Bakery Review: Elle’s Patisserie in Springfield, MO

Elle's Patisserie Outside

Elle's Patisserie Front Door

There’s a teeny little shop in our town that sells the most delicious treats.  And when I say delicious treats I’m talking legit truffles, ice cream and serious baked goods.  I had the pleasure of visiting Elle’s Patisserie a couple of weekends ago and was in love with the quaint little shop the moment we stepped inside.  From the cute purple exterior to the lovely little patio outside, everything about Elle’s is perfection.  The interior is relaxed and French inspired and tiny but the perfect size to display everything that comes out of the kitchen.

Elle's Patisserie Menus

Elle's Patisserie Menu

Elle's Patisserie Display Case

Elle's Patisserie Chairs

Elle's Patisserie Banner

Per usual, I wanted to try one of everything and was in a sort of daze just looking at all the truffles.  We sampled some ice cream (totally yummy) and then proceeded with the difficult task of deciding what we wanted to buy.  We finally narrowed it down to a piece of Chocolate Covered Bacon, a Salted Caramel Coffee Macaron, a Dark Ganache Truffle with Cocoa Nibs, a Peanut Butter Ball and a Peanut Butter Ganache Brownie.

Elle's Patisserie Ice Cream

Elle's Patisserie Macarons and Truffles

Elle's Patisserie Brownie

I won’t go into tons of detail about each one because they were all equally divine and if I wasn’t watching my girlish, post-pregnancy figure, I would have promptly bought one of each of everything else.  My favorite thing was probably the macaron.  Or maybe the dark ganache truffle.  Definitely a toss-up. Suffice it to say, Elle knows what she’s doing in the kitchen.

Elle's Patisserie Truffles

Elle's Patisserie Macaron

Elle's Patisserie Brownie and Treats

My only regret is that we didn’t get there a little earlier in the day.  By the time we arrived they were completely sold out of pastries.  Bummer!  But we’ll be back.  Elle’s is definitely a must-visit little chocolate shop so be sure and check them out if you are in Springfield, MO!

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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.

 

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Soft-Baked Monster Cookies

Monster Cookies

One more Superbowl recipe before the big game this weekend!  Who is watching?  Do you even care about the game and teams or is it ALL about the food?!  I say food, duh.  We’re having a party at our house and I can say with certainty I am looking forward to the food the most.  I have some friends who are fabulous cooks so I know we’ll have quite the spread!

M&M’s Fun Size Milk Chocolate Candy, 11-Ounce (Pack of 6)

I found these cookies a couple of weeks ago via Sally’s Baking Addiction (fabulous blog I JUST discovered–where have I been?!) and she has hit it out of the park with this recipe!  I have trouble getting cookies to bake up soft, thick and chewy and these Soft-Baked Monster Cookies fulfill all three of those requirements perfectly!  The only thing I’d do different next time is use MORE crushed Butterfingers and throw in some Reese’s Pieces!  I knew there was something I was missing after the fact and it hit me that Reese’s Pieces would be PERFECT in these cookies, along with all the other add-ins.

Monster Cookie

Set out some milk along with these cookies at your Superbowl party!  People will need it!

Enjoy!

 

Soft-Baked Monster Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. (2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 c. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • ½ c. Sugar
  • 1½ c. Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 2½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Old-Fashioned or Quick Oats (I used old-fashioned)
  • 1 c. Regular M&M's
  • 1 c. Dark Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet)
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2-4 Regular Size Butterfinger Bars, roughly chopped (I used 2 but if I did them again, I'd use more)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in peanut butter and then eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and oats and mix into the butter/egg mixture on low speed. Mix in the M&M's, dark and semi-sweet chocolate chips and Butterfingers.
  3. Roll the dough into 2 " balls and place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 10-11 minutes (10 if you want them just slightly underdone), rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool on pans for 2 minutes and then transfer to wire racks and let cool completely. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 40 cookies.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Pumpkin and More Pumpkin

I really enjoy finding recipes from other blogs to share with you guys.  The only problem is I find so many that it’s hard to choose which ones to include without the post being incredibly long!  So I managed to narrow things down to TEN pumpkin recipes.  All look drool-worthy and absolutely freakin’ delicious.  See if there is one you like and make it!  If you do, please tell me about it in the comments…I truly would love to know what you end up making and loving!

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats

Pumpkin Butter

Mini Pumpkin Oreo Cheesecakes

Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Pretzels

Chai Pumpkin Spice Thumbprints

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin French Toast Casserole

Mini Pumpkin Doughnuts with Rum-Cider Glaze

Pumpkin Candy Cups

Pumpkin Scones

P.S.  I guess I shouldn’t be worried about linking too many recipes–check out this blog!  LOTS of pumpkin going on on this page!  Wow!

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Love is Sweet

My last and final post about our trip to Illinois in August!  I’ve covered chocolate, pie and cupcakes and now the grand finale—the wedding!!!  Jeremy and Lisa worked together at the church we went to in Rockford and when we left a mere 2.5 years ago she wasn’t even dating anyone but before we knew it she was engaged to Adam and it was wedding time!  Lisa is a very detailed oriented person so I expected alot out of this wedding and I can honestly say I was not disappointed!  It was totally a gorgeous, picture perfect wedding.  Seriously.

The ceremony was at 1, with a dessert reception immediately following outside on the front lawn of the church.  There was a white tent with the most amazing spread of mini cupcakes, cheesecakes, chocolate-dipped strawberries, hand pies, mini brownies and chocolate dipped pretzels.  I LOVE mini anything, especially desserts, so it was a feast for the eyes!  And her colors were some of my favorites…pink, grey, black and white.  Loved it.

A few hours later there was a dinner reception at the Rockford Art Museum.  The venue was awesome but even more awesome was this candy buffet!  It had gummies, Jordan almonds, Circus Peanuts, lollipops, gumballs, jelly beans and taffy.  So fun!

Lastly, the wedding cake!  Isn’t it so sweet??  To my surprise this was a strawberry shortcake cake!  The frosting on the outside looked like buttercream but was actually a whipped cream frosting and the inside was layers of yellow cake with strawberries and more whipped cream in between!  Loved it.  Definitely different and memorable!

We were so happy we were able to share in Lisa and Adam’s special day and wish them all the best!

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The Chocolatier, Inc.

A couple of weeks ago Jeremy and I went on a little getaway to Illinois.  Illinois?  Yes, Illinois.  A friend of ours who lives in Rockford, IL was getting married the same week of our anniversary so we thought we’d make a it little anniversary celebration trip too.  We actually stayed in Bloomington, IL the first couple of days of our trip at a little B&B called the Vrooman Mansion (see pic above).  Except there is nothing little about this place…it has 18 rooms, a massive outdoor patio, several parlors and is just gorgeous!  I highly recommend this place if you are travelling through Illinois.  Oh, and the breakfast is divine!

We did lots of antiquating and some other mansion tours (one being the David Davis Mansion–who knew there were so many in Illinois?) and even hit up a winery that had live music one night.  Oh, and found a couple of totally fabulous restaurants.  We LOVED every minute in Bloomington.

Of course part of our trek through Illinois included some carefully researched sweet stops.  The first being this very unassuming chocolate shop in Bloomington, The Chocolatier, Inc.  It’s located in their downtown area and when we drove up I kind of thought it didn’t look too legit.  The outside was meh and inside there were ZERO frills…we’re talking bakery cases for the chocolates and then jars of bulk candy.  No gimmicks, no aesthetic niceties…nothing.

But guess what?  I was WRONG.  This place was more then legit.  It was crazy good.  I didn’t get any of the bulk candy, because I wanted to focus on the chocolate that was made there.  I can honestly say the chocolates at this place were perhaps the best I have ever had.  I’m talking melt in your mouth, nothing artificial, amazing, deliciousness.

Here’s what we got.  It was so hard to choose but I narrowed it down to six.  A Coffee Buttercream, Chocolate Covered Marshmallow, Marzipan Truffle, Amaretto Truffle, a Peanut Butter Cup and a Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.

First of all, none of these were bad.  They were all delicious.  But of course we had to rank our favorites.  The Coffee Buttercream came in last only because I thought it could have used a tad more coffee flavor.  Next, was the Chocolate Covered Marshmallow which was actually really, really good and I have never found a homemade marshmallow I like better than mine (sorry, it’s true!).   After that the Marzipan came in fourth, only because the top three were soooo good.  So third was the Amaretto Truffle…amazing amaretto flavored ganache covered with a milk chocolate shell.  Yum.

Second was the Peanut Butter Cup.  Oh my gosh…I’ve always loved my homemade peanut butter balls but I thought this thing was way better.  So good.

And lastly the star of the show was the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.  Holy cow.  Amazing dark chocolate ganache middle infused with raspberry puree and covered in a dark chocolate shell.  It. Was. Divine.  Not to mention gorgeous.

So yeah.  This place is the real deal when it comes to chocolate.  Definitely go if you are ever there.  Our next stop was in Chicago at a teeny, tiny pie place…can’t wait to share with you next week!

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Bakery Review – Pinkitzel in Oklahoma City

Warning:  This post contains many pictures.  I apologize in advance.  However, I originally had 50 and managed to narrow it down to 20.  And yes, I know you’re dying to see ALL 50 so I have a slideshow at the very end of this post with every. single. photo.

Ok, so I’ve talked about the little trip Jeremy and I took to Oklahoma City and the bakeries we visited, here and here.  But I have saved the best for last.  Pinkitzel is the sole reason I wanted to go to Oklahoma City.  Ever since finding them online a few months ago, I have been absolutely DYING to visit.  And I finally got to!  Since I have ambitions of opening my own candy shop one day, Pinkitzel is a MAJOR inspiration in my book.  I was so excited to go.  Probably too excited.

From the moment we walked in, I tried to contain myself but it was hard!  I’m sure the employees thought we were nuts…Jeremy taking pictures, me jotting down notes…yeah, we looked crazy.  At least I felt like I did.  But I didn’t care!  I was in candy heaven and no one was raining on my parade.  First off, the decor is AMAZING.  Totally my style and pretty dang close to what I’d choose for a store of my own.  It was black, white and hot pink with a rococo/baroque feel to it.  The party rooms were out. of. this. world.  There is a black and white one that could be accented with the colors of the person’s party/event they are having.  I believe the room was set up for an engagement party when we were visiting that day.

And then you have a red/pink room that is very girly and a little smaller, probably more for a young girl’s birthday party or even a bridal or baby shower.  Both of the rooms were so neat and over the top, pretty much like everything in the store.

There were also tons of fun merchandise and nicknacks and novelty gifts.

And the candy.  Oh, the candy.  So much to choose from.  I tried to be really picky but still get a good variety–at $3.75 for 1/4lb, this stuff wasn’t cheap!  But I can honestly say, it was totally worth the price.  A million times better quality than the stuff you’d get somewhere else (like our local shop in Springfield, Mr. Bulky’s) and the selection was just phenomenal.

My only regret about this place was spending $9 on three, yes THREE, cupcakes that were horrible, instead of using it on more candy.  Yes, you are doing the math correctly…$3 each.  I had read reviews that people posted online saying the cupcakes were from somewhere like Sam’s Club and just frosted different colors and sure enough…that’s what they were.  Except I like the cupcakes from Sam’s Club (shocker, I know) and I definitely did NOT like these.  They were even smaller than a regular size cupcake (if you can imagine that) and so loaded with artificially flavored frosting they were nearly inedible.  Let’s just say it was a good thing we were sitting right next to a trash can.  They also had a selection of chocolate truffles that were decent.  Not the best, but definitely ok.

BUT, the candy more than made up for the cupcakes and truffles.  I think it’s clear that the main product focus is the candy and it’s worth every penny.  I truly wish I’d just stuck with candy but I have no doubt I’ll be back to this place.  It’s sensory overload in every way and I love it!  Definitely make sure you stop in if you’re ever in the area!

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Bakery Review – CocoFlow and Bricktown Candy Co. in Oklahoma City

Pretty waterway on our short stroll from CocoFlow to Bricktown Candy Co.

A couple weeks ago I posted about a trip Jeremy and I took to Oklahoma City to visit a few bakeries and cupcake shops, all in the name of research, of course!  We started out our day bright and early with Sara Sara Cupcakes and from there hit up CocoFlow and Bricktown Candy Co.  I won’t go into many details because either of these places because I honestly wasn’t blown away by them.  But here’s a quick rundown with lots of pictures!

Patio outside of CocoFlow.
One of the bakery cases at CocoFlow and a shot of the interior.

I choose CocoFlow because I thought it would be neat to go to a place that wasn’t cupcakes and instead focused on chocolate truffles.  I was actually really excited to visit this little shop right in the heart of Bricktown.  It was a very unassuming, cafe type space.  When we got there, there was actually a chocolate making class in full-swing which I thought was SO cool and wanted so badly to join but we would have had to have previously signed up so it was a no-go.  They had a pretty good variety of chocolate truffles to choose from, a few jars of HUGE cookies and some other miscellaneous baked goods.  I choose a Chili Truffle, Marzipan Truffle, Peanut Butter Cup and Coconut Macaroon.  Jeremy got a lemon bar.

Truffles at CocoFlow.
Peanut Butter Cup at CocoFlow.

My first indication of the quality of this place was when employee waiting on us unwrapped the previously made (who knows when?) lemon bar right in front of us and plopped it on the plate and then proceeded to ask if we wanted powdered sugar on it or not.  Umm, sure.  She then proceeded to ring up our treats (unsuccessfully) and after five or six attempts we were finally able to pay and headed outside to sit on the deck, in the lovely late morning weather.

Lemon Bar from CocoFlow.

I’m going to be honest here…the Chili Truffle was a huge bomb.  We wondered if we got the right thing because there was absolutely ZERO chili/heat to this thing and it was coated in granulated sugar which I just thought was weird.  The Peanut Butter Cup was actually a massive chocolate ganache truffle, dipped in chocolate and then topped with a dollop of peanut butter.  The Marzipan Truffle was again, a thick layer of ganache, a very thin, barely there layer of marzipan and it was dipped in chocolate.  The lemon bar was ok.  Lemon goo and a shortbread crust and almost too sweet.  My favorite (and the only thing I liked..actually I LOVED this thing) was the Coconut Macaroon.  It was decadent and chewy, had loads of almond flavor and was dipped in a dark chocolate.  It was divine.  Needless to say we won’t be back to that place…unless of course, to get a coconut macaroon.

Truffles and Coconut Macaroon from CocoFlow.

Bricktown Candy Co. was also nothing to write home about.  I was kind of shocked by the aesthetics of this place.  They have a prime location in the heart of a historic district but the inside is very rundown, warehouse like.  It’s pretty big and divided into one side which is primarily bulk candy and the other side is gelato and almost every bottled drink and soda known to mankind.

Bricktown Candy Co.

The candy was ok but pretty much the same thing I can get at our local Mr. Bulky’s.  Not the best or freshest but definitely not stale and gross.  Just good, standard candy.  I did try the gelato and it was actually really good…if it hadn’t been 11 in the morning I probably would have gotten some but it was just a little early for ice cream (But ya know not too early for chocolate, cupcakes and candy.  Ugh.).

A shot of the bulk candy side of Bricktown Candy Co.
Taffy and other miscellaneous candy at Bricktown Candy Co.

My biggest issue with this place?  The teenager girl that was working the cash register, smacking her gum and talking on a phone the WHOLE time we were there, including while we were checking out.  Gee, sorry are we interrupting your highly important conversation??  Don’t mind us, just customers wanting to GIVE YOU MONEY.  I mean, really?!  It was so rude.  To make matters worse, one of the managers was there and knew she was on the phone and apparently didn’t think anything of it.  We totally felt like we were an inconvenience to this girl’s phone call.  Yeah, not going back.

Ok maybe for gelato…maybe.

Gelato! It was good. The peppermint was my favorite.
Walls of Soda at Bricktown Candy Co.
This was the side of Bricktown Candy Co. that had the gelato, soda and other paraphernalia.

Ok, so not such great choices on my part but it was still fun to try some new places.  And the day definitely gets better!  Next review–Pinkitzel!

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Bakery Review – Sara Sara Cupcakes in Oklahoma City

Jeremy and I took a whirlwind trip to Oklahoma City this weekend.  The original purpose of the trip was to visit a little candy shop I have been eyeing online for what seems like forever called Pinkitzel.  From what I had seen of their website, this place seemed like a candy lovers dream and their decor was right up my alley–pink, white, black and Rococo everywhere!!  I was absolutely in love.  I had to go.  NOW.  So we decided to do it and after realizing it would take nearly 5 hours to make the drive, we booked a hotel.  Well, at least I thought we had booked a hotel. Jeremy surprised me by booking a B&B just outside of the Tulsa area.  It was so sweet…I think I’ll keep him. 😉

So knowing that we didn’t have to rush back and could just do whatever on Saturday, I immediately looked up other places around OKC we could get our sugar fix at.  I found a few cupcake places and narrowed it down to one and then also discovered another candy shop and a chocolate shop.  Fun!

We set out early (5:30!) Saturday morning and made it just in time for our first destination to open up.  Sara Sara Cupcakes is located in an old, historic party of Oklahoma City…and it is SO ADORABLE.  The house is quite aged, probably built in the early 1900’s which of course only adds to the charm.  They’ve painted the doors pink and the inside is totally white and clean/modern looking.  I loved it.

 As for the cupcakes, they were HUGE which made sense since they were $3.59 each.  I kind of freaked out about the price (however would I be able to try  my regular half dozen?!), but then I was informed that on that day they were 3 for $9…not bad!

So it was decision time…I hate this part!  I am HORRIBLE at making decisions, especially when it comes to dessert and I was struggling.  I can’t tell you how many times the employees at these places stare at me like I’m crazy while I stand in front of their bakery cases looking constipated and Jeremy is flitting around taking pictures.  Yeah…we probably look insane.  But oh well, all in the name of research!  So I managed to decide, with some input from Jeremy, and we came up with the following delightful cupcakes:  Coconut Cream, Crimson & Cream and Judge Joe Cannon.  I will say up front that these cupcakes are delicious and straightforward.  They were all homey and just good.  Nothing fancy or over the top.  Cake and frosting.  That being said, here’s the breakdown of each one.

Our least favorite was the Crimson & Cream.  And not because it was bad!  It definitely was not bad, it was just not our favorite.  The red velvet cake was the perfect buttermilk, red velvet cake…so moist and the cocoa was just barely noticeable.  Like red velvet should be.  Topped with a delicious, not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting and chocolate shavings.  We liked it a lot.

Our next favorite was the Judge Joe Cannon, a banana cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting and chunks of Snickers.  I personally LOVED this banana cupcake because it was actually a super thick and dense banana bread.  Oh, it was soooo good.  However, the frosting was totally a let down…it was not a buttercream but more like a whipped topping that was greasy and slightly grainy.  I was really bummed about it because I loved the cake part so much.

And our absolute favorite was the Coconut Cream.   A delicious and moist chocolate cake topped with a milk chocolate frosting and yummy toasted coconut.  Loved it.

 

 Such a great start to the weekend!  If you are in the area, definitely pick up some cupcakes from them!

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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

 

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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.

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Barbie and Cupcakes

I saw this display the other night in the window of one of my favorite art galleries, Good Girl Art, when Jeremy and I were downtown at Artwalk a couple of weeks ago.  I just thought it was too cute not to get a few pictures of it, despite having to use a camera phone in the dead of night.  So not the best quality, but really, how cute is this??  Barbie, candy and cupcakes.  I love it.

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Orange Slice Cake

I just had to get in one last recipe before Christmas is over and this cake was the perfect one to share.  This is a cake that my Grandma used to make and I first had it a couple of years ago when my Aunt Tammy made it for a family get-together.  Can I just say, this cake totally blew my mind?  I kid you not.  It was so incredibly moist and bursting at the seams with all kinds of good stuff…dates, coconut, orange slice candy and pecans.  It had an orange glaze all over it that had soaked into the cake and made it out-of-this-world amazing.  AMAZING.

I started craving it a couple of days ago.  At first I tried to ignore the craving, telling myself I already had enough to make and bake, but it just got more and more persistent.  So I thought ok, I’ll see if I can find the recipe, but no such luck. Not meant to be.  And then my mom emailed me a recipe for Orange Slice Loaf.  Hmmm, that might work.  But before I settled on that one I hopped onto allrecipes.com and sure enough, found a recipe for an Orange Slice Cake. I figured between the two recipes, I could probably come up with something VERY similar to my grandmother’s.  So I finally gave in, went and bought everything and made the dang cake!  How did it turn out?  Umm, awesome.  If I do say so myself.  Just like Grandma’s!

Now the good thing about this cake is that it gets better with time as it sits in the fridge and soaks up all the orange glaze goodness, so if you make it now, by the time Sunday rolls around it will be complete and total perfection!  Give it a try, I think you’ll love it!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Orange Slice Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla
  • 4 c. All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1½ c. Buttermilk
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 2 T. Orange Zest
  • 1 lb. Orange Slice Candy, chopped (I used my kitchen scissors to cut each piece into 4 small pieces)
  • 1 lb. (2 c.) Dates, finely chopped
  • 2 c. Sweetened Flaked Coconut
  • 1½ c. Pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1 c. Orange Juice
  • 2 c. Powdered Sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in the buttermilk and set aside. Whisk together 3½ cups of the flour and the salt. Add the flour to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the orange slice candy, coconut and dates. Toss with ½ cup of the flour. Add to the batter and thoroughly combine. Fold in chopped pecans.
  4. Pour the batter into the tube pan. Bake for 3 hours. Whisk together the orange juice and powdered sugar. Heat the juice mixture for 30 seconds in the microwave just before applying to the cake. As soon as the cake comes from the oven, poke a few holes in it with a chopstick or other pointy object and begin spooning the orange juice mixture over the cake. It will take several times of spooning it over the cake for it to soak in. Just apply some of the juice, let it soak for a few minutes and then do more. Let the cake cool completely and then put in the fridge until ready to serve.
Notes
Serves 18

 

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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.

 

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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.

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