Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How to: Host a Holiday Baking Party | Recipe: Salted Nut Bars

How to: Host a Holiday Baking Party

I have mentioned already a couple times this holiday season how many memories I have of baking holiday treats and holiday cookies and sharing them with friends and family.  It’s a day that I look forward to nearly every year.  This year, I started getting a little worried that it wouldn’t get fit in.

And then Imperial Sugar/Dixie Crystals came to me with a great idea: a holiday baking party with friends.  They provided the sugar and the goodies, I invite a few friends over and we created some fun treats to share.  I had five friends over, we made five recipes, we ate, laughed and then all took some goodies home.

Imperial Sugar Baking Party with Friends

A holiday baking party is a new tradition that I will decidedly host every year.  But it does take some preparation so I want to share some Holiday Baking Party tips that I noted:

1. have all of the ingredients you’ll need set out before your friends arrive, especially eggs & butter, so that everything is ready to use in the recipes & easy to find.

2. make sure all of your measuring cups, spoons, bowls, spatulas, etc. are cleaned and easy to find.

Imperial Sugar Baking Party

3. stock up on parchment paper!

4. purchase boxes, cellophane, ribbon and print cute printable tags; Dixie Crystals has some cute ones and my amazing friend Victoria made some gingerbread printables for our party.

Victoria posted an awesome post on Packing Cookies as Gifts. Check it out! 

Baking Party Printables

5. Aside from the goodies you make, have a fun “takeaway” for your guests.  Imperial sent some of their Bake It Forward tins that had an oven mit and some goodies inside, in addition to some tumblers!

How to: Host a Holiday Baking Party

6. Have your recipes picked out and printed out before-hand; print coupons for your Imperial/Dixie Crystals Sugar; purchase all of the ingredients you’ll need.  I also asked my friends for their favorite recipes and purchased the ingredients for those as well.

7. Bake, eat and repeat.  And then give some away too!

salted nut bars

We made many amazing recipes that I will be sharing over the next couple of weeks.  I posted the first last Friday: Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls (don’t miss these!)  And today, the second: The first is Salted Nut Bars.  This is a recipe that Victoria shared from her mom.  This recipe appeared in the 4-H cookbook and it is award-worthy!  Salted nuts, a brown sugar-y shortbread crust and a buttery butterscotch topping…I was in heaven!   These salted nut bars are easy for gifting too: they are stackable, the recipe makes a large pan and they soooo easy to eat!

PrintPrint Recipe

Salted Nut Bars Recipe

Yield: 24-36 bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Sweet & salty holiday recipe for Salted Nut Bars. Brown sugar-y shortbread crust, salted mixed nuts and a buttery butterscotch topping.


3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 (14.75 ounce) can salted, mixed nuts
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 Tbs. water
2 Tbs. butter
1 cup butterscotch chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10x15 rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray.

Combine the flour, brown sugar, salt and 1 cup of butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until combined. Press into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. After it reaches a golden brown color, remove from the oven and sprinkle the nuts on top in an even layer.

While the bottom layer cools, combine the corn syrup, water, 2 tablespoons butter and butterscotch chips in a small sauce pot. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour the butterscotch mixture over the layer of nuts, quickly spreading evenly. Bake for an additional 10-12 minutes until the butterscotch layer is set.

Cool completely before cutting.

Salted Nut Bars

Disclaimer: My baking party was sponsored by Imperial sugar.  All opinions are my own as always. 


44 Responses to “How to: Host a Holiday Baking Party | Recipe: Salted Nut Bars”

  1. #
    Kathryn — December 18, 2012 @ 6:46 am

    This sounds like such a fun idea and it looks like you all had a blast. Is there anything better than baking cookie with a group of friends?

  2. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — December 18, 2012 @ 6:47 am

    You are seriously the cutest person ever- love that apron!!

  3. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — December 18, 2012 @ 7:10 am

    How fun… and I want those bars Cassie!

  4. #
    Vicki Bensinger — December 18, 2012 @ 7:30 am

    What a fun idea. I’d love to do something like this with friends. I look forward to seeing all the recipes you made.

  5. #
    Barbara — December 18, 2012 @ 7:30 am

    Thanks for including the 4-H cookbook recipe! When they asked for recipes, I submitted one, and it was published, so I was pleased. Salted Nut Bars have been baked for many years at our house.

  6. #
    Vicki Bensinger — December 18, 2012 @ 7:53 am

    Cassie I just went through all your links. I wish I had seen this earlier but will contact Imperial for these wonderful tins to send to my cousins son who was deployed just before Thanksgiving. I’m sure he would appreciate this during the holidays.

    In fact I’m going to call my cousin and gather up her family and mine to do a fun baking party for her son. Great idea and fun way to get together with friends. Love the gingerbread tags.

  7. #
    Susan @ OurFamilyEats — December 18, 2012 @ 8:11 am

    Cassie, this post is so inspirational! I want to get in the kitchen with some friends asap. Thanks for sharing all of these great ideas!

  8. #
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain — December 18, 2012 @ 8:26 am

    OMG. I’m moving back to KC ASAP. You gals rock! Seriously, what a great idea for a get together during the holidays. Love!

  9. #
    Joanne — December 18, 2012 @ 8:34 am

    I really want to have a holiday baking party now!! Or to move closer to you so that I can be invited to yours. 😛 Looks like so much fun!

  10. #
    Victoria — December 18, 2012 @ 8:47 am

    So fun! Thanks for having me!

  11. #
    Quinn Harper — December 18, 2012 @ 9:49 am

    Looks like a blast Cassie!

  12. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — December 18, 2012 @ 10:01 am

    Cassie this is so you! Brown sugar, butter, salty, nuts, shortbread….4H cookbook, oh what a gem I bet that is!

  13. #
    Kate@Diethood — December 18, 2012 @ 10:05 am

    Love it! So fun!!
    Stock up on parchment paper made me giggle because that is the first thing on my list because if it’s not first, then I will never ever get it. And I soooo hate going back to the store. 🙂

  14. #
    brandi — December 18, 2012 @ 10:17 am

    that looks like so much fun!

  15. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — December 18, 2012 @ 10:25 am

    Cassie you girls are so cute! And I love your apron. 🙂 These bars – sweet/salty-nutty – screams sally/cassie. I love the sounds of them and all of those other goodies I see packed away. 🙂

  16. #
    Jackie @ Domestic Fits — December 18, 2012 @ 10:37 am

    That looks like so much fun! I wish I lived closer so that I could have invited myself over. And I would even have helped you clean your kitchen.

  17. #
    Denise — December 18, 2012 @ 11:10 am

    Yum these are on my christmas baking list!! Thansk for the inspiration.

  18. #
    Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes — December 18, 2012 @ 11:18 am

    Love this SO MUCH, Cassie! What a fun time and a gorgeous recipe to boot! And I agree with Jackie – I would have gladly scoured some pans in order to score an invite!! 🙂

  19. #
    Erin — December 18, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

    What a fun idea!! You guys look like you had a lot of fun, and made some amazing treats!

  20. #
    Jen @ Savory Simple — December 18, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

    Looks like a fun party! And the bars look totally delicious.

  21. #
    Parker — December 18, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

    How cute is this! I want one! 🙂

  22. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — December 18, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

    Great tips, Cassie! I love your salted nut bars!

  23. #
    Jennifer @ Mother Thyme — December 18, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

    What a great party and excellent tips! These bars look divine! I just love this salty, sweet combo.

  24. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — December 18, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

    I wanna come to your baking party! This looks like it was such a blast! Great tips too!

  25. #
    Megan {Country Cleaver} — December 18, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

    So much fun, Cassie!! I love seeing Ali’s shining face up there as well 🙂

  26. #
    Shanna@ pineapple and coconut — December 19, 2012 @ 1:45 am

    Ah I love it!! I would totally host a baking party I have done decorating parties before which really was just a drinking wine and eating cookie party – but it was still fun!

  27. #
    Rachel Cooks — December 19, 2012 @ 6:32 am

    What a fun idea and these bars look so amazing!

  28. #
    Paula - bell'alimento — December 19, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    Can I come to your party next time? SOOO much fun!

  29. #
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — December 19, 2012 @ 10:50 am

    Baking with friends is THE BEST! 🙂

  30. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — December 19, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

    How fun! I totally want to host one now! And love the Anthro apron, Cassie – I have the same one 🙂

    And these bars – yeah I need them in my life! Butterscotch chips are my weakness!

  31. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — December 19, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

    This is such a fun idea! I’d love to do it sometime.

  32. #
    Cass @foodmyfriend — December 19, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

    You guys are the cutest! I just made mine cookie boxes with a slab of nougat. They are absolutely beautiful!

  33. #
    Baking Serendipity — December 19, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

    Love baking with friends 🙂 And these nut bars look amazing! I’m all over the salty treats this year.

  34. #
    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — December 19, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

    I’ve never baked with friends, only with family. This looks like it was a blast! And delicious, too. Those bars look seriously good!

  35. #
    Tara @ Unsophisticook — December 19, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

    So fun! And I’m such a sucker for a salty-sweet combo — will be trying these nut bars!

  36. #
    carrian — December 19, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

    Look how cute you all are! Love this!!

  37. #
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — December 20, 2012 @ 8:30 am

    These bars look amazing! What a fun baking party!

  38. #
    natalie@thesweetslife — December 20, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

    so fun! I had a mini (2 person) version of this over the weekend! sometime STL & KC need to meet up and have a joint party 😉

  39. #
    Mercedes@Satisfy My Sweet Tooth — December 21, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

    You baking party sounds like so much fun Cassie! And I would like one of these bars right now! I need to make these to bring to share with some of my coworkers who love nuts!

  40. #
    Erin @ Texanerin Baking — December 26, 2012 @ 2:42 am

    Aren’t you fancy with the tins? 😉 I always tell people, “Bring your own tupperware!” Heh. Your way is definitely classier! It looks like you all had a fun time. I wish I knew more baking interested people!

  41. #
    Mary — August 15, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

    Hey you have bake at 35 degrees. Do you mean 350degrees?

  42. #
    Susan Andrews — April 2, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

    Something is wrong w/ this recipe. I followed the directions….there wasn’t nearly enough butterscotch sauce the accommodate the size of the pan. I went ahead & put it in the oven thinking it would bubble up and spread. Nope….stayed right where it was. I pulled it out of the oven, made another recipe of the sauce scraped the nuts and sauce off the shortbread and mixed it together…poured it back in the pan…back in the oven…this time there was enough sauce…left it in for 20 mins & it did bubble up. I also had to add more nuts. Also, you should put the sauce on, spread & then sprinkle nuts or just add the nuts to the sauce before you pour. You can’t spread the sauce when it’s been poured over the nuts. I am hoping the end result is still good.


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