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Monday, December 23, 2013

Krispy Peanut Butter Truffles

I got this recipe from a friend many years ago. It's been a staple on my Christmas baking list since then. I love peanut butter and chocolate together and the crunchy rice krispies in this make that combination come to life even more. Unfortunately, I'm on sugar overload for this season and we still have a couple of days to go. I'm sure I will be posting healthier recipes when Christmas is past, as I will be trying to get back to my all natural, clean eating, since I feel like I need to detox right about now! This recipe is so easy to make and hardly takes any time at all. So if you need to whip up a fast candy for company, this one will work for ya, I  promise. That is IF you can stop yourself from eating them all before your company arrives! ;)
1 cube butter ( use real butter, don't use margarine)
2 3/4 cup Rice Krispy cereal
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 box (1 lb) powdered sugar
Candiquik chocolate dipping bark or melted milk chocolate of any kind
Cocktail peanuts, chopped, for topping

Melt butter and mix the rest of the ingredients into it. Use a heavy duty spoon to mix this. If you use a mixer, you will crush up all your Rice Krispies. Roll the mixture into balls. Place in the refrigerator to firm up. When they are firm and cold, dip each ball into melted chocolate and place chopped peanuts onto the top of each candy. Place the candies onto waxed paper to firm up again. Store in airtight container on the counter or in the refrigerator.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge

If you read my last post, then you will know that usually fudge is not my thing. Well, the peppermint fudge I made, changed my mind and this peanut butter cup fudge most certainly changed it also. But like I always say, you can mix peanut butter with anything in my opinion and you probably have a winning dish. Everyone that tasted this during the Christmas season has loved it. Ok except for my hubby....wait it's not that he didn't love it, it's that he didn't even try it. Sweets could sit around this house for days and he would never even think to try them. How is that fair? It's NOT! I can't even be around sweets, they are like my drug of choice! But trust me when I say, that everyone that did try this, really liked it!
Recipe Source: http://centercutcook.com/peanut-butter-cup-fudge/

20 Reese's miniature peanut butter cups, chopped
2 cups brown sugar
2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar (make sure you sift)
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 tsp vanilla

 Line an 8 x 8 pan with saran wrap so that it will be easy to lift the fudge out of the pan.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and milk. Bring to a rolling boil, then cook for exactly 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in peanut butter and mix to combine. Add in vanilla.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of your mixer. Add in sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing between additions. After you’ve added all of the confectioners sugar, mix well! The mixture is going to be really thick, but that's how you want it!

Press the mixture into the prepared dish. Let the fudge cool slightly but not all the way. (Just enough so that the peanut butter cups will still stick to the fudge, but cool enough so they won't melt.)

Sprinkle chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups over the fudge and gently press them down.

Chill in the refrigerator for a couple hours, or until firm, then use the saran wrap as handles to lift the fudge out of the pan. Remove the saran wrap and cut into small squares.

Peppermint Fudge

I have to admit that I am not much of a fudge eater. I mean, I like it, it's ok, but I tend to like the Southern, gritty, harder type fudge, rather than the soft kind. But I think I could become a convert with this peppermint fudge. The mint added such a depth to the flavor and gave it some texture that is usually not there with plain chocolate fudge. This one will be added to my "have to make at Christmas list" from  now on. :)
Recipe Adapted From: http://chocolateandcarrots.com/2012/12/peppermint-fudge

  • 1 (14 ounce) can fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips (you can substitute with dark chocolate)
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 candy canes, crushed into bits for the topping

Line an 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
Over a double boiler on simmer, heat the the sweetened condensed milk and butter together until the butter is melted.
Add in the semi sweet chocolate chips, stirring until melted.
Mix in the peppermint and vanilla and stir until combined.
Place the candy canes in a baggie. Gently crush with a cup, or the back of a spoon, until the candy canes are in small sized pieces.
Pour the pieces into a strainer to sift out the finely crushed peppermint dust.
Sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top of the fudge.
Place in therefrigerator to set for at least 3 hours before cutting into squares.

Peanut Butter Christmas Tree Cookies

I think everyone in their lifetime has tasted Peanut Butter Blossoms. Good old peanut butter cookies with a scrumptious Hershey kiss on the top! These cookies were a part of my childhood. My mom didn't make them often, but when she did....oh boy....I couldn't eat enough of them. This might explain why I am dieting AGAIN lol. When I saw on Pinterest that you could take this simple little cookie and decorate the Hershey kisses to look like Christmas trees, I was so excited. This was super easy, lots of fun and even my 3 year old grand daughter enjoyed helping with these. She got to put all those cute little sprinkle dots all over them. Yes, I will be sweeping up the excess off my floor until next Christmas, but it was worth it, to watch her eyes light up as we made these!
Recipe Source: http://javacupcake.com/2013/12/christmas-tree-peanut-butter-blossoms/

48 Hershey's Kisses chocolate candies
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar, for rolling the cookies in before cooking
green frosting
holiday sprinkles

Heat oven to 375°F and line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove the foil wrap from the Hershey kisses and set aside.
Beat shortening and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl until well blended.
Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat until fluffy.
Add egg, milk and vanilla. Beat well.
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually beat this mixture into the peanut butter mixture.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar and place on prepared cookie sheet.
Bake 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
Immediately press a chocolate, gently,  into the center of each cookie. The cookie will slightly crack around the edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. You have to make sure your cookies are completely cooled before decorating the kisses. I baked mine the day before I decorated them.
Either color white icing until it's the desired shade of green or use green icing if you can find it. Fill a baggie with the icing and cut a small hole on one of the corners. Gently squeeze the baggie (you don't want to cause it to break the baggie open) and starting at the base of the Hershey kiss, pipe a line of frosting swirling around the kiss and up to the top. Immediately sprinkle with the holiday sprinkles.

Microwave Peanut Brittle

What's easier than making Christmas candy in just a few minutes in the microwave? Almost nothing. Well ok...I'm sure there are easier things, but when you are overwhelmed, busy and still want to make some Christmas candy, this is definitely the easiest recipe I can think of. If you have a spare 15 minutes, then you can definitely do this. I was visiting my mom last week, who does not have Internet service at her house and she wanted to make peanut brittle, so we made it the old fashioned way. Oh my goodness, that is so much time spent stirring and watching a candy thermometer. UGH....I came home and decided I would look into good old Pinterest to help me find a good microwave peanut brittle recipe. I'm so glad I did. This didn't take any time at all and it really turned out great!
Original Recipe Source: http://www.plainchicken.com/2011/12/microwave-peanut-brittle.html

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Karo syrup
1 Tbsp butter 1 tsp vanilla
 1 cup salted cocktail peanuts
1 tsp baking soda

Combine sugar and syrup in a microwave safe bowl. Stir.
Microwave on high for 5 minutes. (Watch for burning....some microwaves run  much hotter than others)
Add butter, vanilla and peanuts and stir to combine. 
Microwave on high for 1 minute 30 seconds.
Remove bowl from microwave (be extremely careful, this bowl will burn you badly if you are not careful)
and quickly stir in baking soda. Immediately pour mixture onto parchment paper or a very thoroughly greased cookie sheet. Spread with a knife or non rubber spatula to desired thickness and let cool for 1 hour. Break into pieces and enjoy! Store in an airtight container or baggie.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Spicy Cashew Chicken

Well hello blog. It's been awhile. Life got so busy, as it does for many of us when the holidays begin. On top of being busy, our household had a long run of stomach flu and nasty head colds. Needless to say, we were not quite in the state of health to enjoy good food. So that's why the blog suffered for quite some time. Today is honestly the first day that I can say I feel almost ok. I am probably getting a sinus infection and don't care for the headache that is ensuing because of it, but at this point I am getting used to feeling "not so great". Anyway, I didn't prepare a whole bunch of yummy meals through all this, but I did  take time one night to make this yummy cashew chicken. Oh it's so good and I cannot wait to make it again and this time, NOBODY will be sick when I make it! ;)
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 Tbsp cooking sherry
2 Tbsp soy sauce
 1/4 cup olive oil
 1 tsp red pepper flakes

3 green onions, sliced
 2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup cashews
Toasted sesame seeds
 
SAUCE:
4 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
4 tsp sugar
2 tsp white vinegar



Combine 1 Tbsp soy sauce and the cooking sherry in a medium bowl. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and place the chicken pieces in the soy/sherry mixture. Let the chicken marinade in the mixture while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.



In a small bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients. Set aside. Slice the green onions, and measure out the red pepper flakes and minced garlic. 



Drain the chicken in a strainer to drain off some of the excess marinade.

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Add chicken and red pepper flakes. Cook for just a minute and then add the garlic. Cook chicken until it's cooked through. Drain any excess oil.  Add cashews. Add the soy/sherry sauce mixture. Stir the chicken to cover everything in sauce. Sauce should thicken quite a bit. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and add sliced green onions.

Serve.