Monday, November 28, 2011

Peppermint Bark shaped like Christmas Trees! Just use a Silicone Tree Shaped Ice Cube tray!


I love peppermint and I love peppermint bark. But, I’m not a fan of the look of the traditional recipe. So, I was shopping at the dollar store and found Christmas tree shaped Ice cube trays. And I thought I could use those for candy making! And I did!


What you will need:

· 16 ounces of Dark Chocolate (my favorite) or Semi Sweet Chocolate. I used Candy Melts, but you could use chips or bark.
· 16 ounces of White Chocolate. Again, I used Candy Melts, but chips and bark work.
· 8 crushed Candy Canes.
· Silicone Ice Cube trays. They have all shapes. Find one you like!
· 2 Plastic Sandwich bags

1) Melt your Dark or Semi Sweet Chocolate. Don’t know how? Check out this post on tempering chocolate.
2) Pour the chocolate into a sandwich bag and snip the corner of the bag. Pour about half a tablespoon of chocolate into each mold. Tap the mold on the counter to get the chocolate level and get all the air bubbles out. Allow the chocolate to set.


3) Melt your White Chocolate.
4) Pour the chocolate into a sandwich bag and snip the corner of the bag. Pour about half a tablespoon of chocolate into each mold. Tap the mold on the counter to get the chocolate level and get all the air bubbles out. Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle the top of each mold with crushed Candy Cane.


5) Once all the chocolate has set, just pop the candy out of the mold and you have cute Peppermint trees!


***Want even more peppermint flavor? Use a little Peppermint Candy Flavoring. Do not use an extract like you use in baking. It has to been made for candy. Most craft stores carry them in the candy section.***

Monday, November 21, 2011

Almond Joy Truffle Pops! Coconut and Almonds covered in Milk Chocolate! Yummy!


I love Almond Joys, but I’m not a fan of the whole almonds on top. I like the almonds to be mixed in the coconut. So, I made my own version and I put them on a stick …because that is what I do!


For the Coconut Almond Truffle Filling:
· 1 bag of Sweetened Flaked Coconut (14 ounces)
· ¼ cup Butter Softened (not melted)
· 1 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
· ½ cup of chopped Almonds
· ½ teaspoon of Almond Extract
· 2 ½ - 3 cups of Powdered Sugar

Steps :
1) Mix the first 5 ingredients together. Make sure they are well mixed.
2) Add ½ cup of Powdered Sugar at a time and mix well. You want the mixture to be a little moist but able to roll in a ball without sticking too much to your hands. So, you may have to add up to 3 cups of powdered sugar.
3) Roll into ball and place on a Silpat or wax paper and place in the fridge to firm up for the pops.


For the Truffle Pops:
· 16 oz of Milk Chocolate Candy Wafers
· 24 sticks (it depends on how big you roll for truffles. I did mine a little over an inch wide.)
· A little bit of White Chocolate
· ¼ of chopped Almonds ( Make these super chopped!)

1) Melt the Milk Chocolate according to the package instructions or follow my steps here.
2) Retrieve the coconut balls from the fridge. Dip a tip of each stick into the chocolate and insert half way into the ball.


3) Allow the chocolate to set. It should take a few seconds.
4) Time to Dip! Dip the balls into the chocolate. DO NOT STIR! Try to cover the whole ball in one dipping. Tap off the excess by gently tapping the stick against your wrist or the edge of the bowl. Place in the drying rack (or a block of Styrofoam).


5) After the chocolate has set, time to decorate! I melted ½ of White Chocolate; I then poured it into a sandwich bag. I cut the very tip of the corner of the bag off. I then squeezed the baggie back and forth over the pop and I sprinkled the top with the Almond bits.


I hope you love these as much as I do!


Friday, November 18, 2011

What to do on a snowy day? I’m making Felt Donut Ornaments!!

I woke up to this…
This California Girl is not a fan of Snow!

So, I decided to make some sweet treats… out of felt.  I have a 2 year old Monkey and I thought these would be safe ornaments for our Christmas tree.

On my next donuts, I’m making the center hole a bit smaller and adding more ‘sprinkles’.

Enjoy this Calorie Free Treat!!! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Take on TAKE 5 candy bar! Caramel, peanuts, peanut butter, pretzel and chocolate! Awesome!!!


Have you ever heard of a candy bar and it sounded so good. But, when you try it, it’s just not right. That’s what happened to me. I love salty-sweet snacks. But, it was missing something. So, I decided to play with the proportions and I think it’s amazing now. Seriously, it’s AMAZING (and I am just so humble ;)) I did make my own caramel, but you can use store bought caramel. It will still rock!

The layers to the Take 5 are: Pretzel, Peanut Butter mixture, Caramel and Peanuts. I mixed the peanuts into the caramel because it was easier.

The parts to the Take 5! The caramel with peanuts is already made, but here are the parts to the peanut butter mixture.

Pretzel: I used Snyder’s of Hanover Butter Snap Pretzels. They are the ones that look like little waffles. Any pretzel will work, but these look like the one in the original.

Peanut Butter Mixture: This is a super easy recipe. I added a dash of salt to make sure my end result is salty-sweet. Here it is:

Peanut Butter Mixture
· 1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
· 1 cup Powdered Sugar
· 2 tablespoons of Graham Cracker crumbs (I used a food processor to get the crumb as fine as possible).

1) Mix all ingredients together. That’s it!!

Caramel: I made my caramel recipe found here and added 1 cup of chopped salted peanuts before I poured it into a 13 x 9 pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. If you don’t wish to make your own, here is what you can do:

Store Bought Caramels
· 70 – 100 caramels (I say 70 is enough, but Mr. Wonderful says 100. It up to you and how much you love caramel)
· 1-2 tablespoons of Evaporated Milk
· 1 cup of Chopped Salted Peanuts

1) Unwrap all your caramels and place in a microwave safe bowl
2) Add 1-3 tablespoons of Evaporated Milk (I would use one tablespoon for 70 caramels and 2 for 100 caramels.)
3) Place in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat until the caramels are melted.
4) Stir in Peanuts.
5) Pour into a 13 x 9 pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.
Now we have the components, we can make the candy bars!!

1) Prepare the caramels in a 13 x 9 pan. Allow to firm up.
2) Remove the caramel from the pan and place on a Silpat or sprayed aluminum foil.
3) Spread the peanut butter mixture onto of the caramel.
4) Place the pretzels on top of the peanut butter mixture close together. Leave a little room in between to be able to cut the squares apart.


5) Once you have the pretzels in place, press them into the peanut butter mixture.
6) Cut the candy into squares (using the pretzels as a guide). Place the candy on a sprayed pan and place in the fridge. You want the peanut butter mixture to be as firm as possible before you dip them. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour.


7) Now, let’s dip! Prepare your chocolate (I used Milk Chocolate Candy Melts) using the instructions on the back of the package or use my instructions found here.
8) Retrieve the candy from the fridge. Using a fork, place the squares (one at a time) in the chocolate pretzel side down. Then, use the fork to flip over the candy to cover the caramel side. Slide the fork under the caramel side and lift it up. Tap off the excess chocolate and place on a Silpat or wax paper.


9) I used a little extra melted chocolate in a Ziploc bag to make a design on top. I just snipped the very tip of the bag and drizzled chocolate over the top.


I hope you try these. They are really good and this recipe makes a ton! You can easily get 5 or 6 gifts out of one batch. Enjoy!!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Peppermint Bark Truffle Pops! Chocolate Peppermint center, covered in White Chocolate and topped with crushed Candy Canes!

Like the toddler on top of the coffee table in the background?!?

I love peppermint bark (layers of chocolate, white chocolate and crushed peppermint). But, I wanted to try something different and on a stick. I think they turned out pretty cute!

The filling: Chocolate Peppermint Ganache:

· 6 oz of Milk Chocolate Chips
· 6 oz of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
· 1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
· ¼ teaspoon of Peppermint Extract
· ¾ teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
· 3 candy canes (crushed into tiny pieces)

Steps for the Peppermint Ganache:

1) Place the chocolate chips in a 2 quart saucepan over low to medium low heat. Stir the chocolate chips until melted. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan so none of the chocolate burns.
2) Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy cream and extracts (I use a whisk to make the mixture smooth).
3) Add the crushed candy canes to the mixture and stir to combine.
4) Pour the mixture into a storage container and store in the fridge.

What you need to make the Peppermint Bark Truffle Pops:

· Peppermint Ganache
· About 25 Lollipop Sticks
· Silpat or Wax Paper
· 16 oz of White Chocolate Candy Melts
· Paramount Crystals (or a teaspoon of Shortening)
· Drying Rack for Pops
· 5 Candy Canes (crushed into tiny pieces)

Steps to Make the Pops:

1) Roll the Peppermint Ganache into 1 inch balls. Place on a Silpat or Wax Paper.


2) Melt the White Chocolate with a teaspoon of Paramount Crystals (or a teaspoon of Shortening) by following the instructions on the package or my instructions found here.
3) Dip the end of the Lollipop stick into the chocolate and insert into each ball (only half way).


4) Time to Dip! Dip the balls into the white chocolate. DO NOT STIR! Try to cover the whole ball in one dipping. Tap off the excess by gently tapping the stick against your wrist or the edge of the bowl. Place in the drying rack (or a block of Styrofoam).


5) Once all of the pops are dry, make sure the chocolate in the dipping bowl is still melted. If it has started to harden, place back in the microwave at 50% power for 10 second intervals. Dip the pops again so you get a truly white covering. Once you dip each one, sprinkle or dip the top of the pop into the crushed candy canes.


Now, Enjoy! I love peppermint and these hit the spot for me!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rice Krispie Treat Cornucopias! Perfect for Thanksgiving!

So, I wanted something special to put at each plate setting at Thanksgiving. So, I decided to try cornucopias. I used rice krispie treats so I could mold it into any shape I wanted. Here’s how to make your own:
What you will need:
· Rice Cereal
· Marshmallows
· Butter
· Non stick spray
· Lollipop sticks
· Tootsie Rolls
· Peanut Butter Candy Melts
· Milk Chocolate Candy Melts
· Paramont Crystals(or a teaspoon of shortening)
· Chewy or Original Runts Fruit Candy

Tools you will need:
· Large pot for making the Rice Krispie Treats
· 13 x 9 pan for Rice Krispie Treats
· Knife
· Microwave safe bowl
· Drying rack
1) Make the Rice Krispie treats. I followed the recipe on the back of the cereal box, but I reduced the cereal from 6 cups to 5 cups. Go here for the recipe. Pour the treats into a sprayed 13 x 9 pan and allow to cool for an hour.

2) Cut the treats into long triangles. Shape the triangles into a cone shape. Make an indent into the base of the cone (this is a place for the fruit to go). Curl the smallest piece of the cone up.


3) Now, time for the Peanut Butter and Chocolate. Place 16 oz of Peanut Butter Candy Melts, 8 oz of Milk Chocolate Candy Melts and a teaspoon of Paramount Crystals (or shortening) in a microwave bowl. Melt according to the package instructions or follow mine.


4) Insert the lollipop sticks into the chocolate and insert into the cornucopias. Do not go more than half way. Place the cornucopias in the fridge to allow the chocolate to harden.

5) Now for the braided detail. Take a tootsie roll and roll it into a thin rope. Once you have a few ropes, twist two together. Place a little amount of chocolate around the edge of the cornucopia and wrap it with the braided tootsie roll.

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6) Time to dip! Make sure the chocolate is still at the right temperature. If it’s too cold, place in the microwave at 50% power for 10 second intervals until the chocolate is melted.

7) Dip the cornucopia into the chocolate. DO NOT STIR!! Try to cover in one dip. Gently tap off the excess chocolate. Place in the drying rack. Before the chocolate sets, place a few pieces of candy fruit (Runts) on the opening of the cornucopia.


I think these would be great as place settings at Thanksgiving. My monkey loves them! I hope you will too!!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Homemade Butterfingers!! Crispy peanut butter center covered in chocolate!

Mr. Wonderful loves Butterfinger and I thought “Why not try to make them? They can’t be too hard to make.” Wow, I was so wrong. I couldn’t get any of the recipes I saw online to work. I had 4 batches of mistakes. So, I tried my own version and I think I got it! I have tried it several times to make sure it wasn’t a fluke and I got great results every time. I hope you do too!
What you will need for Butterfingers:
· 1 cup of White Sugar
· 1/3 cup of Light Corn Syrup
· 1/3 cup of Water
· 1 ¼ cup of Creamy Peanut Butter
· Milk Chocolate Candy Melts for the Coating
Tools you will need:
· 2 quart saucepan with a lid
· A Candy Thermometer
· A microwave safe bowl
· A wooden spoon
· An oven safe pan
· Non-stick spray
· A pizza cutter or a knife (I found the pizza cutter works best)
· A fork or Dipping tool
· Silpat or Wax paper
1) Spray your pan with non-stick spray (or rub with a little oil). Place in the oven on the lowest setting. You just want it a little warm.
2) Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in your saucepan. Place the pan with the lid ON over medium heat for 5 minutes.
3) Once the 5 minutes are up, remove the lid and raise the temperature to medium high heat. Place the candy thermometer in the saucepan. No need to stir!
4) While the sugars cook, place the 1 ¼ cup peanut butter in a bowl and microwave for 20 seconds. You want your peanut butter to be in a liquid stage. If you need to, heat for another 10 seconds.
5) Now, back to the sugar! You want your mixture to reach 290 degrees. Now, here is the trick. Subtract 2 degrees for every 1000 feet above sea level you live. I subtract 10 degrees (so, I went to 280 degrees). Yes, I live with the mountain goats!
6) Get your pan out of the oven.
7) The second it reaches 290 degrees (-2 for every 1000 feet), remove from the heat. Stir in the peanut butter as quickly as possible. Be careful! The sugar is super hot!
8) Pour the mixture onto the heated pan.
9) Score the mixture with a pizza cutter that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Try to have even sizes. I didn’t even come close!

I have pieces missing. Mr. Wonderful couldn’t wait any longer!

10) Allow the mixture to cool and dry overnight.
11) Now, they are ready for chocolate! I used Milk Chocolate Candy Melts. Follow the instructions on the back of the package or follow mine.
12) Place the Butterfinger pieces in the chocolate one at a time and pull them out with your fork. Be sure to tap off the excess chocolate. Place on your Silpat or Wax paper.


13) I did a little design with chocolate and a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off.


Enjoy them! I’ve been told that they are even better than a Butterfinger. I hope you get the same results!

Do you have a favorite candy you want to know how to make?  Leave a comment and I will do my best to make it for you!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pop Rock Truffle Pops!! Fun for all ages!

I was asked to bring treats to a small event at a friend’s home. The crowd was mainly older people, but I was in the mood for pop rock truffles. So, I made them and THEY WERE A HIT! I saw 70 year olds with one in each hand! And kids love these even more!
The filling I used was Chocolate Ganache. Super easy and super delicious!

Recipe for Chocolate Ganache
  • 12 ounces of milk chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla extract

1) In a 2 quart saucepan, melt chocolate chips over low to medium-low heat. Stir this constantly.
2) Once melted, remove from heat.
3) Add the cream and extract. Stir it until smooth. I use a whisk at this step.


4) Once it’s combined, pour into a container, cover and place in the refrigerator.
Once the Ganache is cool and about the consistency of soft play dough, roll the ganache into 1 inch balls. Place them in the fridge to keep firm.
What you need for Truffle Pops
· Chocolate Ganache balls
· Lollipop sticks
· 8-10 packs of pop rocks (use any flavor)
· 16 ounces of Milk Chocolate Candy Melts

1) Melt your chocolate following the instructions on the package or follow these steps.
2) Dip the tip of a lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and insert it halfway into a ganache ball.
3) Roll each ball into pop rocks. Press the rocks into the ganache ball.


4) Dip the ganache balls (now rolled in pop rocks) into the melted chocolate. Tap off the excess chocolate.
5) While still wet, dip the top of the truffle pop into the pop rocks.
6) Allow to dry on your drying rack.


Serve these the day you make them or the next day. But, the longer the pop rocks are exposed to air, the less likely they are to pop in your mouth. So, fresh is best.