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…….

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Spicy Pretzels with a Kick

This recipe is a close relative of spiced crackers.  The only real difference here is the choice of spice add in used.  I prefer to keep the cayenne pepper out of my spiced crackers, but it pairs well with pretzels, at least in my mind.

Spicy Pretzels with a Kick pairs well with beer because of the kick.  I like to serve these when we are having a few folks over to watch football games.

These pretzels also serve well as hostess gifts just like Peppermint Crunch and Spiced Crackers do.

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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.

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Meal-Prep Granola Breakfast Bars

 

These granola breakfast bars are the answer to my breakfast riddle. I am the kind of guy who would rather sleep an extra 15-30 minutes than eat breakfast, so I rarely eat breakfast on a week day. These meal-prep granola breakfast bars are my answer to the question, “what should I eat for breakfast?”

My wife and I have been on a meal prep-Sunday kick here lately. This recipe is great for folks who are looking for meal-prep recipes. This recipe can be easily and quickly made Sunday evening in preparation for the work week.

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Bacon Wrapped Baby Potato Bites with Sriracha Sour Cream

Bacon Wrapped Baby Potato Bites with Sriracha Sour Cream are the perfect snack for football, holiday gatherings, or just hanging out at home having a lazy weekend watching TV.

I like to use baby yellow potatoes for this recipe, but any small potato will work.  I have even made these with regular sized potatoes, they just need to be cut into wedges.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Homemade Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle is not something I make very often.  I don’t know why I don’t make if often, it’s actually pretty simple.  There is more margin for error in this recipe than in some of my other candy recipes.

This recipe is a favorite no matter where I serve it.  It is also one of those food I try not to keep laying around the house as we eat far too much of it when it’s here.

There are recipes around the internet that do not require a candy thermometer, but this is not one of those.  I cook mine until it reaches the hard crack stage.  I prefer this method as it avoids the dreaded “too chewy” brittle.

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Spiced Crackers

Spiced crackers have many versions and many names across the cooking blogosphere and home kitchens.  These are probably called “those crackers you make for Christmas gifts” more than any other name in my house.  But, these are good anytime and I didn’t want to ban them other people’s houses just during the holiday season.

These crackers are very easy to make and definitely more frugal than anything loaded with chocolate or nuts.  Packed into small baggies, the crackers make a great filler for a cookie tray that has a small space left and you are out of cookie cooking or candy making steam.

Larger containers of spiced crackers can work as a stand-alone hostess gift.  I have used these crackers for both purposes.

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