Monday, October 31, 2011

Chocolate Covered Mellowcreme Pumpkins


Mellowcreme pumpkin get significantly less love than candy corn. People put candy corn in everything: popcorn, Rice Krispies treats, candy bark.  And what do the pumpkins get? Oh, here, let me put you on top of a cupcake for someone to just remove and forget about. That's rough.

So what's the deal with this mellowcreme aversion? I've heard it's because the pumpkins are too sugary. Say what? Too sugary? There is no such thing. And people who think otherwise are a bunch of Hallo-weenies. (And the hits keep coming.)

So today, I thought I'd give candy corn a much needed break and put candy pumpkins in the spotlight.

 Chocolate-covered Mellowcreme Pumpkins

For the bone-chilling details, visit Foodbeast.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

In my quest for the ultimate soft and chewy sugar cookie, I stumbled upon a Martha Stewart recipe for sugar cookies that added cocoa powder. They looked big and chewy, so I thought I might as well try them out. 

The only thing I changed was to add the step of rolling the cookies in sugar before baking. I mean, come on Martha, they are sugar cookies. 


Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2c flour
  • 1/2c unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/2t salt
  • 8T unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2c sugar
  • 1/2c shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2t vanilla
  • 1/2c sugar for rolling
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and parchment up your baking sheets. 
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside. 
  3. Cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Then, mix in shortening. Add egg and vanilla; mix until creamy. 
  4. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until just combined. 
  5. Using a 1.5T scoop out 2 scoops and smash them together in a ball and roll in sugar.
  6. Place dough onto baking sheets and give each cookie a little smash-y smash. 
  7. Bake until edges are firm, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
What can I say? These were giant, chocolate, sugar cookies. They were good, but not enough to justify bodily harm to a friend or relative.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pig Pickin' Cake Balls

If you're not from the south, you may not be familiar with the concept of a Pig Pickin'. Basically, you get up at early-thirty, slap an entire pig on a smoker, cook it for hours and hours, cover it in BBQ sauce and chow down. Yes, it's looking at you when you are tearing apart its tasty, tasty flesh, and, yes, it is judging you.

There are several other traditions that go along with the pig at a Pig Pickin': hushpuppies, cornhole (which is not as dirty as it sounds; it is just a bean bag tossin' game) and Pig Pickin' cake.

For our church's annual Pig Pickin' (how many times can I say Pig Pickin' in this post?), I wanted to make a traditional Pig Pickin' cake, but in cake ball form. Making cake balls for this particular occasion just seemed to make sense: they would make less of a mess and create more servings than just slicing up a regular cake.

I snagged this recipe from the Cake Mix Doctor. She calls it a Finger Lickin' Good Cake, but that's just one of its many names.


Pig Pickin' Cake Balls
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1pkg yellow cake mix
  • 11oz mandarin oranges undrained
  • 8T butter, melted 
  • 1/4c vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • juice drained from 8oz can crushed pineapple (reserved from crushed pineapple used for frosting)
Frosting
  • 12oz Cool Hwhip, thawed (heads up, regular-sized Cool Hwhip is 8oz)
  • 3.4oz pistachio instant pudding mix
  • 8oz crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 and 1/2c shredded coconut (the recipe calls for unsweetened, yea...right.)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350; grease and flour 9x13 pan.
  2. Add all cake ingredients except pineapple juice together in electric mix. Beat 30 on low to combine and then 2 min on med.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. 
  4. Cool completely and then crumble into a big bowl.
  5. Drizzle cake crumbs with reserved pineapple juice.
  6. Then combine frosting ingredients until pudding mix has dissolved.
  7. Mix the frosting into the cake crumbs until it's just one big sticky, gooey mess of awesome.
  8. Scoop the goop into 2t balls and put them in the fridge to chill.
  9. Melt your white chocolate bark, coat the cake balls and put them back in the fridge to set.
These Pig Pickin' cake balls were finger lickin' good. 

I counted 8 (cough, cough, Pig Pickin'), I mean, 9 times.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Brownies

It's that time of year when the leaves are changing, the air is crisper and absolutely everything you eat either has an apple or a pumpkin in it. This week's recipe is no different...well, it's a little different.

I'm sure you've seen recipes for “pumpkin pie brownies” floating around the Internet—brownies topped with a pumpkin layer or blondies with pumpkin puree in them, right? Lamesauce. When I say pumpkin pie brownies, I mean brownies crammed full of an entire pumpkin pie.

The original recipe for these brownies is from the Cake Mix Doctor and calls for a pecan pie. Been there, done that. They were amazing, but it was time to branch out. Or vine out, I suppose.

 Pumpkin Pie Brownies

For the full fall-tastic recipe, visit Foodbeast.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chocolate-Covered Better Cheddars

Hurray! I found a box of Better Cheddars at the K-roger! I'm telling you, they are so much better (ha! get it?) than Cheez-its. Maybe it's the slightly larger size, thinner wafer or round shape. Regardless, if I had a go-to cheese cracker, Better Cheddars would be it for me.

Anycracker, by now you should be able to do this blindfolded with one arm tied behind your back.


Chocolate Covered Better Cheddars

Melt the bark, coat the BCs and chill to set. And then exclaim over and over again how these are much tastier than those other chocolate-covered cheese crackers.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sugar Cookie Rice Krispies Treats

I was inspired to try this out by the number of different recipes out there that flavor desserts using cake mix. I knew I wanted to make some sort of Rice Krispies treat, but I didn't have any cake mix on hand. I did, however, have a pouch of Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix. 

Basically, I just followed a general Rice Krispies Treat recipe and added sprinkles and cookie mix.


Sugar Cookie Rice Krispies Treats
Ingredients
  • 2T butter, divided
  • 4c mini marshmallows
  • 6c Rice Krispies
  • 1c Sugar cookie mix, divided and sifted
  • 1/4c sprinkles (or one regular-size bottle)
Directions
  1. Grease a 9x13 pan and ready your strip of non-stick foil.
  2. Melt 1T butter over medium heat and 1T of butter in the microwave.
  3. Combine 6c cereal, sprinkles, microwaved butter and 1/3c of cookie mix.
  4. Add mallows to stove-top melted butter and stir until melted.
  5. Stir 1/3c of cookie mix into melted mallows, then pour in the cereal and mix.
  6. Pour mallow-cereal mixture into prepared pan and smash down using the non-stick foil.
  7. Sprinkle the final 1/3c of cookie mix on top of the treats and let cool.
I liked these better than the ones with cake mix. If you are looking for a strong sugar cookie flavor without going through the trials and tribulations of baking, these are a more than suitable alternative.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Triple Double Truffles

Aren’t you jealous of the guys over at the Foodbeast HQ? You should be. They get to try out all kinds of awesome up-and-coming food products way before you or me: Honey BBQ Cheese Puffs, Triple Double Oreo cookies, Fiery Fusion Doritos AND Cheetos!

In the meantime, I get to read about how great these things taste and then twiddle my thumbs for a  month or so. But I am twiddling no more: the grocery finally started carrying Triple Double Oreo cookies!

And since I can’t let anything just be itself, I turned the first package I purchased (sans one for a taste test) into truffles.
 Triple Double Truffles!!

For the triple-tasty, double-y awesome details, visit Foodbeast.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Chocolate Covered Fruit by the Foot®

The Gushers turned out so well that I went back to the fruit snack section of the grocery store to see was else was just begging to be covered in chocolate. The Fruit by the Foot® basically jumped off of the shelf and into my basket.

Confession: I used to eat Fruit by the Foot with the paper still on it when I was but a young one. Weird? Definitely. Do I still do it? No. But I'm sure I do a number of other really bizarre things to make up for it.

I had grands plans to coat the Fruit by the Foot in long-ish strands, stand it on its side, and curl it up while it hardened. That did not happen. Did you know that they basically cut all Fruit by the Foot in half now? Sure that's all cute with the patterns and the peeling, but when you're trying to cover it in hot, melt-y chocolate, there are issues.


Chocolate Covered Fruit by the Foot

Choose your baking bark (I used both white and milk) and Fruit by the Foot flavor (variety pack, baby) and go for it!

Here are some tips: Unfurl the snacks and rip of chunks with the paper still intact. Keeping the paper on lessens the probability that the fruit strip with stretch instead of tear. Also, try to use only pieces that are not already falling apart. The heat of the chocolate will melt the Fruit by the Foot, and the places where it is scored in the middle will start to separate.

I managed to get the hang of it quickly, so there were relatively few fallen soldiers. Oh my golly Pete, these were great! Both of the chocolates paired well with the all of the flavors in the variety pack.They were crispy, chewy, chocolate-y and fruity all at the same time. 

Despite the difficulties that I encountered, chocolate-covered Fruit by the Foot was definitely worth the effort.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Nabisco Cookie Chocolate Bark


As you might have noticed, I have an innate desire to take awesome things and figure out how to make them even more awesome. Do you know what’s awesome (besides me, bacon, and basically everything else that I’ve previously declared as such)? Nabisco. And do you know how many amazing cookies/crackers/etc. this company makes? Three…at least in relation to today’s recipe. 


To find the details on how these three cookies crumbled, visit Foodbeast.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Caramel and Kit Kat® Layered Candy Bar

As you can see from the title, there is no concise way to accurately describe this four-layered bar of pure awesomeness. This is especially true because they are even more amazing than the title suggests. It's a Kit Kat® crust, with a peanut butter nougat layer, topped with caramel and then dark chocolate.  Again, awesome...well until you get to the dark chocolate part. As you have probably guessed already, I happily ate the bottom three layers and tossed the top.

You might remember I made something similar several weeks ago. I had a birthday treat request to make them again but with a few adjustments.


Caramel and Kit Kat Layered Candy Bar

Crust
  • 2 bags (10.78oz each) snack-sized Kit Kat bars
  • 8T butter
Filling
  • 1/3c light corn syrup
  • 3T butter, softened
  • 3T peanut butter
  • 1 1/2T water
  • 1 1/4t vanilla
  • Dash salt
  • 3 1/2c powdered sugar
Caramel Layer
  • 1 bag (14 oz) caramels, unwrapped (Do things like this really need to be said?)
  • 2T water
Topping
  • 1 bag (12oz) dark chocolate chips
Directions
  1. Line 9x13 pan with non-stick foil.
  2. Pulverize Kit Kat bars in food processor
  3. Melt butter and immediately pour over Kit Kat crumbs and stir until the chocolate starts getting all melty.
  4. Smash Kit Kat mix into foil-lined pan and stick it in the fridge to chill. 
  5. Beat all filling ingredients, except powdered sugar, on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until well blended. Press filling over cookie base. Refrigerate while preparing caramel layer.
  6. In saucepan, heat caramels and 2T water over low heat, stirring constantly, until caramels are melted. Spread evenly over filling. Refrigerate about 15 minutes or until caramel layer is firm.
  7. Melt chocolate chips. Spread evenly over caramel layer. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until chocolate is set. Cut and serve.
This recipe is like so many that I enjoy in that is easily alterable. You can choose to include whatever kind of nuts you prefer in the caramel, or, as was the case here, no nuts at all. And the melted chocolate on top can be any kind you desire. 

The Kit Kat crust was pure genius; it was so tasty and a heck of a lot easier to make than I had anticipated. I think these were even more popular than the original version. I sure liked them better.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Almond Joy® Brownies

You know what's awesome? Well, according to me, lots of stuff, but this time I was specifically thinking about candy. Candy is awesome, particularly candy bars. I enjoy using them as inspiration for creations, whether I merely imitate the flavors or straight up chop them up and mix them in.

This time around, I was just looking to evoke the essence of an Almond Joy®, plus I had a brownie mix, coconut and almonds on hand. 

Almond Joy Brownies
Ingredients
  • box of your favorite brownie mix (and eggs, oil and water as directed)
  • 2c sweetened shredded coconut
  • 10oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1c sliced almonds
  • 1/4t almond extract
Directions
  1. Mix brownie batter as directed. Add almond extract to batter. 
  2. Combine condensed milk and coconut, then add to brownie batter.
  3. Pour batter into your preferred, greased brownie baking pan.
  4. Top with almonds and bake as directed (although with all goo inside the brownie it may take longer for them to fully bake). 
  5. Let cool completely. (Waiiiiiiiiiiiiiting is the hardest part!) Cut and serve.
Good times! These brownies were dense, gooey squares of almond-y joy! And the almonds (which I totally didn't pick off and eat by themselves) got all toasty and crunchy in the oven. Yum!