Christmas Goodies Roundup

Hey hey there! I know you love a good round up…or a good drool fest as I like to call it. Here are a few of my favorite goodies that I KNOW will impress your crowd this season! They also make wonderful gifts. 

 

Gingersnap Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars:  GingersnapCCCookieBars3       Cranberry Walnut Coconut Macaroons (dipped in white chocolate):  FBCookieSwap3     Mini Chocolate Chip Peppermint Bark Cookie Cups:  PeppermintBarkCookieCups2     Muddy Buddy Ritz: 

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Ultimate PeanutButter Blondies: 

 

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Maple-Glazed Nuts: 

 

 

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Honey-Glazed Peanuts: 

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Lacy Orange Oatmeal Cookies: 

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Peppermint Bark Krispie Treats: 

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This list should keep you preoccupied for a little while. Remember anything else I’ve published that you think would be fab for the holidays? 

Happy Baking! 

Mixed Up Mint Brownies

So you saw my Candy Explosion Skillet Blondie, right? Yeah, drooled all over that. 

But what were you supposed to do with all of the Junior Mints and York Peppermint Patties? You were hoarding them as “after dinner mints,” right? Well…

They’re not after dinner mints. Nope. They’re minty fresh, yes, but they’re made for something more.

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Brownies.

Yup, Mixed Up Mint Brownies. Start unwrapping! It’s time for minty fresh brownies!

Oh, and I totally used a gluten-free brownie mix, but you can use whatever you love. 

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Mixed Up Mint Brownies
An easy to throw together chocolate treat with a minty fresh burst of flavor. Time to use up all of those "fun sized" boxes of Junior Mints and York Peppermint Patties!
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Ingredients
  1. One box of brownie mix (I used Trader Joe's gluten-free brownies)
  2. 1/2 cup oil (canola or vegetable)*
  3. 1/4 cup water*
  4. 1 egg*
  5. 2/3 cup Junior Mints and chopped up York Peppermint Patties
Instructions
  1. Line an 8x8" baking dish with foil or parchment, sprayed with nonstick spray.
  2. Follow the instructions on your box mix to preheat your oven and mix up your batter.
  3. Once the batter ingredients are being mixed together, fold in the mint candies.
  4. Bake for the time indicated on the box being careful not to over-bake the brownies.
  5. Let the brownies cool completely before cutting and serving (I find it easiest to cut them after they've been refrigerated for an hour or so). Serve with vanilla ice cream or on their own. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. *This is what was called for on my box mix, so use what your mix calls for.
Treats With a Twist http://www.treatswithatwist.com/wp/
 

Moment of gushy love stuff – I’ve been married for one whole month now! Wow time is already flying by! 

Candy Explosion Skillet Blondie

So I know you’re at your wits end with all of that Halloween candy lying around. You’re at that point where you’re thinking “whelp, time to turn on the mouth vacuum and finish this all off.” 

Am I right?

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Or maybe you’re sitting there, smeared with chocolate and surrounded by wrappers as you read this. That’s cool too.

So I just knew that I had to get this recipe to you. You can use up all of those not-so-fun-sized tiny candy bars and either gift the whole darn blondie to that rotten neighbor who gave it all to your kid (thus stealing your sleep and sanity for the last week) or top it with ice cream and eat it yourself. I’d opt for the latter but that’s just me. 

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I’ll warn you, this Candy Explosion Skillet Blondie is amazing. Seriously, attack it with a spoon straight from the skillet, amazing. 

I used a basic blondie recipe, but reduced the butter and sugar slightly, because I’m adding enough chocolate candies to knock you dead. Use the candies that are chocolate based (I used Peanut M&M’s, Mr. Goodbar, Snickers, Milkey Way, Junior Caramels, and Reese’s) and don’t contain mint (or else you’ll get specks of odd minty pockets in there).

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After it’s finished baking, top the Candy Explosion Skillet Blondie with a pile of chopped up Kit-Kat bars, which will melt into the top of the blondie and give an extra chocolatey crunch layer to the whole shebang. 

Of course, if you don’t have a skillet (mine is 8″), feel free to bake the blondie in an 8×8″ square pan and cut it into bars after it’s baked. 

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Candy Explosion Skillet Blondie
Leftover Halloween candy beware! This blondie is perfect to help use up a variety of chocolate candies and makes a perfect gift for your neighbors or friends.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup unbleached flour
  2. 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  3. 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  4. 1/4 tsp. salt
  5. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  6. 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  7. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  8. 1 egg
  9. 1 - 1 1/2 cups chopped up chocolate candy bars*
  10. 1/3 cup chopped up Kit-Kat candy bars
Instructions
  1. ~Prehead your oven to 350 degrees F and spray an 8" skillet with nonstick spray.
  2. ~In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together.
  3. ~In another mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, melted butter and egg. Stir until completely mixed together. Then, add the vanilla.
  4. ~Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and begin mixing. Before the dough completely comes together (when you still have patches of dry ingredients), add the chopped up candy bars (NOT the Kit-Kat's) and fold them into the dough. When it is all just combined, turn it out into the prepared skillet. Use your fingers or a spatula to spread out the dough in an even layer.
  5. ~Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean (don't over-bake). Pull the blondie out of the oven and place on a wire rack. Spread the chopped up Kit-Kat bars over the top of the hot blondie. Let the blondie cool before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. *I used Snickers, Junior Caramels, Peanut M&M's, Mr. Goodbar, and Milky Way
Treats With a Twist http://www.treatswithatwist.com/wp/

Browned-Butter Oatmeal Raisinet Bars

You know you sneak your own candy into the movies. Drinks too. And bags of popcorn.

No? Just me?

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No! Not just me! Because my mom does it too! Where do you think I learned this?

My mom taught me a lot of things. Besides sneaking your own sustenance into the theater. For example, she also taught me that browning butter is a way to make butter a bajillion times tastier (pour it on your noodles…or popcorn…I dare ya!). And she also taught me how to hide candy from dad.

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AND she taught me that you should have a supply of candy (“snacks”) on you at all times. You just never know when you’re going to become extremely hungry and in dire need of Raisinets. Yes, Raisinets. Did you know that you could buy Raisinets in an economy-size bag? You can, which is just smart, and then you just keep  a baggie of them in your purse and refill your baggie when you get back to home base. Always prepared.

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So, when I saw these Browned-Butter Oatmeal Raisinet Bars, I swear they were made for my mother. Which is why I made them for her. For Mother’s Day. Which means, I made them and then saved a few for her in my freezer for the next time I see her, and my fiance and I ate the rest. Love you mom.

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Browned-Butter Oatmeal Raisinet Bars
(makes 9 bars)

8 Tbs. butter (one stick), browned

1 egg

2 Tbs. plain Greek yogurt

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup granulated Stevia

1 Tbs. vanilla extract

½ Tbs. cinnamon

pinch of salt

1 ¼ cups old fashioned oats

¼ cup flour (all purpose or a gluten-free blend)

1 cup Raisinets (I used ½ Raisinets, ½ yogurt-covered raisins)

~First, brown your butter. Over medium heat, in a small saucepan, melt your butter. Keep your eye on it and swirl it every few minutes. As soon as you see brown specks gathering in the bottom of the pan (and it is smelling nutty), turn off the heat, swirl the pan carefully a few times, and set the pan aside to cool.

~Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. and line an 8×8” pan with parchment or foil, sprayed with nonstick spray (leave enough parchment/foil overhanging to make it easier to lift the bars from the pan after they’re baked).

~In a mixing bowl, combine your egg, yogurt, brown sugar, and Stevia. Stir (with a fork or whisk) vigorously to incorporate. Then, add the vanilla. Drizzle in the browned butter while stirring until all of the butter is stirred in. Next, add the cinnamon, salt, oats, and flour. Stir and fold in the dry ingredients. Just before the dry ingredients are fully incorporated, add the Raisinets and stir until the batter looks evenly mixed.

~Bake the bars for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown and a test stick comes out clean (do not over-bake the bars or else they will become dry). Let the bars cool completely before slicing with a very sharp knife (I found them easiest to cut if they have been cold and cooled in the fridge first). Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Averie Cooks: Browned Butter Oatmeal Raisinet White Chocolate Bars 

Ultimate Peanut Butter Blondies (vegan)

These blondies are for serious peanut butter lovers. They’re for that nut job who gets a hankering for peanut butter and ends up driving to 3 different grocery stores to find “the right one” (cough cough, me).

If you don’t really love peanut butter…well before we have a serious discussion abut the future of our friendship…just consider yourself warned.

Everyone else? Well, I knew we were friends for a good reason!

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I first had these peanut butter blondies a year ago. I won a free treat at the local vegan bake sale via a Twitter competition. When I went to choose my treat, I zeroed right in on these. Boy, I wasn’t sorry!

They were so tender and had that perfect “inner cookie” brown sugar texture. And most of all, they were straight-up peanut butter. Smack you in the face, can barely finish it, peanut butter goodness. But you will finish it, and come back for another in the middle of the night (I know you; we’re friends, remember?)!

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Snacks at midnight?! Totally makes me think of Nigella. And well, heck, if these make me think of Nigella, then that makes them like eleventy million times better.

And because the original encounter with these blondies made me buy a cookbook and crave them a year later, and absolutely die upon making them and finding them to taste just as I had remembered…you know they’re pretty amazing!

Oh, and can I tell you a secret? I used that amazing coconut peanut butter! Oh yes I did! And coconut oil! AND (Oh, please stop! Right?) I added mini chocolate chips to the top. Yup, you’re welcome.

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 Ultimate Peanut Butter Blondies (vegan)
(makes 8 very large blondies)

¾ cup creamy peanut butter (Earth Balance coconut peanut butter)

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup granulated Stevia

¼ cup unsweetened almond milk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup flour (gluten-free flour mix, or flour of your choice)

½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. baking powder

1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped

3 Tbs. dark chocolate chips (vegan, optional)

~Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line an 8×8” baking dish with parchment, sprayed with nonstick spray (leave parchment overhanging to make it easier to remove the bars after they’re baked).

~In your mixing bowl, with a sturdy fork, mix together the peanut butter, coconut oil, and brown sugar until creamy. Then, add the Stevia and almond milk and mix thoroughly; then add the vanilla. Finally, add the flour, salt and baking powder. Start mixing with your fork, and if you need to switch to kneading with your hands to incorporate the flour, do so. Turn the blondie dough into your lined baking dish and press it into an even layer. Sprinkle your peanuts and chocolate chips (optional) over the top and press them into the dough.

~Bake the blondies for 22-25 minutes or until slightly golden. Let the pan of blondies cool on a wire rack completely before removing the blondies (using the overhanging parchment) and cutting them (tip: it is SO much easier to cut these if they’re cold, so I recommend putting them in the fridge for an hour before cutting). Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

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NOTE: I’m really excited because I was asked to donate some vegan treats to this year’s bake sale! the very one that had me reeling over Peanut Butter Blondies for a year afterward! I’ll be making and donating some goodies to benefit the Humane Society. Exciting!