Raspberry Almond Linzer Shortbread Bars

These Raspberry Almond Linzer Shortbread Bars combine all the flavors of classic Linzer cookies into unique bars! Sweet almond, juicy raspberry jam and buttery shortbread dough come together in this easy, impressive dessert! These Raspberry Almond Linzer Bars taste just like linzer cookies but made easier in bar form! Don’t like raspberry? Substitute with any flavor of jam!

I know this is a little Christmas in May, but I couldn’t resist. I’m on a bar kick and no one will stop me.

Actually, I’m on a fruit dessert kick and I can’t seem to quit it. First it was Mixed Berry Tiramisu, then these bars, and of course, I have more fruity desserts coming down the pipeline for you guys. I think I just realized I’m severely lacking in the fruit dessert category and thought I’d make up for lost time. You’re welcome.

These bars are technically just a shortbread bar, but they reminded me so much of those gorgeous Linzer cookies you get or make at Christmastime that I just had to post them now.

They start with a buttery shortbread crust: easy and no frills. Freeze part of the dough for the crumbly topping, and press the rest into the bottom of your pan. Sure, these aren’t as intricate and perfect as Linzer cookies traditionally are, but that’s also why I’m called The Domestic Rebel. Duh.

These Raspberry Almond Linzer Shortbread Bars combine all the flavors of classic Linzer cookies into unique bars! Sweet almond, juicy raspberry jam and buttery shortbread dough come together in this easy, impressive dessert! Next, spread on your jam situation. For these, I used seedless raspberry jam which is an underrated jam flavor in my opinion. These bars would also be fab with strawberry jam, apricot jam, or maybe even blueberry or boysenberry. The options are seriously limited to your store’s jam availability.

These Raspberry Almond Linzer Shortbread Bars combine all the flavors of classic Linzer cookies into unique bars! Sweet almond, juicy raspberry jam and buttery shortbread dough come together in this easy, impressive dessert! Also top the jam layer with some slivered almonds, which add a delightful buttery crunch as well as that sweet almond flavor. Top with the remaining dough and a few more almonds before baking some more until everything is light golden brown, set, and utterly gorgeous.

You may want to wait a hot minute before cutting these into bars, but once you do, I promise it’ll be worth the wait!

Linzer bars in May. You can thank me later!

These Raspberry Almond Linzer Shortbread Bars combine all the flavors of classic Linzer cookies into unique bars! Sweet almond, juicy raspberry jam and buttery shortbread dough come together in this easy, impressive dessert! *adapted from Life Made Simple

Raspberry Almond Linzer Shortbread Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
These Raspberry Almond Linzer Shortbread Bars combine all the flavors of traditional Linzer cookies into a unique and easy bar recipe! If you prefer, substitute with another jam flavor instead of the raspberry, such as strawberry, blueberry, apricot, or even boysenberry.
Ingredients
  • 1 & ½ sticks (3/4 cup) salted butter, softened
  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 & ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup seedless raspberry jam/preserves (or another flavor of your choice)
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8" square pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray the foil with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and extracts together until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour until dough comes together. Dough may be a little crumbly, this is okay.
  3. Save ½ cup of the dough and place on some plastic wrap. Wrap it up and freeze for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, press the remainder of the dough into the prepared pan in an even layer. Top with ½ cup of the slivered almonds and the jam, spreading to just about the edges of the dough. Crumble the remaining dough on top and finish topping with the remaining slivered almonds.
  4. Bake for approx. 45-50 minutes or until the top is light golden brown and the center is set. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

These Raspberry Almond Linzer Shortbread Bars combine all the flavors of classic Linzer cookies into unique bars! Sweet almond, juicy raspberry jam and buttery shortbread dough come together in this easy, impressive dessert! These have a wonderful raspberry flavor and the sweet almond is accentuated by the almond extract, which really pairs beautifully with the bright, juicy raspberries.

These Raspberry Almond Linzer Shortbread Bars combine all the flavors of classic Linzer cookies into unique bars! Sweet almond, juicy raspberry jam and buttery shortbread dough come together in this easy, impressive dessert! Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Like fruity treats? Try these other recipes!

This Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake is outrageously delicious and SO simple to make! Juicy, sweet and tart, it's the perfect balance of flavors in one spectacular dessert!Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake

This Frozen No-Bake Strawberry Daiquiri Pie is so phenomenal! Creamy, smooth, dreamy, strawberry-flavored perfection made with frozen strawberry daiquiri mix. Only a few ingredients, so easy and tastes great frozen or chilled in the fridge.Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri Pie

This MIXED BERRY TIRAMISU is a fun spin on a traditional Italian dessert! Layers of fluffy Twinkie snack cakes topped with raspberry liqueur and a fluffy cream cheese/raspberry whipped cream mixture with four kinds of fresh berries. So perfect for spring and summertime, it's an easy no-bake dessert!Mixed Berry Tiramisu

Soft & Chewy Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

These Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting are incredible! Soft, chewy, fudgy brownies flavored with red velvet and topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting! Soft, chewy and totally rich, these Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting are delightful! Super simple to make and easy to decorate for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday!

I love recipes that can be made holiday-ish or made for everyday consumption.

In the past, I was all about completely unique desserts using seasonal ingredients like Cadbury eggs or the flavor-of-the-moment Oreos. But I realize not everyone has access to those ingredients, which renders basically the whole recipe useless.

So now, I love making what we bloggers call “evergreen content.” This basically means it’s content that never really goes out of style year after year, or even within the seasons. And these Red Velvet Brownies most certainly fit that bill!

These guys have been the bane of my existence, to be frank. I have made like three or four batches of them before finally liking this recipe best. The first one was totally my fault – I goofed and added like 3/4 cup of cocoa powder to the batter, yielding a, well, brownie. No red in sight. The next batch, I added less cocoa but still too much for a red velvet color. And the third one I underbaked, because I still do that, people.

Finally, fourth time being the charm, I nailed it. And I think you’ll agree!

These are so soft, chewy and moist and flavored with all that red velvet goodness. They have just a touch of cocoa powder to give it that oomph without it being a full-on chocolate brownie. And of course, the red color is GORGEOUS! Perfect for Valentine’s Day, Christmas… or a random Thursday 🙂

These Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting are incredible! Soft, chewy, fudgy brownies flavored with red velvet and topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting! But because I can’t leave anything be, I added a cream cheese frosting. (Because duh). It is so creamy, dreamy and smooth and totally drives home the red velvet flavor in these bars.

Mouth, prepare to be amazed.

These Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting are incredible! Soft, chewy, fudgy brownies flavored with red velvet and topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting! *adapted from my blondie recipe

4.5 from 2 reviews
Soft & Chewy Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
These Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting are awesome! Soft, chewy, fudgy and moist, they're topped with a decadently smooth cream cheese icing. Yum!
Ingredients
  • FOR THE BROWNIES:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, cubed
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ounce (one bottle) red food coloring
  • FOR CREAM CHEESE ICING:
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 & ½ cups powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 9x13" rectangular baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Let cool for 5 minutes, then whisk in the brown sugar until combined. Quickly whisk in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla, cocoa powder, baking soda, flour and red food coloring until a soft batter comes together. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.
  3. Bake for approx. 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist, not wet, crumbs. Cool completely.
  4. To make the frosting: Beat together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla with an electric mixer until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the powdered sugar until frosting is spreadable and light.
  5. Spread the frosting onto the cooled brownies in an even layer. If using, top with sprinkles. Refrigerate covered for at least 2 hours to set.

These Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting are incredible! Soft, chewy, fudgy brownies flavored with red velvet and topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting! I hope you love the Red Velvet Brownies as much as I did! They went FAST in my house!

These Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting are incredible! Soft, chewy, fudgy brownies flavored with red velvet and topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting! Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Mint Oreo Truffle Brownie Bombs

These MINT OREO TRUFFLE BROWNIE BOMBS are a minty delight! No-bake mint Oreo truffles wrapped in a fudgy baked brownie and coated in chocolate & Andes Mints. So simple to whip up and a great way to impress anyone you serve! Mint fans will love these Mint Oreo Truffle Brownie Bombs! A creamy, no-bake mint Oreo truffle filled with chopped Andes mints, wrapped in fudgy brownies and coated in chocolate. Decadent, minty goodness!

You guys… I have a problem.

A novel-buying problem.

No, not like an original buying problem. Like a novelBOOK buying problem. It’s getting a little out of hand. And by ‘a little’, I mean I’m buying like 3 or more a day since Christmas.

I now have 20 novels to read once I’m done writing my book (which should be supersuper soon!). All novels I’ve never read before and didn’t know existed because: I haven’t read a book in a year.

EEP.

I know, I know. How horrible, right? I’m an English major, a two-time author and a food writer and I haven’t read a book in a freakin’ year. But in my defense, I’ve been writing TWO books in one year, plus my blog, which is a lot of writing, FYI.

But I have read magazines! Lots of them. So at least I’m not a total ingrate, right? (Tell me I’m not pleasepleaseplease).

So I’m making up for lost time and that new book smell by buying ALLTHEBOOKS on Amazon and reading them front to back from here until Christmas again. So if you have a good book recommendation, leave it in the comments! (FWIW, I like ‘harder’ books – ones about addiction, marital troubles, troubled teens, you name it. Hard issues.)

Anyway! Now let’s talk about these Mint Oreo Truffle Brownie Bombs which you need to read about and then promptly MAKE.

A few months ago, I posted these Oreo Truffle Brownie Bombs and everyone seemed to go gaga for them, so I knew I had to do a fun spin with another Oreo flavor. Enter: the Mint Oreo Truffle.

Made with the Mint Oreos and ground up bits of Andes mints inside(!!) they are delightfully minty and SO EASY to make. Seriously, if you are or if you know of a mint lover, these are next on your list. Promise me?

These MINT OREO TRUFFLE BROWNIE BOMBS are a minty delight! No-bake mint Oreo truffles wrapped in a fudgy baked brownie and coated in chocolate & Andes Mints. So simple to whip up and a great way to impress anyone you serve! And I know it’s *too soon* to talk about Valentine’s Day, but hear me out: I’m a food blogger, which means I gotta start cranking out V-Day recipes in early January in order for them to get traction, get seen, get pinned, etc. in time for February. SO, that said – these would make an awesome Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetie!

Now if you need me, I’ll be reading!

These MINT OREO TRUFFLE BROWNIE BOMBS are a minty delight! No-bake mint Oreo truffles wrapped in a fudgy baked brownie and coated in chocolate & Andes Mints. So simple to whip up and a great way to impress anyone you serve!

Mint Oreo Truffle Brownie Bombs
Author: 
Recipe type: Brownie Bombs
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 22-24
 
These Mint Oreo Truffle Brownie Bombs are delightfully minty, super chocolaty and a cinch to whip up. Impress your guests with these over the top truffles!
Ingredients
  • 1 box fudge brownie mix, plus ingredients on back of box
  • ⅔ pkg (about 20 cookies) MINT Oreo cookies, finely crushed
  • ½ pkg (4 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp mint extract, divided
  • 1 cup Andes mint chips, plus ⅔ cup for garnish
  • 1 pkg chocolate almond bark (such as CandiQuik)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions for fudgy brownies. Pour into a greased 13x9" rectangular baking pan and bake for 19-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist, not wet, crumbs. Do not bake too long as the brownies MUST be fudgy in order to make the bombs work. Cool completely.
  2. While brownies cool, make your Mint Oreo truffles. In a large bowl, combine the Mint Oreo crumbs, cream cheese, and ½ tsp mint extract with a rubber spatula until blended and moistened; fold in 1 cup of the Andes mint chips. Roll Tablespoon-sized balls of Mint Oreo truffles and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Cut the brownies into 24 equal pieces, making sure to trim off the edges as they're too crusty and hard to work with. Take a brownie square and gently flatten it in the palm of your hand. Wrap the brownie around the Oreo truffle, pinching and rolling the brownie in your hands to completely enclose the truffle. Place the brownie bombs onto the baking sheet. Freeze for approx. 30 minutes or until solid and firm.
  4. Melt the chocolate candy coating according to package directions or until smooth and melted; gently fold in the remaining mint extract. Dip each brownie bomb into the chocolate coating, coating it completely and allowing excess to drip off. Return to the baking sheet with a fork and sprinkle with remaining Andes mint chips, if desired.

These MINT OREO TRUFFLE BROWNIE BOMBS are a minty delight! No-bake mint Oreo truffles wrapped in a fudgy baked brownie and coated in chocolate & Andes Mints. So simple to whip up and a great way to impress anyone you serve! Minty, chocolaty, fudgy goodness wrapped in one bite-sized morsel of heaven. You’re welcome!

These MINT OREO TRUFFLE BROWNIE BOMBS are a minty delight! No-bake mint Oreo truffles wrapped in a fudgy baked brownie and coated in chocolate & Andes Mints. So simple to whip up and a great way to impress anyone you serve! Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream are a wonderful treat for anytime of year! Moist, fluffy, hot cocoa cupcakes topped with a light & smooth sweet marshmallow frosting. Easy, impressive and totally fun! Moist, fluffy chocolate cake topped with a sky-high, sweet marshmallow buttercream frosting – these Hot Chocolate Cupcakes are a can’t miss recipe for the winter season!

So California is having a week of rain.

And Californians are acting like Y2K is coming. Like, if Mother Nature even gave us one day of snow, we’d probably melt like the Wicked Witch in Wizard of Oz. 

And there’d probably still be some weirdo wearing cargo shorts and flip flops while it was snowing. (Side note: that irrationally grinds my gears, but I digress).

Californians can be so dramatic with the slightest of weather shifts. It’s raining for a week. We’re not having a hurricane. We’re in no threat of a tsunami. It’s seriously intermittent showers. I wouldn’t even use the term “downpour.” But natives have a colossal freak-out like it’s acid rain coming from the Gates of Hell.

Hello, Hollywood is in California. Of course we’re dramatic.

But during this non-torrential sprinkle of water falling from the sky, I bet I’m not going to be the only one cozying up by the fire and catching up on novels. I’ve gone a little Amazon-crazy the last few weeks ordering no less than 20 novels (not joking) to read when I’m done writing my book (which is soon! Yay!). I’m also going to use my newfound freedom to bake cupcakes, namely these Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream. 

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream are a wonderful treat for anytime of year! Moist, fluffy, hot cocoa cupcakes topped with a light & smooth sweet marshmallow frosting. Easy, impressive and totally fun! These cupcakes are one of my new favorites for a few reasons. One, the cupcake itself is super moist, fluffy, and extra chocolaty. It’s actually made with real hot cocoa powder in it to really ramp up that milky, creamy flavor. And the marshmallow buttercream is kinda sorta to-die for. Light, fluffy, sweet… it’s almost like a cloud sitting atop each cake.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream are a wonderful treat for anytime of year! Moist, fluffy, hot cocoa cupcakes topped with a light & smooth sweet marshmallow frosting. Easy, impressive and totally fun! To really top it off, I sprinkled the tops with chocolate syrup and miniature marshmallow bits, which are teensy freeze-dried marshmallows you can find near the hot cocoa in the store. It just drives home that flavor, and they’re totally adorable to boot!

So whether it’s blizzard-ing, sunny, or kinda-raining, make these cupcakes this week and feel cozy no matter the weather 🙂

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream are a wonderful treat for anytime of year! Moist, fluffy, hot cocoa cupcakes topped with a light & smooth sweet marshmallow frosting. Easy, impressive and totally fun!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20-22
 
These Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream are so perfect! Like little heavenly clouds and wonderful to make during the chilly winter months.
Ingredients
  • FOR CUPCAKES:
  • 1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
  • 1 & ¼ cups milk
  • ⅔ cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 small instant hot cocoa packet (just the dry mix)
  • 1 (3.9 ounce) box instant dry chocolate pudding mix
  • FOR MARSHMALLOW BUTTERCREAM:
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow fluff
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Miniature marshmallow bits and chocolate syrup for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with 22 paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, milk, oil, eggs, hot cocoa packet, and dry pudding mix together with an electric mixer until combined and smooth, about 2 minutes. Portion the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling about ¾ full.
  3. Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely.
  4. To make the frosting: Cream together the butter, marshmallow fluff, vanilla and salt together in a stand mixer until combined and smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add in the powdered sugar, about one cup at a time, alternating with the heavy cream until frosting is light and fluffy.
  5. Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Garnish with marshmallow bits and the chocolate syrup.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream are a wonderful treat for anytime of year! Moist, fluffy, hot cocoa cupcakes topped with a light & smooth sweet marshmallow frosting. Easy, impressive and totally fun! Moist, fluffy cakes topped with a sinfully sweet marshmallow buttercream… these cupcakes can’t be beat!

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream are a wonderful treat for anytime of year! Moist, fluffy, hot cocoa cupcakes topped with a light & smooth sweet marshmallow frosting. Easy, impressive and totally fun! Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Gingerbread Molasses Cake with Chai Whipped Cream

Gingerbread Molasses Cake with Chai Whipped Cream is a fantastic wintertime recipe! Warm, aromatic, moist cake flavored with molasses and spice flavors, topped with a chai whipped cream. Easy, flavorful, fabulous! Gingerbread is such a wonderful flavor for the season, and this Gingerbread Molasses Cake with Chai Whipped Cream is no exception! Warm, flavorful, aromatic gingerbread spices mixed with molasses in a moist cake topped with chai whipped cream.

Happy (almost) Christmas and Hanukkah, friends!

Are you excited?

I still can’t believe it’s only a few days away. When I was a kid, it’d seem like December 1st through 24th took FOREVER. The days would drag oooonnnn and ooooonnnnn and I would just close my eyes at night and will the days to fly on by so I could tear open my gifts.

Now I’m like, WAIIIIIIITTTT in a dramatic slow-mo voice because the days go by SO FAST. And there’s SO MUCH TO DO, Y’ALL.

For one, my house is a disaster zone and I’m hosting Christmas dinner. Yes, it’s only my grandma and uncles and they will hardly judge me if I didn’t dust on top of my fridge, but I still don’t need them to know we live like heathens.

I tried emailing a reputable cleaning company and they haven’t called or emailed me back. So I’m sitting by my phone and Inbox, checking it obsessively like they’re a boy I have a crush on and I’m waiting for a text. WHERE ARE YOU, CLEANING LADIES?! COME TO ME!

Second, I am up to my eyeballs in book writing and maintaining this here blog, not to mention being a functioning member of society (taking showers, attempting to look like a human, interacting with my three dogs and family members, etc) and I just realized I haven’t even sent out Christmas cards or made cookies for neighbors like I do every single year. And then I started thinking, will my neighbors think I’m mad at them if I don’t bring them cookies this year like I have EVERY YEAR for the past 6 years?! It’s not you, it’s me!

So now I’m just trying to balance it all, all while stuffing my face silly with this Gingerbread Molasses Cake with Chai Whipped Cream. Can we just talk about this chai whipped cream real quick? It’s kinda sorta fabulous and I need it on everything from this point forward. Imagine it on hot chocolate!!! Can you even?!

Gingerbread Molasses Cake with Chai Whipped Cream is a fantastic wintertime recipe! Warm, aromatic, moist cake flavored with molasses and spice flavors, topped with a chai whipped cream. Easy, flavorful, fabulous! I would have posted this cake recipe sooner, but to be honest, I’d forgotten about it in the midst of trying not to scream my head off/decking the halls/listening to Jingle Bells on repeat, etc. But good thing gingerbread is kind of awesome enough to enjoy all winter, so come January, remember this recipe and make it!

Gingerbread Molasses Cake with Chai Whipped Cream is a fantastic wintertime recipe! Warm, aromatic, moist cake flavored with molasses and spice flavors, topped with a chai whipped cream. Easy, flavorful, fabulous! *adapted from here

Gingerbread Molasses Cake with Chai Whipped Cream
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
This Gingerbread Molasses Cake with Chai Whipped Cream is a wonderful wintertime recipe! Moist, fluffy cake flavored with warm, aromatic molasses and gingerbread spices, topped with a spicy whipped cream you'll want to eat straight from the bowl!
Ingredients
  • FOR CAKE:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 & ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • FOR CHAI WHIPPED CREAM:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch ground cloves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9" springform pan with cooking spray; place a parchment round in the bottom of the pan and spray the parchment. Set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, followed by the molasses and vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients to the bowl, mixing well. Stream in half of the milk, mixing well to blend in. Add in the remaining dry ingredients, beating well, followed by the rest of the milk, beating to combine.
  4. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 27-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist, not wet, crumbs. Cool completely.
  5. To make the chai whipped cream, beat the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar together on HIGH speed for about 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Add in the cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves and beat until incorporated.
  6. Serve the cake with the chai whipped cream on top!

Gingerbread Molasses Cake with Chai Whipped Cream is a fantastic wintertime recipe! Warm, aromatic, moist cake flavored with molasses and spice flavors, topped with a chai whipped cream. Easy, flavorful, fabulous! Moist, fluffy, molasses-flavored cake topped with the most delicious and flavorful whipped cream you can imagine. You’ll love this wintry recipe!

Gingerbread Molasses Cake with Chai Whipped Cream is a fantastic wintertime recipe! Warm, aromatic, moist cake flavored with molasses and spice flavors, topped with a chai whipped cream. Easy, flavorful, fabulous! Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Bars

These Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Bars are a winter wonder! Easy, creamy cheesecake bars made with an Oreo cookie crust and topped with a deliciously smooth cheesecake studded with peppermint bark pieces. So fabulous and perfect for Christmas!These Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Bars are such a fun new way to enjoy the season’s favorite sweet: peppermint bark!

So have you noticed nowadays during Christmas season, everything is peppermint barkified?

And now here I am, giving you more peppermint barkified treats. I’m not sorry.

But I think those peppermint bark purveyors are onto something: the stuff is seriously addictive, and nothing seems more wintry and delicious this time of year than the good ol’ P.B. (That’s not peanut butter, just FYI).

I got the idea to make this cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory because they have their own version of this P.B. goodness in the restaurant this time of year. When I took a bite, it was like heaven’s gates opened and angels sang – seriously life-changing.

But if your Cheesecake Factory is like mine, it’s a little pricey, AND it’s smack dab in the middle of the biggest mall in the area. Which means it’s smack dab in the middle of the worst parking lot in the area. During Christmas. I’ll let you figure it out.

So clearly jumping in the car, braving the crowds and finding a parking spot just for a piece of peppermint bark cheesecake isn’t in the cards. So I resorted to making my own… and I’m glad I did!

This comes from my Perfect Cheesecake Bars recipe, which I recommend you make if you’ve never tried it. Honestly, I prefer making cheesecake bars over an entire pan of cheesecake because A) they’re so much easier, and B) portion control! But if you’re a cheesecake connoisseur and prefer big ol’ pans of cheesecake, go ahead and make this into a larger cake. Just don’t blame me when you face plant the entire thing.

And since it’s less than a week to Christmas, you have plenty of time to make a test batch to enjoy before the big day! YOU’RE WELCOME.

These Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Bars are a winter wonder! Easy, creamy cheesecake bars made with an Oreo cookie crust and topped with a deliciously smooth cheesecake studded with peppermint bark pieces. So fabulous and perfect for Christmas!

Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
These Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Bars are my new favorite seasonal treat! Creamy, silky-smooth and packed with peppermint bark flavor and pieces in every bite!
Ingredients
  • FOR CRUST:
  • 20 Oreo cookies, finely crushed into crumbs
  • 5 Tbsp butter, melted
  • FOR CHEESECAKE:
  • 2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp peppermint extract
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup chopped peppermint bark pieces
  • Whipped cream, crushed candy canes and peppermint bark pieces for garnish, optional but recommended
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8x8" or 9x9" square baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray the foil lightly with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the Oreo cookie crumbs and melted butter, stirring until moistened. Press into the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, but keep oven on.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and peppermint extracts, beating well. Lastly, add in the sour cream and beat well. Fold in the peppermint bark pieces.
  4. Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust and continue baking for 35-40 minutes or until the center is just about set and not sloshing around in the pan; if it jiggles a little, that's okay. Cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting into bars.

These Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Bars are a winter wonder! Easy, creamy cheesecake bars made with an Oreo cookie crust and topped with a deliciously smooth cheesecake studded with peppermint bark pieces. So fabulous and perfect for Christmas!Creamy, smooth and studded with real peppermint bark pieces, this cheesecake may be my new favorite flavor!

These Peppermint Bark Cheesecake Bars are a winter wonder! Easy, creamy cheesecake bars made with an Oreo cookie crust and topped with a deliciously smooth cheesecake studded with peppermint bark pieces. So fabulous and perfect for Christmas! Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

Peppermint Bark Swirled Fudge

This Peppermint Bark Fudge is such a simple dessert to whip up during the holidays! Soft, chewy, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate and vanilla swirled fudge with crunchy peppermint bits on top. A must make for a holiday party or cookie tray! Attention all peppermint bark lovers! This Peppermint Bark Swirled Fudge is the ticket to sweet peppermint perfection. Swirled chocolate and white chocolate fudge topped with crunchy candy cane pieces and peppermint chips!

I’ll admit: I’m a peppermint bark freak.

You could peppermint barkify just about anything and I’d inhale it as if my life depended on it. And in a way, my life kind of does depend on peppermint bark: it’s one of my favorite seasonal treats by far.

And so I got to thinking: I don’t have a whole lot of fudge recipes on my blog, and I don’t have a ton of peppermint bark recipes either.

That ^^ is precisely when the lightbulb moment happened. And the rest is blissfully delicious peppermint bark history.

This fudge has two layers swirled together: a chocolate layer, and a white chocolate peppermint layer. It’s super simple to make, because my fudge recipe is a no-brainer. Simply melt some chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk together, add some extract and voila. DONE. No joke!

This Peppermint Bark Fudge is such a simple dessert to whip up during the holidays! Soft, chewy, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate and vanilla swirled fudge with crunchy peppermint bits on top. A must make for a holiday party or cookie tray! Layer ’em up in a greased and foiled pan and let them set, which is by far the hardest part of the recipe. But if you practice patience with this recipe, I promise it’ll pay off big time!

Happy Fudge-Making! (Er, that sounds weird. Nevermind).

This Peppermint Bark Fudge is such a simple dessert to whip up during the holidays! Soft, chewy, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate and vanilla swirled fudge with crunchy peppermint bits on top. A must make for a holiday party or cookie tray!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Peppermint Bark Swirled Fudge
Author: 
Recipe type: Candy
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 36
 
This Peppermint Bark Swirled Fudge is such a treat this time of year!
Ingredients
  • FOR CHOCOLATE FUDGE:
  • 1 (12 oz) pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • FOR WHITE CHOCOLATE FUDGE:
  • 1 (12 oz) pkg white chocolate/vanilla chips
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 cup peppermint baking chips (such as Andes)
  • ½ cup crushed candy cane pieces
Instructions
  1. Line an 8x8" or 9x9" square baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the chocolate chips and condensed milk together over medium-low heat, stirring and folding it constantly until melted and smooth. Mixture will be quite thick. Whisk in the vanilla extract and pour the fudge in the bottom of the prepared pan, smoothing it into an even layer. Set aside.
  3. In another large saucepan, melt the white chocolate chips and condensed milk together over medium-low heat, stirring and folding it constantly until melted and smooth. Mixture will also be thick. Whisk in the peppermint extract and pour the vanilla layer over the chocolate layer slowly. Using a butter knife, swirl the fudge layers together. Immediately top with the peppermint baking chips and crushed candy canes.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until set before cutting into squares.

This Peppermint Bark Fudge is such a simple dessert to whip up during the holidays! Soft, chewy, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate and vanilla swirled fudge with crunchy peppermint bits on top. A must make for a holiday party or cookie tray! Minty, soft, chewy and melt-in-your-mouth with crunchy bits of peppermint on top…. this fudge is out of this world amazing! Give it a try and let me know what ya think 🙂

This Peppermint Bark Fudge is such a simple dessert to whip up during the holidays! Soft, chewy, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate and vanilla swirled fudge with crunchy peppermint bits on top. A must make for a holiday party or cookie tray! Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

 

15 Gifts Under $50 For Foodies

15 Foodie Gifts Under $50Hey there, friends!

I’m bringing you a little gift guide today for 15 Foodie Gifts Under $50! From bakers to chefs, newbie foodies to collectors of pretty things, this kinda has everything I need for Christmas on it.

The first three are little “sets” I made up. You have to purchase them separately, of course, but when it comes to wrapping gifts, I recommend these pairings!

Enjoy!

Out of the Box Desserts Cookbook + Vanilla SetOut of the Box Desserts Cookbook $ 14.78 + Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla $23.93

This gift features my first cookbook, Out of the Box Desserts and a pairing with vanilla extract, which is an essential baking component to all the recipes in the book! This extra-large size of vanilla is great for getting through all of the recipes in the book and is by far the superior vanilla on the market! Use it in my recipes such as Sticky Toffee Pudding Blondies, Toffee Chip Espresso Cookies, Easy Almond Roca & Toasted Marshmallow Cheesecake, to name a couple!

Gourmet Kitchen Cookbook + Chef's Knife Set
The Gourmet Kitchen Cookbook $17.51 + OXO Chef’s Knife $19.95

Pairing a state-of-the-art saute pan with this amazing cookbook by my friend Jennifer Farley from the blog Savory Simple. Jennifer’s book is perfect for foodies, chefs and home cooks alike. Recipes for Pistachio Cardamom Baklava, Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomato Lasagna, Spicy Gochujang Chicken Wings, Oatmeal Stout Beer Bread, and Spinach, Artichoke and Caramelized Leek Tart. Personally, I’m dying to try the Concord Grape Jam, which is a stunning royal purple color and would be fabulous on sourdough toast or drizzled over lemon scones. I paired this book with chef’s knife, something Jennifer mentioned she could not live without in the kitchen. It’s something that experienced chefs and newbies will come to rely on!

No Bake Treats Cookbook + Springform Pan Set
No-Bake Treats Cookbook $13.47 + 9″ springform pan $15.28

One of my favorite cookbooks from this year, No-Bake Treats is the brainchild from the amazing Julianne at Beyond Frosting.com. This book pretty much has every delectable dessert recipe you could think of, all entirely no-bake. I paired this book with a springform pan because it is an essential tool for baking through Julianne’s book, ensuring your no-bake cheesecakes, cakes and other decadent desserts come out perfect every time.

Top Shelf Bar Tools Set

Top Shelf Bar Tool Set, $50

Not only is this bar tool set incredibly beautiful, it has all the functions you need to make expertly-crafted cocktails, mocktails and more. A stunning, show-stopping piece to display on your bar cart or kitchen counter so you’re always ready for unexpected (or expected) drinks.

Beta Pastry Server
Beta Pie Server, $15

Nothing beats this mesmerizing pastry server! Perfect for the entertainer, this will be talked about at all the holiday parties!

Covered Butter DishButter Dish, $24

I own this adorable statement-making butter dish, but only use it for display. (I know, I know). This is great for the collector of pretty things who would appreciate the whimsy of this adorable dish.

Dust Pan Serving Tray

Dust Pan Serving Tray, $28.95

Kitschy, adorable, yet practical, I love this dust pan serving tray! Top it with a wedge of brie, a collection of crackers and a smattering of fresh grapes for a delightful hostess gift or cheese tray.

Marble & Mango Wood Cake Stand
Marble & Mango Wood Cake Stand, $39.95

Any and every baker would love this beautiful cake stand, featuring a sculpted mango wood base and a crisp & clean marble top that will showcase their homemade cakes and sweets with elegance. 

Kitchen Conversions Cutting Board

Kitchen Conversions Cutting Board, $29.95

An AWESOME gift for a novice cook or chef in training, this conversion cutting board would best be used on display (set it on a cookbook stand on the kitchen counter) so it’s always a quick glance away for reference.

Milk Bottle Measuring Cups
Milk Bottle Measuring Cups, $24

I adore these stackable measuring cups, which saves space but looks so unique that you almost want to display it anyway. Perfect for fellow food bloggers (we are kind of obsessed with antique milk bottles) or vintage lovers alike.

Sunset Wine Tote
Sunset Wine Tote, $39.50

I love the idea of gifting this nifty picnic-in-a-bag to newlywed couples. Gift them with a bottle of your favorite wine to try and send them on their way to a romantic weekend-getaway. This would be adorable gifted with maps to local day-trip locations!

Pioneer Woman Kitchen Essentials ToolsPioneer Woman Kitchen Essential Tools, $27.30

Any recipient will enjoy an upgrade on basic cooking essential tools we use all day long. This one from the Pioneer Woman features beautiful, rustic rosewood handles and sleek stainless steel hardware. Wrap the set in one of her adorable printed napkins (all available at Walmart) for a chic gift idea.

Well, that’s it! I hope you find something for someone you know (or yourself!) that’s unique, unexpected yet totally perfect for that special someone (or, ya know, yourself).

Enjoy!!

xo, Hayley

This post contains some Amazon affiliate links. All opinions are my own and I compiled this list on my own without receiving compensation or free product from any of these places listed. (Though, Anthropologie, if you’re reading this, I’m totally down to get some stuff from you).

 

Watergate Lush Dessert

No-Bake Watergate Lush Dessert: pecan shortbread cookie crust, smooth & fluffy pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple, whipped cream and pecans combine to make this light, fluffy, EASY dessert! Have you heard of Watergate Salad before? It’s a mixture between pistachio pudding, pineapple and pecans and it’s fabulous! This Watergate Lush Dessert is sure to please and a fun twist on the classic!

So this dessert.

If you’re an American (well, you probably know even if you aren’t from the States), you probably know about the Watergate Scandal.

I’m not going to go into politics, so I’ll spare ya the details, but basically from the scandal came… a salad?

Still not sure how the two are linked. But I digress.

From the scandal has come the salad, originated from Kraft Foods called a Pistachio Pineapple Delight. Someone down the line renamed it “Watergate Salad” and the rest was history.

Then some ladies made a Watergate Cake and their reasoning was: “the frosting is a ‘cover-up’ and it’s filled with nuts.” Good enough for me!

So back to this lush: It’s a cover-up filled with pistachio and pineapple… and it’s filled with nuts. Voila! History is explained, one dessert at a time. You’re welcome, historians.

Admittedly, this flavor combination is a little old-fashioned. In my lifetime I’d never heard of Watergate Salad until I was a food blogger in the last 6 years. BUT it’s intrigued me ever since, and now I’m glad to have made this Lush to try it out. Hey, those people are onto something, because there’s something very uniquely delicious about this wild combination. And of course, the bright green color.

No-Bake Watergate Lush Dessert: pecan shortbread cookie crust, smooth & fluffy pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple, whipped cream and pecans combine to make this light, fluffy, EASY dessert! It’s just like my other lush desserts, which starts with a cookie crust. For this, I used pecan shortbread (aka, Pecan Sandies) cookies. I topped it off with a creamy, fluffy pistachio & pineapple filling and topped that with whipped cream and pecans. (Traditionally, the salad also has miniature marshmallows… but I decided to let people decide if they wanted to top the salad with the marshmallows). It’s unexpected, it’s unique, and it’s totally something you should make once in your lifetime, even if you never grew up with Watergate Salad.

I’m thinking I’m going to Watergate everything from now on, ‘kay?

No-Bake Watergate Lush Dessert: pecan shortbread cookie crust, smooth & fluffy pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple, whipped cream and pecans combine to make this light, fluffy, EASY dessert!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Watergate Lush Dessert
Author: 
Recipe type: No Bake
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
This Watergate Lush Dessert is a unique combination of flavors! Pistachio, pecans and pineapple combine to make a fluffy, no-bake treat!
Ingredients
  • 1 (11 oz) pkg pecan shortbread cookies (such as Pecan Sandies), coarsely crushed
  • 5 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 (3.4-3.9 oz) pkg instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • ⅔ cup crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1 (16 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed & divided
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Lightly grease an 8x8" square pan with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the coarse cookie crumbs and butter until moistened. Press evenly into the prepared pan and set aside.
  2. Wipe out the bowl and add in the pistachio pudding mix and the milk. Whisk until thickened, about 2 minutes. Fold in the pineapple and 2 cups of the Cool Whip until combined and fluffy.
  3. Spread the filling into the prepared pan in an even layer. Top with the remaining Cool Whip and the pecans.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight, until set. Cut into squares to serve.

No-Bake Watergate Lush Dessert: pecan shortbread cookie crust, smooth & fluffy pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple, whipped cream and pecans combine to make this light, fluffy, EASY dessert! Fluffy, smooth, creamy and packed with flavor, this unique lush dessert will be sure to please everyone who tries it!

No-Bake Watergate Lush Dessert: pecan shortbread cookie crust, smooth & fluffy pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple, whipped cream and pecans combine to make this light, fluffy, EASY dessert! Have a super sweet weekend!

xo, Hayley

 

Brownie Brittle Peppermint Bark

Brownie Brittle Peppermint Bark is a unique spin on classic bark candy! Dark chocolate, crisp brownie brittle pieces, white chocolate and lots of crunchy peppermint candies combine to make this EASY holiday favorite! This Brownie Brittle Peppermint Bark is a fun twist on a classic! Instead of solid chocolate, this special bark has a BROWNIE BRITTLE filling and is topped with lots of crushed candy canes. A triple dose of chocolate in one addictive and easy bark!

Can we talk minor pet peeves for a moment?

(I know, sorry. If you don’t want to hear me whine and cry, keep scrolling. And don’t complain about having to scroll, because I do not care. Thanks!)

When people I don’t know find out I have a food blog, naturally they have some questions. Those questions usually are:

How are you not 3457743 pounds?

Do you sell your stuff?

So… how do you even make money?

To which I happily reply:

I honestly do not know.

No, because in the pictures I take, you only see the nice few goodies. The rest are lop-sided, ugly, crackly, messy whatever. Or edge pieces, which I generally hate photographing. Little known secret.

I make money through a variety of sources. Namely, working with brands and through ads on my blog.

I really do not mind answering these questions; admittedly, my job is kind of odd because making money off of a website is still kind of a foreign concept. But what I do mind is when people think because I work from home that my job is just a “cute little hobby” or I can dog-sit for people who live two towns over or I sit around watching Real Housewives all day long.

Um. Not quite.

Yes, I do usually watch the newest Real Housewives episode on my lunch break, which I take later in the day since I can’t step away from the kitchen on recipe days, or away from the camera on photo shoot days. Sure, I could set a doctor’s appointment in the morning when everyone else is at their job, and yes, I sometimes have the entire Target to myself on weekday early afternoons. BUT, I still work. And like, a lot of work.

Work never ends, but you know what? I love it. And you know something else? It was a hobby… but now it’s a full-time job. And I am SO blessed and flummoxed that I can do this as a full-time career. But no, I cannot watch your dog all day long, I cannot run and get your prescriptions from the pharmacy, I cannot sit all day long watching soap operas (as much as I’d love to). Even though I wear yoga pants and slippers most days for “work”, I’m still working.

Phew. That was cathartic.

Now that that’s out of the way, can we talk about my latest career move? Turning Brownie Brittle into PEPPERMINT BARK!!

Brownie Brittle Peppermint Bark is a unique spin on classic bark candy! Dark chocolate, crisp brownie brittle pieces, white chocolate and lots of crunchy peppermint candies combine to make this EASY holiday favorite! This is a genius call on my part, I have to say. You’ve (I’m sure) seen Oreo peppermint bark, or the like. That’s fine and dandy, of course. But adding Brownie Brittle to the candy is a total GAME CHANGER.

And so, so exceptionally easy.

Make it today and thank me later!

Brownie Brittle Peppermint Bark is a unique spin on classic bark candy! Dark chocolate, crisp brownie brittle pieces, white chocolate and lots of crunchy peppermint candies combine to make this EASY holiday favorite!

Brownie Brittle Peppermint Bark
Author: 
Recipe type: Candy
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
This Brownie Brittle Peppermint Bark is a GAME CHANGER!! Triple the chocolate with tons of peppermint, it's a holiday must-have with a fun twist.
Ingredients
  • 1 (10 oz) pkg Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers (in the baking aisle. If you cannot find these, substitute with a package of candy coating, like CandiQuik or Almond Bark)
  • 1 pkg Brownie Brittle
  • 1 (10 oz) pkg Ghirardelli vanilla melting wafers (see Note above)
  • 2 cups candy cane pieces
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In two medium bowls, melt the melting wafers separately according to package directions or until smooth and melted.
  3. Pour the dark chocolate in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Immediately top with pieces of the Brownie Brittle. Pour the white chocolate over the Brownie Brittle chocolate layer and spread out to the edges to coat the brittle completely. Immediately top with a liberal amount of candy cane pieces.
  4. Allow the bark to set at room temperature for about 30 minutes or in the fridge for about 15 minutes before cutting into pieces.

Brownie Brittle Peppermint Bark is a unique spin on classic bark candy! Dark chocolate, crisp brownie brittle pieces, white chocolate and lots of crunchy peppermint candies combine to make this EASY holiday favorite! So easy, so fantastic, so pepperminty and perfect for the holiday season!

Brownie Brittle Peppermint Bark is a unique spin on classic bark candy! Dark chocolate, crisp brownie brittle pieces, white chocolate and lots of crunchy peppermint candies combine to make this EASY holiday favorite! Have a super sweet day!

xo, Hayley

 

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