If you get started today, and bake one pan of bars every 48 hours, you will almost be finished on Christmas Eve.

So many recipes I want to make this time of year, so little time.  Or remedy for the sugar coma I could knock myself into.

In case you need any holiday baking inspiration in bar form, here are some of my favorites.  Cookies are great, bars are easier.

1. Butterscotch Rice Krispie Treats with Vegan Chocolate Frosting (GF, No Bake)

Butterscotch Rice Krispie Treats with Vegan Chocolate Frosting

2. Caramel Apple Bars (GF with Vegan adaptations).  Apple may sound ‘boring’ but these are not at all boring, I promise.  The caramel and oats take them worlds away from humdrum status.

Caramel Apple Bars

3. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough & Marshmallow Stuffed Rice Krispie Bars (GF with Vegan adaptations, No Bake).

These were just featured on Babble’s 10 Rice Krispie Recipes Gone Wild feature yesterday

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough & Marshmallow Stuffed Rice Krispie Bars

4. Creme de Menthe Bars (No-Bake, Vegan)

Creme de Menthe Bar
Creme de Menthe Bar

5. Deep Dish Double Chocolate Golden Grahams Smores Bars (Vegan & GF options).  Ooey, gooey, creamy, and easy.

Deep Dish Double Chocolate Golden Grahams Smores Bar

6. Magic Eight Bars.  A staple in my house growing up that I loved and tweaked slightly.

Magic Eight Bars

7. Marshmallow Peanut Butter Double Chocolate Pillowtop Bars (GF with Vegan options) – This has become one of my favorite desserts, ever.  I highly recommend them!

Marshmallow Peanut Butter Double Chocolate Pillowtop Bars

8. Nutella & Peanut Butter Graham Bars with Chocolate Frosting (No Bake)

Nutella & Peanut Butter Graham Bars with Chocolate Frosting

9. Nutter Butter Special K Bars (No Bake)

Nutter Butter Special K Bar

10. Samoas Bars (Vegan & GF options).  Do the Girl Scouts proud and try these.

Samoas Bars

11. Special K Bars (No Bake)

Special K BarsNumbers 8, 9, 11 are variations on a theme.  If you like peanut butter and chocolate, and really like chewy textures, these are the bars for you.

Plus they are all no-bake.  Gotta love the time savings when you’ve already got a dozen other baking projects going on over the holidays.

12. White Chocolate Vanilla Marshmallow Cake Bars – 4 Layers (these and #7 Pillowtop bars are both very high on my list of fave desserts, ever)

White Chocolate Vanilla Marshmallow Cake Bars

Honorable Mentions:

Chocolate-Coconut-Chia-Oat Dessert Squares/Energy Bars (No Bake, Vegan)

Microwave Chocolate Peanut Butter and Oat Snack Bars (3 ingredients & 3 minutes, Vegan, GF)

Mixed Berry Clafoutis (amazing tasting and so easy.  Don’t be scared by the fancy name)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bars (Vegan, GF, No Bake)

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars with Vegan Chocolate Frosting (No Bake)

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars (Vegan, GF)

Rice Krispie Treats with Vegan Chocolate Frosting (Vegan, GF)

Questions:

1. Do you like making bars?

I love it, actually.  Maybe it’s my midwestern roots where bringing a pan of bars to everything from a church bake sale to a baby shower to a funeral luncheon to a graduation party was just what we did.

Bars are so much less ‘fussy’ than cookies or cupcakes since you can just spread the batter into a pan rather than working with individual items and doing the one-at-a-time thing.  I would never bring two dozen cupcakes to a party but I will always bring a pan of bars that will feed 2 dozen people.  The work of the individual items vs. the one pan of bars seals the deal.  Efficiency is key.

And unlike cakes, I find bars are much more forgiving with ingredient substitutions.  Don’t have a certain type of chip?  No biggie.  Have almost a full can of sweetened condensed milk or ‘Fluff but not quite? No biggie; the bars won’t mind.

2. Fave kind of bars to make?  Or cookies?

So many kinds, so little time!

Here’s a big tip:  All of these can be made ahead and stored in the freezer.  I store all of my desserts in the freezer.

I bake and slice as normal and then put the bars/desserts/cookies/etc. in Tupperware or plastic containers and put them in the freezer.

When I feel like a Rice Krispie bar or a cookie or a Samoas Bar, I have an arsenal in my freezer stash and can pull one or two out at a time, wait 15 minutes for it to come up to room temp (or microwave for 10 seconds if you’re in a hurry or eat well-chilled which I prefer anyway). This way you have variety of desserts to choose from.   Variety is the spice of life!

I’m sure the texture isn’t quite as ‘perfect’ as freshly baked but it’s so close that I don’t notice and no one here ever complains when they enjoy a rotating medley of treats and desserts, year round.  Use your freezer.

3.  What’s on your Holiday Baking List?

I have so many things I want to make but in Aruba but my oven takes forever to heat up.   If it takes my oven in San Diego 15-20 minutes to pre-heat, it takes about an hour+ to pre-heat in Aruba.   Let’s just say running an oven in small,closed quarters in the Caribbean heat is a recipe for husband to complain about how hot the house is.

So I tend to do no-bake things when I’m there, which is why I did most of my holiday baking in November.  Who needed Thanksgiving anyway.  I didn’t.

But I’m still making cookies regardless.

Have a great weekend!

 

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