Category Archives: Candy and Confections

Easter Egg Bark

Easter Egg Bark @ NancyCI can’t believe Easter is almost here! If you haven’t had a chance to make any Easter treats yet, here’s a really easy recipe you can put together quickly–and no baking required! It’s so fun and colorful, too. I based this Easter Egg Bark on my Candy Corn Bark recipe I had posted a few years ago. It’s really yummy, packed with those super-good Cadbury candy-coated mini milk chocolate eggs and Easter M&M’s, along with a colorful dash of sprinkles!

This is a thicker bark, compared to some others I’ve made; if you like thinner barks, you could spread the melted white chocolate base in a thinner layer on a 10 x 15″ baking sheet instead of a 9 x 13″ pan. One important tip: It helps if you have the mini eggs and M&M’s pre-measured so you can sprinkle them on quickly before the white chocolate starts to set!

EASTER EGG BARK by NancyC

Makes a 9 x 13″ pan

  • 2 (12-ounce) packages white chocolate (vanilla) baking chips
  • 1 cup Cadbury milk chocolate Mini Eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk chocolate Easter M&M’s
  • Colorful Sprinkles

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  to 2 1/2 minutes (be careful not to overheat, or the white chocolate will become clumpy!).

Spread the melted white chocolate evenly in a thin layer in the parchment-lined pan with a large spoon or spatula. Sprinkle the Cadbury mini eggs over the melted chocolate, pressing eggs about halfway into the chocolate as you’re placing them. Then do the same with the Easter M&M’s (it helps if you have all these ingredients pre-measured so you can sprinkle them on quickly before the chocolate starts to set). Last of all, top with colorful sprinkles, pressing lightly into the white chocolate if necessary. 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.

That’s all there is to it! What fun sweets and treats are you making for Easter?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck.

Salted Dark Chocolate Coffee Bark

Salted Dark Chocolate Coffee Bark @ NancyC

On chilly mornings, I like to have a hot cup of coffee to start my day. With cream. I don’t like black coffee or sugar in my coffee, but I love having cream in my coffee! But cookingwithcoffeeapparently you can do so much more with coffee, as I discovered when I received a review copy of Cooking with Coffee by Brandi Evans. It’s a hardcover book with 60 recipes and lots of color photos.

The book begins with a brief history of coffee, benefits of coffee, different brewing options, and popular ingredients to use with coffee. Then you’ll find recipes for baked goods; homemade coffee creamers; drinks and smoothies; sauces, dips, and toppings; savory foods; and sweets and snacks. Recipes include:

  • Espresso Banana Muffins
  • Coffee and White Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
  • Salted Chocolate Coffee Creamer
  • Peanut Butter Mocha Smoothie
  • Chocolate-Coffee Gravy
  • Coffee Maple Vinaigrette
  • Chicken Enchiladas with Quick Coffee Ranchera Sauce
  • Triple Chip Espresso Cookies

I decided to try the Salted Dark Chocolate Coffee Bark, because I thought it would be a great recipe to keep in mind as a food gift for the holidays. It’s easy to make and only has 3 ingredients, so you can whip it up easily and quickly. You just need to give the bark enough time to harden, at least an hour, before you break it up into pieces. It makes a great sweet treat for coffee and dark chocolate lovers! The recipes says to use 10 ounces of 60% dark chocolate, so I used one 10-ounce bag of dark chocolate chips and that worked perfectly!

SALTED DARK CHOCOLATE COFFEE BARK from Cooking with Coffee

Makes about 2 cups pieces of bark

  • 10 ounces 60% dark chocolate or semisweet
  • 1/4 cup whole coffee beans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons large flake sea salt (I used less salt-more like 1 teaspoon, and that was salty enough for me!)

Over a double boiler or in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate until it’s just warm enough to completely melt when you stir (a few minutes over the double boiler or 1-2 minutes in the microwave, checking every 30 seconds).

Pour the chocolate onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and smooth out into an even layer.

Sprinkle the melted chocolate with the coffee beans and the sea salt.

Let the chocolate set at least 1 hour, then break into bite-sized pieces.

Like I mentioned earlier, this bark makes a great homemade food gift. Or you may want to give the book itself to a coffee-loving friend. Are you a coffee-lover yourself, and do you use coffee in any recipes?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, FoodieFriDIY, Sunday Features, Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Tasty Tuesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Wake Up Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Wonderful Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Share Your Style, Thursday Favorite Things, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Create It Thursday, Fabulous Foodie Friday.

Chocolate No-Bake Cookies@NancyCreative.com

Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

Chocolate No-Bake Cookies@NancyCreative.com

No-bake recipes come in very handy when the weather is hot and humid. And since I was wanting to make something chocolate, I thought Chocolate No-Bake Cookies would be perfect!

I remember the very first time I had a No-Bake Cookie–I was probably about 7 or 8, and a friend had given me some her mother had made. My mom had never made these cookies and I wanted to find out how to make them. My friend said it was easy–just mix cocoa powder, peanut butter, and oatmeal together and let them set. That’s how we exchanged our simple childhood recipes back then–word of mouth, no specific amounts for the ingredients, and the ingredients were minimal. So I did what my friend said and was so disappointed when the cookies never set! Of course I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong and my friend insisted that was the correct way to make them, so these cookies were a mystery to me for awhile. Eventually I forgot about trying to make them and went on to make other more dependable recipes…like Chocolate Chip cookies!

But recently, I’ve been noticing some no-bake recipes on different sites and decided that these No-Bakes were worth another try. I found a recipe at FoodNetwork.com that looked pretty fool-proof–and it is! I just made mine a little larger than the original recipe. These no-bake cookies set up just fine!

CHOCOLATE NO-BAKE COOKIES by NancyC, very slightly adapted from FoodNetwork.com

Makes 50 to 60 cookies, depending on size

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter (or substitute unsalted butter and add a dash of salt)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or wax paper; set aside.

In a medium size saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa and stirring occasionally, bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute; remove from heat. Add in the peanut butter, vanilla, salt, and oats; stir to combine.

Drop rounded 1/2 Tablespoonfuls (or rounded teaspoonfuls for smaller cookies) of the mixture onto prepared baking sheets and let cool for 45 to 60 minutes. Store refrigerated, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.

Note: For oatier cookies, add an extra 1/2 cup of oats or decrease amount of peanut butter to 1/2 cup.

These Chocolate No-Bake Cookies are such a classic treat! When was the last time you made them? Do you make yours any differently?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday, Full Plate Thursday, Let’s Get Real Friday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Inspiration Thursday, Show and Share.

SmoresGrranola@NancyCreative-com

S’mores Granola

SmoresGranola_NancyCreative.com The last time I made granola, I made Chocolate Chip Cherry Granola. It was the first time I had added chocolate to granola and I loved the combination! And now that summery weather is here, it seemed like the perfect time to try making S’mores Granola. S’mores are such a classic summer treat, so why not make a granola version? I used Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits, mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, and Golden Grahams cereal to mimic the chocolate-marshmallow-graham cracker flavors, and these all worked really well with my granola base.

This S’mores Granola makes a good snack to munch on any time of day and you can also spoon it over vanilla yogurt for an easy breakfast or dessert. If you like sweet cereal, you could also serve this granola in a bowl with milk.

S’MORES GRANOLA by NancyC

Makes about 10 cups

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 3 Tablespoons non-GMO canola oil or light olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (do not use quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ or ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 3 cups Golden Grahams cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups Kraft Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits
  • 1 1/2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chop an equivalent amount of Hershey bars into small chunks)

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a 10 x 15″ or 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl or container, heat the honey for about 30 seconds so it’s thinner and easier to stir; then mix the honey, oil, and salt together in a small bowl; set aside.

In large bowl, toss the oats, wheat germ or flaxseed, and chopped pecans. Add in the honey, oil, and salt mixture and toss again, combining all ingredients well.

Spread mixture evenly on your parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 325˚F for 20 minutes; remove pan from oven to stir and toss mixture for even baking. Return to oven for an additional 15 minutes, until mixture is golden, and remove from oven.

Stir granola, then let it cool completely on pan (if the granola isn’t quite crunchy, it will get crunchier as it cools). When completely cool, put granola mixture in an extra large bowl and stir in the Golden Grahams, Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits, and mini chocolate chips (or chopped up Hershey bars). Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

S’mores are such a classic treat and it’s fun making variations on the chocolate-graham cracker-marshmallow combination. Did you have S’mores often as a kid and do you make them now?

Linked to Full Plate Thursday, Let’s Get Real Friday, Inspiration Thursday.

TrixMarshmallowBars@NancyCreative.com

Trix Marshmallow Bars

TrixMarshmallowBars@NancyCreative.com

With flowers starting to bloom and trees starting to bud, I’ve been enjoying all the spring color outside. And it put me in the mood to make something colorful! I saw some Trix Marshmallow Bars at BettyCrocker.com and just had to try them out! I had forgotten how fun and colorful Trix cereal was–after all, I hadn’t had it since I was a kid. I made these marshmallow bars a little differently from the original recipe, using mini marshmallows instead of marshmallow creme and a little more Trix cereal. These thick and chewy bars just look like a celebration waiting to happen, don’t they? How can your day not be brightened when you look at all these colors? They’re perfect treats for kids or kids-at-heart!

TRIX MARSHMALLOW BARS by NancyC, adapted from BettyCrocker.com

Makes a 13 x 9″ pan 

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag mini marshmallows
  • 9 cups Trix cereal (there’s about 8 cups in a 10.7 oz box, so get the next larger size)

Line bottom and sides of 13 x 9″ pan with parchment paper; set aside. In large saucepan, heat butter and marshmallows over medium-low heat until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is smooth; remove from heat. Add Trix cereal to marshmallow mixture and stir until cereal is well coated. Press mixture firmly into prepared pan (use a greased spatula or wax paper to make the pressing easier). Cool, then cut into bars.

Note: if you want thicker bars, don’t press the mixture all the way to the ends of the pan–just press to desired thickness (it will still fill most of the pan). I pressed mine about 1 1/2″ short of one of the short edges of the pan.

Colorful treats like these are always fun, especially in the spring and summer. What kind of colorful goodies do you like to make?

Linked to Fiesta FridayInspire Me Monday, Creative Mondays, and Wow Me Wednesday.

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Easter Trail Mix

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Something that’s hard for me to resist when I see the long aisle of Easter candy at the store are those malted milk Robin Eggs–malt balls covered with a candy coating. I buy them every year and eat way too many of them! This year, I told myself I would not buy them unless I used them in a recipe. And since I’ve been short on time lately, it needed to be something pretty simple. So I came up with an Easter Trail Mix–a blend of chocolatey sweets mixed in with some healthy ingredients. The mini robin eggs and pastel M&M’s give the mix plenty of chocolatey taste and spring color, and the other goodies include raisins, sunflower kernels, coconut flakes, peanuts, and mini pretzel twists. This recipe makes a large bowl of trail mix, so there’s plenty for everyone to munch on!

EASTER TRAIL MIX by NancyC

Makes about 13 cups

  • 1 (13.7 oz.) bag Mini Robins Eggs (almost 3 cups)
  • 1 (11.4 oz) bag milk chocolate easter M&M’s (about 1 2/3 cup)
  • 1 cup raisins (you can use golden or dark raisins)
  • 2/3 cup roasted and salted sunflower kernels
  • 1 cup sweetened dried coconut flakes
  • 1 (16 oz.) container cocktail peanuts or dry roasted peanuts
  • 3 cups mini pretzel twists (you can also use mini pretzel sticks or mini pretzel snaps)

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, stirring with a large spoon. Eat right away or store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Makes a great food gift, too, packaged in treat bags!

Are you a fan of those Robin Eggs too? Are you using them in any Easter recipes this year?

Linked to Full Plate Thursday.

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Marieli’s Brigadeiro (Brazilian-Style Truffles)

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I’d never heard of Brigadeiro until Marieli, one of my readers, told me about this Brazilian-style truffle some time ago. I also read that it’s a popular candy in Brazil, was created in the 1940s, and is thought to have been named after Brigadier Eduardo Gomes. As Marieli says, “The ingredients are always the same: condensed milk, butter, and cocoa powder.” There are some different versions, but she gave me the instructions for the traditional Brigadeiro. Marieli recommends using a large wooden spoon to stir the mixture if you have one, which I did, and it worked beautifully.

These candies are chewy, chocolatey, and super yummy–they remind me of chocolate caramels. They would make great treats and food gifts for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter–anytime you want to make or give some special sweets. If you need to make a large batch, you’ll want to double the recipe!

Marielli also said she often uses this Brigadeiro mixture poured over cakes as a frosting (see note in recipe below)–she did that with Pam’s Pumpkin Sheet Cake, pouring the warm Brigadeiro mixture over the cake instead of frosting it with the cream cheese frosting. She also sprinkled roasted almonds on top. Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?

Here’s the recipe–thanks so much, Marielli, for sharing it!🙂

MARIELI’S BRIGADEIRO (BRAZILIAN-STYLE TRUFFLES) from Marieli G.

Makes about 20 to 24 truffles

  • 3 Tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, plus an additional Tablespoon unsalted butter to use on your hands when rolling mixture into balls (if using unsalted butter in recipe, add 1/8 teaspoon salt to the mixture when you’re cooking it)
  • 2 Tablespoons sweetened or unsweetened cocoa powder (Marieli uses sweetened; I used unsweetened since that’s what I had on hand)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup of chocolate sprinkles for rolling the truffles in (you could also use shredded coconut or finely chopped nuts)
  • Mini baking cups

Place a small to medium non-stick saucepan over medium-low heat on your stove. Add the butter, letting it melt slowly and completely (don’t let it get to a boil).

Remove saucepan from heat and mix in the cocoa powder, blending well to avoid lumps.

Place saucepan back over medium-low heat and add in the sweetened condensed milk, blending everything well. Stir mixture continuously for 20 to 30 minutes, or until you pass the spoon across the bottom of the pan and notice the mixture is thick enough to separate for a few seconds (my mixture was cooked enough after 20 minutes). Note: It’s important to stir the mixture continuously so it doesn’t stick to the bottom and sides of pan, making the mixture lumpy).

Turn off heat, remove pan from stove and pour mixture on a large plate (Note: if you want to use the Brigadeiro as a frosting, you can pour it over your cake at this time). Let mixture cool on plate for easier handling (to cool more quickly, place in refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes–but don’t cool it too much, or the sprinkles won’t stick to the mixture when you roll it into balls).

After mixture has cooled a little, rub a small amount of unsalted butter inside your hands so the mixture won’t stick when you’re rolling it into small balls.

Scoop the mixture with a regular tea spoon (not the measuring teaspoon) and put it in the palm of your hand. Roll into the shape of a 1″ ball (mine were slightly smaller). Then dip and roll the ball in sprinkles, covering the entire surface and place in a mini baking cup.

Repeat with the remaining mixture, rolling into balls, covering with sprinkles, and placing in baking cups. Add more butter to your hands as necessary for easier rolling.

Have you made or eaten Brigadeiro before?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Inspire Me Monday, Sunday Showcase.

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Dark Chocolate Candy Cane Fudge

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If you haven’t had the chance to use up your candy canes before or on Christmas, here’s a yummy sweet treat you can make with those leftover candy canes! This Dark Chocolate Candy Cane Fudge is super-easy to make and the dark chocolate-candy cane combination tastes really great! Part of the recipe calls for heating sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan, and this works best with a nonstick saucepan (it helps prevent the sweetened condensed milk from sticking to the bottom of the pan). And be sure to stir it constantly when heating to prevent browning or burning. When I mixed the melted chocolate in with the butter and condensed milk, my mixture was not super smooth and creamy–it actually had a pretty thick consistency–but I just patted the mixture evenly in the 8″ square pan, topped it with the crushed candy canes, and it came out fine.

DARK CHOCOLATE CANDY CANE FUDGE by NancyC, adapted from Food.com

Makes an 8″ square pan of fudge

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag dark chocolate chips
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/3 cup crushed candy canes

Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving several extra inches of overhang and grease paper with butter or lightly spray with cooking spray.

Heat sweetened condensed milk in a medium nonstick saucepan, stirring constantly, until mixture just starts to bubble or almost starts to bubble (I cooked mine on medium heat for about 5 minutes–that should be long enough).

Remove from heat and add dark chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and butter to the sweetened condensed milk in the saucepan; cover and let sit about 3 minutes. Then add peppermint extract and stir everything until smooth. Pour or spoon into your prepared 8-inch pan (my mixture was pretty thick, so I had to spoon it in the pan and press it with a piece of waxed paper to spread it evenly). Sprinkle with crushed candy canes, slightly pressing the candy canes into the warm fudge mixture; then chill for several hours, until firm, and cut into small squares.

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I usually end up with extra candy canes after Christmas, so I love recipes like this where I can use them up in a yummy way! Have you made any good candy cane recipes this year?

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7 Easy Fall Treats

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!

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Candy” Corn Pay” Day Mix for sweet-and-salty lovers, and just 2 ingredients–candy corn and peanuts! This is probably the easiest treat you’ll ever make! Pack some up in treat bags to give away.

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Candy Corn Trail Mix is also really easy and yummy, made with Golden Grahams, pretzels, peanuts, golden raisins, dried cranberries, sunflower kernels, M&M’s, chocolate chips, and candy corn, of course!

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How about some Owl Cupcakes? Yummy and chocolatey, with Oreo Cookie and M&M eyes!

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Candy Corn Bark will satisfy any sweet tooth and is a feast for the eyes with all the colorful goodies in it!

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Candy Corn–Peanut Popcorn Balls are super fun and make great homemade treats!

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Candy Corn M&M’s Crispy Bars are definitely hard to resist!

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And Acorn Treats are so much fun–they’re the perfect bite-sized treat!

These are all so yummy! Have you tried making any of these treats before?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

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.