Trifecta Dessert Bars
These Trifecta Bars combine three of the most all-time loved desserts into one bite, with fudgy brownie on the bottom, chocolate chip cookie in the middle, and rice krispie treats on top! These store really well and are great for bake sales.
Long ago, I tore this recipe out of a magazine and stuffed it into my bookshelf to make later. I LOVE layered desserts like my Millionaire’s Shortbread bars and Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares, so I knew I’d love it.
Plus, rice is one of my favorite bases for dessert, whether it’s creamy rice pudding or the puffy crunchy stuff here.
As it often goes with torn out recipes, I completely forgot about it until I found it on accident a couple weeks ago.
We just finished re-flooring our house, which required a much-dreaded emptying out of the bookcase, but it turned out to be a good thing. Hah!
This recipe is the genius of Melissa Stadler of Modern Honey. Melissa does a lot of desserts on her site and is a baking contest queen.
This recipe in particular won the Food Network Bake Sale Contest, and for good reason. I tasted it a few years ago during a trip to Food Network and knew I wanted to make it again.
Since discovering my dairy sensitivity 6 months ago during a Whole30, I’m not eating as much dairy these days.
I decided to see if I could make a dairy-free version that was just as good, knowing that some of my favorite baked recipes use oil instead of butter (like these chocolate cupcakes, omg).
It took a few rounds of testing and tweaking, but the answer was a resounding yes.
These bars are ridiculously rich and delicious. And dangerous. Sorry. Not sorry? Haha!
For the brownie layer on the bottom, I did a half batch of my Coconut Oil Brownies.
They’re super fudgy and rich, and I knew the recipe would be perfect for the job:
For the middle cookie layer, I decided to start by riffing on this Genius Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.
I went through a few adjustment rounds in my testing, because I wanted the middle cookie layer to be more like a cookie dough than a baked cookie.
So I played with the liquid and dry content until I wound up with a dough that was a little closer to what I use in my Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars. Nice and soft!
Crumble the cookie dough gently on top, taking care not to displace the brownie layer on the bottom:
It will smooth out a little bit as it bakes.
Bake it in a 350F oven until the cookie dough is golden on the edges, but still underbaked in the middle:
And don’t worry that the chocolate chip cookie layer looks a little ugly right now.
It’ll be covered up by the rice krispie treats layer, and when you cut the dessert into squares, no one will ever know.
Once the brownie and cookie layer cool, add a layer of coconut oil rice krispie treats:
Chill this in the fridge for 30 minutes, so everything can set, then flip it out of the pan:
That glorious square of dessert is now ready to be cut into squares:
I find it best to store the bars at room temperature, and they will keep for a couple days. Make sure they are well-wrapped so they don’t dry out.
For the brownie layer
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1.5 tsp instant espresso powder optional
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (1 oz, by weight)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 6 tbsp semisweet chocolate chips (2.25 oz, by weight)
- 6 tbsp virgin coconut oil (2.5oz by weight*)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
For the chocolate chip cookie layer
- 1.5 cups all purpose flour (7.5oz, by weight)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup neutral oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the rice krispie treats layer
- 1/4 cup coconut oil measured solid
- 10 oz bag mini marshmallows
- 3 cups crisp rice cereal
- 1 cup mini marshmallows optional, for stirring in at the end**
- To make the brownie layer: Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom of an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and salt.
- In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until the chocolate is fully melted. It should take about 3 intervals.
- Add the sugar and egg to the chocolate bowl, and whisk to combine, about one minute. Add the dry ingredients and stir until no flour streaks remain. The batter will be very thick.
- Spread the brownie batter into the prepared pan and set aside.
- To make the chocolate chip cookie layer: In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk to combine the sugar, brown sugar, oil, water, and vanilla extract.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, then stir with a spatula until combined, taking care to stop when the flour just disappears into the dough.
- Gently crumble the cookie dough over the brownie layer in the 8x8 pan, spreading as evenly as possible without displacing the brownie layer on the bottom
- Bake for 30 minutes, until the edges of the cookie dough layer are golden, but the middle still looks shiny and underbaked. Let cool.
- To make the rice krispie treats layer: In a medium nonstick saucepan, melt the coconut oil over medium low heat.
- Add the marshmallows and cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes, until the marshmallows have melted.
- Turn off the heat, then stir in the crisp rice cereal, stirring until evenly coated in the marshmallow. If using, stir in the mini marshmallows.
- Spread the rice krispie treats evenly on top of the brownie cookie layer, then refrigerate for 30 minutes, until set.
- Run a knife along the edges of the pan, then invert the bars onto a cutting board. Cut into 9 or 16 squares. The bars look prettier when cut into 9 squares, but the servings will be huge. 16 square is a more appropriate serving size. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.