Dark Chocolate Mint Ovation Brownies

It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve made something really chocolaty and rich to share here on my blog.  Since I feel a wee bit irresponsible for not making more chocolate goodies for you, I’m making it up to you by sharing my newest chocolate brownie creation.

If you like the combination of mint and chocolate together then stick around.  These brownies (in my opinion) have the perfect texture; cake like and fudgy.  And the flavor is delicious – and that’s coming from someone who would normally prefer peanut butter to mint most any day of the week. 

These brownies will surely fit perfectly in your holiday cookie gift boxes this year.  If you don’t make cookie boxes, but are expecting to entertain guests this holiday season, then serve these up with a scoop of French Vanilla Ice cream and drizzle a little hot fudge on top – they’ll be a hit!

Instead of using mint chocolate chips in these brownies, I used Ovation Dark Mint Filled Break-A-Part candy.  These scrumptious candies come in the shape of an orange and they break apart into 20 pieces.  They also come in a variety of other unique flavors so you can really get creative when you bake using these.

Dark Chocolate Mint Ovation Brownies

1/2 c. margarine, melted

1 c. granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 c. dark chocolate mini chips, melted

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. baking cocoa

3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. chopped Dark Chocolate Mint Ovation Candy, (1/2 c. for the batter and 1/2 c. for the topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 8”x8” glass baking pan.

In a large bowl, add margarine, sugar, eggs, an melted chocolate dark mini chips; mix thoroughly.  Add baking powder, salt, cocoa, and flour.  Mix all ingredients together until blended.  Fold in 1/2 c. of chopped Ovation candy. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the pan of brownies.  Remove brownies from oven and immediately sprinkle remaining 1/2 c. of chopped Ovation candy on top.  Cool thoroughly before cutting.

Ovation Break-A-Parts also come in Milk Chocolate Raspberry, Almond, Pumpkin Spice, Orange, and Key Lime, and Dark Chocolate Orange.  Which flavor would you pick to bake with?

Candy provided by SweetWorks Candy.  I was not compensated for this post and the opinions are my own.

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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Marshmallow, Peanut Butter, and Cake Truffles

Who say’s a girl can’t have her cake and eat it too?   That’s exactly what you’re going to get in these scrumptious truffles – cake!

These little babies have already worked their way to the top of my favorites list.   

If you have someone special on your Valentine’s Day list that loves the combination of peanut butter and chocolate  like I do, these would make the perfect (homemade) gift.

Marshmallow, Peanut Butter, and Cake Truffles

1/2 c. peanut butter

2 tbsp. margarine

1 c. mini-marshmallows

3/4 c. powdered sugar

1 unfrosted chocolate cupcake, crumbled fine

3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 tbsp. vegetable shortening

In a small saucepan, melt margarine, peanut butter, and marshmallows on low heat.   Stir in cake crumbs.  Add powdered sugar and remove from heat; stirring until mixture forms a ball.

Remove from saucepan and place into small bowl.  Cover and chill in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Once dough has chilled, roll dough into 1” balls. 

Melt chocolate chips and vegetable shortening in a double boiler.  Dip balls into chocolate and place onto prepared cookie sheet.  Return to refrigerator to harden.

Makes about 1 dozen.

Strawberry Kiss Cheesecakes, The Chocoholic Cupcake, and now, Marshmallow, Peanut Butter, and Cake Truffles for Valentine’s Day.  Could it get any better than this? Nah….

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Hershey’s and a Valentine’s Day Reminder

Yes, this is a reminder to all of you that next month is the beloved Valentine’s Day.  Or, as in some cases, the dreaded Valentine’s Day.

Whichever way you  look at Valentine’s Day I doubt you will deny the fact that you enjoy indulging in a little chocolate, or some type of candy on or around the 14th of February each year.

This year alone, The Hershey Company is predicting over 36 million heart shaped boxes of chocolates will be sold.  That’s right, 36 million!  And yes, this post is all about Hershey.  Let me give you the low down…

The Hershey Company doesn’t fool around when it comes to celebrating the holidays.  They recently partnered with art students from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where they designed the heart shaped boxes for this years Hershey’s Pot of Gold Premium Collection, and Pot of Gold Truffles.  The designs are so beautiful;  I have decided my favorite is their new paisley printed heart shaped box.

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If you aren’t one of the 36 million people that is planning on buying a  heart shaped box of candy this year have no fear – Hershey has a huge selection of other candies for you to choose from.

Now, I’ve got a couple suggestions to  help put you in the Valentine’s Day mood this year.

First, be sure to check out Celebrate with Hershey’s.  There you can shop for their products,  find great holiday craft ideas and recipes, read about the history of Valentine’s Day, and send an eCard.  And don’t forget to sign up for their newsletter which offers a bunch of perks as well.

And secondly, enter my HERSHEY CANDY GIVEAWAY!  

One lucky reader of The Joy of Caking will  have the chance to win an assortment of Hershey’s delicious candy; similar to the samples I recently received.  Details about the giveaway can be found at the end of this post.

 

To enter this giveaway; leave a comment telling me your  Valentine’s Day plans this year.  For additional entries; tweet about this post, or pin a photo from it on one of your Pinterest boards.   Make sure you leave a separate comment for each action that you complete.  There is a maximum of three entries per person.  This giveaway is only open to US residents – sorry to all my friends that don’t live in the US.  One winner will randomly be selected on February 4th, 2013.

PS.  Be sure you check back to see what other fun things I do with my stash of candy!

This contest is officially over.  Congratulation to Sandra of Sweet Sensations – the lucky winner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hershey’s Peanut Butter Blossoms

Since nearly everyone is baking up a storm this month I decided to join in by making a batch of  Peanut Butter Blossom cookies. 

I haven’t made these cookies in so long.  I’m not even sure I could find the recipe in my recipe box if I wanted to – it needs some serious cleaning out.  Rather than waste my time, I went directly to Hershey’sKitchen.com for the recipe, and it should be noted that I made zero alterations to their delicious recipe.

These cookies are always a hit at cookie exchanges, holiday parties, and shared in gift boxes. 

Just one suggestion, keep them under lock and key or they will  quickly disappear!  I’m already planning on baking another batch.

I decided to use the dark chocolate kisses in my cookies, but if you’re not a dark chocolate fan just  use milk chocolate kisses instead.

Can you think of a cookie that you love but haven’t made in ages? 

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When Sweet Meets Salty

 

What do you get when you cover square pretzels with candy wafers, bake them for 3-4 minutes in a 200 degree oven, and top them off with Sixlets?

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I found this idea at BeBetsy on Pinterest who pinned it from the blog G*rated. G*rated made the treats using Hershey’s Hugs/Kisses and plain M&M’s.  I adapted the recipe and used ingredients I normally have on hand.

Use your imagination; mix colors and flavors to create your ultimate sweet and salty snacks!

Almond Joy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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It’s been awhile since I’ve made something sweet and chocolaty; entirely too long.   So, when I saw these Almond Joy Pieces I knew what needed to be done.  

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Almond Joy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

3/4 c. butter, melted

1/2 c. granulated sugar

3/4 c. brown sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 egg

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

2 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. Almond Joy Pieces

1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp.chocolate chips, semi-sweet

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 baking pan;set aside

In a large mixing bowl, add butter, sugars, vanilla and egg.  Mix by hand until thoroughly blended.  Add salt, baking soda, and flour; mix completely.  Fold in Almond Joy Pieces and chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for approximately 22-25 minutes, or until light golden brown and toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

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And lastly, enjoy!

Do you have a favorite cookie bar recipe?  If so, what is it?

If you haven’t checked out Mike and Molly’s Show & Tell this week you had better hop over there and see their post.  You won’t believe what you’re about to see!  Or will you?

Just Bee Cause

We all have people our lives that we appreciate but most of the time we forget to tell them so.

And if we do remember to tell them, how do we do it?  Usually in a way that makes us most comfortable. 

I like making homemade treats to share.  That’s my way of showing my appreciation.

Since Blair Candy Company sent me some samples of their delicious sugary confections to try I decided to pay it forward. 

I made DIY candy packages to share with those that I appreciate.

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A stamp, colored pencils, some bright colored paper, and phrases printed from the computer helped me pull this DIY project together.

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There is very little expense in making these tokens of appreciation; just a little creativity. 

How do you show your appreciation?

Snickers Cheesecake and Blair Candy Company

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Blair Candy Company recently sent me a box of candy to sample.  And yes, Snickers bars were in the box!

Blair Candy is located in Altoona, PA.  They have been a family run business for 71 years and they specialize in wholesale and retail  candy distribution.

If you have a few minutes to spare, check out their candy blog, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.  Their social links can be found to the bottom right of their website.

As far as candy bars go, Snickers have always been one of my favorites.  They tie for first place with Reese Peanut Butter Cups.

I decided to use a couple of the Snickers bars I received in a cheesecake.  What could be better than a cheesecake?  A cheesecake with Snickers of course!

Graham Cracker Crust Recipe

1 1/4 c. crushed graham crackers

3 tbsp. butter, melted

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 Snickers bar chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a 6” round cake pan with aluminum foil.

In a medium bowl, add all ingredients except Snickers bar; mix thoroughly.  Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan using a small glass. 

Bake for 6 minutes and remove from oven.  Sprinkle chopped Snickers bar over the top of the crust and return to the oven for 1 minute.  Remove from oven and allow crust to cool.

Cheesecake Filling Recipe

8 oz. light cream cheese

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In medium bowl, add all ingredients and mix with electric mixer until light and creamy.  Pour filling over of prepared crust.  Bake for about 40 minutes, or until center of cake is firm.

Remove from oven and cool completely. 

Cheesecake Topping

1 Snickers bar, chopped

1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Sprinkle Snickers over cake and drizzle melted chocolate on top.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate for later.

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Where do you buy your candy from?  What’s your favorite candy bar?

Homemade Lemon Cupcakes and Giveaway Reminder

Earlier this week I decorated homemade lemon cupcakes with Celebration candies from SweetWorks Inc. If you aren’t familiar with SweetWorks, they are a large manufacturer and distributor of well known candies.,

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If you haven’t checked out my original post yet then please do so because SweetWorks has sponsored a generous giveaway here at The Joy of Caking and the contest ends tomorrow. 

As promised, here is the recipe for the homemade lemon cupcakes I featured in my earlier post.

Lemon Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Line cupcake tins with paper cupcake wrappers.  I made 2 dozen mini’s and 9 regular size cupcakes.

1/2 c. butter, softened

1 1/4 c. granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. sour milk

1 lemon juiced into 1/2 cup; fill the remainder of the 1/2 cup with hot water

lemon zest from 1/2 of a lemon

1 c. plus 2 heaping tbsp. all-purpose flour

Add butter, sugar, and eggs to a large mixing bowl.  Mix until creamy.  Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly and until batter  appears fluffy.

Spoon batter to each paper liner; filling each cup about 2/3 full. 

Bake mini’s for approximately 10 minutes, and regular sized cupcakes for approximately 16 minutes. 

Allow cupcakes to cool completely before removing them from tins.  Once cupcakes are completely cool; frost with your favorite icing.  I made a vanilla buttercream icing and used a clear vanilla extract to obtain a pure white icing.

I froze these cupcakes and we are having them for Easter dessert.  What are you making for your Easter dessert?