Christmas in my family means lots of cookies.
Ok, it also means match pajamas but mainly it means lots of cookies.
Every year at Christmas, my Grandmom made cookies and put them in assigned tins. She had her own tin, then she made tins for my family and my cousins. Christmas dessert cookies always came out of her tin and a few might have been lost in the transit from the tin to the plate via my mouth. She would send everyone home with their tin full of almond crescent cookies, magic squares, and chocolate chip cookies. Then she would call before we came back to visit to remind us she needed her tin back.
No tin= no cookies.
Over the years, the tins lids stopped fitting so well but that didn’t stop Grandmom—she just added tape. When I moved into my apartment, she added a new tin to the yearly rotation—one just for me.
Cookies/desserts always seem to be the best gift at the holiday time because everyone has a memory associated with desserts and Christmas—my Grandmom’s crescent cookies, my other Grandmom’s bread pudding, and my mom’s knock you naked bars.
Today’s Five on Friday is of my family’s holiday treats. Happy baking!
These didn’t start as a holiday treat, I originally made these as a thank you to Greg. After a boy tells you he realized he loved you while eating one, you keep making them especially at holidays when presents are involved.
FUDGY OAT BARS
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg, unbeaten
- 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
- 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×9-inch or 11×7-inch pan with nonstick spray
2. Melt first four ingredients in the top of a double boiler or carefully over low heat (or microwave). Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup walnuts and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside.
3. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
4. Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and brown sugar. Mix in the egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients and the oats.
5. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread with the chocolate filling mixture. Crumble the remaining batter over the filling and sprinkle with the walnuts.
6. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool completely and cut into bars.
My grandmom always made Magic Squares but always gave the task of cutting them to my mom because she was a math teacher. Don’t know what that had to do with it was my Grandmom’s reasoning.
- 1 stick butter
- 1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
- 1 c. coarsely chopped nuts
- 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- 1 c. flaked coconut
- 1 c. sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand 15 oz. can)
Pour melted butter on bottom of 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over butter. Sprinkle chopped nuts over crumbs. Scatter chocolate morsels over nuts. Sprinkle coconut over morsels. Pour sweetened milk evenly over coconut. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly brown.
If you like chocolate and gooeyness, make these. Once my mom found this recipe, they have always been made at Christmas time and gone by Christmas day.
KNOCK YOU NAKED BARS
- 1 box (18.5 Ounce) German Chocolate Cake Mix (I Used Duncan Hines)
- 1 cup Finely Chopped Pecans
- 1/3 cup Evaporated Milk
- ½ cup Evaporated Milk (additional)
- ½ cup Butter, Melted
- 60 whole Caramels, Unwrapped
- 1/3 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- ¼ cup Powdered Sugar
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, chopped pecans, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and melted butter. Stir together until totally combined. Mixture will be very thick.
3.Press half the mixture into a well-greased 9 x 9 inch square baking pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside.
4.In a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water) melt caramels with additional 1/2 cup evaporated milk. When melted and combined, pour over brownie base. Sprinkle chocolate chips as evenly as you can over the caramel.
5.Turn out remaining brownie dough on work surface. Use your hands to press it into a large square a little smaller than the pan. Use a spatula to remove it from the surface, then set it on top of the caramel and chocolate chips.
6.Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for several hours. When ready to serve, generously sift powdered sugar over the surface of the brownies. Cut into either nine or twelve helpings, and carefully remove from the pan.
My mom’s family always had bread pudding at holiday meals and family gatherings. It’s one of those comfort foods that reminds me of sitting at my grandmom’s dining room table with everyone around. Now some people put raisins in their bread pudding and they are wrong. Raisins do not belong in any sort of baked good—oatmeal cookies included.
- 1 (1 lb.) loaf cinnamon raisin bread
- 1 qt. milk
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
- Pinch of ground nutmeg (opt.)
- 3 tbsp. butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Break bread in small chunks, place in a large bowl. Add milk and let soak for 10 minutes. Work mixture with hands until milk is absorbed.
Combine eggs and next 4 ingredients. Stir into bread mixture; pour into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Peanut Butter Bars
I know it’s supposed to be Five on Friday but my cousin was developed a gluten allergy a few years ago, so it’s time to break out my old coworker’s recipe. Brian sends me a package of these every year on my birthday because a) he rocks and b) they are delicious.
PEANUT BUTTER BARS
As per his original email:
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- Spoonful of butter
Place a medium sauce pan over medium heat and melt butter. Mix in marshmallows until they’re coated in butter and melted. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and stir until everything is smooth and melted into a nice sauce-like mixture. Pour mixture into a greased 8x8x2 baking pan. Bake at 325F for about 20 minutes. Let cool. Eat them all before your roommate finds out.