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Top 15 Christmas Baking Recipes

Yesterday we had snow and ice and school was cancelled.  So what did I do on my day off?  I made a cheesecake.  Why go outside in the freezing rain (literally–it came right after the snow) and try to build a snowman in 1/2-inch of snow?  I think I’ll take my warm kitchen.  Actually, Matthew did try, but the moment he opened the door, he changed his mind.

So while I am working on getting the cheesecake recipe ready, I thought I’d give you my top 15 holiday recipes, in case you need inspiration or a new idea.  Tomorrow, I am making the chocolate sandwich cookies and bringing them to my work’s Christmas party, along with the rest of the cheesecake.  Is it weird to bring a half-eaten cheesecake? Maybe. On the fence about this one.  I put the recipes in alphabetical order because I couldn’t decide on how I wanted to order them as they are all my favorites.  Anyway, enjoy and happy baking! xoxo

Top 15 Christmas Baking Recipes

Black Bottom Brownies

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Brownie Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

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Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

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Chocolate Revel Bars

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Christmas Cake Balls

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Christmas Scones

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Homemade Sauces

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Mitten Sugar Cookies

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Coffee Toffee Bars

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Well, it’s officially autumn.  The leaves are falling in droves, the air is crisp and cool, and the gourds are out in full swing.  The weather today has been cool and cloudy, and all I want to do is curl up with a blanket, a cup of coffee, and a good book.  I wasn’t able to get in a lot of reading time today (a.k.a I-have-young-kids-and-they-don’t-sit-for-very-long), but I did make these a-m-a-z-i-n-g bars.  My aunts have made them for decades and I finally asked for the recipe.  Not sure what took me so long.  They have the right amount of coffee flavor to chocolate chip flavor.  Just perfect, if you ask me.

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When I gave some to my son, he said, “Mommy, I love coffee!” Ah, yeah, let’s wait on the coffee part a little bit longer.  I’ve heard it stunts your growth.  Or maybe that’s an old wives’ tale, so that kids wouldn’t drink all the adults’ coffee.  Not sure. Continue reading

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Raspberry Truffle Brownie Bars

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We went on a short camping trip this past weekend, albeit the weather was windy and a bit drizzly.  For me, camping is a time to relax, be with family, and eat a bunch of junk food we normally don’t eat.  In fact, I take the kids with me to the grocery store and choose candy from the bin and fill up a plastic bag.  It’s honestly the highlight of the kids’ summer.

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Four “note-worthy” things happened while camping:

1. Matthew learned to ride a bike with no training wheels.

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2.  Grace learned to sort-of throw a Frisbee.  It’s like a tomahawk throw, actually.  The kids are finally beginning to get the concept of Frisbee golf.

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3.  Eric finally beat my dad at corn-hole.  It’s a silly game if you ask me, but they love it, even though their shoulders are very sore the next day.

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4.  Matthew lost his front tooth.  It was the 5th tooth he’s lost, not a huge deal, but how he lost it was pretty funny.  He and Grace were playing tag and he accidentally rammed his tooth into the backside of Grace’s head.  He came back crying (not Grace, surprisingly) and 5 minutes later, out popped the tooth.  However, the tooth fairy couldn’t bring him anything that night, because she didn’t know that he was camping.  (Thankfully he fell for it! We made up for it when we came home the next day and he received an extra coin under his pillow.  “She remembered! She remembered!” he kept saying.)

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I decided to make these brownies to take camping with us.   Continue reading

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Raspberry Crumb Bars

RCB1Every year, our neighborhood has a 4th of July parade and party for the young children.  It starts with a community bike ride at the end of the cul-de-sac, and ends at the local park with games and food.  The kids bikes were packed (as we were going camping a few days later), so we instead we walked in the parade over to the park with the entourage of kiddos.

The weather this day was pretty cold.  Last year it was in the mid 90s, which is extremely rare early July in the Pacific Northwest, but this year it was in the mid-60s.  However, you wouldn’t know that based on what Grace is wearing!  Kids…

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Matthew and Grace participated in a three-legged race (which was a very hard concept for a 3-year-old to understand) and a gunny-sack race.

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Grace fell on early in the race (sadness!) and refused to get up and continue, but Matthew was all about trying to win.  (Wonder where he got that from…)  Just look at that face! Continue reading

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Blondies

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I have the lucky privilege of having my parents and my husband’s parents living close by.  And I love it, because my kids get to spend time with both grandparents, something I wish I had growing up.  This Mother’s Day, I had the pleasure of having my in-laws over for dinner and I decided to make this for dessert.

If I were to create a family tree with desserts, I would say that blondies are brownies’ cousin.  They have so many similarities–from their chewy and fudgy texture to the unlimited add-ons and mix-ins.  And, of course, they are made in a bar pan.  (I have seen brownies in cupcake form, and you can try them here, but most are not.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen blondies in a cupcake.  Hmmm….an idea to try another time for sure!)

Anyway, what I love about these blondies is that they have EVERYTHING–nuts, chocolate, white chocolate, coconut, and caramel.  You can’t go wrong with this recipe.   Continue reading

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Creamy Lemon Bars

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The weather in the Pacific Northwest has been unusual, to say the least.  Sunny and in the 70s and 80s off and on for the past two weeks–this is not April weather people! Where’s my rain? And my cloudy, 60 degree weather? I am feeling a bit gypped by Mother Nature. It’s like winter jumped right into summer. Okay, I am beginning to sound like a whiny toddler, and I already have one of those, so two isn’t needed.

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My husband and children love lemon, and, well, since it’s summer here I thought I’d make a lemon dessert. What I love about this recipe is the raspberry jam sandwiched between the crust and the lemon cream cheese layer. It adds a nice contrast.  These bars are rich, so a little goes a long way.   Continue reading

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Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

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There’s just something about peanut butter and chocolate.  I don’t know what it is, but it makes me happy.  Every summer during my elementary years, my family would drive 7 hours to camp at Lake Shasta.  There, at a dusty campsite, we would meet my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents for a week of skiing, fishing, and relaxing.  It was there that I watched my older cousin do something that I would have never been allowed to do at home: she broke off a piece of a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar (reserved for s’mores, of course) and dipped it into a jar of peanut butter.  At first I scoffed at her culinary move, but she told me I couldn’t say it was bad until I tried it.  I did, but I had to make sure my mom wasn’t watching.  Getting in trouble on vacation merits a harsher punishment.  (And don’t ask me why I thought I would get in trouble.  I guess that’s how an 8-year-old thinks.)

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Since then, when I needed a quick fix for peanut butter and chocolate, I will break off a small wedge of a chocolate bar and dip it into peanut butter.   My college roommates would look at me with the same look I gave my cousin, and I gave them the same statement my cousin gave me: just try it.  Continue reading

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