Peppermint Bark

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This is so embarrassingly easy that it hardly counts as a recipe.  I’ve had several people ask me how to make it so I decided to put it here.  I usually only make it around Christmas and I have no idea why as it would be great any time of the year and I can find the ingredients all year long.

I use CandiQuik for the white chocolate.  There are many different brands of candy coating and any one of them will work.  CandiQuik looks like this:

candiquik

It comes in vanilla and chocolate.

Here is another version of bark that I made a couple of years ago ~ Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

1 pkg vanilla CandiQuik
1 bag hard, round peppermint candy

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Unwrap the peppermints and place in a ziplock bag. Smash all the peppermints in the bag with a meat mallet or a rolling pin until all the pieces are small.

Melt all the CandiQuik according to the package directions. At this point, I dump the melted chocolate into a bowl and then dump in the peppermints and mix well.

Pour over the parchment paper and let harden. If it seems to be taking a long time to harden, place in the refrigerator until hardened.

Break up into pieces with your hands.

Easy peasy!

Happy Cooking!

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Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark

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Something I  made when we had a few friends over before Christmas was this bark.  I saw the recipe on King Arthur Flour and it looked so delicious to me that I had to try it.

It’s easy to make even though it may not look that way.  Just make sure to follow the steps and yours will turn out great, too.

The recipe called for semisweet and white chocolate but I used the packages of chocolate and white bark that you can buy in the grocery store. They melt easily and then harden back up easily and they taste good.

Chocolate, Pecan, Cranberry Bark

Cranberry Nut Chocolate Bark

1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup toasted pecans
1 pkg chocolate bark, melted
1 pkg white chocolate bark, melted

In a small bowl, mix the cranberries and toasted pecans together and set aside.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate bark according to the pkg directions. Spread into an oval on the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and let set.

Melt the white chocolate according to the pkg directions and carefully spread over the chocolate layer. Before the white chocolate sets, sprinkle the cranberry and nut mixture over the top and press in lightly.

Let the chocolate harden for several hours and then break into chunks. If you are having trouble getting the chocolate to harden, put the pan in the refrigerator until hard.

Makes about 24 pieces.

Happy Cooking!

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Key Lime Fudge

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Mr. Meat Eater loves all things key lime.  I, on the other hand, could cheerfully live without it.  Since he’s such a nice guy, I make something key lime once in awhile.

I had seen a picture of key lime fudge on Pinterest but there was no recipe attached (that makes me crazy, btw) so I hunted around and found this recipe on Real Mom Kitchen.  We had a few friends over and I was tired of making chocolate fudge so I decided to try this fudge.  Much to my surprise, everyone loved it!  I took a bite and found it was not as sweet as I thought it would be and I would have liked more lime taste to it.  Everyone else thought it was perfect as is.

For the crust, I just followed the pie crust recipe on the box of graham cracker crumbs (just like Real Mom Kitchen did) so I am not going to write it out here but if anyone needs it, let me know.

A Key Lime Fudge

Key Lime Fudge

Graham cracker crust following recipe on graham crumbs box
16 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp butter
1 lime, zested
3 tbsps key lime juice or lime juice ~ I use Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice

Preheat oven to 350º and line a 9×9 baking dish with aluminum foil. Butter the foil and set aside.

Place the mixed graham crust ingredients and spread in the pan evenly and press down slightly when even.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Place in a saucepan, the chopped white chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, and 1 tbsp butter. Cook on low heat until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in zest and lime juice.

Carefully pour this mixture over the crumb crust and even out carefully with a spatula.

Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Before cutting, sprinkle a few graham crumbs from the box if desired.

Using the foil, remove the fudge from the pan and cut into small squares. Discard foil.

Makes about 24 pieces of fudge depending on how large you cut the squares.

Happy Cooking!

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Fudge

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Wow ~ I am loving the comments so far on my giveaway.  Everything sounds so yummy!!  If you want to join in see this post ~ My Very FIRST Giveaway

In a word, this fudge is delicious!   I only had a taste since I’m trying not to eat any sweets and it was hard NOT to have more.  I think Mr. Meat Eater ate the rest of the pan.

This recipe is very easy and really not at all difficult like some fudge recipes can be.   I think it would wonderful with homemade chocolate chip cookies.  I used original Chips Ahoy cookies since I am basically lazy.  Don’t skimp on toasting the pecans ~ it really helps to make the recipe.

The fudge would make an excellent gift or treat at Christmas.  I found the recipe in Southern Living’s Cooking for Christmas.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Fudge

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels
1 (11.5 ounce) package milk chocolate morsels
1/2 cup evaporated milk (one of those small cans is 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 tsps vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
12 chocolate chip cookies, chopped (about 1 3/4 cups)

To toast the pecans ~ spread on a small baking sheet, place in a preheated to 350º oven and let bake for 10 minutes or so. When you can start smelling them, they are done. Be careful NOT to burn. If they burn, toss and start over.

Line the bottom of an 8×8 baking pan with aluminum foil so the foil hangs over the edges. Lightly grease the foil.

Combine both packages of morsels and the evaporated milk in a large saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Rmove from heat and stir in the pecans, vanilla, and salt. Stir in the cookies. Spread in prepared pan.

Let stand for 4 hours or until the fudge is firm.

Lift fudge from the pan using the foil sides as handles. Remove foil and throw away and cut the fudge into squares.

Makes 2 1/4 lbs fudge

Happy Cooking!

Peanut Clusters

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Peanuts covered in chocolate and butterscotch ~ what could be better?  I found this recipe on Food.com posted by mollypie and it looked great so I decided to try it for Christmas gift giving.  It is beyond EASY!!!!  Now, I am NOT that big a fan of butterscotch ~ a little goes a long way as far as I am concerned but this recipe says it’s a two for one for the chocolate/butterscotch coating so I switched it up to 2 bags of chocolate chips to one bag of butterscotch instead of the other way around and it worked great.   Of course you can make it whichever way you prefer.

Peanut Clusters

1 (12 ounce) pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 (12 ounce) pkgs butterscotch chips
2 cups of salted peanuts with no skin

Melt the chocolate/butterscotch in a microwave safe bowl at 50% power for 30 seconds at a time until completely melted. You can also melt on the stovetop in a double boiler if you prefer.

Add peanuts to the melted chips and stir until all the peanuts are coated.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper and let cool until they harden up ~ they are not rock hard but firm and are soft to bite into.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes about 3 dozen clusters.

Happy Cooking!

Christmas Candy

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What is is about Christmas and candy?  Why do I never make candy other times of the year?

Here are a couple of things I always make for the holidays:

English Toffee

 

Famous Fudge (scroll down)

And a couple of new favorites:

Chocolate Dipped Cherries

 

Smoked Almond Turtles

Happy Cooking!

 

 

Smoked Almond Turtles

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I saw Giada deLaurentiis make this recipe on her Halloween show and really hadn’t had a chance to make it so I decided to give it a try for our party.  It’s not hard but takes a little time and patience.

Giada makes hers in a regular size muffin pan so I did the same but I cut them in fourths for the party because they are really too big of a piece of candy for one person.  Next time I will use mini muffin pans or maybe even those flexible pans.

These are really, really good and well worth making.  They would be great for a gift.

Smoked Almond Turtles (Giada DiLaurentiis)

Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 cup (5 ounces) coarsely chopped smoked almonds ~ I left mine whole but I would chop them next time

Caramel:

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 tablespoon water

3/4 cup bittersweet (use Ghirardelli)) chocolate chips

Spray a 12-count muffin pan, very well, with vegetable oil cooking spray. Put the almonds in the bottom of each muffin cup and set aside.

For the caramel: In a 3-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the cream, butter, sugar, and water. Stir over medium heat until the mixture is smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 240º, about 5 to 7 minutes. Let the mixture cool for 30 seconds. Using a long-handled, metal spoon, carefully spoon the caramel over the nuts. Allow the caramel to harden, at room temperature, for 1 hour.

Put the chocolate chips in a medium glass bowl and melt int he microwave according to the directions on the back of the package of chocolate chips. Spoon the chocolate over the caramel and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Using a thin-bladed spatula, remove the turtles from the pan (caramel will be hard). This will take a little bit of effort.

Let the turtles stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour (to allow the caramel to soften) before serving. I cut into quarters before serving.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes 12 candies.

VIEW PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE!

Happy Cooking!