White Chocolate Baileys and Coffee Bars

I would love to take 100% credit for coming up with this delectable little recipe out of thin air.  I would really love to take credit because the result was far better than I had expected, indicated by the fact that I kept taking a teensy little sample slice here, and a teensy little sample slice there, just to even up the sides of a square.  Eventually, said square was evened down to practically nothing.  I had committed the culinary equivalent of trimming my own bangs.  So, I started on the next square…..

I would love to take 100% credit, but sadly, I cannot.




Most of the credit for this recipe goes to Martha (or more likely her MSO kitchen crew), as I originally found it in a recent issue of Martha Stewart Living. That said, with all due respect to the woman who has inspired me for years, many of Martha’s recipes just don’t work.   Sometimes it’s an omitted ingredient. Sometimes it’s an incorrect measurement.  Some of these recipes are found in her books, some in her magazine, and some on her web site.

Look, I make mistakes with my recipes as often as the next blogger who has been staring, blurry-eyed, at a computer for three hours.  I’ve forgotten to indicate oven temperatures.  I’ve typed “12” tablespoons when it should have been “1/2″ (oops–sorry).  I’ve even–brace yourself– written “it’s” when I should have written “its”!!!

But then again, I’m not running a multi-billion dollar empire with a large editorial staff at my disposal.

I have an editorial staff of 1.  His name is Spell-check. And he doesn’t do grammar.




Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I’m really just a lousy cook and an even lousier directions follower…….sigh.

(Psst — this is the part where you tell me that I am not wrong.) 

Thank you.  I didn’t think so.

So I’ve started tweaking Martha’s recipes even before I try them as published.  I know that I shouldn’t automatically assume that the recipe is wrong, but I’d rather not take my chances.  In case you haven’t been to the grocery store lately, ingredients are expensive.  Double ingredients needed to remake a recipe are even more expensive.

Instead, I take Martha’s seed of inspiration combined with my knowledge of which ingredients and quantities work well together, a formula that usually yields pretty yummy results.  Plus, it’s generally more fun to play around with a recipe and give it your own personal signature.



For this recipe, chosen with the upcoming St. Patty’s Day holiday in mind, instead of using straight whiskey (and I’ve told you how I feel about whiskey), I opted for the more Julie-friendly Baileys Irish Cream.   The batter seemed like it would be a bit dry to me, so I increased the egg and butter quantities based on my favorite tried and true blondie recipe.  I also altered the leavening and substituted  a smaller amount of easier dissolving espresso powder for ground coffee.  Finally, I added some chopped white chocolate and some spices to the batter.  Personally, I like a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg on my Bailey’s and coffee, and adding chocolate to a recipe can never hurt.  Am I right?

The result?  Chewy-sweet-spiked-caffeinated-glazed perfection.

(Oh, and Martha, if you happen to read this.  I was totally kidding about everything I said above.  What do I know anyhow?)




Here are some extra tips for making these hot toddy-inspired sweets:

  • If you don’t have espresso powder, you can use very finely ground coffee.  If you are substituting the coffee, stir it into the melted butter instead of adding it to the flour mixture, so that it dissolves better (grains might be too large otherwise.)
  • Once cut, the bars can be stored at room temperature, in an air-tight container, for 2-3 days.
  • If you don’t have Bailey’s on hand, you can substitute whiskey for the glaze (as Martha used in her original recipe.)

White Chocolate Baileys and Coffee Bars

Printable Recipe

Makes about 16 bars


2 1/4 sticks butter, melted and cooled

2 cups golden brown sugar, packed

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour

2 tablespoons espresso powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cups chopped white chocolate (or white chocolate chips)

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

2-3 teaspoons whole milk or cream

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.  LIne a 9X13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil so that there is a 1-inch overhang, and spray the foil with nonstick baking spray.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy, 3-4 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and continuing to beat for 1 minute more after the last egg is added.  Beat in the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing on low speed until incorporated.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the white chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula.  Sprinkle the almonds evenly over the top.  Bake until the top is set and a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan emerges clean, 24-28 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Irish Cream Glaze, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar an the Bailey’s in a bowl until thoroughly combined.  Add enough of the milk/cream to achieve a thick glaze that is still of drizzling consistency.  Transfer the glaze to a small zip-top bag, seal, and snip a small corner off the end.  Use this as a “piping bag” to drizzle the glaze over the bars.

Allow the glaze to dry for at least 30 minutes, then cut into squares and serve.





  1. linda says

    Julie, these look fantastic – Martha would probably have a “I should of done that!” moment if she saw your revised recipe! Believe it or not, I actually had a conversation with a woman I met today about Martha! She claims that she heard Martha alters her recipes that she makes available to the public! Don’t know if this has any truth to it, but who knows? Sort of like some people not wanting to give out their secret family recipes!

  2. says

    Linda! I loved reading this–very interesting and very timely!!  I know how it feels to not want to give up a recipe.  I know that you know this as well.  Thanks for your comment!


  3. Dyane says

    These bars look yummilicious!!
    …And i think u put into words what a hundred, or dare i say thousand, people have probably wanted to about MS recipes. It sometimes feels like they hold back vital tips on purpose. Surely there couldnt be such lapses so many times??!! …
    Rant over, its lovely that you take it upon urself to tweak the recipes and generously share it with us… Thank u!!… And again, those bars look yummilicious!! :)

  4. says

    Thank you, Dyane!  I appreciate your comments — Ive heard the same thing from a few other people as well.  Im not sure what the logic is behind that strategy, especially when people start to figure it out!  So glad that you enjoyed the recipe–have a fantastic week :)

  5. says

    These look great! So pretty!

    That is so funny. I’ve been saying the same thing about Martha’s recipes for years. The ones I’ve tried have NOT worked! Her blueberry pie and panettone recipes come to mind.

  6. says

    Oh my — YES!!  I tried the blueberry pie too.  It was a big gloppy fail!!  And if you had trouble with it too, then I know that it was an incorrect recipe.  You are too talented as a baker, so if the recipe was correct, then yours would have turned out perfectly. 

    When do you make your Cooking Channel debut?  I currently dont get it, but I might need to order it now :)

  7. says

    Thank you, Shelby!  The flavors actually improved and had more depth on the second day.  Glad to know that I am not wrong about those recipes.  I was beginning to think that I couldnt follow directions!  Hope you had a nice weekend :)

      • says

        Thanks, Julie! :) I’m planning to ship this to a friend as a surprise but I don’t know if he’s okay with alcohol. So to be on the safe side, I’ll just omit Bailey’s. I’ll let you know as soon as possible how this scrumptious treat turns out for me. :) Thank you for sharing this recipe!

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