Tag Archives: holiday treats

Cranberry Bliss Bars

The holidays are over, my waistline is a tiny bit bigger and now that I’m watching what I eat again I thought I would wistfully post about the wonderful goodies I made for Christmas.  Luckily, there are always occasions where you need a little treat, so I’m sure these will appear sometime again before next Christmas.

I love the Cranberry Bliss Bars at Starbucks.  They are only found around this time of year so I was thrilled to spot a recipe for them on Pinterest so I can make them whenever the mood strikes.  While these are not exactly the same, I thought they were quite similar and every bit as wonderful.  Maybe a little fluffier, less dense in the bar part, but I liked it.  Crystallized ginger was an odd ingredient that I hadn’t used before.  You may find it with the dried fruits (at my store it was in the natural foods section).  I took these to two parties and they were a huge hit.

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cranberry Bliss Bars
( from Your Home Based Mom – http://www.yourhomebasedmom.com/)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground powdered ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup minced dried cranberries
1/4 cup quality white chocolate (I used Baker’s, 1-2 squares chopped up)
1/4 cup minced candied (or crystallized) ginger

Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp grated orange rind

1/4 cup minced dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Grease a 9×13 casserole dish.  Beat together butter and brown sugar, then add eggs and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add flour, powdered ginger and salt.  Beat well.  Fold in the cranberries, white chocolate, and candied ginger.  Spread batter in pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown.

Cranberry Bliss Bars - bottom layer

Cranberry Bliss Bars – bottom layer

After cake cools, mix all frosting ingredients (except cranberries) and spread over the top of cake.  Sprinkle with cranberries.  Cut into squares or triangles.

cranberryblissbars2

Cranberry Bliss Bars, all ready to slice up into fancy triangles.

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Inside Out Peppermint Patties

When I think of Peppermint Patty, I think of the Peanuts Gang.  She is one of my favorite characters, even though she doesn’t show up very often.  She’s got attitude, and I love that.  And she is one of the only characters who is nice to Charlie Brown (at least sometimes) and that’s pretty cool in my book.

Speaking of Peppermint Patty…peppermint and chocolate together make one of the happiest combos in chocolate land.  I never really thought about making them myself until I came across a recipe one day.  And even then I may not have made them right away but I was fortunate enough to be asked to mentor a lovely girl in her candy making project for school.  Funny how events coincide.  You find a great recipe, and then somebody asks you to do something that involves making that very thing.  Wonderful.

I liked these so much that I have made them twice this week.  These are more of an inside out peppermint patty.  It makes for a pretty presentation.  Could you dip them in chocolate instead of putting the chocolate in the peppermint?  Well, sure.  If you want to, go right ahead.  Me?  I’ll go for the option that’s easier to execute.  I love the way they look, and I also like to eat the white part around in a circle and get the little chocolate center at the end.  Life’s little pleasures.

Inside Out Peppermint Patties

Peppermint Patties
(from She Wears Many Hats)

1 pound powdered sugar (about 2 cups)
4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 package)
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
6 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

In a mixer, blend the powdered sugar and cream cheese on low to medium speed.  Once the mixture is started you can toss in the peppermint extract and continue blending until you have a cohesive ball of stuff.  If you don’t have a blender, you can do this with a spoon or your hands.  You want a mixture that is about the consistency of play dough.  Not crumbly but not sticky either.  If you need to add a little extra sugar or cream cheese to get the right consistency, do so.  Roll into 1 tsp. size balls.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.  Make a depression in the ball so it looks like a little bowl.  Work quickly so the mixture doesn’t dry out (it helps to have more than one pair of hands). Put in the fridge to cool off and set up (at least 30 minutes).

Making the peppermint molds. A little cooking spray on your hands helps if the mixture is sticking to you.

In a small bowl, microwave chocolate chips for 1 minute.  Stir until smooth.  Put in a ziplock bag and push down into one corner.  Snip off the corner and pipe into the peppermint molds.

Filling the peppermints. Start out with a very small snip because it comes out pretty fast!  You can always make the opening bigger if you need to.

Put back into the fridge to set up for at least an hour.  Remove from trays and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them.

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