Very Vanilla Bars {50 Shades of Grey Desserts}

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Pin ItUm…disclaimer. If you happen to be a young, impressionable teenager…maybe you skip this post? Thanksmuch, I really don’t want to hear from your moms. 😉

A month or so ago, one of my girlfriends casually mentioned that a bunch of us should read 50 Shades of Grey and do a girls’ night book club for it.

I heard “girls’ night” and said “of course!”

Then, of course, I had to read the book.

Have you read the book? Undoubtedly, you’ve heard about the book. And what you’ve heard is spot on…and more. Way more. Like, eons more.

{I wonder…if I really talk about what’s in the book…what will some of my Google Analytics keywords say? I mean, red pancake disease is already listed. And people, do not Google that. I did. Luckily I read some of the text before clicking on any photos. Yeah. Red pancake disease does not come from red velvet pancakes.}

Anyway…back to 50 Shades of Grey. So…there are some things in there I’d never heard of.

Like these. I guess you use them for … exercise. At least that’s what the Passion Party consultant said when she showed them to us at our book club meeting. Yes, the host booked us a Passion Party. Have you ever been to one of those?

Flippin’ hilarious. Especially with cocktails. There’s toys and stuff. Toys.

So these Ben-Wa Cake Balls are made with, well, cake. In the traditional cake ball way. I made the “strings” with white candy melts on a cookie sheet and let them harden before I dipped the cake balls. Once I dipped the balls I place the “string” on top the still melted candy and held it there for a second while it dried. Then I used my Wilton silver spray and sprayed them all silver. Let dry and you’ve got…balls.

{Hee, hee.}

So…my daughter was watching me make them. She kept asking what they were and I kept avoiding her.

She then asked, “Are they headphones?”

“Why yes, they are headphones,” I replied.

“But why are you making headphones?”

“Well, honey…they listened to a lot of music in Mommy’s book.”

She keeps asking me if all my friends liked their headphones.

I actually had to Google “flogger.” Luckily, thumbnail images popped up. I was kinda afraid to click on any websites.

These are red vines that I sliced to look like floggers…which didn’t totally work, because they didn’t fan out. Oh well, red vines go with the “Red Room of Pain.”

Haven’t read the book? Use your imagination. Then multiply that times 100.

My favorite part of the dessert were these Very Vanilla Bars. Made like a brownie, but with vanilla chips instead of chocolate.

People. They were SO good. Possibly because I used vanilla bean paste instead of extract. Over the top vanilla. I could have eaten 10 of them.

I may just have.

{You can see the little black vanilla specks in there. So yum.}

Why vanilla bars?

Well…at the beginning of the book, Ana isn’t…experienced. So Mr. Grey decides to forego the Red Room and have some vanilla fun.

{Vanilla my foot. Um, if that’s vanilla…never mind.}

So…these bars kinda match the book.

Did I like the book? Sure. Did I like the premise? Not really. Did I like the fun parts? I refuse to answer. 😉 Will I read the other two in the trilogy? Maybe, but I wouldn’t purchase them. I think it was a pretty good read, if you get past the woman getting herself into an abusive relationship and the … fun… parts. But I kinda want my $10 back…so I can buy the rest of the Divergent series. (You must read those, BTW.)

If you have read the book…maybe get a bunch of girls together and have a passion party. You’ll learn way more about them than you ever thought you would.

Also, go make some vanilla bars. And then make some balls.

And enjoy!


Very Vanilla Bars {50 Shades of Grey Desserts}


For the Bars:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 bag (10 ounces) white chocolate chips
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup chopped nuts , optional

For the Frosting

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter , softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat milk
  • Instructions


  1. Heat oven to 350°. Line the bottom of a 9x13” baking pan with parchment paper and grease entire pan with butter and flour.
  2. Melt butter and white chocolate chips in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, just until melted. (Mixture may appear curdled.) Remove from heat and cool.
  3. Stir remaining brownie ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in chocolate mixture. Spread in pan and bake about 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.
  4. Make the glaze: Whisk all ingredients until smooth and spreadable. Spread over cooled brownies and cut into bars.
(Recipe from Betty Crocker)
I link up to all of these fabulous parties each week!

Chef in Training, Trick or Treat TuesdayCast Party WednesdaySweet Treats ThursdayChic-and-CraftyTastetastic ThursdaySweet Tooth FridayI’m Lovin’ it FridaysSweets for a SaturdayA Well-Seasoned LifeStrut your Stuff Saturday, Weekend Wrap Up Party, Weekend Potluck, and all of these too!

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  1. I am only into the first book a little ways… and wow… my kind of racy novel… teehee… … i get how the treats coincide! Im on the same quest about the “vanilla”…. hmmm… its a bit of an interesting comparison that is for sure! happy reading!

  2. I was very excited to eat Dorothy’s balls . . . and they were delicious!

  3. OMG!! Dorothy you rock!! And you HAVE TO READ the other books! Book 2 was my fav!! I totally would have joined your book club just to come to this party!! This is awesome!! Now you’ve inspired me!!

    • Kim, I’m TOTALLY with you!! Book 2 was by far my favorite, too. I literally just finished the third about an hour ago. And yes, Dorothy…you HAVE to read the other two…you just have to!!

      Dorothy, this party is err….AMAZING!! And I have to agree with their “vanilla” seeming not-so-vanilla to me…YIKES! So, so happy you linked this up last week. I am flipping out over these treats and wanting to host a party of my own now {all of my friends & I have read this ‘secretly’ and then confessed to each other that we did…HAH!} These are the best treats…EVER!!

  4. We talked about this book at our last book club! We were teasing about sending out a fake email that that would be our book of the month.
    We did read “The Kitchen House” which was excellent. Next we are reading “While we’re far apart”. I read back in December on our cruise “Mudbound” – ooh that was awesome too. What else… oh “The Woman Who Wasn’t There” is a true story about a 9/11 survivor.

    Vanilla bars look yummy! Reminds me of very vanilla scones for some reason. Yummmm. Hopefully the 110 degrees days will stop and I can bake like normal again!

    Shannon’s comment is hilarious.

  5. I still haven’t read these books, but they’re on my to-do list. And I’m loving this post! Jordan: “Are they headphones?” HA! Too funny. Definitely a fun party to have for a girl’s night!

  6. I haven’t read the book…have heard about it, but just haven’t had the time. However, your desserts make me want to go out and get that little book NOW! The Very Vanilla Bars would be my favorite too and I love Vanilla paste–so much pumped up flavor. Excellent job, Dorothy, my mouth is watering for those bars. XOXO

  7. I ADORE vanilla anything so I will be trying these very soon!


  9. Awesome Dorothy!!

  10. I’ll gladly eat your balls anyday, Dorothy! BTW, these rock. Even better than I imagined when you told me the idea. And the specks of vanilla bean in those delish-looking bars? Heavenly, that’s what. Love me some vanilla bean paste! I totally showed my mom your treats here and she laughed the whole way in that way that she obviously knows what you’re talking about and I don’t so I kind of sat here awkwardly while my mom chortled along with these sexy desserts and NOW I MUST READ IT. Sooooo… bring in the book covers because I’ll need them around here 🙂

  11. Hahaha, sure they look like headphones. I love that you made those. And all the times the word balls was used in this post. I haven’t read the books yet but I plan to, once someone lends them to me. I don’t want to spend money on them either 😉

  12. Those vanilla bars look delish! I love vanilla bean paste (and happen to have plenty in my cabinet)!

    As for the rest, I haven’t read the book, I’m sure I would blush the entire time.

  13. Those very vanilla bars look amazing Dorothy! I personally am not the HUGEST fan of chocolate.. I know, shocker, right?!… so these bars are perfect for us vanilla freaks! And oh my.. that frosting… gimme some of that!

  14. Found you on the hop! One of myndaughter’s is named Dorothy and she loves sugar too 🙂 now following via fb, twitter and pinterest. Would love follows back

  15. Oh my gosh, that’s so funny! I haven’t read the books yet but my friends are all telling me that I must. Your “headphones” are a hoot!

  16. I will never loook at cake balls the same way….

  17. hahahaha!!! Headphones…laughing so hard over here:-) Silver spray huh? I haven’t seen that in my stores…I better look again. I love the vanilla bean paste in the bars too! Makes such a big difference!!!

  18. looks like you ladies had quite the party! vanilla bars look SO delish

  19. I have all 3 books. Haven’t started the first. I was going to start Hunger Games, first. Maybe not now. You can borrow them if you’d like. I was surprised first to see these ball on your blog (really, I just couldn’t believe what I was reading!), and second to learn that you hadn’t heard of them before the book. I guess we watched too much SNL as young teens…We learned a lot on SNL, including these balls among other things.

    Yikes, Dorothy. You’ve out done yourself, not to mention the rest of us!

  20. Ok, first of all: bwahahahahahahahahhaahahha. I kind of awkwardly giggled through the whole post. Like I was actually at a book club passion party. I’d awkwardly giggle through the whole thing.

    The headphones part? Seriously laughed out loud. LOUDLY.

    K, now the food: I could drink vanilla paste, and those bars look killer.

    And FINALLY, I’ve been meaning to ask you about Divergent– is it that good? Like, where would it rank with Hunger Games and Twilight (ha! My golden standard of comparison :)? I’m dying to start a new read, but we’re trying to be great budgeters right now– so a book purchase has to be worth it (and our public library is so small, we have to request books be transferred in, so I never go).

    🙂 xoxo

  21. I JUST started a book club with my friends! Im dying to read 50 shades, and I am totally putting it on our to-read list! Nothing like book talk, wine, and good friends! 🙂

  22. You crack me up. I appreciate that you didn’t say the book was either great or horrible….you just based desserts off of it! Only you… 🙂

  23. Oh I found you today on the blog hop. You crack me up! Our book club read that book too, but we did not have those desserts! Following you now!

  24. You are just TOO funny, Dorothy! I adore your creativity with all your desserts for the book club!!!

  25. I’m going to have to see if my book club wants to read this book…LOL. I bet they’ll say no, so I’ll just have to find another excuse to make your amazing vanilla bars! What a hilarious post, my friend (and, yes, I just had to read the book).

  26. That is too funny!! I don’t really see a need to read the book(s). I’ve read some reviews on Amazon and some are pretty funny – like the word count.
    Anyway… love the treats. The brownies sound scrumptious!

  27. okay, first, I have actually been to a passion party. You are right they are hysterical-you HAVE to have cocktails. It was less awkward since we didn’t know the ‘party lady’. However I was recently at a funeral and knew one of the women looked familiar, but couldn’t quite place how we knew her until my friend reminded me she was the ‘party lady’!!!!! (totally serious-not kidding-needed more cocktails-not that kind of funeral)
    Second, I’ve read all three books (less abusive weirdness by the end, fifty ends up kinda normal) and recently admitted this fact to a friend of mine. So she asked “Did it spice things up?”. I just sort of blinked a few times and said….”well, not exactly….first I’d need to find a contractor……”

  28. was just discussing this book with friends today would be so great to have a party to share with each other our thoughts

  29. Nice balls!

    Your daughter is so funny. I haven’t read the books yet. I kinda don’t want to read them because they’re so popular…

  30. These all turned out so great! I’m impressed! I found your blog via the Mom’s Mingle and am happy to be your newest follower! I’d love for you to follow me back at 🙂

  31. Ok, as a total prude I can tell that book is not for me! However, those vanilla bars are totally my style. I love the idea of the white chocolate chips in the batter!

  32. Love your headphones!! haha. I love when kids answer the hard questions themselves 😉

  33. Hello – Just popping in from Naptime MMM – (I’m #140 this week…) I must Thank You…!! I have Not LAUGHED so Hard – ever! Terrific post – great way to treat a ‘delicate subject’ and I sooooo wish I was close enough to where-ever-it-is-that-you-are to attend your book clubs!! (Shhh – I’m listening to the Audiobooks of these – from – and have no one to ‘share’ with – either verbally or…well, it’s all past me – except in books and my mind…sad but true…not the life I had expected… But I digress…) Anyway – Thanks for a good hearty laugh and knowing others out there are enjoying some laughs, etc…also… ;-}
    Come by for a visit…

  34. I love this post! I have been afraid to read those books! If my husband knew what they were about he might want to do some of the things in there! yikes! hee hee Plus I really really want to make these bars! They look sooo good! I have vanilla bean powder, i bet that would do the trick also!

  35. OMG! I’m cracking up laughing right now. Headphones..funny stuff. I havent read the books but I keep hearing that I should. I’ve been trying to think of some type of bar to send in my Desserts of the Derserving Package and I think these vanilla bars just might be the winner. Of course I’ll have to keep a couple for myself:)

  36. I read the book. And now I’m making my mom read it. (She’s very hip, haha.) It’s a fun read, but the majority of it just makes you laugh.

    BUT, cute ideas for deserts! Especially those vanilla bars. Yum.

  37. I’m on vacation and missed this post, so glad for your whatever friday. Loved these books but would never have thought to make a 50 shades dessert table, that’s awesome. I will definitely have to try the vanilla bars! my next books are divergent!

  38. Hahahaha!!! you are so adorable! I love the recipes! ..and the “headphones”!!! I can’t quit laughing! P.S. shhhhhh….I read all 3 books… oh my!

  39. Those look so good! Thanks so much for linking up at Mealtime Monday! Can’t wait to see what you like up tomorrow night!

    BTW, I just ordered the entire Shades of Grey trilogy book set. Whoops.


  40. The BenWa Balls made me laugh my bum off. How creative of you!

  41. I almost fell over laughing when I read this! What an awesome idea! I just finished reading the second book in this series. I’m still not sure how I feel about them. I’m kinda like you…a bit disturbed that this girl “chose” to be in an abusive relationship. But the second book is a bit more “vanilla”…and definitively more steamy!

  42. OMG Dorothy, This is the funniest post yet! I love the “headphones” and I learned about those years ago from reading way more risque stuff then 50 shades 🙂 I haven’t read the series because I too read a few reviews on Amazon and actually read the first couple of chapters online and thought it was dorky. I tend to read paranormal with a bit of erotica thrown in (gasp) I know! lol

    The vanilla bars are a must try. They look delicious. I have vanilla bean paste just waiting to be used. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  43. Wow would definitely like to try those BenWa balls..ooh yummy!!!

  44. Oh my goodness I love the book club party you had! Way too much fun and the Very Vanilla Bars look amazing! Maybe because the book leaves me looking a bit vanilla..Lol..

  45. H-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s. Yeah I went to a ‘passion party’ once… and wow the things you learn. Love the headphones haha, just hope she doesn’t ask for some at her rockstar party! lol

  46. These sound awesome!! So vanilla! And I love ALL the 50 Shades treats you made – such an awesome girls night. I can’t say I’ve ever been to a passion party, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little curious 🙂

  47. I am really looking forward to trying these out…I agree, you can never get tired of chocolate, but these will be an exciting new one to try! I also just got off of to add the Divergent series to my bookshelf 🙂

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  50. I was very excited to try these, but something is off… I followed the recipe exactly, put it in my 13×9 pan, and set the oven timer for 30 minutes. Thank goodness I checked it at the 24 minute mark – although they still might be too far gone. The edges are dark and the surface of the entire bar is pretty brown. Another 6 minutes and they would have been burnt. Hopefully I can salvage the middle. Are you sure the pan size, temperature, and time to cook them is accurate? Thanks!

    • It’s been a long time since I made these (they’re on my list for a reshoot) but I am sure about the pan size and time because it was a recipe from another site. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t take less time though – all ovens cook differently. I’ll have to do my remake and check in my new oven and see – possibly my old oven cooked longer. Or double check your oven temperature – sometimes things cook hotter, etc.

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