My Christmas gift to you is this trio of super easy, super fast sweets to mix up and take with you to every home you visit this holiday season. If you throw the gingerbread in the oven, make the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, take the gingerbread out of the oven and make the Coconut Drop cookies you can have all three of these treats done in about 2 hours.
Most of the ingredients are probably floating around your cupboard already. A couple weeks ago, my husband was startled to come home and find on the counter a big jar of creamy hydrogenated sweetened peanut butter because I read that our usual natural peanut butter shouldn't be used in cookies. But now I have a big jar of creamy hydrogenated sweetened peanut butter begging to be used, and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars use a full cup of it. I see more of these in our future.
Adapted from Kitchen Tested Recipes: By the Home Economists of the Famous Sunbeam Mixmaster The King of Food Mixers, 1933. As you can see in the picture I added a glaze to mine. The glaze is a little melted butter, a little water, a smidge of lemon extract, and a lot of confectioner's sugar. I glazed the gingerbread while warm so some of it melted into it.
1/2 c molasses
1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 c butter filled to 1 c with boiling water
Heat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into a greased 8" x 8" baking pan. Bake 30 minutes.
Adapted from Festive Foods: Wisconsin Gas Company, 1971. I did not have cans of coconut so I used about 12 oz of sweetened coconut in a bag and it worked just fine. I dipped the bottoms in melted dark chocolate. These would be really good with added craisins or pecans.
4 cans (3 1/2 oz each) coconut
1 can (15 oz) sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 325. Mix coconut and condensed milk. Drop about a tablespoonful at a time on a greased baking sheet. Bake about 20 minutes.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Adapted from Festive Foods: Wisconsin Gas Company, 1971. I didn't have rice cereal or corn flakes on hand so I substituted 3 cups of another cereal (a high fiber one, so treat eaters beware!).
1/2 c light corn syrup
1/4 c brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups rice cereal
1 cup corn flake cereal, slightly crushed
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine syrup, sugar and salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, extract, cereal and chocolate bits. Press into buttered 9" x 9" pan. Chill about one hour. Cut into small squares.