Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Baking: Peppermint Cream Squares

Along with loving to bake, I love playing hostess. For the past few years, two of my best friends and I get together around Christmas for dinner and girl time (ie. painting our nails, watching Christmas movies, chit chatting, etc.), and this time they came to my place! We decided to do a meal made of appetizers and of course dessert and hot cocoa. It was perfect. I played Christmas music and I set the table with my Christmas dishes, and put candles in some painted mason jars to flank my trifle bowl filled with ornaments.

See? LOVE to host.

So for dessert, I made Peppermint Cream Squares. Peppermint is definitely a holiday flavor, especially considering I made peppermint rice krispie treats for this dinner last year. They were pretty good....veeeeery sticky/buttery/rich, but delicious!

I started by prepping the peppermint crushing 30 candies with my heavy duty rolling pin. I'm always worried one of my neighbors is going to come and ask what all the racket is. Of course, even though I doubled up the baggies, they still some how poked through and powder started coming through the bag, but it worked out.

Then I lined an 8x8 dish with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray to prep for the shortbread crust, and put the oven to 350.

I then beat 1 cup (2 sticks) of room temperature butter until creamy, and added 1/2 cup powdered sugar.

After adding 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 cups of flour (and mixing until there were no dry spots), the crust was made! I put 1/2 cup of the crust in the fridge for topping the bars off, and the rest I pressed into the pan.

I then baked the crust for about 22 minutes, and began making the filling. I started by mixing 1/2 cup of powdered sugar into the peppermint powder.

And then I mixed 1/4 cup of softened cream cheese with 2 tbsp milk.

Once that was well mixed, I added in most of the peppermint powder and the last 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. When the filling was done, I poured it over the warm crust from the oven and made sure it was spread even.

And then I crumbled up the dough from the fridge to create the top crust! And baked it for another 12 minutes. And then sprinkled the rest of the crushed peppermint powder on top while it cooled.

I was a fan! You just can't really talk while eating them...

Along with the peppermint cream squares, I saved some sugar cookies from the batch I made for my parents and aunt and uncle.

And froze some cool whip and used my little cookie cutters to cut out shapes for our hot cocoa!

So much Christmas cheer! It was great. And of course it was a fantastic time with my girls.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!! (Yea, we were having fun)

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