Christmas Music and Baking...Two of My Favorite Things

Today is a great afternoon for baking. I've learned over the years that baking is one of the few things that helps me relax. I love it. During the Holiday season, baking is often mixed with hot chocolate or a pumpkin spice latte and Christmas music. Today is no exception, I'm just simply baking for small group tonight. I decided on Pumpkin Bars with a Cream Cheese glaze and Cranberry Bars. Since pumpkin is only around for a limited time each year, I like to thoroughly enjoy it! My sweet cousin Katie gave me this recipe for Cranberry Bars and I love them! The only problem is that fresh/frozen cranberries are often hard to find. Enjoy the recipes and let me know what you think!

Pumpkin Bars
Mix 2 cups of sugar, 4 eggs, 1 cup of vegetable oil, and one can of pumpkin (15 oz). Stir in 2 cups of self-rising flour, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of chopped pecans. The pecans are optional.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Top with a cream cheese glaze. The glaze is simply 6 tablespoons of butter, 3 ounces of cream cheese, about 3 cups of powdered sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla. You can adjust the powdered sugar measurement based on how you like the consistency. You can add a little milk to help with the consistency.

Cranberry Bars
Mix 1 1/2 sticks of softened butter, 1 1/2 cup of flour, 1 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 eggs, 2 cups of fresh or frozen cranberries, and 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.

Mix first four ingredients with a mixer at medium speed. Fold in cranberries and pecans. If you use the frozen cranberries, you will need to work fast because the stiffen up the mixture a little. (They really do taste the same). Spread in a greased 8x8 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Top with powdered sugar before serving!