Butterfinger Squares

Spotted a recipe for these butterfinger squares on Pinterest months ago. Who knew you could melt candy corn, stir in melted peanut butter, and it tastes like butterfinger! I waited until the day after Halloween and grabbed a couple of bags of candy corn at clearance prices. Thought these would be awesome in my Christmas cookie gift boxes. This recipe calls for the addition of cereal to add that extra crunch.

Once I tried it, I realized that if someone gave one of these squares to me and told me it was a butterfinger candy bar, I wouldn’t know the difference! You can cut it into small squares or go for bars to make it more of a candy bar. This would be awesome for a party or  as a gift.

Rating 5/5

 

Butterfinger Squares

 

3 cups candy corn

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

1 cup corn flake or rice krispies cereal

1 (12 oz) bag semisweet chocolate chips or melting chocolate

 

In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave candy corn at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted. Stir in creamy peanut butter and cereal until smooth (microwave for 15 seconds if the mixture gets too stiff to stir).

Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment or wax paper. Scoop the mixture into the baking pan and press flat with a rubber spatula. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Do NOT freeze or you will not be able to cut it into squares.

Lift the candy out of the pan and cut into 1-inch squares with a sharp knife. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips at 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted. Dip squares into melted chocolate and set on parchment-lined cookie sheet to set. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the freezer.

Found this recipe here.

Enjoy.

Fruit Gummy Snacks

Since starting this new diet I’ve struggled with not being able to eat any sweets, especially candy. Even though I have a nutrition degree, I have a huge sweet tooth (in case you haven’t already guessed). One of my all time favorite candies is sour gummy worms. I use to keep a 5 lb bag of them in my freezer to snack on when the cravings hit. I just love gummy candy.

I am at the point now where I’m pretty happy and comfortable with the new diet, but am feeling very limited in the sweet treat department. And since I’m a fan of gummy candy and fruit snacks, I decided to try and make my own! This way I can get that chewy gummy texture while eating something sweet, but healthy. What I like about this recipe is the fact that it takes very few ingredients and you can use whatever fruits (or even veggies) you’d like. I think next time I may try adding some citric acid powder to make them a little more sour.

Rating 5/5

 

Strawberry Banana Fruit Gummies

Cooking Time: about 5 minutes

 

1 lb fresh strawberries, sliced in half

1 banana, sliced

1/2 cup organic fresh lemon or lime juice

1 1/2 tbsp organic stevia

1/2 cup (about 5 envelopes) unflavored gelatin

 

Place strawberries, banana, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan on low-medium heat. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, or until the fruit has softened.

Pour the fruit mixture into a food processor or blender and carefully pulse until the fruit is pureed. Allow to cool 5 minutes.

Whisk the stevia into the fruit mixture. Pour the gelatin powder onto the fruit mixture and allow it to sit for about 1 minute. Whisk the gelatin in until smooth.

Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper or you can use silicone candy molds if you’d like. Pour the gummy candy mixture into the pan (or molds). Allow to cool in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Cut the fruit gummies into squares and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy.

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark & Turtles

Now it is time for more of the candy portion of the cookie bundles. I love peppermint anything. And so I wanted to definitely give white chocolate peppermint bark a try. On top of the bark, the turtles are another candy that reminds me of Christmas. I have never had very many caramel candies for Christmas but I have always seen them in Christmas treat collections.

16 (1 oz) squares white baking chocolate, finely chopped

1 tbsp shortening

1 cup chopped peppermint candies

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In a microwaveable bowl, melt 12 oz of the white chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in melted shortening and the remaining 4 oz of chocolate until smooth.

Spread on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with the chopped peppermint candies. Chill and let harden for 3 to 4 hours. Break into pieces.

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1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

salt

1 1/2 cups pecan halves

12 oz bag soft caramels

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. In a bowl, coat the pecans completely in the melted butter. Spread in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove and allow to cool completely.

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Arrange small clusters of pecans on a baking sheet. Melt unwrapped soft caramels in the microwave at 30 second intervals and drizzle over each cluster. Top with melted chocolate. Chill and let harden for 3 to 4 hours.

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When it comes to the peppermint bark, there are a ton of variations. I went with the really simple recipe of melted chocolate topped with crushed candies. Some recipes use a layer of milk chocolate and then a layer of white chocolate. Others use only white chocolate but involve peppermint extract. Next year I think I will try the two layered chocolate peppermint bark. It looks awfully delicious. The more peppermint flavor, the better (in my opinion).

The turtles came out great. They look so cute and everyone is excited to try them. I have a few people who get to test out my treats and I have received nothing but good reviews so far.

These candies will add a nice touch to the several cookies that will go in my cookie tins.

Enjoy.

 

I found both of these recipes in the food network magazine.

Easter Cookies

With finals just a month away, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to make anything for Easter, but a few of my friends convinced me I should make some time for myself. I went to the store after work for my ingredients and grabbed a cookie recipe from my nutrition lab book. I didn’t think the recipe from the book was the most perfect recipe for an Easter treat so I tweaked it to better fit the holiday. I remember trying the original recipe in lab and thinking the cookies were really good! The flavors mixed well together, but they needed to be fixed up to hand out for Easter.

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup shortening (like Crisco)

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups oatmeal

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 1/2 cups Easter colored m&m candies

One way to measure out the shortening was taught to me by my grandmother when I was young. Since you need 1 cup shortening, fill your measuring cup with 1 cup of water. Spoon the shortening into the measuring cup until the water line reaches the 2 cup mark. Drain the water out and there you go: 1 cup shortening! Thank you water displacement.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream shortening, sugar, and brown sugar together. Beat in eggs one at a time.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Gradually mix flour mixture into shortening mixture.

Beat in vanilla extract. Stir in oatmeal, walnuts, coconut, and chocolate m&m candies.

Bake for 11 to 12 minutes.

The chocolate, coconut, walnuts, and oatmeal mix well. Even if it seems like a lot at first, don’t turn them away until you try them. What I really liked about making these cookies for Easter was the fact they looked like the little birds nests with colored eggs (the m&ms). This is a keeper!

Enjoy.

Cherry Coke Cupcakes

When I came across the recipe for cherry coke cupcakes, I was so excited to try it. Who had ever heard of making a dessert that tasted like cherry coke?! I bookmarked it right away and figured I would make it to take to work. I did google the recipe to compare different ones and I decided to go with what looks like the original recipe on the blog of Confessions of a Cookbook Queen. I had never really heard of putting a glaze over an already frosted cupcake, but they looked so cute!

For the cake:

1 box chocolate cake mix

1 stick butter, melted

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1 cup Coca-Cola

 

For the frosting:

2 sticks salted butter, softened

10 oz jar maraschino cherries

4 cups powdered sugar

 

For the glaze:

1/4 cup Coca-Cola

2 tbsp cocoa powder

2 cups powdered sugar

4 tbsp butter, melted

maraschino cherries and gummi coke bottles to decorate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin pan with paper muffin cups. In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, butter, buttermilk, eggs and coke. Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl and continue to beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way and bake cupcakes for 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool before frosting.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and 4 tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice together. Slowly mix in powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Coarsely chop half of the maraschino cherries and add to frosting. Beat on high for 1 minute until fluffy. Generously frost cooled cupcakes.

Lastly, melt the butter for the glaze in a small saucepan over low heat.  Once fully melted, add cocoa powder and coke. Whisk well. Once the glaze begins to boil, remove from heat and add powdered sugar. Spoon the glaze over the frosted cupcakes.

Finish them off with a cherry and a coke bottle gummi! These turned out so well and tasted so good. This recipe is definitely something to keep in the cookbook and I received many comments about the cupcakes. They looked like they came right out of a bakery. The pictures do not do them justice. You’ll just have to try this recipe for yourself to see.

The cupcakes were surprisingly easy to bake and assemble. I was a little intimidated by the three layers that made up these treats, but I used a special frosting tupperware my mother bought a long time ago. I will be using that from now on!

Oreo truffles

I have always wanted to do more truffle recipes as gifts for birthdays or Christmas time. While I was exploring some other cooking blogs and checking out different recipes, I came across bakerella.com and the football oreo truffles she created. I loved the idea! I work with a lot of people who enjoy football season and I wanted to share these with them. Unfortunately, melting and decorating with chocolate is one of my weaknesses and they didn’t quite turn out how I wanted them to. I didn’t end up with footballs, but I did end up with truffles that got top reviews from everyone who tried one. They were actually very easy to make and tasted like store-bought truffles! I also really like how you can decorate truffles any way you want (different chocolates, coatings, etc).

1 package oreo sandwich cookies
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
chocolate chips (I used 1 package of mini semisweet chocolate chips and 1 package white chocolate chips)


Take the entire package of oreo sandwich cookies and crush them into a fine powder. Use the entire cookie!

Mix the softened cream cheese and the crushed cookies together with the back of a spoon. Make sure you get all of the cookie crumbs mixed in with the cream cheese.

Roll into 1″ balls and place on a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper. I took Bakerella’s advice and kept the truffles in the freezer for a bit before coating them in the chocolate.

To melt your chocolate, heat in 10 second intervals in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave, stirring in between each interval until they begin to melt. You can also use a double boiler to melt your chocolate chips on the stove. Be careful not to over cook and burn your chocolate.

Coat your truffles in the melted chocolate and return them to the cookie sheet. Roll in nuts, sprinkles, cookie crumbs, or what ever you’d like. I let the truffles sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before coating in the white chocolate.

Originally I wanted to do the footballs, but the chocolate didn’t come out as smooth over the truffles as I’d hoped and putting white chocolate laces on the truffles was also a hassle. I even tried sticking the truffles in the oven after coating them in chocolate to try and get it to smooth out. I am disappointed I wasn’t able to make cute little footballs like Bakerella, but I am happy that they still turned out great…and DELICIOUS!