Cranberry Orange Cake Bars

Cranberry Orange Cake Bars

Cranberry orange bread has long been a holiday tradition in my family, and in fact was one of the earlier recipes I shared on this site – about 16 years ago! Zesty orange and bright cranberries are a natural pairing. These Cranberry Orange Cake Bars take those classic flavors and …

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Cranberry Orange Cake Bars

Cranberry orange bread has long been a holiday tradition in my family, and in fact was one of the earlier recipes I shared on this site – about 16 years ago! Zesty orange and bright cranberries are a natural pairing. These Cranberry Orange Cake Bars take those classic flavors and combine them in a cake-like bar cookies that are wonderful addition to any holiday cookie plate.

One of the nice things about bar cookies is that they’re quick to make and even easier to share than a loaf cake. These bars are no exception.
The bars are cakelike and tender, almost more like pound cake than a brownie or regular cookie. They will just seem to melt in your mouth, leaving you with the delightful flavor of orange and cranberry. They include fresh orange zest, whole cranberries and dried cranberries. The whole cranberries are tarter than the dried, while the dried are sweeter and chewier for a nice contrast with the fresh fruit.

Like a classic pound cake, these bars don’t contain any leavening. The eggs in the batter add just enough air into the batter to give the cake an extremely tender crumb and a perfectly light texture. So don’t think it’s a typo that this recipe doesn’t contain baking powder or baking soda! The batter comes together very quickly and it will be ready to go into the oven in minutes.

I like to line the baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil to make it easy to remove the bars from the pan for slicing. Let the bars cool completely before slicing. I’ll slice one pan into about 20 pieces for easy sharing. If you want to make these bars the centerpiece dessert at a holiday dinner, cut them into larger slices and serve them alongside a small scoop of ice cream or whipped cream!

Cranberry Orange Cake Bars
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tbsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×9-inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, butter, orange zest, vanilla extract and salt. Add in flour and whisk to combine, stirring just until no streaks of flour remain. Fold in cranberries and dried cranberries.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until bars are golden and set. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Makes 20 squares.

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Double Chocolate Ginger Cookie Bars

Double Chocolate Ginger Cookie Bars

Chocolate cookies are crowd pleasers any way you serve them. I bake up a variety of chocolate cookies all year round, and these Double Chocolate Ginger Cookie Bars are a hit in any season. The brownie-like bar cookies are studded with chunks of candied ginger and are packed with both dark and …

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Double Chocolate Ginger Cookie Bars

Chocolate cookies are crowd pleasers any way you serve them. I bake up a variety of chocolate cookies all year round, and these Double Chocolate Ginger Cookie Bars are a hit in any season. The brownie-like bar cookies are studded with chunks of candied ginger and are packed with both dark and white chocolates, for a treat that is spicy, sweet and offers just the right amount of decadence.

Candied ginger is a great ingredient to pair with chocolate of any kind because it is so versatile. It’s warm spice is a lovely contrast for creamy white chocolate, while its sweetness adds a nice counter to the bittersweet flavors in dark chocolate. While chocolate is the star of these cookie bars, the candied ginger is what makes them both addictive and unique.

These bar cookies are brownie-like and have a deep chocolate flavor, but they have a lighter texture than a regular brownie and are a bit crispier on top. The chocolate cookie dough is similar to brownie batter. It has a relatively small amount of flour and a very generous amount of cocoa powder, and it needs to be spread into a pan to bake evenly. Be sure to use high quality dark and white chocolate in the dough for the best chocolate flavor!

Double Chocolate Candied Ginger Cookie Bars

Let the bars cool completely before slicing them. I like to line my pan with aluminum foil so that I can lift the whole batch out before slicing it. I made narrow bars and cut 30 (10 by 3) bars out of the batch. You can cut them down into slightly smaller squares or larger, more decadent, pieces, if you prefer. The bars keep well in an airtight container for at least 2 or 3 days after baking.

Double Chocolate Ginger Cookie Bars
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup candied ginger chips

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla extract, then stir in the flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and candied ginger. Batter will be very thick.
Drop dollops of batter into pan, trying to spread it out as much as possible. Use a spatula to push the batter into an even layer (it will spread more as it bakes, so don’t worry if you can’t get it quite into the corners).
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bars are set on the edges and they begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Allow bars to cool completely in the pan – they will sink as they cool – then use the foil to lift them out before slicing them into bars.

Makes 30 bars.

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Peppermint Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies

Peppermint Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies
A hot peppermint mocha is an indulgent way to take off the chill on a cold winter night. I love the combination of chocolate and peppermint – and it is even better once you throw a little bit of coffee in to the mix! My Peppermint Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies are a holiday …

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Peppermint Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies
A hot peppermint mocha is an indulgent way to take off the chill on a cold winter night. I love the combination of chocolate and peppermint – and it is even better once you throw a little bit of coffee in to the mix! My Peppermint Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies are a holiday treat inspired by the hot coffee drink. They’re easy to make and just might become a new family favorite.

The coffee flavor is all in the brownie layer. Instant coffee powder is an easy way to infuse coffee into the batter because it dissolves easily. You can also use instant espresso powder or Starbucks Via, which both give a potent coffee flavor to the chocolate because they are a bit more intense than most instant coffee powders. Either way, coffee powder and the dark chocolate combine to give the brownies a rich mocha flavor.

Honestly, you could stop here because mocha brownies are delicious on their own. That said, adding a peppermint cream cheese swirl makes them wonderfully decadent and perfect for the holidays! Peppermint is a potent flavor, which is why I used it only in the cream cheese and not in the brownie batter. With two layers of flavor, you get nice contrast in every bite and get the full peppermint mocha experience!

Since these brownies have two layers, they take a bit longer to bake than some other brownie recipes. While it may be tempting to pull them out of the oven just as the cheesecake layer appears to be set, resist that temptation because the brownie base needs a little extra time. You can’t go wrong with a fudgy brownie – and these are fudgy! – but you don’t want the brownies to be too wet on the bottom because that will make the difficult to slice and pull out of the pan.

Due to the cream cheese and overall fudginess of the brownies, I recommend chilling these before slicing. Stored in the refrigerator, they will keep well for several days after baking – if they last that long.

Peppermint Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies

Peppermint Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies
1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp instant coffee powder
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Topping
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 tbsp chopped candy canes or peppermints

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
Make the brownies: In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Stir in cocoa powder and instant coffee until dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Add in flour and salt and stir until batter is smooth and well-combined. Pour into prepared pan and set aside while you prepare the cream cheese mixture.
Make the cream cheese topping: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla extract and peppermint extract until smooth. Drop in large dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Gently swirl two batters together with a butter knife. Sprinkle chopped candy canes over the top of the brownies.
Bake for 40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set and the topping is very lightly browned. A knife inserted into the cream cheese mixture should come out clean.
Cool in the pan completely, then refrigerate before slicing and serving.

Makes 16 large brownies.

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Ancho Chili Brownies with Cinnamon Streusel

Ancho Chili Brownies with Cinnamon Streusel

Salty and sweet treats are always welcome in my kitchen, but so are spicy and sweet ones. These Ancho Chili Brownies with Cinnamon Streusel are delicious twist on a traditional brownie, loaded with the sweet heat of ancho chilis and topped with a buttery cinnamon streusel.

The Ancho Chili Brownies …

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Ancho Chili Brownies with Cinnamon Streusel

Salty and sweet treats are always welcome in my kitchen, but so are spicy and sweet ones. These Ancho Chili Brownies with Cinnamon Streusel are delicious twist on a traditional brownie, loaded with the sweet heat of ancho chilis and topped with a buttery cinnamon streusel.

The Ancho Chili Brownies with Cinnamon Streusel start with a fudgy brownie recipe. Into the batter, I added a generous amount of ancho chili powder. You can buy whole dried ancho chilis, but the powdered spice is much easier to incorporate and minimizes the chance of getting a big chunk of chili in a bite accidentally! The chili powder has a mild, warm heat that is easily paired with chocolate in my savory dishes, such as moles, so it works really well in this dessert. I added a moderate amount of chili powder, so you should be able to taste the spice without being overwhelmed. If you love heat, feel free to increase to taste.

The brownie batter also includes a generous amount of vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon, which ties the chocolate in nicely with the streusel topping. The buttery cinnamon topping adds a contrasting crunch to all of that rich chocolate. It also gives the brownies an overall Mexican chocolate flavor. The streusel can be added to other brownies and bars, so feel free to bookmark that alone for future reference!

You can bake these brownies up any time of the year, of course, but I happen to think that they are perfect for Halloween. The spicy chili packs a bit of a “trick,” while the fudgy brownie base and buttery streusel are firmly in the “treat” category. They’re delightfully different and surprisingly addictive. If you like a little spice in your food, these brownies just might be a new favorite dessert.

Ancho Chili Brownies with Cinnamon Streusel
1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp ancho chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 batch Cinnamon Streusel

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt together butter and dark chocolate in the microwave. This should be done in 30-second intervals to avoid overcooking the mixture. Allow butter to cool slightly.
Lin a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa power, ancho chili powder, ground cinnamon and salt. Whisk in cooled butter mixture, followed by the eggs and vanilla extract. Whisk in the flour and stir until flour is just incorporated and no streaks remain. Fold in chocolate chips and then pour batter into prepared pan.
Sprinkle streusel evenly over brownie batter.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with very moist crumbs attached.
Allow brownies to cool in the pan, then lift the foil to easily remove them before slicing.

Makes 16-20 (depending on the size you slice them).

Cinnamon Streusel
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, softened

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder and salt. Rub in or mix in (using a hand mixer on low speed) the butter until mixture resembles coarse sand. Gather handfuls of the mixture and squeeze to form clumps.
Use as directed in the recipe.

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Chewy Black and White Blondies

Chewy Black and White Blondies
These Chewy Black and White Blondies are bar cookies that have swirls of both chocolate and vanilla, making them a crowd pleasing favorite that the whole family will enjoy! The recipe is simple to make, which is one of the things that I love about it. It starts with just one vanilla batter, …

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Chewy Black and White Blondies
These Chewy Black and White Blondies are bar cookies that have swirls of both chocolate and vanilla, making them a crowd pleasing favorite that the whole family will enjoy! The recipe is simple to make, which is one of the things that I love about it. It starts with just one vanilla batter, which is divided and has chocolate added to a portion. There is plenty of chocolate to make the brownie portion of the batter rich enough to satisfy any chocolate lover, while still being perfectly balanced with the vanilla.

The brownies are chewy and lean towards being slightly cakey, rather than the dense and fudgy texture that is common in most brownie recipes. This is in part because the blondies have an unusual ingredient in the batter: mayonnaise! Mayo is not a common ingredient in blondies or brownies, but there are quite a few cake recipes out there that include it. A basic mayonnaise is made with oil and egg yolks, so it adds plenty of fat to a recipe. That extra fat adds moisture and increases the tenderness of the finished baked good. In the case of this recipe, the brownies are slightly cakey and very chewy without being dry. It’s a deliciously addictive texture for a bar cookie to have!

The blondies will be ready to eat once they have cooled to room temperature, but I find that they are even better the day after they have baked. After being store in an airtight container overnight, the vanilla and chocolate flavors of the blondies really come out and deliver even more impact than they have when they’re freshly baked. Dress them up with a drizzle of chocolate ganache or a smear of vanilla frosting for extra sweetness, or simply enjoy them as-is. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for a few days.

Chewy Black and White Blondies
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder
3 tbsp water, warm
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. Line base of pan with parchment paper for easier removal.
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, cocoa powder, hot water and instant coffee. Whisk to combine and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and mayonnaise. Blend in the flour mixture, stirring until no streaks of flour remain.
Transfer 1 cup of batter to the small bowl containing the cocoa mixture and stir until uniform.
Spread vanilla batter into prepared pan. Top with chocolate batter and drag a knife through to create a swirling pattern (don’t over marble, though!).
Bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached.

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Churro Toffee Blondies

Churro Toffee Blondies
I’m a big Disney fan and, like many other fans out there, one of the things that I love about the parks is the food. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen that I sometimes post about the treats that I have enjoyed when visiting Disneyland. One particularly …

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Churro Toffee Blondies
I’m a big Disney fan and, like many other fans out there, one of the things that I love about the parks is the food. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen that I sometimes post about the treats that I have enjoyed when visiting Disneyland. One particularly popular treat is Churro Toffee, a crisp and buttery toffee that is thinly coated in white chocolate and topped with the same kind of cinnamon sugar mixture that coats churros. The toffee is delicious addictive and, surprisingly, not quite as sweet as it sounds. It is a must-try for churro fans.

Since I can’t visit Disneyland at the moment, I decided to bake up some Churro Toffee Blondies that are inspired by the popular Disney treat. The chewy blondies are packed with toffee bits and just the right amount of white chocolate, and they are coated in a crust of cinnamon sugar. They will remind you of churros and – most importantly – they taste like Churro Toffee!

One of the keys for the success of this Churro Toffee Blondie recipe is preparing the cinnamon sugar mixture that is used for the topping in advance. This is because the recipe calls for you to use a small amount of the mixture to line the baking pan before you add the batter. A small amount of cinnamon sugar on the base of the blondies really ensures that you will taste churro in every single bite. Since the sugar could caramelize on the bottom of the bars, I highly recommend lining your pan with aluminum foil for this recipe, then lightly greasing it before adding the cinnamon sugar.

The batter itself will come together very quickly, since this recipe only uses a few common pantry ingredients. If you happen to have Churro Toffee on hand from Disneyland – or from a copycat recipe – feel free to chop it up and stir it into the batter. Otherwise, simply use the combination of toffee bits and white chocolate that I’ve directed in the recipe below. The bars will be ready to eat as soon as they have cooled and will keep well for a couple of days after baking.

Churro Toffee Blondies
1/3 cup sugar + 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped toffee bits
or 1/2 cup chopped Disney Churro Toffee

Preheat oven to 350F. Ling an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease with butter or cooking spray.
In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and ground cinnamon topping mixture. Use 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar mixture to evenly coat the bottom of the greased baking pan. Set the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture aside. ‘
In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, egg, vanilla extract and salt until smooth. Stir in flour until completely combined. Stir in white chocolate chips and toffee bits until evenly distributed.
Since the batter is thick, dollop the batter into the pan and use a spatula to spread it into an even layer.
Bake for 30-33 minutes, or until bars are set and the outside edge is a light golden brown.
Allow blondies to cool completely before slicing.

Makes 16-20.

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Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Blondies

Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Blondies
I can’t resist a salty sweet snack, especially one that combines peanut butter and chocolate. These Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Blondies are a delicious and easy treat that will satisfy your salty-sweet tooth, too. The Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Blondies are made with a buttery peanut butter dough that is loaded …

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Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Blondies
I can’t resist a salty sweet snack, especially one that combines peanut butter and chocolate. These Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Blondies are a delicious and easy treat that will satisfy your salty-sweet tooth, too. The Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Blondies are made with a buttery peanut butter dough that is loaded with dark chocolate chunks and topped with a generous sprinkle of sea salt to bring out the nutty flavor of the peanut butter in every bite.

I usually bake blondies in a square or rectangular baking pan, just as I do for most brownie recipes, but this blondie recipe is baked in a muffin pan instead. The muffin pan produces perfectly round blondies that all have the same ratio of slightly crispy edge to chewy center. It also means that each blondie comes in its own wrapper, making it easy to transport and share them!

The dough comes together in just a couple of minutes and is made with melted butter, peanut butter and both brown and white sugars. It is rich without being too heavy, with a good peanut butter flavor and plenty of chocolate. You can buy dark or semisweet chocolate chunks or create your own by chopping up a larger block of chocolate. Chocolate chips can also be used if that is what you have on hand. Regardless of what shape you opt to work with, the more intense flavor of dark or semisweet chocolate is a better choice than milk chocolate in this recipe, as that can get too sweet.

Line the muffin cups with paper liners before filling them with blondie dough to make it easy to remove the baked blondies. If you want to try to create more contrast between the exterior and chewy center, you can skip the dough in favor of greasing the pan and placing the dough directly into the muffin cups – but be sure to grease the pan well if you go for the wrapper-less route! The finishing touch on these is a generous sprinkle of sea salt before baking. I prefer the flaky sea salt, but any coarse salt will do to really bring out the savory peanut butter and sweet chocolate in each bite.

Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Blondies
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (national brand)
1 cup dark (or semisweet) chocolate chunks
coarse sea salt, for topping

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, stir together butter and sugars until well-combined. Stir in egg, vanilla extract and peanut butter, followed by the flour mixture. Mix until dough is uniform and no streaks of dry ingredients remain visible. Stir in chocolate chunks until well-distributed.
Divide dough into prepared muffin tins, filling each about 2/3-3/4 full. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until blondies have set on the outside edge and have a hint of color to their tops.
Allow blondies to cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 18 blondies

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Eggnog Blondies

Eggnog Blondies
Eggnog is a holiday favorite of mine that I serve up all season. Although it’s a drink, I don’t always serve it up as a beverage. Instead, I incorporate eggnog into a variety of different treats to offer up to guests at brunch and dessert throughout the holidays. These Eggnog Blondies are an …

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Eggnog Blondies
Eggnog is a holiday favorite of mine that I serve up all season. Although it’s a drink, I don’t always serve it up as a beverage. Instead, I incorporate eggnog into a variety of different treats to offer up to guests at brunch and dessert throughout the holidays. These Eggnog Blondies are an easy to make bar cookie that is inspired by the vanilla and nutmeg flavors in eggnog.

The bars come together quickly and easily. They have a generous amount of vanilla extract and freshly ground nutmeg, along with a splash of prepared eggnog. When it comes to the vanilla, you can use vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste, which will give the blondies a vanilla-flecked look. The nutmeg should be freshly grated, as it is a spice that looses flavor quickly after it has been ground. If you only have pre-ground nutmeg (unless your container is very fresh), be a little generous when you add it in to make up for the fact that it may have lost some of its peppery character.

The finished bars have a crisp outer edge and are perfectly chewy in the center. While I don’t always add leavening to my blondies – since I want that chewy, dense texture that you get in brownies – I added a pinch to this recipe because it has additional liquid in the batter. They really do taste like eggnog, with plenty of creamy vanilla and spicy nutmeg. If you’re an eggnog fan, you will find these to be downright addictive. And they should be a huge hit with holiday guests – even if they’re not usually eggnog fans to begin with.

The bars are ready to eat as soon as they have cooled, and can be cut into large or small pieces depending on how many you need to serve. They’ll keep for about 2 days after baking if stored in an airtight container.

Eggnog Blondies
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 tbsp eggnog
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and egg. Whisk in melted butter, followed by vanilla extract, nutmeg and eggnog, and mix until ingredients are well-combined. Add in flour, salt and baking soda and mix until batter is uniform, with no streaks of dry ingredients remaining. Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until blondies are set and golden at the edges. Allow blondies to cool in the pan before slicing.

Makes 12-16.

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Churro Pumpkin Pie Blondies

Churro Pumpkin Pie Blondies

The fall is my favorite time of the year for baking. I love the classics – pumpkin pie, oatmeal cookies and pecan anything – but I also love the opportunity to come up with fun new treats that make use of some of those classic flavors. These Churro Pumpkin Pie Blondies are …

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Churro Pumpkin Pie Blondies

The fall is my favorite time of the year for baking. I love the classics – pumpkin pie, oatmeal cookies and pecan anything – but I also love the opportunity to come up with fun new treats that make use of some of those classic flavors. These Churro Pumpkin Pie Blondies are part blondie and part pumpkin pie, and they will be a delicious addition to your fall baking lineup.

The bars are made with two different batters, a blondie batter and a pumpkin batter. The pumpkin layer is inspired by pumpkin pie, but is not the same as your typically pumpkin pie filling. The filling used in pumpkin pie is a custard that is fairly liquid before baking, which works great with a crispy pie crust but not with a chewy blondie base. So, the pumpkin pie layer is actually a cross between a traditional pie filling and a blondie, with more flour than you would find in a typical pumpkin pie recipe (which often contains no flour). In the end, this means that the pumpkin layer is packed with pumpkin flavor, but has a chewy texture that is similar to that of the classic vanilla blondie underneath it.

Cinnamon sugar – and lots of it – is what gives this bar cookie a sweet churro twist. There is a generous layer of cinnamon sugar on top of the bars, as well as between the blondie and pumpin pie layers.  I also dusted the pan with cinnamon before adding the blondie batter, which gives even the base of the bars an extra pop of cinnamon. The cinnamon really stands out from the pumpkin pie spice in the batter, too.

These bars are best within about two days of baking and can be stored at room temperature, although they are also quite tasty when they are chilled. I serve them as-is, but you could turn them into a plated dessert by adding a scoop of ice cream or a drizzle of caramel sauce to each serving.

Churro Pumpkin Pie Blondies
Blondie Layer + Topping
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar + 2 tsp ground cinnamon
more cinnamon, for dusting the pan

Pumpkin Layer
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 9×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Lightly grease the pan and dust the bottom with ground cinnamon.
Make the blondie layer: In a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Allow butter to cool for 2 minutes, then whisk in the sugar, egg, salt and vanilla extract. Once those ingredients are well-combined, stir in the flour using a whisk or spatula.
Pour batter – it will be thick – into prepared baking dish and smooth it into an even layer using a spatula.
Combine sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle half of the mixture evenly over the top of the blondie layer.

Make the pumpkin layer: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, vanilla and eggs, then whisk in the sugars an pumpkin pie spice until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree until well-combined. Stir in half of the flour, along with the baking powder and salt. Stir in remaining flour and mix until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour mixture over blondie base, then sprinkle evenly with remaining cinnamon-sugar topping.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until bars are set and the edges are lightly browned on top.
Cool completely in the pan before lifting the bars out using the aluminum foil and slicing.

Makes 20 bars.

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