‘Tis the Season…to Bake

21 Dec

C is for cookie. That’s good enough for me. – Cookie Monster, Sesame Street

Always a curious child, I would often pull my stool into the kitchen to see what my mama was doing. After years of watching her cook a healthy dinner (one that inevitably included chicken – my brother and I didn’t know that meals without chicken even existed until we were much older) or bake a delicious dessert, I developed an affinity for the kitchen. That’s not to say that I’m necessarily good at cooking or baking, but I certainly enjoy it.

always wanted to be just like my mama

Of the two activities, baking is unequivocally my favorite. I blame my insatiable sweet teeth for this strong liking. Around the holidays, it seems to be particularly unquenchable, and I often end up consuming sweets as one of my meals (for instance, peanut butter fudge was my lunch on Sunday).

Thus, my contribution to our Christmas meal is usually the dessert. This year, I found a scrumptious-looking recipe for Brownie Cheesecake Peppermint Bars. Rather than struggle with the choice of cookies or brownies, cheesecake or peppermint, this sweet treat covers it all. I altered the recipe a bit and tried to lighten up the damage done to one’s diet (I am my mother’s daughter, after all). All the details are below – the original recipe (also found here) as well as my substitutions. Here’s to hoping my family enjoys this gooey goodness!


1 tube of refrigerated cookie dough

1 box of brownie mix

2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese (substitute: fat free cream cheese)

2.5 cups of white chocolate chips (note that this amount requires two bags of chips)

2 teaspoons of pure peppermint extract, divided

4 candy canes, crushed


  1. Make the brownie batter according to package directions (substitute: original apple sauce for the vegetable oil, egg whites for the eggs). Add 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Bake accordingly, and set aside to cool.
  2. Spray a 9” by 13” rectangular pan with non-stick cooking spray, and spread cookie dough along the bottom in an even layer (I found it easiest to use my fingers rather than a knife or rolling pin). Bake accordingly (until edges are golden brown), and set aside to cool.
  3. Once the brownies have cooled, remove and discard any hard edges. Scrape the rest of the brownies into a large bowl, and combine with the cream cheese to create a thick mixture. Stir together until it is generally uniform in color. Scoop this mixture onto the baked cookie dough, and smooth into an even layer.
  4. Melt the white chocolate chips on the stove. Add in 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Spread the melted chocolate over the cookie-brownie mixture.
  5. While the chocolate is still hot, crush up your candy canes, and sprinkle over your dessert. Once the chocolate has hardened, cut into the bars, and ENJOY!

all the yummy parts

voila! the finished product

Happy holidays!


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