Okay, so peanut butter & jelly has nothing to do with the holidays. I know this but ever since the Barefoot Bloggers flooded the blog world with posts about these bars last month, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them.

These guys are awesome. Imagine taking 2 of those old fashioned criss-cross peanut butter cookies (but a little bit softer) and smooshing them together with some jelly. That’s exactly what these are!

My only suggestion is to use real fruit preserves or something that isn’t as sugary sweet as the Smuckers stuff.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

from Food Network

Ingredients

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) raspberry jam or other jam
2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.
  4. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.
  5. Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.
http://fakeginger.com/peanut-butter-jelly-bars/
1

I worked at Starbucks through 2 holiday seasons and starting about August each year, people started asking about the holiday pastries, especially the Cranberry Bliss Bars and the Mint Brownies. A few weeks back I posted my version of the Cranberry Bliss so it’s only fitting that I post a Mint Brownie knockoff too. It’s pretty darn close to the real thing too!

Mint Brownies

Ingredients

For the brownies:
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the mint layer:
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Green food coloring
For the chocolate layer:
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup butter
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

    To make the brownies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment (or aluminum foil). Combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir gently to combine Stir gently to combine. Spoon into prepared baking pan. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely before proceeding.
  2. To make the mint layer:
  3. Use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar a little at a time until it reaches buttercream consistency. Add extracts and food coloring. Spread over brownies. Place in refrigerator (or freezer if pressed for time) until hardened.
  4. To make the chocolate layer:
  5. Put butter and milk in a small saucepan. Once the butter has melted add chocolate and whisk vigorously until melted. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Let cool for about 5 minutes. Use an electric mixer to add powdered sugar. Spread over mint layer. Place in refrigerator to harden slightly before slicing.
http://fakeginger.com/mint-brownies/

1

This is my mom’s recipe, something she’s made every Christmas for as long as I can remember. It’s probably the thing I most look forward to during the holidays. I’ve (obviously) already made one batch and will probably make at least one more this season. It’s that good. Just be careful, it’s pretty addictive. We went through the entire batch in 24 hours! Eep!

SheeShee’s Christmas Mix

Ingredients

3 cup Cocoa Puffs
3 cup rice Chex (or any of the square cereals)
1 1/2 cp small twisted pretzels
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
campaignIcon Recipes
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Combine cereals, pretzels and nuts in 9×13 baking pan (metal works better).
  2. In medium sauce pan, cook brown sugar, butter and light corn syrup over medium
  3. heat until it comes to a boil. Let the mixture boil without stirring for 4
  4. minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cream of tartar, baking soda and
  5. vanilla. Pour over cereal mix in 9×13 and stir gently to coat. Bake in 300
  6. degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring after 15. Spread on foil to cool. Keep
  7. in covered container. Makes a great gift in little cellophane bags!
http://fakeginger.com/sheeshees-christmas-mix/
7

I love cookies like these because they’re so easy to make festive. All you need is a little green and red food coloring and they’re transformed into pretty Christmas cookies. (Or if you’re like me, you’ve been out of red food coloring since you made a red velvet cake 2 years ago so you have to use sprinkles.) You could also add some mint flavor to the cream to make them extra Christmas-y. So many fun things you could do with these guys!

While these cookies kind of resemble oreos, they’re nothing like them. The cookie is much softer and not nearly as sickeningly sweet as an oreo.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

For the cookies:
Vegetable oil cooking spray
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the filling:
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar (sifted)

Instructions

  1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; lightly coat with cooking spray. Whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and confectioners sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating to combine. Divide dough in half; form into disks, and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days. (Dough can be frozen up to 2 months; thaw in the refrigerator before using.)
  2. Working with one disk at a time, roll out dough to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using a 1 1/2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out shapes, transferring to prepared sheets (1 inch apart) as you work. Chill in freezer until firm, about 15 minutes. Brush off excess flour. Gather together scraps; roll, chill, and cut out more shapes.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are firm, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer cookies, on parchment, to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make filling, beat butter with an electric mixer on high until smooth. Slowly add confectioners sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Spread a small amount of filling on the bottom of half the cookies. Top with remaining cookies; gently press to adhere. Assembled cookies can be refrigerated up to 2 days in an airtight container.
http://fakeginger.com/chocolate-sandwich-cookies/
1

I know, I know, more cranberries. I just can’t help myself though! The combination of pears and cranberries was too good to pass up.

The pie was very simple and would be perfect on any holiday dessert buffet. The oatmeal streusel topping is a nice change from a double crust fruit pie. The brown sugar and ginger (I know, I hate ginger but a little powdered ginger doesn’t bother me too much) in the topping was a perfect match with the pears and cranberries.

One thing though, if I was to make this again, I’d cook the pears with the cranberries. They were a little too crunchy for me but it could’ve been that my pears just weren’t ripe enough. Also, I used fresh cranberries in the pie but I’m sure dried would be fine. I would just use more water and less sugar.

Pear-Cranberry Pie with Oatmeal Streusel

from Cooking Light

Ingredients

For the pie:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup cranberries
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
6 peeled Anjou pears, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 3 pounds)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
your favorite single pie crust recipe (or a refrigerated one!)
Cooking spray
For the streusel:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons apple juice
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Position oven rack to lowest third of oven. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. To prepare pie, combine 1/2 cup water and granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Add cranberries; return to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons. Remove from heat; cool.
  3. Combine lemon juice and pears in a large bowl; toss. Weigh or lightly spoon 1/4 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 1/4 cup flour and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Add flour mixture to pear mixture; toss to coat. Stir in cranberry mixture.
  4. Fit pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under; flute. Spoon pear mixture into prepared crust.
  5. To prepare streusel, weigh or lightly spoon 1/3 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine butter and apple juice in a bowl, stirring well. Add flour, oats, and remaining ingredients; toss. Sprinkle oat mixture over pear mixture. Cover pie loosely with foil; place pie plate on a baking sheet. Bake, covered, in the lower third of oven at 400F for 1 hour. Uncover; bake 15 minutes or until browned. Cool on a wire rack 1 hour.
http://fakeginger.com/pear-cranberry-pie-with-oatmeal-streusel/

1