One of the best parts of the holiday season is reuniting with far away friends and family who are finally home for the holidays. We may only see each other once a year or sometimes only once every few years, but the belly full of laughter always brings us all back together. And what I find really crazy is that no matter the time or space or life events that may have passed, we can still pick right back up as though nothing has changed. Or perhaps to phrase it better, that those changes don’t matter. That those changes haven’t fundamentally changed who we are at the core. So I wish you all a wonderful holiday season filled with love, peace, and joy, and to end a rather tough 2015 with lots of friendship and good cheer.


Gingerbread Bars
Source: Bon Appetit via Crepes of Wrath
Steph and Annie came over to make this, and I’ll say that we love this recipe and only made a few small tweaks. It’s soft and chewy and has a lot of lovely warm spices. I also love the crunchy raw sugar dusting on top – it makes a great crunchy crust and much needed texture to the cookie bar. I don’t love candied ginger, but if you chop it up really fine, it adds a great kick without being obtrusive to the cookie. I highly recommend it.

2 c all purpose flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
10 tbs (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp and cubed
1 1/4 c (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup light (unsulfured) molasses
1 c candied ginger, finely chopped
1/2 c raw sugar (nice large crystals)

Preheat oven to 350*F F and line a 9×13-inch baking dish (or 2 8×8 or 2 pie tins) with parchment paper and butter (or spray with non-stick baking spray).
In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until well creamed and fluffy, scraping sides as needed. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Then add molasses and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients – flour and all spices, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until combined. Fold in the candied ginger pieces. Use a non-stick spatula or hands and spread the (very thick) dough into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with 1/2 cup of raw sugar. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the bars a deep golden brown and set. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing and serving. Feel free to top with powdered sugar, melted white chocolate, lemon curd, or in my case – serve with a generous scoop of ice cream. Enjoy.

Every single bite tastes like Christmas and the holidays. I think these would be a great dessert after a big meal, but also a perfect late night cookie with some warm milk. Or perhaps put a few of these on a plate for Santa. Just saying – these are fantastic and perfectly embody the holiday season.

Best wishes and can’t wait to see what 2016 unveils!

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