When I think of Christmas, this is the first thing that comes to mind.
*Recipe adapted from Nestle Toll House Cookie Bars*
We are not really a family of traditions. My parents, brother and I, have never had turkey for Thanksgiving or ham for Christmas. It just does not appeal to us. In fact, every Thanksgiving, we travel to San Diego to share a meal with my mother’s side of the family. Each year, we play with our food, creating beautiful artwork to depict that we had stuffed ourselves silly, and then hit a Mexican drive thru on the way home. That is our type of tradition.
My family is A-typical. I would not have it any other way. We do hold on to some more normal traditions, such as baking. The amount of usage my oven has received in the past week is incredible, and the lovely aromas that have wafting through our house have been much appreciated.
So much good comes out of baking, yet this year, anxiety comes along with it. Today, Christmas day of 2013, is going to be difficult. But I will persevere. You will persevere. My mother has made these treats every year since I can remember, and the festive colors could not make them more enticing. It is a chocolate chip cookie, blondie, brownie, and heaven all wrapped up into one beautiful masterpiece.
I will enjoy a piece of this, even if it kills me. For those of you who are in need of a treat for yourselves. Wait, we are all in need of treating ourselves. Therefore this recipe is for each of you to be enjoyed at a moment’s notice. When you feel that twinge of courage bursting through your heart- make these, share them with someone you love, and then save all the rest for you.
Because yes, they are that good.
Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes Yields: 16-24 bars
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (1 package) of Christmas M&Ms
First, combine all of your dry ingredients together in a large bowl: flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, & brown sugar. Sift them together using a whisk if available, otherwise a good ol’ trusty spoon will work just fine. Add in your delectable vanilla and crack open the eggs into the dry ingredient mixture.
Once that is complete, transfer your bowl over into a mixer and add in those lumps of butter.
Turn the mixer on to a high setting if you are like me and clumsily forgot to take the butter out of the fridge in order for it to soften. Silly me. My mixer is not too powerful so this process of maintaining a cookie-dough like consistency could take a while.
Two hours later. Just kidding. I am just very impatient when it comes to baking.
Once it has reached the consistency you have desired and you have wiped your hands clean from all of the taste testing, it is time to reach for the oh-so wonderful bag of sugary goodness.
Mom & I had to go to two markets to find the limited edition Christmas style M&Ms. It was worth it. We got the last one.
Pour about 3/4 of the bag into the mixture and turn your mixer on a very low-speed to ensure you do not break up the candy but also allowing it to mix thoroughly.
Also make sure you save a handful for yourself.
Once it is to a consistency that you are content with, scoop the batter into a 9×13 brownie pan that has been sprayed with pam. The dough will be very thick and you will need to scoop it out of the bowl and then press it down with a spoon. Or your hand. Because, then, you know, there would be batter on your hand, and you cannot just waste batter on your hand.
Press it all down, & fill in any cracks.
Remember those M&Ms I made you leave out? Do not worry those are going in there too. I would never leave out candy if there was some leftover. That is just inhumane. Nope. You are going to top this gorgeous batter with the remaining M&Ms. Make sure you press them all into the batter otherwise they will just fall off after this dessert has been baked.
Once they are all pressed in, you are ready to go!
Place your pan into the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. My oven is very old and it actually took about 27 minutes, but start from 20 and continue to monitor it. Once done, take out of the oven and impatiently wait for 10 minutes to allow them cool. Yeah, it sucks.
But I promise you, it is worth the wait.
Well now my family is up and I must trek along through this battle of a day. I must remember that everyone else anticipates this day, therefore I should not dread it. Neither should you. Merry Christmas you beautiful people. I know we can all be successful.
Reach your goal today, whatever it may be. My goal is to abstain from exercise. After all, no oneexercises on Christmas. So if your goal is to eat that cookie, or sip that egg nog, know that I believe in you.
When you are feeling down, remember that there is a girl, all the way in Southern California, who is thinking of you all and yearning for a joyous Christmas. I believe in you. Merry Christmas.