Dark Chocolate Cherry Bark

Dark Chocolate Cherry Bark is an easy, last minute treat that is perfect for Valentine’s Day.  It is also great for any other day you want to give a sweet something as a way to say thanks to someone.

I make a lot of different bark recipes because it is so easy.  Peppermint Bark is my go-to quick recipe for last minute Christmas and holiday gifts.

If I don’t happen to have almond bark or melting wafers laying around, I generally have chocolate chips of many varieties in the pantry and those can also be used to make bark.

Continue reading “Dark Chocolate Cherry Bark”

Angel Food Layer Cake

Angel Food Layer Cake has a creamy middle layer of cream cheese.  Topped with cherries makes a beautiful presentation.  Other pie fillings can be used to fit your own tastes, I just prefer the stunning contrast of the white and red.

This can be made with either a box mix or by making your own.  I use a box mix because I hate the thoughts of wasting so many egg yolks or looking for a use for them.

There is no rule that says you must bake and angel food cake in a tube pan.    It can be made in a 9 X 13.  It will take less time to bake and it will require some patience and gentle effort to get it out of the pan.  In retrospect, I probably should have used parchment paper or wax paper on the bottom of the pan.

Continue reading “Angel Food Layer Cake”

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cheesecake Bites

Sometimes you just don’t know if you want a dessert or a piece of candy.  Chocolate covered cherry cheesecake bites are a little bit of both!

For this recipe you can start with a frozen cheesecake, just like I did. Or you can make your own cheesecake and use it.  I suppose you would get way more, square shaped, cheesecake bites out of one you made yourself in a square pan than you can get out of a round pan.  Round is the only way I could I buy one the day I went shopping.

If you buy a frozen cheesecake for this, allow it to thaw before trying to cut it into pieces.  Cutting up a frozen cheesecake will result in fractured pieces.  You can bet that this is based on experience!  It took me just a minute to realize the error of my ways…….

Continue reading “Chocolate Covered Cherry Cheesecake Bites”

Crunchy Cherry Coconut Granola

Crunchy Cherry Coconut Granola is a perfect portable snack for the whole family.  It travels well and provides plenty of energy to get past a morning or afternoon slump.  Granola can also be eaten for breakfast with milk or yogurt.  It is even really good crumbled on top of a small bowl of ice cream.

Our recipe for granola produces large and crunchy clusters.  Some people use flour as a binding agent, others use egg whites, but this one uses neither.  We use the addition of crispy rice cereal for our binding agent.

Crispy rice gives the honey and brown sugar something to grab ahold of.  I find that using a 1:2 ratio of crispy rice cereal to rolled oats works the best.  Too little cereal and you still have a lot of oats rolling around by themselves at the end of cooking.

Continue reading “Crunchy Cherry Coconut Granola”

Buckeyes

Buckeyes are another recipe I had never heard of until I was asked if I knew how to make them.

Now I make them so much I make them from memory because they are so simple to make.

You can really make as few or as many as you want if you can keep the proportions locked into your head or written down somewhere.

You just need 1 part butter to 3 parts peanut butter.  Then add 1 1/2 parts the total of butter and peanut of powdered sugar.

Continue reading “Buckeyes”

Caramel Apple Pie Ice Cream Sauce

I can’t even remember what recipe I was trying to make when Caramel Apple Pie Ice Cream Sauce was born.  Maybe bananas foster without bananas since this is similar to those, only with way more yummy sauce and the addition of walnuts.

I prefer to use sweet apples when I make this, but Granny Smith would work just not as sweet perhaps.  I use have used Red Delicious, Gala, Honeycrisp and Fuji successfully, but Fuji is my favorite.  Probably because it is the sweetest.

caramel-apple-pie-ice-cream-topping-body1

Caramel Apple Pie Ice Cream Sauce is best eaten hot to warm and served over ice cream.  This creates the perfect marriage of hot and cold, one of my favorite ways to eat desserts and midnight snacks.  Or more realistically like the cute little girl on TV says a 10:43 snack.  I rarely have my eyes open at midnight these days.

Continue reading “Caramel Apple Pie Ice Cream Sauce”

Dirty Buckeyes

Dirty Buckeyes! No, I am not calling names at any NCAA sports team or school, even though we are SEC fans and might be caught talking smack about other divisions.  Go Dawgs!!  Imagine having to admit that right smack in the middle of Big 12 territory…….

Dirty Buckeyes are simply buckeyes covered in crunchy bacon bits.  No, not the pinkish red salty smoky little rocks out of a jar, real bacon.  Bacon that has been cut into small pieces, fried until crispy, drained, cooled, then fried again.  Once you are done with them, they look like buckeyes that have rolled around in the dirt and dried leaves.

Continue reading “Dirty Buckeyes”

Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan pie bars turned up in my holiday recipe rotation out of necessity.  It was necessary to avoid any further embarrassments served out of my kitchen.

Let me explain.  I had a neighbor in Mississippi that thought I was a great cook.  This alone should have been enough to keep me happy, but the truth of the matter was his mother also thought I was a great cook.  That made me do some internal cartwheels, you really wouldn’t want to see this old body do a real cartwheel.

When I was asked to make some pies for their Thanksgiving dinner I was honored.  After all, a true southern family wanted my cooking.  In addition to the pecan pie, I think I made them a chocolate pie.

pecan-pie-bars-body

I was so proud to send the pies next door for him to take to his family function.  Imagine my horror when the reports came back that it wasn’t set up when they cut into it.  I am probably sitting here with that some shocked face I had when I heard it.  I was so devastated that I have had a mental kitchen block about pecan pies since then that I have yet to attempt one again.

Continue reading “Pecan Pie Bars”

Peppermint Crunch

Everyone needs an easy go to Holiday treat recipe.  One that requires minimal ingredients and minimal time to make.  Peppermint Crunch fits that bill.

It only has 3 ingredients.  4 ingredients if you decide to add peppermint flavoring to either chocolate layers.

Just like spiced crackers, this recipe makes great hostess gifts.  It cost a bit more than crackers, but who doesn’t love chocolate and peppermint during the holidays.  This is probably why we gain up to 5% of our weight over the holidays.  I don’t deny that nuts, caramel, and cinnamon flavored treats are part of the problem.

Continue reading “Peppermint Crunch”

Cinnamon Vanilla Candied Peanuts

Cinnamon Vanilla Candied Peanuts are another recipe that make great hostess gifts for all those holiday gatherings you’re invited to.  Pecans can be substituted, but unless you find a special deal on pecan halves, you might blow through your entire holiday cooking budget on them.

cinnamon-vanilla-candied-peanuts-body

As these cook you might feel like you have done something wrong.  The glaze will start to look gummy or stringy.  It’s all good, just keep cooking and stirring.

It will be difficult to stir near the end and might feel like it’s just too gooey.  That’s OK too.  Just keep stirring and cooking until it is dried up.

The peanuts will separate and become more sugar coated.  Eventually there will be no liquid left on the bottom of the pan.  This is the time to turn off the heat and get it onto your baking sheet.

If you decide to taste one now, expect it to still be kind of soft.  Everything will come together in the oven.  They will be crispy and delicious once they cool after this final cooking step.

Continue reading “Cinnamon Vanilla Candied Peanuts”