Dark Chocolate peppermint cookie bars pin image

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Bars

Hey Pretty Handy Girl readers! It’s Amanda from Domestically Creative and I’m back with another tutorial. This time I’m sharing one of my absolute favorite holiday recipes for Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Bars. Who doesn’t love adding a little bit of peppermint to their chocolate, especially around the holidays?

These cookie bars are sure to be a hit at your house for Christmas, and would make a great recipe to add to Santa’s cookie plate! Check out the instructions below.
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies overview


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 2  large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies, divided

Chocolate Cookie Bars with peppermint candies

Instructions for Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Bars

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder. Set that bowl aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugars, extracts and butter. Beat on medium speed until smooth.
  4. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well each time until they are fully incorporated into the batter.
  5. Slowly mix in the flour mixture from step 2. The batter will get very thick and mixing may become tough with a hand mixer.
  6. Fold in the white chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of crushed peppermint candies.Chocolate cookie bars with white chocolate chips and crushed peppermint
  7. Spread the cookie batter out onto the baking pan prepared in step 1. Use the back of a spatula or large spoon to smooth out the batter. Again it will be very thick and will not spread so you will need to push it around to get into the corners.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the center is cooked through and the edges are slightly crisp.
  9. After removing your dark chocolate peppermint cookie bars from the oven, sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of crushed peppermint candies on top.
  10. Let the cookie bars cool before cutting and serving.Dark Chocolate cookies with peppermint and white chocolate chips

Tip: If you’d rather have individual cookies instead of bars, use a cookie dough scoop to make round balls and place those on a baking sheet. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. Note that the cookies do not spread much while baking.

Close up cookie bar

These dark chocolate peppermint cookie bars are one of my favorite recipes to make for the holidays. They are simple to prepare and the subtle peppermint flavor really gets me in a holiday mood! What are your favorite cookie recipes for Christmas?

If you love this recipe make sure you pin it to save for later!

Dark Chocolate peppermint cookie bars pin image

I’m Amanda, and I am the creator and voice behind the food and DIY blog, Domestically Creative. What started as a place to share updates with friends and family after we moved from Illinois to Tennessee and then to Texas, turned into a passion for finding creative and frugal ways to feed us and decorate our homes.

I have always had the “make it myself” attitude and I’m not afraid to bust out the power tools or get creative when it comes to decorating our home on a budget. You can usually find me scouring the local thrift stores, garage sales and estate sales looking for my next makeover (like this litter box cabinet), or dreaming up ways to make our new house feel more like home. My most recent project was giving my home office a much needed facelift. Some of the plans included creating a fun inspirational accent wall and adding pegboard to store my craft hoards.

I currently call Missouri home, where I live with my husband, dog, and 2 cats in a pretty dull, late 90’s split level. My husband and I both love to travel the U.S and recently purchased a small travel trailer to tag along in our journeys. In our free time together we can usually be found working together on a home project, exploring a new place, or just lounging with our pup, Delilah.

I’d love for you to connect with me on social media via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter!

See all of Amanda’s tutorials HERE.

Every year I try to come up with a simple and inexpensive gift idea for teachers and service providers in my life. But, I don’t want the gifts to look cheap. This year I put together these simple Hot Cocoa on a Stick Gift Mugs. They look festive and provide a nice warm treat for anyone on your “I really should get them a little something” list. Read on to learn how to make these simple gift mugs.

Holiday Gift Idea: Hot Cocoa on a Stick

There are a variety of hot cocoa on a stick recipes. But, the recipe I used for the hot cocoa on a stick can be found on the King Arthur Flour website. The mug and coaster gift idea can be put together quickly and efficiently to make several for a last minute gift idea.



Are you ready for the quickest and easiest tutorial on the Pretty Handy Girl website? Set that stopwatch, because once you have all the materials this Holiday Gift Idea aka Hot Cocoa on a Stick is going to solve your small gift-giving dilemma.

Ready. Set. Go! Put the pine bough, hot cocoa on a stick, printed directions, and (if you’re feeling extra generous) add a gift card. Insert all items neatly into the mug. Center your mug on the wood slice coaster.

Use washi tape to secure the mug to the wood slice coaster. (Overlap at least an inch or two of the washi tape inside the mug rim. Use one continuous piece of washi tape going from one side of the mug, under the coaster, and back up the opposite side of the mug.) Use caution when handling the mugs as the washi tape can rip if jostled too much.

Add a gift tag if you like. Or set them on a tray to deliver in person or put them out as holiday party favors.

What do you think? Easiest holiday gift idea every? I’d love to hear if you have ideas or variations on this holiday gift idea.

In the meantime, I’ll be sipping on a fresh mug of hot cocoa on a stick! Yum!

P.s. Looking for more last minute DIY Gift Ideas? I have an entire Pinterest board full of DIY Gift Ideas here.

Grilled Corn Pesto Pizza

Grilled Corn Pesto PizzaGrilled Corn & Pesto Pizza

I have been pinning lots of grilled pizza recipes, but honestly I’ve never grilled a pizza before. Then I stumbled upon a recipe for grilled corn pizza and decided to alter it a little to suit my taste buds. The result is a light summery flavored pizza you can make in a jiffy.


If you’re like me, you might want to start by cleaning your grill. But, if you’re fine with a little burger grease on the bottom of your pizza, go ahead and get grilling!

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)


Grilled Corn Pesto Pizza


1. Pre-heat your grill on medium high.

2. Soak corn inside the husks for 10-15 minutes in your sink.

Grilled Corn

3. Place the corn (still inside the husks) on the grill for 10 minutes to steam cook (rotating halfway through.) The last few minutes, peel the husks back and lay them on the grill to char the exterior of the corn. Rotate the corn and sprinkle salt and pepper to your taste.

4. Place the pizza crust with the top facing down on the grill for a few minutes to toast it. Remove the crust and set it on a plate (or pizza paddle.)

Pizza Crust on Grill - Grilled Corn Pesto Pizza

5. Spread pesto onto the pizza crust.

6. Cut corn off the cob. Mix corn and parmesan in a bowl.

7. Spread the corn mixture on top of the pesto-covered crust.

8. Add sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella slices onto the the pizza.

9. Put the pizza on the grill and close the lid. Grill the pizza until the cheese starts to melt (check frequently and move it away from the heat if the crust starts to burn.)

Grilled Corn Pesto Pizza

10. At the last minute add the sliced basil on top of the pizza. Remove the pizza before the basil browns.

Grilled Corn Pesto Pizza

Serve up your Grilled Corn Pesto Pizza hot and enjoy! Magnificio!

Grilled Corn Pesto Pizza

I can’t believe how much a grilled pizza tastes like crispy brick oven pizza! Oh grilled pizza, where have you been all my life? Do you have any grilled pizza recipes you like? Please share in the comment section.

materials for sunburn relief spray

Soothe sunburn quick with this simple two ingredient sunburn relief spray.

2 Ingredient Sunburn Relief Spray + Essential Oil Giveaway | Pretty Handy Girl

Two Ingredient Sunburn Relief Spray

Oops I did it again. I forgot to put sunscreen on and lost track of time while weeding this weekend. Now my skin is paying the price with a deep red sunburn.

sunburned shoulder | Pretty Handy Girl

In an effort to find some natural relief, I turned to my essential oil bible: Modern Essentials guide to essential oils book (affiliate link) and found that lavender is a natural pain reliever and soothing oil for burns.

2 Ingredient Sunburn Relief Spray + Essential Oil Giveaway | Pretty Handy Girl

To make this sunburn relief spray, you need only two ingredients! It’s a good idea to keep this bottle handy. Hopefully you won’t need it, but its cooling mist is soothing on sunburned skin.

2 Ingredient Sunburn Relief Spray


2 Ingredient Sunburn Relief Spray + Essential Oil Giveaway | Pretty Handy Girl

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)


Pour 4 ounces of water into a spray bottle. Dispense 10 drops of Lavender oil into the spray bottle.

2 Ingredient Sunburn Relief Spray + Essential Oil Giveaway | Pretty Handy Girl

Swirl the ingredients to mix. Spray onto your sunburned skin.

2 Ingredient Sunburn Relief Spray + Essential Oil Giveaway | Pretty Handy Girl

We just used this spray on my son and my niece while at the beach and they both reported instant relief from their sunburn symptoms. Hooray!

I hope you find this Two Ingredient Sunburn Relief spray equally as helpful this summer.


Pin for later!


keto chocolate mug cake

Keto-Friendly Chocolate Mug Cake

Keto Chocolate Mug Cake

This keto chocolate mug cake is one of the best keto friendly desserts you will eat. We are trying a lot of keto desserts and promise to save you time and money by only posting the keto diet recipes that have passed our taste test!

Dean started the low carb lifestyle over 6 years ago and hasn’t regretted it a bit. He loved, and I mean, LOVED, his pasta! We had pasta almost every night. Bowtie, fettuccine, penne or strozzapreti. It didn’t matter what shape it was or how it was prepared. If we didn’t cook it we ordered it at just about every restaurant we went out to.

Just as much as he loved his pasta, I loved me some bread! Thick garlic Texas toast, Panera Bread’s French loaf and Asiago bagels and of course biscuits with my favorite sausage gravy.

I applauded him for his commitment but I just wasn’t ready to join the low carb tribe quite yet. As a matter of fact, it took me 6 years to get on board. When we decide we are going to do something, we usually go all in. I took the low carb diet up a notch and joined the ketogenic diet lifestyle.

Low Carb vs. Keto

What’s the difference between low carb vs. keto? Let me sum it up with a basic explanation. Low carb basically is when one simply eats less carbs.  The average person consumes around 300 grams of carbs per day so when someone is going low carb they are cutting out pastas, breads, cereals, pizza and sugars.

A simple explanation for ketogenic or ‘keto’ means that you are doing the low carb diet but you are restricting your carbs to around 20-50 grams (or less) per day. Along with your proteins and vegetables, you are eating high fat, the healthy fats like avocados, almonds and olive oil. Sometimes you will see the reference to ‘LCHF’ (low carb-high fat). Some fruits are allowed, mostly berries, but it is not recommended to eat a lot because of their natural sugars which can raise your blood sugar.

We chose to follow the ketogenic diet to lose weight and maintain the weight we loss. Dean currently weighs the same as he did in college and I have lost 10 pounds rather quickly (and manage to keep it off.) It makes sense that when you want to lose weight, your body has to burn all the carbs you consumed to get to the fat. If you eat healthy high fats (that provides energy as well) and less carbs, naturally your body has less to burn to get to the fat.

I love finding new keto-friendly and low carb recipes to experiment with. A lot of times when we go out to eat we try to re-create the same recipe at home but with less carbs. It’s easier than you think. One of our favorites is the keto pizza and the blooming cauliflower.

I’ve been testing out some keto-friendly desserts lately and fell in love with how easy this keto-friendly chocolate mug cake was to make. It even passed the taste test with Dean (who doesn’t have a sweet tooth at all.)  We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Keto Chocolate Mug Cake


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

main ingredients for keto chocolate mug cake


The two ingredients you may not be as familiar with, if you are new to low carb or keto diet recipes, are the natural sweeteners. Two popular sweeteners are erythritol and Swerve. They are sugar replacements that have zero calories without that bitter aftertaste.

Raw Cacoa powder is from the cacoa bean and can be used in baking and to make chocolate drinks.  It doesn’t have all that sugar that some ‘cocoa’ powders have on the grocery store shelves.  Check your labels!

keto-friendly chocolate mug cake

I know we are calling this a keto friendly chocolate mug cake, and this is a photo of 4 ounce ball jars, but work with me here. You can actually use a mug for this recipe but make sure you use one of your smaller 6-8 ounce coffee or tea mugs or else your individual mug cake will look like a dollop at the bottom of your mug. I didn’t have any mugs that small so I improvised with small 4 ounce ball jars that worked perfectly.

Step 1

  • Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a microwaveable bowl or measuring cup. This will usually take 30-60 seconds.
  • Let cool before adding the egg or else the egg will cook slightly in the hot butter.

Step 2

  • Add 1 egg and beat together with butter.

Step 3

  • Add 2 Tbsp. natural sweetener (erythritol or swerve) and mix well.

Step 4

  • Add 2 Tbsp. raw cacoa and mix well.

Step 5

  • Add 1 Tbsp. half and half or heavy cream and mix well.

Step 6

  • Add 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract and mix well.

Step 7

  • Add a pinch of salt and mix well.

Step 8

  • Pour the mixture into one four ounce ball or mason jar. Repeat the directions for each individual serving.

Keto Friendly Chocolate Mug Cake


  • Place jar(s) on a paper plate.
  • Microwave (make sure your mugs are microwavable) for approximately 45 seconds. Every microwave is different so you may need to microwave another 15 seconds. It should be spongy to touch.

*Oven directions are preferred for best overall taste


  • Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit
  • Place all ball jars or coffee mugs (make sure they are oven safe) on a cookie sheet
  • Bake for 13-15 minutes

keto-friendly chocolate mug cake

The top of the cake should be firm to touch. You will know if they aren’t cooked long enough if the top of the individual cakes look too liquid. It’s okay if the batter runs over a bit onto the cookie sheet. The cakes will shrink a little in size allowing plenty of room to top of with Cool Whip.

Step 9

  • Top with Cool Whip. You can do this while the individual keto chocolate cakes are still warm or when they have cooled down a bit. Having the Cool Whip slightly thawed makes applying easier.

Keto Chocolate Mug Cake

Step 10

  • Finish by making your keto chocolate mug cakes look as appetizing as possible by topping off with Lilly’s dark chocolate no sugar added chips.

Keto Chocolate Mug Cake

Add your favorite berries for color, taste and presentation.

keto chocolate mug cake

The anticipation of tasting your first keto chocolate cake dessert is killing you, isn’t it? Can it possibly taste as good as it looks? We’re here to say, yes!

keto chocolate mug cake

We can’t wait for you to try this keto chocolate mug cake and let us know how you like it!

keto chocolate mug cake

Please stop by our blog for more keto recipes and DIY projects like this.

Diane and Dean

Looking for other summery healthy desserts? You’ll love these Red, White & Blueberry popsicles!