The Firelands Kitchen

The Firelands Kitchen by Erin Howarth

A Month Of Holiday Baking Is What's Up For December



Christmas - It’s the most wonderful time of the year! This month our space here will be chock-full of all sorts of sweet treats for you to keep busy in your kitchen.

P.S. Congratulations to Mary Miller of Ashland for being November’s recipe drawing winner!

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Blondie Layer:

3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) salted butter, cubed

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 cup dried cranberries

6 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped


1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

6 ounces white baking chocolate, melted

1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

Prepare the blondie layer: In a medium bowl, melt butter for one minute in the microwave; stir in brown sugar. Scrape the butter & sugar into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Use an electric mixer to beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; gradually add the dry mixture to the butter mixture. Stir in the cranberries and chopped chocolate (the batter will be thick). Spread the blondie batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool completely on a wire rack.

Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well-blended. Gradually add half of the melted white chocolate; beat until blended. Frost brownies. Sprinkle with cranberries. Drizzle with remaining melted white chocolate. Cut into bars- square or triangle-shaped. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Tips: If you’d like to add an orange flavor to these bars, add 1 tablespoon grated orange zest to the frosting.

No Bake Mint Chocolate Bars


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 large egg

3/4 cup shredded coconut

2 cups graham cracker crumbs


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

2 cups powdered sugar

2 to 3 Tbsp. milk

1 tsp. peppermint extract

Green food coloring

Ganache Topping:

2/3 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

2 Tbsp. butter

Base: In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, cocoa and sugar and microwave on high for 45 seconds. Stir, and microwave on high another 20-30 seconds if necessary so that all is melted and combined. Let cool 5 minutes and quickly whisk in egg (mixture will thicken as the egg is incorporated). Stir in coconut and graham crumbs until combined. Press into an 8x8” pan lined with tin foil.

Filling: With an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons milk and beat until smooth, adding a bit more milk or sugar to reach desired consistency. Add extract and green food coloring (as desired). Spread over base in pan.

Ganache: In a medium microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate and butter and melt in 20 second intervals on high, stirring each time, until smooth. Pour over filling in pan. Refrigerate until completely set, at least 2-3 hours, before slicing and serving. Store in the refrigerator or freeze for up to a few months.

Peppermint Molasses Cookies


6 Tbsp. butter, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup molasses

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 box candy canes (about 12 candy canes) finely crushed, reserving 1 tablespoon for the icing


1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbsp. milk

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1 Tbsp. crushed peppermint candy

In a medium bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well blended. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and beat until the dough comes together and is well combined. Stir in peppermint candy. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place about two inches apart on parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheets. Place the cookie sheets in the refrigerator and let the dough chill for about 15-20 minutes (so the cookies don’t flatten during baking). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until cracks begin to appear on the top but the cookies are still soft, about 10-11 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. When cool, drizzle with the peppermint icing. For the icing: in a bowl, mix all the icing ingredients until well blended and smooth. If the icing is too thick to drizzle, mix in more milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until thin enough. Stir in 1 tablespoon finely crushed hard peppermint candy.

Coconut Cake


1 1/2 cups butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1-2 tsp. coconut extract

1 3/4 cups flour

2 cups flaked coconut

Coconut Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream (or more if you want it thinner)

1 tsp. coconut extract

1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Generously grease and flour a Bundt pan. In a medium bowl, mix flour and flaked coconut. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter & sugar. Add eggs and mix until mixture is light and fluffy. Add sour cream, baking powder and coconut extract. Mix well. Add half of the flour mixture to creamed mixture, mix well. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until well combined. Let cake batter rest for 5 minutes. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 60 - 70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 25 minutes. Invert onto serving plate and frost with coconut glaze. For the glaze: Mix ingredients together. Pour on top of cake and let the glaze drizzle down the sides of the cake. Top with coconut, if desired.

Best Ever Banana Bundt Cake

1/2 cup softened butter

1/4 cup canola oil

2 1/8 cup sugar

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 cup buttermilk, (or use sour milk* or 1/2 plain yogurt half milk if I don’t have buttermilk)

3 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking soda

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups smashed very ripe bananas (about 3 or 4 bananas)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt pan and set aside. Smash the bananas and mix in the 2 tsp. of lemon juice and set aside. Using a hand mixer or your stand mixer combine, butter, oil and sugar and mix thoroughly Add eggs one at a time and mix just until combined Add vanilla, salt, and buttermilk. Mix well, scrape edges and bottom of bowl to make sure everything is well combined. Add baking soda and flour mix gently and then add bananas and mix gently again.

Pour the cake batter evenly into the greased and floured Bundt pan (do not fill Bundt pan more than two-thirds full) and bake in the 350-degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Immediately after removing cake from oven. Put cake (still in the pan) into your freezer and freeze for 45-60 minutes. Remove and frost with Cream Cheese Icing. I use 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 (8 ounce) softened cream cheese, 1 tsp. vanilla and three cups of powdered sugar. I use salted butter, if yours is not salted add a pinch of salt. *To make your own sour milk if you do not have buttermilk: Add 11/2 tsp. lemon juice or white vinegar to 11/2 cup milk.

One Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 cup melted butter (11/2 sticks)

11/2 cups packed brown sugar

1 egg (use 2 if they’re small)

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour baking soda and baking powder. Add butter and brown sugar, and vanilla. Add chocolate chips. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 9-11 minutes.

Dark Chocolate Brownies

1 cup butter, melted

1 1/2 cups granulated (white) sugar

1 1/2 cups brown sugar (packed)

1 Tbsp. vanilla

4 eggs

1 cup cocoa powder

11/2 cups flour

1 tsp. salt.

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13-inch pan (Metal is better than glass for these). Combine melted butter, white and brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly blended. In separate bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Gradually stir flour mixture into butter/sugar mixture until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread batter evenly into greased pan. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out almost clean (no liquid batter on the toothpick). Cool completely before cutting.

Chocolate Raspberry No-Bake Cake

3 cups heavy cream or whipping cream

3 oz. powdered sugar (3/4


2 tsp. vanilla extract

18 oz. chocolate wafer cookies (2 boxes Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers)

36 oz. fresh raspberries (can substitute other berries or mixed berries)

Chocolate curls (optional)

Combine the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip until medium peaks form and the cream is the texture of shaving cream. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream on the bottom of your serving platter, in about an 8-inch circle. Arrange a layer of chocolate wafer cookies on top of the cream in a circle, overlapping them slightly to get them to fit (some blank spaces are okay too). Use about 15 cookies per layer: 10 cookies in the outer circle, 4 cookies in the inner circle, and a cookie in the middle, but the exact numbers will depend on the size of your serving platter. Spread a thin layer of cream on top of the cookies, around 1/4-inch thick. You can go all the way to the edge, or leave about 1/2-inch uncovered at the edge if you want the cookies to poke out. Press fresh berries into the whipped cream-if they’re large, cut them in half lengthwise so they don’t poke up too much. Spread another thin layer of whipped cream on top of the berries, just to make the surface smooth for the next layer of cookies. Repeat with a second layer of cookies, and top with more cream and berries. Continue until you’ve used up all the cookies-(about 6 layers of cookies for an 8-inch cake). Top with the remaining whipped cream. Cover the cake loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, to let the cookies absorb the moisture and soften-longer refrigeration is okay, too. When the cookies are soft, top the cake with fresh raspberries, chocolate curls, and a light dusting of powdered sugar, if desired. Slice and serve.

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