The dessert bar at the Padua Pub near Sauk Centre, Minnesota, wouldn’t be the same without the Minnesota Bars that, for years, have been a standard there alongside the warm bread pudding, ice cream and heated caramel and chocolate sauces. They are an expected element of the tempting sweet menagerie that often also includes pies and other pastries.
Clara Rooney, who, with her husband, Dave, has owned the Padua Pub for 32 years, has been making these bars for the pub’s dessert bar for at least 10 years after finding the recipe in “Yummy to the Tummy,” a cookbook compiled by the grade school in Belgrade. No one seems to know how these simple-to-make treats got their name but, according to Clara, everyone really likes them. From what I’ve heard, I’d say they do their name proud! CJK
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 oz. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9 x 13-inch pan.
Cream butter. Beat in brown sugar. Add flour and mix. Press into bottom of pan. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes.
Beat eggs. Add sugar. Mix. Add flour, vanilla, baking powder and salt. Pour over bottom layer. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top. Bake an additional 20 minutes at 350°F. (Do not overbake!)
Yield: 24 bars
A note from Clara: I’ve made variations of this recipe using butterscotch chips or adding a cup of coconut. People really like the coconut version, too!
A note from Carol: Clara and Dave, parishioners of St. Donatus Parish in Brooten, shared this popular recipe from their pub — in addition to their well-liked broccoli bacon salad and scalloped potatoes and ham recipes — for the parish centennial cookbook . During the time they’ve owned the eatery, their five children and most of their 18 grandchildren have worked with them at the family-run pub.
To order the cookbook, contact the parish office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 320-346-2431. They are on sale for $20 each or two for $30.