7 Easy Fall Treats

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If you’re looking for ideas for sweet fall treats, here’s a roundup of some I’ve made before. They’re fun and colorful and very easy to make, which is a plus! Have fun trying some of these out! Candy” Corn Pay” … Continue reading

Christmasy Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

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I’m a big fan of sweet-and-salty flavor combinations! So of course I love chocolate covered pretzels! I like dipping them in white and dark or milk chocolate, then coating with a variety of holiday sprinkles or crushed candy canes. Since these are only half-dipped, they’re easy to handle and quick to make. They make a great snack or homemade gift for the holidays!

CHRISTMASY CHOCOLATE DIPPED PRETZELS by NancyCreative

Makes about 47 white chocolate and 47 semi-sweet chocolate dipped pretzels

  • 1 (4-ounce) bar semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped (or use a milk chocolate baking bar)
  • 1 (4-ounce) bar white baking chocolate, chopped
  • optional: 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil mixed into each small bowl of melted chocolate to make it smoother for dipping (stir in the coconut oil after the chocolate is all melted!)
  • 94 small pretzel twists
  • Different kinds of holiday sprinkles put in very small bowls or tea cups, for coating the chocolate (I used crushed candy canes as one of the coatings)

Place the two kinds of chocolate in separate small microwaveable bowls, breaking each bar into 4 pieces. Heat each bowl at 30-second intervals on medium, stirring after each time, until the chocolate has melted, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes (melt one bowl of chocolate at a time, and when you use up the first bowl, melt your second bowl). If desired, stir in 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil into each bowl of melted chocolate (stir in after chocolate is all melted) to make it even smoother for dipping.

Dip each pretzel twist into the white or semi-sweet chocolate, and shake off any excess chocolate. Then dip in one of the sprinkle toppings or the crushed candy cane topping. Place on parchment paper or waxed paper until chocolate sets.

These are really super-easy to make and they’re a fun snack for Christmas! What fun and easy treats have you been making this holiday season?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

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OREO Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls

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OREOs are always a treat, and these cookie ball truffles are a great way to enjoy them over the holidays! So now that the Christmas season is in full swing, I thought this would be the perfect time to make them. They’re easy to make and all you need are a few ingredients–OREO cookies, cream cheese, and chocolate–plus an extra ingredient I added! I decided I’d make these cookie balls a little extra chocolatey by adding in some mini chocolate chips (you need to use the mini chips–the regular size would be much too big)! And I used both semi-sweet and white baking chocolate to coat them for a little variety. I topped these yummy treats with different kinds of Christmas sprinkles, coconut, and crushed candy canes. Chopped nuts would also be a great topping.

You can make these cookie ball truffles without the mini chocolate chips if you prefer; you’ll get about 48 if you make them that way. If you make them with the mini chocolate chips like I did, you’ll get at least 70 truffles, maybe a little more, so you may want to have an extra 4-ounce package of baking chocolate on hand in case you need more chocolate coating. I had just enough chocolate to coat all of mine with the 4 packages, but it never hurts to have a little extra on hand. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil per bar of baking chocolate–I mixed the coconut oil into the chocolate after it was all melted–it made the chocolate a little thinner and easier to dip the cookie balls in.

I also found it was easiest to dip these cookie ball truffles into the chocolate by using a regular spoon, turning each one over in the melted chocolate with the spoon until it was all coated. Then I immediately put it on a parchment-lined pan, using the spoon to drop it on. After dipping about 5 cookie balls, I adding toppings before the chocolate started setting–the toppings adhere much better when the chocolate coating is still very melty.

So that’s all there is to it! And I thought it would be fun to arrange these cookie balls in a tree shape–a great way to serve them at a holiday party or get-together!

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OREO HOLIDAY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BALLS by NancyCreative, slightly adapted from the original OREO Cookie Ball recipe

Makes about 70 cookie ball truffles

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 36 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (this is an addition to the original recipe)
  • 4 to 5 (4-ounce) packages semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted (I used 2 packages of semi-sweet and 2 packages of white chocolate, melting the different chocolates separately; I also mixed in 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil per 4-ounce melted chocolate baking bar after the chocolate was all melted, for easier dipping–if you don’t do this, your melted chocolate will be thicker, and you may need a 5th 4-ounce bar to have enough chocolate coating)
  • Assorted toppings to sprinkle on the chocolate-coated truffles: Christmas sprinkles, crushed candy canes, coconut, nuts

Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until blended. Shape into 70 (1-inch) balls. Place in a shallow 10 x 15″ pan lined with parchment paper and freeze for 10 minutes.

For cookie balls, dip each ball into melted chocolate. Place in single layer in your lined 10 x 15″ pan (I dipped about 5 at a time, then sprinkled them, so the toppings would stick well before the chocolate started setting). You may need to use an extra lined pan, since you’ll need to leave more space between the chocolate coated cookie balls while they’re setting.

After dipping and topping all the cookie balls with your choice of sprinkles or toppings, refrigerate them on your lined pan or pans for 1 hour or until firm.

I partnered with Yummly and OREO on this post, but the opinions expressed here are entirely my own–I’m a longtime Oreo fan! :)

Do you like Oreos too? Have you made these cookie balls and do you have a special way of making them?

Linked to Christmas Cookie Swap at Katherine’s Corner.

Candy Corn M&M’s Crispy Bars

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Crispy bars are great, and I think they’re even better when you make them with extra add-ins! Last winter, I made some Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cup Crispy Treats which were really good, so I thought I’d try an autumn version with candy corn. I found this recipe at MyRecipes.com which had both candy corn and M&M’s. I thought I’d add some chopped peanuts in there, too, since I like the candy corn-chocolate-peanut combination. You could use cashews instead of peanuts, if you like. I also changed the amounts of some of the ingredients from the original recipe, which I’ve noted in my version below. If you like sweet-and-salty treats, I think you’ll like these, although they’re more sweet than they are salty. If you’d like them saltier, you could add a little less candy corn or M&M’s, and a little more chopped nuts to the crispy treats mixture. If you prefer your crispy treats all sweet, you can omit the nuts and add in some extra candy corn or M&M’s. I liked using the M&M’s Minis in these treats, but you can also use the regular size M&M’s.

CANDY CORN AND M&M’s CRISPY BARS by NancyCreative, adapted from MyRecipes Makes a 9 x 13″ pan

For Bars:

  • 5 1/2 cups rice cereal
  • 3/4 cup candy corn
  • 3/4 cup M&M’s Minis (or regular M&M’s)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely-chopped salted peanuts (or cashews)
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag miniature marshmallows

For Chocolate/Candy Corn Topping:

  • 1 cup white semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup candy corn

ncCndyCrnMMBrs2nmSpray a 9 x 13″ pan with nonstick cooking spray, grease well with butter, or line pan with parchment paper; set aside (I lined my pan with parchment paper).

In a large bowl, add the rice cereal, candy corn, M&M’s, and nuts. Stir these dry ingredients with a large spoon, until all ingredients are blended well; set aside.

Melt butter in large sauce pan over low heat. Add marshmallows, stirring constantly until completely melted and well-blended with the butter, about 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Pour melted marshmallow mixture over the cereal/candy/nut mixture in the large bowl. Immediately stir mixture until all the dry ingredients are coated with the marshmallow mixture.

Using a buttered spatula or waxed paper, press mixture evenly and firmly into  your greased or lined 9 x 13″ pan. Then top with chocolate/candy corn topping.

To make the topping, microwave chocolate chips for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave another 30 seconds and stir, continuing this until chocolate chips are completely melted and smooth–about 2 minutes (be careful not to overcook)! Stir in coconut oil while chocolate is still warm, blending well (the coconut oil helps make the chocolate more drizz-able). Drizzle melted chocolate diagonally over crispy mixture in the pan, and sprinkle the candy corn evenly on top. Then drizzle another layer of chocolate on top of that, going the other direction diagonally, for a cris-cross effect.

Let crispy mixture and topping cool and set, then cut into bars (you can refrigerate them to help them set more quickly, for about 30 minutes). These are best eaten the same day; you can store for up to 2 days at room temperature in an airtight container.

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Crispy bars are so quick and easy to make! Do you like your crispy bars plain or with add-ins?

Candy Corn-Peanut Popcorn Balls with Marshmallow Coating

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Did you know that October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month? I had no idea until I saw it mentioned somewhere on the net. That got me thinking about making some popcorn balls! I found this recipe at About.com that sounded good. I decided to try it with peanuts added in, since they had tasted so good in the Candy Corn “PayDay” Mix I had made a several weeks ago. Yum! These popcorn balls are very easy to make, so this is a great recipe to start out with if you’ve never made popcorn balls before. It’s a great treat for kids and adults–who wouldn’t like munching on a fun popcorn ball like this?

CANDY CORN-PEANUT POPCORN BALLS with MARSHMALLOW COATING by NancyCreative, adapted from About.com

Makes 12 to 14 popcorn balls

  • 12 cups plain or light butter popped popcorn
  • 1 1/2 cups candy corn
  • 2/3 cup dry roasted peanuts (or you can use salted cocktail peanuts)
  • 1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) butter
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spraying the lining with nonstick cooking spray.

In a very large bowl, mix together the popped popcorn, candy corn, and peanuts; set aside.

In medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter for 30 to 45 seconds. Add the marshmallows and microwave an additional 90 seconds to melt them and stir, blending them with the butter (the marshmallows may not look melted, but they will liquefy when you stir them). After blending butter and marshmallows well, then add vanilla and salt, and stir until everthing is well-mixed.

Pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn-candy corn-peanut mixture, and stir until everything is thoroughly combined. Allow mixture to sit for a minute so the hot marshmallow mixture can cool slightly. Note: if some of the candy corn and peanuts are collecting at the bottom of the bowl, you can work those in as you’re forming the popcorn balls.

Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray and scoop up a handful of popcorn. Press it firmly between your hands, forming a ball shape. It’s kind of like making a firmly-packed snowball! Make sure your popcorn balls are all compact; loosely formed popcorn balls fall apart easily. If the balls aren’t sticking together, allow the mixture to cool for another minute; they should hold together better then.

Place popcorn balls on the prepared baking sheet and allow them to firm up at room temperature. Store popcorn balls in an airtight container in a cool, dry room.

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These popcorn balls would be great any time of year–just leave out the candy corn and add some extra peanuts to the mix! Have you ever made any popcorn balls?

Candy Corn Trail Mix

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If you’re looking for a fun, quick, easy snack to make, try this Candy Corn Trail Mix–it’s a colorful, yummy blend of sweetness and saltiness, and the perfect treat for fall! Just mix all the ingredients in a bowl and it’s ready. It’s great for packaging up in small bags, too, if you’re needing some special treats to give out!

CANDY CORN TRAIL MIX by NancyCreative

Makes 15 cups

  • 4 cups Golden Grahams OR Vanilla or Honey Nut Chex cereal
  • 2 1/2 cups bite-size pretzel twists (like Rold Gold Tiny Twists)
  • 2 cups lightly salted dry roasted peanuts or cocktail peanuts
  • 3/4 cup dark or golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup roasted sunflower kernels
  • 2 cups candy corn
  • 2 cups M&M’s plain chocolate candy (or substitute 2 cups chocolate chips–semi-sweet, white, dark, or milk chocolate)

In a large bowl, add all ingredients and mix together by tossing with a large spoon. Serve in the bowl or package into treat bags. If you want to make a healthier autumn trail mix, you can omit the candy corn and M&M’s and substitute 2 cups of dark chocolate chips.

Another easy snack mix to try is Candy Corn “PayDay” Mix. Have you made any fun treats with candy corn this season?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Candy Corn Bark

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I’ve been posting some quick and easy candy corn treats, like Candy Corn “Pay Day” MixCandy Corn Trail Mix, and Candy Corn-Peanut Popcorn Balls with Marshmallow Coating. Here’s another super-easy candy corn recipe–Candy Corn Bark! Along with the candy corn, this bark also has mini M&M’s, pretzel twists, and dried cranberries in it. It’s a yummy, simple treat to make–a great combination of sweet-and-salty flavors!

CANDY CORN BARK by NancyCreative

Makes a 9 x 13″ pan

  • 2 (12-ounce) packages white chocolate (vanilla) baking chips
  • 1 cup bite-size pretzel twists (like Rold Gold Tiny Twists)
  • 2/3 cup candy corn
  • 1/2 cup M&M’s Mini’s plain milk chocolate candy
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (or substitute dark or golden raisins)

Line a 9 x 13 ” pan with parchment paper, going up the sides and leaving 2 extra inches of paper on each side (so you can lift the bark out of the pan later); set aside.

In a medium microwaveable bowl or container, microwave the white chocolate chips for one minute, then stop and stir. Continue melting the chocolate in the microwave, stopping and stirring every 30 seconds, until all the chips are melted and smooth, for a total of about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.

ncCndyCrnBk2nmSpread the melted white chocolate evenly in a thin layer in the parchment-lined pan with a large spoon or spatula. Sprinkle pretzels evenly over melted chocolate, pressing pretzels about halfway into the chocolate as you’re placing them. Then do the same with the candy corn, M&M’s, and dried cranberries or raisins (it helps if you have all these ingredients pre-measured so you can sprinkle them on quickly before the chocolate starts to set). Note: Make sure all ingredients are pressed into the melted chocolate, or they will just fall off when you are breaking up the bark later.

Let bark set about 1 hour, or until completely firm (you can chill the bark in the refrigerator to help it set quicker). Lift bark from the pan (with the sides of the parchment paper) and place on kitchen counter. Peel parchment paper from bottom side of bark, breaking bark into pieces as you peel. Serve on a platter or in a bowl, or package into treat bags. Store any extra bark covered in an airtight container at room temperature.

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I like this bark because it’s so fun and colorful! Do you have a favorite autumn bark recipe?

Acorn Treats

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I saw these fun fall treats on the Hershey’s site and they were so cute I just had to make them! They’re so easy, too…kids would have a lot of fun making these. Acorn Treats are great for fall parties, snacks, and fun food gifts…they’re perfect for any autumn get-together or celebration!

The Royal Icing acts as the “glue,” attaching the Kisses and peanut butter chips to the Mini Nilla Wafers. The icing is very easy to make (see directions below), but if you don’t want to make your own, you can use purchased icing that comes packaged in a container with a small tip. I’ve also seen other bloggers use creamy peanut butter as the “glue,” and you could even try Nutella. Whatever you use, you just need a small dab! I used the Royal Icing (see recipe below), and I was very happy with how that worked out.

You can use either milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or pumpkin-spice flavored Kisses–I decided it would be fun to have a variety, so I used all three! For the top part of the acorn, I used peanut butter chips on the “acorns” with milk and dark chocolate Kisses, and semi-sweet chocolate chips on the “acorns” with pumpkin-spice Kisses. You can also use butterscotch chips.

Have fun trying these out!

ACORN TREATS slightly adapted from Hershey’s

Makes 64 to 73 treats per bag of Hershey’s Kisses

  • Royal Icing (see recipe below) or use purchased decorator icing that comes in a container with a small tip
  • 1 (10 to 12-ounce) bag of Hershey’s Kisses-Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, or Pumpkin Spice–or a combination of these flavors! (Depending on size, bags contain about 64 to 73 kisses).
  • 1 (11-ounce) box Mini Nilla Wafers
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag peanut butter chips or 1 (12-ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (or substitute butterscotch chips); or use a combination of flavors (you won’t need the whole bag, so if you already have part of a bag of chips left over from another recipe, that should be enough)

Prepare Royal Icing: Stir together 1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar and 1 Tablespoon warm water (the original recipe says to also use 1 1/2 teaspoons of pasteurized dried egg whites (meringue powder), but I couldn’t find any, so I left it out–I used an extra Tablespoon of powdered sugar instead). Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer or mix by hand until spreadable. Add additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to get desired consistency (I added an additional ncAcornTrts3nmTablespoon plus a teaspoon of water to get a stiff, spreadable icing). Transfer icing to pastry bag with desired tip. Cover icing and tip of pastry bag with damp paper towel to keep icing from drying out. Note: If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can use a toothpick to dab small amounts of the icing on the Kisses and chips. This recipe makes about 1/2 cup icing, which is plenty for what you’ll need.

To assemble treats: Place mini vanilla wafers on a tray or plate with flat side of cookie toward the top. Squeeze a small amount of icing onto the bottom of a Hershey’s Kiss. Immediately press candy bottom onto vanilla wafer cookie. Allow icing to set.

Place small dab of icing on bottom of peanut butter or semi-sweet chocolate chip. Immediately attach to top of cookie to finish acorn. Let icing set before serving.

That’s all there is to it! Super-easy!

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Have you made any fun, easy treats to celebrate autumn this year?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Candy Corn “PayDay” Mix

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I really like the taste of sweet-and-salty things. I ate a lot of butter and jelly sandwiches as a kid, and I’ve always loved PayDay candy bars. I don’t eat candy bars that often, but every once in awhile I indulge in a PayDay. If you like PayDays too, then you will like this Candy Corn “PayDay” Mix because the candy corn and salted peanuts really bring to mind the taste of that candy bar!

I was needing to make something simple and quick for a little fall party, and when I saw this candy corn mix idea at About.com, I thought it would be perfect! It’s so simple to make–there are just two ingredients–candy corn and peanuts. How easy is that? It’s a perfect sweet-and-salty treat for any fall party, a great snack for game-watching, and a nice treat to package up in treat bags for giving. I like it better than just eating candy corn by itself–I feel like I’m at least getting a little protein with the peanuts in there! :) You can either use dry roasted peanuts or salted peanuts–I prefer using the dry roasted, but either works great! You can also substitute cashews for the peanuts if you prefer those.

Some of you have also told me that this mix tastes great with M&M’s, chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips, so I added those as optional ingredients for all of you chocolate and peanut butter-lovers! :)

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Here’s the very simple recipe…

CANDY CORN “PAY DAY” MIX slightly adapted from About.com

Makes 6 to 7 1/2 cups of mix

  • 3 cups candy corn (or use an entire 21-oz. bag, which comes to about 3 3/4 cups)
  • 3 cups lightly salted dry roasted peanuts or cocktail peanuts (or use an entire 16-oz. jar, which comes to about 3 3/4 cups; OR substitute the same amount of cashews)
  • Optional: 2 to 3 cups plain M&M’s or chocolate chips, depending on how chocolatey you want it! Or, if you want a stronger peanutty flavor, you could add the same amount of peanut butter chips

In a medium to large serving bowl, combine the candy corn and the peanuts, and stir together with a large spoon until they are well mixed. Add in the M&M’s (or chocolate chips), if using. Or, you can combine the candy corn and peanuts (and M&M’s/chocolate chips, if using) in a large Ziploc bag and shake them together until they are well mixed. Serve and enjoy!

Store any leftovers in an airtight container to snack on later.

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If you want to make this mix for treat-giving, use treat bags to package them in–I tied mine with a bright orange ribbon!

Have you made any fun fall treats? It’s always nice when they’re quick and easy to make, too! :)

Happy Autumn!

S’mores Popcorn from The S’mores Cookbook and a Giveaway!

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bildeWhen I think of summer treats, I think of S’mores around a campfire. But when I looked through my review copy of The S’mores Cookbook  by Susan Whetzel, I realized that you can enjoy the great taste of S’mores all year round in lots of different ways! This hardcover book is filled with lots of wonderful full-color photos of the many recipes you can make. And the publisher, Adams Media, has offered to send a giveaway copy directly to the winning commentor on this post! See the end of the post for details.

So S’mores are not just for summer anymore…you can make a great S’mores dessert whenever you crave it! And actually, S’mores are not just for dessert anymore, because this book also includes breakfast recipes, too! Some treats from this book that I’d like to try out are:

  • S’mores Stuffed French Toast
  • S’mores Popovers
  • Mini Dark Chocolate S’mores Muffins
  • S’mores Coffee Cake
  • Dark Chocolate S’mores Pie
  • S’mores Mousse Cups
  • S’mores Dip
  • S’mores Cupcakes
  • S’mores Chocolate Chunksters

I decided to make the S’mores Popcorn first because it’s been really hot and humid lately, and I wanted to do a no-bake recipe. Plus, this is a great recipe to give as a food gift, packaged in a cellophane bag–and with Christmas just 4 months away, I’m on the lookout for some tasty and easy food gift ideas! :) It’s really kind of addicting, so you’ll want to either have lots of people help you eat it up or share with your friends! The two kinds of chocolate mixed with the caramel corn and marshmallows make a really rich and yummy treat! It’s also a great snack to make in the fall if you’re having a tailgate party or watching the games at home. Store-bought caramel corn works great in this, or you can use homemade if you like.

When I melted the chocolate, I added just a little bit of coconut oil, about 1 teaspoon per cup, to make the chocolate a  little smoother for drizzling. If you do this, the chocolate will take a little longer to dry or set, and it may not package as well since the chocolate will be a little gooier, so it’s definitely an optional thing. If you decide to add some oil when melting the chocolate and if you’ve used an extra large sheet pan to spread your popcorn mix on,* you can put your pan of S’mores popcorn in the fridge, after everything is mixed together, for at least a half hour or until chocolate is set.

Here’s the recipe…

S’MORES POPCORN BAGS from The S’mores Cookbook

Yields: 10 gift bags

Feel free to make your own caramel popcorn for this amazing treat, but store-bought works amazingly well and tends to hold up and look nicer in the gift bags. Either way, it’s a win-win situation!–Susan Whetzel

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted (Note: I used an extra 1/4 cup later in the recipe)
  • 1/2 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 8 cups caramel popcorn
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 10 cellophane gift bags
  • Ribbon, to tie bags, as needed

Cover the counter with parchment paper (*I lined an extra large sheet pan with parchment paper instead). Drizzle the parchment with melted semisweet chocolate and immediately sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs and popcorn, making as even a layer as possible.

Drizzle the white chocolate over the popcorn; allow to dry. (NOTE: I melted an additional 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips and drizzled this over the popcorn, too, for an extra chocolatey taste). Once chocolate is dry, pour the popcorn from the parchment into a large bowl; add marshmallows.

Divide evenly into cellophane bags, and tie with decorative ribbon.

This makes a great game snack or food gift and it’s so easy to make, so keep it in mind for football season and gift- giving at the holidays!

bildeThe Giveaway is Now Closed. Congratulations to commentor #8, Linda G., for winning the book!

Now for the Giveaway….if you’d like to enter to win a copy of The S’mores Cookbook, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Sunday, September 1, at midnight (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! Winner will be chosen ramdomly via Random.org and announced on Monday, September 2. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway is limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me if you make S’mores often or if you’ve made any S’mores-inspired recipes this summer.

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following!

Don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away–because of spam, I need to approve all the comments before they show up! Hope you all have time to enter, and enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

 

Cookie Crumb Truffles from Peanut Butter Comfort and a Giveaway!

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517rdd8Fs-L._SY300_I have always loved peanut butter, so I was excited to receive a review copy of a new cookbook called Peanut Butter Comfort by Averie Sunshine, who also has a wonderful food blog, Averie Cooks. And I have a copy of this book to give away to one of you! See the end of the post for details!

This cookbook is filled with recipes for breakfast items, brownies, cakes, cookies, candies, and frozen treats…all with that great peanut butter flavor! And they’re easy and quick to make, which is always nice.

Some of the recipes from Peanut Butter Comfort that sounded especially good to me were…

  • Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes with Caramelized Bananas and Peanut Butter Maple Syrup
  • Peanut Butter Cup Peanut Butter Banana Bread
  • Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Chip Blondies
  • Banana Bread Pudding Cake
  • Caramel Apple White Chocolate Chip Bars
  • Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies
  • Creamy Peanut Butter Softserve
  • Peanut Butter and Vanilla Cake Batter Caramel Corn

As you can see, there are all sorts of peanut buttery sweets in this cookbook! I decided to try the White Chocolate and Cookie Crumb Truffles…it’s a no-bake recipe, so it was perfect because I was trying this out on a very warm day! Plus, it gave me an excuse to buy Nutter Butter cookies, which I love but haven’t bought in ages, since I wouldn’t be able to stop eating them if I had them hanging around! :) You can use Nutter Butters or several other kinds of cookies in this recipe, which are mentioned below. These truffles are full of peanut butter flavor, plus they’re very cute and festive…great for any summery celebration!

WHITE CHOCOLATE AND COOKIE CRUMB TRUFFLES from Peanut Butter Comfort

Makes about 18 truffles

  • 12 Nutter Butter cookies, Golden Oreo cookies, or vanilla-flavored sandwich cookies, crushed (I used Nutter Butters)
  • 2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces white chocolate or vanilla candy coating, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable shortening, optional (I used coconut oil)
  • 1/4 cup sprinkles

Add cookies to a food processor and grind until they are very fine and powdery. Add peanut butter, cream cheese, and vanilla and process until a moist dough forms. Typically the dough will ball up into a large mound within the food processor, signifying the proper dough consistency. It will be moist and oily, but should hold a shape. If needed, process a few more cookies and add to the dough if it seems too wet or a touch more peanut butter or cream cheese if it’s too dry (I added a little more peanut butter and cream cheese, since my dough was on the dry side).

Form 1/2-inch diameter balls with the dough by rolling it between the palms of your hands until smooth and globe-like (I actually ended up with a few more than 18). Use a small cookie scoop or just eyeball it but keep the dough balls on the smaller side because the finished truffles are significantly larger in size after being dipped in the melted white chocolate and topped with sprinkles.

Place the balls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or large flat plate and freeze for at least one hour because they need to be very cold in order for the melted chocolate to adhere properly when dipping.

After at least one hour, in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl combine the white chocolate and shortening and heat on high power to melt, about 30 to 45 seconds. Stop, stir, and heat in 10-second bursts until chocolate melts and can be stirred smooth. White chocolate scorches more easily than milk or semi-sweet chocolate; take care not to overheat it. The shortening helps keep the chocolate smoother, makes it less prone to hardening prematurely, and makes it much easier to work with when dipping. Melt candy coating according to package directions.

Remove balls from freezer and place one on a fork. Lower the fork into the chocolate to dip it; then raise it up and allow excess chocolate to drain off through the fork tines before placing the ball on parchment. Garnish with about 1/4 teaspoon sprinkles before chocolate sets. Repeat the dipping and sprinkling process with all remaining balls, reheating the chocolate in 15-second bursts if it begins setting up before all the balls have been dipped.

Place truffles in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 30 minutes to allow chocolate to set up fully before serving. Truffles will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Copyright © 2013 Averie Sunshine. Reprinted with permission from Skyhorse Publishing.

517rdd8Fs-L._SY300_The Giveaway is now closed. The winner is comment #11, Create with Joy–congratulations!

Now for the Giveaway….if you’d like to enter to win a copy of Peanut Butter Comfort, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Saturday, August 24, at midnight (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! Winner will be chosen ramdomly via Random.org and announced on Sunday, August 25. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway is limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite peanut butter treat is.

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following!

I’m interested to hear what all of your favorite peanut butter desserts are! :) Don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away–because of spam, I need to approve all the comments before they show up!

Peanut Caramel Crispy Treats

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I recently made some Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cup Crispy Treats and still had quite a bit of rice cereal left over, so I decided to try another kind of crispy treat. I love peanuts and caramel, especially together…so I tried a version using these ingredients. What can I say but “Yum”? If you like peanuts and caramel too, you’ll have to try these out!

PEANUT CARAMEL CRISPY TREATS by NancyCreative

Makes a 9×13″ pan

  • 5 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 (10-ounce) package marshmallows
  • 5 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups salted peanuts
  • 1 (11-ounce bag) Kraft® Caramel Bits

Grease a 13 x 9″ pan; set aside.

Melt butter in large microwaveable bowl on high for 45 seconds or until melted. Add marshmallows, tossing to coat. Microwave marshmallows 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 45 seconds.

Add crispy cereal to melted marshmallow mixture, then stir in nuts and caramel bits. The mixture will get sticky quickly, so you have to work fast!

Press mixture onto bottom of greased 13 x 9″ pan. (Because the mixture is so sticky, you may want to use some waxed paper to help press the mixture in the pan. I used the waxed paper wrapper from a stick of butter that still had a smidgen of butter on it, and that worked great!) Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Stovetop Directions: Melt butter in a 3-qt. saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until they are completely melted and mixture is well blended. Then follow the rest of the directions above, adding in the rice cereal, peanuts, and caramel bits.

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Have you tried any unique add-ins for crispy treats?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Holiday Peanut Butter Chocolate Meltaways

ncPBmeltaways2nm If you are looking for quick and easy recipes for holiday sweets, this is one you’ll want to try out! There are  just 4 simple ingredients: white chocolate (or vanilla) baking chips, dark chocolate (or semi-sweet chocolate) chips, creamy peanut butter, and coconut oil (or shortening). I like using coconut oil instead of shortening myself. ncPBmeltaways4nm Now I’m not much of a candy-maker, but these are so easy, anyone can make them! You don’t even have to decorate them–you can just pour the melted candy mixture into the mini baking cups and be done with it. But I decided to decorate mine and bought these Wilton supplies in the baking department of my local craft store. ncPBMeltaways5nm You can probably find these items or similar items in a store near you. Or, you can make your own icing and decorate with that–I bought my icing to save a little time. The important thing to remember with these is to keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to serve them…if they sit at room temperature for a length of time, they soften and are hard to eat! I’ll give you the Peanut Butter Chocolate Meltaway recipe first and then tell you a little more about how I decorated them…

HOLIDAY PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE MELTAWAYS by NancyCreative, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes about 4 dozen

  • 1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate (or vanilla) baking chips
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) dark chocolate chips (or you can substitute semi-sweet)
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (or you can use shortening)
  • 4 to 5 dozen miniature baking liners or candy cups (it doesn’t hurt to have a little extra!)
  • assorted decorations, frosting, icing, etc. (optional)

Combine first four ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir. Then return to microwave and cook an additional 30 seconds on high; remove and stir until mixture is smooth.

Separate and arrange empty mini baking liners or candy cups on a clean 10×15″ jelly roll pan. Pour melted chocolate mixture into the mini liners, filling until almost full (if you have a microwaveable mixing bowl with a narrow lip or spout, you can pour the mixture right from that. I didn’t have a lip on my bowl, so I poured the melted chocolate mixture into my liquid glass measuring cup and then poured the mixture into the mini baking liners with that, refilling my measuring cup several times).

Place the sheet of filled mini liners into your refrigerator and chill until set. After they’re set (I let mine chill for about an hour), you can decorate them if you want. If you’re not eating these right away, keep stored in refrigerator until ready to serve.

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TO DECORATE: You can make little star shapes with a tube of Wilton Decorating Icing, which is very quick and easy to do (make sure you get those plastic tips–sometimes they’re sold separately). Or do the same thing with your own frosting and decorating tools. You can also use small pre-made cookie decorations (I chose some candy canes)–just put some purchased or homemade icing on the back of the decorations (using purchased cookie icing makes this easy because the container has a small tip), then turn the little shape over and place on top of your Peanut Butter Meltaway (the icing works as a “glue” to stick the little shapes onto your candies).

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So easy, cute, and festive! Do you have a favorite candy recipe you like to make at the holidays?

Fun Springtime Treats from Martha Stewart

I always find great ideas on Martha Stewart’s website and thought I’d share some really fun, yummy-looking decorating ideas I saw the other day (all photos are from marthastewart.com). These treats are perfect for Easter and all through the spring season. Maybe you’ll have a chance to try some of these ideas out this weekend!

From the top, right to left, there are cute Butterfly Cupcakes with pretzel wings, candy-coated chocolate heads, and licorice antennae; Lollipop Cupcakes with mounds of buttercream covered in sprinkles, taffy leaves, and lollipop flowers; Chrysanthemum Cupcakes with beautiful buttercream flowers; Coconut Nest Cupcakes with chocolate egg candies; and Spring Cupcakes decorated with flowers using jellied citrus slices for the petals. And I had to include these bunny-shaped sugar cookies…I thought they looked so cute with the ribbon tied around each bunny’s neck!

If you don’t have time to bake, here are a few fun ways you can package candy…

…make these fun Envelope Bunnies or Jelly Bean Carrots! So cute!

I just had to include this item too…it’s not edible, but it’s definitely eye candy and very pretty…

Delicate flower arrangements in eggshells…really sweet!

Hope these ideas have inspired you! What’s your favorite Easter or springtime treat?

Little Lamb Cake Balls from Sugarlicious and a Giveaway!

If you like making fun and creative treats, you’ll have to check out the new book Sugarlicious: 50 Cute and Clever Treats for Every Occasion (softcover). I’m excited to tell you that I have a copy of this book to give away, too! I’ll let you know how you can enter the drawing to win the book at the end of this post. But first, I’ll tell you a little more about Sugarlicious and share a cute recipe from it called Little Lamb Cake Balls.

Author and professional cookie decorator Meaghan Mountford (she also has a blog called The Decorated Cookie) includes 50 easy-to-follow recipes for any party or occasion in her book, which is also filled with colorful photos and illustrated step-by-step directions (all photos shown in this post are from Sugarlicious). Some of the fun treats you can make include Milkshake Cake Pops, Pink Princess Cupcakes, Sprinkle Marshmallow Pops, and these cute Barnyard Animal Snack Cakes

There are some fun Easter treats I found in Sugarlicious, too–Bunny Cookie Pops and Easter Egg Painted Cookies

And I thought these Little Lamb Cake Balls were perfect for Easter, too…

Here’s the recipe if you want to try them out!

LITTLE LAMB CAKE BALLS (from Sugarlicious)

Makes 48 to 60 cake balls

  • Cake Balls*
  • black edible writer
  • Jordan almonds
  • shredded coconut
  • white candy melts**
  • mini pretzel sticks
  • wax paper
  1. Follow the recipe for cake balls (see below) to bake your cake, prepare your cake balls and chill.
  2. Make 2 black dots for eyes with the edible writer on the Jordan almonds and set aside.
  3. Pour coconut on a plate and set aside. Melt candy melts according to the instructions. For each lamb, break 2 pretzel sticks in half so each pretzel piece is about 1 3/4 inches long. Dip the ends of the 4 pretzel pieces in the melted candy melts; then insert them into the base of a chilled cake ball. For best results, return the cake ball to the freezer for 5 minutes to help set. Holding 2 of the pretzel legs, dip the cake ball in the melts and immediately roll in coconut.  Stand the cake ball on the pretzel legs on a piece of wax paper.
  4. Use a dab of melted candy melts to adhere the Jordan almond head to the lamb.  Let dry.

*To make cake balls, bake a 9×13″ sheet cake using the recipe from Sugarlicious on page 25, your favorite recipe, or a box of store-bought cake mix. Let the cake cool completely and crumble into a large bowl. Stir in 1 1/3 cups of buttercream frosting or use 3/4 of a container of store-bought frosting and mix well, pressing the cake and frosting together with the back of a spoon or, preferably, mixing them with your hands until you have a texture that is wet, smooth and able to be formed.

Between the palms of your hands, roll the mixture into balls 1 1/2 inches in diameter and place them on a baking tray lined with wax paper. Freeze for fifteen minutes, no longer. Move the tray of cake balls to the refrigerator to keep them firm but not frozen. Work with a few cake balls at a time, while keeping the remainder in the fridge.

**For helpful tips and instructions on melting chocolate and candy melts, see the Techniques section in Sugarlicious on page 34).

NOTE: Store-bought cake mix will make about 48 cake pops; the recipe in Sugarlicious makes  about 60; amounts for other recipes may vary.

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED–Winner is Ann W, comment #13!

THE GIVEAWAY!

Here’s how you can enter to win a copy of Sugarlicious:

First entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite Easter treat.

Bonus entries: Leave an additional comment telling me you are a new Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest  follower, or new subscriber. If you’re already subscribing or following, leave a comment telling me you’re already following and how. If you want to follow more than one way, you can leave a comment for each way you are following.

Be sure to leave all  your comment entries on this post–the random drawing winner will be chosen only from the comments on this post!

 The giveaway is open to residents of the continental U.S. and Canada. The giveaway will end on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at midnight (CST). Winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced the following evening.

Linked to Sweets for a Saturday.