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!
Mmmm, pralines. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the correct pronunciation of these yummy drops of sugar and nuts…praw-lines, pray-lines…how do you say it?? I suppose it depends on where you’re from but I’m sure we can all agree these things are delicious! I will admit I had never even made them before until my baking buddy Betsy suggested we get together and try a couple different kinds. She has the best ideas.
I’m not sure how many or exactly what kinds we did that night, but I know we used one recipe that was her grandmother’s and these are the real deal. Honestly, they are hard to describe other than just yummy pecans and sugar…they almost have a maple taste to them. Which I love. They do use a candy thermometer but don’t be afraid! The candy thermometer is your friend! All you have to do is watch that little red line get to 236 degrees and bam! You’re golden and on your way to praline heaven.
- ½ Stick Unsalted Butter
- ½ c. Light Corn Syrup
- ½ c. Evaporated Milk
- 2 c. Granulated Sugar
- 1 t. Pure Vanilla
- 3 c. Pecan Halves
- In a medium saucepan, bring butter, corn syrup, evaporated milk and sugar to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring occasionally so the mixture doesn't scorch, until a candy thermometer reaches 236 degrees (it will take 8-10 minutes). Once it reaches 236 degrees, remove from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans. Continue to stir until very thick and dark in color, about 4-5 minutes (it will become somewhat difficult to stir...my arm was tired!) and immediately and quickly begin spooning onto wax paper or foil. Let sit until cool and completely firm.
So the initial sugar-high has worn off and your kids STILL have enough candy left to get them bouncing off the walls for several days. You need to get rid of that candy FAST. Try some of these delicious, Halloween candy-packed desserts!
So, you want to make fudge but are terrified of candy thermometers and have no idea what the heck soft-ball stage means?! Not to worry, I have a fabulous, EASY recipe for Maple-Walnut Fudge from the Brown Eyed Baker. In mere minutes, you will have creamy, delicious fudge without standing over a stove for hours or having to think about the atomic structure of sugar crystals. I have to admit, there are times when I’m making homemade candy that it feels like I’m doing some weird science experiment in a lab rather than just cooking in my kitchen. Thankfully, this was NOT one of those times.
This recipe was in fact super easy and, I believe, fail-proof. The texture was very smooth and the maple flavor was perfect. The only thing I did different was use two teaspoons of Pure Grade A Maple Syrup instead of the extract because that was all I had. If you’ve never made homemade fudge before, don’t be afraid…start with this recipe…you will be a fudge-making fool before you know it!
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 5 ounces evaporated milk
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon maple flavoring
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- Butter an 8×8-inch or 9×9-inch square pan. Line with parchment paper or foil, and butter that; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, evaporated milk and butter. Bring to a full boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat slightly (no lower than medium-low) and boil for an additional 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and maple flavoring. Transfer the mixture to a standing mixer (or use a hand mixer) and beat the fudge on medium speed until thick and glossy – about 3 minutes. Fold in the walnuts and pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. Slice the fudge into 1-inch squares and serve. (Fudge can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container.)
I’m not a huge popcorn fan but every now and then I do love to munch on some caramel or cheese popcorn and it’s usually around Christmas when some member of my family sees fit to lug a HUGE tin of the stuff to our family holiday dinner. Ya know, cause there’s not enough food at those family dinners.
So the other day I remembered how my mom used to make caramel corn in the microwave. I mean, really, really good caramel corn. From the microwave! She sent me the recipe and I made it for the first time ever and I have to say it’s even better than I remember as a kid. Maybe I can appreciate it more now? Who knows. But for whatever reason I love the stuff and it’s very addictive.
I added my own little touch with some sea salt and then through in some homemade dark chocolate and peanut popcorn. The recipes for both are below and they are super simple but if you only choose to do one, make the caramel corn!
- 8 c. Popped Plain Popcorn (NO salt or butter)
- 1 c. Packed Brown Sugar
- ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks
- ¼ c. Light Corn Syrup
- ½ t. Regular Salt
- ½ t. Baking Soda
- ½-1 t. Fine Sea Salt (depending on how salty you want it to be)
- 4 c. Popped Popcorn (NO butter or salt)
- 1½ c. High Quality Dark Chocolate Candy Coating (NOT chocolate bark)
- ½ c. Dry-Roasted Peanuts
- Line a large cookie sheet pan with foil. Place Popped corn in a large brown paper bag. Set aside.
- Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and regular salt in a large bowl. Microwave on high setting 3-4 minutes, stirring after each minute, until mixture comes to a boil (it only took 3 minutes for mine to boil). Microwave 2 minutes longer (without stirring) and then stir in baking soda. Pour syrup mixture over popped corn in bag. Close bag and shake well. Microwave for 1½ more minutes. Shake bag well. Microwave 1-1½ minutes more (I stopped at 1 minute because it smelled slightly burned and 3 or 4 pieces did burn--no biggie, just watch it). Add the sea salt and shake bag well. Pour onto the large cookie pan. Cool and stir to separate.
- Line a large cookie pan with foil. Place popped popcorn and peanuts in large brown paper bag. Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl at 20 second intervals, stirring between each, until completely melted and smooth. Pour chocolate into the bag over the popcorn and peanuts and shake well. Pour onto the cookie pan. Cool and stir to separate.
Today is National Banana Split Day! Woo hoo, get excited! Personally, I’ve never really been a big fan of banana splits…I mean, if I’m going to have ice cream, I don’t want anything even remotely healthy going on or in it. Give me the sugary, fatty bad stuff all the way. But then I came upon these banana split inspired recipes and OMG I am drooling all over my keyboard. Talk about decadent, over-the-top, gloriously evil, sweet temptation!
Enjoy! And try to keep the drooling to a minimum.
Every now and then I like to wander over to Etsy and see what kind of deliciously evil treats people are coming up with in the Edibles section. I love the creativity that goes into some of the sweet confections and it’s inspiring to see how many of these people make a living doing what they love.
These were some dark and decadent desserts that were calling my name and I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share them with you all. Take a couple of minutes and check out these fun shops and most importantly, buy something!
Have a lovely day!
It’s the start of a new month which means a new “flavor of the month” for most of the cupcake and cake pop places around here (uh, yeah, we have a few). Apparently the flavor star of August is…drumroll please….Key Lime! Can’t say I’m upset about this at all as I heart me some key lime pie. As a matter of fact, I had planned to do some sort of key lime recipe for the last couple of weeks and never could decide if I wanted to do a traditional key lime pie recipe that I have and LOVE or stray from the typical and do something crazy different. Well, I decided on the latter and ended up making some Key Lime Cookie Truffles. These are based off of that famous Oreo truffle recipe…the one people go nuts over that is basically Oreos and cream cheese. Yeah, that one.
Anyway, I used the vanilla Oreos and key lime juice, not fresh squeezed (oh the horror, I know) but Nellie and Joe’s Key West Lime Juice, which in my opinion is just as good. I also threw in some raspberry jam, hoping to get the perfect mixture of sweet raspberry and tart lime but the jam kind of got lost in the mix and the flavor wasn’t too distinct, which was a bummer. I also think I’ll throw in some lime zest next time for even more of a tart factor. These were pretty delish but I think with a couple of tweaks, they’d be out of this world.
P.S. This recipe makes a TON of truffles, like, 80! I’d suggest halfing the recipe.
- 1, 8 oz. Pkg Cream Cheese, softened
- 4 c. (1 lb, 2 oz pkg) Golden Oreos, crushed (I used my food processor)
- 3 c. Graham Cracker Crumbs (I used my food processor)
- ¾ c. AP Flour
- ¾ c. Key Lime Juice
- ½ c. Raspberry Jam (optional)
- 2 lbs. White Chocolate Candy Discs, melted
- In an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the Oreo and graham cracker crumbs, lime juice and flour. Beat in the raspberry jam (if using). Let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
- Line a cookie sheet with foil. Roll dough into balls with the palm of your hands and place on the cookie sheet. Put in the freezer for 30-45 minutes.
- Dip into white chocolate and decorate with green sugar, white chocolate, graham cracker crumbs, etc.
Homemade candy is one of my all-time favorite things to make. I started making my own candy at home about 5 or 6 years ago and have loved it ever since. In the beginning, I even took a couple of classes through a local college in town, which was a lot of fun and I definitely managed to pick up some good tips that I still use to this day. Part of what I love about making candy (and even baking) is that there really is a science behind it…ingredients have to be weighed and measured properly, mixing of ingredients has to occur in a certain pattern and temperatures have to be just right to get the kind of candy you want, whether soft, chewy, hard, etc.
It all sounds kind of intimidating at first but all it takes is a little reading and testing out a few recipes and before you know it you’ll be making your own homemade caramel, marshmallows, peanut brittle or whatever candy you crave and impressing everyone you know!
So today I’m sharing a very simple recipe for Almond Joy Truffles. This was one of the first things I made in my candy making class years ago and I still love it. These little coconut bites taste just like the candy bar you can get in your local grocery store…only without all the extra junk they tend to put in. I put toasted almond slivers on top of mine but if you’re not a nut fan, sprinkle them with toasted coconut or drizzle with white chocolate. Very pretty and tasty. Enjoy!
- 2½ c. Dessicated (Unsweetened) Coconut
- ¾ c. Light Corn Syrup
- 1 lb. Good Quality Milk or Dark Chocolate Coating
- Slivered Almonds, toasted (or toasted coconut, white chocolate, etc)
- Place coconut in a medium bowl. Bring the corn syrup to a boil over high heat. Pour the corn syrup over the coconut and gently mix to coat. Let this sit for at least one hour.
- Melt chocolate in a bowl in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring between each time until completely smooth and melted. Roll the coconut into small balls and dip in the chocolate. Top immediately with one almond sliver (or whatever you are using) and let dry completely on foil.
This past weekend I helped my friend make a 1st birthday cake for her sweet little boy, Jeremiah. We wanted to do a jungle/monkey theme but since neither of us are professional cake bakers/decorators, we had to improvise a little. Fondant was out because not only have I never worked with it before, I really don’t care for the way it tastes. So, after searching the internet we found some ideas we liked, went shopping and prayed it would turn out!
First, let’s start with the cake. It’s a homemade yellow cake covered with a delicious chocolate cream cheese frosting. Both are very simple and very good. For the decorations we used palm trees found at a local craft store. The animals are just chocolate molds that were painted and filled with milk, dark and white chocolate. For the #1, I had my husband outline it on a piece of paper. Then I taped a piece of wax paper on top of the paper with the #1 on it, filled a squirt bottle (like this one) with white chocolate and simply traced the #1, filled it in and popped it in the freezer for a couple minutes. Easy! Once we had it on the cake, we placed banana runts around it. Oh, and the “bamboo” around the cake are Pirouette cookies from Wal-Mart, cut with a serrated knife into different size pieces.
The really was one of the simplest cakes. I think painting the chocolate animals and #1 took the longest, about 1 1/2 hours. So, I hope this gives you inspiration and confidence for your own cake baking adventures! You can do it! Have fun!
(adapted from Allrecipes.com)
1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
1 1/2 c. White Sugar
8 Egg Yolks
3/4 c. Whole Milk
1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
2 c. Cake Flour
2 t. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan and flour. Line pan with a piece of parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, then add the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Pour batter into pan.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Turn out onto the rack and carefully peel the parchment paper from the cake. Gently turn the cake over and use a serrated knife or cake leveler to level the top of the cake. Turn upside down (so that the bottom of the cake is facing up) onto your cake plate. Frost and decorate.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.
4 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Squares, chopped, melted (melt at 20 second intervals, stirring between each) and cooled
1/2 c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened
8 oz. Cream Cheese, cold
1/4 c. Solid Vegetable Shortening
1/4 t. Salt
2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
6 c. Powdered Sugar, sifted
Cream butter, shortening and cream cheese until smooth. Add salt and vanilla. Beat in melted chocolate. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until nice and creamy.
Frost cake with a crumb coat and let harden in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes. Remove, apply the final coat of frosting and decorate immediately.
A couple of days ago I found myself with a few strawberries that desperately needed to be used and found this recipe for Strawberry Lemonade Truffles. Obviously mine didn’t turn out as truffles because the mixture never stiffened up completely so I just turned them into candy cups. While not quite as simple as scooping the mixture into balls and dipping them in chocolate, it worked just as well.
The end results were quite tasty. They reminded me of the Lemon Berry Slush at Sonic…only dipped in white chocolate. And they definitely are on the sweet side due to all the white chocolate but the tartness of the lemon helps to balance that out. A nice and different summertime treat!
Strawberry Lemonade Candy Cups
- 8 oz. Fresh Strawberries, sliced (will yield 1/3 c. strawberry puree)
- 1 T. Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 t. Light Corn Syrup
- 12 oz. White Chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 t. Citric Acid (find at local health food store)
- 1/2 t. Strawberry Extract
- 1/4 c. Dried Strawberries, finely chopped
- Zest of One Lemon
- 1 lb. White Chocolate Candy Coating Wafers
- Decoration: Chopped Candied Lemon Zest, Yellow/Pink Sanding Sugar, Processed Freeze-Dried Strawberries
- Place the chopped white chocolate in a medium size bowl and microwave until melted stirring every 20 seconds.
- Place the sliced strawberries in a medium saucepan and heat them over medium heat until they release their juices and become a chunky strawberry sauce. Blend them in a food processor or blender and then strain them to remove any seeds (I didn’t bother with straining them). Set aside 1/3 cup of the strawberry puree.
- Combine the 1/3 cup strawberry puree, heavy whipping cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over into melted white chocolate and stir to combine. Add the citric acid, lemon zest, strawberry extract and chopped dried strawberries and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Let chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
- Place the white chocolate wafers in a small bowl and melt in the microwave stirring every 20 seconds. Fill each cavity of a candy cup mold with one teaspoon of white chocolate. Gently tip and rotate the mold to cover it’s sides and bottom with the chocolate and place in the freezer for one minute to completely harden. Fill hardened candy cup mold with 1/2 teaspoon of the strawberry lemonade mixture and then carefully cover with more white chocolate and decoration of your choice. Place in freezer for one minute to harden. Carefully flip mold upside down onto foil and press gently on bottom of each candy cup until they pop out.
Holidays. Food, food and more food. What it’s all about. Oh, and candy. Lots and lots of candy. In fact, so much candy that it can be quite confusing walking down the holiday candy aisle in a store. How do you choose? Solid chocolate bunnies, hollow chocolate bunnies, hollow white chocolate peanut butter swirl bunnies, peanut butter eggs, pastel everything, speckled gum, bunny gummies, oh and of course…Peeps. I can barely type that. How does something so completely inedible sell like hotcakes every year? I don’t get it.
Anyway, the point is there are a LOT of choices. But I’m going to help you make the right one. Next to Junior Mints, Butterfingers and every variety of sour gummy candy out there, malted mini Robin Eggs are the only (Easter) candy worth your money and daily allotment of saturated fat and sugar. In my humble opinion. So sweet. So perfectly crunchy. So…malty. I could eat a whole bag (or two) in the time it takes to watch one episode of American Idol. This candy is good. And dangerous.
So hopefully this will help you cut down on the 30 minutes or so you’ll spend in the candy aisle, picking up bags and putting them back, agonizing over what to get. Before you know it you’ll through the express check out line, in your car and have half the bag eaten before you even leave the parking lot.
P.S. If you are a mini Robin Egg lover such as myself, check out these fun recipe ideas!
I’ve got a super, duper easy recipe to share with you. That okay? Good. Because you’ll thank me the next time you have to come up with something sweet and delicious (not to mention cute) for a bridal shower or baby shower or last-minute company or work party or…well, you get the picture.
All I did was take the basic (egg-free) chocolate chip cookie dough truffle recipe below and made it five different ways by changing only a couple of ingredients and dipping the truffles in white or dark chocolate. Of course, you can just stick with the basic recipe but I wanted to give you some ideas to get your creative juices flowing! It’s a very versatile recipe so really you could make it into whichever cookie recipe happens to be your favorite. Have fun!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles-Basic Recipe
1/2 c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened
3/4 c. Packed Brown Sugar
2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
1/8 t. Salt
2 1/4 c. AP Flour
14. oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 c. Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips
2 c. Dark Chocolate Candy Melts (such as Wilton or the brand I highly recommend, Chocoley)
In a mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla and salt. Gradually beat in flour and add milk. (Mixture will seem sticky but it stiffens up nicely, don’t worry.) Add chocolate chips. Chill dough in fridge for a few minutes.
While dough is chilling, melt chocolate wafers in microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring each time. When chocolate is completely melted, get dough out of fridge, shape into 1-inch balls and dip in chocolate. Having something like this, helps alot. Place on foil to harden. Drizzle with chocolate or decorate with sprinkles, sugar, etc.
Makes 50 Truffles.
1. Cherry Pecan Cookie–Replace chocolate chips with 1/2 c. chopped dried cherries and 1/2 c. toasted pecans
2. Oatmeal Raisin Cookie–Replace chocolate chips with 1/2 c. raisins and 1/2 c. oats
3. Sugar Cookie–Replace the brown sugar with white sugar and omit chocolate chips
4. White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie–Replace brown sugar with white sugar and replace chocolate chips with 1/2 c. chopped macadamia nuts and 1/2 c. white chocolate chips
Since Valentine’s Day is only four short days away, I thought I’d throw out a few more ideas just in case you’re still stumped on what to make, bake or buy for that special someone. And even if you loathe Valentine’s Day with a passion, these can still be inspiration for another celebration! So, to start things off right, I’d like to begin with more from Amy Atlas. She’s just put up an awesome v-day spread on her blog and I urge you to go check it out IMMEDIATELY. Part I and Part II. It will make you happy.
You might even start liking Valentine’s Day. She’s that good.
Next, I absolutely LOVE these cards by MadeByGirl. You’ll find a lot of unique, fun stuff that is relatively inexpensive and earth friendly. She also has prints and posters that are definitely worth checking out.
Finally, I came across this adorable Sweetheart Cupcake on allrecipes.com and had to share the recipe! It’s so simple and fun! And feel free to go a bit more gourmet if you’d like and make a cake from scratch.
- 1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 egg whites
- 8 drops red food coloring
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a standard muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
- Beat the cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and egg whites together until smooth. Fill cupcake liners 1/3 full with white batter; set aside.
- Stir 4 drops of red food coloring into the remaining bowl of batter to make the batter pink. Pour 1/3 of pink batter into a resealable plastic bag and set aside.
- Mix more food coloring into the remaining bowl of pink batter until it is an orange/red color and pour the batter into a resealable plastic bag. Cut a corner off the bag, stick the open tip into the center of each cup of white batter and squeeze in about two tablespoons of red batter.
- Cut the corner off the bag with the pink batter, stick the open tip into the center of the red batter and squeeze about 1 tablespoon pink batter into each cup.
- Bake the layered cupcakes in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.]
There’s nothing I like better than color coordinated food…especially if it’s dessert! Who knew that cupcakes, candies, cookies, macaroons and marshmallows could be so very lovely? Apparently, Amy Atlas did.
This past Thursday night I had the opportunity to donate my baking skills to a New Year’s Eve benefit for a very good cause (more on that in a bit). Since I had about two and a half days to pull everything together, I basically went into super-adrenaline mode and baked like a mad woman from sun-up till waayyyy after sundown ignoring any and all distractions including my computer, my phone (hopefully I still have friends) and my very, very sick husband. Poor husband. Lucky for me he didn’t mind passing out on the sofa every night while I was up to my elbows in sugar and flour. By the time Thursday rolled around, I thought I might not get everything done and was literally frosting things up to the minute I had to go set-up. But I triumphed! And I must say, I think it turned out quite lovely and tasty. I even managed to color coordinate with the event–black and white!
The menu was vast and varied and included these delicious selections (Oh, and did I mention everything made was “mini”? That adds time exponentially!): Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, Soft Sugar Cookies, White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies, Fudge Brownies, Chocolate Chip and White Chocolate Chai Cheesecakes, Chocolate Dipped Homemade Vanilla Marshmallow Pops, White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels, White Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream, Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate and Oreo Buttercream, Raspberry Fudge Tassies with Almond Buttercream, Homemade Vanilla Marshmallow “Stars”, Chocolate Covered Cherries and Cappuccino Truffles. Whew!
Overall, the dessert buffet and the benefit was a success! All proceeds from the night when to a great organization, Pearl Alliance, dedicated to freeing young women and children that are enslaved in the human trafficking industry. It’s hard to believe that a horrible injustice such as this one even exists in the world we live in today–it not only exists, but is thriving. Check out their website for more information and see what you can do to help!