Sunday, December 29, 2013

Churro Chex

Oh boy, is this Chex mix addicting.

It tastes EXACTLY like the delicious Mexican treat.

I am a sucker for all things churro so I knew I had to make these bad boys. The mix takes minutes to whip together and minutes to consume... Seriously.

You will need:
9 cups Corn Chex
2 cups cinnamon chips
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Place the 9 cups of Corn Chex into a large bowl.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the cinnamon chips and butter and melt on high for 30 seconds. Stir, then microwave for another 10-15 seconds. You want the chips to be completely melted but over heating will lead to a too thick consistency.

Pour melted mixture over the Corn Chex and toss to completely coat.

In a small bowl mix together the sugars and cinnamon. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture over the Chex and toss gently.

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or greased aluminum foil and spread chex mixture in an even layer. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar mixture over the top and allow it to cool completely.

Then shove them, all up in your mouth.
And enjoy this delicious churro party mix!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pecan Turtle Clusters

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! I hope you are enjoying time with your loved ones before Santa arrives!

If you are still looking for a quick treat to whip together for neighbors, friends, your Holiday table, or Santa... These turtles are perfect!

They are easy and oh so delicious... Plus, this recipe is almost embarrassingly easy!

You will need:
1 cup whole pecans, toasted
1/2 bag Caramel bits
1 teaspoon water
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Start by heating a skillet to medium heat. Add your pecans and toast until browned and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.

Melt caramel bits and water in your microwave on high heat in 30 second intervals until completely melted and smooth. Set aside.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place 3 toasted pecans in a triangle pattern.

Spoon a Tablespoon sized amount of caramel over the pecans (this works as the glue to hold the pecans together). Work quickly as the caramel will start to harden. When all of the pecan clusters are covered, place them in the fridge to set up while you melt the chocolate.

Melt the chocolate chips in your microwave in 30 second intervals until shiny and smooth.
Remove pecan clusters from your fridge and spoon chocolate over the top, in a circular motion, dragging the top to make it decorative. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt if you desire.

Place the clusters in the refrigerator for 1 hour to set up.

Package the clusters in decorative bags to give to friends and family! Or place on a pretty tray to add to your Holiday table!

I hope you enjoy these delicious pecan clusters! Have a safe and happy Holiday everyone! I will be back tomorrow to post a delicious White Hot Cocoa recipe!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Butter

Well folks, there's one week left until Christmas!

And if you are still gathering the presents, planning your meals, and running around like a chicken with your head cut off... I've got you covered.

...For breakfast anyways, because I too am running around in a panic. There are still gifts to wrap, stockings to stuff, trimmings to trim (or something).

I introduce you to red velvet pancakes. Not only do these delicious fluffy pancakes have a hint of cocoa but they're also topped with a delicious cream cheese butter.

They are also easy to whip up and will please the pickiest of palates on Sunday morning.. So you can stand back and chug your peppermint schnapps laden hot cocoa...

I'm just sayin'.

For the Pancakes:
(serves 6)
2 cups complete pancake mix
1 1/3 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Butter:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened

Start by making the butter: Blend together all ingredients in a medium bowl, transfer to a serving dish and place in your refrigerator until ready to use.

For the pancakes, stir together all  ingredients in a large bowl. Preheat skillet to medium heat, grease with butter and, using about 1/4 cup for each pancake, pour into skillet. Cook over medium to medium-low heat for around 2-3 minutes per side (or until the top is bubbly) and the pancakes are cooked through.

Serve pancakes with cream cheese butter or a drizzle of warm maple syrup.

See, now wasn't that easy? Time to enjoy these delicious pancakes!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Salted Caramel Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

I can bet you have seen these cookies all over the Internets!

When I read that they combine my beloved snickerdoodle cookie with a caramel center and sea salt top...I knew I had to make them for myself, and let me be honest when I say... I've never tried brown butter!

Um hello, have I been living under a rock!?

Brown butter is like heaven for bakers. It has a nutty aroma and dark chocolate appearance... Gorgeous! I'm now trying to find a 100 recipes to place brown butter in... Pasta, cakes, frosting... a baby bottle for immediate consumption?

For the cookies:
(makes 2 dozen)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon sour cream
1 cup caramel bits

For Topping:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and cinnamon and set aside.

Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and put the cubed butter inside. Whisk continuously until the butter with foam on the top and brown flecks with start to appear. Watch closely, continuing to whisk, until you smell a nutty aroma and the butter is dark brown in color. Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a heat safe bowl. Cool the butter to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine the browned butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Beat on medium until smooth.
Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and sour cream until completely incorporated and smooth. Slowly add in the flour mixture until the dough forms.
Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to overnight.

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and remove dough from refrigerator and measure about 2 Tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the center slightly and place 5-7 caramel bits inside. Wrap the cookie dough over the caramel and roll back into a ball. Make sure the dough completely covers the caramel so it does not leak.

In a small bowl, mix together the 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Roll each cookie ball into the mixture to coat and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten the top lightly and sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned yet the centers are still soft. Allow to cool on  sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies are amazing! The dough has a cinnamon sugar taste, familiar to a snickerdoodle with just a hint of nutty brown butter. The caramel oozes when you bite into the warm cookie so these are best served immediately!

Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Sunday, December 8, 2013

No Bake Gingerbread Cheesecake Parfaits

I am so happy to report that with a little over 2 weeks left until Christmas, my shopping list is almost all crossed off!

With stocking stuffer's left and a few last minute gifts, I am REALLY patting myself on the back these days. Usually I am the shop-until-the-last-minute kind of gal.

So the fact that I have most of it done warrants a delicious dessert! And if you haven't started your shopping yet, you will still want to shed a few stressed out tears into this dessert:

Spicy gingerbread cookies meet cream cheese, gingerbread pudding, and fresh whipped cream!

And please tell me these Wilton Gingerbread people aren't the cutest!? I found mine at Walmart, along with a few others that I cant wait to share with you!

Plus, since there is no baking involved it can easily be whipped toghether (pun intended).

So pour a glass of eggnog, bump N*Sync Holiday music, and make some amazing No Bake Gingerbread Cheesecake Parfaits.

For the Crust:
12 Gingerbread cookies, crushed

For the Filling:
1 box (4 serving size) vanilla pudding mix
2 cups cold milk
1 Tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounce tub of Cool Whip

For the Topping:
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar

Decorative gingey people

Place the gingerbread cookies in your food processor or blender and pulse until you have fine crumbs. Press the crumbs into the bottom of your parfait dishes. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together vanilla pudding mix, milk, molasses, ground ginger, and cinnamon for 2 minutes or until pudding starts to thicken. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes so it can set up.

In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar  until smooth and combined. Add in 3/4 cup of the prepared pudding, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract. Beat until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Using a rubber offset spatula, gently fold in the cool whip until combined.

Spoon or pipe the filling onto the crumbs in the parfait glasses and place in the fridge while you make the whipped cream.

In a medium bowl, whisk/beat the heavy cream and powdered sugar on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Pipe the whipped cream over the cheesecake filling in a circular fashion, and place a gingerbread person on top!

Enjoy this creamy and spicy treat! You can store the parfaits in the fridge for 24 hours however, they are best served (and enjoyed) the day they are made!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

I was thrilled when the opportunity arose for me to be a part of the Christmas Cavalcade at Salt Tree.

I love the opportunity to join other amazing bloggers to team up and bring some fun Holiday posts your way!

These Hot Chocolate on a Stick are a fun alternative to boring powdered hot chocolate and make excellent gifts for teachers, neighbors, or coworkers!

With the Holiday's upon us, I think it is a great idea to get in the kitchen and create fabulous homemade gifts for the people who do things for us every day.

I bet the mail man would love one of these in your mailbox besides a boring old letter! Or your child's teacher as a way to say "thank you" for all that they do.

The great part about this recipe is that it makes a bunch of pieces, so you can give this wonderful gift to everyone and it is super easy!

You will need:
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

lollipop sticks
caramel or crushed peppermint for topping

Line the sides and bottom of  a 9" square baking dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream. Whisk slowly as it heats until the milk mixture starts to simmer but not boil.
Remove from heat and add in chocolate chips and chopped chocolate.
Slowly stir to melt the chocolate.
Once the chocolate is completely melted, place the pan back over low heat and whisk vigorously until the chocolate is shiny, thickened, and smooth.
Pour the chocolate mixture into your prepared dish and smooth the surface. *If you would like to add one topping over the chocolate this is the time to do so. Smooth a generous helping of caramel over the top and sprinkle with coarse salt or sprinkle the top with crushed candy cane bits.
Lightly cover with plastic wrap and allow it to sit on your counter overnight.

Heat a sharp knife by running it under hot water and slice the chocolate into 2" square pieces.
Place the lollipop stick into one end and if you are giving them as gifts, wrap in packaging and tie with a pretty ribbon.

Heat milk in your favorite mug and place the hot chocolate on a stick inside to slowly melt.

Enjoy this decadent treat that makes a fantastic gift! Trust me, the last sip is the best!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Jingle Bells Shadow Box

Well, Thanksgiving is now behind us and the Holiday's are in full swing.
I'm always on the lookout for a great homemade gift or frugal Holiday decorations and I really think I found it with this one!

I am addicted to Michael's... I honestly feel giddy when I walk into that store. I could probably spend 3 hours wandering up and down the aisles and probably along with that, my children's college fund.

Luckily, Black Friday deals were in full swing this past weekend. Not only was Michael's having 25% off your total purchase (including sale items) but a lot of their merchandise was 40-60% off.

My total cost for this craft was LESS than $10! I found the shadow boxes for 3/$9.99 before the percentage off, the bells were $4, letters were $1.50, and the paper was 99 cents! SCORE!

I think it turned out super cute and would be great to match any Holiday or theme... I actually made another one for my mom with blue paper, shells, and beach lettering!

Plus, it took less than 15 minutes to put together... WINNING!

You will need:

1- 8x10" shadow box
1-package of bells
1-decorative piece of scrap-booking paper
1-package of letters


Open up the picture frame and take out the backing. Place it upside down on the back of your scrap-booking paper and trace with a pen/pencil. Cut out the paper in the shape you traced.

Use either glue or tape to stick the paper to the back liner of the shadow box.

Pour the bells into the bottom of your shadow box and close with the decorative backing.

Place the letters on the glass in your desired pattern...

And voila! Your craft is done. I cant wait to try this with a few small ornaments instead of bells and different words. Really let your creativity flow here...

I hope you all enjoy this ridiculously easy craft! Happy Holiday's!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Winter Wonderland Link Party and Giveaway!

Well It's time again for another wonderful link party and this time we're including a give away too!
     Crafts, Cakes, and Cats                                     Michelle's Tasty Creations
     Facebook Page                                                  Facebook Page
     Pinterest                                                            Twitter
     Hot Eats and Cool Reads                                  MorningNooNight
     Facebook Page                                                 Facebook Page
     Twitter                                                              Pinterest

Here's what your hostesses have been up to
~Starting with the top left we have ~

Gingersnap Cookie Sandwiches with Cream Cheese Filling from: Crafts, Cakes, & Cats
Creamy Cranberry Salad from: Hot Eats and Cool Reads
Snowman Tea Light Holder from: MorningNooNight
Ornament Wreath from: MorningNooNight
Candy Cane Biscotti from: Crafts, Cakes, & Cats
German Chocolate Cake from: Crafts, Cakes, & Cats
Big Crunchy Sugar Cookies from: Hot Eats and Cool Reads
Candy Cane Cupcakes from: MorningNooNight
Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies from: Hot Eats and Cool Reads
Peppermint Kiss Cookies from: Michelle's Tasty Creations
Candy Cane Cookies from: Michelle's Tasty Creations
Swedish Christmas Cookies from: Michelle's Tasty Creations

~Now lets see what you've been up to~

~A few things to remember~

Please only link up Christmas/Winter recipes, crafts, DIY, tutorials, printables, etc. that YOU have created.
Please don't link up any Etsy shops, giveaways, or other link parties.
By linking to this party you give us permission to share your post on our blogs and other social media.
Please share this party by linking back to us in your post or by adding this party to your party page.

Be sure to stop by and visit a few of the other blogs that have posted; we all love to see sweet comments.

We're also having a wonderful giveaway - Be sure and enter to win one of the great prizes

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Crumb Topped Apple Slab pie

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I hope your Turkey day has been a great one and that you are overflowing with good food, wonderful family, and not too many dishes in the sink....

And if you are, cover them with a giant towel and pour yourself a glass of wine. Life is too short to be spent doing dishes... And I've found if you sigh heavily and say "I'm so tired" 100 times over the course of 15 minutes, someone might feel sorry enough to do them for you!

I know it is too late to add this delicious dessert to your Thanksgiving table, and most likely if you look at another food item you might pop, but trust me, this dessert is worth extra elastic on your pants. It is THAT good.

Also, Fall isn't over quite yet. So for those unwilling to dive knee deep into peppermint, candy canes, and Elves on Shelves... This dessert is for you.

For the Crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold and cut into 1" pieces
1/2-1 cup cold water

For the Filling:
3 1/2 lbs granny smith apples, peeled and cored and cut into 1/4 inch slices (about 10 cups)
2/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Crumb Topping:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Start by making the crust: Fill a one cup measure with ice cold water, set side. In a large bowl whisk together four, sugar, and salt. Sprinkle the cold butter over the top of the flour mixture and either using a pastry cutter or your hands, mix in the butter until crumbs form about the size of peas. Start with a 1/2 cup of cold water and pour into your flour/butter mixture. Stir with a spatula until the dough starts to form. You are looking for large clumps. If the dough still looks dry, add more water one teaspoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
When the time is up, place the unwrapped dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a slightly-bigger-than 9x13" rectangle.
Lightly grease a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray and place dough inside to fit the pan, allowing one inch to hang of the sides. Set aside while you work on the filling.

For the Filling: Peel, core, and slice 8-10 apples. Place the apples in a large bowl and sprinkle with the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Carefully toss the apples, making sure they are completely coated. Pour filling into the prepared crust. Set aside while you make the topping.

For the Crumb Topping: In a medium bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, and flour. Use a pastry cutter to add in the butter until topping mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chopped pecans and sprinkle crumb topping over the apples.

Trim the hanging crust so that is is even and flute in your desired style.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and bake the slab pie for 40-45 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden.

Cool slightly, slice, and serve! This slab pie is the perfect hand-held treat and is even better topped with ice cream or whipped cream... YUM!