White Chocolate Gingerbread Bars

 

These are one of my favorite Christmas treats to bake, and it packs well to give as gifts! Last Christmas I found this recipe for White Chocolate Gingerbread Bars (originally adapted from Martha Stewart), and couldn’t wait to try them out. They were perfect, and such a nice different treat to bake.

 

I had everything except molasses in my pantry, so I substituted with honey and they turned out just the way I would have expected, however they might be a wee bit richer with molasses. Either way, I’m pretty sure you’ll love with the results, and am betting you’ll want to add them to your gotta-make-each-year list too. They also pack easily, so they’re perfect if you’re getting recipes ready to share this Christmas season! (By the way, with the amount of butter these babies call for I definitely would have figured they were a Paula Deen recipe rather than from Martha Stewart, but apparently butter makes things better for everyone.  I’m pretty sure I’ve never made another recipe that called for this amount of butter, but I’m sure that’s why they’re so good!) 

White Chocolate Gingerbread Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups + 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup molasses (I substituted with honey)
  • 10 oz, white chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray 17x12" baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix together butter, brown sugar and white sugar with a mixer until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and yolk, 1 at a time and mix well.
  4. Add in vanilla and molasses (or honey if substituting). Reduce mixing speed to low.
  5. In separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
  6. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until combined.
  7. Pour into prepared pan and bake 350 for 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan on wire racks.
  8. Enjoy!
http://passionatepennypincher.com/2014/12/white-chocolate-gingerbread-bars-2/

 

Do you have a favorite Christmas treat that you love to make? Leave a comment sharing the recipe, and feel free to link to it on your blog or another page and we might sample it here! Here are a few more recipes you may want to try . . .

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How To Make Perfect Peanut Butter Fudge

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fudge

Here’s how to make perfect peanut butter fudge.

You can thank me later. ;)

peanutbutter

Perfect Peanut Butter Fudge
Ingredients
  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

peanutbutterfudge

Directions
  1. Grease 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Combine brown sugar, white sugar, butter & evaporated milk in saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Bring mixture to boiling while stirring constantly.
  4. Once boiling, boil constantly for seven minutes without stirring.
  5. Remove from heat, and stir in marshmallow creme until blended in and melted.
  6. Let cool for 15 minutes, then add in peanut butter and vanilla, stir until smooth.
  7. Spread in pan, and let cool.
  8. Cut into squares, and refrigerate to keep firm. YUMMMMMM!

 

desserts

Looking for more special recipes to try this Christmas?  Here are a few of our favorites . . .

Need a little more menu inspiration? go HERE

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Banana Cake (with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting)

 

 

peanutbutterbanana

This has to be one of my favorite cakes I make!  It’s fantastic.  I love the peanut butter mixed with banana flavor, and since peanut butter is on sale at Publix, Target, CVS, Kroger and Rite Aid this week, it’s a great time to try it out!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Banana Cake (with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting)

Ingredients

  • Cake
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 butter (1 Stick) Room Temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cup Reese's Peanut Butter Cup mini's (reserve 12 - 16 for top of cake)
  • Icing
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter room temp
  • 1/2 peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease 13 X 9 pan.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater blade attachment or in a large bowl using an the eggs one at a time and beat until the mixture is fluffy. Mix in the sour cream, bananas, and lemon juice. Pour in the flour mixture a little at a time and beat until well blended. Gently stir in the peanut butter cup minis with a wooden spoon. Spread batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden. Cool the cake wire rack.
  5. Make the frosting. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter until well blended. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the powdered sugar until well incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat for another 30 seconds. Add the heavy whipping cream and beat for about three minutes until the frosting is fairly light and smooth.
  6. Spread the frosting on the completely cooled cake. Place the reserved peanut butter cup minis in the minis on the cake, evenly spaced. Cut into 12 pieces and serve. Store leftover cake in the refrigerator. It keeps well for about 3 -4 days.
http://passionatepennypincher.com/2014/08/reeses-peanut-butter-cup-banana-cake-with-peanut-butter-cream-cheese-frosting/

 

 

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Skillet Apple Pie

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Oh. my.

 

This is simply the best apple pie recipe I’ve ever eaten, and while we don’t make it all that often, every time we do my little family is so glad they lucked into having me as a mom! ;) We had company in town this week, and when I was debating what to make for dessert, I remembered having a few apples in the fridge that needed to be used up.

 

This was perfect.

Now, my kiddos start school next week way up here in Ohio, and I promise to start sharing what we actually have for dinner, but for this last sweet week of summer I’m still throwing together simple dinners and taking time to savor some dessert. I promise you’ll love every last bite of this one, and would love to hear what you think if you’re able to sweeten things up a bit in your home too.

Skillet Apple Pie

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs apples (recommended is 2 lbs. Granny Smith & 2 lbs. Braeburn apples, I used 5 green apples and 2 red apples which worked well)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 package refrigerated piecrusts
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • Butter Pecan Ice Cream (optional, but delicious!)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350. Peel and cut apples into wedges. Mix with cinnamon and 3/4 cup graulated sugar.
  2. Add butter to skillet and cook over medium heat. Add brown sugar, and cook stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes (until sugar dissolves.)
  3. Remove skillet from heat and place one of the pie crusts on top of the brown sugar mixture. Then add the apple/cinnamon sugar mixture, and top with the second crust.
  4. Whisk egg white until fluffy, and brush the top of the pie crust with the egg white.
  5. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar onto pie crust.
  6. Cut a few slits in top of pie crust to vent.
  7. Bake at 350 for between 1 hour and 1 hour and 10 minutes (mine was done at 1 hour.) During last ten minutes you may need to cover the pie with foil to keep the pie from browning too much. (Mine was fine without covering, be sure to watch it as you don't want your crust to burn.)
  8. Cool on wire rack for at least thirty minutes, and serve with ice cream.
http://passionatepennypincher.com/2014/08/skillet-apple-pie-3/

 

 

And just in case you need a cast iron skillet, here’s the one I use. I hardly ever pull it out, but sure do love having it for this recipe! (I’m determined to learn to make cornbread in a skillet once chili weather comes around ~ if you have a great skillet cornbread recipe, leave a comment to share, please!)

Looking for more apple recipes? Here you go . . . 

 

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, September 2011 

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Strawberry Cream Pie

 

We’ve been hosting people over at our house lately to get to know them better, which is a great opportunity to do some extra baking! I always ask our guests what their favorite dessert is, and recently we had a neighbor visit that loved fruit pies. Since I’m not really a pie person, I had to find one that I thought looked good, and goodness this one hit the spot!

 

We’d picked three gallons of strawberries which I’d frozen, so I just used those strawberries to make it. In just one night my husband, sixteen-year-old and I devoured it ~ so much for leftovers! :) Here’s the recipe so you can try it out too.

 

Strawberry Cream Pie

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups cookie or graham cracker crumbs (I used Oreos)
  • 6 tbsp sugar (divided)
  • 1/3 cup butter melted
  • 1 pkg (16 oz) frozen strawberries thawed
  • 4 oz cream cheese softened (I used whipped cream cheese)
  • 2 3.4 oz. pkg vanilla instant pudding
  • 2 cups thawed Cool Whip divided
  • 1 1/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix crumbs and 2 tbsp butter.
  3. Blend together and press onto bottom and side of 9 inch pie plate.
  4. Bake 10 minutes and cool completely.
  5. Use food processor to blend strawberries and 4 tbsp of sugar until strawberries are chopped.
  6. Add cream cheese and process until blended.
  7. Spoon into a large bowl.
  8. Add both pudding dry mixes. Stir 2 minutes.
  9. Gently stir in 1 1/2 cups of cool whip. Spoon onto crust.
  10. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.
  11. Garnish with remaining cool whip and sliced strawberries just before serving.
  12. Yum!
http://passionatepennypincher.com/2014/07/strawberry-cream-pie/

Recipe adapted from Kraftfoods.com.

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Berry Trifle

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Berry Trifle

 

Guess what I had for breakfast this morning? ;)

Yup, you guessed it. This is one of those recipes that I wait around all year long to make (for whatever reason?), but it’s just the perfect treat for the 4th. It’s easy to make ahead of time, light and fluffy, and absolutely delicious.

 

Perfect, right? Here’s how to whip it up in your kitchen too, plus all the best prices on everything you need so you can pinch those pennies too. ;)

Berry Trifle

Ingredients

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • large package vanilla pudding, instant
  • 2 cups milk
  • 12 oz cool whip
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 angel food cake
  • 1 qt strawberries
  • blueberries
  • sugar

Instructions

  1. Mix first 5 ingredients together using mixer.
  2. Cut angel food cake into cubes.
  3. Slice strawberries.
  4. Layer cake, then cream filling, then strawberries & blueberries. Sprinkle a little sugar over berries.
  5. Repeat.
  6. Top with remaining strawberries and berries.
  7. Refrigerate for an hour prior to serving. Enjoy!
http://passionatepennypincher.com/2014/07/berry-trifle/

Here are the best sales I see to watch for this week (as of 7/2/14):

  • Strawberries $1.29 at Aldi, $1.99 at Kroger, $2.50 at Publix
  • Strawberries $1.79 at Target (text THANKS to 827438 to save $1 off produce)
  • Blueberries $1.29 at Aldi, $1.25 at Publix
  • Cool Whip $1 at Kroger, $.89 at Publix, BOGO at Winn Dixie
  • Angel Food Cake $3.29 at Aldi
  • Sara Lee Angel Food Cake on sale at Publix, use $2/1 Sara Lee coupon in the Publix Grocery Advantage Buy Flier stacked with $1.50/1 Sara Lee coupon (try zip 10004)

This post is linked to Living Well Spending Less Thrifty Thursday – thanks for the opportunity to link up! Thanks to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Apple Snicker Salad

 

This has become one of my most favorite recipes, and since so many of the items are on sale this week at Publix I figured it was the perfect time to share!  It’s easy to make, takes only a few minutes to throw together, and is sooooo good.  I’m convinced Snickers are good for you since they have peanut butter which of course is protein, and apples are a fruit so this is health food (right?) Here’s the recipe if you’d like to treat your family or friends too. ;)

 

Apple Snicker Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 regular size Snickers candy bars, cut up into 1/2" chunks (or 1 bag of Snickers bites)
  • 6 Apples (I use Gala but any apples will work - cut into chunks bite size)
  • 1 (5 oz.) package instant vanilla pudding
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) tub cool whip thawed
  • 1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping

Instructions

  1. Combine Cool Whip, milk and dry pudding in a bowl with a whisk
  2. Stir in cut up apples and Snicker pieces
  3. Drizzle with caramel
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve
http://passionatepennypincher.com/2014/05/apple-snicker-salad/

 

Here are the best sales I see to watch for this week (as of 5/28/14:)

  • Granny Smith or Gala Apples $3.49/3 lb at Food Lion
  • Snicker Bites $2.50 at Publix, use $3/2 Snickers Bites or $1 off coupon from the 4/27 Red Plum insert
  • Smuckers Caramel BOGO $2.69 at Bi-lo or regular price $2.48 at Walmart, use $1/1 coupon from the 5/11 Red Plum insert
Recipe adapted from Just a Pinch.  Thanks to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE
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Chocolate Cherry Cake With Homemade Chocolate Frosting

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This cake is my oldest daughter’s favorite cake — EVER.  I have made it for her birthday the past 4-5 years.  It is really good, and the homemade icing makes it amazing!  I’m betting you can substitute the cherries for strawberries and it would be just as good.

It looks like it is really rich but the cherries give it such a unique taste.  This is definitely a crowd-pleasing cake!

 

Chocolate Cherry Cake With Homemade Frosting

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. (2-layer size) devil's food or chocolate cake mix + ingredients on box to make the mix
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 pkg. (3 oz.) Jell-O Cherry Flavor Gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip Whipped Topping, thawed
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 pkg. (3 oz.) Jell-O Chocolate Pudding
  • 1 jar of drained maraschino cherries, divided

Instructions

  1. Grease and flour (2) 8 or 9 inch pans. (Be sure to flour them well.)
  2. Prepare Cake as directed on box
  3. Add boiling water to gelatin mix; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved.
  4. Stir in cold water. Pierce cake layers with large fork at 1/2-inch intervals.
  5. Pour half the gelatin over each cake. Refrigerate 3 hours.
  6. Mix 1 Container of Cool Whip, Jell-O Chocolate Instant Pudding,1 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of powdered sugar in a bowl.
  7. Dip bottom of 1 cake pan in warm water 1 minute; invert cake onto plate (this is why you want to flour the pan really well - it's so much easier if you have a ton of flour.)
  8. Carefully remove pan (you may need to dip it in warm water more if the cake is not coming out)
  9. Spread cake with 1 cup Cool Whip icing. Reserve a few cherries for garnish.
  10. Chop remaining cherries; sprinkle over cake on plate.
  11. Remove remaining cake layer from pan; place on first cake layer.
  12. Frost top and sides with remaining Cool Whip icing.
  13. Garnish with reserved cherries. YUMMY!!!!
  14. Refrigerate Leftovers
http://passionatepennypincher.com/2014/04/chocolate-cherry-cake-with-homemade-frosting/

 

20140424-192858.jpg

 

Cake recipe adapted from Kraft.com, and Homemade Icing Recipe from All Recipes.  Thanks to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

 

 

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Strawberry Cake

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If I had my druthers, I’d invite every one of you right into my kitchen this afternoon and slice you up a piece of this cake. But, since that’s probably not going to happen, I’ll just share the recipe, and maybe you can invite a friend or two over to enjoy it too. ;)

 

My sister-in-law buys the most wonderful Strawberry Cake from a bakery in Western Kentucky every Easter, and I’ve always wanted to make one at home. So,  I can’t even begin to tell you  how excited I am about this little (big?) slice of happiness!

 

While the cake is pretty darn good, the icing is perfection. When I read through the directions I was afraid it would be a little more challenging than I had time for, but it really was fairly simple, and undoubtedly the best Strawberry Icing I’ve ever tasted. So, dust off your mixing bowls and get ready to bake – this one will be perfect for Easter brunch in your home too!

 

{Excuse me while I run and get just one more bite of that cake, then we’ll get started . . . } ;)

 

Strawberry Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 3 oz package Strawberry Jello
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 3/4 cup mashed fresh strawberries (divided)
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted and divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Mix together cake mix and dry Jello in mixing bowl
  2. Add eggs, oil, water and 3/4 cups mashed strawberries.
  3. Beat with mixer until blended.
  4. Pour into two greased and floured 9" pans.
  5. (Important - be sure to grease your pans well and then flour them, or they will not come out of the pan.)
  6. Bake for 27-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes in cake pans, then place on wire racks and cool completely.
  8. While cake is baking, smash 1 cup strawberries until smooth (you may want to use a blender - I used my Pampered Chef chopper and just got them good and smashed.)
  9. Place strawberries in saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  10. Continue to cook until mixture is reduced by about half (for about 12-18 minutes.)
  11. Remove from heat and cool completely. (I put them in a small bowl in my refrigerator to cool more quickly.)
  12. Beat butter with electric mixer until fluffy.
  13. Add in 1 cup powdered sugar until blended.
  14. Add 2 tablespoons of cooled strawberry puree and vanilla extra, beat into butter mixture until blended.
  15. Repeat with another cup of confectioners sugar, then an additional 2 tablespoons of strawberry puree.
  16. Add one more cup of confections and another 2 tablespoons strawberry puree.
  17. Beat in remaining 1/2 cup confectioners sugar until light and fluffy.
  18. Spread frosting on cake and enjoy!
http://passionatepennypincher.com/2014/04/strawberry-cake/

 

Here are the best sales I see to watch for this week (as of 4/9/14):

  • Duncan Hines Cake Mix BOGO $1.89 at Publix
  • Betty Crocker Cake Mix $1.25 at Kroger
  • Publix Butter on sale $2
  • Kroger Land O Lakes Butter on sale $2.50, use $1/1 Land O Lakes Butter
  • Strawberries on sale $2.99 at Publix, $2.50 at Kroger or $.99 at Target

 

Cake recipe adapted from Kraft.com, and Strawberry Icing Recipe from All Recipes.  Thanks to I Heart Publix for the coupon matchups. If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Nestle Toll House Morsels $.72 This Week At Publix!

 

Most items go on sale every 8-12 weeks in the grocery stores, but one exception to that general rule is on Nestle Toll House Morsels.  For whatever reason it seems like they’re deeply discounted only once or twice each year, and THIS IS THAT WEEK!  (Yes, I’m hollering at you because it is a VERY exciting week for all of us penny pinchers.) ;)

 

Nestle Toll House Morsels BOGO $2.99 at Publix starting today or tomorrow (depending on your area)

 

So, print these coupons now. . . no one should miss this deal.  If you’re not a Publix shopper we’ll be watching for sales at other stores as well, but this is probably my favorite bargain of the year!

 

Not sure what to do with those chocolate chips? Here you go . . .

See all the deals at Publix this week, and check out the complete Publix weekly ad to plan your trip before you go. 

 

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