Sparkle Princess 3rd Birthday Party!

This year, Avery had enough of an opinion that SHE wanted to pick the theme for her third birthday party. I had the luxury of being in total control of her first and second birthday and honestly thought I’d have a couple of more years to decide party themes, but apparently not! I’m not upset though because doing a sparkle princess theme was actually a lot of fun and gave me a little challenge with the dessert table. I ended up doing Princess Popcorn, White Chocolate Castles, Crown Cookies, Royal Gumballs, Majestic Sixlets and Magic Star Fruit Wands! Oh and her cake was by Affordable Splendor Cakes and absolutely DELICIOUS.

Here are some shots from the day.

A-Bday-0001

A-Bday-0007

A-Bday-0006

A-Bday-0002

A-Bday-0004

A-Bday-0003

A-Bday-0005

A-Bday-0019

A-Bday-0017

A-Bday-0021

A-Bday-0025

 

A-Bday-0014

We had such fun at Avery’s party! Can’t believe she’s 3! Love our baby girl!

Continue Reading

S’mores Puppy Chow

_MG_0563

Don’t you hate it when you have a whole blog post written and nearly done and you shut your computer WITHOUT SAVING IT and the next day, BAM!, it’s not there?!  Yeah, me too.  Sooooo, without further adieu, we’re just going to get right to this recipe!  S’mores are everywhere right now because camping is the thing to do (at least in Missouri) and you obviously can’t camp without making s’mores!  But if you’re anything like me and hate to camp but still love s’mores and can’t legally/safely build a bonfire in your backyard, this S’mores Puppy Chow is THE PERFECT thing to make.  It combines the crunchy, addictive goodness of puppy chow with all the decadent components of s’mores.  And it is impossible to keep your hands out of it.  Trust me, I know.  This would be perfect for any July 4th party (yeah, already time to make that menu!)…s’mores without the work and mess but all the flavor!

_MG_0566

Enjoy!

S'mores Puppy Chow
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • ½ c. Butter
  • 2 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 9 c. Rice Chex
  • 2 c. Brownie Mix
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 4 c. Golden Graham Cereal
  • 4 c. Mini Marshmallows
  • 2 c. each Semi-Sweet and Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Place the Rice Chex, 2 cups of the Golden Grahams and 2 cups of the mini marshmallows in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the peanut butter, butter and chocolate chips at 20-second intervals in the microwave, stirring between each until completely melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. Pour the chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the cereal and marshmallow mixture and stir gently until everything is evenly coated.
  4. Place the brownie mix and powdered sugar in a large paper bag. Add the chocolate/peanut butter/cereal/marshmallow mixture to the bag. Shake vigorously to evenly coat everything with the powdered sugar and brownie mix.
  5. Spread the remaining 2 cups of Golden Grahams out in a single layer on two large, foil-lined baking sheets. Melt 1 cup of the semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup of the bittersweet chocolate chips in a medium bowl in a microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each until completely melted and smooth. Drizzle over the Golden Grahams and let the chocolate dry completely.
  6. Place the puppy chow in a large bowl and add remaining 2 cups of the Golden Grahams with the chocolate drizzle, remaining 2 cups mini marshmallows and remaining 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips. Stir everything together. Eat!
Notes
Makes ???? servings. A LOT. Enough for at least 25 people.

 

Continue Reading

Homemade Chocolate Candy Cups

Almond Chocolate Candy Cups

I am still on a healthy sweet kick around here!  Hope you guys don’t mind!  I have been craving chocolate like MAD lately but didn’t want all the refined sugar, dairy and other junk that comes in commercially produced chocolate.  And believe it or not, you can actually make chocolate HEALTHY.  Well, ok, I’m not sure it would be classified as a health food but it’s 1,000x’s better than what you’d buy at the store.

Chocolate Candy Cups

Pistachio Chocolate Candy Cup

Good fat from coconut oil and organic cocoa make these little gems possible.  Seriously, we love them.  Yes, hubby loves them too which is the true test of course!  I topped mine with coconut, raisins, pistachios, almonds and dried mango.  Next time I’m going to experiment with pure mint oil,  peanut butter and a few other variations I have running through my brain.  I can’t wait!

Coconut and Raisin Chocolate Candy Cups

Enjoy!

Original Recipe: Pepperplate

 

Homemade Chocolate Candy Cups
 
Ingredients
  • ⅔ c. Organic, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ⅔ c. Organic Coconut Oil
  • ⅓ c. Agave (or honey, etc)
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Toppings such as dried fruit, nuts, coconut, etc
Instructions
  1. Place mini muffin or candy cups on a cookie sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, melt coconut oil. Whisk in cocoa, agave and vanilla all at once. Spoon chocolate into muffin/candy cups and top with toppings of your choice. Place in freezer for 5-10 minutes until hardened. Store in refrigerator or freezer.
Notes
Makes 15, 1½" chocolate candy cups.

 

Continue Reading

Peanut Butter Fudge Granola Bites

Peanut Butter Fudge and Granola Bites

There was a time in my life when if you had told I could blend peanut butter and beans in a blender and get DESSERT out of the concoction, I’d have said you are CRAZY.  But oh my how true it is.  From brownies to cupcakes, beans are an absolute awesome way to make sweet stuff with less fat and tons more fiber!  And you don’t have to compromise taste and texture to get the health benefits, which is nice.

When I came up with this recipe I was amazed how much it tasted like peanut butter fudge!  So addictive and good.  The short list of ingredients and simple instructions make it a win-win for a healthy, quick dessert!  We love these things and I know you will too.  Just trying to help you stick to those New Year’s resolutions!

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Fudge Granola Bites
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c. (14 oz.) Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Organic Peanut Butter (I used one that is only organic peanuts)
  • ⅔ c. Agave (could also use honey)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • ½ c. Low-Sugar Granola (I used one that is sweetened only with organic apple juice. Try to find one that does not use refined sugar.)
Instructions
  1. Lightly spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor, process all ingredients except the granola until completely blended and smooth. Pour into the pan and spread evenly. Cover with foil and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  3. Cut fudge into 1½" squares. Working quickly, shape into balls and roll in granola. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Notes
Makes 20 bites.

 

 

Continue Reading

Fantasy Fudge

The other day I tried store bought fudge for the first time ever (at least that I can remember).  I literally spit it out.  I could hardly believe how gross it was.  It was just chocolate fudge but it almost tasted like fake chocolate and was so grainy.  Oh my gosh, disgusting.  I honestly wondered how do you make something that tastes so bad?  I mean, you’d almost have to do it on purpose.  And then do you say to yourself, “Wow, this is so gross!  Let’s sell it!”?!!  Mind boggling.  At least to me.  So please do me a favor and DO NOT buy store-bought fudge this Christmas.  It is not difficult to make at home and homemade it so, so, SO much better.  I beg of you, make it yourself!!!!

Ok, now that my impassioned plea has been made I’m going to share the absolute best fudge recipe out there—my mom’s!  She makes this fudge every year for Christmas and trust me when I say it is THE BEST there is.  Super creamy, melt in your mouth chocolate goodness.  Of course my favorite way to eat it is to freeze a bunch of it and when a chocolate craving strikes, I dig a piece out and enjoy it cold.  Soooooo good.  I know there are a lot of fudge recipes out there, but go with this one!  It is tried and true and won’t let you down!

Enjoy!

Fantasy Fudge
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Sugar
  • ¾ c. Butter
  • ⅔ c. Evaporated Milk
  • 1, 12-oz. pkg. Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1, 7-oz. Jar Kraft Marshmallow Creme
  • 1 c. Nuts, chopped (I love English Walnuts)
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Combine sugar, margarine and milk in heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan; bring to full rolling bail, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate till melted. Add marshmallow creme, nuts & vanilla; beat until blended. Pour into greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Let cool and cut into 1-inch squares.
Notes
Makes 64, 1-inch pieces.

 

 

Continue Reading

Chunky Cherry, Oreo & Brownie Bark

Hey friends!  I have good news.  I had so many recipes that I wanted to share with you before Christmas that I absolutely couldn’t decide which ones to do and made the decision to do them all!  Yes, ALL.  Woo hoo!  So, one recipe every day this week.  I’m going to start with a super easy one today for this crazy good Chunk Cherry, Oreo & Brownie Bark.  This is inspired by a certain frozen custard creation that my husband likes to get at out local custard joint, Andy’s.  The combination of cherry, oreo and brownie in cool, creamy custard has become one of my favorites and I wanted to find a way to put it into candy form–hence, this bark!  I was pleased with how it turned out although I think I’d do a few more cherries next time, but that’s just my preference.  It would be great for any holiday party if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen and it’s definitely perfect for gift giving.  Just put it in a festive cellophane bag and voila!  Perfect foodie gift.

Enjoy!

Chunky Cherry Oreo & Brownie Bark
 
Ingredients
  • 2.5 lbs. Dark Chocolate Candy Coating (such as Ghirardelli or Wilton)
  • ¾ lb. White Chocolate Candy Coating (such as Ghirardelli or Wilton)
  • 1, 9x9 pan of Brownies (I used Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix and added a teaspoon of vanilla), cut into 1" sqaures
  • 5 c. Oreos (20 cookies), roughly crushed
  • 1 c. Dried Cherries
Instructions
  1. Melt both the dark and white chocolate candy coating (in separate bowls) in the microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each. Line your kitchen counter with a large piece of foil. In a large bowl, place the brownie chunks and gently stir in the melted dark chocolate candy coating. Be very careful to not break up the chunks of brownie as you stir. Quickly spread the brownies and chocolate onto the foil and immediately top with the crushed brownies and gently press them into the brownie/chocolate layer. Immediately drizzle with the melted white chocolate candy coating and sprinkle with the dried cherries. Let cool completely until chocolate is hard. Cut into pieces with a sharp knife and store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes about 3 lbs of candy.

 

Continue Reading

Crispy Nutella Candy

I know, I know.  Nutella has been SO done.  But believe it or not, I haven’t done many Nutella recipes on this blog.  As a matter of fact, I think the only one I have so far is for these Dark Chocolate Nutella Raspberry Cupcakes.  But there is a reason people love their Nutella recipes so much and it’s because, well, the stuff is DANG good.  I mean really, all you need is a spoon and the jar and you’re pretty much set.  But mix in into your favorite cookie, brownie or in this case Christmas candy, and you’ve got near dessert perfection.

This is another recipe from my baker-extraordinairre friend, Judy.  I will never forget the first Christmas party at my first “real job” after I got out of college.  She brought these, along with a few other goodies (which I can all recall distinctly and do in fact have the recipes for), and I immediately fell in love.  The original recipe calls for peanut butter so I decided this time to switch things up and use Nutella.  And ummm, holy cow, mother of mercy.  Good.  These are good.  Kind of amazing.  As I was shoving the mixture into my mouth…I mean, delicately taste testing a totally finished and dipped candy, I kept thinking they reminded me of a candy bar but I couldn’t figure out which one.  And then it hit me–Ferrero Rocher!  YUM.

These babies are seriously the easiest candy I have yet to make this holiday season.  It’s all done in one bowl and you don’t even have to use your stove.  Love it.

Enjoy!

Crispy Nutella Candy
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Dry Milk
  • 1 c. Quick Oats
  • 1 c. Rice Krispie Cereal
  • 1 c., plus 2 T. Nutella
  • ½ c. Honey (try to use a honey that is mild in flavor, otherwise it will overwhelm the Nutella a bit)
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 lb. Dark Chocolate Candy Coating Discs (Wilton or Ghirardelli brand is best)
  • White Chocolate Candy Coating for drizzle (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix dry milk, oats, cereal, nutella, honey and vanilla. It will be a very thick mixture. Form into 1½" balls and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes while you melt the dark chocolate candy coating. Dip each ball in the dark chocolate candy coating and let dry completely. Decorate with white chocolate, white/red non-pareils or other decor.
Notes
Makes 40, 1½" balls.

 

Continue Reading

Candy Cane Mocha Fudge Truffles

Ah, Christmas candy, my favorite kind of Christmas indulgence.  I LOVE homemade Christmas candy.  Luckily I am surrounded by family that knows a thing or two about making it.  My mom makes homemade fudge like no one else, my grandparent’s peanut brittle is THE BEST and my aunt Theresa makes divinity that is out of this world.  I guess you could say that candy making runs in my blood!  Hence my love for homemade marshmallows, chocolate covered cherries, toffee, truffles…so many divine options.

For Thanksgiving I had FOUR different kinds of truffles that I wanted to make but between making three different pies, cherry cheesecake and brownies, plus a myriad of non-dessert food, I only got around to making one.  Sigh.  Just not enough hours for all the baking and cooking.  But it’s ok because the truffles were scrumptious!  They’re a combination of coffee, peppermint and dark chocolate.  It’s all mixed up with a touch of cream cheese which makes the center of the truffle almost cheesecake-like!  So good.

Oh and yes, I WILL be making those other truffles and sharing the recipes, don’t you worry.

Enjoy!

Candy Cane Mocha Fudge Truffles
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Bittersweet or Dark Chocolate Chips (I prefer the Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet)
  • ½ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 T. Instant Coffee
  • 4 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 lb. Dark Chocolate Candy Coating
  • 4 Candy Canes, crushed
Instructions
  1. Place chocolate chips in a small bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream just until it begins to boil. Quickly stir in the instant coffee until it has dissolved and pour over the chocolate chips. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Let cool until it is barely warm. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and slowly beat in the chocolate ganache mixture. Place mixture in the refrigerator until stiff, about one hour.
  2. With a melon baller or small spoon, scoop out 1½" mounds onto a foil lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate candy coating in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring between each, until completely smooth. Using the palm of your hands, shape the truffle mounds into balls and dip in the melted candy coating. Top immediately with crushed candy canes. Serve immediately or store in a single layer in an air-tight container.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Cappuccino Truffles

Last week I had the privilege of giving a brief presentation to our local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in Springfield, MO.  I shared two recipes with them, one healthy and one definitely not healthy.  I was a little nervous because I have never tried doing a cooking demonstration AND talking at the same time, but everyone was very nice and made me feel very comfortable!

The first recipe I shared was this one for my No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites (chocolate version).  I actually made this one in front of the group with a little help from two lovely assistants.  They were passed around so everyone could try them and the general consensus was “yum!”.  Everyone seemed to love the fact that these were healthy, easy to make and tasted delicious (I describe them as tasting just like a no-bake cookie!).  I was sooo relieved that everyone liked them!

The second goodie I shared were my Cappuccino Truffles.  There are a few candy recipes that I have made many times in the past and NEVER shared and this was one o them.  When I find recipes that people rave over and are willing to pay me to make, it’s hard for me to let go of them, but it was time!  I had these done ahead of time and did a few with coffee bean decor and some with gold luster dust.  It was so fun to pass these out and watch while people tasted them…the look of sheer pleasure on their faces was priceless.  Yep, they’re good.

I make mine with bittersweet chocolate ganache that has a hint of cinnamon and coffee and has been enrobed in a yummy white chocolate.  They are absolutely divine.  If you are looking at candy recipes for this holiday season and just don’t know which one to choose (there are MANY out there) I would highly encourage you to make this one!  They will be gone in seconds wherever you take them.

Needless to say, I had a fantastic time with the MOPS group of girls.  They were so fun and had lots of questions which I actually really enjoyed answering!  I’m definitely thinking I might be ready for my own cooking show….

Enjoy!

Cappuccino Truffles
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. Bittersweet or Dark Chocolate, finely chopped (I prefer Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Bars)
  • 1½ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 T. Instant Coffee Granules (or espresso powder)
  • ½ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1.25 lbs White Chocolate Candy Coating
  • 60 Coffee Beans, for decoration
Instructions
  1. Place the bittersweet/dark chocolate in a large bowl. Place the instant coffee in a small bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy whipping cream to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir 3 tablespoons into the instant coffee, to dissolve the granules, then blend this mixture back into the rest of the cream. Stir in the cinnamon, then pour the cream into the bowl with the bittersweet chocolate. Let the mixture stand for one minute, then stir together until thoroughly blended and smooth. Let cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until thick but not stiff, about 2 hours.
  2. Line a large cookie sheet with foil. With a melon baler, scoop out about 1” balls onto the foil-lined pan. Place in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove from freezer and roll into balls with the palm of your hands. Place back in the refrigerator while you melt the white chocolate.*
  3. Melt the white chocolate candy coating in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring between each until completely melted and smooth. Dip each truffle in the white chocolate and place on foil. Top immediately with a coffee bean.
Notes
Makes 60, 1" truffles. *Be sure your truffles are not frozen or too cold. If they are very cold, it will cause the white chocolate to crack after you dip them.

 

Continue Reading

Butterfinger Fudge

Fudge.  Who doesn’t love fudge??  My mom makes THE BEST chocolate and peanut butter fudge that I have ever had.  I seriously have tried a LOT (more than I care to admit) both from friends, co-workers and fudge shops and I can honestly say I have found NOTHING that beats hers.  She only makes it at Christmas and I am soooo ready to dig into some.

In the meantime I tried my hand at this recipe for Butterfinger Fudge.  It uses lots of candy corn which is perfect since pretty soon it will all be on clearance! I was a little skeptical only because this recipe seemed so easy…no timing or waiting for a certain temperature, just mixing stuff together.  And I thought my recipe for Maple-Walnut Fudge was easy, and it is, but this stuff was so easy my dog could make it.  If I had a dog.  Ok, let’s just say your husband could do it–YES, that easy.  I was pleasantly surprised with the results!  The taste is definitely yummy and I’ll be honest, once you mix the candy corn, peanut butter and sweetened condesnsed milk together it does in fact taste just like a Butterfinger candy bar.  But adding the white chocolate chips dilutes the flavor a bit and it ends up (in my opinion) tasting more like peanut butter fudge.  It’s still super yummy and delish, I just wish there was more of a way to retain that Butterfinger flavor…maybe using peanut butter chips instead of white??  Try it and let me know what you think!

Butterfinger Fudge
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Candy Corn
  • 1 c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 1, 14 oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 c. White Chocolate chips
  • Dark Chocolate for Dipping (I like the Wilton Dark Chocolate Discs or the Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Candy Coating)
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x9 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the candy corn and peanut butter. Stir occasionally. The peanut butter will start to melt and the candy corn will break down. When it gets to the point it looks like cookie dough texture, add in the sweetened condensed milk. Stir vigorously until everything is blended and the candy corn has melted into the mixture completely. It will get thick! Add the white chocolate chips and stir until the are fully melted and blended in with the mixture. Pour into the 9x9 pan and let cool completely. Cut into 1" squares and drizzle or dip in dark chocolate.
Notes
Makes about 50, 1" squares.

 

Continue Reading

Homemade Chocolate Truffles

Hey friends!   Hope everyone has had a great Easter Sunday…ours was filled with a wonderful church service, lunch with family and…well, that’s about it!  Yay for lazy Sundays!

I wanted to share a recipe for homemade chocolate truffles with you guys tonight.  You know, the kind you pay major bucks for at Godiva or another fancy chocolate shop??  Yeah, that’s the kind I’m talking about! It’s soooo easy to make gourmet truffles on your own at home.  They are probably one of the first candies I ever made.  I moved on to other things like homemade marshmallows, chocolate covered cherries, turtles, caramels and toffee, but honestly, there is just something so decadent and indulgent about chocolate truffles.  Especially when they are made with quality ingredients.

When I first started making truffles, I really enjoyed experimenting with them.  I remember how many bottles of liquor I had in my house…and NOT for drinking!  Hah!  No, no it was all used for candy making!  It is super simple to add a little citrus zest, extract or liquor to your chocolate and get a variety of gourmet chocolates.  Some of my favorites were Starbucks coffee liquors and berry liquors.  Can you say YUM??  So use this recipe as a starting point and see what flavors you can add for your own homemade box of chocolates!  I think once you see how easy it is, you’ll never visit a pricey chocolate shop again!

Homemade Chocolate Truffles
 
Ingredients
  • 20 oz. Good Quality, Bittersweet Chocolate Bars, finely chopped, NOT unsweetened chocolate or 2¼ c. Dark Chocolate Chips (I prefer Ghirardelli 70% Bars or I have even used their 60% Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, but I recommend using the bars, as they melt easier than chips)
  • ¾ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Citrus Zest, Flavored Liquor, Extracts, etc for flavoring (optional)
  • Chopped chocolate, cocoa, chopped nuts, melted chocolate, flaked coconut, etc (for coating truffles)
Instructions
  1. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream over medium heat just until it boils and pour it immediately over the chocolate. Let it set for 1 minutes and then stir with a spoon or spatula or whisk until completely smooth. If adding flavor, do so now. Let cool completely and then place in fridge for a couple of hours until the mixture is firm but not stiff or refrigerate overnight (if you refrigerate overnight, let it set out for about 30 minutes to it has softened just a bit and you can scoop it more easily). Using a melon baller, scoop 1" size truffles onto a large baking sheet lined with foil. If the mixture is not too soft, roll into balls with your hands. If it is too soft, place in the freezer for a few minutes to allow to firm up a bit. Once you've shaped the truffles into balls, you can roll them in chopped nuts, finely chopped chocolate, etc or dip in melted chocolate.
Notes
Makes 30 truffles, 1" truffles

 

Continue Reading

White Chocolate Easter Bark

Hi guys!  I wanted to share a super easy, last-minute Easter dessert idea with you today—Easter Candy Bark!  I wish I could take credit for this idea but I actually saw it on Pinterest (shocking, I know) and couldn’t wait to make it.  It took only about 20 minutes to do, which in my book=AWESOME.

So, you can do this a couple of ways if you’d like.  The first is to buy several different colors (including white) of Wilton Candy Melts from your local crafts store (such as Hobby Lobby or Michaels).  Whatever you think is Easterish.  The second way is to buy just white Wilton Candy Melts and color them yourself which is what I did.  I really wanted to control the color of the candy so that they were really pastel and would be exactly what I wanted.  I loved the way they turned out.  Now that you have your options, let’s get on to the recipe!

Easter Bark
 
Ingredients
  • 24 oz. White Wilton Candy Melts
  • Gel-based Dyes (for coloring the white chocolate—VERY important it is gel-based and NOT water-based as the water will cause the chocolate to seize and ruin)
  • Easter Candy such as M&M’s and Jelly Beans (Nerds, Robin Eggs, Skittles…whatever you like!)
  • 1 Large Bowl
  • 4 Small Bowls
  • Several Spoons
  • 1 Knife
Instructions
  1. Line a large baking sheet with foil.
  2. In the large bowl, melt the white candy melts on 20-second intervals in the microwave, stirring between each. Once completely melted, put two large spoonfuls of white chocolate into each small bowl. Color the white chocolate in the small bowls with your gel-based dyes.
  3. Pour the remaining white chocolate out onto the foil-lined baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Spoon out all the colored white chocolate randomly over the white chocolate layer. Run the knife through the chocolate, in a swirled motion one way and then the other way. Sprinkle the candy over the chocolate and then gently press the candy into the chocolate (this is VERY important, otherwise some of the candy will fall off after the chocolate has hardened). Place in the freezer for about 3-5 minutes until completely hardened. Cut into pieces with a sharp knife.
Notes
Makes about 20 pieces.

Continue Reading

St. Patrick’s Day Desserts

I have very fond memories of St. Patrick’s Day as a child.  Especially if the day happened to fall on a schoolday.  We didn’t get just any old lunch for that day…no, we got a lunch filled with GREEN.  Yes, everything was covered in mold!!!!  Ok, not really, that’s actually not true.  My mom never fed us mold.  Not knowingly at least.  Anyway…I distinctly remember cottage cheese tinted with green food dye and shamrock sugar cookies with green frosting.  So healthy, right?  Oh who cares, we loved it and looked forward to it every year!

So, in honor of that fun tradition we had as kids, I found some green desserts for St. Patrick’s Day!  Typically, when you think green and dessert, the first thing that comes to mind is mint.  And I LOVE mint and chocolate combinations.  But I’m sure not everyone is as fond of the flavor as I am so I found a couple more green ideas–pistachio and green tea!  Green tea (or matcha) sounds a little strange but it is actually DELICIOUS in desserts.  And these flavors lend themselves to the possibility of a bit more, shall we say, natural, green color.

Check ’em out!

Mint

Mint Brownies

Mint Oreo Truffles

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Grasshopper Cheesecake

Pistachio

Pistachio Bundt Cake

Cranberry Pistachio Cookies

Frozen Pistachio Pie

Pistachio Layer Cake

Green Tea

Green Tea Pound Cake

Green Tea Truffles

Green Tea White Chocolate Cookies

Continue Reading

New Year’s Eve Party Mini Desserts

I have been in love with mini desserts for years.  They are just so darn cute and the fact that you don’t have to pick just ONE dessert but can in fact try several, due to their tiny size, is just awesome to me.  I love them so much that I actually used to cater desserts and only did miniature sizes.  It was so much fun and sometimes I really miss planning dessert tables for weddings or parties with loads of colorful, bite-size desserts!  Thank goodness for the holidays when I can unleash my creative baking skills (obsession?) on all my family and friends!

So, I thought what would be better for a New Year’s Eve party than mini sweets?!  Finger foods are VERY popular for New Year’s Eve parties and these desserts stay right with that theme.  Some of these are super easy (2-3 ingredients), which is great since you have no doubt been in the kitchen waaaayyyy too much between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Also, another way to make easy miniatures is to bake up a normal 9×13 pan of brownies, blondies, cake, etc. and cut them small with a knife or fun-shaped, small cookie cutters or take any regular ‘ole cookie recipe and just make smaller than normal cookies (be sure to cook them for less time!).  Ok, let’s check out some other awesome tiny goodies from around the blogosphere:

First up, Mini S’mores Cakes.  How cute are these?!  Get a lot more mini ideas from Delish here.

I LOVE baklava.  Love it.  It was the one thing I was looking most forward to indulging in over the Christmas holiday. I’ve actually made Baklava Cups before and they are super good and MUCH less labor intensive than the traditional way.  See more ideas from Women’s Day here.

Mini Oreos.  Yum.

Mini Ice Cream Cookie Pops. How fun!  However, if you’re afraid of the ice cream melting before people can scarf them down, try it with buttercream frosting.

I love these Mini Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats.  Rice Krispie treats are sooo classic and just plain good.

Banana Split Bites.  Delicious and gorgeous.

Vanilla Bean Baby Doughnuts.  Perfect after a night of imbibing.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.  One of my favorites.

Poptarts on a stick.  Totally awesome.  AND easy.

These Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes look soooo rich and decadent.  Pure bliss.

Cut these yummy Red Velvet Brownies super small for bite-size treats.

These Lindt Mini Chocolate Trifles are adorable.  Use some larger shot glasses for the cups and think about switching up ingredients…caramel sauce for the fudge, brownies for the cookies, etc.

I have been making Brownie Tassies forever.  The only thing I do differently is top them with coffee buttercream and toasted, slivered almonds.  People will go nuts over these.

Ummm, excuse me but this Chocolate Covered Bacon Caramel Popcorn is dangerous.  Dangerous I tell you!!  And I am SO going to make it.

These Mini Cherry Pies are just down right pretty.  And begging to be eaten.

I love the playfulness of this Gumdrop Fudge.  Very festive and party appropriate.  Not to mention easy.  We like easy!

Well, hopefully this gives you some inspiration for whatever crazy New Year’s party you may be hosting or attending.  Tomorrow I’ll have my own recipe for Mini Doughnut Muffins!

 

 

 

Continue Reading

A Candy Cane Christmas

Nothing is more symbolic of Christmas than a candy cane and peppermint has been one of my favorite flavors for as long as I can remember.  I’ll never forget taking trips to see my Grandma who lived in Kansas City around the holidays and there was a little ice cream shoppe that had the most amazing hand-dipped candy cane ice cream.  I could hardly stand the three-hour drive from Springfield to KC in anticipation of that peppermint, creamy, frozen goodness!  Such a good memory.

So, I went searching for some awesome peppermint recipes and found so many, I almost didn’t know when to stop!  But I did manage to stop and I have quite the selection to share with you!  Not only are these desserts GORGEOUS but they are chocked full of peppermint goodness.  Make one of these for your holiday gathering this weekend!

 Layered Peppermint Cheesecake Cake

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cheesecake

Peppermint Crunch Truffles

Peppermint Meringues

Peppermint Brownies

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Peppermint Whoopie Pies

 

Candy Cane Cake Pops

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Cake

Chocolate Peppermint Roll with Chocolate Ganache

Peppermint Ice Cream

Peppermint Mocha Kahlua Truffles

Vanilla Peppermint Cupcakes

Continue Reading

Eggnog Fudge

I FINALLY had candy making success last week–yessss!  Lately, things have been a little rough in the kitchen and I have no idea why…maybe doing too much at once or not having enough time, but for whatever reason, my candy making had been very, very sad.  But with this latest recipe for eggnog fudge, I have regained my confidence!  Yay!

I happened to see that Brown Eyed Baker had posted this recipe earlier in the week and decided to make it for my husband’s office Christmas party on Friday night.  I made it Friday morning since the instructions said to let it sit overnight and it was actually totally set up by noon, in about four hours.  I also had a little trouble with the directions, as my fudge reached the temperature  waaaaayyyyy before the stated time of 8-10 minutes.  So I have my version of her recipe in this post, but if you’d like to go by the original, you can find it here.

Oh and I should mention that the day I made this it tasted very much like white chocolate to me and not as eggnog-y as I had hoped but by the next day the flavor was awesome and tasted JUST LIKE eggnog.  Totally yummy.  Try this recipe for creamy, rich eggnog fudge…you will LOVE it.

Enjoy!

Eggnog Fudge
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Granulated Sugar
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter
  • ¾ c. Eggnog
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • 11 oz. White Chocolate Chips (I chopped mine to allow for quicker melting)
  • ¼ t. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1, 7 oz. Jar Marshmallow Creme
  • 1 t. Rum Extract or Pure Vanilla (which is what I used)
Instructions
  1. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and let it hang over the sides, creating "handles". Butter well and set aside.
  2. In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, eggnog and salt over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, immediately and quickly stir in the chopped white chocolate chips, nutmeg and vanilla until melted and smooth. Stir in marshmallow creme. Beat until blended and then pour into prepared pan. Let stand at room temperature until completely cool and firm.
  4. Using the foil "handles", lift the fudge out of the pan and cut into 1-inch squares. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 60 pieces.

 

Continue Reading

Peanut Butter Balls

As promised, my famous Peanut Butter Ball recipe!  Ok, maybe they’re not quite famous, BUT I have sold alot of this candy over the years and people love them!  It’s a recipe I have never shared before but since I took it to the cookie exchange I figured why not put it on the blog?  As you can see, I chose to top mine with crushed potato chips-delicious!  There are a lot of peanut butter ball recipes out there but this is the best, in my opinion.  They are super creamy and 100 times better than a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  Seriously, the best.  But that’s just my opinion…

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Balls
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 2 c. Creamy Peanut Butter (I prefer Peter Pan)
  • 1 lb. (3¾ c.) Powdered Sugar
  • 1 lb. High-Quality Chocolate Candy Coating
  • Crushed Potato Chips, Chopped Dry-Roasted Peanuts, etc for topping
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a large bowl. Add the peanut butter and stir until smooth and thoroughly combined. Add the powdered sugar and stir until completely incorporated. The mixture will become stiff (you may need to use your hands, I do). Form into two balls and let it stand overnight on the kitchen counter. Knead it the next morning until smooth. Put in the refrigerator to firm up a bit, about an hour. Form into 1½" balls and place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Place back in the fridge while you melt your chocolate. Melt the chocolate candy coating in a microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each, until smooth and completely melted. Dip peanut butter balls (I remove only a few from the refrigerator at a time) in chocolate and immediately top with crushed potato chips, chopped peanuts, etc. and let cool on foil until hardened.
Notes
Makes 55-60.

Continue Reading

Homemade Christmas Candy

This past weekend I made homemade candy, which is probably my favorite thing to make in the kitchen.  I tried a couple of old recipes and a couple of new ones.  One of the new ones was out of a candy book that I have and unfortunately it was a total disaster.  It was supposed to be similar to a 3 Musketeers but was more like chocolate taffy.  The taste was great because I used my super delicious Mexican cocoa powder but the texture was way off.  I was soooo disappointed in the recipe but I’m not going to give up!  I think that is what I like about candy making, it can be a challenge and it’s fun to figure out why recipes went wrong and what to do right or change the next time.

Here is a small collection of candy recipes that I’d love to try this Christmas, from simple to a little bit more complicated.  The homemade Snickers bar and Coffee Toffee are totally calling my name…actually they ALL look good!  Which one would you like to try??

Chubby Hubby Truffles

Gumdrops

Coffee Toffee

Honey Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

Cherry Cordials

Pumpkin Spice Truffles

Peanut Brittle

Eggnog Fudge with White Chocolate and Walnuts

Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

Chocolate Dipped Caramels

Oreo Truffles

Divinity

Homemade Snickers

Peanut Butter Cups

Candy Cane Marshmallows

Salt Water Taffy

Chocolate Covered Coffee Crackle Crunch

Continue Reading

Butterscotch Jumbles

This recipe is perfect for holiday parties, super simple and one that I cannot stop eating!!  I mean seriously, these things are soooo dangerous…I found myself just having one little *nibble* and then another and another and….yeah.  They are kind of an updated version of a candy my mom always made with butterscotch chips, peanut butter and chow mein noodles.  I pretty much threw whatever I had on hand into these and the results were quite amazing.  So if you don’t have the exact ingredients, feel free to get creative although I highly encourage using the potato chips and graham crackers.  And some kind of nut, even if you don’t like peanuts. Just use what ya like!

Butterscotch Jumbles
 
Ingredients
  • 11 oz. Butterscotch Chips
  • ½ c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 1 c. Dry Roasted Peanuts
  • 1 c. Graham Cracker Pieces (about ½-inch)
  • 1 c. Pretzel Chip Pieces (about ½-inch)
  • 1 c. Wavy Potato Chip Pieces (about ½-inch)
Instructions
  1. Line a large cookie sheet with foil.
  2. In a large bowl, melt the butterscotch chips in a microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each until completely melted and smooth. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to coat completely. Drop by spoonfuls onto the foil lined cookie sheet and place in the freezer or refrigerator for a couple of minutes to let firm up completely. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 18-20.

 

 

Continue Reading

Edible Acorn Treats

If you’re still searching for something sweet and kid-friendly to bring to the family gathering tomorrow, look no further!  These little acorns have been popping up all over Pinterest lately and it’s not hard to see why–they are one of the easiest things to make!  All you need are a 3-4 ingredients:  regular semi-sweet chocolate chips, Hershey Kisses and miniature Nutter Butters.  Melt a few chocolate chips until smooth and use that to adhere the Hershey Kiss and regular chocolate chip to the cookie.  Or you could even use chocolate frosting as “glue”.  It’s been done a few ways so whatever you think will work for you is fine!  Have fun!

Photo courtesy of designsbymcm.blogspot.com
Continue Reading