Friday, October 28, 2011

Homemade Snickers Bars!! Who doesn’t love caramel, nougat, peanuts and chocolate!

 Here is a new recipe:
I love snickers! Well, until I had the Snicker Nutcrackers that they put out at Christmas time. Why are they better? They are fresh and that makes such a difference! The nougat is so creamy and I just love them. So, I decided to try my hand at making some from scratch. I hope you will give it a try too!

Now, Snickers have layers: A layer of nougat and a layer of caramel with peanuts mixed in. Then, the whole thing is covered in milk chocolate. Yummy!!

For the Caramel layer, I made homemade caramel from the recipe found here. Just before I poured the caramel onto a pan, I mixed in one cup of slightly chopped peanuts. I used cocktail peanuts. I then poured the caramel onto a baking sheet lined with a Silpat. You could use aluminum foil that is sprayed with nonstick spray.


Note: If you don’t want to make your own caramel, use 70 individually wrapped caramels. Just unwrap them and place them in a bowl with up to 4 tablespoon of water (My mother in law said to start with one tablespoon and add more if needed.  But, only add a little at a time). Heat up your caramel in the microwave in 30 second intervals (stirring in between) until smooth. Then, mix in the peanuts and pour onto a Silpat or sprayed aluminum foil.

For the Nougat layer, I adapted a recipe I found in A Treasury Of Top Secret Recipes (Todd Wilbur).

Peanut Butter Nougat
· 2 tablespoons of water
· ½ cup of Light Corn Syrup
· 4 tablespoons of Butter (softened, but not melted)
· 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
· 4 tablespoons of Peanut Butter
· Dash of Salt
· 6 cups of Powdered Sugar

1) Mix the first 6 ingredients together until well combined.
2) Slowly add in the powered sugar and mix well.
3) Spread the Nougat onto the caramel.


I put all the Nougat in the center of the caramel layer and used a rolling pin to roll an even layer of nougat onto the entire surface of the caramel. Place in the fridge for just a few minutes to set up.
I tried to cut the Snickers into the same size squares, but I failed. Oh well, they will taste the same! Note: if you are using a Silpat, don’t cut on it!


Now, time for the Chocolate!! I used 24 oz of Milk Chocolate and 8 oz of Dark Chocolate for the coating. I thought just milk chocolate was a little too sweet for me. I melted the chocolate candy melts in the microwave according to the instructions on the package. The way I do it: I put it in a microwave at 50% power for 1 minute. Stir. Another minute at 50% power. Stir. 30 Seconds at 50% power. Now, test it! Put a small amount on your lip. If you feel any heat at all, mix in 5-10 unmelted wafers. Stir until the wafers are melted. Test again! If you still feel heat, add a few more wafers and stir. This will stop you from getting the chalky look on your chocolate.

Time to dip! Dunk a piece at a time in the chocolate. Lift it out with a fork and tap off the extra chocolate. Place them on a Silpat or wax paper.


Enjoy the Snicker goodness!! I know Mr. Wonderful is!!!!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bleeding Strawberry Mummies!! The deep red filling tastes great and looks gross!!

I purchased a Silicone Gingerbread Boy Mold Pan a few years back and have found so many uses for it. You can even bake with it! I have used it to make chocolate gingerbread men, babies, bears and bunnies. It’s a useful tool to have! This time, I decided to make mummies for Halloween.
The Strawberry Filling:
· ½ cup of Strawberry puree
· 6 ounces of red chocolate candy wafers
Steps for the Filling:
1) In a saucepan, reduce your strawberry puree over medium-low heat. You are done when it’s reduced to half the original (1/4 cup).
2) Pour the chocolate candy wafers into a microwave safe bowl. Melt them according to the package.
3) Pour reduced strawberry puree into the melted chocolate and stir until well mixed.
4) Set aside and allow to cool.
For the Mummies, You will need:
· 16 ounces of white chocolate or white chocolate candy wafers
· Edible Sugar Pearls in Blackfor eyes (if you don’t have these, just pipe on eyes with milk or dark chocolate)
· Silicone Gingerbread Boy Mold Pan
· Cocoa powder
· Paramont Crystals(not needed, but makes the chocolate very smooth)
· If you have them, get a piping bag with a small and medium round tip. If not, you will need to sandwich baggies.
Steps for the Bleeding Mummies:
1) Melt the white chocolate candy wafers according to the package instructions. I added a teaspoon of paramount crystals to make it smooth.
2) Using your finger or a food safe paint brush, cover the sides and the bottom of each gingerbread mold (my filling only made 14).
3) Place the mold into the freezer for just a few minutes.
4) Retrieve the mold and add the filling to each mold until it is almost to the top. I used a piping bad with a medium tip. You could just use a sandwich bag and cut the tip off.
I added one filling with Brownie filling for Mr. Wonderful. He hates strawberry!!
5) Cover the filling with more white chocolate (enclosing the filling).
6) Place in the freezer for ten minutes to make sure the filling and chocolate are firm.
7) Once they are firm, remove them from the mold. First, stretch the sides of the mold to loosen the candy. Then, pop them out.
Oh No!!!!!! Some of them broke! No worries, the mummy wrapping will cover it up.
8) Use a little white chocolate to ‘glue’ the black balls on the head for eyes.
9) Now, time to wrap. I used a piping bag with a small round tip. You could use another sandwich bag with the very tip cut off. I piped chocolate across the mummy. Pipe the lines at different angles to add interest. Make sure that you don’t cover the eyes.
10) If you want to make them extra special, dust the mummies with cocoa powder to highlight the wrapping. I used my finger and just rubbed it on.
And you are done!! They are very cute and gross at the same time. Enjoy!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Giant ‘Girl Scout’ like Samoa Cookies!! You can have them all year round!!

I love Samoas. But, they are only around once a year and are pretty expensive. So, I made some. Mine are MUCH BIGGER than the Girl Scout version! But, taste great.
What a Samoa is: A shortbread cookie, covered in toasted coconut and caramel. Then the bottom is dipped in chocolate and more chocolate is drizzled on the top. Yummy!!
For the cookie, I used my William-Sonoma Cookie Press and recipe for Vanilla Cookies found in the box. You could buy some shortbread cookies if you are short on time or patience.

William-Sonoma Vanilla Cookies
· 2 sticks on softened unsalted butter (I used salted. It’s all I had.)
· 1 cup White Sugar
· 1 egg
· 2 ½ tsp. Vanilla extract
· ½ tsp Salt
· 2 ½ cups of Sifted All purpose flour

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2) In a bowl, combine butter and sugar. Mix on high speed until light and fluffy.
3) Add the egg, vanilla and salt. Beat until well mixed.
4) Add in Flour, a little at a time and mix until just blended.
5) Bake for 14 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden brown.
I used my Cookie press, but you could use a cookie cutter or make snakes and shape them into a wreath. Make sure it’s about ¼ inch thick when you put them in the oven.
I like the wreaths because they are similar to the original. But, the disks were a lot easier to cover.
Next, the Caramel!! You could use 2 bags of good store bought caramel. I used my caramel recipe found here.
Now, to toast the coconut. I used 2 cups of sweetened coconut. I spread it on a pan and placed it in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. You will need to stir it every minute or so. Don’t wait until it is brown to remove it from the oven. It will continue to brown a bit while it’s cooling.
To make the caramel soft and spreadable, I combine the caramel and 4 tablespoons of Evaporated Milk in a microwave safe bowl and heated it up in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval. If your caramels are hard, you may need more evaporated milk. I would start with 3 tablespoons and add more if you need it. You want it to be thin enough to spread but too thick to pour (about the consistency of frosting).
You may think it is never going to mix together. Be patience and it will. It took me 4 or 5 intervals to get the mixture nice and smooth.
Once the caramel is warm and spreadable; stir in your two cups of toasted coconut. Now, you are ready to ‘frost’ your cookies! I placed a bit on the peaks of the cookies and allowed the caramel to ooze down the sides.
After the caramel has hardened (it’s still soft but workable), I got my chocolate ready. You could use milk chocolate, dark chocolate or semi sweet chocolate. I did a taste test with my family and we found we like a 50-50 mixture of dark chocolate and milk chocolate.
Once I melted the chocolate (I needed 8 oz of milk and 8 oz of dark) in the microwave (50% power for 30 second intervals. Stirring in between each interval), I dipped the bottoms in to the chocolate and placed the cookie on a Silpat, chocolate side down. If you are using wax paper, I would place the cookies chocolate side up and allow to dry. After they are all face up, I used a Ziploc bag, with the corner cut off) to drizzle more chocolate on the top.
Enjoy!! They rock!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Witch’s Fingers Brownie Truffle Pops!!


If you are looking for a great beginner truffle pop, this is it! If the chocolate looks wrinkled, it looks even better! So, if you are timid to try pops, try this one. You will have success!

For the Brownie Filling:
· A brownie mix prepared according to the package, cooked and cooled
· A can of Chocolate Frosting (if you would like you make homemade, you will need a ½ cup or so)

Steps to prepare the filling:
1) Cut the edges of the brownie off and eat them! They are too crispy to mix well.
2) Break the brownie up into a bowl. The smaller the pieces, the better.
3) Add ½ cup (½ a can of frosting) to the bowl and mix the two ingredients together. Make sure that it is well mixed and not too wet. It should hold together well, but not be mushy.
4) Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
For the Witch’s Fingers:
· Spooky Green Candy Melts
· Lollipop Sticks
· Paramont Crystals (not needed, but makes the chocolate smooth)
· Silpat Non-Stick Silicone Baking Liner or Wax Paper
· Almonds with the skin on
· Yellow food coloring
Steps for the Witch’s Fingers:
1) Take your filling and shape into 2 inch logs. Shape them into finger shapes. Put them into the fridge for a few minutes to firm up. (I used the Brownie filling above. But, you could use Oreo, Peanut Butter Crunch or Mint Truffle.)
2) Prepare the Chocolate: Place the whole bag, (minus 10 wafers) in a bowl and add a teaspoon of paramount crystals. Follow the instructions on your chocolate until it is melts. This can be tricky. You don’t want to overheat the chocolate. For Wilton’s, I melt it for one minute at 50% power. Stir. Then, one more minute and stir. Then, (can you guess?) another 30 seconds to a minute. It should be melted by now. Put a small drop on your lip. If you feel any heat, it’s too hot. Add a few of the wafers that were held out to cool the mixture until you can’t feel any heat when you put a drop on your lips.
3) Retrieve your fingers from the fridge. Dip the tip of a lollipop stick into the chocolate and insert into a finger. DO NOT GO MORE THAN HALF WAY! Place back on your pan.
4) Make an impression of an almond on each finger tip. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes and then in the fridge for 15 minutes. This will make them very firm. You want to make sure they are as firm as possible before you dip them.
5) While the fingers are firming up, prepare the ‘fingernails.’ Take your almonds and scrap most of the brown skin off one side of the almond with a butter knife.
6) Use a brush or cotton swab to paint on yellow food coloring on the white fresh of the almonds.
7) Once your ‘fingers’ are cooled and firmed, you are ready to dip. Only take a few of the fingers out of the fridge at a time. Make sure your chocolate is still melted. If it has started to harden, place back in the microwave for 20 seconds at 50% power. I poured my chocolate into a drinking glass to make the dipping of the fingers easier (I use the same trick for dipping pretzel rods).
8) Dip a finger into the chocolate. DO NOT STIR! Pull the finger out of the chocolate and tap the excess chocolate off by GENTLY tapping the lollipop stick against your wrist or the edge of the glass.
9) Place in the cooling rack (a block of Styrofoam). While the chocolate is still wet, place a finger nail on the finger. Repeat!
10) You are done! If you want, you can add ‘blood’ on the base of the fingers with the red chocolate.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Caramallow Squares! Layers of Homemade Caramel and Marshmallow covered in Milk Chocolate!! Yummy!!

This recipe can be split into two different ones: Homemade Caramel and Homemade Marshmallow. But, when you put them together and cover them in chocolate, its pure heaven!
Thing you will need:
· Caramel from this recipe
· Marshmallow from this recipe
· 13 x 9 pan (and maybe an extra pan)
· Milk Chocolate Candy Melts
· Dipping tool or a fork
· Silpat Non-Stick Silicone Baking Liner
or Wax paper
Step to make Caramallow Squares:
1) Follow this recipe for caramels and pour into a 13 x 9 pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Allow to cool. I allowed it to cool while I made the Marshmallows.
2) Next, Make Marshmallows following this recipe. Pour on top of the caramel mixture. You may want the entire marshmallow on top or only half. I like only adding half. I put the rest of the marshmallow in another pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray and sprinkled with cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture (equal parts).
3) Allow the Caramel/Marshmallow mixture to set up for at least four hours.
4) Remove from pan (gently pull the sides away from the pan and then use a spatula to remove the whole piece at once).
5) Spray your knife with nonstick spray and cut into the sizes you want.
6) Prepare chocolate by melting it using the directions on the package. What I do: Pour the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Take out ten wafers and set aside for later. Place the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute at 50% power. Stir. Repeat for another minute. Stir. Heat for 30 seconds more at 50% if needed. Stir. Now, test the chocolate. Put a small drop on your lip. If you feel any heat, it is too hot and you need to add the ten wafers that you set aside and stir until they are melted. This should be perfect. But, test it!
7) Place your Caramel/marshmallow square marshmallow side down in the chocolate. Use the fork to turn it over to cover that whole square. Then use the fork to lift the square up. Tap off the extra chocolate and slide onto a Silpat or wax paper.
8) Allow to dry and enjoy!!!

Homemade Marshmallows!! So worth it! You will never buy the store kind again!

I was making the marshmallows for the first time a while back and decided to call my mom. I wanted to share my ‘Martha Stewart’ moment with her. I expected ‘You are so clever!’ or ‘I always wanted to do that!’ Did I get that? NOPE! Her response was ‘Why? You can buy them in the store.’ My heart sank and I felt like I was wasting my time. That was until I tasted them. Homemade Marshmallows are nothing like the store bought ‘stuff’! They are soft, smooth and super flavorful. It is worth it, I promise!

What you need for the Marshmallows (adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe. He is a genius!!!):
  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (different than Alton’s)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract (different than Alton’s)
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Nonstick spray. Do not use Butter flavored spray! It will taste weird.
Tools you will need:

· 2 qt saucepan and lid

· Mixing bowl

· Stand mixer with whisk attachment (If you only have a hand mixer, this may be a big pain!!)

· 13 x 9 pan

Steps for Marshmallow:
1) Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
Don’t stir! Just open packages of Gelatin, pour it in and pour the water over it.
2) In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 4 minutes. I add the ingredients and then turn on the heat. As soon as I turn on the heat, I set the timer for 4 minutes.
3) Uncover and cook for 7 more minutes. I never stir this! Not once!! Once the 7 minutes are up, immediately remove from the heat.
4) Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture.
5) Once you have added all of the syrup, slowly increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm. I do it for 15 minutes.
6) While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans: you will need to spray a pan with nonstick spray and sprinkle with a mixture of cornstarch and powdered sugar (equal parts). Save the extra!
7) Add the vanilla to the mixture and whip for one more minute.
8) Pour the mixture into the pans that were prepared in step 6.
9) Allow to cool and set up for at least 4 hours. Once they are set up, sprinkle the top with the cornstarch/sugar mixture.
I cleaned up my pan from the Cornstarch/Sugar mixture for the picture. Your pan may look different.

10) Gently remove from pan and place on a cutting board that has been sprinkled with the mixture.
11) Prepare your knife. I spray it with nonstick spray and then put a little of the mixture on the edge of the knife.
12) Cut your marshmallows and store in air tight containers.
Enjoy alone, in hot cocoa or in this Caramallow recipe!
Charge!!!  Can you tell my monkey loves Marshmallow! He attacked my pan before I had a chance to cut them and make a pretty final picture. It looked like a flock of Seagulls got to it. (I know some of you are singing ‘I ran. I ran so far away.’)