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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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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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!

Chocolate Dipped Cherries

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This very simple treat was a big hit at our Christmas party this past weekend.  They are so simple to make but really taste like it took some work ~ which is my favorite kind of recipe.

The cherries would be excellent for a gift but they may not be the best choice for young kids…you’ll see what I mean!

Chocolate Dipped Cherries

1 cup maraschino cherries, WITH stems
1 cup brandy
10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, Ghiradelli’s is best

Put the cherries in a smallish bowl and cover with the brandy. Let the bowl sit on your counter for 8-10 hours ~ I did about 8. Drain the cherries and place on a parchment (or wax paper) lined cookie sheet and freeze. I let mine go overnight.

Melt the chocolate either in the microwave or double boiler being very careful not to let it burn. Wipe each frozen cherry of excess moisture. Dip in the chocolate and place back on the lined cookie sheet and let them stand until the choclate firms up. If it doesn’t seem to be firming up, stick in the fridge for a bit. Mine worked just sitting on the counter.

I did have extra melted chocolate so I could have probably gotten about 2 cups of cherries dipped.

Store cherries in the refrigerator.

Makes about 18-20 cherries.

Happy Cooking!

Candy Apples

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A Halloween/County Fair staple when I was a kid, I much prefer candy apples over caramel apples.  Something about the hard, sweet coating and the tart apple underneath.  These aren’t hard to make but you do need a candy thermometer.  I made 6 smallish apples with this recipe (I used McIntosh).

Candy Apples

Candy Apples

6 smallish apples
6 skewers (I used cookie pop sticks by Wilton)

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup (I used the less sugar kind)
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup cinnamon candies such as Red Hots

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using clean apples, stick the skewer in the stem end.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup and hot water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and then continue to cook until the thermometer reaches 250º. Add the cinnamon candies, stir briefly, and continue to cook until the thermometer reaches 280º.

Remove from the heat and stir so that the candy is smooth. Hold an apple by the skewere and dip in the candy and swirl to coat, tilting the pan as needed. Hold apple over pan so that excess candy can drip back in the pan. Repeat until all apples are covered.

Cool at room temperature. After about 24 hours they start to get a little wimpy so try to enjoy within 24 hours or store in the refrigerator for longer storage.

Makes 6 apples.

NOTE: The candy is HOT and will burn. This is really NOT A RECIPE FOR CHILDREN to help make.

To get the candy out of your pan, boil some water in the pan and then let it soak and the candy should melt and come right out.

VIEW PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE!

Happy Halloween!

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