chocolate

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

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Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Chocolate Crackle Cookies are the most amazing cookies on earth. We just discovered them this weekend, and they are wonderful. They are super easy and fun to make too!

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Our niece was visiting us this weekend and was a huge help making these cookies. I told Kelly that the more sugar she used, the better the cookies would be. So she buried them! I think she had a good time getting all messy. This was a perfect project for a kid. She had fun and did a fantastic job too!

Chocolate Crackle CookiesJust look at all the sugary goodness! The cookies really do need a good coating of powdered sugar, so don’t be shy.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Ingredients:
1 box chocolate cake mix (I used Devil’s Food Cake)
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
Powdered sugar

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Instructions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
2. Mix the first three ingredients together.
3. Create tablespoon sized balls and roll in the powdered sugar. Make sure that you generously coat each cookie.
I mean generously. Use A LOT of powdered sugar. (See photos above.) If you don’t, the cookies will just be plain old chocolate cookies. And you don’t want that!
4. Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes. 8 minutes if you want them under baked or 10 minutes if you want them more like cake.

Chocolate Crackle CookiesEnjoy your cookies with a nice cup of coffee. Or hot cocoa or milk. Or whatever you like! You can substitute the chocolate cake mix for other types of cake mix for different flavors and colors. Around Christmas time, you could use a white cake mix mixed with red or green food coloring. Or maybe you could even try a nice spice cake flavored cookie in the fall. I would bet there are no bad combinations with this recipe!

Buckeye Balls

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Buckeye Balls

Buckeye Balls are one of those holiday treats that you will always remember the very first time you had one. They are just so good, they will make a lasting impression in your mind. And if you haven’t had them yet, what are you waiting for?? They are amazing! The peanut butter balls are so soft and wonderful. The chocolate coating on the bottom goes so well with the peanut butter, they will melt in your mouth. And then you will want another!

Buckeye BallsMaking the peanut butter filling can be a bit tricky. Make sure you work the dough thoroughly. I use a Kitchen Aid and then use my hands to knead the dough a little more. When you make the balls, they might be very crumbly if you don’t mix the dough well enough. This is an all-hands-on-deck kind of recipe. I bring anyone who is home, in to help form the peanut butter balls. Otherwise, it would take forever.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (1-pound) box confectioners sugar
9 oz. (about 1½ cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tbsp shortening

Buckeye Balls

Instructions:
1. In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and confectioners sugar using a Kitchen Aid mixer. It will be dry and crumbly at first, but keep working it until everything is very evenly mixed.You may need to knead it by hand as well.
2. Form into 2 large balls, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30-60 minutes.
3. Shape into tablespoon sized balls. Roll them in your hands to smooth. Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.
4. Refrigerate for about an hour.
5. In a small saucepan melt chocolate chips and shortening over low heat, stirring constantly. When smooth, remove from heat.
6. Use a toothpick to dip each ball into chocolate mixture and place back on baking sheet.
7. Refrigerate until chocolate is set. (About an hour.) Use the back of a spoon to smooth over toothpick holes.
8. Eat. Share. Enjoy.

Buckeye Balls

Chocolate Fudge

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Chocolate Fudge

This is quite possibly the easiest fudge in the world to make. It’s simple, basic and only requires 5 ingredients. And only 4 ingredients if you don’t add the nuts. I happen to like nuts, but just didn’t have any in the pantry. This fudge is great to take to holiday gatherings, give as gifts, or just enjoy by yourself!

INGREDIENTS:
3 cups (18 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
Dash salt
1/2 to 1 cups chopped nuts (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Chocolate Fudge

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil.
2. Melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt in heavy saucepan over low heat.
3. Remove from heat. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
4. Chill 2 hours or until firm. Remove from pan by lifting edges of foil. Cut into squares.

Chocolate Fudge

Hot Cocoa Ornaments

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Hot Cocoa Ornament

Looking for an inexpensive, fun and easy holiday gift to give? This is the gift that keeps on giving! It’s a Hot Cocoa filled Christmas ornament. Your gift recipient can hang the ornament on their tree, then when the Hot Cocoa craving kicks in, Voila! There’s some hot cocoa to drink. Just dump the contents into a cup of boiling water and it’s an instant chocolate treat.

And it’s really easy and did I mention, inexpensive?

Supplies:
Clear, empty ornaments. (I picked up a few plastic ones from AC Moore.)
Candy canes for crushing
Hot Cocoa Mix
Mini Marshmallows
Ribbon for bows

Hot Cocoa Ornaments
Instructions:
Open the clear ornaments. Use a funnel to pour the hot cocoa mix into the ornaments. I used 3 packets to get the level I wanted. Crush a candy cane and pour that into the ornament. Fill the remaining space with mini marshmallows. Replace the top of the ornament, tie a bow on the top, and you’re done! Each ornament cost about $1.25 to make. They’re adorable and thoughtful and your gift recipients will love them!

Hot Cocoa Ornaments

Christmas Pretzel M&M Treats

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Christmas Pretzel M&M Treats

If you’re looking for a simple, fun and delicious treat to bring to holiday gatherings, this could be the one. You only need 3 ingredients. A bag of square pretzels, (you could use other shapes, but I have found the squares work the best), a bag of holiday green & red M&M’s and a bag of chocolate (or vanilla, as pictured) candy discs that you can find at craft stores such as AC Moore or Michael’s Arts & Crafts.

Christmas Pretzel M&M TreatsArrange the pretzels on an ungreased cookie sheet. Put the vanilla (or chocolate) flavored discs on top of the pretzel. Pop in a 275 degree pre-heated oven for 2 minutes. Yes. You read that right. TWO minutes. Not long at all. So don’t leave the room or forget about them. They will melt through the holes in the pretzels and make a huge mess.

Christmas Pretzel M&M Treats

Have your M&M’s ready to place on top of the warm fresh-out-of-the-oven candy. Do this part quickly, get help if you can. You’ll need to do it fairly quickly or the chocolate disc will harden and the M&M won’t stick. And by quickly, you will have a few minutes, it’s not an emergency situation. Just do it as quickly as you can and waste time sipping your coffee between placing each M&M.

Christmas Pretzel M&M TreatsBecause it is winter here in Upstate NY, I set the tray of pretzel treats in the garage for 15 or so minutes so the chocolate solidifies quicker. Otherwise it will take a while before you can put them in a container to store. Or, you can eat them right away and not have to worry about storing them at all!

The neat thing about this treat is that you can make one tray or 5 trays. Or just a few treats at a time if that’s all you want. The clean up is minimal. The prep time is short. The outcome is delicious.

Classic Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

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Peanut Butter Blossoms

Nothing goes better together than chocolate and peanut butter. The combination of these two amazing tastes combined into one, equals heaven. The Peanut Butter Blossom is my husbands favorite cookie. He went out last night to buy Hershey Kisses in hopes that I’d make them. So tonight, I obliged.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Ingredients:
48 HERSHEY’S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening (I use margarine instead.)
3/4 cup creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Additional granulated sugar(optional)

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
  2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet. 
  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

* These instructions are on the back of the Holiday Hershey Kisses. 

Small Business Saturday

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shopsmall

It’s Small Business Saturday! I hope that you all got out to support at least one local business today. More if you were able.

Just Donuts

My husband and I went to our favorite local donut shop. “Just Donuts”, located in Phoenix, NY. They are a small locally owned donut shop in a small town in Central NY. It is owned and operated by the Police Chief’s wife. They’re good people. Their business was broken into not too long ago, but thankfully they found the person who did it and they were back in business in no time.

Just Donuts

When you enter the small shop, the first thing you do is pick your donuts. Depending on the time of year and season, the flavors differ slightly. I heard there’s a gingerbread donut for the Christmas holiday. Can’t wait to try that! After you pick your donuts, you pick your glazes and/or frostings and then if you’d like some fun toppings for your donuts, you can pick those too!

Just Donuts

They have samples on display to help you choose, or you can make up your own. The combinations really are endless.

Just Donuts

My favorites are the cider glazed donuts. (Maple glaze, plain glaze or caramel glaze… oh my.) They have a neat special on Football Sundays called Chicken Wing Donuts. Wear your favorite team’s NFL jersey and get $1 off a dozen!

Check out the Just Donuts Facebook page, and if you’re in town, stop by! They are located at 219 County Route 57 Phoenix, NY. Hours are 8am to 1pm.