double dose of decadence

Just a mere four days ago I had never in my life even attempted to make a cheesecake.  Now, I've made three batches of two different types of cheesecake!  I'm addicted and I don't even eat them!  I remade the Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake cupcakes (we just call is Kahlua cheesecake) today, with the right ingredients.
As I said last time, I didn't have the espresso powder.  Well, this time I couldn't find the espresso powder either...my husband and I looked ALL up and down the coffee isle in Wal-Mart and couldn't find any.  I looked online and it said you could find it in specialty stores and such...boo, that's not Wal-Mart.  However, it did also tell me that I could substitute the espresso powder for dark ground coffee.  Though, don't do like I did the first time and pour the coffee grounds in, add boiling water to it.  I had my husband brew some of his coffee and I just took some before he poured his cup.  Perfect!  Once again, I halved the recipe and it worked wonderfully.  My husband and co-workers approve!
 I wanted to share with you the second batch of cheesecake cupcakes I made today.  They are cookies and cream cheesecake cupcakes, made with Oreos.  My best friends sister-in-law made these for her birthday one year and I thought they were so clever.  I got the recipe from her and whipped up a batch.  I am going to give you the whole recipe which makes 30 cupcakes.  Holy Cow!  I do not need that many cupcakes.  I halved the recipe and it worked just fine.

What you need:

42 Oreos - 30 are needed to be left whole and 12 coarsely chopped
2 pounds cream cheese, room temp (4 packs of 8 oz cream cheese)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs room temp, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
pinch of salt
Cupcake pan
Cupcake liners
Electric mixer

What to do:
Preheat Oven to 275, line muffin pans with liners.  Using plain white ones it best, you will be able to see the Oreo through the paper.
Place one whole cookie in the bottom of each cup.
With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth.
Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined, beat in vanilla.
Drizzle in the eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Beat in sour cream and salt.
Stir in chopped cookies by hand.
Divide the batter into the cups, filling each almost to the top.  I used my ice cream scoop to fill it up and it was just the right amount.  (Remember they won't rise like normal muffins.)
Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes.
Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely.
Refrigerate (in tins) at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Remove from the muffin tins before serving.

My husband was quite fond of this sweet little treat.  Try it out, or use the simple cheesecake recipe I shared with you and make your own unique flavor or a few!  When you make the cheesecakes in cupcake tins you not only promote portion control you can make many different flavors.


cooking up something sweet

I definitely got my love for cooking things from my mom.  As you may have noticed, most all the recipes I share are from her.  She has so many cookbooks with recipe cards spilling out.  We have tried in years past to make her a book to keep the recipes in, so that she won't loose the recipe cards or the print outs.  However, it never fails that the book winds up being slam packed with recipes in no real organized manner.  This Christmas I decided to make her something a little different.  I took all of the recipes she uses at Christmastime and compiled them into one cookbook.

I used one of my favorite sites, Shutterfly!  I made what they call a photo book.  Usually one would fill these with pictures and maybe short captions to share.  I have made photo books for numerous occasions (remember my wedding guest books?).

I first got the recipes I wanted to use.  I had my sister scan the recipes and email them to me.  It doesn't really matter what way you get the recipes, because when you are done you will have the recipe online.

I created a photo book at www.Shutterfly.com and made one of the pages in each spread (two pages facing each other) text only.  They have an option with one title and two columns specially for recipe books which I used.  I then added in pictures of my sisters and I as well as family pictures.  You could easily put pictures of the foods in the cookbook but, I knew family pictures would mean more to my mom.

On Shutterfly you get to choose the backgrounds of the pages.  I chose to do one page in the spread green and the other red.  They have so many cute backgrounds, it was so hard to choose.  They have them for ALL occasions from babies to birthdays to holidays, they have everything covered.

My mom loved the recipe book.  I know, I know she just has one more cookbook on the overflowing shelf.  Though, hopefully one day we will be able to turn the loose recipe cards and print outs into printed cookbooks.  Hey, it's a start!


a tipsy little cake

I shared with you the other day a cheesecake recipe my aunt gave me.  That got me thinking about a cheesecake that my husband declared as his favorite cheesecake ever as soon as he ate it.  It was the Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory.  I went to looking for the recipe online and was so excited to find it!  We went to Wal-Mart (my husband was excited about this find too) and got the ingredients.  The recipe called for espresso coffee, which my husband said that he had.  However, I later found out he didn't...only after putting his ground coffee into the mix.  UGH!  However, it turned out to be a happy little accident.  I am going to attempt the actual recipe eventually. I halved the recipe and made cheesecake cupcakes however, I am giving you the whole recipe.

What you'll need:
15 Oreo cookies, crushed (I used whole cookies instead and just put one in each cupcake liner before filling with the cake mix)
3 tbsp Butter, melted (omit this if you are not crushing the cookies)
24 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs (for halving, I used two eggs)
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/8 cup flavored instant coffee powder (I used french vanilla)
1/3 cup espresso coffee
1 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp Kahlua (or any other coffee liqueur)
9 inch Spring Form Pan (if making one large cake)
Cupcake pan (if making cheesecake cupcakes) and Cupcake liners
2 Mixing Bowls
Electric Mixer

What to do:
Mix crushed cookies and butter and pat into bottom of pan, set in refrigerator - OR -  put one cupcake liner into each cupcake dish, put one whole Oreo in each dish

Mix cream cheese and sugar until well blended
Add the eggs one at a time and beat well
Divide the cream cheese into two parts, 3/4 in one bowl and 1/4 in the second bowl

In the larger mixture, add flour, flavored coffee powder and coffee liqueur, mix well

In the smaller mixture add the espresso powder and cocoa powder, mix well (this is the part I messed up, so my cheesecake cupcakes did not have this layer but, my husband liked them just as much!)

Pour the larger mixture over the crust, top with the remaining smaller mixture

Bake at 325 for 40-50 minutes (for a cake).  I only cooked mine about 25 minutes and they are good though, I only had one pan of cupcakes.  You know when the cheesecake is done when just the center wiggles a little.

Run a knife or metal spatula around the rim of the pan to loosen.  Do not remove the cake until it is completely cooled.  Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

You can top the cake with Cool Whip, chocolate shavings, chocolate syrup...whatever you'd like!


just sharing

This Christmas was a different kind of Christmas for my family.  For the past 20-some-odd years we have done Christmas the same way.  This year was a little different, with me in Jacksonville and my older sister living with her husband.  Though, after it was all said and done, it was a wonderful Christmas!  I just thought I would share with you some pictures from the day.

Here is my husband and I on Christmas morning, heading to Starbucks.  I told you, this boy is addicted!

My sister and her husband brought their dog, Daisy.  I got a new camera for Christmas, and I was snapping shots of EVERYTHING during the day!

It was even cold enough to have a fire, both of the days we were down there.  I absolutely loved it!

This is a small little ornament on my parents tree, it is one of my favorites.  So simple yet so profound.

These slippers my dad got at least ten years ago.  They sit in the top of the closet all year.  Then, Christmas Eve and Christmas morning he wears then EVERYWHERE!

Another favorite ornament.

The fire was SO wonderful...even being a Florida girl, I love a day cold enough to have a fire!

My hubby bought me a Johnny Cash Boxed set, and I love love love it.  I absolutely love Johnny Cash and his music!  Now, I have a plethora of it to listen to and love!

There is some snapshots of our Christmas.  It was truly a wonderful year.  God has blessed us so much and in so many ways.  I know this coming year will be a trying one, God is showing us some plans he has in store for us and they aren't the most comfortable.  Though, it is just another time for Him to prove His faithfulness.

I hope that each and every one of you had a magnificent holiday and will enjoy your New Years celebrations!!

freezer paper Christmas

This Christmas I went a wee little bit crazy with my freezer paper stencils.  I LOVE them!  I made a bag for my mother-in-law and three sisters-in-law as well as a freezer paper stenciled shirt for my sweet niece.  I am so addicted to these babies!  I just wanted to share with you the most wonderful and simplest personalization trick.  I showed you here how to make a freezer paper stencil (read up quickly...we'll wait for you).  I just bought a pack of three canvas bags from Wal-Mart, I actually got two sets.  Once I got home I found clip art online that I wanted to use and used Microsoft Word to print out the letters and names. 

I found an ornate princess crown for my sister-in-law who loves Disney Princess'.   I used pink and white and gradually lightened the color by adding more and more white to the pink.  Now, this stencil took me quite a while to cut out but, I think it was well worth it!

I found a simple Fleur de lis for one of my sisters-in-law, I graduated from teal to purple doing the same as I did with the pink.  I decided to stencil the first letter of her name in bronze.  To do this, I waited for the Fleur de lis to dry completely and then started the stencil process over again.

and a  polka dot pattern in University of Florida colors for my seventeen year old sister-in-law.  Again, I did the polka dots first, waited for them to dry completely and stenciled the name on.

I then found a stylized letter K for my mother-in-law.

For my niece, I found a hand making the sign language sign for 'I love you'.  She is deaf and I knew this would mean a lot to her, I then just printed her name to put underneath the hand.  Now she can wear a declaration of our love for her!

I put a little something special in each bag for the ladies then wrapped them up and delivered them for Christmas!  I was so pleased with how they all turned out.  It never seems to amaze me when I full my freezer paper stencil off....it's like magic every time!  It's so easy to make personalized gifts this way and especially for those people with unique or hard to find names.


creamy cheesy cake

My Aunt made a cheesecake for Christmas day and it was just so pretty!!  I think Cheesecake looks so delicious but, I just don't care for cream cheese..quite the dilemma, I know!  Don't fret...I had my husband try it!  He said it was quite the tasty little treat!
I was thinking of my sweet, loyal readers and wanted to share it with you.  Aunt Shelly sent me the recipe as soon as she got home Christmas night and now I have it to share with you.  How exciting!

What you need:
1 1/2 cups HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs
3 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 8oz PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
9 inch spring form pan (she used a pie dish because she didn't have a spring form pan)

How to make it:
Heat oven to 325
Mix graham crumbs, 3 tbsp sugar and butter (she added a few shakes of cinnamon...mmmmm), press into bottom of spring form pan
Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended
Add eggs one at a time, mixing on low speeds after each just until blended
Pour over crust
Bake 55 minutes or until center is almost set
Loosen cake from rim of pan (or not, if you aren't using a spring form pan)
Refrigerate four hours
Top with fresh fruit just before serving

How easy is that?  I never tried to make cheesecake before because I assumed it would be so hard to do.  Now that I have this recipe my husband may get to eat it more often!  Since this is a very basic recipe I might even try adding a few things to see how he likes it.  He had Kahlua cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory and loved it, I might try that sometime!  Oh, the ideas running through my head are endless!

I just wanted to share with you the woman who gave me this recipe...look at how cute she is!  Thanks  Aunt Shelly for the recipe.


store in style

I found some crazy cute fabric at Wal-Mart and just HAD to make something with it.  I decided to make some makeup bags for my younger sister and my teenage cousin.  Let me preface this project by saying this is absolutely one of the easiest things I have ever made.  Anyone with a sewing machine and some fabric can whip up this baby in less than half an hour.  I don't follow patterns, I'm just not good at it.  Though, I will try my hardest to use measurements and standardize everything as much as possible so that it is easy to follow.

Just for reference:
Fabric 1 - Owl fabric
Fabric 2 - Teal fabric

You will need:
10x9 piece of each fabric
10x6 piece of each fabric
5x4 piece of fabric 2
2 inch strip of velcro (meaning both part of the velcro being 2 inches)

First, fold the 5x4 piece of fabric in half and sew down the two sides, leaving the bottom open.  Turn the piece right side out, this will become your little flap.

Take the larger square of fabric two and sew the unused strip of velcro on to the middle of the top of the square.  Lay this finished square down, with the velcro facing up, lay the tab you already made on the velcro.  The unfinished side of the tab should be hanging off of the fabric square.  (Remember, you are turning this inside out so the unfinished part will be between the two layers of fabric)  La the large square of fabric one on top of this face down.  Pin the three pieces together, so that they do not shift while you are sewing.  Sew the top and two sides together.  (The top is the side with the velcro and tab).  Turn the square inside out.

Next, take the smaller of the two sets of squares and lay fabric on down face up.  Place fabric two on top, face down.  Sew the top and two sides together, leaving the bottom open so that you can turn it inside out.  Turn the square right side out and sew one side of the velcro on the middle of the top of the square.

You now have the front and back of your bag. Place the two one on top of the other with fabric one facing each other.  Sew down the two sides, only going as high as the smaller square, and across the bottom.

Now, your bag is basically finished, you just need to turn it right side out.  However, I am going to show you a trick!  Sewing the corners in a special way will help the bag to stand up a little better and give it the appearance of being deeper in a way.  To do so, grab the corners, pressing the hem to the bottom of the bag (look at the picture, it will help to make sense) with your thumb and index finger.  Sew this fold together, the further you sew it from the corner, the  wider the bag will sit.

You've done it!  Created a great little bag.  Turn the bag right side out and enjoy your creation.  I put some make-up in the bags and gave them as gifts to the girls.  However, this would make a unique little pencil holder or even a snack bag.  Adjust the measurements of the bag any way you want to create a bag of any size to meet your needs!  Just make sure that one square is larger than the other to accommodate the fold.


merry merry Christmas

Well, it's here!  Christmas Day!  And, in just a few short hours it will be gone again.  I hope this Christmas day finds you happy, joyful, merry and bright but, most of all I hope it finds you grateful.  Grateful to a merciful God who was so willing to send His Son to this Earth to be born of a virgin and live a perfect, sinless life only to be persecuted, tortured and killed.  Christmas is a time of peace, love and happiness.  I hope you take time this Christmas to reflect on the peace, love and happiness that God affords to all who will believe on Him to deliver them from the strongholds of sin.
This Christmas, as you watch your family and friends open their presents with wonder and delight I pray that you will remember the gift that was sent to Earth so many years ago in the form of a sweet little baby boy laying amongst animals in a stable for the sole purpose of being nailed to a cross as an adult.

I just want to share one more thing, this may be a bit silly but, oh well!  My favorite Christmas song is one by Relient K, it isn't a traditional Christmas song.  I know that most of you will not go out and listen to the song, if you do...that's wonderful!  So, I am going to post the lyrics for you to read and I hope you are touched by the words as much as I am.

Merry Christmas

Relient K - I Celebrate the Day

And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let You know how much You've touched my life
Because here is where You're finding me, in the exact same place as New Year's eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We're less than half as close as I wanted to be

And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever

And so this Christmas I'll compare the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might really live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life


candied crazies

Here we are...CHRISTMAS EVE!  Ahhh....I love love love Christmastime.  I am like a child right now!  Any whoo...time for my last dessert recipe of the year Christmas (I may through in a few before the new year).  I saved my favorite for last and it is most definitely the easiest.  Actually, I don't even eat this dessert, I just love to make them and even more love to smell them cooking!  What is this nifty dessert you ask? ......(drum roll please.....).....Candied Pecans! (get it, candied nuts...crazies?!)

What you need:
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg white
1 tsp water
1 lb pecans (4 cups) ---I would imagine you could substitute any nut here, just haven't tried it, if you do please let me know how it turns out!
2 large bowls
Baking sheet

What to do:
Mix sugar, cinnamon and salt in large bowl
Beat in egg white and water in other bowl
Add pecans into egg mixture and mix until well coated
Stir into sugar mixture until well coated
Bake on buttered cookie sheet for 1 hour at 250
Stir nuts every 15 minutes

My mom and I always made a ton of all these desserts and made desert trays for so many people, especially the ones that you just don't know what to get.  We used some cute dessert trays from the Dollar Tree or the plastic containers for Christmas at Wal Mart.  Though, with these candied nuts I would package them a different way.  I would make a cone from Christmas scrapbook paper and tape it closed.  I would then wrap a handful of nuts in saran wrap and tie with ribbon.  Place the wrapped nuts in the cone and there you have it...one fancy looking yet inexpensive gift!

I hope you have enjoyed my little series here, I had fun finding the recipes and deciding which ones I wanted to share.  Maybe I will have to do another version sometime...hmmm....

Be on the lookout for tutorials and such on the gifts I made for Christmas presents.  I was unable to share them because the recipients of the gifts read my blog!  Merry Christmas!


veggieless salad

Time for another dessert recipe straight from the cookbooks of my momma!  Today I am going to give you the recipe for what we call Pretzel Salad.  However, I have heard it called Strawberry Pretzel Salad...you can call it whatever you want!

What you need:
 9x13 inch dish (we use a glass one so you can see the layers)

Layer one:
2 cups crushed (not fine) pretzels sticks
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) margarine (melted)

Layer two:
8 oz pack cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sugar
8 oz Cool Whip

Layer three:
6 oz box strawberry Jell-O
2 cups boiling water
2 10 oz packs of frozen strawberries (thawed)

What to do:

Layer one:
Mix pretzels, sugar and maragine
Press into dish and bake at 350 for 10 minutes
Let cool while mizing second layer

Layer two:
Mix cream cheese, sugar and Cool Whip, blend until creamy
Spread on cooled pretzel crust

Layer three:
Mix Jell-O and water well
Stir in strawberries, let sit 10 minutes
Pour on top of cream cheese mixture

Refrigerate overnight or for a few hours.


chip off the ol' block

My mom has made chocolate chip cookies using this recipe for as long as I can remember.  It really isn't any kind of secret recipe, it came off a Crisco box!  Though, there is no better recipe that this one, people have begun to ask for these cookies specifically from my mom!

You will need:
3/4 cup (3/4 stick) Butter flavor Crisco Shortening
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional; if omitted, add 1/2 cup additional chocolate chips)
Ungreased Cookie sheet
2 large bowls
Electric Mixer

How to make 'em:
Preheat your oven to 375
Combine Crisco, brown sugar, milk ad vanilla in a large bowl.  Beat at medium speed until well blended
Beat egg into creamed mixture
Combine flour, salt and baking soda in separate bowl, mix into creamed mixture gradually until well blended
Stir in chocolate chips and pecan pieces (if desired)
Drop rounded tablespoons of dough 3 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet
Bake one cookie sheet at a time for 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies

I've got to say, I am not much of a fan of chocolate chip cookies.  However, these cookies I will devour!


unusually good

Yesterday I gave you the recipe my mom uses to make peanut butter fudge.  I promised I would give you another recipe that uses a unique ingredient.  Believe it or not, this recipe involves cheese!  My brother-in-law found the recipe and enjoys making it just to tell those eating it that it contains cheese!

You will need:
1/2 pound Velveeta cheese, sliced
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
2 16 oz boxes of confectioners sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
Square pan, sprayed with non-stick spray

How to make it:
Over medium heat, in saucepan, melt cheese and butter together, stirring constantly until smooth
Add in peanut butter and stir until smooth
Remove form heat, add vanilla and nuts (if desired)
Pour sugar into large bowl, pour cheese mixture into bowl, stir until completely mixed
Remove candy from bowl and press evenly and firmly into pan
Refrigerate until firm, cut into squares

Can you believe it?  I didn't the first time he served me his cheese peanut butter fudge.  I guarantee not one of your guests will be able to guess your secret ingredient.


quick side note

I have been so busy just crafting away the past few weeks.  I have been sewing up a storm, and my living room was hit hard!  I haven't posted any of these projects because they are gifts for family members.  Since they are obligated...forced...willing readers of this blog, I can't let the secrets out!  Which is killing me!

I just want so share with you all what I've been making.  Don't worry though, I will be posting the projects after Christmas.  I know that won't help you very much with Christmas presents, but maybe birthday...everyday, any day presents or even a little after-Christmas gift for yourself!

Even though I can't post my sewing endeavors I will be posting some of my favorite holiday recipes.  I hope you try out some of the recipes, I can guarantee you won't be let down!

a fantasy of fudge

Every year around Christmas my mom whips up a storm in the kitchen.  She makes cakes, cookies, candied nuts and fudge.  I want to share with you the recipe for what was my favorite treat as a kid.  Peanut Butter fudge!  Now, I have two recipes, one that my mom uses and one that my brother-in-law found using quite a unique ingredient.  The one my mom makes is called fantasy fudge...how fitting!

You will need:
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk (5 1/3 fl. oz can)
7oz jar of marshmallow creme
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 heaping tablespoons creamy style peanut butter
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
2 1/2 quart heavy saucepan
13x9 inch pan (greased)

What to do:
Combine sugar, margarine and milk in heavy 2 1/2 quart sauce pan, bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly
Continue boiling five minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching
Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter
Add marshmallow creme, vanilla and nuts (if desired)
Beat until well blended
Pour into pan
Cool at room temperature, cut into squares

I'm telling you...this stuff is SO good!  It is actually quite simple to make as well.  We usually let it cool in the fridge (to speed up the process) and then keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.  My mo likes her fudge with nuts but my sister and I don't.  So, she uses a piece of cardboard dividing the pan in half and makes the batch half with nuts and half with out.  Whichever you choose is sure to be a hit!


chocolatey cheer packaged up

Now that you know how to make a tasty and quite simple treat, I'm going to share with you how I package them up for gifts.

The past couple of years Wal-Mart has sold Christmas storage containers for a reasonable price.  I got a set of 3 small containers for $3...that's only a buck a piece!  They also have larger containers which I use with the smaller ones to stack and make a tree of treats when I am giving larger amounts of larger sized treats!

I used some freezer paper I had left over (because it has a shiny side) and lined the inside of the container.  I filled up the containers with the yummy treats (pretzels and some brownies I made) the put the lid on.  I had some jute lying around that I bought a loooong time ago, I don't even remember what for.  Jute is that brown string stuff that you see tied around packages wrapped with brown paper.  I just tied it around the container and attached a little tag.  The tag was a left over scrap of scrapbook paper cut into a 2 inch by 2 inch square, left over from my baby block decoupage project.  I simple cut a whole in it and threaded it onto the jute, tied a sweet little bow and there you have it!

One cute, tasty, inexpensive, thoughtful Christmas gift!


chocolatey cheer part 3

So, you know about the pretzel twists and the pretzel sticks...now onto the pretzel rods.  These are my favorite.  They just look so...fancy!

I break each pretzel rod in half to make these.  I only do this because the dish I am using is not deep enough to cover a substantial amount of the pretzel.  However, I imagine if you melted the chocolate in a cup rather than a dish, you would be able to make the longer pretzel rods rather than halves.  Any whoooo...as I was saying...I break the rods in half and cover the end that is broken with chocolate.

I dip the pretzel into the chocolate and turn it a little for better coverage.  While I am lifting the pretzel from the chocolate, I twist it a bit so that the drip of chocolate coming off (you will see what I mean when you make them) flips onto the pretzel...meaning less drip when transferring to the wax paper covered cookie sheet.  I, once again use my Christmas sprinkles to cheer these little babies up!  I then place then in the freezer and let them harden.

In years past I have made some that are dipped in dark chocolate but drizzled with the white or vice versa.  They look pretty sweet (yes, pun intended!).  I have also broken the rods into thirds and covered the entire rod by dipping one half into one of the candies and one it hardens dipping the other end.

The possibilities really are endless here!  Let your imagination run wild!


chocolatey cheer part 2

Yesterday I showed you my chocolate covered twist pretzels.  Today, we are moving on to pretzel sticks.  These you could easily dip but, it would take about a million and a half years to do them all and, since I usually eat more than one pretzel sticks at a time, these I just drizzle.

The chocolate candy coating seems to be thinner and drizzles a little better.  I first, lay out the pretzel rods on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.  I then take a spoon full of candy coating and somewhat fling the chocolate onto the pretzels by moving the spoon left to right kind of fast.  I know that isn't exact science and it was hard to take a picture of it...but, you'll get it once you go to do it.  Here I used the same sprinkles I used on the twist pretzels.

I put the pretzels in the freezer to harden.  Once they were done I broke apart the pretzel rods.  They will come apart in groups.  They actually look like little rafts!  You can also drizzle some chocolate over top of your half dipped twist pretzels.


free festive festivities

For all those here in Jacksonville on Christmas Eve, I want to share with you a free fun activity for you and your family.  At the Historic San Marco Theatre in San Marco, East Coast Church will be showing The Grinch Who Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey at 4pm for FREE!  What a great event to get out and celebrate the season with your family!  After the movie, go grab a bite to eat, then head back to the theatre at 9pm for a Christmas Eve service that is sure to stir your heart and get you in just the right mood to celebrate!

Click HERE for more info

chocolatey cheer part 1

At Christmastime I love love love to make chocolate covered pretzels...I have no idea why.  I don't even like chocolate and am not too keen on pretzels either.  However, I absolutely love to make chocolate covered pretzels to give as gifts.  They are simple and fun to make...not to mention inexpensive!  The perfect gift for all!

You will need:
Candy coating (make your own almond bark stuff...I use chocolate and vanilla flavor coating)
Pretzels (twists, sticks, rods...whatever you wish!)
Fun sprinkles for decoration!

Find a small bowl or dish to melt your chocolate in.  You want a smaller dish so that your chocolate will be deeper, a thin layer in the bottom of a large dish will be hard to dip the pretzels in.  Break off a few pieces of your almond bark and put in the dish.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave on high for 45 seconds.  Using a spoon, press down the chocolate as best you can.  You may need to melt the chocolate for a little longer, if it is not completely melted.  You want there to be no chunks of hardened chocolate, just smooth and creamy!  Do this for both the chocolate and vanilla...if you are using both.

I make a few different kinds of chocolate covered pretzels, which I will share with you over the next couple days.  Today, I am going to share with you the mini twisted pretzels.

Once I have my candy coating melted, I get my wee little pretzels ready.  Just dip the pretzels into the chocolate and there you have it! I tip the container on its side a bit to make the candy coating deeper.  I just dip half of the pretzel so that I don't have to fish it out of the candy.  Then, place the pretzel on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.

This is the time you want to add the fun sprinkles.  I bought some that were peppermint flavored...to add Christmas to the pretzels.  Those I just sprinkled over the candy.  I bought other sprinkles that are holly berries and leaves.  I put two leaves and one  berry on each.  I must say those are my absolute favorite!  They are adorable!

After you have decorated the pretzels put the pretzels on the cookie sheet into the freezer for a short while.  This will help the candy to harden better and faster.  Once you take the pretzels out, store in an air-tight container.

I have made some before that were half white chocolate and half regular chocolate.  I just dip the pretzel half way in the first candy and once the candy was hardened dip the uncovered half in the second candy flavor.
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