:27 am

    That is a wonderful idea, Jenna! I can’t wait to see more of her recipes.

  • running betty
    October 29, 2011 at 9:50 am

    mmm i love food porn.

  • Julie - StressStories
    October 29, 2011 at 10:02 am

    That is such a cool idea! Especially since it’s your great grandma’s recipes so it’s a bit like keeping her memory alive – fantastic. I wish I had recipes from my ancestors, except old Danish food is often really boring (and often involves boiled cabbage – who the f*** likes cabbage boiled in milk?) so I probably would never take up such a challenge anyway…

    Those bars look yummy, she must’ve been real clever your great grandma ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Brittany
    October 29, 2011 at 10:05 am

    What a fantastic idea! If my grandmother’s recipes didn’t include things like green jello with pineapple topped with sour cream and carrots I would love to do it too! Looking forward to finding out what that recipe box holds!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    October 29, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Such a great idea and a beautiful homage to your great grandma, too!! Looking forwrad to seeing more recipes. Btw, I may or may not have just run to the store to pick up some graham crackers and coconut. I wonder what they’re for ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • katie @KatieDid
    October 29, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I love this idea, I’m just jealous that I never got to know any of my grandma’s recipes she made for us all of the time. I’ve tried to recreate some of them but obviously came up short. After all, she was an italian woman who fed 5 children and then 15 grandchildren…. that takes talent!

  • Erica @ Inandaroundtown
    October 29, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I love these old family recipes! Those bars combine all my favorite things in one bar

  • amy_c
    October 29, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I love your plan of cooking/baking your way through all of the recipes you inherited! I made a recipe last weekend for my brother’s birthday…a chocolate pound cake. My first time baking it. My mom usually would but was busy with work this year…a recipe passed down from one of my great grandmothers. I mailed it to him and he was happily surprised. It’s amazing the memories that food can bring back ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Imwaytoobusy
    October 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    These have to be fabulous! Nothing beats one of Grandma’s old recipes. They knew how to cook ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Kim
    October 29, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Those look AMAZING!!! I must make them soon!

  • Kristen
    October 29, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Prune cake?!?!? Please make soon!!!

  • Deva @ Deva by Definition
    October 29, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I love old family recipes – I have a few from The Boy’s grandmother’s recipe box. they always cook up really well, too!

  • katryn@rampantcuisine
    October 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Love this idea! Can’t wait to see all the recipes!

  • Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter)
    October 29, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I think that’s an awesome challenge idea! And this recipe looks fabulous to begin with- yum!

  • Tracie
    October 29, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    I made mock apple pie for the first time last year as per my grandpa’s request. I was seriously shocked that ritz crackers can magically taste like apples. I mean really, how did someone come up with that?

  • Savorique
    October 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    (Great-)grandmothers’ recipes are always the best. I have a thing for traditional recipes. This chocolate-PB bar is no exception, it’s a keeper. I look forward to the first cook book with only old traditional recipes and if I don’t find it soon enough in the market, I might well write it down myself! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Kay
    October 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I made a double batch of this and took it to the church gathering tonight. And guess who came, too. Your parents, with your pumpkin cheesecake bar recipe! Your mom and I had a great chat and your dad got to taste this recipe after all. How fun was that?! Great raves. Thanks for a fantastic and easy recipe, Jenna!

  • Holli
    October 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Sooo, I just made these and popped them in the fridge. I saw this post and started frantically going through my pantry and to my surprise I had every ingredient! There may have even been a happy dance with a little song when I found everything ๐Ÿ™‚

    Can’t wait till they are done chillin’

  • danellesdish
    October 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    These look so good! I can’t wait to try them.

  • Sally
    October 29, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Okay, I felt my pants get tighter just looking at the pictures of these bars and I am BEYOND excited to see all the other recipes. There is something about all those retro recipes that I. just. love.

  • Kati @ The Ivey League
    October 29, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    yum. just yum. :>

  • MaryLee
    October 29, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    That is maybe one of the best things to inherit ever. And the best goal I think, to bring to life all of those things your great-grandmother made long ago. <3

  • Aileen
    October 30, 2011 at 1:26 am

    I like your new layout for recipes! That page is my go-to for a new recipe that I know will always be delicious.

  • Liz
    October 30, 2011 at 2:43 am

    These look delicious! I also inherited all of my great grandmother’s recipes & never considered trying them all – I like the idea! Although, I would try the creamed English peas – my great grandma also made those & I loved them as a kid ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count
    October 30, 2011 at 6:50 am

    I love using old family recipes. It helps you to remember those who may no longer be with us. I love sharing that type of recipe too. These bars look SO good!!

  • Maureen
    October 30, 2011 at 8:48 am

    I have a potluck at work this coming Friday and I am totally going to make this as my dish!

  • Pam
    October 30, 2011 at 9:30 am

    I too inherited my grandmother’s recipes and I value them so much! I look forward to your adventure in cooking from your orange box…keep us posted!

  • Mandy
    October 30, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I’m loving this idea! So excited to follow. xo

  • Candice
    October 30, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Thanks so much for sharing these! There’s something really special about passing recipes on from generation to generation. I wish I had more of my grandmother’s recipes…she made amazing angel food cake.

  • FoodFaithFitness
    October 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Ohhhh….Emmmmm…..Geeeeeee! I am SO making these! Your grandmother did know what’s up! What an awesome legacy she left you!!!

  • nat@thesweetslife
    October 30, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I’ll be making these soon! I bet these aren’t the only gem hiding among your grandma’s recipes…can’t wait to see what’s next! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Stephanie
    October 30, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Just made these for the boyfriends football evening. AMAZING! Luckily, they are so rich that I cannot possibly eat more than one large piece. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Kathy
    October 30, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    I just inherited my mother-in-law’s wooden box of recipes and was sorting through it today looking for something with chocolate. I can’t wait to try these bars….they sound perfect to make for my husband’s poker group….minus a few for the cook!

  • Stephanie
    October 30, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    These look awesome – and I just want to say that I LOVE your blog. I just stumbled onto it a few weeks ago and I’m so happy I did!

  • Baking Serendipity
    October 30, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    How cool! I just inherited a box of old recipes as well and have been searching for the first one to make. Mounds bars are a seriously perfect choice. Your great-grandma sounds fantastic ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Arlene
    October 31, 2011 at 5:45 am

    I made these yesterday and they are delicious and very rich. Thanks for the recipe!

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    October 31, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Love the idea of you baking your way through your Grandma’s retro recipe collection Jenna! I’m determined to try this recipe. It looks amazing and I recognize all the ingredients! ๐Ÿ˜‰ So I think I’m already off to a good start. LOL.

  • Rachael @ FreshlyMinted
    October 31, 2011 at 7:18 am

    What an amazing adventure – so, so special!

    My great-grandmother gave me a ton of her old magazines (think 1950’s & 60’s “LOOK”, Modern Bride, Good Housekeeping, etc.). I love to pull recipes from those yellowed pages for my blog and dinner parties (Mrs. Eisenhower’s Apple Pie, here I come!).

    Can’t wait to see the next recipe : )

  • Elizabeth
    October 31, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Fabulous!!! Thanks so much for sharing. Can’t wait to see what else your great grandmother has in her recipe box ๐Ÿ™‚

  • kristen
    October 31, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Just finished my delicious chicken tikka masala wrap for breakfast and thought of you! Thanks so much for sharing the mounds at church. They were yummy but I LOVE coconut so I am biased. I love the photo of your great grandma’s recipe card! So sweet!

  • Ahn Ei Sweeney
    October 31, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I made these this weekend…and your pumpkin cheesecake bites!! Everyone loved them! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Laura
    October 31, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    I made these and brought them in to work today – they were a huge hit! Thank you for such an amazing recipe! I’m looking forward to more treats from your grandma ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Heather Michelle
    October 31, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    incredible idea. i love it! my favorite recipes are the ones I inherited. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Happy When Not Hungry
    October 31, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Wow your great grandma def knew what was up! These look fantastic. Will def have to try. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarah @ SharingBananas
    October 31, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I may have eaten another one of these as soon as I got home. I’m not sayin’ though.

    They are AH-mazing!

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    November 1, 2011 at 4:24 am

    I made these for my halloween party at work..everyone including me loved them!

  • Debbie
    November 2, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Great recipe! I made a batch of these yesterday to have as a snack for a jewelry party I hosted. Everyone loved the scrumptious taste & I loved how easier they were to make! Thanks to your grandmother for the recipe!

  • Judy
    November 3, 2011 at 10:53 am

    These chocolate bars sound absolutely amazing!!!

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  • luxury crackers
    December 11, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Its like you read my thoughts! You appear to understand so much about this, like you wrote the e book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few percent to force the message house a bit, but other than that, that is wonderful blog. An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.

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  • Lizzie
    December 31, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I think maybe I measured something wrong — 2 sleeves of graham crackers made way too many crumbs to fit into a 13 x 9 inch pan. I’m using the monster pan (you know the one that you make lasagna in for your entire family?) which kinda threw off the coconut/chocolate/pb ratio. I think this will still be okay, but next time i’m counting out the crackers.

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