Tag Archives: snack

Peppermint chocolate fudge.

I know this is the wrong time of year for this…but I don’t care. In my opinion, there is no wrong time of year to make fudge.

Peppermint chocolate fudge.

Peppermint chocolate fudge.

This is a twist on the classic fudge recipe my mom gave me years ago (and she makes the best fudge).  I’m pretty sure it’s the same recipe that’s on the Kraft marshmallow creme jar, but with microwave directions instead of stovetop.  Still, you know those fudge squares that you spend four bucks on because it’s just so good?  This is every bit as good (with or without the peppermint).  I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (or 12 oz. Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate)
  • 7 oz. jar Kraft marshmallow creme
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 capful peppermint oil
  • 10-12 Starlite peppermint candies

(Omit the last two ingredients for classic chocolate fudge.  Which is also delicious.)

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Use a large (4-qt is good) microwaveable bowl.  Start with just the butter.

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Microwave butter until melted (usually about a minute on high will do it).

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Add sugar and evaporated milk.

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Mix well.  Microwave three minutes.  Stir.  Microwave two minutes.  Stir well, scraping bowl.

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Microwave another three minutes.  Stir.  Microwave another two and half minutes.  Can you guess what you do then?  (…Stir!)

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Add the chocolate chips and stir until melted.

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Add the marshmallow creme, vanilla, and peppermint oil and stir well to mix.

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It takes a while.

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Eventually it will all come out the same color.

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Dump it into a greased 9″ x 9″ or 13″ x 9″ pan.  You can use a spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth it out.

This part is pretty fun.

This part is pretty fun.

You’ll need to crush the candies before using them to top the fudge.  Put the unwrapped candies in a ziploc bag.  Find a hard, undamageable surface (I used the marble in front of my fireplace; I’ve also used the driveway or sidewalk in the past).  Lay down a towel, put the bag of candies on one half of it, and fold the towel over so the bag is sandwiched between the towel layers.  Then go to town with a hammer!  I usually use an actual hammer for this, but I found this meat pulverizer in my drawer (I think my mother-in-law must’ve bought it last time she was here), which worked quite well (I used the flat, not pokey, side).

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Do feel around and aim for the whole candies and big chunks, and don’t hit harder or more often than you need to.  You don’t want all dust.  Also, the sharp pieces can poke holes in the bag, which is the main reason you need the towel.

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Use your fingers to drop the candy pieces over the fudge.

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Let it cool at room temperature (or refrigerate) before cutting it into squares.

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Then, EAT YOUR WEIGHT IN FUDGE.  This stuff never lasts long in my house!  It’s sooooo gooooooooooood…..

But, a word of warning…

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This is what those pretty candy pieces will look like about twenty-four hours later.  So, if you’re making this for a party or event, don’t do it the day before!  Or at least don’t add the topping until the day of.  I have no idea what causes the candies to…melt…or whatever, but it’s not very pretty.  It does not, however, affect the taste!  In fact, I actually prefer it softer, over the crunchiness of the fresh candies.

Here’s the recipe, for your cut-and-paste convenience:

(Peppermint) Chocolate Fudge

  • 1½ sticks butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • ⅔ cup evaporated milk (5 oz can)
  • 12 oz Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate (or 2 cups chips)
  • 1 jar (7 oz) Kraft marshmallow crème
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Optional: 1 capful peppermint oil
  • Optional: 12-16 Starlite peppermint candies, crushed
  1. Microwave butter in 4-quart bowl on high for one minute or until melted.
  2. Add sugar and evaporated milk. Mix well.
  3. Microwave 3 minutes.   Microwave 2 minutes.  Stir well, scraping bowl.
  4. Microwave 3 minutes.   Microwave 2½ minutes.
  5. Stir in chips until melted.
  6. Add remaining ingredients (except for crushed candies, for peppermint fudge) and mix well.
  7. Pour into greased 9×9 or 13×9 pan (for peppermint fudge: top with crushed candies).
  8. Let cool at room temperature (or refrigerate) before cutting into squares.

Enjoy!

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The Chex Mix.

Anyone else counting down the days till Dragon*Con?  I got my “progress report” in the mail last week and drooled over it for half an hour.  Most excited for: Amy Acker!  She was scheduled for the Whedonverse and “Dollhouse” panels I attended last year, but had to cancel at the last minute due to illness.  Super excited to get to see her this year (*fingers crossed she remains in good health*)!  Biggest disappointment: NO WALKING DEAD.  I mean, NONE.  Last year, the stars of the show were scheduled for four panels over the weekend, one each day of the con, and even though I was a full season behind (damn you, Netflix), I decided to go despite the inevitable major spoilers.  Wil and I waited in line for nearly two hours for the first panel (on Friday); once everyone was in and seated, we got word that the cast was running late….and half an hour later, it was determined that they would not make it at all.  But it was early in the con….surely I could catch them later, right?  I had scheduling conflicts the following two days, so I tried again on Monday….to the same result.  Seriously, they made it to the two I couldn’t go to, and ditched the two panels I did–BOTH of them!  And this year, we’ve actually had cable, so I watched season four live, and I was so looking forward to being able to enjoy the panels without spoilers.  But NO ONE from WD is on the list in the progress report–and the show’s freaking filmed IN ATLANTA!!  GAH!  So. Disappointing.

Anyway….now that that’s out of the way, I’m cheating a little on this post.  I’m sharing an awesome recipe that isn’t mine, but it’s just too good not to urge you to try it….

You’ve probably seen it on Pinterest: “Better Than Sex” Chex Mix.

I think it really is...

I think it really is…

I did make a couple changes:

First, the recipe only calls for one cup of mini Reese’s cups.  Like that’s enough chocolate candy.  (Psh.)  I’ve made this three times, and added a cup of Rolos or mini Rolos every time, and let me tell you, it is sooo worth it.  I’ve considered adding M&Ms, too…or chunks of Heath bars…or Butterfingers….It’s a very customizeable recipe, so go ahead, add your own favorite candies!  (Also, I omit the sea salt.)

Second, I am utter crap at melting chocolate.  Even when I follow the directions to a T, I still end up burning it.  Doesn’t matter how often I stir it, it still burns.  So I use the double boiler method, without a real double boiler: I fill my smallest pot halfway with water, put it on medium heat, and balance my next-biggest pot on top of it with the chocolate dumped in.  It takes longer, I’m sure, but at least I don’t burn endless cups of chocolate chips that I’d rather eat than waste!

All in all, it’s kind of a royal pain to make, but it’s soooo goooooood that you’ll make it again anyway.

Is your mouth watering yet?

Is your mouth watering yet?

And, of course, I have to tell you about the first time I made this.  I’d stumbled upon the recipe on Pinterest and was looking for an excuse to make it shortly after we’d moved to Atlanta for my husband’s job.  He works for a missions organization, so, naturally, most of his coworkers are current or former missionaries and church planters.  And, naturally, my first opportunity to make this inappropriately-named dessert was for a work get-together….I kept my mouth shut as everyone dug in, but I’d made the mistake of mentioning to my husband what it was called, so after hearing a few exclamations of how good this stuff was, he turned to me and loudly asked, “What’s this called again?”  In a room full of missionaries.  Whom I barely knew.  I turned bright red and mumbled the name under my breath, but, alas, he did not let me off so easy, and made me repeat it for everyone to hear.  Fortunately, most Christians are actually not as uptight and prudish as you might think, and we all had a good laugh; the laughs continued as there were a couple concurrences on the truth of the name!

So, go make this Chex mix!  It’s amazing.  Some might say it’s even better than….never mind.


Fried Cheesy Bites.

One of the things I miss the most about Indiana is Culver’s.  The closest one from where I live now is a good two hours away, so I haven’t been to one in a while now.  There are two things on the menu that I miss in particular: they have best frozen custard (I like my Concrete Mixer with peppermint syrup and crushed pieces of Heath bar), and I could eat my weight in their Wisconsin Cheese Curds.

I’ve really been craving those cheese curds lately.  So the other day, I loosely followed this recipe that I’d pinned ages ago, and made my own fried cheesy bites of heaven (okay, so they’re not as good as Culver’s’, but they’re still stinkin’ good).

Easy fried cheesy bites.

Easy fried cheesy bites.

They’re super easy to make, and you only need a few ingredients.

Ingredients.

Ingredients.

You’ll need:

  • Vegetable oil (enough to submerge your cheesy bites in your pan)
  • 4-5 sticks of string cheese (any kind)
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

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First, fill your pan with enough oil to submerge your coated bites in (the amount will vary by the size of the pan).  Heat the oil on medium heat while you start on your prep.

Assembly line!

Assembly line!

Put the flour in one bowl, the egg (beaten) in another, and the bread crumbs in a third.

Experimentation time.

Experimentation time.

You’ll need four to five sticks of string cheese.  I’ve made these three times this week, and I used all mozzarella the first two times, and decided to experiment with mozarella/cheddar and colby jack the third time.

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Chop ’em up!  How small you go is up to you; I like cutting mine pretty small so there’s more of them to munch on (yes, I understand that it’s still the same amount of cheese, no matter how you cut it).

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Dump them in the flour.

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Using a spoon, stir cheese pieces to coat them in flour.

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If you have a little strainer like this, use it to shake out the excess flour.  If not, just use your hands: pick up each piece and shake off the excess flour before dropping it into the beaten egg.

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(The strainer works much better than doing it by hand.)

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Dump the floured pieces into the bowl of beaten egg.

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Using a fork, stir the cheese pieces to coat them in egg.

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Next, move them a few at a time into the bread crumbs.  Shake off excess egg; I find it’s easiest to fish a few pieces out of the egg with the fork, then pick them up with my fingers to shake them off and drop them into the bread crumbs.

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Stir with the fork to coat the pieces in bread crumbs.  Make sure that none of them are stuck together; you want each piece to be coated on all sides.

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Now they’re ready for frying!  Drop a couple pieces into the oil to see how hot it is.  If they turn dark golden brown within seconds, it’s too hot–take your pan off the heat for a few minutes and turn your stove down a little when you put it back on, and then fry your bites in batches of a stick’s worth or so at a time, monitoring them so they don’t burn.  If your trial bites stay pale (the oil should still bubble around them), then your oil’s not quite hot enough yet, but you can dump all the pieces in at once and they’ll fry slowly as it continues to heat.  They turn out fine both ways (so long as you watchfully don’t let them burn).

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Take them out when they’re a nice golden brown.

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Put paper towels on your plate to absorb excess oil.  Let them cool for a few minutes–but not too long, because they’re best hot!

Look at that glorious, golden, cheesy goodness...my mouth is watering now....

Look at that glorious, golden, cheesy goodness…my mouth is watering now….

So they’re not quite Culver’s, but they’re pretty darn good, and super easy!

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For your cut-and-paste convenience:

Fried Cheesy Bites

  • Vegetable oil (enough to submerge bites in pan)
  • 4-5 cheese sticks (any kind)
  • ⅓-½ cup flour
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • ⅓-½ cup Italian bread crumbs
  1. Heat vegetable oil in pan or skillet over medium heat.
  2. Chop cheese sticks into small bite-size pieces.
  3. Coat cheese pieces in flour.
  4. Shake excess flour off of cheese pieces.
  5. Drop cheese pieces into beaten egg and stir to coat.
  6. Shake off excess egg from cheese pieces.
  7. Coat in bread crumbs, taking care to coat all sides of each piece.
  8. Drop coated cheese pieces into hot oil; fry until golden brown.
  9. Remove golden brown cheesy bites from oil and let cool slightly on paper towel.

Enjoy!

 

 


Frozen Pineapple Cranberry Bites.

Summer’s coming!  At least, I think it is….so this seems like a good time to introduce you to a great summer snack!

Frozen pineapple cranberry bites: three ingredients.

Frozen pineapple cranberry bites: three ingredients.

This one’s super easy, folks.  Just three ingredients:

Three ingredients: crushed pineapple, whole cranberry sauce, and vanilla yogurt.

Three ingredients: crushed pineapple, whole cranberry sauce, and vanilla yogurt.

  • 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 14 oz can whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
Dump.

Dump.

Dump all the ingredients into a large bowl.

Mix.

Mix.

Stir to mix.

Spoon into mold.

Spoon into mold.

Spoon into a freezable tray (I use my silicon mini-muffin trays).

Freeze.

Freeze.

Pop ’em in the freezer for a while.

Done!

Done!

Aaaaaand, they’re done.

See?  Super easy.

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I pop all of mine out of the tray and store them in the freezer in an airtight container, with foil between each layer.  Whatever doesn’t fit in that gets tossed into a freezer bag; they stick together a little that way, but it’s not too bad.

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It’s better than sugary popsicles on all those hot days coming up, right?  (They are coming, right?)

Fun with shapes!

Fun with shapes!

There’s always too much for just two trays, and I’m never in the mood to freeze them in batches, so I used one of my Christmas trays for the remainder.

Snowflakes!

Snowflakes!

These snacks hold their shape pretty well!  At least until they start melting…

Cooooooold!

Cooooooold!

I think it’s been about a year since I last made these for Kaylie; she was a bit taken aback by how cold they were!

And for your cut-and-paste convenience:

Frozen Pineapple-Cranberry Bites

  • 1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 can (14 oz) whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl.
  2. Pour into freezable tray (e.g., silicon muffin tray).
  3. Freeze at least 3 hours.

Now, all we need is some warmer weather! 🙂