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Father’s Day sweets

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I remember being a little kid and having to buy my dad a Father’s Day present.  I never knew what to get him. My earliest memories of my dad involved him sitting in a lawn chair, listening to a ballgame on the radio with a Budweiser in his hand. And I knew he already had a radio and plenty of Bud in the garage refrigerator.
One year my mom helped me get him a train ticket to Chicago to see a Cubs game.  He really liked his present that year. When I was about 10, I used my own money ($1.98 plus tax) to buy him a huge ugly ashtray in the shape of the state of Illinois. He was probably not so thrilled with that present, but he kept it anyway for the rest of his life.
When I got old enough to start cooking, it was never again a problem to figure out what to get him. I’d make him brownies or cookies, a homemade angel food cake, or an apple pie, and he’d be as happy as can be.
He loved sweets of all kinds, homemade or otherwise, (he and Little Debbie were really close!) These two recipes are ones he was extremely fond of. The Chocolate Chewy Squares is a really old recipe from the 50’s, back when everyone (except my grandma) started using cake mixes. They are still delicious, and very easy. I just made some for my poker group the other night, and they were well-received.
The Pecan Cheesecake Bars were another of Dad’s favorites. He liked them even better than regular cheesecake, and requested them often, not just on Father’s Day.
Treat the father in your life this Sunday!

Chocolate Chewy Squares

1 (18.25oz) package white or yellow cake mix
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 c. chocolate chips
1/2 stick butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking pan. Mix together the cake mix, eggs, and oil. Press 2/3 of mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Set remaining 1/3 mixture aside. Combine sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips and butter in saucepan over low heat or in microwave for a minute. Stir till chips and butter are melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over the crust in pan.  Drop teaspoonfuls of the remaining batter over the top. You can also sprinkle the top with chocolate chips if desired. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or till lightly browned on top. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares. Makes about 36.

Pecan Cheesecake Bars

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. butter
1 (8oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 T. milk or evaporated milk
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 or 9-inch square pan. Combine the flour and 1/4 c. brown sugar in a large bowl. Cut in butter with fork (or your fingers) till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press firmly in prepared pan and bake 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix cream cheese till creamy and add the 1/3 c. brown sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat till smooth and spread over warm crust. Sprinkle with the pecans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Completely cool, then refrigerate for at least two hours before cutting into bars. Makes 16 bars.