I somehow made it through December without posting a single holiday inspired recipe. I had great aspirations of caramel pecan fudge, chocolate cookies dipped in white chocolate with crushed candy cane sprinkles, sugar cookies with the most festive sprinkle assortment, melt in your mouth almond liquor truffles and of course ginger neutral people.
But sometimes it’s more important to enjoy the holidays and the people around you than worry about creating and photographing a perfect holiday dessert recipe. I actually did indeed bake a lot through the month of December, but I baked for the people directly surrounding me and enjoyed not worrying about documenting every step. I baked sugar cookies and decorated them with my niece, rolled countless truffles, went to Grandma’s house to decorate ginger folk, braided challah bread with my mommy, whipped up gluten free thumbprint cookies for my dad, and of course there were cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. It was a good holiday baking month – I just don’t have the recipes and photography to share with you. BUT I feel so refreshed and ready for a great year of baking.
Starting with a super healthy recipe to use up all that leftover holiday candy! (kidding…you caught that, right?). Anyways, I scooped a handful of Jesse’s favorite candies – peanut butter cups – and stuffed them into a cookie bar. I added in pretzels and some extra flakey sea salt because sweet and salty is my favorite.
Happy New Year!
Also, I should have asked Santa for some extra SD cards for my camera because somehow along our Christmas travels, I misplaced it. So all today’s photos were taken with my iPhone. Super fancy, I know.
I’m usually on team scooped, rolled and shaped cookies over bar cookies, but sometimes I just don’t have the energy or time to scoop, roll and shape 50 cookies nor the patience for waiting until they’re properly chilled. The benefits of cookie bars are NO scooping and NO chill time. If you’re adverse to cookie bars, feel free to scoop this dough rather than press it into a pan (they’ll need at least an hour chill). But I recommend you try the bars…just don’t fight too much over the gooey center one.
Peanut Butter Cup Pretzel Cookie Bars
What You’ll Need
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon powdered milk
1/2 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup peanut butter cups, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pretzels, roughly chopped
How to Whip it Up
Preheat oven to 350°
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy (3-4 minutes). Add in egg and powdered milk, cream until fully incorporated (1-2 minutes). Whisk together remaining dry ingredients (corn starch, baking powder, APF and salt), then with mixer running on low, slowly add in half dry ingredient to wet ingredients. Off mixer, add peanut butter cups and pretzels to mixing bowl. Run mixer on low and add in second half of dry ingredients until just barely combined (less than 30 seconds, or you can even use a rubber spatula to fold in the second half of the dry ingredients – basically you don’t want to over mix your PB cups and pretzels into the dough).
Pour cookie dough into 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper. Use slightly damp hands or spatula to evenly spread the dough. Push a few pretzels and PB cups into the top of the dough before baking.
Bake at 350° for 24-26 minutes, until edges are just golden brown and middle is still gooey. Sprinkle with extra sea salt if desired. Let cool in pan for 10-15 minutes, then move to cooling rack. Cut into squares or dive right in with a fork – your choice.