Recipe: Citrus Bars

At the start of the new year, I always crave citrus flavors. I think it’s due in part to all the heavy holiday foods and flavors: spices, chocolate, gingerbread, pumpkin. People always want to start eating better, cleaner food in January, and if I’m going to have dessert, I want treats that taste fresh and vibrant.

Luckily, winter is prime citrus season and one of my favorite zingy desserts is lemon bars. They’re so tart and buttery, and they look so beautiful, with their golden lemon curd and a dusting of snowy powdered sugar. You can actually make them using any citrus fruit and they taste equally amazing. Each variety brings a unique zing and right now, we have a huge basket of limes from our lime tree. So I pulled out my favorite lemon bar recipe, swapped out the lemons for limes, and no one can get enough of them! They are just a little more mouth-puckering than lemon bars, with that wonderful, tropical lime flavor. Make a batch with your favorite citrus fruit and bring a little winter sunshine to your tastebuds!

These tart and tasty lime bars feature creamy lime curd atop buttery shortbread.

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Recipe: 3 Tasty Treats for Last-Minute Holiday Gifting

Guys! Christmas is this weekend! I feel like I had a mile-long to-do list last week, but thankfully, I’ve chipped away at it little by little, and I’m almost at the point where I can just relax. Most gifts are bought. There’s a wrapping station set up in the basement. And we’ve started making and delivering holiday treats to our friends and neighbors.

I usually have grand plans for my edible gifts and was dreaming up some fancy cinnamon-swirl bread sprinkled with Swedish pearl sugar to give this year. It was going to be epic. Not to mention a lot of work. Though I still might make a few loaves, we wound up switching gears and cranked out a bunch of really easy, really delicious treats the other day and delivered them to the long list of people we love (gotta get names crossed off that list!). So if you’re in the same predicament—wanting to make a tasty, homemade treat without having to slave away in the kitchen—then try one of these three simple holiday treat recipes. They all take less than an hour to make and only require six ingredients, max. Make just one or all three like we did and impress your friends and family members with your handiwork this year.

Need some yummy treats to take to friends and neighbors? These 3 super simple holiday recipes will save the day! Need some yummy treats to take to friends and neighbors? These 3 super simple holiday recipes will save the day!

Click through for the ingredients and instructions…

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Recipe: Easy Peppermint Fudge Brownies

One of my favorite flavor combinations is peppermint and chocolate. And luckily, the holiday season is the perfect time of year for baked goods featuring this tasty pairing. These easy-to-make peppermint fudge brownies have a great mix of dark, fudgy chocolate and brisk peppermint. Thanks to a dressed-up boxed brownie mix, they are super easy to make, but they’re so decadent that no one will ever know you used a baking shortcut!

These delicious peppermint fudge brownies are super simple!

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Recipe: Salami Cheese Ball

One of my all-time favorite holiday appetizers is the ubiquitous cheese ball. I’m not talking about the store-bought ones, but rather the irresistible homemade versions that taste a million times better. I have a couple of cheese ball recipes I love, and this easy one from my beloved Nana is among them. Back in the 80s, my grandma made a little cookbook to give to her children filled with all of her go-to holiday recipes, including her favorite Christmas fudge, the herb bread she makes every holiday season, and this tasty cheese ball. A few years ago, she reprinted the cookbook and gave all of us grandkids our own copies. It’s really fun to read through it and think about our family’s holiday food traditions.

cheese ball with salami, ranch, and green onions

cheese ball with salami, ranch, and green onions

This cheese ball is as easy to make as it is delicious. It takes about 10 minutes to put together from start to finish, and you can make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until party time. It tastes great with all kinds of crackers and breads, looks pretty on a serving plate, and gets rave reviews from everyone who tastes it. I’m excited that cheese ball season is here again and can’t wait to take this to one of my holiday parties this year!

Click through for the ingredients and instructions…

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Minted x Sweet Paul Holiday Recipes

Coming up with a unique, personalized holiday gift year after year is no easy feat. Why not start a new tradition by gifting yummy home baked goods from around the world? Minted has partnered with Sweet Paul Magazine to offer you three delicious easy curated recipes to whip up this holiday.

Before you bake, don’t forget Pin your favorite Minted x Sweet Paul Holiday Recipe to win $200 in prizes from Minted. Contest runs between 12/5-12/11.

1. Norwegian Berlinerkranser Cookies

Don’t let the name fool you, Berlinerkranser, “Berlin Wreaths”, are a traditional Norwegian cookie! Seen here paired with Minted’s Custom Recipe as Art Print, these delicate morsels are a must-have for any Scandinavian-inspired holiday cookie plate. Perfect for holiday gift giving, the Berlinerkranser recipe makes 40+ cookies, can be prepared ahead of time and frozen until needed.

To make Sweet Paul’s Norwegian Berlinerkranser, you’ll need:

  • 2 hard-boiled egg yolks
  • 2 raw egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg white
  • ½ cup sugar or pearl sugar decorating

Baking Directions:

  1. Place hard-boiled and raw yolks into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix together with a fork.
  2. Add the sugar and mix well on medium.
  3. With the mixer on low, add butter and flour a little at a time and mix until smooth.
  4. Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and rest in the fridge for 2 hours.
  5. Heat oven to 350F.
  6. Roll the dough out into 3/8 inch thick “snakes” about 4” inches long. Twist each one into an overlapped wreath shape and place on a parchment lined baking tray.
  7. Lightly brush with egg whites and sprinkle each with a little sugar.
  8. Bake until light golden, about 10 min.
  9. Cool on a wire rack, then box wrap with your favorite Minted Holiday Gift Tags + Holiday Cards.

 

2. Pizzelle Cookies from Italy

A crisp texture with lightly sweetened taste, these traditional Italian cookies are as easy to make as they are to gift for the holidays. Seen here paired with Minted artist GeekInk’s Merry Little Lines Christmas Card, Pizzelle can be served flat or folded into cone shapes that are filled with ice cream and other sweets. Recipes makes 12.

To make Sweet Paul’s Italian Pizzelle, you’ll need:

  •  3 large eggs
  • 1 /2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • few drops of vanilla extract

Baking Directions:

  1. In a large bowl mix eggs and sugar and beat until light and creamy.
  2. Mix in oil and beat until well incorporated.
  3. Add flour, baking powder and vanilla and stir until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Heat your Pizzelle iron and bake the cookies using about 1 heaping tablespoon of batter at a time.
  5. Bake until golden and let them cool on a wire rack.
  6. Enjoy!

 

3. Nanaimo Bars – British Colombia, Canada

Saving the most decadent holiday recipe for last, Nanaimo Bars (pronounced nah-NIGH-moe), hail from a city on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. These no-bake 3 layered bars start with a crumb base, followed by a layer of light custard buttercream, and finish off with a smooth layer of semi sweet chocolate. See what makes Nanaimo Bars a famous Canadian treat by making your own now.
To make Sweet Paul’s Nanaimo Bars, you’ll need:
BOTTOM LAYER:
  • Melt in top of double boiler:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 cup coconut

SECOND LAYER:

  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cream
  • 2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
  • 2 cups icing sugar

THIRD LAYER (Melted over low heat):

  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Baking Directions:

  1. For the bottom layer, melt the butter, sugar, and cocoa in a double boiler.
  2. Add the beaten egg and stir until everything thickens.  Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in graham cracker crumbs, almonds, and coconut. (if you want you can first pulse all three of these items together in a food processor to get them very finely chopped up!)
  4. Press firmly into ungreased 8 X 8 inch pan.
  5. For the second layer cream together all ingredients and beat on medium until light and fluffy.
  6. Spread evenly over the bottom layer and put in the refrigerator or freezer to set for at least 20 minutes.
  7. For the third layer, melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat.  Allow to cool until it’s just warm and still spreadable. If it’s too hot it will melt the custard layer when you try to spread it.
  8. Spread chocolate evenly over the second layer and refrigerate until totally cold and set.
  9. To serve, have a large knife soaking in HOT water, wipe it dry, and make each cut, heating up the knife between each cut. They’re VERY rich, so you might want to cut them on the small side.
Happy Holiday Gifting! Don’t forget to enter the Minted x Sweet Paul Holiday Recipes Pin to Win contest here.
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Recipe: Sawdust Pie with Bananas and Whipped Cream

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, my mind is on PIE! I’ve never been a huge pumpkin-pie fan, so it’s always a good excuse to explore other delicious pie flavors for turkey dinner. One of my favorite pies to make at this time of year is Sawdust Pie—I was first introduced to it a few years ago while browsing Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. I made the pie a couple of times that year, including for Thanksgiving at my parents’ house, and I’ve been itching to make it again ever since.


Sawdust Pie is filled with chocolate chips, pecans, shredded coconut, and graham cracker crumbs. Topped with banana slices and fresh whipped cream, it makes a delicious addition to the Thanksgiving dessert table!

I like to think of Sawdust Pie as Magic Cookie Bars in pie form. Magic Cookie Bars are those delicious, ridiculously easy bar cookies made with chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and pecans on a graham cracker crust, all held together with sweetened condensed milk. They’re a childhood bake sale favorite, and Sawdust Pie captures all of those magical flavors, stuffs them in a pastry crust, and tops them with fresh bananas and piles of whipped cream. Take a walk on the wild side this Thanksgiving  and add Sawdust Pie to your dessert lineup!

Click through for the ingredients and instructions…

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Horror Movie-Inspired Cocktails: The Drowned Rat

The final installment in our series of horror movie-inspired Halloween cocktails: The Drowned Rat. Inspired by the classic 1971 horror flick Willard, this fiendish cocktail is a fitting tribute to the furry stars of the film, resembling a rat that encounters a grisly end at the bottom of a cup of sewer sludge. But this macabre trick is an actual treat—the libation features hints of chocolate and creamy stout beer. And the rat tail? A simple roasted beet.


More Horror Movie-Inspired Cocktails:
• The Spider Bite (inspired by Arachnophobia)
The Eel Charmer (inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein) 


drowned rat halloween cocktail by kelli hall for minted, guiness float with roasted beet rat tail
roasted beet rat tail garnish for halloween cocktail Roasted beet tails make the perfect rat-rump garnish.

drowned rat halloween cocktail by kelli hall for minted, guiness float with roasted beet rat tail

Click through for the recipe for The Drowned Rat

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Recipe: Peanut-Butter Pretzel Popcorn Balls

When I think about classic, homemade Halloween treats, popcorn balls are the first thing that come to mind. I wanted to make some this year but instead of regular versions, I decided to make really over-the-top popcorn balls loaded with all kinds of delicious treats! Peanut-butter cups and pretzels have the perfect salty-sweet flavor combination that I love, and they happen to go great with popcorn. These popcorn balls are chocolatey, peanut buttery, salty, and chewy—perfect for little kids but so yummy that adults won’t be able to resist!

These yummy peanut butter pretzel popcorn balls will be irresistible to kids and adults alike!

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Horror Movie-Inspired Cocktails: The Spider Bite

Next up in our horror movie-inspired series of Halloween cocktails: The Spider Bite. It’s an Arachnophobia-themed libation that’s a fitting homage to the deadly arachnid nest in the film. In the spirit of the film, the drink is infested with an oozing overflow of gelatinous spider eggs, threatening to burst open and release a torrent of tiny hatchlings. But don’t let its sinister look fool you—this cocktail is actually silk sweet and full of rich coffee flavors (the spider eggs are simply tapioca pearls with flecks of vanilla bean!).


More Horror Movie-Inspired Cocktails:
• The Spider Bite (inspired by Arachnophobia)
The Eel Charmer (inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein) 


halloween horror inspired cocktails by kelli hall: Spider bite black russian with tapioca pearl spider sac garnish
A shallow glass like a coupe will help the “spider eggs” float to the top when filled with ice.

halloween horror inspired cocktails by kelli hall: Spider bite black russian with tapioca pearl spider sac garnish Tapioca pearls with flecks of vanilla bean shine like spider sacs, ready to hatch.

Click through for the recipe for The Spider Bite cocktail

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