Oreo and Pretzel M&M Bars

I am kind of obsessed with baking with Oreos lately.  I don’t know why but I find myself drawn to recipes that have them as an ingredient. One recipe that I absolutely love is M&M Oreo Cookie Bars by Averie Cooks.  This is not the first time I’ve made them.  I made them around Halloween, using Halloween themed Oreos and Fall themed peanut butter M&Ms.

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The colors of the two star ingredients make them look like the perfect fall dessert.

And how does one make these look like the perfect Christmas dessert?  Simply use Christmas Oreos.

Christmas Oreos

And of course red and green M&Ms.  I chose to use pretzel M&Ms for this because I like the crunch of them and the salty with the sweet.

pretzel m&ms

See how the red filling of the cookie spread through the batter?

batter in panIt can’t get any more Christmasy than this!

bars on plateThis recipe is perfect because you most likely have all the ingredients on hand and it comes together so quickly!  I really wanted to use peppermint Oreos and peppermint M&Ms but couldn’t find the Oreos.

stacked barsThe outcome of using the pretzel M&Ms is exactly what I was hoping for.  And you don’t need to use just Oreos and M&Ms.  You can use whatever cookies or candy you have.  Or do what I do and choose the candy/cookie to go along with the holiday.  That’s why I like this recipe so much.  Give it a try!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I never want to buy pure vanilla extract because it is so expensive.  Yet I know that it can make a huge difference in a recipe.  So what can be better than making your own?  It can’t get any more pure than that and it will save a lot of money in the long run.  I have been wanting to make my own vanilla extract for a long time now.    But that meant I would have to order vanilla beans online to get good, quality ones.  And it is not ready to use right away.  It takes at least two months for the extract to be ready to use.  I kept thinking that I didn’t want to wait that long so why bother.  But of course, if I just did it when I first wanted to, I could be using it by now.

I finally did it.  I ordered Madagascar Vanilla Beans from Beanilla and was happy to see that they were on sale with free shipping!

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In addition to the vanilla beans, all you need is vodka.  I was glad I have an almost full bottle at home because I did not want to go into a liquor store 9 months pregnant.  It just doesn’t seem right.

It is five vanilla beans per 1 cup of vodka.  Pretty much all you do is slice the vanilla beans down the middle (keep the bottom in tack), put them in a glass jar, pour vodka over them, seal the jar, shake, and then wait. And wait…..

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I followed the recipe for homemade vanilla extract from Averie Cooks so make sure you check it out for complete details!  Beanilla also has a recipe as well as a bunch of other great recipes and products!

Of course I can’t tell you how it tastes just yet.  But in eight weeks, I will be sure to update you on how my very own pure vanilla extract comes out!