#WIAW Christmas treats

I usually go a bit nutty over the holidays, baking up a ton of treats to dole out to friends. This year I had #elf4health, and an infant, to keep my baking at bay. But I did whip up some goodies that are share-worthy. But I didn’t snap pictures, so I’m borrowing these from the blogs I found them from. Meh, sorry about that. But their photos are prettier anyway.

My first batch was white chocolate topped chewy gingerbread.

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I tried not waiting til the end to add the white chocolate chips, and instead topping them in the beginning. It did not work out well. Do not do that! Follow the directions as is!

White Chocolate Chip Peppermint

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I didn’t have white chocolate m&m’s, so I did a cup and a half of white chocolate chips and a full cup peppermint pieces. I also used dark brown sugar instead of light, and an extra half cup flour to increase the chewiness. These were bomb dot com.

I also whipped up two favorites from last year: soft chewy sugar cookies, and peanut butter filled pretzels covered in chocolate.

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This year I made the pretzels with Rold’s Gold tiny twists, which are surprisingly large. Last year I used Costco pretzels, and I think they turned out better.

And finally, I attempted to make an almost flourless chocolate cake for New Year’s Eve. I thought the recipe called for semi-sweet, but it needed bittersweet. I didn’t have any on hand, but I did have a Costco sized bag of chocolate chips, so I used those instead. I was pretty impressed with myself. I totally thought I’d botch the cake, but it was delicious! Now I need to figure out who I can gift half a cake to…

Almost Flourless Cake

What was on your holiday treat menu this year?

Bernadette’s Berry Buckle

Way back in the day my parents didn’t have a lot of money, but they did have love and creativity. Everyone they knew had kids graduating from high school, getting married, or other milestones that required a gift. So my mom gathered recipes from friends and family and created a cookbook chock full of comfort foods.

When I moved into a dorm with a fully equipped kitchen my Sophomore year of college my mom gifted me a copy of this same cookbook. I use it all the time, but for some silly reason haven’t posted many of the recipes. I think the only one I have posted is Grandma Crider’s German Sweet Chocolate Cake, (which is amazing and doesn’t have that crappy syrupy coconut frosting).

Today I’m sharing another one of my favorites: my mom’s any berry buckle. It is the perfect way to use up some of those summer berries that are super cheap right now. I like to eat a square or two with a scoop of homemade ice cream 🙂

Bernadette’s Berry Buckle

Ingredients

Crust:

1/4 Cup butter

1/2 Cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 Cup sifted flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

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Filling:

2-2.5 cups berries – raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, any berry will do

1/2 Cup sugar

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Topping:

1/3 Cup flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 Cup butter

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 375.

In a large bowl cream 1/4 C butter, 1/2 C sugar, and vanilla. Add egg and mix well. Add 1 C flour, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1 tsp baking soda. Mix until combined, and press into a greased 8×8 pan (I use a dab of coconut oil on a paper towl & spread it around).

In a medium size bowl combine berries and sugar. Spread over crust in pan.

In the same large bowl you used earlier combine 1/3 C flour, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 C butter. Sprinkle over the berry filling.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.

Try to wait until the buckle cools to enjoy!

By Accident Blueberry Pie

Blueberry pie is on my top ten dessert list. Especially when paired with homemade vanilla ice cream. My mom and I decided to whip up two pies on the 4th of July, and really, this recipe couldn’t be easier. It is a pie without a top crust, which isn’t how I normally eat fruit filled pies. But I decided to trust her and roll with it. Or not roll with it, as we didn’t make our own pie crust.

She said this recipe wasn’t by accident, she knows what she is doing. It is a “by eye” and “by taste” recipe, but I think by accident blueberry pie rolls off the tongue better.

By Accident Blueberry Pie

1 9-inch pie shell (we used Marie Callendar’s frozen)

5-6 cups blueberries, divided (we used frozen and thawed them under running lukewarm water)

1.5 heaping TBS cornstarch

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup white sugar (we used Baker’s sugar)

1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp – 1 tsp vanilla

Directions

Pre-bake pie shell according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large pot combine 2 cups blueberries, cornstarch, water, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Bring to a boil (make sure cornstarch is combined thoroughly before you turn on the heat!), stir constantly on high heat, and reduce down until you have a nice saucy consistency. There will still be some whole blueberries, but it will mostly be a gelatinous mixture. If it gets too thick add water to adjust. At most this will take 5 minutes.

Add remaining 3-4 cups blueberries to the sauce and stir to coat with the sauce. Taste and adjust for flavor, adding more sugar if needed. If you are using fresh blueberries you will want to cook them in the sauce a little bit, about 2-3 minutes.

Once pie crust has cooled completely, pour blueberry mixture into pie crust and chill. Serve cold or at room temperature.

What is your favorite flavor of pie?