Strawberry Pretzel Bark

I love quick and easy recipes.  Especially when they look impressive!

This beautiful, swirly chocolate treat is a fun way to enjoy a little decadence–you could even give this as a gift!  Just remember to keep it cold as the chocolate warms easily to the touch and the freeze dried strawberries will have a better texture cold.

pretzel-bark

(this recipe is also shared in my Thrive Life recipes….hence my Thrive website url)

Strawberry Pretzel Bark
Easy but elegant, sweet and salty.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  2. 8 ounces white chocolate for baking (could also use vanilla candy melts)
  3. 1 cup freeze dried strawberry slices (I used Thrive, of course!)
  4. 1/2 cup salted pretzel sticks
  5. sprinkles of your choice
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper.
  2. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and melt for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each time, until the chocolate is smooth and melted completely.
  3. Pour 3/4 of the chocolate onto the paper lined baking sheet. Use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate into a thin, even layer so that it ends up in a rectangle about 9"x 12".
  4. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave in the same way you did the chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto the chocolate rectangle. Use the remaining melted chocolate chips to drop spoonfuls over top of the white chocolate spoonfuls. Swirl with a toothpick.
  5. Immediately place the pretzel sticks and strawberry slices on the surface, pressing down lightly.
  6. Refrigerate until set. Slide the bark with the paper onto a cutting surface and cut the bark into pieces. Serve right away, or store in the fridge in a covered container.
Notes
  1. You can use different freeze dried fruits--blueberries, raspberries, cranberries. All sorts of combos! And if you like it a little saltier, sprinkle on some sea salt too.
Adapted from Five Heart Home
Adapted from Five Heart Home
Mormon Mavens http://www.mormonmavens.com/

Easy Toffee

toffeeI have a friend who makes THE most amazing toffee.  

Seriously.  It’s total food crack.

And as much as I’ve always thought I would like to know her secret recipe, I actually kinda wish I hadn’t found this recipe (which is super close to hers, although I will always prefer hers!).  

Why?

Because I can’t stop eating it when I make it!

I made three batches to test it in different ways and each time I ate until I was sick!  I seriously have to watch myself around this stuff.

And I’m so happy that this recipe does NOT involve a candy thermometer.  I really hate those things.

 

toffee-collage

from left to right: just starting, all melted and boiling, beginning to thicken, the right color!, after the vanilla and ready to pour

 

Easy Toffee
A little salt gives this delicious toffee a beautiful flavor.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butter
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 5 Tbsp. water
  4. 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  5. 2 tsp. vanilla
  6. 1 cup milk chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Place a baking sheet on top of several towels or a wooden cutting board.
  2. In a cast iron skillet, melt the butter with the sugar and water. Once the butter is melted, adjust the heat until there is a consistent boil. Stir CONSTANTLY.
  3. Continue to adjust heat and stir for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture is caramel colored. Remove from heat.
  4. Add the salt and vanilla and stir well.
  5. Immediately pour onto the baking sheet.
  6. Wait a couple of minutes and then pour the chocolate chips evenly over the top. Allow the chips to melt completely, then spread the chocolate evenly with an offset spatula.
  7. Allow the chocolate to set completely before cutting/breaking up the toffee.
Notes
  1. You need the towels or wooden cutting board as a protection for your countertop. The toffee will make the baking sheet VERY hot!
  2. I tried this twice with milk chocolate block and could never get it to melt smoothly. I highly recommend using milk chocolate chips, which are formulated differently from block chocolate. They melt way better!
Mormon Mavens http://www.mormonmavens.com/

Coconut Oil Fudge

Here’s another recipe found while searching for dairy-free dessert solutions.  I also have to have vanilla-free, so I subbed another extract for the vanilla in this recipe.  But if you’d like to use vanilla, use 2 teaspoons of it instead of the almond extract.  You could also try mint, coconut, orange, etc.

Now I’ll be honest with you–I wouldn’t make this if I didn’t have issues with dairy.  I’d much rather have regular fudge.  But in the absence of said fudge, I’ve learned to make some adjustments.  And I love trying new ways to satisfy a sweet tooth in the face of my recent food restrictions.

Ingredients:
1 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. almond extract
pinch of sea salt

1.  Use a 4-cup Pyrex glass measure to melt the coconut oil in the microwave (just eyeball a generous cup’s worth).  Pour any excess back into the original container until you have exactly one cup melted in your measuring cup.
2.  Add the remaining ingredients and whisk well.
3.  Place a few cups of ice in a mixing bowl large enough to place the Pyrex measuring cup in; drizzle a little water in with the ice.  Set the Pyrex measure in the larger bowl so it is sitting on the ice.  Whisk the mixture every few minutes until it begins to thicken.  Don’t let it sit there too long or it will begin to hard on the bottom and edges.  This thickening is important because if you don’t do this, your coconut oil will separate and float to the top.*
4.  Pour fudge into parchment-lined 8×4-inch loaf pan.  Place in freezer until set.  Cut into pieces and serve.

*When I made this I followed the directions exactly (which say to mix and pour and freeze).  When I peeked into the freezer, the coconut oil had all risen to the top and solidified in a white mass.  So I took it out, melted the mixture and tried the ice technique just to see if I could save it.  It worked!  My pic at the top right is the mixture without the ice technique and you can tell it’s very liquidy.  Make sure to do the ice thing or you’ve have gross fudge!

Source:  slightly adapted ingredients and methods from Seeds of Real Health

Pumpkin Truffles

Easy, fun, impressive, festive!  And they taste pretty good too.

Ingredients:
5 ounces white chocolate chips
½ cup pumpkin puree
¾ cup finely ground gingersnaps
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of orange zest
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
white candy melts, about 8 ounces
additional gingersnap crumbs for garnish

1. Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until they stir smooth.  Add the pumpkin, gingersnap crumbs, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, and cream cheese.  Mix well until combined.  Chill in fridge or freezer until the mixture can be scooped and rolled into balls.
2.  Scoop the mixture and form into one-inch balls, placing them on a parchment- or wax paper-lined baking sheet.  Place the baking sheet in the freezer and chill about two hours until firm.
3.  When it’s time to dip the truffles, melt the candy melts in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until they stir smooth.  Using a fork to gently roll the ball around, coat the ball and lift it out and place it on the lined baking sheet.  (I use a cheap fork for this–I bent back the middle two tines and this gives more room for the excess to come off.)  Do this one or two balls at a time, making sure to garnish with the remaining gingersnap crumbs as soon as you place the balls on the baking sheet.  (If the coating cracks while setting, just use the tines of the fork to “patch” the coating with the melted candy coating.)
4.  When all the balls are coated, chill the baking sheet again to make sure the truffle coating is set.  Then store in a covered container in the fridge till ready to serve.

Makes about 15 truffles

Source:  Annie’s Eats

Samoa Fudge

I didn’t appreciate the wonderful flavor and textures of the Samoas Girl Scout Cookies until I was an adult (I stuck with the boring shortbread to be safe).  And yes, I know they are now called Caramel Delites.  But to me they will always be Samoas.  This fudge recipe was a fun way to recreate some of that yumminess.  Hope you like it.

Ingredients:
1 cup shredded coconut
2 cups wrapped caramels
1 tsp. heavy cream
¾ cup butter
¾ cup heavy cream
1½ cups sugar
1 pinch kosher salt
1 (3-ounce) package coconut cream Instant JELL-O pudding mix
1 (11-ounce) package white chocolate morsels
1 (7-oz) jar marshmallow creme
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1.  Place coconut in an even layer on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown in a 425 degree oven.  Set aside.
2.  Unwrap caramels and place in a microwave-safe bowl with the 1 tsp. of heavy cream.  Microwave this for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until smooth.  Set aside.
3.  Line a 9″x13″ pan with parchment paper, allowing enough length on each end for “handles” later.  Set aside.
4.  In a large saucepan, heat the butter, the 3/4 up cream, sugar, and salt over medium-high heat.  Bring this to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.
5.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the pudding mix, white chocolate, and marshmallow creme.  Pour the mixture from the hot saucepan into the mixing bowl.  Mix and stir until smooth.  Pour this into the prepared pan.
6.  Pour the caramel over the top.  It will thick so use a knife to spread it to the edges.  Use the knife to then swirl the caramel down into the fudge.  Refrigerate for 2-3 hours until the fudge is set.
7.  Melt the chocolate morsels in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until the chocolate stirs smooth.  Spread the chocolate over the fudge.  Sprinkle with the toasted coconut.  Chill  until chocolate is set.
8.  Lift the fudge by the parchment paper “handles” and cut into squares.  Store in the fridge.

Source:  Key Ingredient

Pumpkin Fudge

Last week we had our September Relief Society activity and, since I’m in charge of those activities, I thought it would be fun to have a pumpkin taster’s table for refreshments.  One of the perks of planning activities is being able to try out new recipes on the guinea pigs at church my fellow Relief Society sisters.  And, of course, I headed to Pinterest for some inspiration.  So glad I did….this fudge is yummy and has great texture.

Ingredients:
3 cups granulated white sugar
3/4 cup melted salted butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
½ cup canned pure pumpkin
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
One 12-ounce package white chocolate morsels or vanilla candy melts*
One 7-ounce jar marshmallow crème
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Line a 9×13-inch square pan with aluminum foil, leaving enough on the ends to allow you to lift the fudge out later. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Stir together sugar, butter, evaporated milk, pumpkin, corn syrup, and pumpkin pie spice in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir constantly while you cook the mixture until a candy thermometer registers 234° (soft ball stage) or for about 12 minutes.
3. Once mixture reaches this temperature, remove it from heat.  Immediately stir in the white chocolate, marshmallow creme, nuts (if using), and vanilla.  Stir until smooth.
4. Pour into the prepared pan. Let stand at room temp for 2 hours.  Then carefully lift the fudge out by the foil “handles” and cut into squares.

*I prefer the vanilla candy melts.  Mine are Guittard brand.

Source:  Recipe Girl

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients:

16 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c. creamy natural peanut butter
2 T. butter, softened
1.75 oz confectioner’s sugar (1/4 c. plus 2 T.), sifted

Directions:

  1. Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
  2. Melt half the chocolate either in a double boiler (the safer method) or in the microwave (the more dangerous, but easier/lazier method). I opt for the latter.
  3. Distribute the melted chocolate into the 12 muffin tins (I use a cookie scoop to portion the chocolate), only barely filling the bottom of each cup. If the chocolate does not lie flat, drop the pan repeatedly on the counter, and it will flatten and smooth itself out. Place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, whip the peanut butter, butter, and confectioner’s sugar together with a hand mixer until mixed and light. Taste it and make sure the sweetness is to your liking. Place small tablespoons of peanut butter into each cup, then drop the pan repeatedly on the counter again, so the peanut butter layer is flattened out. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  5. Melt the last 1/2lb of chocolate, and portion small spoonfuls of chocolate into the cups, one cup at a time, immediately dropping the pan repeatedly on the counter to flatten each cup. In my experience of making these, the chill from the peanut butter (because it was just in the freezer) will harden up that top layer of chocolate very quickly, so you must flatten out the tops immediately after you pour the chocolate into each cup. Place the peanut butter cups in the freezer for 15 minutes to set the top layer of chocolate.
  6. You can either refrigerate them for a peanut butter cup with more bite, or leave them at room temperature for a softer, creamier bite. Just peel the wrapper off, and enjoy!

Source:  fifteenspatulas.ziplist.com

This entry was posted in Candies.

Sticky Gooey Caramel Corn

We just got an air popcorn popper. You remember those? I hadn’t seen one since I was a kid. We received one for Christmas and IT IS SO FUN! Delightful! It’s the little things in life, you know?

I digress. The recipe, Kara. The recipe.

The name of this recipe is EASY. Quick and easy. Ignore the header. That’s what it’s name *should* be. And kiddos of all ages (even those of “Mature Years”) will love it.

Ingredients:
2 bowls of popped popcorn (I use one scoop full of kernels)
1 C butter
2 C Brown Sugar
3/4 – 1 C Light Karo Syrup
Nuts (opt)

1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add the sugar and syrup. Stir constantly until it begins to bubble.
3. Boil for 1 min. (Continue stirring. You’d hate to burn it!)
4. Remove from heat and pour over the bowls of popcorn.
5. Stir carefully with a wooden spoon until all the popcorn is covered a fair amount. Add the nuts if you are using them.

Serve immediately–that’s the way we like it! You can put it into balls if you wish. Just lay them on wax paper and let them cool.

Source: My long lost friend, Erika Johanson.

Christmas Peanut Butter Crackers

      CAUTION!  CAUTION!  CAUTION!!  CAUTION!!  CAUTION!!  CAUTION!!  CAUTION!!

These are just about good enough to make you slap your momma!   Ha-Ha-Ha! No, seriously, these things are scrumptious and addicting.  We make these every year as part of our Christmas Treats Extravaganza! Some families probably just call that night Christmas Eve.  But, we call it our Christmas Treats Extravaganza!  (It’s fun to say. Use your biggest announcer’s voice.  Try it.)  We make a ton of different kinds of goodies/ treats and we eat them for dinner, and then we have plenty for our company that comes to visit.   You should try these, and I promise your family will love them! They almost taste like Nutter butter cookies!

Ingredients:
Creamy Peanut Butter
Ritz crackers
Almond Bark Candy
Wax Paper

Lay out a long piece of wax paper.  Spread peanut butter on a Ritz cracker and sandwich it with another Ritz cracker.  Make these using 1 whole sleeve of crackers.  Once you get this far, set them aside and break your almond bark into squares. Place them into a microwavable bowl, and melt them in the microwave for about 60 seconds.  Take the bowl out of the microwave and try to stir the squares and break them up as much as you can.  Then put the bowl back in the microwave for about 15 seconds.  Then stir and break up lumps. You will do this over if needed until the candy is all melted and smooth.  Then put a Ritz cracker sandwich into the candy and flip it over with the fork covering as much of the sandwich as you can.  You have to work quickly because the hot candy melts the peanut butter!  Then as you pick up the Ritz cracker sandwich with a fork (kind of scoop it up. don’t stab it with the tongs!) , you can tap the fork gently on the bowl to get off excess candy.  Then put the Ritz cracker onto the wax paper you have layed out.  Finish the entire sleeve of cracker sandwiches you have made. 

You can get about 1 & 1/2 sleeves of Ritz cracker peanut butter sandwiches dipped to one package of almond bark candy.

Chocolate Peppermints

I recently made these little gems for a family gathering and they were quite tasty.  A great recipe for the holidays or for special events….or just because you want ’em!

Ingredients:
1 pound powdered sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1.  In a mixer, slowly add the sugar to the cream cheese, working in a little at a time, until well blended.  Add the peppermint extract and mix well.  Cover mixer bowl with a damp cloth.
2.  Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.  Roll your peppermint “dough” into teaspoonful sized balls and place on wax paper.  Make an indentation in each ball, either with your finger or with the back of a 1/4-teaspoon.   Cover and refrigerate while you get the chocolate ready.
3.  Melt the chocolate chips in a disposable decorating bag in the microwave until fully melted.  Snip off the very end and fill each indentation.  (OR, if you don’t have these bags–but you should cuz they’re awesome– melt the chips in a microwave proof bowl and then pour the chocolate into a ziplock bag, seal, snip the end, and fill the indentations).  Refrigerate until set.

Notes:

  • Take them out of the fridge for a half hour to an hour before serving.
  • While making the balls, keep the unused “dough” covered so it won’t dry out. 
  • Make the indentations as you go.  If you wait until you’ve formed all the balls, the dough will crack.
Source:  from Amy at She Wears Many Hats