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.


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?


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. 


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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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