LA Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars

What’s this? Another cookie swap? That’s right y’all. This time I got to meet up with some bloggers in person! We met up at Blacktop Coffee in Los Angeles.

The LA Food Bloggers is run by Christine, Maryanne, and Ellen (who got sick that day).

We discussed melted and creamed butter, shared ideas, expressed our passions, and got to know each other in general.

Christine made lemon madeleinesI need a madeleine pan!

Maryanne made the perfect brown sugar chocolate chunk cookies with hazelnut and sea salt. They were not too sweet and went perfectly with the coffee at Blacktop Coffee.

Sarah of Honey & Limes brought walnut thumbprint cookies with a strawberry jam, and her roommate made Speculoos cookiesThey almost matched in size.

Veronica from Collard Greens & Caviar made her grandmother’s Bromont Avenue Tea Cakes.

I made peppermint bark cookie bars.

I can’t say this recipe is 100% original because I fell in love with the cookie bars from Chelsea, the blogger behind the KaTom blog.

You can pretty much put any kind of chocolate-y candy in this to spice things up. This time, instead of using Ghirardelli dark chocolate peppermint bark, I picked up some Dove Promises because they were cheaper.

Melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and vanilla. Then crack in the egg.

Mix in the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Butter a 8×8 or 9×9 square pan then spread the batter in. I used my hands to even it out. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Let it sit for awhile then cut into 16 squares.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of broken peppermint bark *I used a Ziploc bag and a rubber mallet.
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Melt the butter in a microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Transfer butter to a medium-large mixing bowl. Use the residual to butter a 8×8 or 9×9 square cake pan.
  • Add brown sugar and vanilla. Mix with a rubber spatula.
  • Stir in the egg.
  • Slowly stir in the flour, 1/2 a cup at a time.
  • Sprinkle on the baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • Fold in the candy pieces.
  • Press into the cake pan.
  • Bake for 23 minutes. Seriously.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014: Peppermint Bark Snickerdoodles

Years ago, I was in a shitty job and would come home every day to bake. I went to this local store that sold specialty discount grocery items – this place was superb – and would try tons of recipes from Babycakes NYC’s gluten-free cookies to a delicious Japanese cheesecake.

I even spent time baking all the vanilla cupcake recipes, brownie recipes, and chocolate chip cookie recipes to find THE BEST ONES.

I never quite experimented with making my own cookies but have adapted quite a few.

In the last few years, life has gotten better, I moved and didn’t have an oven to bake. Even when I got an even, I didn’t bake anymore. In the spirit of the season and for the warmth and scents, I joined the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

I received some delicious cookies with a few surprises.

Chelsea over at the KaTom blog sent me 3 kinds of cookie bars.

She sent sea salt and almond, toffee, and peppermint bark cookie bars and a rubber scraper spatula.

My second cookie package came from Trang of Wild Wild Whisk who lives less than 30 minutes away. She made marzipan filled rugelach with 50% whole wheat flour and homemade marzipan. I have never ever liked marzipan till now…

Finally, I received The Messy Baker‘s double chocolate chip cookies with peanut butter with some adorable little pig spatulas.

I whipped up one of my favorites: snickerdoodles… with peppermint bark. Once pumpkin season was over, I immediately craved peppermint. I’ve never quite liked peppermint till this year!

The first time I made them, I made cookie bars.

I decided they were much prettier as cookies though.

Snickerdoodles with Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1/3 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. crushed Ghirardelli dark chocolate peppermint bark
  • 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips
  • Optional: drops of peppermint stevia, cinnamon + sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
  3. Cream the butter using a stand mixer.
  4. Add the sugars, egg, and vanilla.
  5. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients: baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and flour.
  6. Fold in the chocolates with a rubber spatula.
  7. Add a few drops of peppermint stevia.
  8. Use a tablespoon to measure out the dough and roll into balls. I was able to fit about 14 cookies on my sheet.
  9. Bake for less than 10 minutes. I was somewhere between 9-10.

*When making the cookie bars, butter the cake pan and spread a layer of cinnamon sugar into the pan before putting in the dough. Then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top as well. Bake for 16 minutes.

I’m also linking up with Healthy Diva Eats for Marvelous in My Monday.

Friday Five Favorites: I GET to live and love life.

fitting-it-all-in.com 

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Five reasons this week was great

1.  Getting homework done (again!). I even got reprimanded for turning my homework in too early. Sorry but these one per month classes go by too fast and I get too anxious turning in work too close to the deadline.

2. Mug cakes for breakfast (and at night). Easy and filling.

3. Midday coffee run for my co-workers and getting out of work at 12:30. 🙂

4. Discovering “Family Tree.” Chris O’Dowd, will you marry me? I know, he’s not “hot,” but watch him! Have you seen “Moone Boy” or “The I.T. Crowd?”

5. Meeting these 4 silly boys. Long story short, they asked if I would take them with me wherever I go. 🙂

Five crafts

1. DIY nail polish storage made from a shoe box and the gift wrap paper I purchased for the holidays (and beyond).

2. Gingerbread house! Check one off my “December to Remember” list!

I picked the Dancing Deer kit for $13.99. Lots of extra frosting and cookies – you build around the box.
 
My cousin helped decorate it.
 

I did the top two.

3. I could make this myself. I love ya Yancey!

4. Someone invite me to an ugly sweater party!

5. My friend says it’s cold out. I suggested this:

Five recipes

1.  Pumpkin pie cheese & crackers were served at the holiday baking party.

2. Holiday stout gingerbread

3. After making pumpkin whoopie pies, I want to make some gingerbread whoopie pies with lemon cream cheese. Whoopie pies are my speciality. 🙂

4. Sweet potato fritters with yogurt chive dipping sauce

5. Cranberry pinot noir meatballs

BONUS: If you haven’t seen this… Joy, you’re killing us: Gingerbread Speculoos & Dark Chocolate Cake!

Five workouts

1. Sandbag here and here with my makeshift bag filled with clothes and some weights.

2. Resistance band workouts are all over the place including here.

3. Stability ball, which I haven’t done yet but is on the schedule for tomorrow.

4. Walking every night because I don’t have to plan and I did all my homework during the day!

5. Dancing – easy Latin and Bollywood.

Five links

1. When did Fullerton become one of the prettiest towns? I may have to revisit during the day…

2. 33 clever Christmas food hacks that are easy and ingenious!

3. How it would look if all humans were bodybuilders

4. 15 reasons why Costco is simply the best

5. I don’t have to do anything. I get to workout. I get to go to work. This post seriously changed my life.

Five exciting events

1. Holiday baking party at work. My group make pumpkin whoopie pies and French chocolate truffles.

2. Peter’s [surprise] birthday dinner tonight. It’ll be a drive for some shabu – I’ll explain what that is later… I should get him something though.

3. Indulge L.A. with my friend Julie. I heard there’s so much sugar (and drinks) that it’s impossible. We’ll see about that.

4. Resolution Run, but I’m still not sure if I’m running it or volunteering. Have I told you how much I hate running and I’ve only ever run one 5K… and I had to train for it?

5. Holiday baking exchange with a Meetup group I joined. It’s 20-somethings reading books. I’m thinking about making eggnog thumbprints, but please GIVE ME IDEAS!

Your turn:
What’s your go-to cookie recipe?
What’s your favorite cookie?