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Christmas Treats: Grinch Bars & More

Christmas time is that time of the year where you can indulge and make some really festive and yummy desserts without any shame at all. Growing up, Christmas was always when I would be helping my mom and Mimi in the kitchen and really help with the decorating and mixing. I have done a little bit of Christmas baking this year and I am sharing four of my favorite recipes and two of these, I have made already this season.

What are y’all’s favorite Christmas recipes to make?

Grinch Bars

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Servings: 24 bars


  • 1 cup butter softened (to room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened (to room temperature)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup butter softened (to room temperature)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese softened (to room temperature)
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-5 Tbsp milk (start with 3 and add more to desired consistency)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Food coloring


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, cream cheese and egg for about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the almond extract and vanilla and beat for another minute.
  4. Add the flour and baking powder and beat for 2 more minutes. Once all combine, add in green food coloring.
  5. Press the dough into a greased 10″X15″X1″ pan and bake for 20 minutes. Let the bars cool and then add the frosting.
  6. Mix all the frosting ingredients together and beat until smooth. Frost the cooled bars and then slice and serve.

Classic Spritz Cookies

Prep Time: 35 mins

Cook Time: 25 mins

Servings: 65-70 cookies


  • 1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (155) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/4 cups (293g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Red gel icing color, optional
  • Green gel icing color, optional
  • Sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats. I don’t recommend parchment paper with these cookies. You want the cookie dough to stick to the surface you press them onto and parchment paper is non-stick. Set cookie sheets aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. You should be able to see the mixture lighten in color and get a creamy texture and know it’s ready.
  3. Add the egg and mix until well combined.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and almond extract and mix until well combined.
  5. Add the flour and salt and mix until the dough is combined, then remove the bowl from the mixer and finish combining with a rubber spatula, if needed. Do not over mix.
  6. If coloring some of the cookie dough, divide it into parts. I used white, red and green, so I divided it evenly into three parts.
  7. Use the gel icing color to color the dough. Add small amounts to begin with, then add more as needed. You can always add additional color, but can’t remove it if you add too much. Adding too much liquid will thin out your cookie dough a bit.
  8. Add one of the colors of cookie dough to your cookie press and follow the directions for your press to set it up. Hold the cookie press perpendicular to your cookie sheet and press out the cookies. They can be fairly close together, since they don’t really spread.
  9. Decorate the cookies with sprinkles, if desired.
  10. Bake cookies for 5-8 minutes. I prefer them nice and soft, so I went with 5 minutes, but feel free to increase that time and adjust based on your oven.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on baking sheets for 4-5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Store cookies in an air tight container for up to about 1 week.

Gingerbread Cookies

Prep Time: 25 mins

Cook Time: 10 mins

Servings: 45 cookies


  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • (optional) zest of one small orange
  • optional toppings: simple icing (see below), red hots, sprinkles, etc.
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2–3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


To Make The Gingerbread Cookies:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. In an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or alternately, you can use a hand mixerand a separate large mixing bowl), beat the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs, molasses and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually add the flour mixture until just combined.
  3. Divide the dough into two equal portions, and form them each into a ball.  Then gently use your hands to flatten each ball into a 1-inch thick disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Once the dough is thoroughly chilled and you’re ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  5. Unwrap the dough and place it on a large, lightly-floured hard surface.  Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough evenly until it is approximately 1/8-inch thick.  Then use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes, re-rolling the dough as needed to cut out more.  Transfer to parchment-covered baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies are crisp around the edges and on top. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  7. Once the cookies are room temperature, feel free to decorate them as desired with the icing (see below) plus any extra sprinkles or candies.  Serve and enjoy immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to 4 days.
To Make The Simple Icing:
  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a mixing bowl until smooth.  If your icing is too thin, add in a little more powdered sugar.  If your icing is too thick, add in a tiny bit of milk.
  2. Use a piping bag, or a ziplock bag (with the corner snipped off), or a plastic squeeze bottle to pipe the icing onto the cookies.


Prep Time: 15 mins

Chill Time: 20 mins

Servings: 48 buckeyes


  • Mixer
  • Bowl
  • Baking Sheet


  • 2 cup peanut butter smooth, 240g
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter 70g
  • 4 cups powdered sugar 240g
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 5mL
  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate 340g
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil 30mL, optional


  1. Cream the peanut butter and butter together with the vanilla extract.
  2. Add powdered sugar and mix on low until combined. Scrape down bowl and mix again.
  3. Pinch off tablespoon sized pieces and roll into balls. About 20g if you’re weighing.
  4. Transfer balls to a baking sheet and chill until firm. At least 20 minutes.
  5. Add chocolate and coconut oil to a medium bowl and melt on 50% power in the microwave. Stir to combine and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  6. Use a skewer or toothpick to dip the peanut butter balls into the chocolate. Leave a bit of the peanut butter exposed for that signature buckeye pea look. 
  7. Chill to allow the chocolate to firm up and enjoy. If you want to remove the holes left from the skewers, run a small knife or spatula over the tops.


  • These will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks, just make sure they’re covered.
  • So important to scrape that bowl down after adding the powdered sugar. I forgot to once and to top was super firm but the bottom of the bowl was VERY soft.
  • Coconut oil helps thin the chocolate so it’s easier to dip things but you can use shortening if that’s what you have on hand.
  • The butter can be reduced a tablespoon for a firmer ball if desired.

What are some of your favorite treats to make during Christmas time? Buckeyes are the #1 thing that everybody around me wants me to make. They are basically a staple in our house! As always, thank y’all for stopping by and reading. I will see y’all back here next time.

Love, Dani

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