Peppermint Chocolate Graham Cracker Dessert

Tomorrow I plan on making a slew of cookies and a cake from scratch..two dozen butterscotch chocolate cookies, three dozen or more spritz cookies, 24 whip cream filled chocolate cupcakes and an oreo cheesecake. I just didn’t feel like this holiday was complete for me without a minty treat.  Here is what I found to be the quickest and tastiest treat for everyone with a ‘minty’ tooth like yours truly. (I love mint!)

Peppermint Chocolate Graham Cracker Dessert
11 Graham crackers (full sheets)
1 cup Chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 stick of unsalted butter
3 large candy canes, crushed into bits

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

On a tin foil or parchment paper covered cookie sheet, line up the graham crackers.

 

IMG_6177

 

In a small saucepan over medium heat melt the brown sugar and butter.

IMG_6178IMG_6179

Pour sugar mixture over the graham crackers and spread across till all covered.

IMG_6180

Place in oven and let bake for 6 minutes.  The mixture will be bubbling and rising a touch above the rim of the sheet.

Add chocolate chips, and spread as they melt.

IMG_6181

Add the smashed candy canes (or any topping you’d prefer–if I was in an allergy free home, I would use salted almonds!)

IMG_6182IMG_6184

Once the chocolate is set, cut and serve!

IMG_6197 IMG_6198

Advertisements

Candy Sushi

The ingredients!
The ingredients!

Candy Sushi

You will need to make a batch of Rice Krispies Treats.

The recipe is as follows:
3 tbsp butter
1 10oz package of marshmallows
6 cups of dry Rice Krispies

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter slowly, add in the marshmallows, and melt completely. Add in the cereal and mix well.

Then you need to have a lightly greased wax paper covered baking sheet to spread out the mixture to cool. I used my hands, greased with cooking spray, to flatten and mold the cereal across the sheet.

To make the Nigiri style sushi, the fish on top of the rice, start by taking a handful of the cereal mixture and molding it into shape.

After making the Rice Krispie Treats lay them out onto a lightly oiled parchment sheet and spread out with hands. Let cool a bit and start making sushi! Shown here are the Nigiri Style sushi, fish over rice.  :)
After making the Rice Krispie Treats lay them out onto a lightly oiled parchment sheet and spread out with hands. Let cool a bit and start making sushi! Shown here are the Nigiri Style sushi, fish over rice. 🙂
The Nigiri coming along quite nice!
The Nigiri coming along quite nice!

Once the shapes are formed, take a candy fish and place on top.  Taking a fruit roll up, cut into strips, surround the fish to keep it in place.

Lay a swedish fish on top and then wrap with a strip of a roll up. DONE!
Lay a swedish fish on top and then wrap with a strip of a roll up. DONE!

To make the Maki Roll type of sushi, the wrapped roll, take some cereal in your hand and shape it into a marshmallow puff..not a circle and not a square.  Make sure these pieces are bite sized.  Once shaped, cover the outside with the fruit roll up and then add in the jellied candies in by pressing them firmly into the center while holding the whole treat in your hand.

With these, I rolled the treats and placed Mike and Ikes in the center, then covered with a strip of rollup on the outer edge to mimic Maki Rolls.  Super cute! And yum!
With these, I rolled the treats and placed Mike and Ikes in the center, then covered with a strip of rollup on the outer edge to mimic Maki Rolls. Super cute! And yum!
Another shot
Another shot
All set up on a Japanese styled plate separated with sushi grass.
All set up on a Japanese styled plate separated with sushi grass.
Close up
Close up
Another shot
Another shot
Close up
Close up

I saved a few date night’s worth of sushi grass for this project, which is where I got what you are seeing in these photos. Real easy to wash!

For those that are dairy intolerant, I made marshmallow sushi bites in both the Nigiri and Maki roll style.  Same application of the candy, just on a marshmallow!

These were for our dairy intolerant friends, all candy sushi made with marshmallows. Real cute!
These were for our dairy intolerant friends, all candy sushi made with marshmallows. Real cute!

To complete the look of sushi, for my daughters’ birthday, where we used the candy sushi, I added a touch of more whimsy by using packaged cake snacks cut into thirds to mimic more Maki Rolls.

Cut up some premade cake rolls to make it look like a mix of sushi. Super cute!
Cut up some premade cake rolls to make it look like a mix of sushi. Super cute!
Up close
Up close
All set out on the table.
All set out on the table.

This project was so much fun to do and everyone really enjoyed it!

Vanilla Frosting

Vanilla Frosting
1 cup shortening
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp tepid water

In a mixing bowl, place the sugar and the shortening, turn on the mixer on medium. Then add in the water until the frosting is at the consistency you like, less stiff for frosting cakes and more stiff for icing. Then add in the extract, and done!
 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Frosting!
Frosting!

Apple Pie

Apple Pie

4 lbs Granny Smith Apples, washed, cored, cut into quartered pieces and peeled
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup raw sugar (Sugar in the Raw), and 1 tbsp for topping crust
1 tspn salt
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tspn ground nutmeg
1/8 tspn ground allspice
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 pre-made pie crust (follow directions on package)
1 egg beaten with a tbsp water for egg wash.

Some of your ingredients
Some of your ingredients

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine in a bowl: cut apples with the zests, juices, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

Core and slice the apples.
Core, slice and peel the apples.
Grate an entire orange for the zest.
Grate an entire orange for the zest. Use the juice from this fresh orange.
Same with the lemon
Same with the lemon
Add in a 1/3 cup Sugar in the Raw (raw sugar)
Add in all the dry ingredients (already aded allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.) then add a 1/3 cup Sugar in the Raw (raw sugar)
Add in 1/2 cup flour
Add in 1/2 cup flour
Mix well.
Mix well.

Roll out half the pie dough and drape it over a 9-inch pie pan, bring it about 1/2-inch over the rim.

Place rolled out dough over bottom of pie pan.
Place rolled out dough over bottom of pie pan.

Fill the pie with the apple mixture.

Fill empty pan with apple mixture.
Fill empty pan with apple mixture.

Brush the edge of the bottom pie crust with the egg wash. This will keep the crusts together.

Top with the second crust, bringing the edge 1 inch over the rim.
Crimp the 2 crusts together with your fingers.

Pinch the dough to seal the bottom with the top.
Pinch the dough to seal the bottom with the top.

Brush the entire top crust with the egg wash, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar, and cut 4 or 5 slits.

Egg wash the whole top, then sprinkle on 1 tbsp of raw sugar and cut vent slices on top of the dough.
Egg wash the whole top, then sprinkle on 1 tbsp of raw sugar and cut vent slices on top of the dough.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 1 -1 1/4 hours.

Let pie cook till browned* and the juices boil and bubble out.

*If your crust edges are browning too quickly, cover with tin foil so they don’t burn. (nothing worse than making this delicious pie and the crust burns!)

20130727-193825.jpg

Done!

Not only does your house smell insanely good after baking this, but you now have a delicious fool proof apple pie! Enjoy!

Flower Cupcakes

As my oldest daughter turned two, in 2007, I was fresh out of the hospital after having her baby sister. With the help, and gracious offer from my parents to host her birthday at their house, my husband and I were able to throw her a great party; and we were able to make the sweetest cupcakes for her, too.

The theme to her party was simple, a butterfly garden. We had purchased everything in pink and green; the balloons, streamers, napkins, tablecloths, plates, utensils, servingware..everything! Hmm, now that I am posting these recent birthday blogs, I see I have an obsession with green and pink!

The cupcake idea was a brainstorm of my husband and mine after seeing candy butterflies in a cupcake book I bought for this occasion. But as we started to cut and place them on top, the flowers were naturally appearing and were prettier. Our oldest daughter loved them!

Cupcakes with Marshmallow flowers and green maraschino cherry centers
Cupcakes with Marshmallow flowers and green maraschino cherry centers

Here is what you’ll need:
A bag of regular sized marshmallows- cut into pieces
Colored sugar
1 Jar of green maraschino cherries, 1 half cherry per cupcake
1 Glass of water
1 Pair of kitchen scissors
Frosted cupcakes

As we all know, marshmallows are sticky, and we found to keep the scissors from sticking while cutting you should dip them in the water between cuts. This helps th scissors glide when cutting the marshmallows and keeps the surface moist to adhere the sugar.

Each marshmallow can be cut into 4 even pieces. 5 pieces are needed to make a flower.

Lay parchment paper over your work surface, so then marshmallows don’t adhere. Lightly coat with sugar over the top side of the 5 cut pieces*. Then lay atop the frosted cupcake in a circle, with the points in the middle touching and slightly overlapping making a flower.

Then place a halved maraschino cherry in the center.

DONE!

*Cut and sugar one set of marshmallows per cupcake at a time so the marshmallow doesn’t dry out and becomes less tacky to hold the sugar. If by chance you waited to long to sugar coat, dab some water on them.

Cupcakes with Marshmallow Flowers
Pink flowers for the girls and blue for the boys!
The Birthday Girl on her favorite toy!
The Birthday Girl on her favorite toy since she was 1yr old!
My parents dining room all set up
My parents dining room all set up for the party guests
Their Kitchen all set up.
Their Kitchen all set up and waiting for food.
The birthday girl so happy.
The birthday girl so happy.

Peppermint Flavored Buttercream Frosting

Peppermint Flavored Frosting
3 cups of powdered sugar- confectioner’s sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter- room temperature
6 tablespoons skim milk-cold
1 tablespoon of peppermint extract
Desired food dye/coloring- or none at all for white frosting

Some of what you'll need.. also milk and butter!
Some of what you’ll need.. also milk and butter!

Mix together the butter with the sugar.

3 cups of powdered sugar
3 cups of powdered sugar

Then slowly, one tablespoon at a time, add in the milk. With each tablespoon let it incorporate fully before moving onto the next one.

This photo below is the desired consistency.

After adding in the butter, milk and peppermint extract
After adding in the butter, milk and peppermint extract

Once you’ve gotten the frosting to the perfect consistency add in the food dye.

Two drops of red food coloring
Two drops of red food coloring

For this pink I added in two drops of red dye.

The perfect pink!
The perfect pink!

You are now ready to frost!

*Using disposable decorating bags makes this messy job super easy and neat! I highly recommend investing in a pack. Scoop the frosting then load up a bag, and clip the cone end and you’re frosting!

Done!  My two girls decorated these, cute right?
Done! My two girls decorated these, cute right?

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (featured covered in Cocunut flakes)

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp milk

In mixing bowl, add powdered sugar and butter, mix on low speed. Mix in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk.

Powdered sugar
Powdered sugar

Gradually add in the remaining milk, the frosting should appear more smooth.

Add in the butter and milk
Add in the butter and milk
Mix on low until creamy, if needed cause of thickness add in a tsp of milk more
Mix on low until creamy, if needed cause of thickness add in a few drops of milk at a time more

If the frosting is too thick, add in more milk a few drops at a time.

If frosting becomes too thin, beat in a small amount of powdered sugar.

This makes enough to frosts a 13×9-inch cake or a 9-inch two-layer cake.

This cake was made for Christmas Day covered in coconut flakes;  for Christmas Eve we replaced the vanilla in this recipe with peppermint extract for a minty frosting.

Frosted cake covered in Coconut Flakes!
Finished Cake!  Frosted cake covered in Coconut Flakes!

Vanilla Cheesecake with Oreo crust

20 Oreo cookies (about 2 1/4 cups finely crushed- also can subsitute WhoNu Brand)

3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

5 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3 Tbsp. flour

1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste- you can find this at Trader Joe’s (or 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract)

1 cup low fat sour cream

4 eggs

Use a 9″ spring form pan.

Heat oven to 325ºF

Start with the crust.  Mix cookie crumbs, 3 Tbsp. sugar and butter; press onto bottom of pan. Bake 10 min.

You can breakdown the Oreos in an zip-loc bag using a rolling pin, but it’s so much easier in the food processor.

Filling.  Mix cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla paste with mixer until well blended.   Add sour cream; mix well.  Turn down mixer to low, add eggs in one at a time just until blended and smooth.  Pour over crust.

** If you would like to decorate the top with the cookies: before baking, take four cookie halves and place on top-pressing them into the filling enough to be stable.

Bake 1 hour 10 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before taking out of the form.

Fresh from the oven! The cheesecake rises a lot while it’s cooking, and when it’s cooled it deflates and settles into the pan.

Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake and you are able to spring the form without any cake attached.

Vanilla Cheesecake with Oreo Cookie Crust! Soooo yummy!