Valentine’s Day Candy Bark

For some odd reason I decided to make our bark in a pie pan.  Bad idea–stick to waxed paper on a jellyroll pan.  I love how the salty pretzels help offset the sweet of the candy bark.  Once the candy has melted, you’ll want to work quickly so that it doesn’t set before you place your decorations on it.  Thanks to Wilton for the original idea!

Valentine’s Day Candy Bark

Ingredients:

  • white candy bark
  • chocolate candy bark
  • pretzel twists
  • M&Ms
  • sprinkles

Directions:

Line jellyroll pan with wax paper.  In microwave safe bowl, melt white candy bark according to package directions.  Spread over wax paper in thin layer.  Lightly place pretzels on white bark as desired.  Melt 1/4 to 1/3 package of chocolate candy bark according to package directions.  Carefully spoon into openings of pretzels, covering pretzel so that it resembles a chocolate heart in the center.  Place M&M or desired candy in middle of pretzel hearts.  Decorate white bark with sprinkles.  Leave at room temperature or put in cool place to harden.  Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Chocolate Cavity-Maker Cake

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When I want a rich, chocolatey cake this is my go-to recipe.  It’s heavenly when it’s just warm and the chocolate chips are gooey.  Enjoy it with a hot cup of coffee or tea!  I got this recipe from my dad who printed it off of allrecipes.com.  It looks like their version is slighty different from mine, though.

Chocolate Cavity-Maker Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 box dark chocolate cake mix
  • 1 sm. box instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 C. canola oil
  • 1/4 C. milk
  • 1/4 C. coffee
  • 1 C. chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 10″ bundt pan.  In lg. bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, eggs, oil, milk, and coffee.  Beat until well blended.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Batter will be thick.  Spoon into prepared pan.  Bake 1 hour or until cake springs back when lightly tapped.  Cool about 10 minutes in pan, loosen sides with thing spatula or knife, and turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.  Dust with powdered sugar to make pretty.  Best served warm.

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Buckeyes

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We absolutely love Buckeyes!  They are a family Christmas tradition and the holidays just aren’t complete without this peanut-buttery treat on the table.  This year my niece made them and she did an excellent job!

Buckeyes

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 C. crunchy OR creamy peanut butter
  • 3 C. Rice Krispies cereal
  • 3 C. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 lb. paraffin wax
  • Lg. Hershey bar or other melting chocolate

Directions:

In lg. bowl, mix together butter, peanut butter, cereal, and powdered sugar.  Melt chocolate and wax together in double boiler.  Form peanut butter mixture into balls, dip in chocolate to cover, and place on wax paper to harden.

Easy Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

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We made this peanut butter cookies to snack on this Christmas.  I actually have two Peanut Butter Kiss Cookie recipes–this is the simple one.  It has surprisingly good taste for how few ingredients are included.  This recipe lends itself well to having children help–they love putting the chocolate on top.

Easy Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 4 C. creamy peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 C. sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 72 Hershey Kisses or chocolate stars

Directions:

Unwrap Kisses.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In lg. bowl, stir together peanut butter, sugar, and eggs until blended (it will be sticky).  Using a small scoop, drop 1 1/2″ balls of dough on cookie sheet about 1 1/2″ apart.  Bake 12-14 minutes, until cookies look dry and tops look cracked.  Remove from oven and immediately press a Kiss or chocolate star in center of each cookie.  Leave on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.  Make sure chocolate has set before storing.

Maple Walnut Fudge

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My husband is not a fan of chocolate fudge, so we like to try out alternate fudge recipes to please his palate.  This one has earned a thumbs-up from the husband!  I love the maple taste and it pairs wonderfully with the nuts.  If you don’t have walnuts, you can substitute another nut.  We used pecans for this batch.  Also, since some of us don’t like nuts in fudge, I just put the pecan half on top and leave it out of the mixture altogether.  That way it can be picked off the top and everybody is accommodated.  I can’t find the original source of this recipe.

Maple Walnut Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 2 C. sugar
  • 1 C. evaporated milk
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 C. mini marshmallows
  • 3 C. white chocolate chips
  • 1 C. chopped walnuts, or nut of choice (optional)
  • 3 tsp. maple extract
  • 50 walnut halves (optional)

Directions:

In lg. saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, milk, and butter.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Let boil 5 minutes at 236-238 degrees F (soft-ball stage).  Remove from heat and quickly stir in marshmallows, white chocolate, chopped walnuts, and maple flavor.  Spread in a foil-lined 9×13″pan.  Top with walnut halves.  Chill 8 hours or overnight.  Cut around lg. walnut pieces to serve.

Tip: If the mixture doesn’t get hot enough, it will not set right.  It will still be delicious, just not firm like fudge.

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Molasses Sugar Cookies

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My family absolutely loves these cookies!  You can make them with or without the raisins–they’re great either way.  We usually make them for Christmas, although they aren’t really a typical Christmas cookie.  Also, they freeze really well–in case you want to save them for an upcoming event.  I got the recipe from my mother-in-law.

Molasses Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 C. shortening
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1/4 C. molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 C. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 C. raisins (optional)

Directions:

Melt shortening in small saucepan over low heat.  Remove from heat and let cool.  In large bowl, beat together cooled shortening, sugar, molasses, and egg.  Set aside.  In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and salt.  Add to first mixture.  Mix well and stir in raisins, if you choose.  Chill.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Form dough into 1″ balls, roll in granulated sugar, and place 2″ apart on cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Let cool 2-3 minutes and remove to wire rack to cool completely.

 

Coconut Date Rolls

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There is a grocery store about 30 minutes away that specializes in health foods.  They carry coconut date rolls in their bulk food section, but they are crazy expensive.  I decided to try my hand at making them and save some money, to boot.  They were very easy to make and ended up tasting delicious!  Next time I will try making them with fewer almonds because the coconut had a hard time sticking.  They were still really good, though.  For anyone who has a sweet tooth, these are very satisfying.  I enjoyed snacking on these instead of a candy bar or other sweet treat.

The recipe can be found at Food.com.  Guess what?  It only uses three ingredients!

IMG_7696 crThis is it–almonds, coconut and dates!

IMG_7698 crIt was so easy to mix everything in my food processor.

IMG_7702 crOne full recipe filled about 1/3 of a gallon-size Ziploc bag.  This kept me snacking for at least a week.

Try it out today–you’ll love it!

Easy Vegan Cake

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Doesn’t that look delectable?  You’d better believe that it was!  I think this cake can trace its roots to the Great Depression, when it was hard to come by animal products such as milk and eggs.  At any rate, this recipe is vegan and it’s quite simple to make.  I made this version without the optional coffee substitute, but next time I’ll make it with the coffee.  I think it would really improve the flavor.  Sorry, I don’t know the original source of the recipe; somebody printed it off and gave it to me years ago.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C. flour
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 C. warm water
  • powdered sugar (optional)
  • chocolate syrup (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a square brownie pan.  In medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Make 3 depressions in flour mixture and pour in canola oil, vanilla, and vinegar.  Pour warm water over this and mix until moistened.  Do not beat.   Pour batter into pan.  Bake 30 minutes, until done in the middle.  Remove from oven and let cool slightly.  To serve, dust with powdered sugar and/or drizzle on chocolate syrup.

Variations: Substitute spices for cocoa powder and/or coffee for water.

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Neighbor Christmas Gift – Candy Coated Pretzels

IMG_0350This year we made candy-coated pretzels to give to our neighbors as a little Christmas gift.  It is quite simple to make and tastes really yummy!

Materials:

  • 2 packages vanilla almond bark
  • 1 lg. bag Holiday Pretzels
  • assorted sprinkles & colored sugars
  • treat bags or boxes
  • large mixing bowl & spoon
  • microwave safe bowl/double boiler

Directions:

Spread two large pieces of wax paper on counter/table.  Melt the almond bark according to package directions.  We did ours in the microwave, but I think I’ll do it on the stove next time so that we can do both packages at the same time.  You will want two packages of candy coating for one bag of pretzels.  Dump pretzels into a large bowl.  When candy coating is fully melted, pour it over the pretzels.  Fold coating into pretzels so that they are all covered.  Dump mixture onto the wax paper and spread out in a thin layer.  While coating is still warm, sprinkle with Christmas-colored sprinkles and sugars of your choice.  Allow to set.  Once it is set, simply break into pieces and put in treat boxes or bags.

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Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies

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My seven-year-old saw these in one of our cookbooks and really wanted to make them for Thanksgiving.  Since they looked really simple to make, I said yes.  What a nice mommy, eh?  Once the cookies are made, it’s easy for the kids to assemble the decorations on top.  I can’t believe it’s already time to start thinking about Christmas!

Ingredients:

  • sugar cookie roll
  • candy corn
  • decorating gel/icing (orange, black, yellow)
  • mini M&Ms

Directions:

Make cookies according to package directions.  Allow to cool.  Apply an arch of frosting across the top of the cookie where the feathers will be.  Cover this arch with candy corn pieces to resemble feathers.  Use icing to make small dots to attach eyes.  Place mini M&M eyes on small dots of icing.  Put small dot of black icing in center of each mini M&M to make pupil.  Use orange icing to make beak and legs.

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