Taste of the Holidays: Cranberry Bliss Bars

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If you are a regular at Starbucks during the holidays: you know pumpkin and peppermint lattes, gingerbread mochas, and cranberry bliss bars. You know…the triangle cut iced wonderful bars of cranberry deliciousness. Well, here is my take. They turned out very moist and not as dry and crumbly as Starbucks…probably because these were freshly made.

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
3 eggs, room temp
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces white chocolate chips,


4-ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup dried cranberries

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine dry and add to the creamables. Fold in cranberries and chocolate. Bake at 350 in a well-greased 9×13 pan (I also used foil to line the pan, then sprayed it) for 35-40 minutes.
Remove and let cool, completely. Cream the frosting ingredients together and top on the cooled cake. Before the frosting dries, sprinkle the dried cranberries on top.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream

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Buttercream can’t exist in my house too long, or none of my clothes will fit! I have found the easiest way to do cupcakes is mostly to make a box mix (I used Devil’s Food for this one) and make my own buttercream.

I used this girl’s buttercream and then added some peppermint flavoring.

Here is the recipe for the buttercream:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 T milk
1 T peppermint extract

Cream butter for about 5 minutes. Add in sugar 1 cup at a time and keep beating for about 5 total minutes. Add in milk and extract. Beat a little more till light and fluffy.

Put on the top of the cupcakes and enjoy. Oh, if you want more peppermint flavor, I added a junior mint to each cupcake. I put a spoon of the dough in the cupcake wrapper and then dropped a junior mint (my Mom’s fave) and then finished filling the cupcake.


Peeps Smores

posted in: chocolate | 1

Mark this down as something I would never think to do.
I don’t normally like Peeps – never have. I bought a pack this year for my friend Becca who mentioned she loves them. I have also bought them for my friend Michelle who also likes them – but that has been my experience with them. I even love marshmellows – especially homemade ones – I don’t know what my deal is.
About a month ago I heard about this peep party among the ladies at Providence. I greatly anticipated this little shindig during my first week here.
graham crackers
dark chocolate bars
Peeps (buying them after Easter makes this very cheap)
aluminum foil

Line a pan with foil. Turn oven on broil. Place half a graham cracker down, top with chocolate, then a peep (no color specification needed). Broil for about 15-30 seconds – literally they don’t take very long at all. You want them just browned on top of their cute little heads. Take them out – smush (technically cooking term) down the other half of the graham cracker. Enjoy.

Four Chocolate Brownies

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Brownies are so easy to make from scratch, and most of the ingredients are right in your kitchen – so why even bother with a box mix. These are great, and would have been amazing if I hadn’t cooked them quite so long. The original recipe I was looking at called for 35-40 minutes, I did just 35 and they were overdone. I like mine more fudgy than these, but they still had good flavor.

1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
2 oz (squares) unsweet chocolate
1 stick butter
3 T cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

Melt first four over low heat. Stir in powder.
Cream eggs and sugar. Add in vanilla. Combine the slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Mix in flour and salt.
Foil and grease a 8×8 square pan. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies

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I love this pan! 🙂 I got it at Joann’s fabrics and just like my spring pan, it makes decorated sugar cookies so easy! I need one for every holiday!

Sugar cookies:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond
2 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt (I thought the batter was a little salty, so next time I might lower it to 3/4 tsp)

Cream, add dry. Spray pan cavities. Bake at 350 for 9 minutes. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then remove gently with a butter knife. Let cool. Decorate. These would be perfect for kiddos to make! 🙂