Easy Dessert Recipes – Johnny Appleseed Cake – Gingerbread Bars

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Homemade Crockpot Hot Chocolate Recipe

Easy Dessert Recipes

Here are a few easy and delicious recipes to make or eat on a cold winter’s day or anytime!


Crockpot Hot Chocolate

1/2 cup dry baking cocoa
12 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/8 tsp. salt
7 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a 3 quart crockpot, combine milk, water and vanilla. Then add cocoa and salt, whisking until smooth. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours. Serve with marshmallows or whipped cream. Serves 8.


  • If you are in a hurry, heat up the water before adding it to the crockpot.
  • Add a cinnamon stick or a little instant coffee for 2 different flavors
  • If it burns slightly around the edges, you can still drink it. Just be careful not to scrape the edges and consider cooking at a lower temperature the next time.
Johnny Appleseed Squares


From Reader: Bea

Johnny Appleseed Squares

5 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups biscuit baking mix
1/2 cup PLUS 2 Tbsp. cold butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9 inch square baking pan. Combine apples with the condensed milk and cinnamon in a bowl.

Measure 1 cup of the biscuit mix into another bowl and cut in 1/2 cup of the butter until it resembles large crumbs. Stir in the apple mixture and spoon the batter into the baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup biscuit mix with the sugar and cut in the remaining 2 Tbsp. butter until crumbs form. Stir in the nuts. Sprinkle the nut mixture evenly over the apple batter and bake 50-60 minutes.


Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Bars


Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix butter and sugars until fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and molasses and beat 1-2 minutes until lighter brown. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Batter will be very thick. May have to pat into pan.

Pour into 9×13 pan or 8×8 pan* lined with parchment paper or foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake until it starts to turn a little brown on the edges.

*If you want a thinner bar, use a 9×13 pan and bake for 20-22 minutes. For a thicker bar use the 8×8 pan and add 2-3 minutes of baking time.


4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened (1/2 stick)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Beat all ingredients together and frost bars when cool.

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  1. Christine says

    re: Johnny Appleseed Squares ~

    Is there something that can be made, from common kitchen ingredients, that makes a worthy substitution for condensed sweetened milk when you don’t have any on hand?

    • says

      We have lots of recipes in Dining on a Dime of how to make things if you don’t have something on hand and sweetened condensed milk is one of them. Here’s the recipe for it
      2 cups instant nonfat dry milk
      2 cups sugar
      1 cup boiling water
      1/2 cup margarine, melted
      Beat all with a hand mixer until smooth. Refrigerate in covered container to thicken. 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. equals a 15 oz can. This makes 3 cups.

  2. Susan says

    HI Jill and Tawra

    I think I have spring fever! Last week we got hit with a storm that left us with 20 inches of snow and yesterday it was 70 degrees and now we have major melting going on. Any way I was in the store and saw some plants and I can’t wait till spring! Also I found some valentine heart shaped bowls marked down to 1 dollar and these bowls say microwave and dishwasher safe I have always liked heart shaped bowls so I was thrilled.

  3. Debbie G. says

    Just wanted to say … I recently came across your website on Facebook, signed up for your newsletter and have REALLY enjoyed reading it. You have MANY interesting, time-saving and helpful tips and I also enjoy people’s replies too.

    Keep up the AWESOME work you do. And thank you!

  4. Julie says

    In your recipe for gingerbread bars is there anything I can substitute for the molasses, I don’t keep that around the house. I have been getting the newsletter for several months now and I love it!

    • says

      I’m not sure Julie. The molasses is what gives it it’s special gingerbread flavor so using anything else will make the recipe completely different but you could maybe try some kind of syrup.

  5. Carole Garrett says

    What I think is that I am going to gain weight if I keep making all of these good dessert recipes. They all sound so good I can’t resist them.

    • says

      Too funny Carole. I know what you mean. I have to test a lot of these recipes and with only me by myself that could get really bad. I give most of it to my neighbors and when I am going to my quilting bee I drag out the recipes I need to test and take them there but you are so right.

  6. Mary Jane says

    Thanks for the crock pot hot chocolate recipe. This would be great to make for a crowd, or to have waiting at home for you on a winter afternoon. It would also be great over the holidays. I had tried a crock pot version of hot buttered lemonade a few years back, that was done in a crock pot. It was good, but in the future, I would add the real butter (part of the recipe) after the hot lemonade was served up into individual mugs. The butter simply got far too hot in the crock pot, and made the drink nearly impossible to sip without burning yourself. Makes sense. Butter is a fat, and fats get much hotter than other liquids when cooked for a period of time.

  7. Lana Bauer says

    I made the gingerbread bars and the batter was so thick…it would not pour into the pan.I added 1/2 c. milk so we will see what they turn out like ! They are baking now.Hope it is still good !

    • says

      Yes Lana the batter is very thick and you almost have to pat it into the pan. Also they do dry out easily so be sure to keep them in an air tight container.

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