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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mint Marshmallow Cookie Candy Recipe

Mint Marshmallow Cookie Candies are sure to be a hit with your guests!

I am warning you right now that when you try this recipe, it will probably end up being one of your favorite candy recipes ever.  Yes, it's that good.  How can it not be when it's got marshmallows and mint sandwich cookies all blended together with melted chocolate chips!  To me it's the perfect mint candy, not too strong, but definitely minty.  It's also unbelievably easy to make and it stores well, which makes it that much better.

This is now my candy choice when I put together my Christmas cookie trays.  In fact, if you ask my daughter and my brother, it's a requirement for my holiday baking list, and my brother usually gets a batch when his birthday rolls around.

The recipe makes about 44 large pieces of candy, but it can easily be doubled for those of you who have large events to attend, or assemble lots of cookie trays to give out at the holidays.

It is a little messy to make, but the melt in your mouth results are well worth the clean up.  If you are a visual learner like me, just follow the photos for the assembly.  The recipe and instructions can be found after the photos.

Mini marshmallows, mint sandwich cookies, chocolate chips, mint extract, and a little bit of vegetable oil
are the ingredients needed to make this candy.

Roughly chopped mint sandwich cookies.

All of the ingredients in a double boiler ready to be melted.

Over medium heat, stir the ingredients constantly as they begin to melt.

Continue stirring until the chocolate chips just melt.  Then remove from heat and stir until the chocolate is melted.

Using a tablespoon, drop candies onto a parchment paper lined baking tray.  Cool completely.

Mint Marshmallow Cookie Candy Recipe

Ingredients
  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 2 cups roughly chopped mint sandwich cookies (about 15 cookies)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mint extract 
Directions
  1. Line several baking trays with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Using a double boiler, place all of the ingredients in the top, over water that has been brought to a very low boil and turned down to low heat.  If you don't have a double boiler, or don't have one that is large enough, just use a metal bowl over a pot of water.  Be careful, the bowl gets really hot!  Note:  Make sure that no water gets in the mixture or it may seize up.
  3. Stir the ingredients until the chocolate chips begin to melt. Remove from heat and keep stirring until the chocolate chips are completely melted.
  4. Using a tablespoon, and working quickly so the mixture doesn't begin to harden, drop the mixture onto the parchment lined baking trays, forming pieces of candy.
  5. Refrigerate for about 1/2 an hour to harden. Then store the candies in the refrigerator, in an airtight container.
These candies have it all, a smooth chocolate texture, the crunch of cookie bits, the softness from the marshmallows and the freshness of the mint flavor.  There won't be many left when you set these out on your holiday dessert table.  Of course, they are good at any time of the year, not just the holidays.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


Mint Marshmallow Cookie Candies are one of my favorite treats.






Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Very Berry Cookie Truffles Recipe

Very Berry Cookie Truffles recipe made with Oreo cookies from www.glimmercreations.com

I'm all about easy cooking. Don't get me wrong, there are moments when I like to take my time baking a special homemade treat, but for the most part I like to make things that don't take a lot of time. No bake treats are even better!

These Very Berry Cookie Truffles definitely fit this description.  They are quick and easy, and only require 3 ingredients and a few kitchen tools.

With a sweet and crunchy candy coating, and a soft, chewy chocolate berry flavored filling, they make a pretty presentation and are the perfect bite sized treat for any occasion. Just imagine them on a dessert table at a baby or wedding shower.

I always worry a little bit when I try out a new recipe, but luckily, in my house, my family members are my taste testers and are usually honest.  These were a huge hit with them. I took the rest of the candies to my office and everyone loved them there too!  So I know they are good.

Here is everything that you need to know to make these yummy truffles, including step by step photos and the complete recipe.

Very Berry Cookie Truffles recipe made with Oreo cookies from www.glimmercreations.com
These are the only ingredients you'll need.
Very Berry Cookie Truffles recipe made with Oreo cookies from www.glimmercreations.com
The cookies and cream cheese ready to be mixed.
Very Berry Cookie Truffles recipe made with Oreo cookies from www.glimmercreations.com
The cookie and cream cheese mixture chilled and formed into 1 inch balls.
Very Berry Cookie Truffles recipe made with Oreo cookies from www.glimmercreations.com
The truffles after they have been dipped in the candy coating.
I'll be the first to admit that my candy dipping skills are not the best. You can see that I had to do a little repair work on the tops because the coating didn't fill in the hole that the skewer I used to hold the balls made. Oh well, it just adds a little interest to the truffles.
Very Berry Cookie Truffles recipe made with Oreo cookies from www.glimmercreations.com
The finished product after the drizzle has been added!  Very Berry Cookie Truffles

Very Berry Cookie Truffles Recipe
Makes about 38 truffles

Ingredients
  • 1- 15.25 oz. package Oreo Berry Creme or Berry Burst cookies
  • 1- 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 - 12 oz. packages meltable candy coating wafers, vanilla flavored
  • Red food coloring, optional
Directions
  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the cookies and the cream cheese until well mixed.  It should resemble a really thick paste.
  2. Refrigerate the mixture for about half an hour, or until it is firm enough to form balls.
  3. Form 1 inch balls and place them on a wax paper lined baking tray.
  4. Set tray in freezer for about half an hour.
  5. Melt vanilla candy coating as per instructions on the package.  
  6. If desired, set aside about 1/4 cup of the melted coating and put some red food coloring in it until you get the color you desire.  This is for the pink drizzle.
  7. Using a candy dipping tool or another type of tool, like a fork or a shish kebab skewer, dip each ball in the melted candy coating and place it on the wax paper lined tray to harden.  If you have a cooling rack, that works too.  
  8. If you want to add the pretty pink drizzle, this is when to do that.  Just place the colored melted candy coating into a sandwich bag and snip off a tiny piece of one of the corners.  Do a quick test on something to make sure the hole is the thickness you want, and start drizzling on the truffles, as much or as little as you like.
  9. Set trays in the refrigerator until coating is hard and then place them in an airtight container. These truffles should be kept refrigerated.

Very Berry Cookie Truffles recipe made with Oreo cookies from www.glimmercreations.com

I couldn't resist taking a picture of the chewy truffle center and, of course, this one was my treat for making these delights!

Very Berry Cookie Truffles recipe made with Oreo cookies from www.glimmercreations.com

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Recycled Single-Serve Coffee Maker Cup Christmas Bell Ornament Tutorial.


I don't know about you, but I love my single-serve coffee maker.  Every morning I make myself a delicious beverage with no fuss and very little muss.  What I don't like about my single-serve coffee maker is the fact that it uses those disposable little plastic cups that the coffee and tea come in.  What an incredible waste!  Luckily we recycle so I usually toss them in recycling bin instead of the trash.

Lately though, I've been saving some of the cups and trying to figure out a fun craft to do with them. I came up with this cute little Christmas ornament, a bell.  I absolutely love it.  It's perfect for an upcycled Christmas tree.


One of the fun things about this holiday craft is that, with just a few adjustments depending on the age, almost anyone can make it.

Younger children can help paint and glue decorations on, while parents can help with the more difficult parts of the assembly. Older children and teens can use their imagination and get really creative with their bells.


Here's my easy-to-follow tutorial to help you make your own special ornament.

Supplies you'll need:
  • Clean and dry single-serve coffee maker cups, with all labels removed
  • Acrylic paints
  • Ribbon
  • Small bells (I used the .375 inch size)
  • Beads, glitter and other decorations
  • Glue, clear drying strong craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery needle
  • Skewer, or something else, to make the hole with
  • Paint brushes

First you'll need to clean the cups out.  I find it easier to do this when the cup is still a bit warm.  It seems like the glue is a little softer.  Be careful to let them cool down.  They are extremely hot when they first come out of the machine.


You'll need to peel of the top label and then empty out the contents.  Some of the containers have a mesh liner that needs to be removed as well.  Others, like hot chocolate, only need to be rinsed out.

Wash the cups with soap and water and set aside to dry.

Some labels are harder to get off than others.  If there are pieces that won't come off a nail file might help scrape them off.

Once you have the cups you need it's time to get started on your bell.


Using a bamboo skewer, or another tool to that works, poke a hole through the center of the bottom of the cup.  It doesn't have to be large, just enough to get the ribbon through.

Before you start, make sure you are working on a protected surface.  I cover my table with newspaper.  


Paint the cups using acrylic paints.  I tried doing this project with washable paints, but the paint didn't stick to the cups.  You may need 2 coats to completely cover the cups. Also, don't worry about that hole that is made by the coffee maker, the paint covers it up nicely.  In fact, once the ornament is dry, you'll have to re-poke the hole that you made for the ribbon.


If you are using glitter, cover the entire outside surface of the cup with glue and then sprinkle with glitter.  Hint here, the more glue, the better the glitter adheres to the surface.

Set aside to dry, usually overnight.


Cut a long piece, about 12 inches long, of narrow ribbon. Fold it in half, with the two ends meeting. Thread one end of the ribbon through a bell.  Bring the two ends of the ribbon together and, using an embroidery needle, thread the needle with both ends of the ribbon together.


Pass the needle up through the center of the cup through the hole you made earlier.  Pull the ribbon through.  Determine how low you want the bell to hang.  I don't like the bell to show below the edge of the bell so I make a knot about an inch above the bell.  If you like the bell to show that make the knot a little higher up.

If you are going to add beads, don't remove the ribbon from the needle yet.  Pass the needle through the beads and then remove it.  Make a knot to secure the bead(s) to the cup.  Then tie a bow after you've decided how long you want the hanging loop to be.  Trim off any unwanted ribbon.


Now the real fun begins, start decorating.  You can use beads, buttons, fabric or whatever you'd like to decorate your bell. One really cute idea would be a child's fingerprint.

Use craft glue to glue anything on the cup.  Don't use a glue gun, it gets too hot and warps the plastic.

Set ornament aside to dry.


Make a recycled memory this Christmas and hang this lovely ornament on your tree!


If you like recycling old items that you have around the house, you might like these upcycled denim Christmas ornaments. The tutorial can be found HERE.












Saturday, September 20, 2014

Spiced Pear Pound Cake with a Cranberry Glaze Recipe

Spiced pear pound cake with a cranberry glaze makes a wonderful dessert during the fall season.

I'm a pound cake fan, always have been.  I like light and fluffy cakes too, but I really love the dense smooth texture and the rich taste of a good pound cake.   Because of that, I try to come up with recipes that take the cake to another level.  This is definitely one of those recipes.

I was in the grocery store the other day and pears were on sale.  They looked so enticing so I bought a bunch of them.  I had been toying with a pear pound cake for a while and these pears, along with the cool temperatures that make me want to bake, helped me make up my mind.

Like pears, spice cakes remind me of the fall season.  Days get cooler, leaves start turning colors and meals become a little bit heartier.  The warm smells of cinnamon and spice welcome people home during the fall and winter months.

Wanting to combine my love of pound cake, pears and spices, I came up with this Spiced Pear Pound Cake recipe.  I added a cranberry glaze which gives the cake a nice fruity tang.  The result is a fruity, dense pound cake with a mild spice flavor that doesn't overpower the pears or the tastebuds.

After making this cake just one time, I have decided that it just might be my favorite pound cake recipe.  Not only does it taste amazing, the house smells deliciously spicy when it's baking.  It's a hit with my family too, so that is an extra bonus.

I think you'll like it too.  You'll find the recipe following the step by step photos.




Ingredients needed:

Everything you'll need to make this delicious pound cake.

Step 1 - Combine the wet ingredients, including the sugars

Cream the sugars and other wet ingredients until well combined, approximately 4 minutes on the high setting.

 Step 2 - The mixture after the wet ingredients have been mixed


 Step 3 - Add the dry ingredients and milk and the mixture looks like this

Here is the batter completely mixed.  Look at the spices throughout the mixture.

Step 4 - Gently fold in the pears

Gently fold the pears into the batter.

Step 5 - Spoon into the prepared cake pan

Ready for the oven, the batter has been evenly placed in a well prepared cake pan.

Spiced Pear Pound Cake with a Cranberry Glaze Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups pears (not too ripe), peeled, seeded and chopped into bite-sized pieces, don't used canned pears for this recipe
  • 1 can jellied cranberry sauce
Instructions:
  1. Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan or angel food tube pan.  This makes a large cake.
  2. Cream sugars, butter, vanilla and eggs.  Begin on low speed until mixed and then on high for about 4 minutes.  
  3. Meanwhile in a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt.
  4. After the wet ingredients are mixed, set the blender on low and add the flour mixture and milk, alternating between the two and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  
  5. Gently fold in the pears.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan, spreading it evenly.
  7. Bake at 350° for about 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a toothpick put in the center comes out cleanly.  If you are using a dark pan or if you oven temperature runs high, set it to 325°.  Check the cake after about an hour to make sure it doesn't over bake.
  8. Remove from oven and put pan on a cake rack.  Let sit for 15 minutes.
  9. Then turn out the cake onto the cake rack and let it cool completely.
For the glaze: 

Put one can of jellied cranberry sauce in a small sauce pan and heat over a low temperature.  Add water until you get the desired consistency.  I added about 5 tablespoons.  Once the cake is completely cool and you are ready to serve, spoon the cranberry glaze on top.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy this sweet treat!



If you don't like canned sauce you can leave it off, or you can make your own with this delicious homemade spiced cranberry sauce recipe found HERE.

Homemade spiced cranberry sauce is oh so good.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Chinese Restaurant-Style Duck Sauce Recipe

It was always a special treat to go to our local Chinese restaurant when I was growing up.  I remember entering the dark room and being fascinated by the exotic decor that adorned the walls.  Hanging from the ceiling were beautiful red silk lanterns that shimmered with gold fringe. The walls were covered with a lush red velvety textured paper, and the booths were big and plush, perfect for sinking into.

I moved away years ago and, sadly, the restaurant was gone long before that.  There's a huge impersonal multiplex theater where it once stood.

It was in that Chinese restaurant that I developed my fondness for Chinese food.  To this day I think that they had the best Mongolian Pork, and it's still my go to choice when we go out for Chinese.  I also usually start my meal with a bowl of steaming hot and sour soup accompanied by some wonton crackers and duck sauce.


I can go through a whole bowl of that lovely sweet sauce with it's slight tang.  I dip egg rolls in it and slather it on my crab rangoon.  My daughter likes putting the sauce on her rice instead of soy sauce.

The other day I made a fried rice dish and used some duck sauce from plastic packets that we had saved from a takeout dinner. The sauce didn't taste like much at all except for the plastic flavor from the packet.  It was pretty sad.  So I decided to play around and make my own.  To my surprise it turned out quite nicely.


The recipe really isn't that hard.  The flavor is more intense than restaurant duck sauce and it has a  really nice zing.  It's also super simple to make and only takes about 10 minutes from start to finish.

Here's everything you need to know to make your own restaurant-style duck sauce.  The recipe can be found following the photos.

Ingredients

All the ingredients you'll need to make this tasty duck sauce.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly

Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly.

Push mixture through a sieve

Pass the mixture through a sieve.

Chinese Restaurant-Style Duck Sauce Recipe
Makes 1/2 cup of sauce

Ingredients
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 splash soy sauce (optional)
Directions
  1. In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients until smooth.  There will be larger pieces of apricot from the jam.
  2. Using a fine sieve, strain the mixture into a small bowl.  Use the back of a spatula to push the sauce through.  Discard the mixture that does not pass through the sieve.
  3. Serve as desired.  Refrigerate any leftover sauce in an airtight container for up to a week.
Enjoy!







Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cracker Candy Recipe





When I started getting the ingredients together for this recipe, my daughter came into the kitchen and said that this candy looked like it was going to be the best thing I ever made.  

Wow, high praise from an 11 year old!  She and I both agree that chocolate and peanut butter together is just about the best tasting combination there is.  And if you enjoy this flavor combo as much as we do, then she was pretty much right on the mark with her comments.

These candies are out of this world delicious, and they are pretty easy to make.  Be warned though, that the process does get a bit messy, but the result it worth it.  They are delightful mix of semisweet chocolate, salty peanut butter and crisp, buttery crackers.  Pure goodness that makes it hard to just eat one.

I've taken pictures of everything you need to know so you can make these treats for yourself.  You'll find the recipe after the step by step photo instructions.

Ingredients

4 ingredients, that is all you need to make this candy.

Step 1: Melt the chocolate

Add the shortening to the chocolate and melt in the microwave.

Melted chocolate ready for dipping

Mmmmm.....melted chocolate ready for dipping the candies in.

Step 2: Smear peanut butter onto crackers

Crackers and peanut butter ready to be dipped in chocolate.

Step 3: Dip crackers in chocolate

Dip the prepared crackers into the melted chocolate.

Step 4: Set dipped candies on parchment paper

Dipped candies cooling on a baking tray.

Dipped candy ready to cool in the refrigerator

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cracker Candy ready to cool in the refrigerator.

Ready to eat!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cracker Candy Recipe
(Makes about 30 candies)

Ingredients
  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 sleeve round buttery crackers
Instructions
  1. Melt chocolate and shortening in the microwave.  Microwave in short time spurts so you don't burn the chocolate.  Stir frequently and remove from microwave when chips begin melting.  Stir until completely melted and smooth.
  2. Smear about 1 teaspoon of peanut butter onto a cracker.  Set aside on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  3. Using a dipping fork, or a regular fork, dip the peanut butter cracker into the chocolate.  You'll need a spoon to coat the top.  Using the fork, remove the candy from the chocolate and gently tap the fork on the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate.  Wipe the bottom of the fork on the side of the bowl to remove more excess chocolate.  Then place the dipped candy on the parchment paper lined baking tray.  Repeat until finished.
  4. Refrigerate trays for about 15 minutes, or until hard, and transfer candies to an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator.  Of course, they probably won't last that long because they are just that good.




If you love chocolate and peanut butter as much as I do, HERE is another delicious recipe.  Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow Dip!