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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Granola Bars

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I made these to take to a friend’s brunch on Christmas Eve.  They are super easy to make and are just delicious.  You will never buy granola bars again.

The recipe calls for pumpkin seeds, nuts, etc., but at my local grocery store they sell something called Brain Food.  The one type that I chose was pumpkin seeds, nuts, and raisins mixed together so I used the entire container of this (I think it was 16 oz) instead of each individual ingredients.  I also added a small bag of dried cranberries.  I used fat free sweetened condensed milk to save some calories and this worked perfectly and is how I will make them in the future.

I found the recipe on Allrecipes and it’s a keeper!

Granola Bars

2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup dried cranberries
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free)

Preheat an oven to 350º.

Line a 13×9-inch pan with lightly-greased parchment paper; an inch or so of parchment paper should stick up on 2 sides to form lifting handles.

Mix both oats, pumpkin seeds, both nuts, cranberries, and sweetened condensed milk together in a bowl and spread into the prepared pan, evenly pressing into the corners and out to the sides.

Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are golden brown, 20-25 minutes, using slightly less time for chewier bars and slightly more time for crunchier bars.  I went longer for crunchier bars.

Let the bars cool for 5 minutes in the pan before using the parchment paper to lift them from the pan. Use a sharp knife to cut into bars. Let the bars cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Makes 24 bars.

VIEW PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE!

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!

Holiday Salad

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My daughter served this salad on Thanksgiving and it was sooooo good.  I know the bowl looks really messy and I’ll take the blame for being a messy salad tosser.  The recipe called for a raspberry vinaigrette and I couldn’t find just a plain raspberry vinaigrette so I used a raspberry-pomegranate vinaigrette and it was superb as well as being fairly healthy.  This salad is chock-full of yummy ingredients and the color just makes it perfect for the holidays.   The recipe came from allrecipes originally.

Holiday  Salad

1 (10 ounce) package Italian-blend salad greens
1 (5 ounce) package spring mix salad greens
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 medium red apple, cored and chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (8 ounce) bottle raspberry vinaigrette ~ I used about 1/4 to 1/3 of the bottle

In a large salad bowl, toss all of the ingredients except the dressing.

Just before serving, drizzle with vinaigrette and toss.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Cranberry Pecan Coffee Cake

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Wow ~ this coffee cake is wonderful!  A must make and  perfect for the upcoming holidays or anytime you need a special coffee cake.

It looks more complicated than it is ~ it’s really easy and best of all it looks like you have spent hours in the kitchen.

Cranberry Pecan Coffee Cake

Topping:
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 1/4 cup whole fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans

Cake:
1/2 cup butter at room temp
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream (I used less fat sour cream)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350º. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum to prevent any leaking (I did have a little leaking but the foil caught it).

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and set aside (I just whisk it all together since I don’t own a sifter).

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar and 1/3 cup butter and bring to a boil. After it comes to a boil, pour it in the bottom of the ungreased springform pan. Sprinkle the cranberries (whole) and pecans over the top of the butter/brown sugar mixture. Make sure that they spread out over the entire pan.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream. Spoon this cake mixture over the the top of the cranberry mixture already in the pan.

Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes then invert onto serving platter and carefully remove pan.

Makes 8 -10 servings.

Happy Cooking!

Barbecued Pecans

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I’ve been looking at this recipe for a year or two trying to imagine what barbecued pecans would taste like.   The price of pecans really had more to do with me not trying it.  What if I hated them and wasted all those pecans?  I made them.  They are addictive!

Now, they are not spicy but they are very flavorful.  If you want them spicier, just add more hot sauce or vice versa.

They would make great gifts!

Barbecued Pecans

Barbecued Pecans

2 tbsps butter, melted
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp hot sauce (use more or less depending on how hot you want them)
4 cups pecans halves
salt to taste

Combine butter, Worcestershire, ketchup and hot pepper sauce and pour over pecans. Stir gently until pecans are coated.

Spread on a cookie sheet that has been covered with parchment paper.

Bake at 300º for 30 minutes, stirring at regular intervals to prevent any burning.

After baking, immediately spread on paper towels to cool; sprinkle generously with salt while still hot so the salt will stick.

Cool and store in an airtight container.

Makes 4 cups

Happy Cooking!

My Signature

Tuesdays with Dorie and Sugared Pecans

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Well, I decided that since there wasn’t anyone here to share these cookies with that I would skip TWD this week.  They look delicious and I KNOW I would eat them all myself, LOL!  Everything will be back to normal next week.

So, in lieu of a link to a TWD recipe, I will post a link to the Sugared Pecans I DID make yesterday.  I’ve seen this recipe in different places and decided to make them as a try out for Christmas and hostess gifts.  They are delicious and would fit the bill for any food gift giving.   The recipe is on Recipezaar and they are super easy to make.  I did make them a little different than the directions stated and you can read how I did it in my review on the recipe (screen name Lvs2Cook).