Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles


I'm trying sooo hard to get caught up on Christmas recipes before Valentine's day rolls around.  It's a little bit hard when your kid is STILL out of school.  Whose idea was THAT?  I mean he only goes to preschool for 4 hours a week but it's sure killing me to have two toddlers home alldayeveryday.  Is this how it feels when your kids are off for summer vacation?  Seriously.  Somebody needs to invent a daycare "holiday camp" where you can send kids when they're off-school and they're supposed to be on "vacation".  And since it would be called "holiday camp" no one would be like: "Wow, you're a lazy butt mom because you don't want your kids home 24/7 to spend quality time with you".  Instead they'd be like: "Awww.  You're so nice to let them do that, I bet your kids love it!"   And secretly you'd be nodding inside thinking about how you're going to be able to vacuum in peace without anybody using the cord as a lasso or chasing after you with the sucker piece while you scream that dead spiders live in there.

It could be a moneymaker!


For best results, this dough should rest in your fridge overnight, so keep that in mind before you make it. The dough can be made up to 4 days in advance. Also- you can omit the peppermint extract if you'd like to make the plain chocolate version of these.
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New Year's Pop Rocks Rims


Have you noticed I'm into rims lately?  Mostly because they're so quick and so easy and kids flip for them.  We used Martinelli's with watermelon pop rocks today.  I don't personally care for the carbonated drink WITH the carbonated candy, but the kids are all about it. Next time I'll pair mine with a non-carbonated punch instead.  I like to do my rims deep so the kids get more pop-rockety-goodness, but you can do sophisticated super thin rims if you like.  These can be adapted for all holidays and occasions just by varying the color scheme.


This has been a great year for my family and I'm so pleased to have been able to share some pieces of our lives with you.  Best wishes for a wonderful 2012 to you all!

PS- In case you're wondering if that's a super huge bag of poprocks...  The wine glass is actually super small.  It's the perfect size for our 4 year old who gets to use it at Christmas and New Years so he can feel all sophisticated-like.  I bought it at World Market.
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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chocolate-Dipped Candycanes (Stirring sticks!)


When I was in high school my friend and I used to pay visits to places like the firestation.  Sometimes we would take cookies and sometimes we would take a paper and a pen on assignment for a non-existent "school project" where we had to ask questions like, "Do you have a dalmation?"  Mostly we were there for the eye candy and the potential of getting to use the firepole. 

Now that I am old and married and entirely uninterested in firemen or feigning school projects but still a little interested in firepoles, I am more aware and thankful for the sacrifice of public works figures like these. And I feel like at Christmastime all these people should get SOMETHING.

These candy canes are fantastic for that because they're cheap. (A box of 12 candy canes is like 98 cents and everyone knows that chocolate isn't actually bought, but magically appears in your pantry.) Also they are super cute.  So that is why I love to give these as gifts. 

And the potential of someday getting an offer to slide down the firepole.

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Christmas Kiss Cookies


It's great when your kids give you permission to do things.  Like, "Hey mom, sleep in today, while I do the dishes and wash my own underwear."

Just kidding.  That's never happened.

But my two year old does tell me all the time to "shop it".

I am always happy enough to oblige with that request.  And fortunately Amazon has my checking account # saved, so I don't even have to pile everyone in the car to keep him happy!


UN- fortunately, my husband is convinced he's saying "stop it".


Silly husband.   I'm fairly certain it makes much more sense for my two year old to want me to buy things.


At any rate, you can have my permission to eat all of these chewy chocolatey surprise filled cookies.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chewy Samoan Brickle

Havest thou any idea what brickle is?  Yes, me neither.  But it sounded like a good word for this.  Also this has nothing to do with the tiny island of Samoa.  But it does have similar ingredients to a Girl Scout Samoa cookie.

I have been making this so long I can't even remember where the recipe came from, and I can't find it on the internet anywhere.  Sometimes we just call it crack.  It is completely chewy and addictive, and it's strange because it tastes nothing like coconut or nuts.  If you hate the ingredients, just trust me and make this anyways.  The closest thing I can compare this to is probably Saltine toffee, but it is chewy instead of crunchy.  After much deliberation I have decided this is kind of a cross between a homemade candy and a bar. 

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cookies 'n' Cream Popcorn

Last week I decided to start playing with popcorn again.  I am still partial to Thin Mint and Samoa but my husband went nuts for this Cookies 'n' Cream.  Maybe it is a guy thing?

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Christmas Caramels (and some of them might be chocolate-dipped)


I have so many posts for you it's ridiculous.  Also I have lots of stories for you about how mean people can be at Christmastime, but in the spirit of a Grinch-less Christmas, I will refrain... for today.

I have been making these caramels for years  (read: like 4 years).  I took some to my good friend the other day and this is the message she sent me- "HANDS DOWN THE BEST HOMEMADE CARAMELS I have ever had!" 

Take her word for it.  Her name is Katie.  You can trust her.

If you have never made caramels before I will just tell you, it's going to take you 30-45 minutes of non-stop stirring to make these.  Don't do this when you have little kids underfoot, phone calls coming in, or cat sweaters to knitOh, you don't knit your cat sweaters for Christmas? Mmm, yeah, me neither...

I like to do it at night when the kids are in bed and my husband is home in case my arm needs a break. Also, you are going to need a candy thermometer.  Be sure to calibrate it before beginning or it's pretty much pointless to use in the first place. (I usually do the ice point and boiling method, just for kicks, but either one is fine.)

The only time this recipe has failed for me, is when I decided not to use a thermometer.  Duhhhhh. My candy thermometer is WAYYY off, so I usually stick it in to give me a ballpark, but poke in my digital "insta-read" meat thermometer every 5 minutes or so near the end until I reach the exact required degree.  Don't be intimidated by the use of the thermometer, this recipe is really not difficult, and also you can count the non-stop stirring as a bicep workout for the day.  BONUS!

Be sure to read through the recipe completely before you start because you won't have any hands free once you begin (and you might needa do a little math... but I am Math Ditz of the world, so if I can do it, you can do it!)

Also people will think you are Supreme Caramel Maker of the World when you feed them these, so feel free to embrace the title.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Penguin Pops


I maybe should have titled this post "pops for dummies".  These are seriously so easy, because you use a ready-made body you don't have to dip it in chocolate.  The hardest part is the molding of the beaks and cutting out the feet.  (Which really isn't hard at all). I'd estimate these take about 5 minutes to make the taffy pieces in bulk and then about 3 minutes per pop to assemble.  It doesn't get easier than this!

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Lemon Drop Cookies


First of all let me tell you, this is the diva of all cookies.  Secondly let me tell you that I've still made these 3 times even though only about half of my cookies turn out each time.  Worth it?  Yep.  Also this cookie is made from a mix so it only takes about 3 minutes to put together.

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Chocolate-Dipped Clementines


You thought I was kidding when I said we were going to dip everything in chocolate this week, didn't you? Mmmmm, nope, pretty much not kidding at all.

The smell of clementines will always remind me of Christmas.  Growing up in Europe, we spent almost every Christmas in a different country.  I will have to dig up the picture of me riding a bobsled down the Olympic track in Norway so you guys can see my big dorky owl glasses and huge sweater.  I told you I was super cool.  The one thing that was pretty much always consistent was clementines. No matter where we were, we had clementines.

Also, when we moved back to the US, one Christmas my sister and I polished off an entire bag of oranges in one sitting.  (Not clementines my friends... Oranges... Probably like 10 pounds worth.  I'm pretty sure I must've had a vitamin deficiency at that point, because who does that?

So anyways, I think these dipped-clementines are not only super Christmasy, but also classy and delicious.  I highly recommend these for Christmas Eve festivities.


PS- If you love clementines, I wonder if you've made this soda yet?  Delish!

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Frozen Choco-Banana Skewers


All you need to know is,  "There's always money in the banana stand."
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Chocolate-Dipped Gingerbread Men


Because everything should be dipped in chocolate at least once.   

Happy Christmas!!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Peppermint Whipped Cream (For hot cocoa or cupcakes)


Sorry I always have to spout off randomly to you before I ever give you a recipe.  I like to hold them for ransom so I can talk to adults for 3 minutes of my day (Love my 3 year old but he wants to talk about "human bodies" all day and that kind of disgustingifies me.)  PS-  Don't call social services on me.  When I say he wants to talk about human bodies, he wants to talk about the skeletal system and circulatory system and how the small intestine absorbs food, and what the white blood cells fight with.  Sometimes he calls me the names of germs, which personally I don't find that hurtful because I don't even know what they are.  As you can probably guess-  it's nice to have a real chat once in awhile where I can talk about adult things.  Like cake batter snack mix.

So, I have to ask.  Has anybody seen Jack & Jill?  What did you think of it?   I laughed through the whole movie.  Probably because I'm immature.  But then I found out that it only got 1 star on IMDB.  ONE. STAR.  I thought they reserved that kind of rating for movies like 101 Dalmations II or Land Before Time XII.

So I would probably feel better about myself if somebody else could tell me they thought Jack & Jill was hilarious as well.  (If you hated it you don't need to tell me. I don't want to go through life thinking I'm a bad movie judger. You know?)

Anyways, this whipped cream is perfect on the Peppermint Rims I posted a few days ago.  Also, it's freaking delicious.  You can just plop it in a cup of cocoa, or you can stabilize it and use it to pipe on chocolate cupcakes and add some peppermint pieces.  (Also freaking delicious.)  By the way, I didn't stabilize mine, so your cupcakes will definitely be prettier than my cupcakes.  No worries. And if you stabilize it, be sure to double the piping gel because that recipe only makes half as much as this one.

If you are using it to frost cupcakes you may want to add more sugar.  It is  lightly sweetened which is perfect  for cocoa, but it may need a little umph to replace frosting.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Chocolate-Covered Gingerbread Chex Mix


First of all, you should know that this Chex mix is not covered in chocolate.  It's just supposed to *taste* like a chocolate-covered gingerbread man.  The chocolate part comes in from the M&M candies.  Just wanted to make that clear.

Now that my butt is covered,

I was dying to make something else cute with my gingerbread men marshmallows.  So really this was just an excuse to throw in some of them.  Excuses are ok in our house as long as they're edible.

I had to play around with this a few times to find the right spice blend but I think I finally got it.  If you can't find the marshmallows you could chop up gingerbread men and throw those in.  Or look for the little bite-sized gingerbread men.  You could also totally drizzle this in chocolate if you're feeling completely betrayed by my title.  Just drizzle it while on the wax paper, and wait for it to harden completely.  Then break into pieces.

Since this was 98% for my kids, you can probably imagine why I chose not to drizzle it in chocolate. You can really do whatever you want.  I'm not going to stalk you and find out if you made my recipe wrong. 

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Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies

 

I'm kinda grumpy today, on account of I have to go to the eye doctor this afternoon.  Last time I went to the eye doctor he told me I couldn't see because my bangs were in my eyes.

Ummm.

Thanks very much.  Could I have my co-pay back now?


(I didn't get my co-pay back.  Also I can't read the E on the chart so it's pretty obvious I have bigger problems than bangs in my eyes.)

Anyways, when I need cheering up a chocolate pb combo will usually do it. I think I'm going to be eating a LOT of these today.

I haven't posted my Butterfinger brownie recipe yet, but these taste almost exactly like them.  The peanut butter gives them the most fabulous crumbly texture.  If you're on a diet you probably shouldn't make these.

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Lemon Lush Pie


This pie and I have some history.  The first time I made it was the first time my dad came to dinner after my husband and I were married. I slathered whipped cream all over the top, popped it in the fridge, and turned around to grab something else.  My foot holding the door open, cause I multi-task like that.

Turned back to the fridge.

Say what.

Are those footprints in my pie?

Curses.

And bathtime for King Kong.

I still make this pie almost every year, either for Thanksgiving or Easter.  If it's good enough for a cat, it's good enough for me.

I’m partying at the Pi Day Pie Party at Crazy for Crust today. Come party with us!
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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cake Batter Birthday Buddies


This idea has been floating around in the back of my brain for awhile now.  Muddy buddies... why not birthday buddies.  I think this would be such a cute party favor for kids- packaged up in a little clear cellophane baggie with a ribbon.

My husband thinks these taste like those pink and white frosted Mother's animal crackers  (and he's kind of right).  Does anyone else remember when they went out of business for awhile a few years back?  I think I lost a few years off my life from that experience.

If you're making this for a whole class, you will want to double the recipe as it doesn't make very much. 

Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


You know how in those teen movies from the early 2000's there was always an "ugly, dorky girl" who got a makeover and magically when they took her glasses off and gave her a red dress suddenly she was super hot and dateable?  These cupcakes are like that girl.  They might not look like much, but they are just waiting for Freddie Prinze Jr. to come along and show everyone what is underneath those glasses. Seriously, these are unbelievable (And since I'm a girl, and don't date cupcakes, I can't really help which is totally unfortunate.)

But what I can say, is these are my favorite cupcakes ever.  And I consume a lot of cupcakes.

The cupcake itself isn't all that sweet, and may or may not have passed for a muffin on certain mornings at our house. (Frostingless of course.  What kind of mother do you think I am?)

Just kidding, we eat candy for breakfast all the time.

You should probably bookmark these for next fall.  Or you could just make the frosting to eat with a spoon tonight.  You won't have leftovers.
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Rims


Can we have a little chat about couponing real quick?  I do not watch couponing shows.  I have heard of them.  I have heard there are people who spend hours a day cutting coupons and who actually *make* money when they go through the check-out line of the grocery store.  To be honest, I am completely befuddled by this.  Sometimes I get ambitious and I look through those coupon pages that come in the newspaper.  I usually end up throwing them away when I realize the coupons either require you to buy twelve sticks of deoderant to get a free one, or save you 25 cents on a package of paper towels.  (Since the big package of paper towels costs like $10 and I spend 25 cents on gum like every time I pass a gumball machine, I find this slightly ridiculous.  Also, being OCD I have panic attacks when I have a million little crumpled coupons overflowing out of all the corners of my purse, so I usually decide it's not worth saving the 25 cents.) 

Anyways.  This was before I discovered Coupon Loving Chicks through Lark's Country Heart (possibly the nicest person in the world and totally the reason I have more than six Facebook friends).  These ladies find coupons for you and post them on their Facebook wall.

Coupon of the day- A 10$ gift card when you spend $50 at Target.  (I'm just gonna assume that I'm not the only one that can't get out of there without spending $50-$100.)  It's basically free money!  Plus then you can justify spending $10 on Lipsmackers or boot socks.  Maybe coupons *are* good for something after all. I am totally converted.

Visit Target's Facebook page, and follow their link to print the coupon; it's only good through Dec 3rd!


Now that we have that out of the way.  I'm going to show you my favorite way to serve hot chocolate, and one of my favorite Christmas "recipes".   Peppermint rimmed mugs.  The great thing about this is it takes about 2 minutes to do. It's INSANELY easy. (Read: Edward Scissorhands can do this.  And he has no hands.)

Also it looks fancy so everyone will think you're kind of a domestic diva.

Plus peppermint hot chocolate is kind of the best.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gettin' social

I think when people see you have a blog they think you're all techy and computer genuisy.  Just to clear things up right now, I am not computer savvy.  I do not speak Html (and only recently discovered that that is a language).  I should probably not tell you how many days and tutorials and cartons of ice cream it took for me to figure out how to make my Dipit header.  I have a drawer full of cables that I am afraid to throw away (but I'm pretty sure they do computery things like connect to the TV or the oven or something).


Luckily my husband *is* tech savvy, and gave me a great early Christmas gift today... 

a Facebook button! See it right there on the right?  That's right, Dip It In Chocolate finally has Facebook.  Many thanks to those who commented or emailed that they would like to follow via Facebook.  I always appreciate your feedback and since I kinda have a big head, I'm pretty much flattered.

I would be delighted if you would follow me.  Especially since I only have like 3 followers right now and feel like the kid who nobody will sit by at lunch cause him mom always packs him tuna or curry or something else that stinketh by lunchtime.  I know this might be hard to believe, but it's kinda awkward writing statuses when you know only your mom is reading them.


In other news, hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Anybody got pie left?


I'll be right over.
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Remedies for a Flat Cookie


Cookies and I used to have problems communicating.  I would follow the recipe, and then they would do whatever the heck they wanted.  Then I would scream and cry and slam doors.  Actually I never screamed or cried, but I probably did slam a door or two.  No matter what I did I always got flat cookies.  Sometimes I got PANCAKES.   I did everything I could think of without any result and finally decided I was just a horrible cookie-maker.  I could no longer be Mrs. Clause when I got old.  It was a rough time for me.

Luckily, one day I discovered a trick that changed my life. 

WEIGHING MY FLOUR.

A few of us have been having a conversation about this through comments on the S'more Chocolate Chip Cookies post and I wrote this post mainly because I really felt that I needed to share it with *all* of you.  The jist is that flour weights are SO variable.  How much you are actually using depends a lot on the brand of flour, how you measure it, etc.  Usually this discrepancy may not be a big deal, but when it comes to cookies, even a little bit can throw you off. 

The easy solution is just to weigh the flour. The tricky part is that there are lots of answers for how much 1 cup of All-Purpose flour should actually weigh, (all from reputable sources).  The average seems to be about 4.5 ounces, but  I've found 5 ounces to work perfectly for me so that is what I do.


To demonstrate this whole flour craziness, I conducted a little experiment for you this week.  I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies. My recipe called for 2 1/2 cups of flour, so I measured that out using  my usual method, scooping flour into my measuring cups and leveling them out.  I then weighed my total flour.


 
Can you read that? 10.5 ounces of flour. 

We decided each cup should have 5 ounces.  So I'm missing 2 ounces of flour here.  That doesn't seem like a lot, but lets add in flour until we get to 12.5 and see how much that is.

 
Finally reached the correct amount of flour weight-wise.  And... *drumroll please* ...  I added nearly an extra half CUP of flour.

It's pretty easy to see why I was getting flat cookies if I was only putting in 2 cups of flour where 2 1/2 is called for.

I now measure my flour every time I bake cookies (funnily enough it doesn't seem to affect my cakes and other baked goods so I leave those be), and they all turn out great.   If you are having problems with your cookies I highly recommend doing this.  If this trick still doesn't do it for you, feel free to try some of the other remedies below:

-When a cookie recipe calls for butter, replace half of that with stick shortening (Crisco).  If you want really fluffy cookies you can replace all the butter with shortening, but you will sacrifice some of the flavor.

-Try refrigerating you dough for 20 minutes or so before baking.  Always keep your dough in the refrigerator in between baking sessions  (ie: While one cookie sheet is baking, keep the unscooped dough in the fridge until ready to bake).

-Allow your cookie sheet to cool in between baking sessions.  Once you've removed hot cookies from it, place it in the freezer for a few minutes until room temperature or slightly cool, before using again.

-Check that your baking soda isn't expired.

-Do not melt your butter before using!  This means if you forget to bring it to room temperature, do NOT put it in the microwave to speed the process  (Totally guilty as charged here)


I hope this has helped, and I wish you many a fluffy cookies and the chance to fulfill all your childhood dreams (but being Mrs. Claus when you grow up is already taken, so back off.)
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Fancy Caramel Apples


If you have been annoyed that this picture on my sidebar has no post to it, great news... now it does!  I have been meaning to blog these  For.ev.er.  (Say this in a Sandlot voice)

Mostly I was stalled because I wanted to give you some pictures to go along with this post.  Well, hard to believe, but it's kind of hard to take a picture AND dip a caramel apple at the same time.  So I waited for a day when my hubs was home and could take some pictures while I dipped.

Speaking of the hubs, these apples were inspired by the ones at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.  Men- you should know- there is nothing you can't be forgiven for if one of those apples is included in the apology.  Seriously.  

Reese's is my favorite.  Oreo and Butterfinger are fun, but I always go back to Reeses.  This is a great way to use up leftover Halloween candy at your house (and add more sugary sweets to your household). 
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Julia's Pumpkin Pie (The best pumpkin pie!)


Vegetables and I are not friends.  When I was a kid I used to sit across the dinner table from my little brother.  I didn't get dessert unless I ate all my vegetables, so, naturally, I used to sneak them down to my lap and throw them under the table to land under his chair.  My parents thought he was a REALLY messy eater.  (Don't worry. He was kinda spoiled so he probably still got dessert anyways.)

I think the only vegetables I ever consumed as a child were in the form of pumpkin pie.  My favorite thing about Thanksgiving was that my mom ALWAYS let me have pumpkin pie for breakfast in the days that followed. I could have easily consumed a whole pie if she had let me. The thought of eating it warm or at room temperature completely grosses me out, but an ice cold slice of pie with whipped cream and milk? Mmhmm.  Best breakfast of the year.

This pie is based off of the Libby's label.  If you like that, you will love this.  If you don't like pumpkin pie at all you probably won't like this either.  We can still be friends.  I'd be happy to have your piece.  My mom has been making this recipe for years.  Doubling the spices really gives it great flavor!

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving this week. 

Safe Travels!

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Easy Flaky Pie Crust


You should know first of all that I have no luck with pastry. Particularly pie crust.  Mine rarely turn out pretty and almost always shrink (You'd think I'd just invest in some pie weights but apparently I'm too stubborn for that).  If you want to ask someone questions about pastry I am not your girl.  But ugly or not, sometimes I think it is worth making your own pie crust  just for flakiness and deliciousness factor.  And since it's almost Thanksgiving, I really thought I should give you my recipe for an easy flaky pie crust.  The secret ingredient is vinegar, and it makes a huge difference.

If you're a pie connoisseur, props to you.  I'd like to hire you for Thanksgiving next year.  I can pay you in cookies.  Or secret recipes.  Your choice.
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Gingerbread Hot-Chocolate Stirring Sticks


So I found this package of Gingerbread Men marshmallows at Target last week. 

 

I had no idea what to do with them but I couldn't resist buying them cause they were stinkin' cute (and like $1.25).  I ended up making these little hot chocolate stirring sticks for my kids.  The best part is even little ones can help skewer the marshmallows.  They taste alright but are nothing special.  They are coated in a sugary mixture so that's why they look a little powdery.

Anyway- easy peasy, and great for a snow day.
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Stabilized Whipped Cream. A boring post, but full of tips and tricks.


This is a picture of an unfinished pie.  But I wanted you to see the piped whipped cream around the edges.  I  love flavored whipped cream on cupcakes in particular. I think it gives them such a light touch in place of the heaviness of frosting.  The problem with whipped cream is it tends to melt into a big mess when out of the fridge.  The solution is to stabilize your whipped cream.

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Cherry Watermelon Jolly Rancher Soda or... Cherry Watermelon Granita


In case you  haven't noticed yet, my maturity level is a little closer to a tweens than a mature adults'.  I buy Lipsmackers on a regular basis and have chip sandwiches for lunch about 4 days a week.  Sometimes I watch One Tree Hill.  So after the Jolly Rancher cupcakes, the soda was pretty much inevitable.  If you are a mature adult you probably aren't even reading this because it sounded nasty.  It's not.  It's delicious.  Make it for your kids.  They will love you for it.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gingerbread Skeletons with Royal Icing

Disclaimer: I really truly positively think this is the last belated Halloween recipe.


I love this gingerbread people recipe.  I usually heap the spices a little, and I think the flavor and texture is just perfect.  You can cook them the minimum amount of time for a chewy cookie, or cook them a few minutes longer for a crisp cookie.  My only complaint really is that these will spread a bit, so plan accordingly.  If you have a molasses aversion you can replace some of it with honey or dark corn syrup, but if you use a mild molasses (as opposed to blackstrap or "full flavor") I don't think it turns out too strong.

I like to split my dough into 2 or 3 pieces and roll each piece out between two pieces of parchment (one on top one on bottom) *before* refrigerating.  Then I just put the cookie sheets in the refrigerator. When the dough is fully chilled the top paper will peel right off and you can cut out your shapes right on the parchment/tray.  Then just peel off the excess dough and throw it in the "re-roll pile" and your tray can go right in the oven. No moving the dough and having appendages break off. Let's not make this harder than it needs to be, shall we?

These gingerbread men keep well (you can even freeze them), so it's best to make them in advance and decorate a different day.  For your own sanity, really.

When you make your royal icing, be sure to sift your sugar.  Royal icing is tricky to get the consistency exactly right.  If it's too thick your icing will break or just plain won't stick.  If it's too thin it will "melt" all over the place.  I like to spoon a teensy bit of icing into a cake decorating tip (not attached to any bag) and just push my thumb into the wide end to make it "flow" and test the consistency.  If you spoon all your icing into a piping bag and the consistency is wrong it is a PAIN to remove it all, rewhip and try to put it back in a bag.  Just trust me on this. If you're not feeling up to royal icing's diva behavior you can totally use a different icing or frosting.  I just like royal because it dries rock hard so I can stack these and put them in little baggies for neighbors.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Caramel Cinnamon Fruit Dip with Bone dippers

Oh look.  Another belated Halloween recipe.  Don't hate me.

This dip is insane.  It looks like it doesn't make a lot.  But it is RICH and it is SWEET.   You'll probably want to throw a few apples in with the bones to dip just so you don't go into sugar shock.  But this is fan. tastic.  Truly.  I like to pretend think I am a pretty disciplined person but I can't stay away from this.

The original recipe calls for Heath bar/toffee add-ins.  I know this sounds delicious but I just couldn't dig it.  The texture without it is wonderful, and the nuttiness it adds just doesn't work. That being said... you can try it if you want.
Enjoy!

PS- You can really eat this any time of year.  You might just have a hard time explaining to guests why you're serving them bone-shaped snacks.
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars


So my husband teaches sunday school to the 12 year olds at our church.  I was so excited when they asked him to do it because my first thought was "Yayyyy.  Little children to bake for!"  (Not to be the weird witch from Hansel & Gretel or anything.)

I made these for his kiddos a few weeks ago and they were well-received.  (Except for the kid who hates cheesecake which I can completely relate to at the uncultured age of 12.  He will learn.)  We took the leftovers to a neighborhood chili cookoff and when one of his kids spotted them she walked off with an armful of bars.  Compliment received! 

These are a perfect fall bar.  I recommend you make some now, but this recipe make a LOT, so find some random children to fatten up if you need to.
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Apple Pie Granita


I kid you not this tastes exactly like apple pie.  Minus the crust part.  AWESOME.  I had no idea I would love this as much as I do. It's not even that bad for you! Plus. It's call granita.  How fancy does that sound?
Enjoy.
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread


Ok, can I just tell you guys, I love when you leave me comments? I love ALL comments, but I especially love the ones where you ask a question and you sign them "Anonymous". So then I get to write, "Dear Anonymous".  It makes me feel like a spy, or Ann Landers or something.  I'm a fan.

Anyways, since I've made this bread every year of my existence (not really), I probably need to share the recipe with you.  It's so moist and perfectly spiced.  I can't live through the Fall without baking some of this up.  I like to use a heavy hand on some of the spices (just be careful with the cloves), and if you're feeling crazy you can add some mini chocolate chips. 

Update 8/24/12:  I tried this recipe substituting half the pumpkin for shredded zucchini (excess from the garden!) and it turned out great! I put my first 4 ingredients in the blender, including the shredded zucchini, to avoid stringiness that you sometimes get from using zucchini.  I also made them into muffins instead of bread.  Instructions below. 
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Cinnamon Honey Butter


The thing about being a stay at home mom (or stay-in-bed mom if you're Lindsay Bluth) is everyone expects you to be all domestic.  They expect you to bake your own bread, and sew your own Halloween costumes and scrapbook every time your child picks their nose.  Well... when we first got married, I was not domestic-like.  At all.  I called my mom on more than one occasion asking how to bake a potato. 

I'm working on all that domestic-goodness, but if you, like me, struggle with domesticity (say it out loud.  it's fun.)... just whip up some of this butter.  It takes five seconds.  (Well probably like 5 minutes).  And then you can tell everyone you made your own butter.  Personally I told my mom I churned it myself from the cow I milked out back, but if you're not a high-roller, you can leave that part out. People will still be impressed and want to be you.

PS-I made this because somebody on Pinterest claimed it's just like Texas Roadhouse honey butter.  Moral of the story- do not trust strangers on Pinterest.  It doesn't taste exactly like TR honey butter... but it's pretty dang good. I found it a bit strong on the honey flavor, but I have a bit of an aversion to honey. Probably cause when I was little my sister always told me it was bee's barf. While I was eating it.

Now that you're salivating... feel free to try some honey butter.

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Eyeball Pretzel Bites


Mmmkay, let's not even talk about how belated this post is.  I had really hoped to have this up in time for Halloween, because it's such a fun, easy, treat for kids to make.  (People always say that, but really, truly, your two year old can help you make these. Without you screaming and lunging across the room every 2 seconds to keep him from diving into a hot oven).

I fell ill with the plague of death (aka a cold) and whined and moaned for about 2 weeks (mostly about how you should be able to buy prescriptions through WebMD since you've al-READY diagnosed yourself.  Psshhhhh. By the way, does anyone else end up with cancer every time they use that thing?  I think there's a slight possibility I'm becoming a cyberchondriac.)

And then I got over it and decided you probably still need this anti-recipe, even though it's late.  You can use it next year.  Or you can find some other excuse to make eyeball snacks with your kids.  I'm pretty sure you probably have a myriad of those.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Watermelon Jolly Rancher Cupcakes

My husband puts up with a lot.  Like coming home to find me wielding a hammer and trying to smash Jolly Ranchers to dust on our brand new wood floor. 

There are some things you folks can learn from SECOND hand experience, one of those being- Jolly Ranchers cannot be crushed with a hammer, mallet, rolling pin, food processor, or other sharp, heavy, or intimidating object- unless already altered from their original state! Seriously, those babies are HARD. Read on for the method I finally got to work.

The cupcakes can be assembled super fast if you make the cupcakes and Jolly Rancher topping/dust in advance.  Be aware the dust will clump over time (see picture above) so if you prefer an even, sugary look, you may want to do this day-of.

To make these you'll need some Jolly Ranchers, I bought a variety bag and tried blue raspbery, cherry, and watermelon.  Watermelon was by FAR the most delicious.  Next time I will just buy those watermelon Jolly Rancher "sticks" from Maceys for about 15 cents each and call it a day.

Jolly Rancher Cupcakes

-Watermelon jolly ranchers
-Vanilla cupcakes, baked and cool (from a box is fine)
-White frosting (I used Vanilla Bean Buttercream. If you use this one be sure to use unsalted butter, but do add a pinch or two of salt to taste. This frosting isn't my favorite but it worked well for these cupcakes.  You want something that's not too insanely sugary, because you are going to be adding candy all over the top of it. Next time I may try a marshmallow frosting without some of the sugar and see how it turns out.)

Place your jolly ranchers on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake in a 300 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until they're melted flat.  (You will have jolly rancher puddles basically). Remove pan and allow to cool to room temperature. You can now put the flat brittle pieces (that's all of them) in a heavy freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin.  You could also try putting them in a food processor. When fully crushed, place jolly rancher dust in a small bowl.

Frost each cupcake and either roll in Jolly rancher dust, or sprinkle the dust on top. Chances are you will want big beautiful frosting clouds like in my picture, but truly, these are yummier with a small amount of frosting and a LARGE dusting of jolly rancher dust.  When I ate mine I knocked off about 3/4 of that frosting.

That's it!  So simple!

Well,  minus the hammer-smashing-fun part.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

After the Twix Brownies, how could we not, really?  Twix is still my favorite, but these are pretty high on the list.

I actually split my brownie mix between two pans and tried these two separate ways- topped with Reeses before baking, and topped with Reeses right after baking.  EVERYONE went for the brownies topped post-baking, but tasting them blind- the baked-in version won every time.  So you really have to decide if you want pretty brownies or yummy brownies.  Unless you feel like compromising and doing both that is...

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies


I have mixed feelings about mint chocolate chip ice cream.  I really like mint and chocolate. Together.  (By the way, I think this is a girl thing, because the only two people I know who don't like mint/chocolate combo are my husband and my brother.  Men are weird.)  Anywhooo- I just don't like how the chocolate gets all hard and frozen in ice cream. I feel like chocolate should melt in your mouth.  Know what I'm sayin'?

Well friends, let me introduce you to my friend, the mint chocolate chip cookie.  These are yummy and a nice twist on the usual chocolate chip cookie.  They brown near the edges and there's not much you can do about it, but after lots of therapy, you'll probably get over it.  Don't be scared about using the sugar cookie mix.  These don't taste at all like a sugar cookie, and you'd never guess they use a mix. 
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Gingerbread Waffles with Cinnamon Syrup and Whipped Cream

Favorite. Breakfast. Ever.  That's all you need to know.  Every time I run out of dinner ideas- we end up eating these. I actually prefer them topped with whipped cream alone, but some of my family can't live without the cinnamon syrup.  If we ever have leftovers (rare), I freeze these for quick breakfasts and snacks and they are a hit.  These are a bit time intensive, so I don't recommend them for first thing in the morning when you're starving. 
Also, be aware, when you take the waffles off the iron they will be very limp.  Be careful not to tear them, but don't worry, they will crisp up as they cool down. 

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Carrot Patch Dirt Cups


I've been having issues lately. First was the death of my memory stick adapter which I use to move pictures from my camera to my computer.  Then we went on vacation (that's not so much an issue as just a super fun time). Next came the death of my laptop charger resulting in a looong "5-10 days delivery" without a computer.

By the way, I kid you not, that charger went out with a bang.  I woke up in the middle of the night to this weird crackling buzzing sound (which turned out to be my possessed charger).  I thought it would probably be a good idea to unplug it and throw it out immediately since a) it hadn't really been working for several days and b) it was smoking.  The good news is I didn't start a fire.  The bad news is, I no longer had a charger for my computer.  Even my husband, who is the "this can be salvaged" KING, agreed it needed to be thrown away.  (This is the man who packed flip flops for California that had (literally here guys) quarter sized HOLES in the heels. And refused to let me buy him new ones!  Because a dollar is DEFINITELY too much to pay Old Navy for a crappy pair of flip flops you might wear to the pool three times.)

Anyyyways, the point I am trying to make is that I have been absent for far too long for lots of bizarr-o reasons and I have lots of yummy treats backed up and begging to be posted, so check back often.


Dirt cups and I go way back to the first grade.  Or maybe even the kindergarten (you know- the garden where they keep children).  I brought dirt cups with gummy worms for my whole class on my birthday, knowing I was pretty much the coolest EVER. (My rolled socks, and scrunchie-tied XL shirt over leggings only added to that illusion, I assure you).

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Super Citrus Smoothie

I hate it when I'm making a milkshake and boys just start showing up in my yard.


(I totally found that on Pinterest, but whatev. I thought I would share the laugh with you.)

These aren't milkshakes.  Actually, they're kind of  *gasp*  healthy. Maybe the healthiest thing I will ever post, since this blog IS supposed to be about chocolate. I've had a bad cold lately (which probably explains why I haven't posted any delicious treats lately- I do apologize. It's rare that food leaves me disinterested.)

These are *kinda* like Jamba Juice Coldbusters.  Which are pretty much the center of my universe.  Well, really these aren't all that much like Coldbusters, except they both taste citrusy, but if you like those, I promise you will like these too.

By the way... Jamba should totally deliver.  Who's with me?

Enough rambling.  I have a date with Mr. Nyquil anways.

Let me know if your smoothie brings any boys to the yard.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Snowman and Reindeer Oreo Pops

I started my Christmas shopping this week. So although I am painfully aware it is still August, I figured, what the heck, let's post a holiday treat.  I made these pops last year and have been promising to post them, and since I'm pretty sure I don't want to spend my *December* a very sacred month, posting OLD recipes, I'll just post them now for you.  I take it a personal responsibility to spread Christmas cheer before Halloween costumes are even in stores. PLUS if you're a freakish planner like me, you need lots of time to strategically plan which holiday treats to bake when, who to give them to, how to avoid having heaps of chocolate sitting on your counter all month... this time of year practically calls for a binder!  Oh wait, I have one of those.
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Friday, August 26, 2011

Rock Candy Cupcakes


Rock candy is a weird food.  I mean, there isn't really anything that good about it minus that it's pure sugar, which is always a good thing, but every time I see it I get this giddy feeling in my stomach like I'm 5 years old at a country candy store and my parents have caved for once and bought me a treat. After sucking on it for about 3 minutes you realize it doesn't really taste *that* good.  But next time you see it you have to buy it all over again.

I think nostalgia probably tastes better than anything.

My kids about flipped when I made these.  They taste like you'd expect, but I have to be honest; the texture bothered me.  The soft cupcake combined with the rock hard candy made for a really strange combination to chew in my mouth.  Things aren't ready to swallow at the same time... It's awkward.  The kids were too busy crunching and licking and smacking their lips to notice or care. This is definitely kid food.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Tigger Tails


Doesn't this just make you smile? Tigger Tails are a Disneyland treat. As far as I know they can only be found at Pooh Corner (by Splash Mountain) at Disneyland.  They're basically marshmallows on a stick, covered in caramel, covered in orange-flavored white chocolate, drizzled with semisweet chocolate.  Ok, in spirit of full disclosure, they have actually changed the tails so they are now not orange flavored, and they are rolled in orange sugar instead of orange chocolate...  kind of like a peep.  The disney community is up in arms over this betrayal. They also make cheshire cat tails, which are pink and purple and stinkin' cute.  If my 3 year old was a girl, he would SO be having an Alice in Wonderland party for his 4th and I would soooo be making some cheshire tails. But since Disneyland is gonna be all *exclusive*-like about their tigger tails... we're just gonna have to make our own.

Quite honestly, white chocolate and I are not BFF's. I think these would be yummier if they were dipped in milk chocolate and drizzled with fat orange stripes of white chocolate.  Less cute, but more delicious.  It's a price I'm willing to pay if I ever make these again. White chocolate just doesn't do it for me. But make them however you want.
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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chewy Caramel Twix Brownies

Quote of the day:

"Mom!  Look at all that WEED!"

(My 3 year old, as we drive past a farm where a farmer is harvesting hay into those rectangular bale things)


Luckily he doesn't know what "weed" actually is.  Or he better not, because he's only three.  But I'm pretty sure I almost ran into a fence I was laughing so hard.  I hope he doesn't go to preschool next month and tell his teacher about all the "weed" in our backyard.  That would be an interesting parent teacher conference.  If I had to bribe her *not* to call social services, I would probably do so with these twix brownies:


Bribing a teacher has to be a sure thing my friends.

(Seriously, these are YUM!)


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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Clementine Soda

 

I am having one of those weeks where everything I touch self-destructs. If you don't ever have those weeks, don't tell me.   It's like this awful curse that ruins everything I bake.  Overdone. Too salty. Bland. Bitter.  ARghhhh!!   

I found this recipe for sodas and on my THIRD attempt finally found one I love.  (In case you don't know my motto- it is that I will never post anything that turned out to be a disappointment for me. Everything I post will be something I absolutely loved.  Nobody wants to try reject recipes.) 
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