Bake Cookies, Raise Awareness, and Make Friends #CookieSwap2014

It’s that time of year again. The time when we gather with friends and family, spend countless hours finding perfect gifts, and celebrate traditions of years gone by while creating piles of new ones for years to come.

In reflecting on the past year and the growth the KaTom Blog has enjoyed, we decided to take this time of year and pay our good fortune forward. In light of this, we were in search of an opportunity to give back while supporting the compassionate blogging community that we have come to love so dearly.

As if by some divine means, I stumbled upon the 4th annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Now, you may be wondering what cookies have to do with paying it forward but I do believe the creators of this phenomenal annual event cover it most eloquently. For the full story, visit the official Food Blogger Cookie Swap site.

In short, the event brings together food bloggers both across the country and globe to bake cookies for one another and pair their delicious goods with a generous donation to the nonprofit, Cookies for Kid’s Cancer. A perfect blend of camaraderie and doing well by doing good, we knew it was a perfect fit.

Cookie bars, bites, and chocolates - KaTom Blog

Toffee Candy Cookie Bars – KaTom Blog

For the Food Blogger Cookie Swap, we were tasked with preparing a new, or at least new-to-KaTom recipe. We chose to put a spin on a delicious cookie bar from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Of course, since our cookies had to make the long trek across the country to California and up the East Coast to Maryland, we wanted a cookie that shipped well. For the record, cookie bars are pretty much the very best in this department.

With a recipe in mind and the list of bloggers assigned. It was time for baking. Included below you will find the recipe for our cookie bars. The very best part of this recipe is you can switch it up with any of your favorite candies. We made three batches and used three different Ghirardelli chocolates: Peppermint bark bars, sea salt and almond bars, and toffee bars.

Cookie Bars and Chocolate - KaTom Blog

Sea Salt and Almond Cookie Bars – KaTom Blog

If you’re looking to get involved in next year’s Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, be sure to mark your calendar now and start your research with all of this years recipes. Not sure about shipping cookies? Check out The Monday Box blog for the ultimate list of guides and advice for long distance cookie gifting.

To all those that were a part of this year’s swap, we thank you for your spirit of generosity and we look forward to participating with you next year. Thank you to the corporate sponsors, OXO, Dixie Crystals, California Olive Ranch, and Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle. And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, we thank the creators of this wonderful, annual event, Julie at The Little Kitchen and Lindsay at Love & Olive Oil.

Completed recipe _ KaTom Blog

Finished peppermint cookie bars – KaTom Blog


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 and 1/2 cups assorted candy bars chopped

To begin, preheat the oven to 350º F. Then, line an 8-inch, square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Ingredients in Duralex bowls _ KaTom Blog

All ingredients measured out for recipe – KaTom Blog

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a second mixing bowl, stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla. Once combined, add the egg and mix until fully incorporated.

Wet cookie mixture _ KaTom blog

Incorporating candy into mix by hand – KaTom Blog

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. If you are using a stand mixer, it is best to do so on the very lowest setting.

Peppermint Cookie bars _ KaTom blog

Peppermint Cookie Bark – KaTom Blog

Once all ingredients are fully combined, fold in the candy of your choice by hand. At this point, the batter should be very thick.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove the pan from oven and place on a cooling rack. After about 10 minutes, remove from pan and allow to cool completely.

Once fully cooled, cut bars into size of your choice and enjoy.

These bars keep at room temperature for up to one week.

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Chelsea B. Sanz
Chelsea B. Sanz

Chelsea Sanz has lived in East Tennessee since her family moved here from South Florida just before she started high school. While she initially begrudged her new home state, she eventually realized she had come to not only love it, but to “bleed orange” as University of Tennessee Volunteers fans here like to say. She and her boyfriend Hunter, a trail worker for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, enjoy exploring the nation’s most visited national park and coming up with their own farm-to-table recipes.

  1. December 11, 2014 at 1:02 am, Julie Luong said:

    Thank you so much for these. I cannot wait to make a batch!


  2. December 16, 2014 at 3:13 pm, Jennie Phaneuf said:

    Thank you so much for my cookie package. These blondies were absolutely amazing–definitely a must make recipe. Happy holidays!