12 Bars of Christmas

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)

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.


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

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

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

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

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!

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

9. Nutter Butter Special K Bars (No Bake)

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

11. Special K Bars (No Bake)

Numbers 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)

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)


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!


  1. Fun! I really have not made many bars actually. Always just made cookies.

  2. I started keeping track of the ones I thought sounded amazing… then I realized they all do. ;) The cookie dough ones and the creme de menthe bars definitely top the list though. They look so good!

    I’ve actually always loved baking, although I rarely end up doing it anymore since it’s just me in my apartment. I love making cookies… they were always my favorite thing to bake!

  3. Hi Averie! Soooo happy you are on your way to Aruba! Have a wonderful vacation!

    I LOVE making bars and they are so delicious and moist and just awesome. I would much rather eat a bar than a cookie – ANY DAY! I just finished making the pumpkin peanut butter oatmeal bars for my son’s high school soccer team to eat after their game today! My son (who is a junior this year) smelled those and said “Mom, thanks! The team is gonna LOVE you!” Haha! Yay! Will let you know how they go over! :-)

  4. Mmmm all these photos got my mouth a-waterin’! I love that you use so much peanut butter and chocolate in your recipes – my kinda treats. ;) I love making cookies and bars, but you’re right, bars are easier AND they seem to have an easier time staying moist. My grandmother (she’s also from the midwest) makes these delicious bars that consist of peanut butter, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, blended oatmeal, condensed milk, and a few other good stuff. I don’t know they’re proper title, but they are always SO GOOD.

  5. All of those bars looks delicious! I especially love number 5! It sounds amazing!! :)

  6. Mmmmm I want to make those Creme de Menthe bars! They look so yummy.

    My favourite bars OF ALL TIME are Nanaimo Bars, hands down. Nothing better :)

  7. Loveeee bars! Just made a pan of Power Brownies today..mmm…

    And I believe that I have a bar recipe on my blog right now-Pumpkin Pie bars with Coconut Cream Frosting….maybe my favorite recipe so far this year.

  8. Ah I love when you do “round-ups” like this! Your desserts always look SO delicious.

  9. I love how so many of these are gluten free and no bake…I might have to make some to give as gifts to my gf buddies!

  10. Have so much fun on your vacation!! Say hello to the beach for me :) I am drooling after all the yummy looking pictures. I have had zero time to bake so I guess I will just have to feast with my eyes!!

  11. Love this! Sooo many yummy bar recipes here :)

  12. yumm…. each looks better than the next. Cant wait to try one of these!

  13. WOW Averie! Which ones to make…gosh, I have no idea… they all look so amazing!
    Thank you!!

    Have a great vacation!

  14. I always start my Christmas baking with cookies…and end with bars :) So much easier! Chocolate chip cookie dough in rice krispies is totally going to steal my heart. I love this!

  15. Wow, I love your list! All of them look amazing, and I’m having a hard time figuring out what to make first! =) Pretty rough problem to have, haha!

  16. Definitely going to have to try at least one of these over winter break!
    I can’t wait to see your Aruba pictures. :D

  17. Drool, drool….those all look so good, because I’ve been depriving myself for months. That will change tomorrow, however, as I attend my first holiday party of the month, and there are bound to be lots of yum-yums.
    Also, the plates of homemade goodies from my husband’s customers should start rolling in any day now, continuing through the end of the month. I hope I get some bars!

  18. Greatest hits! What a great list.

    Hope you’ve had a smooth trip so far :-)

  19. I just made some bars last week, in fact. The midwestern roots coming through. And the fact that washing an 8×8 pan is WAY easier than washing 12 cupcake holes or whathaveyou. Honestly, its the dishes that make me love bars more. Also another reason I love the silpat – rinse and done.

    How’s Aruba?!?!

  20. I love your recipes and have made a few. I need to get around to the Deep Dish Double Chocolate Golden Grahams S’mores Bars!

  21. I have been a bar convert, thanks to your lovely self. Who wants to scoop out cookies, anyway? And why would you make cookies anyhow when you here are cranking out all these amazing recipes?

    The only problem is that I want them now. All of them.

  22. These all look so delicious. There is no way I can decide between them so will have to slowly work my way through all of them! Starting with the Creme de Menthe bar for sure.

  23. The tastes and textures that make my heart go pitter-pat! All of those look divine.

  24. I don’t make a lot of bars, but I love making and eating cookies. Homemade cookies are one dessert I can’t pass up.

  25. Your bars literally make me drool! I want to make so many of them, especially the Nutter Butter Special K bars! They look and sound amazing (and dangerous :))!!

  26. I really enjoy bars, but I’m much more likely to eat cookies and muffins. I think it’s because there is a designated portion. With bars it’s a little easier to grab another sliver for one more little taste. Plus cookies tend to be neater to eat. I hate crumbs!

  27. I just had to click on about half of those links, everything sounds wonderful! I wish I had time to make all of them.

  28. Pingback: Friday Favorites | Nikkilooch

  29. Pingback: December Recipes & Link Up

  30. Pingback: Pretzel Peanut Caramel Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Truffles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *