Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HoneyForHolidays #DonVictorHoney #CollectiveBias

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

Bundt cakes don’t get enough credit.  They might lack the heaps of frosting in a towering layer cake.  They might not have the immediacy of cookies.  And they don’t have the fudginess of a brownie.

But in reality they have oh so much more.  They are easy to make, mixing up quickly and then baking in the oven without too much checking or turning.  Endless flavor combinations are possible in a bundt cake.  And they are really quite beautiful.

When I unmolded this beauty from the pan (always the scariest part of bundt cake making) and topped it with the nutty caramel, it almost took my breath away.  This cake belongs as the centerpiece of a holiday table or can be given as a gift to some very happy recipients.

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

Don Victor® Orange Blossom Comb Honey Globe Jar is the star of this bundt cake.  Honey is sometimes a flavor that can fall to the background of baked goods, but that is so not the case with this cake.

What is so unique about Don Victor® Honey is that it has honeycomb right in it that is fully edible.  I didn’t know that before working with this honey, but now I am so excited to experiment with it in different ways like mixing it into salad dressing or serving is as part of a cheese plate.  It can also be spread on toast or an English muffin with a bit of butter if you like.  Like all honey, it should be stored at room temperature to prevent crystallization.  Unlike a lot of honey, Don Victor® Honey is raw, filtered honey, not heated or processed in any other way.

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

I am also excited to give it as a gift this holiday season because I love introducing my friends and family to new products that I have fallen in love with.  It is an easy to give, inexpensive gift that is perfect for coworkers, bosses, teachers, and more.  Be sure to stock up at Walmart, like I did.  Unlike other honey, Don Victor® Honey is available in the Hispanic aisle.

Shopping at Walmart

Back to the Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel.  The cake itself is unbelievably moist with the flavors of the honey, orange, and olive oil coming through.  It also has a swirl of plump dried cherries and cranberry jam, because all bundt cakes need a swirl 😉

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

Then there is maybe my favorite part of the cake: the honey pecan caramel.  I will make this sauce again and again for topping on ice cream or waffles or just eating with a spoon – it is that good.

Be sure to check out Don Victor® Honey and make this bundt cake for the holidays!

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients

Cake
1 cup dried sweet cherries
Juice of 1 orange
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup Don Victor® Orange Blossom Comb Honey Globe Jar
¾ cup olive oil
4 large eggs
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup cranberry jam (another flavored jam will do, but try to pick a bright color)
Caramel
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup Don Victor® Orange Blossom Comb Honey Globe Jar
½ stick unsalted butter
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 cup pecans, toasted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil and flour a large bundt pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cherries and orange juice. Allow to soak while you prepare the batter.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together sugars, honey including the comb, oil, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla until fully combined. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until just combined. Add the orange juice only from the cherries and mix to combine.
  4. Spread half of the batter into the bottom of the prepared bundt pan. Top with cherries and jam, trying to keep them away from the sides of the pan. Cover with the other half of the batter and bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  5. Allow cake to cool for about 15 minutes while you make the caramel. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, honey including the comb, and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Stir in toasted pecans and flaky sea salt.
  6. Loosen the cake from the pan by sticking a thin knife around the edges. Carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate. Drizzle the caramel slowly over the top. Allow cake to cool completely before cutting and serving. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen in pieces wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave about 1 minute.
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Homemade Twix Bars #SundaySupper

Homemade Twix Bars

Lots of people have Thanksgiving traditions and many of them are the same.  Travel.  Family.  Cooking.  Baking.  Turkey.  Pie.  Football.  Leftovers.  Shopping.  More leftovers.  More shopping.  More travel.  Lots of crowds.

And I think all those traditions and whatever others you may have are great.

Homemade Twix Bars

But I bet you aren’t surprised to know those aren’t my traditions for the most part.  My Thanksgivings are quiet days, just Mom and Dad and me.  We actually have started this new tradition where we go shopping the day before Thanksgiving.  It’s my favorite!

There aren’t any crowds and a lot of the sales have already begun.  This year I picked up an awesome dress at Saks I can’t wait to show all of you!!  It’s fun, low key, and this year was a great way to get out on a rainy, yucky day.

Homemade Twix Bars

On Thanksgiving, the only traditional food we have is cranberry sauce (not out of the can).  Otherwise we have steaks or tacos and it’s just the three of us.  No pressure.  Not too much work.  No drama.  There aren’t many leftovers and save for a little shopping by Dad on Black Friday, we leave the crowds to everyone else.

That’s my Thanksgiving and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  For me it is perfect.  For you something else may be and I hope that is exactly what you had over the holidays 🙂

Homemade Twix Bars

For dessert, we skipped pies and pumpkin and all that and had homemade Twix Bars.  These are everything I remember a Twix to before my allergy and oh so much more.

The shortbread base is the star here.  It is thick and crumbly and practically melts in your mouth.  Then there is the gooey caramel that stretches when you bite into the bar.  It all finishes with the slightly bitter carob (in my case) or chocolate coating, snapping as you take a bite.  Make sure these are a part of your holiday season!

Homemade Twix Bars

Homemade Twix Bars #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: About 24 bars

Ingredients

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons finely ground cornmeal
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 batch homemade caramel or store bought
18 ounces carob or dark or milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Instructions

  1. Make the shortbread. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang for easy removal later.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla bean paste until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour, cornmeal, and salt and mix until a stiff dough is formed. Spread into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer.
  3. Bake shortbread 20-25 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and mostly set.
  4. While the shortbread bakes, make the caramel or warm the store-bought caramel. Pour the hot caramel over the slightly cooled shortbread. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight until completely chilled.
  5. Once the caramel and shortbread are chilled, cut into long, thin bars. Melt the carob or chocolate with the shortening in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted. I recommend doing this in two batches.
  6. Carefully dip each of the bars in the chocolate and use a spoon or your fingers to coat completely. Set on a parchment lined baking sheet to set. Once all bars are set, serve or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

Shortbread base adapted from Ashley Rodriguez via Craftsy

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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!  Thanks to Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures for hosting!

Baked Goods

Candy

Chocolate

Jams, Syrups, Drinks

Mixes and Spices

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sandwiches

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sandwiches

Choices are good.  It’s nice to be able to choose which movie to watch, what to wear, or what to have for dinner.  Our lives are based on the choices we make, both big and small.  Good and bad.

Think of all the choices we make in a day.  Some come naturally but others cause debate whether within ourselves or among those around us, even if they seem like simple decisions.  And all those choices and decisions build and build to make our lives, sometimes for better sometimes for worse.

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sandwiches

It’s easy to look back on the past and see where we might have chosen a different path.  But that’s not fair to ourselves because a different decision may have led to exactly the same place, no matter how hard we wish this wasn’t the case.

That is a difficult fate to face for me.  All those options and the ones I chose.  The ones that led me here.  What could have been, might have been, should have been.  It’s a lot to consider.  But now there is nothing I can do about it, so I have to embrace those choices and try to make better ones in the future, knowing years from now, I’ll have some of the same regrets.

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sandwiches

The best thing about choices is that there is always another one to make, another chance to do better.

When it comes to these Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sandwiches, I don’t want to make choices, but I have to because I made them several ways, although I do recommend trying each variety.

These are a breeze and a blast to make, almost therapeutic.  The base is a salty, crunchy pretzel, which I topped with either salted caramel peanut butter (I know!) or pumpkin pie cookie butter (oh yeah!), followed by another pretzel.  I also hid a mini marshmallow in the center of some for a nice surprise.

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sandwiches

Then half of this sweet and salty dessert sandwich is dipped in chocolate (or carob in my case) and drizzled in white chocolate.

These are great to serve at a Halloween party.  Making these is an easy choice!

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sandwiches

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sandwiches

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 17 minutes

Ingredients

½ bag mini pretzel twists
1 cup pumpkin spice cookie butter
1 cup salted caramel peanut butter
½ cup mini marshmallows
3 cups dark chocolate or carob chips
½ cup white chocolate chips
2 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

Instructions

  1. Spread the pretzel twists on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spread 1 tablespoon of either the pumpkin spice cookie butter or salted caramel peanut butter onto a pretzel. Top with a couple mini marshmallows if desired, followed by another pretzel. Press together gently so the butter forms a seal. Repeat with remaining pretzels and butters.
  2. Once all the pretzels are filled, melt the chocolate or carob chips with 2 tablespoons of vegetable in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted. Dip half of each pretzel sandwich into the mixture and place back on the parchment to set.
  3. Melt the white chocolate chips with the remaining ½ tablespoon vegetable oil in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring in between. Using a fork or spoon, drizzle the white chocolate over the pretzel sandwiches.
  4. Allow to set completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
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Homemade Drumsticks #SundaySupper

Homemade Drumsticks - Fun and easy to make, gluten free, and way better than store bought!

When I was a kid, my Granny and sometimes my Papa would come to visit quite often.  They were my mom’s parents and are unfortunately gone.  I try to hold onto the memories I made with them, but they slip from my mind far faster than I would like.

Luckily, I do have some memories and I love when Mom tells me about our times together.

Of course, they loved food as much as I do, if not more.  They were both awesome cooks, though when they came to visit they never cooked.  Mom made dinner – tacos, burgers, meatloaf – and breakfast – bacon, eggs, sausage, but dessert was almost always store bought.

Homemade Drumsticks

There was the time Papa and I fought over the last piece of key lime pie, though I don’t remember who got it.  Plenty of those slice and bake cookies filled the oven.  And there was ice cream.  Lots and lots of ice cream.

Perhaps because they often came to visit in the summer, or maybe just because we all love ice cream, it was frequently the dessert of choice.  We went to Baskin Robbins to get a scoop of our favorites when we wanted to out, but when we were chilling at home, the freezer was always full of Drumsticks.

We all loved them, and what’s not to love?  Crunchy cone, creamy ice cream, the snap of the chocolate, and salt from the nuts.  They are the perfect blend of flavors and textures.  I remember loving the ones with caramel stuffed in the middle of the ice cream.

Homemade Drumsticks

I haven’t had a Drumstick in years since I’m now allergic to chocolate, but really, I hadn’t had one long before that.  I figured it was time to make a batch of my own, and dare I say they are better than the store bought ones.

I love the crispy cone that I coated in homemade magic shell.  Then I stuffed caramel swirled ice cream into the cone and mounded a bit on top before adding more magic shell and those classic peanuts.  I even picked up gluten free cones, so these are gluten free, fun to make, and so perfect for summer.  I really can’t get over how fun and easy these are to make and how incredibly, addictively, awesomely delicious they are.

I can’t wait to enjoy another as I fondly remember the summers of my youth and my grandparents.

Homemade Drumsticks

Homemade Drumsticks #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 22 minutes

Yield: 4 Drumsticks

Ingredients

4 sugar cones, gluten free if necessary

1 cup carob or dark chocolate chips

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 cups caramel swirled ice cream

½ cup lightly salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Instructions

First make the magic shell. In a medium, microwave safe bowl, combine the carob or chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted. Allow to cool slightly.

Once slightly cool, spoon the magic shell into the cones, coating the inside completely and placing extra in the bottom. Allow to harden for about 5 minutes.

Fill cones with ice cream and mound a scoop on top. Place in the freezer on a parchment lined tray or just paper plates and freeze for about 10 minutes.

Once firm, spoon magic shell over the ice cream and dip immediately into peanuts because the magic shell hardens quickly.

Return to freezer for at least one hour before serving. Drumsticks may be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Notes

Additional chilling time is necessary

Recipe is easily multiplied

http://piesandplots.net/homemade-drumsticks-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Beverages

Breakfast

Appetizers

Main Dishes

Side Dishes

Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

 

Maple Walnut Truffles

Maple Walnut Truffles

While I often talk about wanting to move to California (#CaliforniaDreaming), there is one thing I will miss when I move: our yard.

Okay, so there are a few things I will miss, though not many, and one of the things I will hate to leave behind is our yard, specifically in summer.

Maple Walnut Truffles

We don’t have a lot of land, which is nice really.  More land = more work, and we already have more than enough yard work.  But the land we do have is populated with trees.  Pine trees, maple trees, flowering trees.  They are stunning, but not quite as beautiful as the flowers.

From peonies and tulips to irises and coneflowers to the plethora of annuals we are unable to stop ourselves from buying each year.  Once everything is in full bloom, the neighbors fade away and our yard that looked so desolate in winter turns into a tropical jungle.

Maple Walnut Truffles

With all these plants, all these hiding places, comes wildlife.  Birds that sing and swoop around the yard.  Squirrels and chipmunks that bound along in the grass.  Hummingbirds that come right up to the window to say hi … and eat.  Probably mostly eat.  Baby bunnies that explore the world for the first time.

It is life right in front of me and it gives me life on days good and bad.  And really, this is why I want to leave this yard behind, so I don’t have to give these things up in the winter.  And hopefully one day when I do get to move, the next family to move in will enjoy the yard as much as we have and perhaps enjoy winter a bit more.

 

To make sure we all enjoy the beauty of summer, fun no bake treats like these Maple Walnut Truffles, which also happen to be gluten free, are perfect.

These are super easy to make.  They are filled with maple flavor and crunchy walnuts.  Plus, since it’s best to keep them in the refrigerator, they are a refreshing treat to beat the heat.  Feel free to swap the walnuts for pecans if you prefer, just make sure to use real maple syrup.

Enjoy summer and these irresistible homemade candies.

Maple Walnut Truffles

Maple Walnut Truffles

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Yield: About 20 truffles

Ingredients

½ stick unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1 ½ cups carob or dark chocolate chips

½ cup white chocolate chips

1 ½ tablespoons pure vegetable shortening, divided

Instructions

In a medium bowl, whisk together butter and maple syrup. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar and whisk to combine. Whisk in vanilla. Add more maple syrup or confectioners’ sugar as necessary to achieve a thick yet smooth mixture. Stir in walnuts. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes until firm.

Once chilled, roll mixture into about 1 tablespoon sized balls. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate an additional 10 minutes.

While the truffles are chilling, melt the carob or dark chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon shortening, in the microwave in 30 second increments until fully melted.

Remove the truffles from the refrigerator and using a fork dip into the chocolate, coating completely. Return to the parchment to set. Repeat with remaining truffles.

Melt white chocolate in the microwave with remaining ½ tablespoon of shortening, in 30 second increments, until fully melted. Using a fork, drizzle white chocolate over truffles.

Refrigerate truffles until set, about 20 minutes. Serve or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Truffles may also be frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Notes

Additional chilling time is necessary

Recipe adapted from Crazy for Crust

http://piesandplots.net/maple-walnut-truffles/

Dressed Up Marshmallows

Dressed Up Marshmallows

I love to get dressed up.  Ever since I was little this has been the case for me.  I have always loved dresses and heels and presenting my best face to the world.

My love of wearing nice clothes and shoes and playing with makeup has only intensified as I have grown up and learned more about creating my own style.  I love putting together outfits that represent me and not something I saw on TV or my mom chose for me.

Dressed Up Marshmallows

It amazes that people stare at me with dirty looks, as though I am doing something wrong by wearing a dress and heels instead of the sweatpants they seem to find so fashionable.  I have even had someone question me repeatedly over looking nice.  Where was I going?  Why was I wearing these clothes?  What was wrong with me?

When did our society decide that it’s not okay to look nice?  Even worse, when did it decide that it’s not okay to be an individual?  If you don’t want to dress up, that’s your deal, but don’t tell me what to do.  The great thing about life is that we are all unique individuals.  No one’s stares or comments are ever going to get me to change who I am.

Dressed Up Marshmallows

And because I like company, I took some unassuming marshmallows and dressed them up too.  What does that mean?  It means I dipped them in carob, white chocolate, and peanut butter chips and drizzled them accordingly.  You could also add nuts or sprinkles for a bit of crunch, but these are amazing as is.

Dressed Up Marshmallows

Not only are these little treats delicious, but they are also easy to make and gluten free.  They would be awesome to serve at a party or wedding or baby shower.  I also think they would make great s’mores.  I think we should all investigate 🙂

Whether you like to dress up or not, you will love some fancy dressed up marshmallows!

Dressed Up Marshmallows

Dressed Up Marshmallows

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 22 minutes

Yield: About 30 marshmallows

Ingredients

1 10-ounce bag regular sized marshmallows

1 cup dark chocolate or carob chips

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup peanut butter chips

3 tablespoons pure vegetable shortening

Instructions

Place marshmallows on a piece of parchment paper.

Place carob or chocolate chips in one microwave safe bowl, white chocolate chips in another, and peanut butter chips in a third. Add 1 tablespoon shortening to each bowl.

Melt chips in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted.

Place one marshmallow on a fork and dip into one of the coatings. Roll around with the fork to coat completely. Place carefully on the parchment and allow to set. Repeat until all the marshmallows are used.

Take the fork and drizzle the remaining coatings onto the marshmallows to create a pretty design or pattern. Have fun! If at any time the coatings harden too much, place them back in the microwave for about 15 seconds.

Allow marshmallows to set completely before placing in an airtight container and storing at room temperature for up to 1 week.

http://piesandplots.net/dressed-up-marshmallows/

Microwave Peep S’mores

Microwave Peeps S'mores

I always overdo it on buying candy.  Easter candy.  Christmas candy.  Halloween candy.  Candy.

Sure, somehow it all gets eaten eventually, but my pantry is pretty much literally overflowing with bag after bag after bag of the sweet stuff.  And behind all those bags is a stack of boxes of Peeps.

I am one of those people that loves Peeps.  Especially the Gingerbread ones.  If you haven’t tried those yet DO IT!  Sometimes I melt them onto a Gingerbread Pop Tart, but that’s another story.

Microwave Peeps S'mores

I have a plethora of Peeps in the pantry.  Bunnies.  Chicks.  Pink.  Blue.  Yellow.  Minions.  Gingerbread.  Hearts.  Peeps.  Lots and lots of Peeps.

And right about now I bet you have more than you know what to do with as well.  Luckily I’m here to help with a super simple recipe that’s ready in about 2 minutes and will have the whole family asking for seconds.  Before long, you’ll be going to the store to buy more Peeps.

What is this amazing recipe?  Microwave Peep S’mores.  It only takes three ingredients – chocolate or carob, graham crackers, and of course Peeps – and it is so easy to prepare because it’s made in the microwave.

Microwave Peeps S'mores

While this doesn’t exactly recreate that classic campfire s’mores flavor, it’s a trick Mom has used for years and years to make s’mores year round without fuss.  In fact, I think I’ve only had s’mores made this way.

You end up with a crispy graham cracker topped with melty chocolate and an ooey gooey marshmallow with crunchy sugar on the outside.  It’s the perfect combination of textures and flavors.  Your leftover Easter candy dilemma has officially been solved.

Microwave Peeps S'mores

Microwave Peep S’mores

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 4 minutes

Yield: 2 s'mores

Ingredients

2 graham cracker sheets, broken in half

2 tablespoons carob or chocolate chips

4 Peep bunnies

Instructions

Place 2 pieces of graham cracker on a microwave safe plate. Top each with 1 tablespoon of carob or chocolate chips. Microwave in 30 second increments until the chips are mostly melted. Mine took 1 minute.

Place 2 bunnies on each of the graham crackers and microwave about an additional 30 seconds. Keep your eye on it and stop when the bunnies are super puffy.

Top with the remaining graham crackers and serve immediately.

Notes

Recipe is easily multiplied - and trust me, you'll want to multiply it!

http://piesandplots.net/microwave-peep-smores/

 

Graham Cracker Toffee

Graham Cracker Toffee

I don’t know why I even check the weather.  I think I would be better at predicting it than the meteorologists.

Right now I’m supposed to be looking out the window at chilly rain, which is better than what I am looking at: snow.  At least two inches of it.  It’s supposed to turn to rain, but I’m not holding my breath.

Someone with an arthritic knee would be better at telling me what to expect with the weather.  Over the weekend, they were upwards of ten degrees off on the temperatures.  Predicted rain and clouds were replaced by sun.

Graham Cracker Toffee

Playing the lottery seems to be more of a sure thing than watching a weather forecast.  And I don’t understand that.

In the world of radar and satellite and all that technology that I certainly don’t understand, how is weather prediction so inaccurate?

Once upon a time, I took a meteorology class.  Let me tell you, it is difficult and confusing.  People who actually go to school to learn this craft and retain all that information are impressive.  But how all that training and learning and terminology can turn into forecasts that are consistently so wrong is beyond me.

Graham Cracker Toffee

At least if they are going to be wrong, it would be preferable if the weather turned out better than anticipated, instead of worse.  But such is winter in Michigan.  #californiadreaming

So instead of going shopping today like I had planned, I think I’ll make another batch of this Graham Cracker Toffee.

Um … it’s pretty much graham cracker crack.  It’s super addictive and I couldn’t stop taking little bites here and there and basically stuffing my face with it.  It’s very easy to make, though is definitely on the sweet side.  A nice sprinkle of sea salt really balances it out.  This would make an awesome gift as well.

Whatever the weather, make this toffee, it’s sure to be more predictable than Mother Nature.

Graham Cracker Toffee

Graham Cracker Toffee

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Varies

Ingredients

10-12 graham cracker sheets

1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter

1 ½ cups dark chocolate or carob chips

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

1 cup toasted pecans

1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Fill the tray with an even layer of graham crackers, breaking them up to fit as necessary.

In a small saucepan melt the sugar and butter. Bring it to a boil and boil for three minutes. Immediately pour over the graham crackers. Be careful – the mixture is very hot. Spread to cover the graham crackers evenly.

Bake for 6-7 minutes, until the toffee is super bubbly. Allow to sit while you melt the chocolate.

In a microwave safe bowl, place the chocolate or carob chips and the shortening. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted. Pour over the graham crackers and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with pecans and salt, pressing them in slightly so they stick.

Cool toffee in the pan completely, about 4 hours. Break into pieces and serve. Toffee may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Notes

Additional cooling time is necessary

http://piesandplots.net/graham-cracker-toffee/

 

S’mores Strawberries

S'mores Strawberries

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us.  Whether you think of it as nothing more than a Hallmark holiday for people who are actually in love or you think it’s the sweetest holiday since it celebrates something as amazing and illusive as love, it’s a good excuse to eat an amazing treat or two.

All of us single gals need to drown our sorrows in dessert and cheesy movies that represent love as it probably never will be in the real world.

S'mores Strawberries

And all of you love birds need to celebrate your significant other and the fact that Cupid brought you together.  Or something like that.

While you could definitely spend all day in the kitchen making something like my Brooklyn Blackout Cake, these S’mores Strawberries will totally do the trick without all the work.

S'mores Strawberries

They are fun and easy to make and full of textures and flavors.  I distinctly remember the first time I had a chocolate covered strawberry.  It was from Godiva and probably five dollar, which 15 or so years ago was a lot of money for one giant strawberry.  I think I shared it with my baby sitter after lunch at Olive Garden.

I really liked the strawberry … and Olive Garden, so maybe my tween judgment can’t be trusted.  Since I developed my chocolate allergy, those strawberries have vanished from my life.  So I made my own with carob, but feel free to use your favorite dark chocolate.

S'mores Strawberries

After washing and drying the strawberries, I hulled them and filled the center with gooey marshmallow fluff.  Then I dipped them in chocolate and crushed graham crackers.  It’s a messy process, but lots of fun and well worth it when you pop the juicy strawberry with the gooey marshmallow the snappy carob/chocolate and crunchy graham crackers in your mouth.

No matter how you celebrate Valentine’s Day, be sure to do it with these S’mores Strawberries.

S'mores Strawberries

S’mores Strawberries

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Total Time: 16 minutes

Yield: 20 Strawberries

Ingredients

20 strawberries, washed and hulled

1 cup marshmallow fluff

1 cup carob or dark chocolate chips

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

2 graham cracker sheets, finely crushed

Instructions

Place the strawberries on a parchment lined baking sheet. Fill each one with marshmallow fluff. It’s okay if they are overfull.

Melt the chocolate or carob with the shortening in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted.

Spoon chocolate or carob over the cut and marshmallow filled end of the berry. Cover that end completely and dip immediately in graham cracker crumbs.

Place strawberries back on parchment. Repeat with remaining berries. Allow to set for about 1 hour. Best served immediately. Berries may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 days.

http://piesandplots.net/smores-strawberries/

 

Pumpkin Spice Latte Caramel Sauce

Pumpkin Spice Latte Caramel Sauce

In grade school I had a serious coffee addiction.  I’d stop at Starbucks or the Coffee Beanery after school or on the weekends.  I’d indulge in one of my favorite drinks whether morning, afternoon, or evening.  I’d drink it while shopping or just grab one for the road.

None of the drinks I ordered really tasted much like coffee.  White chocolate mocha.  Peppermint mocha.  Frappuccinos.  It was dessert … or more realistically sometimes a meal … all in a cup.  And I loved it.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Caramel Sauce

 

Pumpkin Spice Latte Caramel Sauce

And then like most phases it passed.  I’d have a coffee occasionally.  Or I’d order it at a restaurant when the smell of it was too intoxicating to pass up and surpassed the taste by a mile.

Recently I got hooked on the ice coffee beverages in the grocery store.  I picked one up for a job and kind of fell in love with it.  They are definitely less caloric than their coffee store counterparts and are just right for a treat every now and then.

My latest purchase was the Pumpkin Spice Latte iced coffee by Starbucks.  I’ve never had an actual pumpkin spice latte so I was super curious to check it out.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Caramel Sauce

There’s not much pumpkin-y or spicy about the beverage, but I still love it and all its coffee glory.

You know what’s better than the latte by itself?  Making caramel sauce with it.  Enter Pumpkin Spice Latte Caramel Sauce.

It’s ooey, gooey, perfect on ice cream or baked into a recipe (coming soon), easy to make, gluten free, and pretty much irresistible.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Caramel Sauce

Pumpkin Spice Latte Caramel Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Varies

Ingredients

2 cups granulated sugar

½ cup water

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces

½ cup Pumpkin Spice Latte Iced Coffee

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

Place sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until the sugar melts. Once the sugar is melted, stop stirring and cook until the mixture is a golden amber color. Keep an eye on it because it can go from clear to burnt in no time. This process may take around 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the butter. Place back over the heat and stir until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat again and add the coffee, cinnamon, and salt. Place back over the heat and stir until the caramel is thick and glossy without any clumps.

Pour into a bowl. Serve immediately over ice cream or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Reheat in the microwave in 30 second increments as necessary.

http://piesandplots.net/pumpkin-spice-latte-caramel-sauce/

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