Christmas Children's Adventures in the Kitchen

Cassandra's granola bars don't turn out in the cookie competition but it really wasn't her fault! The truth is her granola bars are awesome and delicious thanks to this recipe you will want to add to your go-to treats list that my talented baker friend, Betsy Chan, developed just for Cassandra!  Pull the kids together and whip up a batch of these soon!

Cassandra’s Adventure Island Granola Bars

Recipe created by Betsy Chan, Bloomington, MN

3 cups rolled oats (not quick oats) 1 1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes, loosely packed 1 cup slivered almonds 1/4 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts 1/4 cup sesame seeds 1/4 cup salted sunflower seeds 1/4 cup unsalted butter 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 1/4 cup light brown sugar 3/4 cup honey 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 ½ cup dried tropical fruit mix (chop large pieces into small bits)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Place the oats, coconut, and almonds onto a large cookie sheet pan and bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until lightly brown, tossing occasionally. Carefully pour the mixture into a (non-plastic) large mixing bowl. Stir in the macadamia, sesame and sunflower seeds.

In a small saucepan stir together the butter, both sugars, honey, and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring for a minute. Pour over the oats mixture. Add the tropical fruit; stir well.

Reduce oven to 300 degrees F.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Cover a large sheet of waxed paper over the mixture, and lightly press it down to spread granola evenly (wear oven mitts to press the waxed paper if mixture feels too hot). Remove waxed paper. Bake granola for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

Remove pan from oven onto a cooling rack (or trivet made from Island coconut shells if you have one around!). Cool for at least 2 hours before cutting into bars. Serve at room temperature.


Whether they are a North Pole elf or a South Pole elf, elves love cocoa! Along with Big Laugh parties, Cocoa Slurpoffs are an annual event and the South is getting ready to rise with this delicious, lip-smacking, big slurping, original cocoa recipe from one of Cassandra's biggest fans and my favorite people, Anita Schuler. And as you can see from the photo of a very cute little boy named Sebastian, this cocoa is not just elf approved but kid approved too!

South Pole Hot Chocolate 

Recipe created by Anita Schuler, Philadelphia, PA
(makes two 8 oz servings)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
12 oz cream soda
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup toffee bits
1 cup milk
1// In a medium sauce pan melt butter on low heat. Add brown sugar. Mix and allow sugar and butter to melt together.
2// Put toffee bits into a food processor and pulse until it turns into a fine powder. Then add toffee and milk into the sauce pan. Mix and simmer for about 5 minutes.
3// Add unsweetened cocoa. Whisk everything together.
4// Add cream soda. Simmer on low for another 10 minutes or until hot chocolate starts to bubble & slightly thicken.
5// Serve with cinnamon whipped cream (recipe below). OH OH OH!!
Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1// Add all ingredients together into a mixing bowl.
2// Whisk everything together on high either in a Kitchen Aid mixer or using a hand mixer until stiff peaks form.