Pumpkin Spice Ghost Munch Caramel Corn

Hi guys! Are you over the pumpkin spice craze yet, or do you have room for more? I hope you’re still into it, but if not, it’s super easy to leave it out of this recipe. In fact, this is super customizable. You can really make it for any holiday or special occasion. But more on that in a minute.

Do you all know what Moose Munch is? It’s a caramel corn by Harry and David that is typically coated in chocolate. It is delicious. This is my take on it, all dressed up for Halloween. And it’s super easy, even with homemade caramel corn. Yes, I said homemade. I promise it’s not hard to make, and you probably have all of the ingredients you need in your pantry right now. Yes, you need a candy thermometer, but they aren’t expensive and it is sooooo worth it.

I love this caramel corn. My mom has been making it for as long as I can remember. She always adds salted peanuts, which I think add the perfect salty component. You can, of course, use whatever nuts you like. But make sure they are salted and roasted. If you don’t use salted nuts, give the caramel corn a heavy sprinkle of sea salt before baking. You’ll thank me later. You can certainly stop once the caramel corn is made, and you would have an absolutely delicous snack. But if you want something special for a holiday or party, or just because, go ahead and add some chocolate. I used chocolate almond bark and pumpkin spice chips, but you can use any chocolate that sounds good to you. Chocolate chips, white chocolate, almond bark, peanut butter chips. Like I said, anything you want.

Candy melts also work well, so it’s super simple to customize the colors. Go for red and green at Christmas. Or red, white, and blue for the Fourth of July. How about some pretty pastels for Easter? Or use your teams colors for a fun tailgating snack. And the sprinkles are optional, but there are so many fun varieties out there, you are sure to find some that will work for whatever event you’re making this for. Put out a big bowl for everyone to much on and it will be gone in no time. Or divide it into individual bags with matching ribbons or tags for a fun party favor. However you decide to customize this, you should definitely give it a try!


Print Recipe
Pumpkin Spice Ghost Munch Caramel Corn
Homemade caramel corn coated in chocolate.
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pop popcorn. You can do this in an air popper, a stir popper, in a pan on the stove, or even in the microwave. You can use a small amount of butter or oil, but you don't wanted seasoned or salted popcorn. You will need 10 cups of popped popcorn.
  2. Combine butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a medium to large saucepan and cook over medium to medium-high heat.
  3. Cook and stir until butter is melted and mixture begins to boil. Insert candy thermometer and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, without stirring, until mixture reaches 248 degrees, or firm ball stage.
  4. Remove from heat and carefully stir in the baking soda. The mixture will foam up, which is why you want a larger saucepan than you think you need.
  5. While caramel is cooking, combine popcorn and nuts (if using) in a large greased baking pan. I'm talking about a sheet pan, preferably with 2-inch sides. If you don't have a pan this big, the bottom part of a large broiler pan may work. Or divide evenly between two 13x9-inch cake pans.
  6. Pour caramel mixture (after baking soda has been added) over the popcorn and nuts. Stir well to coat all pieces. If you do not want to use nuts, sprinkle the coated popcorn with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.
  7. Move to a 250-degree F oven and cook for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. The caramel corn is done when no "loose" caramel is pooling in the bottom of the pan. Everything should be coated onto the popcorn and it shouldn't be too sticky. It will firm up the rest of the way once cooled.
  8. Once caramel corn is cool, melt the chocolate in a large bowl. Toss with 6 cups of the caramel corn until completely coated. Spread onto parchment- or waxed paper-lined baking sheet and let harden. I placed mine in the fridge for a few minutes to help it set.
  9. If using more than one type of chocolate, like I did, melt each type separately. I used 1/2 cup each of pumpkin spice chips and chopped chocolate almond bark. I mixed each type with 3 cups of the caramel corn.
  10. If you want to add sprinkles, add them to the chocolate-coated popcorn before it sets,
  11. Combine coated caramel corn with uncoated and mix well to distribute. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Recipe Notes
  • You can use any type of chocolate or chips that you want. Dark, milk, white, peanut butter. Colored candy melts also work great and make it easy to customize for any holiday or event.
  • Try red and green for Christmas; red, white, and blue for Fourth of July; team colors for tailgating; school colors for graduation.
Share this Recipe

Apple Cider Cookies for the Go Bo! Bake Sale

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen recently that I signed up to donate decorated cookies for the Go Bo! Bake Sale. For the whole story, go check out that link. In short, a 12 year-old boy (Bo) was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. While fighting cancer, he started the Go Bo! Foundation to fund cancer research and childhood treatment. The year he passed, a bake sale was planned as a fundraiser for the foundation. A local cookier took to social media to spread the word about the bake sale and ask any other cookiers to donate decorated cookies. That was in 2012, and they raised $5,000 at that bake sale. As word has spread, more and more cookiers have donated. Last year they were able to raise over $30,000!

When I heard about the fundraiser, I knew I wanted to decorate some cookies to donate. I pored over cookie after cookie on Pinterest, and finally settled on a design. It was a hybrid of a few others I had seen out there, and I have to say I really love the way they came out. I made royal icing transfer and then attached them to the flooded cookies. Here are the images I used as templates.

After I knew what design I wanted to create, I had to decide what flavor to make. I love my basic butter cookie recipe, but I wanted something a little more special. So I thought about the apple cider shortbread I had made at Christmas last year. I knew I could combine that idea with my favorite butter cookie, so that’s what I did. Most of the flavor comes from instant hot cider mix, but I felt like it needed another punch of apple flavor, so I reduced some apple cider down to a syrup and mixed that in as well. It was exactly what I was looking for! I think these will be making a reappearance at Christmas this year!

There aren’t a lot of easy substitutions for this recipe. But you could brown the butter and then cool and solidify it before creaming with the sugar. Or, use maple syrup instead of the cider syrup for a hint of maple. And, I suspect you could use instant (sweetened) ice tea mix instead of the cider mix (leaving out the reduced cider syrup) for a summery version of this cookie. In fact, I may try that next summer!

Print Recipe
Apple Cider Cookies
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place apple cider into a saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat and cook until it is reduced to 2 tablespoons. Set aside to cool.
  2. Cream butter with sugar and hot cider mix.
  3. Beat in egg, vanilla, and cooled reduced cider.
  4. MIx in salt and flour until well blended.
  5. Depending on how warm your butter was, you may need to chill the dough for up to an hour to make rolling easier.
  6. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to nearly 1/4 inch thickness, and cut out with desired cookie cutter.
  7. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes. Cookies should be lightly browned around the edges.
  8. Cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes before moving to a rack to cool completely.
  9. Decorate as desired. You can also decorate with sprinkles before baking.
Recipe Notes
  • Use parchment or silicon mats on the cookie sheets if desired.
  • Roll thinner if a crisper cookie is desired.
  • Use maple syrup in place of the reduced cider for a slight variation.
  • Omit the reduced cider and replace the hot cider mix with sweetened ice tea mix for a summery cookie.
Share this Recipe

Zucchini Bread – Made with Spaghetti Squash!

Hi Everyone! I know I’ve been pretty absent here this summer, but I promise I am getting back to baking and will be bringing you lots of new recipes soon! I am so ready for fall – fall weather, fall flavors, fall color. It’s my favorite time of year. 🙂

But for those of you still clinging on to summer, and the bounty of your vegetable garden, I have one more summer recipe for you. Actually, with the cinnamon, it tastes like the start of fall, but it’s a great way to use up your squash.

This was originally my mom’s zucchini bread recipe, and people LOVE this bread. It’s got a nice strong cinnamon flavor and is super moist because of the zucchini. I was gifted a spaghetti  squash from a co-worker, and of course I was immediately challenged to bake something with it. I wondered if I could use it in place of zucchini in baked goods. So I did a little research, crossed my fingers, and went for it. 

This is the second recipe I’ve tried using that substitution, and I can’t tell the difference between the original and the spaghetti squash version. Yes – it works! The only difference is that you have to cook, and shred, the spaghetti squash first, whereas the zucchini is shredded and added to the batter raw. Also, you need to measure the squash by weight, since it is much more dense than shredded zucchini. 

Yes, you can absolutely use zucchini as originally intended. And while I used walnuts in mine, as always, the nuts are optional or changeable. Pecans are always delicious in sweet breads. Hazelnuts or macadamia nuts would be really interesting too.  This recipe uses only cinnamon, but you could change that up too. Add in a little bit of nutmeg or cloves for more of a fall flavor. And you can absolutely bake this in standard 8″x4″ loaf pans. I couldn’t resist trying out this beautiful new swirl pan I just got. And I have to say that I am loving it.

Serve this warm or at room temperature. Or toast it and spread on a little butter. Or cream cheese. Or, if you want to go all out, drizzle on some cream cheese icing for a decadent treat. I think I need to go make another batch of this and do just that….


Print Recipe
Zucchini Bread - with Spaghetti Squash!
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Servings
Loaves
Ingredients
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Servings
Loaves
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Whisk eggs and sugar together until thick and very light yellow in color.
  2. Whisk in oil and vanilla until combined.
  3. Stir in shredded zucchini or squash.
  4. Combine dry ingredients and stir into batter along with nuts, if using, just until combined.
  5. Pour into two 8"x4" greased loaf pans.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees F for 60-70 minutes. (See notes).
  7. Cool 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling. Serve warm or room temperature.
  8. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days at room temperature or a week refrigerated.
Recipe Notes
  • Zucchini should be grated raw, with or without the peel.
  • Spaghetti squash should be cooked (steamed or baked) and shredded before adding to batter.
  • If you are using larger loaf pans (like the pan I used, or a 9"x5" pan) the bread will cook faster. Start checking after 35 minutes.
Share this Recipe

No Bake Corn Flake Cookies

Oh my goodness you guys, it has been a loooong summer already. Things have been super crazy around here, which is why I haven’t been posting much. But I think things are calming down, so I am hoping to get back to a semi-regular schedule here on the blog.

Also, it has been super hot here the last few weeks, and it looks like it is going to continue for a while. Are you dealing with this extreme heat as well? If you are, and even if you aren’t, you’ll love the next few recipes I’ve got planned for you, since they are all no bake! This first one couldn’t be easier. It is only four ingredients, and you probably have most of them in your pantry now. You only need chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanut butter, and corn flakes.

But as always around here, there are lots of ways you can customize it. The original recipe, which my family has made for years, uses marshmallows in place of the corn flakes and presses in into a 9″x13″ pan. My college roommate once made something similar with corn flakes. Since I am not a fan of marshmallows (that original dessert is just about the only way I eat them), I loved that twist on the bars. You can use either marshmallows or unsweetened cereal, or a combination of both. If you don’t like corn flakes, I would try something like Chex cereal, or even Rice Krispies. You want something that isn’t too dense. You could also stir in some nuts or even dried fruit if that’s your thing.

These cookies are simple and quick to put together, and they won’t heat up your kitchen. They aren’t fancy, but they are delicious. I hope you try them, because I know you will love them!

Print Recipe
No Bake Corn Flake Cookies
Servings
cookies
Servings
cookies
Instructions
  1. Melt chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and peanut butter in a large bowl in the microwave, or a large pot on the stove top on medium-low.
  2. Stir in corn flakes, gently, until completely coated.
  3. Scoop with a large ice cream scoop onto parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  4. Store at room temperate, for softer and slightly sticky cookies, or in the refrigerator for firmer (and less messy) cookies.
Recipe Notes
  • For bars, press into a greased 9"x13" pan. Refrigerate until firm before cutting.
  • Use 2 (10 oz) packages of mini marshmallows in place of the corn flakes.
  • Use a combination of marshmallows and corn flakes.
  • Use any other cereal of your choice - preferably an airy cereal like Chex or Rice Krispies.
  • Substitute 1 cup of cereal (or marshmallows) with 1 to 2 cups of nuts or dried fruit.
Share this Recipe

Coffee Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking you don’t need another chocolate chip cookie recipe. But you’re wrong. Because not only is this cookie delicious and different than most of your chocolate chip cookie recipes, this one doesn’t have to be a chocolate chip cookie.

This recipe is based off of a recipe we made all the time as kids. We always had homemade cookies in our school lunch. Always. (My mom is the best. 🙂 ). The oatmeal chocolate chips cookies were a regular and a favorite. I was thinking about them the other day, and I thought they might be improved with a bit of coffee. (I was right). I made a few other changes (took out one egg white, used all brown sugar, melted the butter) to make them even chewier. Also a good idea.

But as I said, these don’t have to be chocolate chip cookies. In fact, the original recipe called for either chocolate chips OR shredded coconut. You could absolutely make that substitution here. Or add chopped nuts. Or dried fruit (you know, like raisins, if you’re in to that kind of thing). Or any combination of the above. The coffee is not an overwhelming flavor, but it really does add an interesting element to the cookie. Yes, you can leave it out. Or, if you want a real coffee punch, use up to twice the amount I’ve called for.

One thing you shouldn’t do is skip the chilling the dough step. Especially when using the melted butter, you really need to chill the dough to get a thicker, chewy cookie. Unless you want a thinner, crispier cookie. In which case, you should bake these as soon as they are mixed. (But seriously, why would you want that??) Whatever way you make these, you should definitely make them soon. I was informed that these are “husband approved”, and that I didn’t need to bring these in to the office to share. (Sorry guys!) 🙂

Print Recipe
Coffee Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine melted butter and brown sugar and mix well.
  2. Add egg, egg yolk, coffee (dissolved in water), and vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until combined.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips or other mix-ins.
  5. Refrigerate dough at least 30 minutes.
  6. Scoop chilled dough by heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheets.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and just set. Do not overbake.
  8. Cool completely on wire rack. Store in airtight container up to a week.
Recipe Notes
  • Use any flavor chips you like.
  • Substitute chopped nuts, shredded coconut, and/or dried fruit.
  • Use any combination that sounds good to you!
Share this Recipe
 

Unicorn Pizzelles Three Ways: Cookies, Sandwiches, and Stroopwafels

Hi everyone! Is it too late to jump on the unicorn bandwagon? 

What a busy spring it has been. I was out of town for work most of the last month, and when I finally got back I had this small matter of my wedding to attend to. 🙂 It turned out to be a beautiful day, at least for the few hours we needed it to be. It stormed the night before and then again that afternoon, but in the late morning it dried up and the sun actually peeked out a little bit. It was a small ceremony, with only the two of us and the pastor (and photographer), but it was perfect, and everything we wanted it to be. I made my own wedding cake – I know, everyone says not to do it – but it turned out great. I made one of the geode cakes that has become so popular lately. Do you want to see a picture?

So, as you can see, I have been busy, and I have been baking. I just haven’t had time to do much for this blog. But I got a pizzelle maker from my parents for the wedding, and I knew I had to do something fun with it. Since I hadn’t made any unicorn treats yet, and they seem to be so popular, I decided it was time. And because I just can’t leave something well enough alone, I made a couple of variations.

Of course the “plain” cookie is delicious, but I also used a circle cutter to cut smaller circles and filled those with white chocolate buttercream. Then I rolled them in sprinkles. Because unicorn cookies need sprinkles. And for the larger cookies, I filled some with a caramel stroopwafel filling. Stroopwafels are a pizzelle-like cookie from the Netherlands filled with a cinnamon caramel. I had never had one, but they sounded delicious – and they are. Apparently you can place it over a steamy mug of coffee or tea, and that will warm the cookie and filling slightly, making it even better.

Pizzelles are so easy to make. Yes, you need a pizzelle iron, but they are totally worth it. They are a really simple batter, and they cook up so fast you can make a ton of cookies pretty quickly. And, they work perfectly with a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend if you are GF.  You can flavor them with any extract you want. And you can fill them with almost anything. They make great ice cream sandwiches. Or curl them into an ice cream cone while they are still warm. Or spread on some peanut butter, or Nutella, or cookie butter….

If you aren’t into unicorns, go with darker colors and make galaxy-inspired cookies. Or, with graduation season upon us, color these with your school colors. They would be great for a graduation party! However you make them, you should make them soon!


Print Recipe
Unicorn Pizzelles Three Ways
Basic pizzelles, with two optional fillings.
Servings
Ingredients
Pizzelles
White Chocolate Buttercream
Stroopwafel Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Pizzelles
White Chocolate Buttercream
Stroopwafel Filling
Instructions
Pizzelles
  1. Beat eggs and sugar with the whisk attachment of an electric mixer until light yellow in color, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla and cooled, melted butter and mix until combined.
  3. Sift together flour and baking powder, and gently stir into egg mixture.
  4. If desired, divide into three equal portions and color each portion a different color.
  5. Place each color into a small disposable piping bag, cut off the ends, and place all three into a larger piping bag.
  6. Or, using a long spatula, place the three colors side-by-side in the large piping bag.
  7. Preheat and grease a pizzelle iron according to manufacturers directions.
  8. Pipe about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter onto each circle and bake 25-35 seconds.
  9. Remove from iron with a spatula and place flat onto a wire rack to cool.
  10. For smaller cookies, use about 1/2 tablespoon batter and cook for 15-20 seconds.
  11. As soon as cookies come off of the iron (you have about 15 seconds tops), use a 2 to 3 inch round metal cookie cutter to cut a circle out of the middle of the cookie. Cool on wire rack as above.
White Chocolate Buttercream
  1. Combine chocolate chips and cream in a microwavable bowl.
  2. Microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until chips are melted. (You are making a white chocolate ganache.)
  3. Cool ganache to room temperature, either on the counter or in the refrigerator.
  4. Place buttercream into a bowl, and beat in cooled ganache.
  5. Sandwich two small pizzelles together with the white chocolate buttercream, and roll edges in sprinkles if desired.
Stroopwafel Filling
  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 234 to 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove from heat and cool slightly, no more than 5 minutes.
  3. Working quickly, and CAREFULLY (it's hot sugar!), spread about 1/2 tablespoon of the mixture on one full-size pizzelle and top with another cookie.
  4. If the mixture gets too thick before you finish filling cookies, place the pan back on the burner on low until the mixture starts to thin back out.
Recipe Notes
  • Use any extract you like. Anise is a traditional flavor for pizzelles.
  • Use any colors you like, or leave it uncolored and drop by spoonfuls instead of piping the batter.
  • Fill the cookies (or not) with any filling you like. Ice cream, buttercream, Nutella, etc.
Share this Recipe

Cherry Chocolate Chip No-Churn Ice Cream

Is it warm enough for ice cream where you live? It’s been warm off and on here, but the truth is we will eat ice cream all year long. 🙂

Do you remember the cherry curd I made? I mentioned at the time that you could swirl it into ice cream, and that’s exactly what I did with it! I have made a few no-churn ice creams over the years, and I have to say that I love them. I have an ice cream maker as well, and have made traditional ice cream too, but I really do love the simplicity and texture of the no-churn varieties.

It only takes a few ingredients for the base, and it is endlessly customizable. And there is no chill time, then churn time, then freezer time like traditional ice cream. You mix the ingredients together and stick it in the freezer for a few hours to harden. That’s it. Homemade ice cream in six hours or so. You really can’t beat that!

So the base starts with just a can of sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream. Whip the cream to firm peaks and fold it into the condensed milk. For vanilla ice cream, just add some vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Or go crazy with your add-ins. Choose any other extract that sounds good to you. Stir in nuts or chocolate pieces, or drizzle in fudge sauce or caramel. Or do like I did and fold in cherry, or any fruit, curd. You can stir in some cocoa powder to the sweetened condensed milk before adding the whipped cream. I made one that called for a melting peanut butter into the condensed milk before adding the whipped cream.

For this particular recipe, I folded about a cup of the cherry curd into the base along with about a half cup of mini chocolate chips. I prefer the mini chips in ice cream because they aren’t as hard to eat when frozen as a larger chip is. I stirred the curd almost completely into the base, but you can leave it as streaky as you’d like. Place the mix into a freezer-safe container, and add a drizzle of curd to the top. Cover tightly and freeze for four to six hours, or until the ice cream is hard.

This no-churn ice cream is so smooth and creamy, I really do prefer it to regular ice cream any more. And it’s so easy to make, there really is no excuse not to try it! 


Print Recipe
Cherry Chocolate Chip No-Churn Ice Cream
Course Dessert
Servings
Course Dessert
Servings
Instructions
  1. Beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer until firm peaks form.
  2. Fold the whipped cream into the condensed milk until almost fully combined.
  3. Fold in the cherry curd and chocolate chips until well distributed or fully incorporated, depending on your preference.
  4. Place into a freezer-safe container and freeze for 4 to 6 hours, or until ice cream is firm.
Recipe Notes

Variations:

Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla or any other extract to the sweetened condensed milk before folding in the whipped cream.

Stir in any nuts or candies of your choice (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups total) after folding in whipped cream.

Melt 2/3 cup peanut butter and mix into the condensed milk before folding in the whipped cream.

Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup cocoa powder to the condensed milk before folding in the whipped cream.

Share this Recipe

White Chocolate Easter Bark Bunny House

I hope it’s not too late to share one more Easter idea with you!

I actually made this a few weeks ago, but I have been hitting a brick wall trying to write a post about it. And quite honestly, I was rushing to get it done so it’s not as neat as I would have liked. Plus every time I have been home and had time to work in the kitchen, it has been raining and cloudy. That doesn’t make for pretty pictures. So, I’ve been debating whether or not to share this with you. But I figured, why not? It turns out cute, even when it’s not perfect. The more time you take, the neater and more detailed you can make it. Or go quick and simple like this. It’s still a fun piece for your Easter table, and it tastes great!

This “recipe” is fairly simple and completely customizable. Chocolate bark, especially holiday-themed, seems to be very popular right now. But I wanted to do something more. So I made an Easter-themed chocolate bark, and turned it into a chocolate house! For the Peeps to live in, obviously. 🙂

You can find  templates for a chocolate house, or a gingerbread house, all over the internet. Pick one that you like. I started with about 16 ounces of vanilla almond bark, but you can use candy melts or white chocolate if you prefer. While it is melting,  spread out a few handfuls of pastel candy corn onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread the melted chocolate over those  and then sprinkle it all with salted peanuts. Then jiggle the pan and tap it lightly on the counter to make sure the chocolate settles between the candy corn. Let this set just until it’s not runny (don’t put it in the refrigerator), and then cut out your ends and sides. You can heat your knife in hot water, and then dry it thoroughly, to help cut through the chocolate. Make sure to cut the doors and windows at this point as well. And don’t be afraid if it cracks or breaks. Just melt some additional white chocolate or almond bark and “glue” it back together.

For the roof, I just spread an additional 6 ounces of almond bark on another piece of parchment. Let it set just until it’s solid just like before, and cut out the roof pieces. Then it’s time for assembly and decoration. Use melted almond bark or white chocolate to stick the sides and ends together and glue it to a cake board or serving tray. Once those are set, add the roof. I used mini pastel mint snow caps to decorate the roof, attached with melted almond bark. I spread a thin layer of the melted almond bark on the cake board and sprinkled with coconut I had dyed green. I made a pathway with pastel jelly beans, and also used them to decorate the edge of the roof. I used a chocolate mold and some candy food coloring to make a pink and white flower to put over the door, but you could use anything you’d like. Finally, I added some Peeps in the yard, and called it a day.

This is a really fun and easy project kids can help with. And you can use whatever Easter candy you’ve got. Make it as simple or elaborate as you want. I really like the addition of the peanuts on the chocolate bark for the body of the house, because it helps to cut the sweetness. But you could use other nuts, or pretzels, or even crushed potato chips. And you don’t have to stop at Easter. This would be great with candies colored to match a birthday party theme, or any other holiday. It’s delicious and makes a great centerpiece for a dessert table. I hope you give this one a try!

Print Recipe
White Chocolate Easter Bark Bunny House
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Find a chocolate house or gingerbread house template online, and print it out. For this recipe, approximately 6 inches long, 6 inches high, and 4 inches wide. A larger house with require more chocolate and candy, so adjust accordingly.
  2. Make a chocolate bark using 16 ounces of almond bark with candy corn and peanuts, or any desired combination. Place the candy on a parchment-lined baking tray and cover with melted chocolate. Sprinkle with the peanuts or other salty element. Let set just until firm, and cut into sides and ends for the house.
  3. Using 6 ounces of melted chocolate, spread into a thin layer on parchment. Let set just until firm and cut out roof portions.
  4. Melt the remaining chocolate, and scraps from the roof, and use to glue the pieces together and attach to a cake board or serving tray. Spread a thin layer on the board and cover with green-tinted coconut.
  5. Decorate with the remaining candy as desired, attaching with the melted chocolate.
Share this Recipe

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ladybug Cookies

I promised you more spring treats, so here you go! As some of you may know, and many of you probably don’t, I have adored ladybugs my whole life. I have collected ladybugs in any form for as long as I can remember. And I have to tell you, most of the year there aren’t many ladybugs to be found in the stores. My sister collected pandas, and you could find those almost anywhere. I’ve known people who collect pigs or roosters – also pretty easy to find. Ladybugs – not so much. Around Valentine’s Day and Easter you see a few more around, but even then they are pretty scarce. Even so, I have amassed a pretty impressive collection, if I do say so myself. Towels, jewelry, wall art, soap dishes (that one in the picture above – I use it for a spoon rest on my stove!), toys, figurines, etc., etc. But I’m pretty sure it all started with this lovely lady right here.

These cookies are an adaptation of a cookie we started making when I was pretty young. My mom had saved a pull-out section of a Good Housekeeping magazine from the 1980s. It was a special Christmas cookie section for “Christmas Toy Cookies”. One of the recipes was for a ladybug cookie. What that has to do with Christmas or toys, I don’t really know. But I do know I loved making and eating those cookies. The original recipe was for a vanilla cookie with maraschino cherry, or red hots, spots. I decided to go more true-to-life, and make a red body with chocolate chip spots. And if I was going to add color, I figured I might as well add flavor!

The recipe as I have written it adds strawberry flavoring, which I’m sure many of you will enjoy. I, on the other hand, do not like strawberries. I know, I know. I told you I was a picky eater. I did have a bottle of pomegranate flavoring in my cabinet, begging to be used, though, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. You can use either of those flavors, or go with cherry or raspberry. Ooohh, or cinnamon….that would be fantastic, too. You could even leave the flavoring, and the color, out if you wanted to. This is a soft, slightly cakey cookie full of flavor. And they are pretty darn cute, too. 🙂


Print Recipe
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ladybug Cookies
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs.
  2. Add salt, baking soda, and flour; mix well.
  3. Remove 1/4 cup of the dough, and stir the melted chocolate into that portion.
  4. Add the extract and food color to the plain dough. I used enough food color to make a bright red, but adjust to your tastes.
  5. Divide the red dough into 36 pieces, each approximately 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons. Shape each piece into an oval and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  6. Divide the chocolate dough into 36 pieces, about 1/2 teaspoon each, and push into one end of each oval.
  7. Use the back of a butter knife to make a deep line down the center of each cookie, to define the "wings".
  8. Push mini chocolate chips into each wing. I use 2 or 3 per side, but use as many as you'd like.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cookies are set. If you don't use the food coloring, there will be very light browning, but you cannot see this on the red cookies.
  10. Cool completely on wire racks and store in an airtight container up to a week.
Recipe Notes

Use any flavor extract, and food coloring, you like. Raspberry, cherry, pomegranate (like I did), even cinnamon would be good if you want to keep them red. Or leave out the extract (use some vanilla),  and food coloring if you prefer.

I used flavoring oil, from LorAnn, which is much more concentrated. If you use those, start with 1/4 teaspoon and slowly add from there. I used about 1/2 teaspoon of the pomegranate flavor.

For an extra hit of chocolate, dip the bottom of cooled cookies into melted dark or milk chocolate and set on waxed paper until chocolate sets.

Share this Recipe

White Chocolate Pistachio Snack Mix

Hi Everyone! Is it spring where you are yet? After over a week of 70-degree weather and two severe storms here, we got almost an inch of snow this weekend! 🙁 Don’t get me wrong – I love the winter and snow, but now that we’ve had a taste of spring and field work is ramping up, I think I’m done with cold weather for a while. So, to bring a little bit of that spring feeling back into this weekend, I decided to start baking up some Easter-y treats.

This first one is super simple, and doesn’t actually involve any baking. It’s a snack mix based on a treat my mom always makes at Christmas. Many of you have probably had something similar. It’s often called White Trash, or Texas Trash, or we call it White Stuff. It’s basically cereal, pretzels, nuts, and M&Ms mixed together with white chocolate.

I thought it could use a little color, and maybe a twist on the flavor, so I added a box of pistachio instant pudding mix into the melted chocolate. That added a little flavor, but not much color, so I did also add a few drops of green oil-based candy coloring. This is totally optional, but if you’d like to use it you can find the coloring at baking or hobby stores, or it’s easily found online. Don’t use liquid or gel coloring in your chocolate, as it contains water and will cause it to seize.

I also prefer using vanilla almond bark, since I don’t care for the flavor of white chocolate, but you can use whichever you prefer. I used rice Chex, but corn Chex or Crispix work well, and you could probably even try corn flakes. Use any salted nuts you like, even mixed nuts would be great. You can also throw in a handful of dried fruit – raisins, cherries, cranberries, whatever sounds good to you. And of course, you can leave out the pudding mix, or choose a different flavor. Cheesecake would probably be great, and lemon would be really interesting, too.  Essentially, this is a really basic recipe that can be customized in endless ways! I hope you give it a try!


Print Recipe
White Chocolate Pistachio Snack Mix
Instructions
  1. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave, being careful not to overheat. For the almond bark, I microwave in 30-second increments, stirring each time.
  2. Add the pudding mix into the chocolate and stir well. Add the green food coloring, if using.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a very large bowl and mix,
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal mixture, and stir gently until everything is coated with the chocolate.
  5. Spread onto waxed paper or parchment and let sit until chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Recipe Notes

Use any cereal, nuts, and candies you like. Add in 1/2 to 1 cup dried fruit if desired (raisins, cherries, cranberries, etc.).

Omit pudding mix, and food coloring, or use any other flavor like lemon or cheesecake.

Share this Recipe