Friday, December 18, 2009

Mint M&M Bark

This recipe is a product of one of my biggest pet peeves. Peppermint ice cream is one of my all time favorite foods, but I can't understand why everyone insists on ruining it by putting candy cane pieces in it! I am not one to chew hard candy, I think it might be my neurotic obsession with my teeth. I mean when I am enjoying a nice smooth bowl of ice cream I don't want to have chomp on candy cane or worse swallow a bunch of ragged pieces.
Anyways how this is all relevant to the recipe to this recipe is that this is originally for peppermint bark, but I've replaced the candy cane pieces with a less offensive candy to chew, mint M&M's :)

So for Tracy, here's the recipe:

2 cups (12 oz) White Chocolate Chips
appox. 1 cup Mint M&M's
Dash of Vanilla Extract (optional)

A word on M&M's: Make sure you get the classic mint M&M's that are only available for the holidays. They should come in a bigger bag. They also make a gourmet type mint M&M in small bags, but they don't have shells and will thus just melt into the chocolate. (Which will still taste pretty good but won't look the same)

1. Melt chocolate in Microwave

2. Place M&M's in plastic bag and crush using a rolling pin.

3. Holding Strainer over melted chocolate pour crushed candy into strainer. Shake. Leave the larger pieces in the strainer.

4. Pour chocolate onto wax paper. Sprinkle with reserved larger pieces.

5. Allow to cool then break into pieces.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

White Chocolate Fudge

This is going to have to be a short post because guess how much I've packed for our trip tomorrow... yup nadda nothing none.

2 pkg. Baker's White Chocolate
3/4 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup Almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
splash of vanilla extract

1. Line 8-inch pan with foil
2. Microwave chocolate and milk until melted (stiring frequently)
3. Add almonds, cranberries, and vanilla and stir well
4. Spread into prepared pan and refrigerate until firm.
5. Remove from pan and cut into pieces

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pumpkin Rolls

I was introduced to this amazing treat when I married my husband.
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1 cup powdered sugar
1 pkg. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbsp butter

Beat eggs on high for 5 min.
Gradually add sugar.
Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice.
Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg
Fold in pumpkin mixture
Spread onto greased parchment papered pan. (Top with nuts if using)
Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
Turn onto or place parchment onto dish towel and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Start at the narrow end and roll towel and cake together.
Allow to cool.
Beat all filling ingredients together until smooth. Unroll and spread filling over cake. Roll cake back up and freeze.
Once cold cut into pieces. (hint: it won't cut very well unless it's cold)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


This is another easy peasy recipe that you can throw together in a sec. The fudge is tasty, not award winning but tasty and foolproof. (you'll see why this is important later)

3 cups Chocolate Chips (I used semi-sweet)
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1. Combine Chocolate and Sweetened Condensed Molk
2. Microwave until chocolate is melted (stirring frequently, ever 10-30 sec)
3. Stir in Vanilla
4. Pour into wax-paper lined 9-inch pan
5. Let cool & harden cut into pieces

Ok so that was the pretty fudge I took to the neighbors now for complete honesty... I am absolutely HORRIBLE at making fudge! Last year my fudge was harder than a rock we broke it into pieces and gave it out as chocolate. This year I was committed to making good fudge so I started with Danny's family cookbook. (it's never led me astray yet) Things started out well I put the sugar and evaporated milk on the stove and let it boil for the 6 minutes. The whole time I stood right there so that nothing would happen to it. Somewhere along minute 3 or 4 my computer beeped letting me know I had an email...

I came back 10 seconds later to find this. So all that is in the pot is sugar and milk can someone explain the floating black pieces that appeared out of no where!?! At last my slight distraction had let to me burning the fudge. I knew that there was no rescue from this so I threw it out and searched for easy, foolproof recipes thus why my neighbors actually received fudge this year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chocolate Truffles

These are my favorite holiday treat! My brother-in-law told me last year that they were better than the fancy smancy truffles he bought from a chocolate shop. Oh and did I mention they are super easy to make?

1 pkg. (8 sqaures) Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1 pkg. (8 oz) Cream Cheese

1 pkg. Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Powder Sugar
Cocoa Powder

1. Melt 8 chocolate squares. I melt my chocolate in the microwave in 10-30 seconds spurts just make sure you stir frequently and don't overheat.
2. Beat cream cheese into chocolate until creamy. It should look something like this. Now place in the refrigerator until firm. This takes about an hour or two, but you can leave overnight.

(Sorry this is where my camera battery died)

3. Using a cookie scoop or measuring spoon shape filling into tsp-Tbsp size balls. I scoop out a bit then roll them in my hands to make them round and smooth. Warning this gets messy as things warm up. (if things get too soft return to the fridge to harden again)

4. Melt 8 more squares of chocolate and using a fork dip truffles, then return to wax paper-covered tray. Refrigerate until firm.

Other options include rolling the truffles in cocoa powder or powdered sugar. (this is a faster, easier option)

So Much Baking!!!

I finally went to and survived the dentist so what to I do on the way home? Stop by the store and load up on all this sugar! I had to load up on baking supplies to prepare for this year's Christmas baking. Can I just say I love holiday baking! Every year I block out a whole day and turn my kitchen into a pastry shop. So if you haven't been bitten by the baking bug yet this year my next posts are for you. I'll post one treat a day until we take off for London so enjoy!

Here's some tips to help making your baking day faster and more enjoyable. First, a couple days in advance plan what you'll be making and stock up on supplies. Then, on the day of set them all out within easy reach. Something I learned a while back is to always have a glass of cold water close by when your baking sweets. All that sugary smell can really make you sick after a while and the water will also help keep you from "sampling" your goods all day long. I know those chocolate chips are calling to you, but if you eat them all day you'll regret it by the time everything is done.

Next, fill up a sink with very hot soapy water. If you start with really hot water you won't need to change it as often. I found that having this wash station set up is really helpful if your like me and only have one set of measuring cups and mixing bowls.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tater Tot Taco Salads

This dish has quickly become a favorite at our house for quick weeknight dinners.

Tater Tots
Taco Meat
Other Taco Toppings such as: sour cream, salsa, hot sauce, avocado use your imagination

Bake Tater Tots in oven according to package
Fry hamburger in pan and season as taco meat
Place 1 serving of tater tots on plate, then spoon on meat, finish with taco toppings

This is really quick and easy but fun and unique. Enjoy!