Friday, December 31, 2010

Dressed Up Oreos

We usually make sugar cookies for Santa, but this year my kids were insistent on Oreos. So I decided to dress them up a little, and believe me, Santa was very happy about the finished cookie. It was so easy, and yet so festive! What kind of cookies do you leave out for Santa?

Dressed Up Oreos

6 oz white chocolate candy coating, chopped
25 Oreos or generic brand cream filled sandwich cookies
Sprinkles

Melt the chocolate candy coating in a microwave for 30 second intervals at a time, stirring each time until smooth and melted. Spread over cookie tops; decorate with sprinkles. Place on plate or waxed paper until set.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

Now, obviously this picture is not mine. I can't believe that I didn't take a picture of this magnificent creation. It was probably the fanciest and most involved dessert recipe I have ever made and I completely forgot my camera. I borrowed this picture from the Taste of Home website. The original recipe called for coffee granules and rum flavoring, but I decided to leave those out. I have to tell you, that this cheesecake was so rich, so indulgent, so heavenly. It was perfect for a show stopping dessert. I brought it to a family Christmas dinner.
The cheesecake part was absolutely delicious! Best cheesecake by far that I have ever made. The mousse part was really good, but I personally could have done without it.
For some reason, I can never get my whipping cream stiff enough to design with. Does anyone else have this problem? I do exactly as the instructions say, but it just doesn't get to that frosting texture. So my whipping cream didn't look as nice as the pictures. I also had a problem with the chocolate curls... but I'm determined to figure that out.
Overall, it was an impressive dessert. If you decide to tackle this baby, it takes about 2 hours of preparation, 30 minutes of cooking, and then extra chilling time. Basically plan to spend all day or night in the kitchen. ;)

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons baking cocoa

1/3 cup butter, melted


CHEESECAKE LAYER:

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

3 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract


MOUSSE AND TOPPING LAYERS:

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

4 egg yolks

3/4 cup 2% milk

1/3 cup sugar

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1-1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract, divided

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

GARNISH:

5 ounces dark chocolate candy coating, chopped

5 ounces white candy coating, chopped

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar, cocoa and butter;

press onto the bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan. Bake at

350° for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.


For cheesecake: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until

smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Add the

sour cream, vanilla; beat just until combined.

Pour over crust. Place pan on a baking sheet.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire

rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to

loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate until completely cooled.


For mousse and topping: In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water;

let stand for 1 minute or until softened.

In a small saucepan, combine the egg yolks, milk, sugar.

Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture reaches 160° or is thick

enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.

Remove from the heat; whisk in gelatin until dissolved. Stir in the

chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until chocolate is melted.

Pour into a small bowl.

Set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water; stir occasionally until thickened.


Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken.

Add confectioners' sugar and remaining vanilla; beat until stiff

peaks form. Fold half of cream into mousse mixture; spread over

cheesecake. Top with remaining cream. Cover and refrigerate overnight.


For chocolate curl garnish: In a microwave, melt dark chocolate candy

coating; stir until smooth. Spread a thin layer over baking sheet

and drag a fork through chocolate. Let stand at room temperature until set.


Repeat with white candy coating; carefully spread over dark candy

coating. Let stand at room temperature just until set. Holding a

dough scraper or sturdy metal spatula at a 45° angle, scrape

over the top of the chocolate to form striped curls. Decorate cake with curls.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brownie Covered Oreos

When I saw this genius idea over at Picky Palate, I knew it was Christmas inspiration at its best!! I was completely smitten. This is such a fantastic idea. Not only are they extremely simple to make, they look absolutely gorgeous on a Christmas platter. I got rave reviews when I served these this past weekend. I'll give you one more nudge to bake them.... the oreo gets soft after it's baked. Absolutely delicious! Jenny used red Christmas oreos and I took it one step farther by using the Mint green cream oreos, and regular white oreos along with the red special edition ones. They look so festive!

1 Brownie mix (or use your own brownie recipe)

1 package Oreos (or several different types of Oreos)

White chocolate, melted for drizzle

Sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare brownie batter according to package directions. Leave in mixing bowl. Dip Oreos in brownie batter then place in bottom of cupcake tins that have been generously sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until brownies are cooked through. As soon as you remove, take a plastic butter knife and run along the edges of the brownie. This will help it not to stick to the pan.

2. Let cool for 5 minutes. Remove and drizzle with melted white chocolate, sprinkle with festive sprinkles and prepare to be dazzled!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies


I was wandering through my local grocery store when I spied these Nestle Limited Edition Mint and Dark Chocolate Chips.

I knew I needed to come home and try them out immediately. I'm so glad I did because they turned out delicious. The mint gives it just the right touch for a Christmas-y feel. They would make a great, quick and easy, edition to any holiday plate of goodies.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Cup softened butter

1 Cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 Cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 Cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 bag Nestle Limited Edition Mint and Dark Chocolate Chips

3/4 Cups white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to wet ingredients. Stir until well combined. Add chips. Mix until just combined. Scoop cookies with a cookie scoop or Tablespoon. Roll into balls and then press a few chips on top for best presentation. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until slightly golden on outside edges. Enjoy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cheddar Corn Chowder

I found this delicious and comforting chowder in a Taste of Home magazine. I spruced it up a little, and it turned out incredible. I can honestly say this is one of the best soups I have ever eaten. I plan on making it many more times through the winter. It's a perfect feel-good comfort soup for a cold day.

Cheddar Corn Chowder

1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup diced red pepper
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 large potatoes, diced
1 can whole kernel corn, drained or 1 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups milk

1. In a large saucepan, saute onion and red pepper in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended; gradually add broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.
2. Add the potatoes, corn, mustard, paprika, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
3. Add milk and remaining red pepper; cook and stir until soup comes to a boil. remove from the heat; stir in cheese until melted.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm a Winner! And a Happy Thanksgiving!

I went out of town for a much needed break and vacation for 9 days during the Thanksgiving holdiday. I was so excited to see my family, and I had planned on baking the whole Thanksgiving meal by myself, which I have never even come close to doing before. This was major!!! I had a master menu list, a master recipe list, a master to do before cooking list. I have never been more excited about cooking! About 5 minutes before I left my house, the beloved UPS man left these babies at my door. I was ecstatic and packed them to use for my Thanksgiving meal.
And you know what the best part is? I won them!!! Yes, a whole Le Crueset lot of beautiful wonderful dishes. I love them. I mean, I really LOVE them. I won them over at Lick the Bowl Good and when Monica emailed me to tell me, I couldn't have been more surprised or happy. Thank you Monica for having such an awesome blog, and an amazing giveaway! Check her site out, she always makes me drool.

I stayed with my sister over Thanksgiving, and I love her to pieces but her kitchen has much to be desired. Not only is it miniscule... it has no dishwasher, no garbage disposal, and a small oven... NO, I'm not kidding. But I made it work. Here is a picture of some of the fruits of my labor.

I have lots of recipes to share with you (see my beautiful brand new red Le Crueset dish?). But first I have to say, if you haven't tried PW's Green Bean Casserole, you must go make it today!! It is incredible. I've always hated the traditional cream of mushroom, fried onion green bean casserole and when I found her version, I was instantly smitten. And it proved to be a huge success. It will definitely be appearing at my Thanksgiving dinner and lots of other dinners throughout the year as well.
My favorite dish was probably the Sweet Potatoe Casserole and my mom's Pomegranite Salad. What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Shortbread Bars

Yes, I'm still on a pumpkin kick! I just can't get enough pumpkin. I'm very excited for Pumpkin Pie at Thanksgiving. Here is a tasty little treat I found on Picky Palate. They were surprising. I expected more of a pumpkin pie taste, but the shortbread crust gives it a surprising twist. Very good, very rich, very perfect.

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Shortbread Bars

2 sticks softened butter
1 Cup granulated sugar
1/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
1 3/4 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Cups canned pumpkin
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 Cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
Sprinkles of choice if desired

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer cream the butter and sugars until well combined. Slowly add in flour and salt until dough forms. Press into the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking dish that’s been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.

2. To prepare pumpkin layer, mix pumpkin sugar, cream, eggs, cinnamon and nutmeg into a mixing bowl until well combined. Pour over shortbread layer. Bake for 45 minutes or until pumpkin layer is golden brown.

3. Let cool for 30 minutes then cut into bars. Melt chocolate over a double broiler or in microwave until smooth then spread over bars. Sprinkle with white sprinkles if desired and serve room temperature or chill until ready to serve.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pumpkin Roll

I have always wanted to try a pumpkin roll or chocolate roll, but they look so intimidating! I'm here to tell you that they are not hard at all. In fact, I would go so far as to say, they are actually pretty easy to make. I feel bad that I didn't get a better picture, but I was in such a rush to serve this bad boy. Next time I might double the filling because it was so darn good, and I didn't feel like there was enought of it. Go on, try it, you'll be surprised and delighted. It was delicious!
Recipe from: My Kitchen Cafe

Cake:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
2/3 cup mashed (canned) pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 15 X 10-inch jelly roll pan. Cut wax paper to fit the bottom of the pan and leave an inch overhang on each of the short ends of the pan. Lightly grease the wax paper and sides of the jelly roll pan.

Mix the sugar, flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, eggs and pumpkin in a large bowl. Once mixed, pour mixture over the waxed paper. Sprinkle the walnuts, if using, on top of the mixture. Bake for 14-15 minutes until edges pull away from the sides of the pan and center is done.

Lay a large dishtowel on the counter top (it is best to use a dishtowel without any texture – a tea towel or similar towel works best). Spread a thick dusting of powdered sugar all over the towel. When the cake comes out of the oven, turn the pan upside down on the powdered sugar-laden towel so the wax paper is on the top. Gently peel off the wax paper, being careful not to tear the roll. Starting at one of the short ends, roll the pumpkin cake up with the towel to cool. While the roll is cooling, mix the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar together until it is light and creamy. Once the roll is cool, unroll and with an offset spatula, carefully spread filling in an even layer over the cake. Roll it up without the towel and place in the refrigerator (covered with plastic wrap or wax paper) for about an hour before serving.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies


I have been wanting to try my hand at Whoopie Pies for quite some time. When I found this easy recipe for pumpkin ones, I was instantly committed. They were a cinch to make, and oh so dreamy. I really loved the filling, and having it sandwiched between the light pumpkin cookies was a dream come true. I will definitely be making these again.
Recipe found on: Food, Friends, & Fun

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies

1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 package spice cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 recipe marshmallow-spice filling (see recipe below)


Marshmallow-Spice Filling:
Up to 2 hours before serving, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter and one 8-ounce package softened cream cheese until smooth. Add 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 of a 7-ounce jar marshmallow cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Beat until well combined.

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Grease cookie sheets. In a large mixing bowl, beat pumpkin and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add cake mix, eggs, and milk; beat on low speed until combined, and then on medium speed for 1 minute.
2. By the heaping tablespoon, drop mounds of batter 3 inches apart on cookie sheet; keep remaining batter chilled. Bake 13 - 15 minutes or until set and lightly browned around edges. Carefully remove from pan; cool on wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter. If desired, place cookies in a covered storage container with waxed paper between layers to prevent sticking. Store cookies at room temperature for 24 hours.
Prepare Marshmallow-Spice Filling up to 2 hours before serving. Spread about 2-1/2 tablespoons filling on flat side of one cookie; top with a second cookie. Repeat. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 2 hours.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Spooky Gooey Brownies

I had so many plans for yummy Halloween treats to share and somehow the time just got away from me!! In my defense, my hubby got to come home for a 2 week leave, and I spent most of the time following him around like a puppy not wanting him to leave my side. ;)
My daughters and I made up this yummy Halloween brownie recipe. It was delicious and perfect for getting into the Halloween mood! Leave me a comment if you have any yummy Halloween treats to share!

Spooky Halloween Brownies

1 box favorite brownie mix (I like Betty Crocker Chocolate Chunk)
1 package Halloween Oreos
1/4 cup frosting (chocolate or orange look the best)
Orange chocolate melts (Or use white with orange food coloring)

1. Make the brownies according to the box directions. Stir in 8 - 10 crushed up oreos. My girls loved this part. I put the oreos in a zip lock bag and let them crunch them up. Bake according to directions. Let cool.
2. Spread brownies with a very light layer of frosting. You want the brownie itself to show through the frosting. Crush up 10 - 12 oreos and sprinkle on top of frosting. Melt the orange melts in a microwaveable bowl for 30 second intervals until melted. Drizzle over the top. Cut into bars and enjoy!

These were super fun and the oreos inside the brownies made them very gooey and delicious!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Pancakes

I wanted to find something yummy to make with the cinnamon chips I picked up at the store. If you haven't seen them, check out your local grocery store. They usually only come out in the fall and they are so yummy! They are in the chocolate chips area. I also had been wanting to try out pumpkin pancakes and this seemed the perfect combination. Perfect for a fall morning breakfast!

Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Pancakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger *
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (use whole or evaporated milk for best results)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 cup (more or less) cinnamon chips

  1. Mix together the milk, pumpkin, eggs, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine. Stir in the cinnamon chips. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Batter will be thick. Use the back of a spoon to spread out batter just a little on the griddle. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

* You can substitute pumpkin pie spice for the nutmeg, cloves, and ginger if you prefer.

My kids wanted to add Halloween sprinkles for the finishing touch. I prefer mine sprinkless, but the sprinkles are adorable!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Surprise Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

It's finally fall!! The weather finally cooled off, and I immediately went in to baking mode. Of course everything pumpkin has been calling my name, and these muffins definitely did not disappoint. At first glance, these look like regular (albeit yummy) pumpkin muffins... but then you take that first bite and are wonderfully surprised and rewarded with a cream cheese middle. These muffins are my new favorite. Not only do they have a delicious surprise middle, they are topped with a crunchy, delicious streusel topping! You just can't go wrong here.
I found this recipe on My Kitchen Cafe.

Surprise Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
For the muffins:
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice*
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
For the streusel topping:
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar and whip until smooth. Form into a log on plastic wrap or greased foil, making sure that the diameter is small enough to fit into the well of a muffin pan. Wrap the log up tightly and freeze until slightly hardened, 1-2 hours. (I had something come up after I made the filling and had to leave it in the freezer all night. It was fine the next day. So feel free to make this way ahead of time)
To make the muffins, combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside. In another large bowl combine the eggs, vegetable oil, sugar and pumpkin puree. Mix until well combined. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
To make the streusel topping, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix together with a pastry blender or two forks until crumbly.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two muffin pans with paper liners. To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well 1/3 of the way with batter. Remove the cream cheese log from the freezer and slice into 24 equal slices. Place a slice on top of the batter in each muffin well and gently press (don’t press all the way to the bottom but just slightly into the batter). Divide the remaining muffin batter evenly among the muffin cups on top of the cream cheese. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the top of the batter. Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the top of the muffin (about 1/3 of the way down) comes out with moist crumbs. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
Tip: if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, use the following combination: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon cloves. Mix together and you have the equivalent of 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cheesecake Brownies

I needed a yummy treat to give as a thank you to one of my neighbors that helped me out last week. I decided on these because 1. They looked outrageously delicious, and 2. It doesn't use a box mix, and most of my favorite brownie recipes start with a box mix. I wanted to be different this time. ;) I found this recipe on Baking Bites, and it was delicious. Unfortuneately the picture does not do these justice. They are so yummy and pretty too! I swirled mine a bit much, but if you can get the swirls just right they look gorgeous. It's definitely a keeper. And I really liked them after sitting in the fridge for a day. Bonus!

Cheesecake Brownies

1/2 cup butter

2-oz dark chocolate, chopped (I used Hershey's Special Dark chocolate chips)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into the bowl and stir until just combined.
Pour into prepared pan and prepare cheesecake mixture.
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Gently swirl two batters with a butter knife.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.
Cool in the pan completely before slicing and serving, either at room temperature or chilled.
Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice

I found this idea from Picky Palate and then changed it just a tad for my tastes. The cheese sauce makes it incredible! You can never have enough cheese, right? And of course, I love wild rice. My kids were a little skeptical, but I absolutely loved it. It makes about 8 - 10 servings. I was able to halve the recipe with great success.

Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice

3 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1 cups steamed white rice
2 cups prepared wild rice
salt and pepper to taste

Cheese Sauce

4 Tablespoons butter
1/4 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 Cups chicken broth
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Extra cheese for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat butter on medium in a large sauce pan. Saute onion, celery and carrots until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in chicken, both rices, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low.

2. Prepare cheese sauce by melting butter into a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper then slowly pour in chicken broth whisking continuously. Whisk until thick and nearly boiling. Stir in cheese until melted. Pour cheese sauce into rice mixture then transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with additional cheddar cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted through.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Zhu Zhu Pet Snacks

I have done a lot of fun snacks and dinners with my kids lately. So keep checking back for some great ideas. I'm a little slow at posting, but I get there eventually!! ;)

My 6 year old LOVES zhu zhu pets. She spent all of her birthday money (40 smackeroos) on zhu zhu pets, accessories, and misc... While I love her passion, I don't love that she likes to build their tunnels and slides right in the middle of the kitchen floor. It makes for some interesting mishaps. ;)
When I told her we were making zhu zhu pets to eat, she flipped. She was so excited! Heck, I even had fun making one.
As you can see by the picture, the main "ingredient" is Twinkies. I thought it would be comical to see my kids reactions to Twinkies as they have never had one. I'm not against junk food by any means, but I have never, never, not even in the least little bit found them appetizing. I'm more of an ice cream girl... ;) My kids were intrigued, but had more fun playing with them and squishing them than eating them. Ha! We found this fun idea on Gourmet Mom On The Go.

Okay, so here's what you do:

Twinkies
Mini M&M's (for eyes)
Butterscotch chips (for tails)
Starburst Candies (for ears)
Jelly Belly Candies (for noses)
White Icing
uncooked thin spaghetti noodles, optional (for whiskers)

Directions:
Set your twinkie on a plate and add two dots of white icing.
Smooth icing dots together to make your Zhu Zhu's face.
Gather your candy and get ready to decorate!
Cut a starburst candy into four equal pieces and microwave for 5-8 seconds. Use each piece to shape an "ear" (one starburst will make four ears). Attach to twinkie with icing.
Using icing, attach M & M candies, butterscotch chip tails, press jelly bean into face, and add whiskers (optional). Pipe out icing "wheels" on each side of the Zhu Zhu treat.

Here are some of the variations my kids came up with. It was a fun filled candy crazed night, and so worth every minute. They've been talking about it for days and bragging to all their friends about their creations.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Double Take S'mores Bars

I could not believe this recipe. The intenseness, the deliciousness... it was addicting. I ate way too many and all the guilt couldn't stop me from eating more. They were SO good. Just writing this post makes me want to go into the kitchen and whip up some more. Good thing I don't have any chocolate bars or I totally would. I found this recipe on The Girl Who Ate Everything. I had to rename the recipe because I already have a recipe on my blog called S'mores Bars made with Golden Grahms cereal. Yum! Anyway, make this!! You won't regret it!!

Double Take S'mores Bars

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 king-sized Hershey's milk chocolate bars (if you want a more subtle chocolate flavor use regular sized chocolate bars; enough to fit)
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (7 1/2 oz jar)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.

3. Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place chocolate bars over dough. 2 king-sized Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick. Spread chocolate with marshmallow creme or fluff. Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff. This part can be tricky. I made little disks with the dough and formed them into a sheet on some parchment paper then transferred it over. Spread it around gently.

4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
Makes 16 cookie bars.