Triple Chocolate Halloween Bark

When I was a kid, my sister and I would disguise ourselves in our annual Halloween costumes (on Halloween) and we’d join the throng of other kids in our small town for a night of trick or treating.  Our goal was to fill our big orange plastic pumpkins with as much candy as we possibly could. We usually didn’t have much trouble doing that either.  After a final stop at the fire hall for a cup of cider and a doughnut, we’d head home to sort the candy we had scored that evening.  Once everything was sorted; the trading began.  She had her favorite candy and I had mine.  It only seemed logical to negotiate for more of what each of us really wanted. 

Once the negotiating was done, and we’d eaten enough sugar to keep us fueled for the next few days to come, I’d stash my candy away for safe keeping.  My sister say’s I would have saved my candy until Easter, but we’ll never know that because after she ate all of her candy, she’d find my stash and eat that too.  So much for all that negotiating… 

My daughter and I recently got together to make this Triple Chocolate Halloween Bark.  It is one of the easiest Halloween treats that you can make, and it looks impressive.  If you can chop, melt, and pour, you’ve got it made in the shade. 

Triple Chocolate Halloween Bark

1/2 c. milk chocolate chips

1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

1/2 c. white chocolate candy wafers

1/2 c. (lime green, black and orange) Celebrations Sixlets, chopped

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Measure chocolate chips into separate glass bowls.  Microwave one at a time – for about 1 minute each.  Stir completely, and pour onto prepared cookie sheet into thirds.  Repeat until all chocolate has been melted and poured onto cookie sheet.  With a toothpick, swirl the chocolate together.  Sprinkle the chopped Celebrations Sixlets on top.  Place in refrigerator until chocolate has hardened.  Cut into desired sizes.  Store in refrigerator.

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Did you stash your candy as a kid?  Or did you raid your siblings stash?

Thanks to SweetWorks Candy for providing the Celebration Sixlets and the adorable Halloween pumpkin gumballs featured in this post.

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Holy Cow Parfaits

Milk Chocolate, dark chocolate, mocha, heavy cream, and Kahlua makes this the ultimate dessert.  Or as I’ve named it; the Holy Cow Parfait.  Just you wait and see!

Last month, I wrote a post which I ended up titling Skinny Mini’s.  Yes dear friends, it was a mini dessert that you could conceivably consider a no-guilt necessary dessert.  Sugar-free gelatin, a mini vanilla shortbread bite, and a tiny dollop of Mascato infused whipped cream starred in that show.  A perfect ending to a heavy meal; most definitely. 

This month however, I wanted to get away from the skinny.  I wanted a dessert that was rich, creamy, and delectably smooth.  And that’s how the Holy Cow Parfait came to be.  I decided to serve this parfait in my (oh, so cute) Just Desserts Square Mini Dishes, and my Just Dessert Parfait Dishes that I received from my friends at Libbey Glass.

So, are you ready for The Holy Cow Parfait??

Kahlua Milk Chocolate Pudding (Holy Cow Parfait)

1/2 c. sugar

2 tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

2 c. skim milk

1/2 c. milk chocolate chips, chopped fine

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp. margarine

1 tbsp. Kahlua

In a medium saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Stir in milk and milk chocolate; cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly.  Cook for 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat and gradually add 1 cup of hot milk mixture to the beaten egg. 

Return all mixture back into saucepan and cook for about 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat;  stir in margarine and Kahlua.  Transfer hot pudding into dessert dishes and place in the refrigerator while you prepare whipped cream.

Mocha Whipped Cream

1 c. heavy whipping cream

1 tsp. instant coffee granules

1/2 tsp. sugar

2 tbsp. dark chocolate, chopped fine (one tbsp. for the whipped cream; one for garnish)

In a refrigerated metal bowl, add whipping cream, instant coffee, sugar, and 1 tbsp. of chopped chocolate.  Beat with electric mixer until whipped cream is formed.   Transfer from bowl into a pastry bag and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.

Remove dessert glasses with pudding, and pastry bag filled with whipped cream, from the refrigerator.  Place whipped cream on top of each dish of pudding.  Sprinkle chopped dark chocolate on top of whipped cream as garnish.  Return to refrigerator until ready to serve.

Makes about 12 mini desserts.

I am really smitten with this dessert because the milk chocolate makes the pudding sweeter, while the whipped cream topping has a slightly bitter taste garnered from the instant coffee.  The two pair perfectly when you take a spoonful that has a little of both on it.

Have you ever made mini desserts?   If you were going to make one of these two desserts, which would you choose?  The Skinny Mini or the Holy Cow Parfait?

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Vanilla Cheesecake Bars with Blueberry Sauce

Anne, one of my most favorite bloggers From My Sweet Heart inspired me to write this post.  (She just doesn’t know it yet.)  All it took was one look at her Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Strawberries and I knew that I needed to make something cheesecakey too.  With a shortage of time and baking supplies I decided to make these Vanilla Cheesecake Bars to hold me over until I get around to making Anne’s delicious recipe which I’ve filed away for future use. 

Typically, I make individual mini cheesecakes but this time I made the recipe into bars.  

*Please note –  if you opt to make bars instead mini’s you will bake them in a 9”x13” foil lined pan. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray and bake the bars for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean when inserted in the center.  The foil helps you lift the baked bars out of the pan for easy cutting.

And for this delicious Blueberry Sauce?  The recipe can be found below.

Blueberry Sauce

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

3/4 c. of blueberries, crushed

1 c. of whole blueberries

3/4 c. water

1/2 c. granulated sugar

2 tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. butter

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

2 drops of blue food coloring (optional)

In a large saucepan, add crushed berries, water, sugar, and cornstarch.  Mix ingredients using a whip until cornstarch is completely dissolved.  On medium heat, bring mixture to a boil and stir constantly until it thickens.  Add in whole berries and remove from stove top.  Stir in butter, vanilla extract, and food coloring. 

Keep in the fridge until ready to use. Re-warm in microwave if desired.

Oh, and I almost forgot, this topping is also great on ice cream too!

What is your favorite flavor of cheesecake?  And what is your favorite topping? 

Getting Pickled

I have no room to complain about the abundance of veggies we are getting from our garden this year, especially since last year was a total wash.  The only thing that I might say is that when life has you going a hundred different directions, your garden doesn’t wait for you to catch up; it just keeps growing.

The vegetable drawers in my fridge are packed full of zucchini and cucumbers.  And now our jalapeno peppers are coming on strong.  Yes, it’s time to make homemade pepper jelly.

My mother was a domestic wonder woman, and truthfully I think she enjoyed it just as I do.  She made it all look so easy and I know that isn’t always the case.  My daughter just bummed homemade strawberry freezer jam from me (just as I did my mom), and she even asked if we could make my mom’s recipe for homemade spaghetti sauce (together) this year.  Could it be that she looks at me as a domestic wonder woman too?  She does tell me that I make blue ribbon deviled eggs and that makes me laugh every time she say’s it.  Of all the things to be admired for, it all boils down to eggs?  No pun intended.

Today, I want to share one of my mom’s recipes with you.  This is my favorite refrigerator pickle recipe.  You won’t believe how easy they are to make, and if you like sweet pickles, you won’t be able to stay out of them.  They are not overly sweet in my opinion, and they are super crunchy for a refrigerator pickle – yum!

Sheila’s Sweet Refrigerator Pickles

Makes about 2 quarts

8 medium sized cucumbers, sliced thin

1 large sweet onion, sliced thin

1/2 c. salt

In a large bowl, place cucumbers, onion, and salt.  cover with cold water and let stand 2 hours. 

Drain and lightly rinse cucumbers with cold water.  Add the following:

2 c. granulated sugar

2 tbsp. mustard seed

1 tbsp. celery seed (I used 1 tsp. of celery salt)

1 c. vinegar ( I used 1 1/2 cups of apple wine vinegar since the recipe didn’t specify)

Mix all ingredients well; cover and place in fridge. Stir a couple times a day for a day or so.  These pickles keep in the fridge for several weeks.

These pickles make a great snack, go great with a hearty sandwich, and are delicious with hamburgers or pulled pork sandwiches too. 

So, are you a sweet or dill pickle fan? 

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Skinny Mini’s

I have a proclamation to make.  I have fallen head over heels for mini desserts.  And let me tell you why – they are so stinkin cute, you can eat more than one and NOT feeling guilty, and they are darn tasty. 

I recently received some mini dessert dishes from Libbey Glass and I’m going to put them to the test.  I wanted to blossom my creativity a little and these little beauties have given me the incentive to do just that.

The first dessert I came up with is made with sugar-free raspberry gelatin.  HOLD ON!  DON’T LEAVE!  You are going to want to see this, even if it’s just out of curiosity.   

I wanted my first mini dessert to be simple, low calorie, and for a more mature audience.  Wait until you see how I adultified (new word) it.   

Please allow me to introduce … Skinny Mini’s.  A raspberry (sugar-free) gelatin topped with Mascato infused whipped cream and mini vanilla shortbread bites.

As for the taste, I ate three of them just while I was taking pictures.  When I made that announcement to my husband he laughed at me and tried to tell me that making mini’s means you ration yourself.   Nah… I don’t think so.  Not when you are talking about sugar-free gelatin, a tiny dollop of whipped cream, and a bite sized shortbread cookie I quickly retorted. 

To make Skinny Mini’s you will need (per my suggestion) one box of twelve Libby Flare Dessert Dishes and mini spoons (they are sold as a package). 

You will also need one small box of sugar-free raspberry gelatin.  Prepare the gelatin following the instructions on the box and divide it equally into the dessert glasses.  Refrigerate until firm.

Mini Vanilla Shortbread Bites

1 stick of chilled margarine

1/4 c. granulated sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. all-purpose flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, and line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, add margarine, sugar, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer until creamy. Add sifted flour, and mix until batter holds together. Spread batter onto prepared baking sheet making a square about 5”x 5”. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.  Use a mini cookie cutter to cut baked cookie dough; set aside.

Mascato Infused Whipped Cream

1/2 c. of heavy whipping cream

2 tsp. of white Mascato wine

1/2 tbsp. of granulated sugar

Place heavy cream and sugar in a chilled bowl and mix with electric mixer until cream thickens into whipped cream.  Slow drizzle the wine into the whipped cream while the beaters are going.. Using a pastry bag squeeze whipped cream on top of each gelatin dessert.  Place a mini shortbread bite on top of  each dessert topped with whipped cream; garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

Now, enjoy!

How could you possibly feel guilty indulging in these?  Really…

While Libbey did provide me with these mini dessert dishes, I was not compensated for this post, and the opinions contained herein are my very own.

Independence Day, Simply Vanilla Ice Cream, and More

Tomorrow is Independence Day, and at this point, I have no idea how we will celebrate it.  I’m not usually a big plan in advance kind of girl.  I’d much rather act on spontaneity.  Last minute barbeques, campfires, a trip to the lake, and road trips are so much for fun when they aren’t over-thought. 

Regardless of what we might decide to do on the 4th, I am sure of one thing, we will need to eat.    I’m thinking that this Bacon, Ranch, and Onion Dip will get the party started.  I’ve made this before, but it’s worth mentioning again, especially since I just made a bowl of it.

And then there are those fat slices of my Sinful Midnight Cake resting peacefully in the freezer; right next to a quart of this Simply Vanilla Ice Cream that I made.  So, I’ve got an appetizer and dessert covered.  Hey, it’s a start!

This ice cream requires no cooking or eggs.  And it’s delicious!  I found it in a booklet that came with my Crofton ice cream maker.

Simply Vanilla Ice Cream

2 c. heavy cream

1 c. whole milk (I use skim)

3/4 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix milk, cream, sugar and vanilla.  Stir until sugar has dissolved.  Follow the instructions that came with your ice cream maker.

Do you have plans made to celebrate Independence Day? Or are you like me, flying by the seat of your pants?

Happy Fourth of July!!!

FV

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Peanut Butter Fudge Ice Cream Topping

Ever make something that you can’t wait to finish so you can lick the spoon?  Me too!

Honestly, I don’t know how you couldn’t lick the spoon, your fingers, and the bowl when you’re finished making this homemade peanut butter fudge topping.  If you can resist, you’re willpower is like granite, and mine – is not.

Peanut Butter Fudge Ice Cream Topping

Makes about 1 cup

1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tbsp. sugar

1/4 c. peanut butter

1/4 c. heavy cream

1/4 c. skim milk

a pinch of salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a saucepan, add chocolate chips, sugar, salt, and peanut butter.  Melt slowly on low heat.  Pour in cream and milk and continue to stir constantly on low heat until sauce is smooth, creamy, and thickens.  Stir in vanilla; pour into a jar.  Serve on your favorite ice cream, or refrigerate until ready to use and then rewarm in the microwave.

I’ve decided if I run out of ice cream I’ll just eat this topping by the spoonful!

What is your favorite ice cream topping?

Looking for more topping ideas and recipes?

Cherry

Apple Rum

Kahlua

Peach Glace’

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