Christmas Chocolate Layer Bars

Rich and fudgy Christmas Chocolate Layer Bars are adorned with festive red and green for the holidays!  Whip up a batch for your cookie tray, and watch them disappear.

It's December 1st, which means we can officially break out the festive red & green goodies for Christmas, right?  Like these fun red-and-green-adorned Christmas Chocolate Layer Bars!

There's just something about holiday baking that's so peaceful and relaxing for me.  I just love to get in the kitchen come holiday time, with the lights of our Christmas tree twinkling in the background and Christmas music softly playing.  And whipping up tasty treats to share with family and friends.  That's true baking pleasure, right there.

I think this love of holiday baking is something I inherited from my Mom.  I can remember her baking away during the holidays, too.  There was truly no shortage of delicious home-baked treats in our home come Christmas time!

And these Christmas Chocolate Layer Bars were one of those many delicious home-baked treats.

But I decided to dress up Mom's Chocolate Layer Bars with the extra-festive touch of red and green M&Ms.  Isn't it fun how something as simple as just a little sprinkling of red and green can bring beautiful holiday spirit to a treat?

The rich fudgy chocolate layer of these scrumptious Christmas Chocolate Layer Bars is made with semi-sweet chocolate chips and cream cheese melted together with a touch of milk.  Slivered almonds are then stirred in for added flavor and a bit of crunch.

This chocolatey goodness is then layered between a buttery-rich crumbly crust ... sprinkled with red and green M&Ms for the holiday touch, of course.


Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened just slightly {do not substitute margarine}
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
For the chocolate filling:
  • 12 oz. (2 c.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1 c. slivered almonds
  • 1 c. red & green M&Ms


Directions

  1. PREPARE THE CRUST:  Mix together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Cut butter into small pieces. With an electric mixer on low speed, blend in almond extract, butter and eggs. (Mixture will be VERY crumbly ... do not over mix. If mixed together too well, the crust will bake up very hard.)
  2. Put 2/3 of the crumb mixture in the bottom of a greased 9x13" baking dish; pat down very lightly with your fingers. Set aside.
  3. PREPARE THE CHOCOLATE FILLING:  Put cream cheese, chocolate chips, and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute to melt, stirring after 30 seconds. (If not melted, microwave in 20-second intervals until melted.) Once melted, stir in almonds.
  4. Pour chocolate filling over prepared crust. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture evenly on top.  Sprinkle M&Ms on top and gently press down into crumb mixture with the palm of your hand.
  5. BAKE:  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Cool completely and cut into small squares. Store in the refrigerator.
  6. Enjoy!


Recipe adapted from: https://www.thekitchenismyplayground.com/

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