Tailgating with Joe Drozda: What do tailgater’s want in a dessert?

These dense dark bars will thrill your tailgaters. (Submitted photo)

These dense dark bars will thrill your tailgaters. (Submitted photo)

Commentary by Joe Drozda and Bob Bley

Whether it’s you brain center telling you that you have to have something sweet, or you are still hungry, almost every tailgater in the lot wants a dessert after a sandwich and side dish. If it were just the need for a sweet, we’d probably see a lot more candy bars at tailgate parties. Tailgate chefs seem to pride themselves in their desserts as much as they do their main course foods. Just look around and you’ll see cakes, cookies, pastries and even slices of pie.

There is a physical problem, however, with most desserts at a tailgate party – they have to be easy to eat. They shouldn’t require a plate, forks or spoon. They shouldn’t make one’s hands so sticky that he or she is forced to look for a basin in which to wash. And still importantly – tailgate desserts have to taste good! So, if you want a dessert that is easy to eat, and something creative and delicious, you should serve bars.

Here’s a great bar recipe for Marmalade Brownies by Marie Simmons, a former columnist for “Bon Appetite” and author of “Bar Cookies A to Z.” Marie and I exchanged ideas and books when “The Tailgater’s Handbook” first came out. These dense dark bars will thrill your tailgaters.


1/3 cup unsalted butter

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate

½ cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup orange marmalade

2 large eggs beaten

½ tsp. vanilla extract

2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup chopped walnuts

Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a nine-inch square, baking pan. Melt butter and chocolate in a nonaluminum saucepan. Remove pan from the heat. Add the brown sugar and marmalade and beat with a wooden spoon until blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir. Now add the flour, walnuts and salt; stir to blend. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until the edges began to pull away from the pan. Cool on a wire rack before cutting into bars.


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