’tis the season…
..for holiday baking!!!
The most wonderful time of the year 😀 I love baking for the holidays. Alright let’s be honest, I love baking anytime. But there is something magical this time of year!! It’s colder outside, the Christmas tree is lit, houses are adorned with lights, there’s a fire in the fireplace, cinnamon & sugar cookie candles are burning, leggings are on…
You know what I mean?? Oh yeah and there are cookies in the oven!!!
These bars are perfect if you want to make a batch of festive cookies, but are pressed for time.
My Bars Background
I first started making bars in high school. I was on the track team, which was about 100 people large. When we’d travel to away track meets in other towns, I wanted to bring something for everyone to have on the bus ride home. In order to make enough cookies, it would take several rounds of pans baking in the oven = lots of time! As a high-schooler, I didn’t have that type of time (now as an adult, I could have given my high school self some pointers, but still)….So, I decided…BARS! Two full sheet pans of bars, and I had enough treats to serve the whole team!
Fast forward and my mom finally told me how expensive a hobby this was….sorry Mom! And thank you for supporting my baking dreams as a child 🙂
Now, I’m still a bars-lover! I prefer soft & gooey over crisp & cakey. Bars are a great option to achieve that melt-in-your mouth, soft texture. Plus, it’s certainly a bonus that bars are relatively quick to make, and super versatile!!
What is red velvet?? Well, its origin is said to go back to the 1800s; however, present day red velvet cake is usually a light chocolate cake with red food coloring. I say light chocolate because red velvet typically has a bit less cocoa powder than the traditional chocolate cake, but enough that you’ll get a light chocolate flavor. There’s something about that red though that turns the flavor of red velvet into a category all its own. Some say that when your eyes see the red color of the cake, your brain factors that in to interpreting the taste…
ANYWAY, however you want to justify it, if you like red velvet, you know what I’m talking about!! There’s just something special about it!
Why not make red velvet bars?! They’re red (of course) which makes them perfect for the Christmas season. Plus soft, flavorful, and bursting with pools of chocolate chips. Double-plus, you can easily make them dairy-free!!
To finish ’em, I made a dairy-free egg nog glaze. Trader Joe’s sells a dairy-free egg nog that is DELISH! I bought it to sip on, but then I was thinking about how to elevate these bars…and bam! Mix together the egg nog and powdered sugar, and you have the perfect glaze.
This recipe makes one 15×10 inch pan of bars, which is about 48 medium-sized bars. It’s the perfect recipe for a cookie swap, potluck, Christmas dessert for the family, or delicious holiday gifts!
Remember to tag your baking endeavors @thefetchingfoodie on Instagram!
2 sticks butter (or vegan butter), at room temperature
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs (or flax eggs)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon cashew milk (or your favorite milk)
2 Tablespoons red food coloring
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 12oz bag chocolate chips (I use Wegman’s semi-sweet chocolate chips, which are vegan!)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons dairy-free egg nog (or your favorite dairy-free milk will work here too if you don’t have egg nog!)
1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Line a 15×10 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Set it aside.
3) Take out your kitchenaid mixer! Or a large bowl with an electric mixer. On a medium-high speed, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Keep the mixer going for at least 5 minutes. The butter-sugar mixture will become a pale yellow color and be light and fluffy.
4) Add in the 2 eggs and vanilla extract and turn the mixer on again. Mix for another minute. Feel free to use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, as needed.
5) Add in the milk and red food coloring and mix again on medium speed. You’ll have a red mixture now!
6) Switch the mixer to the lowest speed. Slowly add in the flour. Add half the flour; then the baking soda, cornstarch, & salt; and finally the last half of the flour. The dough will be thick.
7) Add in the chocolate chips! Reserve a small handful to sprinkle on top of the bars before baking.
8) Remove the bowl from the mixer. If there are still some flour streaks, use a wooden spoon to give the batter a few more stirs.
9) Once the batter is fully combined, spread it into your prepared jelly roll pan. Sprinkle the reserved chocolate chips on top.
10) Bake the bars in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and the surface no longer looks wet.
11) Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool on a hot mitt or wire cooling rack.
Once the bars are cool, it’s time for the glaze!
12) Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. That way, you’ll remove any clumps, which will make for a nice smooth glaze. Whisk in the milk, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until you have a drizzly consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the bars!
Cut into bars, a serve!! I cut them into squares/rectangles. You could cut each square in half diagonally to make triangles..if you want to be fancy 😀
To store the bars, place them in an airtight container. They’ll stay moist and delicious for about a week. If you want to save some for another time, they freeze well! Just make sure they’re in a freezer-safe container and pop ’em in your freezer. When you’re ready to serve them/eat them/bring them to a cookie swap, just take them out of the freezer the night before and put them on your counter. By morning, they’ll be good to go!
Happy Holiday Baking!! Cheers & joy 🙂 <3