Holiday baking is here, and what other way to get in the spirit of things than to bake in your local community kitchen? Baking doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and with the right people, it can be really fun. Here are some easy, dorm-friendly dessert recipes that can get you to either study for your exams and essays or just prolong the inevitable.

Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe has been in my family for years and is super easy to make for soft, chewy peanut butter cookies. The ingredients you will need are: 1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar and 1 egg. First, you need to pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, and mix all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. The recipe does not have any flour, due to the peanut butter, which contains enough flour to hold the cookie dough together. As long as the ratios of sugar to egg to peanut butter are equal, the cookie batter will be easy to make into balls. Next, roll the cookie dough into little balls on an ungreased baking sheet. For decoration, you can sprinkle sugar on them before you put them in the oven. The cookie dough will yield about 24 cookies.

Three-step peppermint bark

This recipe is for those who are ready to skip past Thanksgiving and dwell in the most wonderful time of the year, winter. This recipe comes from a website called Spoonunveristy.com and it contains just three ingredients for peppermint bark. According to Spoonunveristy.com, you will need 1 bag of dark chocolate chips, 1 bag of white chocolate chips, and 2-3 candy canes. If you want more mint, just add more candy canes. Before you can start you will need to obtain two bowls in order to melt the white chocolate chips and the dark chocolate chips. To prepare for the melted chocolate, I suggest you first place the candy canes into a Ziploc bag and crush them with a book or the bottom of one of the bowls. Then you can melt each chocolate in a bowl in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval and repeating until the chocolate is smooth. Pour the melted dark chocolate onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spreading the chocolate evenly along the pan. Then pour the melted white chocolate onto the dark chocolate layer. According to Spoonuniveristy.com, you don’t want to mix the chocolates while spreading, but for more dramatic effect, I suggest you do. With a toothpick, draw designs into the two chocolate layers and then while the layers are still hot and not solid, sprinkle the pre-crushed candy canes on the chocolate spread and refrigerate till hardened. Then break it up to eat the bark.

Hand Pies in any flavor

The best part of Thanksgiving is, of course, the assortment of pies. I’ve found a recipe by Amanda@ afewshortcuts.com and modified it for the holiday season. The recipe is for hand pies that are sure to melt in your mouth on a cold fall day. According to Amanda@afewshortcuts.com, the ingredients are one package of store bought pie crust, sugar for sprinkling, and a medium size cookie cutter. For the fall season, I recommend buying a can of pumpkin pie filling, some cinnamon for a hint of spice, or anything you would personally like in a pie. Remember it is your creation, so you can add whatever you would like to see in a pie, from chocolate to a can of cherry pie filling. Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Then unroll the pie crusts and use the cookie cutter to cut out the desired shape. According to Amanda@afewshortcuts.com, cut out an even amount so each pie can be formed. Then lay out half of pie crust pieces on the baking sheet and add about two teaspoons of filling to each pie crust piece. Place the rest of the cut-out pie crusts onto the filled ones and use a fork to crimp the edges to make it look fancy, or you can use your fingers so nothing will leak out of the pie. Sprinkle sugar on the pies and stick a fork gently into the middle of the newly formed pie so the pies can let out some steam. Bake the pies for about 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Banana Oat Breakfast cookies

Bored of the  same old same old breakfast in the dining halls? Well thanks to Maia Vernacchia@Spoonuniversity.com, this recipe is for breakfast cookies that taste like no other. According to Maia Vernacchia@Spoonuniversity.com, you will need 2 cups of oats, 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 cup of nut butter of choice, 2 ripe bananas, 1⁄4 cup of honey or agave nectar and 1⁄2 cup chopped nuts, chocolate chips or coconut flakes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and spoon tablespoon drops of cookie dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. You should have about 25 to 30 cookies on the pan, and then bake for 15 minutes.

Holiday season inspires creation of baked goods

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