Tag Archives: sweets

Valentine’s Homemade Brownie Truffles

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and one of the most special gifts you can give is homemade!  These brownie truffles are extremely easy and super fun to decorate.  Create a beautiful variety, uniquely decorated with just a handful of supplies.

Valentine Chocolate Edible Gifts

Recipe:

The easy part is using a box of brownie mix baked following the instructions on the box.  The brownies filled a 9 x 9 inch baking pan.  Once removed from the oven, slightly cool, then crumble into a bowl to cool completely.  Create uniform 1 inch balls (easiest using a cookie scoop) and place in an air-tight container until ready to decorate.

Dip each brownie ball into melting chocolates:

There are a few different ways to melt chocolate, but I prefer the double boiler method.  Boil 1 inch of water in a large sauce pan, placing a larger heat proof bowl on top of the saucepan.  This technique prevents the chocolate from scorching.  Once the water is simmering, place the chocolates in the bowl on top and stir until melted.  Note to add 1 teaspoon of Crisco to create a smooth finish.  Roll each brownie ball in the chocolate removing with a fork and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or foil.  A few truffles were decorated with sprinkles or sanding sugars immediately.

I started with a 1/2 cup of white chocolate melting wafers to decorate a quarter of brownie balls.  Then added milk chocolate wafers to the same bowl and mixed with the remaining white chocolate. 

Decoration ideas:

Any leftover chocolate?  Don’t toss it…pipe mini chocolate hearts onto wax paper and let them cool completely.  They will easily peel off to use as decorations.

The undecorated chocolate covered balls were enhanced with glaze.  Starting with plain white glaze – 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, 1 teaspoon of corn syrup and 1-2 tablespoons of milk.  Mix until a thick, smooth consistency.  Pipe a few, drizzle a few, add a drop of red food coloring to create pink…have fun!

SweetStackers chocolate truffle  storage
SweetStackers homemade Valentine truffles

Once the decorations have set, the truffles should be place in an air-tight container.  Each truffle could be placed in mini cupcake liner to separate.  Give a beautiful gift showing off your little works of art using a pretty container!  This red tin with a clear see-thru lid is perfect!

Sweet Stackers Edible Gift Valentines

Sweet StackersTM is a versatile system used to store and transport layers of baked goods in any container!   The product was designed to maximize food storage space preventing cookies and desserts from sticking together and protecting the topping, decorations or icing.  Visit sweetstackers.com for more information about our product.  Sweet Stackers can be found on our Etsy shop.

Sweet Stackers Valentine Chocolate Gift

Rollo Turtles

These are just way too cute using the holiday shaped pretzels.  The combination of salt, caramel and sweet chocolate = yum!  Perfect for a gluten-free recipe too.   Rollo Turtles were brought to our 2013 cookie exchange party.

Gluten Free Rollo Turtles

Rollo Turtles

Rollo Turtles

20 small mini pretzels

20 chocolate covered caramel candies (Rollo)

20 pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300°.

Arrange the pretzels in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Place one chocolate covered caramel candy on each pretzel.

Bake for 4 minutes.  While the candy is warm, press a pecan half onto each candy covered pretzel.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Salted Dark Chocolate Turtle Candies

Salty, check!  Sweet, check!  Salty & Sweet, check, check!  Next week, I am hosting a cookie exchange party for some of my friends and neighbors.  One batch of cookies is made and ready to go, then I saw this recipe on my favorite new blog called “If You Give a Blonde a Kitchen“.  Wouldn’t a batch of turtle candies be perfect as a sweet addition to a cookie swap table?

Turtle candies are easy to make and only require a few ingredients – pecans, chocolate, caramel and a sprinkle of salt!

Salted Dark Chocolate Candies

Dark Chocolate Turtle Candies

3 ounces pecan halves

1 – 11 ounce bag of individually wrapped caramels

2 teaspoons milk

1 cup chocolate chips; milk/dark

1 tablespoon shortening

coarse sea salt

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Place 2 pecan halves next to each other, repeat 30 times.

Melt caramel and milk in a heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally.  Scoop a teaspoonful of caramel over each set of pecans.  Let cool.

Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate (add shortening to make a smooth finish).  Place a teaspoonful of melted chocolate on the other cookie sheet.  Add the caramel covered pecan on top of the chocolate.  Repeat for the remaining pecans.  Drizzle chocolate over and sprinkle a small amount of coarse salt on top.

Refrigerate to let the chocolate set.  I used the little Sweet Stackers risers to stack the two cookies sheets together.  This condensed the amount of space in my refrigerator.

SweetStackers Chocolate Turtle Candies

Once the chocolate sets, place in an airtight container.

Ready for the cookie exchange!

SweetStackers Turtle Chocolates

Christmas Magic Bars

Simple, Festive, Sweet – the perfect Christmas treat!

There are many variations of “Magic Bars” out there, so I added a little twist of my of my own to make them look more festive for the holidays and also made them with a chocolate graham cracker crust.  The pop of color using the red M&Ms and white chocolate chips looked so pretty on my holiday table.

Holiday Magic Bars

Christmas Magic Bars

2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs

½ cup (5 ½ tablespoons) butter; melted

1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 ½ cups chocolate chips

¼ cup red M&Ms

¼ cup white chocolate chips

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350º F.

In a large bowl combine graham cracker crumbs and butter; press mixture onto the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan.  Pour condensed milk evenly over crumbs.  Combine the chocolate chips and coconut, then spread evenly over the condensed milk.  Sprinkle the red M&Ms and white chocolate chips on top, followed by the chopped pecans.  Press down lightly.  Bake 25 minutes or until set.  Cool completely.  Cut into bars.  Store in an air tight container.

Holiday Magic Bars

Ready to store and transport to a holiday event on my Sweet Stackers!  The Christmas Magic Bars were transferred to a pretty crystal plate to pass around this formal event.

Dessert Storage Magic Bars

Sweet StackersTM are the solution to layering pastries, cookies, bakery or even finger foods in one storage container without disturbing their appearance or plainly having them stick together.  Sweet StackersTM allow you to store your bakery in an air tight container by using a stackable tray system.  Visit sweetstackers.com for more ideas on how to use Sweet StackersTM.

 

Edible Gifts for the Holidays

If you are looking for the perfect gift, why not go with something homemade and edible?  Homemade gifts are special, thoughtful, made-from-the-heart and do not have to be difficult to make.  Edible gifts will definitely impress your friend and family.  Don’t forget to package them in pretty containers or boxes wrapped with beautiful ribbon!

Edible Dessert Gift Box

Sweet Stackers are reusable, stackable trays that separate and protect your sweet treats without them sticking together.  Christmas cookies can be safely stored in multiple layers.  They are ideal for cookies that have a jelly filling on top or icing that you don’t want smudged.  Not only will they help you neatly store bakery in your container, they can also separate the sweet treats that you are giving as gifts.  Mix and match your treats without a sticky mess; cookies on one layer, brittle or bark on a different layer and chocolates or truffles on another layer.

Sweet Stackers Edible Gifts Sweet Stackers - Reusable Trays 9" Pie Box and Sweet Stackers Sweet Stackers Stackable Trays

These pumpkin shaped spritz cookies turned out super cute decorated with “Sparkle Gel”.  Imagine that possibilities for spritz Christmas cookies?  These were packaged in a 9″x9″ pie box and separated with 8″x8″ Sweet Stackers trays.  Wouldn’t these sweet treats make a thoughtful hostess gift or an easy way to transport dessert to Thanksgiving dinner.

Let’s revisit some of my favorite PartyKitchen cookies and sweet treats that could make a delicious homemade gift for that special someone!

Egg Nog Cookies

Reindeer Peanut Butter Cookies

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies

Kolacky

Merry Berry Peanut Butter Cookies

Cherry Chocolate Kisses

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

What type of homemade edible gifts are you planning to make this season?

Sour Cream Apple Bars

Fall is in the air and it’s time to celebrate the apple harvest!  This recipe produced a comforting, warm right-out-of-the-oven, scrumptious dessert – perfect on a gloomy fall-like day.

Sour Cream Apple Bars

Sour Cream Apple Bars

Crust:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice

Filling:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3 apples (2 cups), unpeeled, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Combine the softened butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add the remaining crust ingredients until well combined.

Press half of the crust into an ungreased 9×13 pan and bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned.

Mix all of the filling ingredients by hand.  Pour the filling over the partially baked crust.  Crumbled the remaining crust on top and press down lightly.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown.  Cool completely before cutting into bars (or carefully sneak one out).

Store in the refrigerator.

Sweet Stackers - Sour Cream Apple Bars

Dessert bars like these Sour Cream Apple Bars store neatly in one air-tight container using Sweet StackersTM stackable trays.  Stores perfectly in the refrigerator without a mess and transports easy to a party.  Visit my website for more information sweetstackers.com!

Kolacky – Stack and freeze them!

Yesterday, I went to Czech-Moravian picnic.  There was Czech food, traditional folk dancing and yummy homemade desserts!  This reminded me of a post that I wrote before last Christmas about Kolacky (i.e. Kolache, kolace, kolach, koláče).  Kolacky are a Czech cookie filled with fruit, poppyseed or cheese.  Many other eastern European countries also make them or something similar.  Check out my post to view the recipe…my recipe produces a moist kolacky dough because it uses a handful of ingredients including cream cheese.  The best part of kolacky is that they can be filled with any flavor of fruit filling.  I think my favorite is when they are filled with apricot.

Kolaches

Raspberry and Apricot Kolacky

My family and I usually bake kolacky for the holidays.  Kolacky are the perfect dessert after a large feast because they are bite sized.  You can always squeeze at least one in!  Since there are so many foods to prepare for a holiday dinner, we bake kolacky a couple of weeks in advance and freeze them.   They freeze perfect!  But, they can’t be stacked in the same container because of the jelly or fruit filling.  I had an idea to design trays that fit in air-tight plastic food storage containers….and that is how SweetStackers came about!  Using the Stackable Food Storage System, you can layer a whole batch of kolacky or any cookies, bars or pastries in two or three layers, in one typical 3″ container without them sticking together.  This makes is possible to place only one container in your refrigerator, freezer or pantry.

Do you make any cookies or bakery that are hard to store in an air-tight container?  Please share and link to your recipes!!

Is it a brownie? Is it a cookie?

It doesn’t matter because my sweet tooth had a craving for chocolate and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies or brownies.  Thanks to Betty Crocker, this recipe is the best of both worlds AND I didn’t even need to make a hard choice – ha!  Oh and why stop there with chocolate?  To make these even more decadent, I made a homemade chocolate ganache to top the brownies – check out my recipe below!

Now truthfully, my family and I didn’t eat the whole pan in one sitting.  I cut a few small portions for us to enjoy and froze the rest.  Next time we have a craving for chocolate chip cookie dough brownies, it is as easy as pulling a couple from our freezer.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownie Ganache

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

1 box Betty Crocker® Original Supreme Premium brownie mix  (Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on brownie mix box)

1 pouch Betty Crocker® chocolate chip cookie mix (1/2 cup butter or margarine and 1 egg called for on cookie mix pouch)

Preheat oven to 350° (325º for dark or nonstick pan) and grease a 9″ x 14″ pan.

Make brownie mix according to the directions on the box and spread in the bottom of the pan.

Make cookie dough according to the directions on the pouch and drop heaping tablespoonful of dough into the brownies mix.  Press lightly to even out.

Bake 40-45 minutes until a inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool completely before topping the brownies.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownie

…and if these brownies are not decadent enough, top with Chocolate Ganache once cooled.

Chocolate Ganache

1 – 10 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate morsels

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

6 Tbsp butter

In a double boiler, heat cream and butter until just before the boiling stage.  Add the bag of chocolate morsels and stir to combine until melted and luscious.

Pour ganache over brownies and let set before cutting.

Blueberry Almond Cookies

Blueberries are scrumptious and I can’t seem to get enough of them lately.  I was looking for a cookie that would be perfect for an afternoon tea and found inspiration from a recipe that I wanted to try a while ago on Baker Bettie’s blog.  Her recipe for “Soft and Fluffy Blueberry Lemon Cookies” http://bakerbettie.com/2012/02/22/soft-and-fluffy-blueberry-lemon-cookies/ look heavenly…as well as her beautiful photography.  I used the base recipe and added a couple of touches of my own.  These Blueberry Almond Cookies turned out delish!

Sifting Blueberry Cookie Ingredients

Blueberry Almond Cookies Recipe

1 C unsalted butter, softened

1 C granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 C all-purpose flour, sifted

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 C blanched almond slices

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Sift flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together.  Note: Measure 3 C of flour and sift it by itself, then measure 3 C flour to use for the recipe.  You would be surprised how much is left over, this will keep your cookies lighter! 

Cream the butter and gradually add the sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat the eggs one at a time, then add the almond extract.

Slowly add the flour mixture, scraping the side of the bowl to ensure all of the ingredients are combined.

Once the dough comes together, gently fold in the blueberries and almonds.  I wrapped the dough in a sheet of wax paper and refrigerated for a couple of hours.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Drop a tablespoon of dough on a cookies sheet (or use a cookie scoop).  Bake from 11-14 minutes until the bottoms are lightly browned.

Blueberry Cookie Dough on Cookie Sheet

The cookies turned out delicious….soft, fluffy, cake-like and a slight crunch from the almonds!

Blueberries were the inspiration for this beautiful, relaxing afternoon tea.