Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Baking Marathon

Can you really call it a marathon if your body never leaves the kitchen?  I literally baked for two days straight last week.  My feet felt like they were bleeding.  At one point, I ran out of flour and powdered sugar and had to run for more.  I also ended up having to run for more chocolate.   You would think at that point, I would have said forget it.  Oh no, that would have been the sensible thing to do.  Why did I feel it was necessary to make 40 different things?  I have no idea.  Indecisiveness more than anything.  I couldn't narrow my list down, so I just started in and got as many done as I could before collapsing.

Yesterday, I put together goodie plates for five neighbors, three family member households, and one for The Dad to take to work.  Now they just need to be delivered and I can check it off the list.  Woohoo!

Some of the recipes are from blogs I read, some are off Pinterest, others were ripped from magazines.  I'll post links at the bottom to the ones online and I'll type out the recipes for the others.  A couple I had made before and posted about, so I'll link to those as well.

Here we go:

Eggnog Cookies

Peanut Butter Toffee Bars

Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

Salted Caramel Butter Bars
(The Dad voted these Best In Show)

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Bars
(Don't let my poor quality photos sway you - these are the ones that will make you see Jesus)

Spiced Chai Girls 
(and boys)

I also made Chocolate No-Bakes and Crackly Pear Cake, both of which I've posted before.
If you haven't made the pear cake, you're seriously depriving yourself. 
I made it for my sister's birthday this weekend and it was as good as I remembered it.

Here are the links:

Here are the other two recipes with my notes:

Chai Spice Girls  

2 spiced chai-flavor tea bags (I only used one)
3 C flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 C butter, softened
1 C sugar
2 egg yolks (use the leftover whites for the macaroons!)
2 Tbsp molasses
1 recipe Powdered Sugar Icing

Remove tea bag contents (3 tsp); discard bags.  In medium bowl combine tea, flour, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. 

In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high 30 seconds.  Add sugar; beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg yolks and molasses.  Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can; stir in remaining flour.  Divide dough in half.  Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or until easy to handle.  (I made my dough the day before I baked the cookies.)

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.  On lightly floured surface, roll half the dough at a time to 1/4-inch thickness.  Cut dough with 4-inch gingerbread girl cutters.  (I used boys and girls and I also made mini ones of each.)

Bake 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  (My minis only took about 6 minutes.)  Cool on cookie sheets 2 minutes.  Transfer to rack to cool completely.  Decorate with Powdered Sugar Icing.

Powdered Sugar Icing  In medium bowl combine 1 1/2 C powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 4 tsp milk.  Stir in additional milk, 1 tsp at a time, until piping consistency.

To store, layer cookies between waxed paper in covered airtight container.  Store at room temp up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Peanut Butter Toffee Bars  

1/2 C butter, at room temp
1/2 C creamy peanut butter
3/4 C packed brown sugar
1 large egg yolk (again, you can use the leftover white for the macaroons)
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C quick oats (I used regular)
1/4 tsp salt
3 C dark or semisweet chocolate chips (I used semisweet)
1 C toffee baking pieces (I didn't have any, so I used chopped almonds for the top instead)

Heat the oven to 350.  Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil so that the ends extend over the edges of the pan by at least 2 inches.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter, sugar and egg yolk on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.  Add the flour, oats, and salt and beat the mixture on low until the ingredients are just blended, about 30 seconds.

Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake the crust until it is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, being careful not to overbake.

Remove the pan from the oven and scatter the chocolate chips evenly over the crust.  Return the pan to the oven for 1 minute.  Remove the pan again and, using a small offset spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the crust.  Sprinkle the toffee pieces over the chocolate, gently pressing them into place.

Set the pan on a wire rack to cool until the chocolate has set, about 2 hours.  Using the edges of the foil, lift the dessert from the pan, then cut it into rectangles. 

For maximum freshness, store the bars in the refrigerator.

Happy baking!


  1. oooh, they all look so yummy!

  2. I wish I was one of your neighbors that got a sample plate. Do you deliver to Mississippi? Your husband should get a raise for bringing those to work, just sayin'.

  3. Ahhhh I am dying! I want it all! I might go into a diabetic coma but for the temporary and instant gratification it may be worth it ;) Maybe not...but still I want a little bitty bite of each thing!

    I got your e-mail and that pudding looks so good!! Totally something I would make. Thank you for thinking of me :) xo

  4. Those spiced chai girls and boys were so cute! So happy you found time to bake!

  5. Oh wow, crazy nut. Those look amazing. I love the little girls and boys. Not that I wouldn't be ploughing through an entire plate, because we both know that is EXACTLY what I would do. :)


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