Tag Archives: Chocolate

Got Chocolate? DIY Valentine Gifts

plated-fudge-
Fudge doesn’t have to be for Christmas-time only!  At our house “anything chocolate” equates to a ♥ fantastic gift ♥ for my Chief Love any time of the year!

This fudge was gifted to us this Christmas by our friends Peggy and Barnett.  I will be making it this week for my funny Valentine. ♥ (Recipe posted at the bottom of this page.)

wlnt fudge pie sing
And then there is Walnut Fudge Pie.  I use to make this really, really often for our bed and breakfast guests.  My Chief Valentine  ♥ ate leftovers often.  But these days … well, a homemade walnut fudge pie will be a big  Valentine’s Day hit!

Sm Plate peanut clusters
Just in case I haven’t convinced you to make some homemade chocolate goody for your  Valentine ♥ this week, let me introduce you to Crock Pot Peanut Clusters.  

Milk Chocolate Semi-sweet Chocolate Peanut Butter Chips
White Almond Bark And of course PEANUTS!

Peanut clusters platedMy sous-chef dish-washing mom made a big batch of slow cooker peanut clusters today to share with friends this week!   Check out the recipe here.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Blessings, Catherine

The Way of Love

 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.       1 Corinthians 13

The Best Fudge
 
Fudge recipes are a dime a dozen, but this recipe is worth a million bucks and beats them all!
Author:
Recipe type: Candy
Ingredients
  • 1 small can evaporated milk (5 oz.)
  • 3 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1½ sticks real unsalted butter
  • 1 small jar marshmallow cream (7 oz.)
  • 12 oz. bag of mixed semi-sweet chocolate and peanut butter chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts*
Instructions
  1. Lightly butter a 9" x 9" baking pan.
  2. In a heavy pan, cook milk, sugar, and butter until a drop in cold water forms a soft ball, (approximately 5 minutes), stirring continually.
  3. Remove from heat and add morsels stirring until melted.
  4. Add the marshmallow cream and continue to stir until all is combined.
  5. Mix in chopped walnuts* Optional.
  6. Pour into prepared baking pan and let cool.
  7. Cut into squares after it is firm and cool.
Notes
Recipe can easily be doubled.
Recipe provided by my friend Peggy Payne.

DIY Better Than Starbucks Hot Chocolate

cup-hot-choc-
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”  (which means, God with us).
Matthew 1:23

My husband regularly receives Starbucks cards as gifts from friends and family. On a recent trip to New York he and our friend Russ were on a grocery run. A grocery “run” in Manhattan means just that. They head out on foot, rain or shine, and make the 3 block walk to the grocery store. They buy just the amount of groceries they can carry back home. This particular day it was cold, windy, and a little rainy. They stopped at the corner Starbucks for something warm. My chocolate-loving sweetheart ordered hot chocolate. When he arrived back to Hephzibah House where we were staying, he exclaimed “Starbucks hot chocolate is some of the best I’ve ever had!” I thought this must be pretty special hot chocolate since he KNOWS his chocolate!

hot-choc-x-3
After arriving back in Tennessee, armed with a newly gifted Starbucks card, he headed to Starbucks to purchase a can of their hot chocolate to enjoy in the comfort of home. Sadly, there was no hot chocolate to be found among all the stocking stuffers and Christmas-blend coffee.

1_4-cup-hot-chocolate-
Not to be discouraged from his quest for Starbucks Hot Chocolate we made a stop at the corner Starbucks in a town a few miles down the road where my sous-chef dish-washing mom had an appointment. We were quickly told by the clerk stocking the ample supply of coffee mugs that Starbucks “decided not to stock the Hot Chocolate in their stores. But, we could buy it online!”

 Ah, I did feel sorry for my chocolate-loving husband and I suggested he just use his gift card to buy a hot chocolate to drink there, since we had driven 30 miles to get there and all. “No thanks” he quietly said. He was out of the mood. He slipped his gifted Starbucks card back into his wallet and headed for the door.  I won’t go so far as to say he was pouting …

On the way back home I did what I usually do in the car and that is to read up on some of my favorite blog posts. When what to my startling eyes did appear “Easy Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix” posted by the Brown Eyed Baker. The recipe came from Cooks Illustrated. That is when the idea popped into my head that I could make better than Starbucks hot chocolate.

I started with the basic recipe as created by Cooks Illustrated and posted by the Brown Eyed Baker. But my hot chocolate mix has to extraordinary. It has to be so rich and creamy my chocolate-loving husband will say, “now this is better than Starbucks!”

hot-choc-ingredients-
I changed two ingredients to make that happen. I used half dark chocolate cocoa and semi-sweet chocolate bakers bar.

choc-tagged

The result – “Babe! This is better than Starbucks hot chocolate!”

End of story.

Happy Baking,
~Catherine

P.S.  What a fabulous and easy Christmas gift this makes!

DIY Better Than Starbucks Hot Chocolate
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A decadent and delicious hot chocolate perfect for gift giving!
Author:
Recipe type: Hot Drink
Serves: 12 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chunked or chopped
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • ½ cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Process all of the ingredients in a food processor until ground to a powder, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 2 months.
  2. To Make Hot Chocolate: Heat 1 cup of milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it starts to steam and bubbles appear around the edge of the saucepan. Add ¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) of the hot chocolate mix and continue to heat, whisking constantly, until simmering, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Pour into a mug and serve. Marshmallows and whip cream optional but wonderful.
Notes
(Recipe adapated from Cook's Illustrated via The Brown Eyed Baker)

 

Peppermint Patties

peppermint pattie plate
Jet-Puffed JUMBO Peppermint Mallows are back!  Why is this important to you? Because if you want to be the hit of the Christmas goodie parade you are going to want to use these super-charged, JUMBO peppermint-infused marshmallows to make some awesome Peppermint Patties!
jumbo peppermint mallows
In December 2011 I stumbled upon these mallows while shopping for groceries that really mattered – like meat, vegetables, milk, and chocolate. :)

I absently threw a bag into my cart thinking they might be good for something during the Christmas baking craze I was about to cause in my kitchen.

peppermint pattie snowman
A few days later I mixed a little almond bark with a few chocolate chips and tossed a couple jumbo peppermint mallows into the warm, dripping, chocolately mixture.  What happened after that only happens say, every two years.  That is because Kraft in their infinite wisdom chose not to produce these awesome Jet-Puffed JUMBO Peppermint Mallows in 2012. :(

peppermint pat bite
Fast forward to today, December 15, 2013.  I did the really unthinkable and actually ventured into Wal-Mart after church to pick up a few items.  Even my smarter-than-the-average hillbilly husband said, “you want to go to Wal-Mart on Sunday afternoon?  Are you crazy?”

“Yes I am, now let’s get going.”

Kismet. Serendipity. God smiling on me.  Call it whatever you want because I was casually walking down the middle aisle when my eyes dropped to the bottom shelf of all the baking goodies and there I saw them — Jet-Puffed JUMBO Peppermint Mallows.

I am pretty sure I could go on some more about today’s super-find, but I am heading to the kitchen. I’ve got chocolate and almond bark to melt, mallows to dip, friends and family to make happy.  Very, very happy.

Happy Dipping!
Catherine

P.S.  On the back of the package is a recipe for … Peppermint Patties.  That recipe wasn’t there two years ago.  Might they have read my blog post?  ha! ha!

Peppermint Patties
 
You will be the hit of the Christmas parade when you serve these awesome homemade peppermint patties. Every chocolate lover's delight!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 8 oz. chocolate almond bark
  • 30 +/- Jumbo Peppermint Marshmallows
Instructions
  1. Combine chocolate chips and chocolate almond bark and microwave for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir. Cook on high for another 30 seconds. Do not over cook.
  2. Dip each marshmallow in the melted chocolate. Shake gently and place on foil. Leave plain or sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy.
  3. Share with every chocolate lover you know!

Sweet and Salty Christmas Treats

bowl of sweet and salty pretZel
I do realize refrigerators all over this country are stuffed full of Thanksgiving leftovers.  But truthfully, the turkey is cold, the gravy has jellied and the pumpkin pie is gone.  To me that means one thing — Christmas!  Brunch, luncheons, parties, Christmas eve, Christmas dinner and New Year’s eve … it will all start tumbling upon me as early this next week.  Thanksgiving is so late this year that December started … yesterday.  Yikes!

Milky way snickers
These sweet and salty treats were such a big hit last year that Snickers and Milky Way are now available in little bite size pieces just waiting for a pretzel.

sweet salty pretzel treats
This couldn’t be easier.  Pretzel — chocolate — in a 350 degree F. oven for 4 minutes.  Top with another pretzel and squish lightly.  Cool and eat!

bowl of pretzels sweet salty
A pecan on top turns these sweet treats into turtles when they top a Rolo.  Take a look  Rolo Me Over Turtles from Christmas 2011 where I first found the recipe on http://www.sowonderfulsomarvelous.com.

sweet salty colorfulM & Ms add such a festive touch too!

sweet salty m&m
Have a blessed week.  Don’t work too hard or let the stress start building up.  It happens so quickly even when we know better!

Happy Baking,
Catherine

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Hebrews 1:1-2 ESV

 

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