Christmas Bars and Cookies Make Great Gifts

Some holiday recipes to make your gatherings merry

Some of the very best gifts are the edible delights from your own kitchen, because nothing tastes as good as homemade Christmas cookies.

Every time I taste a superb cookie or bar cookie, I always ask for the recipe. We were on a chase for the Saltine Recipe, because nobody knew who brought these to the potluck we recently attended. These are so simple, yet there is an unmistakable appeal with the sweet paired with the salt of the cracker. (These go fast in my house.)

Here are my latest holiday recipes!


Pecans and Chips Bars
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup margarine
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Place the flour, 1 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter in a food processor and pulse a few times until it resembles coarse crumbs. Do not over-process. Press into a greased 13 x 9 inch glass baking dish, and use a spatula to completely flatten out. Sprinkle one cup of chopped pecans over the top and press them down into the dough.

In a heavy saucepan, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and 2/3 cup margarine, and bring to a full boil and stir constantly. Using a candy thermometer, bring this mixture up to 242 degrees, and then remove from heat. Keep stirring for a minute to cool a bit, and then gently pour this hot mixture over the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes. Remove quickly from the oven and immediately sprinkle 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup butterscotch chips over the top. Put a cookie sheet on top to hold the heat in the dish and allow the chips to melt in their own heat.

After about 5 minutes, remove the cookie sheet and swirl the melted chocolate chips and butterscotch chips a bit with a clean table knife. Cool covered in the refrigerator, and slice chilled bars and serve.


Those Chocolate Saltine Squares
(You need a jelly roll pan for this recipe.)
One box of regular saltine crackers with salt on tops (not Keebler brand)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Grease a standard jelly roll pan well, and place saltine crackers in a single layer over the entire surface of the pan, with no spaces in between or overlaps (it is okay to crack crackers in half to make them fit like tiles).

In a heavy saucepan, bring the 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar to a full boil and continue to boil for 3 minutes (no less) stirring constantly. (You really do have to stir this the entire time.)

Drizzle this hot mixture over all of the crackers tiled in the pan, trying to cover all of the crackers, and bake for 4 to 7 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Remove and immediately sprinkle 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips over the top, and cover it with a cookie sheet to allow this to melt. When melted, spread the entire layer of chocolate out gently and smoothly. Refrigerate covered and when chilled, cut apart with a knife.


Chocolate-Chocolate Layer Walnut Bars

First layer
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup melted butter or margarine
1 egg (beaten)

Mix all of the ingredients for the first layer in a food processor, and gently pulse until blended (do not over-blend). Press into a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. 

Second layer
14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Mix all ingredients together with a hand mixer and pour over first layer. Be careful to add flour gradually so it will not clump. 

Third layer
1 1/8 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar (after baked)

Sprinkle chocolate chips and walnuts over the top, and bake entire recipe for 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees. After it is chilled, and just before serving, sprinkle a little powdered sugar over the top. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Nancy Loughin December 01, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Don't forget your college student is getting ready for finals, and these bar cookies ship well (and your student will certainly appreciate baked goodies from home!).
Sharon White May 26, 2012 at 10:53 AM
Wooaa Christmas Cookies... Love it...
Nancy Loughin May 26, 2012 at 07:04 PM
The chocolate saltines are addictive....warning!


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