If you’re anything like me, your pet is an important part of your family which means he or she gets presents on holidays. Normally I buy our Duke a couple toys and a bag of treats but sometimes even dogs need a homemade treat that was baked with extra love.

(Yes, I found a way to force pumpkin on even the dog. It’s good for their digestive system. Who knew!)

Duke loves them and while I’m too much of a chicken to try them, they’re bound to be good with pumpkin and peanut butter!

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Doggy Cookies
Ingredients
  • 2 c whole wheat flour plus flour for dusting
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c canned pumpkin
  • 3 Tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in stand mixer with paddle attachment. Mix until ingredients combined. Flour work surface. Roll dough to 1/4" thickness. Cut into 1" to 1.5" pieces.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes (depending upon size). You want them firm but still a little chewy.
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When I think Christmas cookie, I think snickerdoodle. I just adore them. Then again, I’m a fan of the “plain” cookies. You know, the sugar cookies or the shortbread. And since these are pretty much just plain cookies rolled in a little cinnamon, it makes sense that I would love them. (And by the way, doesn’t everyone know what a snickerdoodle is? When I set out to make these I asked Spencer [husband] if he liked them and his response was “What’s a snickerdoodle?” I thought this was one of those cookies everyone knew.)

These turned so perfect. I definitely like my cookies on the softer side and these were just soft enough. I’ve been halving (or even quartering) all of these sweets I’ve been making but I really wish I’d gone for a full batch on these.

Snickerdoodles
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Beat butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar and eggs thoroughly in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and still until just combined.
  3. Chill dough for about 10-15 minutes in the fridge. Meanwhile, mix 3 tablespoons sugar, and 3 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl.
  4. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and then roll in cinnamon mixture. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 – 13 minutes or until lightly golden.


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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
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.
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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.
To make the chocolate layer:
  1. 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.
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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 cereal squares 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
  • 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!
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