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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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
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.
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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
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 400°.
  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 400° for 1 hour. Uncover; bake 15 minutes or until browned. Cool on a wire rack 1 hour.
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Mmm, I love the combination of white chocolate and cranberry. Something about the tart cranberries and the smooth sweet white chocolate just gets me every time.

These cookies combine the two perfectly and the addition of oatmeal makes them feel almost healthy. Kind of like a breakfast cookie instead of a dessert cookie. My little man loved them and tore through the batch faster than any other cookie I’ve made. This one is definitely on my “make again next year” list.

Oatmeal, Cranberry, White Chocolate Cookies
Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well.
  3. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate.
  4. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brow. Cool on wire rack.
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