German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

I had grand plans this past Thanksgiving of making pie, which is definitely one of my favorite desserts.  For me, it ranks up there with cheesecake, bread pudding and really good wedding cake.  However as the time drew near, I quickly realized how challenging it would be to make two or three pies with a seven month old demanding my attention.  Yeah, not happenin’.  Soooo, Plan B was these German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars.  And I must say, I am NOT sad that I had to make these instead!  Imagine pecan pie, loaded with coconut and bittersweet chocolate chunks, on top of a chocolatey crust, in bar form.  To. Die. For.  I can honestly say I’m glad I had to change things up because these were out of this world delicious!

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars 2

 

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars 3

Enjoy!

Original Recipe:  Southern Living Magazine

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 1¾ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ c. Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa
  • ¾ c. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, cubed
Filling
  • 1 c. Dark Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 c. Light Corn Syrup
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3½ c. Pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 2 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I like Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet but you could also use semi-sweet, etc)
  • 2 c. Sweetened, Flaked Coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over the sides to use as "handles". Lightly grease foil.
For the Crust
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and cocoa powder. Add butter and crumble it with your fingers or a fork until it resembles a coarse meal. Press into the bottom of the 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
For the Filling
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and eggs. Stir in 1 cup of coconut and pecans and pour over the crust. Top with remaining cup of coconut.
  2. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and set (mine was still the slightest bit jiggly in the very middle and I was ok with that). Cool completely on a wire rack. Lift baked bars from pan using foil "handles" and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes 20 bars.

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars 4

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Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Piece

Gooey butter cake again?  YES.  And this time with Nutella.  NUTELLA.  In OOEY GOOEY BUTTER CAKE.  Can your mind even comprehend?!  I’ve made all kinds of gooey butter cakes, but this one might be my favorite.  It’s rich, decadent and perfect with ice cream.  A great, chocolatey addition to any holiday spread!

Nutella

Enjoy!

Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake
 
Ingredients
For the Cake
  • 1, 18.25 oz. Box Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • 1 Large Egg, at room temperature
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Filling
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. Nutella
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3¾ c. Powdered Sugar
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan.
For the Cake
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg, butter and vanilla and mix well. Pat into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.
For the Filling
  1. Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs, Nutella and vanilla. Dump in powdered sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly pour in butter. Mix well. Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes (mine is done around 40), until a tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

 

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Christmas Delivery from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Four Jeni's

Christmas came a little bit early this year.  My husband surprised me a few weeks ago with this little box from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (my favorite ice cream).  See, where we live we only have access to Jeni’s at a few local grocery stores that carry a very limited selection of their ice cream.  So it pained me that I wasn’t able to get my hands on their holiday flavors.  But my husband decided to do something about it and ordered four pints of ice cream (the minimum order off of their website), two holiday flavors and two flavors that I had just been dying to try forever.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream

I was so excited to get this box and completely surprised!  Opening it up and discovering the flavors he had ordered was so fun!  We had our very own Boozy Eggnog, Dark Chocolate Peppermint, Queen City Cayenne and Cherry Lambic Sorbet.  They had been frozen in dry ice which meant they were rock solid so we waited and left them sitting out on the counter for about 30 minutes (pure torture!) and finally were able to take a couple bites of each.  Seriously, guys…pure HEAVEN.  It is so hard to even adequately describe the deliciousness of each of the flavors but please take my word for it when I say they were each equally amazing.  I thought for sure my favorite would be the Dark Chocolate Peppermint, but I found myself absolutely craving the Cherry Lambic Sorbet.  It’s literally like thousands of sweet, dark, juicy cherries concentrated into each and every creamy, cold bite.  I’m totally in love.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Unfortunately it’s too late to order Jeni’s in time for Christmas but who cares?!  Order it anyways!  Even if it comes late, it’s still the best gift you’ll get this year!

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Candy Cane Dip and Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies

I’m sure you’ve learned by now I have a slight obsession with mint and chocolate.  From cupcakes to brownies, it might be my all time favorite combination.  This dip and cookies take that obsession to a whole new level.  The dip is divine.  As in, eat-it-with-a-spoon, divine.  It’s creamy, pepperminty, flecked with candy cane chunks and so different than anything else I’ve made for Christmas.  Seriously, if you want to wow people at your next holiday party, make this dip.  It literally took me about five minutes to mix together and then I made these Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies to go with them.  A match made in heaven.  The dip would also be good with bite-size brownies, chocolate chip cookies or even pretzels.

Enjoy!

Candy Cane Dip and Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 7 oz. Marshmallow Creme
  • 1 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1½ t. Pure Peppermint Oil
  • ½ c. Crushed Candy Canes (plus a little bit more for garnish)
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, marshmallow creme and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the peppermint oil and crushed candy canes. Place in a bowl and garnish with more crushed candy canes. Serve immediately with cookies, brownies, etc.

 

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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.

 

 

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Dark Chocolate and Candy Cane Cheescake Cupcakes

Hey guys.  Ok, second recipe this week…Dark Chocolate & Candy Cane Cheesecake Cupcakes.  Yes, you read that right.  Cheesecake and cupcakes in one glorious little package.  I loooooove cheesecake cakes.  My first ever was this Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake a few years ago that I made for Jeremy’s birthday when we were first married.  And there have been many since then, including this Chocolate Stout and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cupcakes and these Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes. But this one is BY FAR my favorite.

I started this cupcake with a layer of crushed Oreo crust, followed by the delicious candy cane cheesecake layer, a dark chocolate cake layer and topped it off with dreamy peppermint frosting and candy cane bark.  OMG, to die for.  My only little issue with this cupcake was the Oreo crust wanted to stick to the wrappers a little but I think that could be avoided with high-quality wrappers.  Mine were pretty cheap.  Also, if you do candy cane bark, be sure to add it the day you plan on serving these.  Otherwise, the moisture from the frosting will cause the little peppermint pieces to bleed onto your cupcake.  Which doesn’t make it taste bad, but I’m not so sure you want your cupcakes to look like they’re bleeding.  But hey, whatever!

I hope you love these as much as I do!  They are definitely going into my regular holiday baking rotation.

Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate and Candy Cane Cheescake Cupcakes
 
Ingredients
Oreo Crust
  • 2 c. Oreo Crumbs
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
Candy Cane Cheesecake
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ c. Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • ¼ t. Pure Peppermint Oil
  • ½ c. Crushed Candy Canes
Dark Chocolate Cake
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1⅓ c. Sugar
  • ½ c. Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1¼ t. Baking Powder
  • 1¼ t. Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Salt
  • ¼ c., plus 1 T. Vegetable Oil
  • ⅔ c. Whole Milk
  • ½ c., plus 1 T. Strong-Brewed Coffee
  • 2 Large Eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Peppermint Frosting
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ½ c. Shortening
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • ½ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ½ t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 t. Pure Peppermint Oil
Candy Cane Bark
  • ½ lb. White Chocolate Candy Coating
  • ½ c. Crushed Candy Canes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cupcake tins with cupcake wrappers.
For the Oreo Crust
  1. Mix melted butter and Oreos together in a medium bowl. Press 1 tablespoon of mixture into each cupcake tin.
For the Candy Cane Cheesecake
  1. Beat cream cheese and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in egg and peppermint oil. Stir in crushed candy canes. Fill each cupcake tin with 1 scant tablespoon of cheesecake.
For the Dark Chocolate Cake
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Spoon 2 tablespoon cake batter into each cupcake tin*.
  2. Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes. Cool completely in tins on wire racks. Frost with peppermint frosting and top with candy cane bark.
For the Peppermint Frosting
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and shortening until fluffy. Gradually beat in 2 cups of the powdered sugar and then ¼ cup of the heavy whipping cream. Beat in the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream. Beat in the vanilla and peppermint oil.
For the Candy Cane Bark
  1. Melt white chocolate in microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each. Spread onto a medium baking sheet lined with foil. Cover with crushed candy canes. Put in freezer for 1-2 minutes until bark has hardened completely.
Notes
Makes 24 cheesecake cupcakes. *I had enough chocolate cake batter to make 6 plain chocolate cupcakes. *Some of my cupcakes sunk in the middle, which sometimes happens with cheesecake. They still turned out fine. Just FYI.

 

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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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Healthy Sweet Treats

As of right now, I’m in recovery stage from Thanksgiving eatings.  Is anybody else with me?  Lots of fruits, veggies, lean meat and trying desperately to stay away from sweets…at least for the moment.  But doesn’t it just seem like you are inundated from Thanksgiving to Christmas (ok, more like Easter) with candy and sweet stuff EVERYWHERE?!  At the office, church, cookie exchanges, holiday parties, special holiday treats from local bakeries and ice cream shops…I mean, you’ve only got one month to stuff your face with all these limited time, seasonal treats!!!!   No wonder people gain on average 10 pounds from November to December.  Sheesh.

I’ve found the best defense is to have a plan of action!  I think ahead about what I REALLY want to indulge in and what I can live without.  It seems that we think since something is laying out on the kitchen table in the breakroom at work, we might as well eat it, even if it’s really not that good.  Save your calories for the things that are AMAZING, not just o.k.  I also like to keep fruits and healthy baked treats on hand at our house.  That way we already have something to grab in case the sweet tooth kicks in or we want to go out and get that limited-time dark chocolate candy cane shake.  Tomorrow morning I’m going to share a recipe for healthy Dark Chocolate Chunk Toffee Bars but for now I thought I’d share some of my favorite healthy treats I’ve done over the past few months. These are all great options and totally delicious.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Trail Mix Bars

Grain-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Java Mocha Protein Balls

Lightened Up Gluten-Free Brownies

No-Bake Almond Butter Rice Crisp Treats

No-Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites

Strawberry Almond Butter Soup

Whole Grain Strawberry Newtons

 

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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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Hot Cinnamon Cranberry Punch

This morning I want to share a recipe that is one of my absolute favorite holiday recipes.  It’s a hot punch drink that my mom makes every year at Christmas and it is one of the most delicious drinks I’ve ever had.  The flavors of cranberry, cinnamon, citrus and cloves are perfectly balanced and blend together so nicely.  And this recipe couldn’t be easier–simply heat and it’s done!  If you are looking for something warm and absolutely delicious, try this punch.

Enjoy!

Note:  This recipes calls for Cinnamon Imperial Candies.  You can find them at Price Cutter or Hyvee. Brach’s brand is best.

Hot Cinnamon Cranberry Punch
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Qt. 100% Cranberry Juice Cocktail
  • 9 oz. (3/4 of 12 oz. can) Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate
  • 9 oz. (3/4 of 12 oz. can) Frozen Lemonade Concentrate
  • 3 Qt. Water
  • 20 Whole Clove
  • 3 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 15 oz. Cinnamon Imperial Candies
Instructions
  1. Heat all ingredients in a VERY large stockpot over medium heat until heated through. Stir frequently.*
Notes
Makes about 25, 8 oz. servings. *The Imperial candies will want to stick to the bottom of the pan while the mixture heats, but just a use a wooden spoon to keep them scraped off and they will eventually melt.

 

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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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All I want for Christmas…

I must have been a VERY good girl this year because I got some of the most wonderful gifts ever this Christmas!  Here is a little roundup of some of my favorites…

My friend Nicole got me this soft, lovely. pink cupcake blanket.  I was thrilled to get it and have been using it every night!  She also got me this Hello Kitty with a cupcake for my birthday back in July so I’d say she knows what I like quite well.

My sweet niece Joslyn got me this absolutely awesome set of earrings.  There are cupcakes, spoons and baking pans!  I LOVE these earrings so much.  I’m seriously considering getting two more holes on each ear just so I can wear them all at the same time!

And last, this ABSOLUTELY AMAZING cupcake Scentsy!!!  My sister-in-law got this for me and I was SO surprised and excited because I had seen this at a local apple festival waaaaayyyyy back in September and wanted it so badly but didn’t get it.  She obviously was paying attention.  I even got some cupcake scented wax cubes to go with it.  Fun!

Overall we had a great Christmas and had so much fun with our families.  I’m always sad to see Christmas come to an end but if it wasn’t just once a year it wouldn’t be quite as special.

I hope you all have a lovely holiday week and New Years.  This week I’ll be posting some fun dessert ideas for your New Year’s party and I’ll also have a blog post looking at 2011’s dessert trends (good and bad) and what’s predicted in the world of sweets for 2012.  Stay tuned!

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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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A Vintage Christmas

I am so in love with this pretty, pastel vintage Christmas dessert table.  If only I had time to squeeze in another Christmas party before this weekend, I’d so do this.  For now I’ll just have to be happy with looking at these pictures…over and over and over again.

 

If you’d like to see more of the photos, you can check them out here.   Hope everyone is having a great week so far!  Only a couple days until Christmas!

 

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Festive Holiday Punch Recipes

Here are some great punch recipes that would be appropriate for either Christmas OR New Year’s.  Any of these would be a nice change from the same old mug of cider or glass of champagne you’d normally serve.  The coffee punch is soooo good…I will never forget the first time I had it at a bridal shower and thought “what IS this?!”  I immediately obtained the recipe (as I’m sure everyone else at the shower did) and occasionally get the urge to make it for myself.  Yes, just for me, no special occasion or party or whatever.  But I haven’t done that…yet.

Hope you find one you love!

Ultimate Eggnog Punch

Coffee Punch

Christmas Cinnamon Punch

Peppermint Eggnog Punch

Milk Punch

Citrus Champagne Punch

Mocha Nog Punch

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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

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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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Christmas Cupcakes

I couldn’t let all this Christmas baking love go by without mentioning what else….cupcakes!  There are some seriously cute ones out there.  I really don’t know how people come up with this stuff, but I LOVE it.  I think I’d make the snowmen, but with my homemade marshmallows, of course!  They are just toooooo cute.  Check out all of them below!

Holly Berry Cupcakes

Candy Cane Tree Cupcakes

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Snowman Cupcakes

Reindeer Cupcakes

Santa Cupcakes

Gingerbread Man Cupcakes

Festive Sugared Marshmallow Cupcakes

 

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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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