Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Food Gift Idea-Chocolate Pretzel Bites

When I first saw these at a friend's party, like 4 years ago, I was intrigued.  Chocolate covered pretzels are one of my favorite sweet/salty snacks but I only make them during the holidays because they are a bit tedious.

Then I ate one.  It was kind of like that old Pringles commercial, once you pop you can't stop.  They were just the right combination of sweet/salty/crunchy that one looks for in a snack.  I managed to make my way past the table for just one more, about every 3 minutes.

Fast forward to now, I finally got around to making them.  And I realized what a cute little holiday food gift they would make.  Pile a bunch in a jar, stick a ribbon and a tag, and bam, food gift conducive to mass production.  Also super easy.

Chocolate Pretzel Bites

The amount it makes depends on you.  You need 1 pretzel, to 1 Candy Melt, to 1 M&M.

  • Pretzel "Snaps" (the square lattice pretzels)
  • Candy Melts (I've also seen it done with Hershey's Kisses, but they will take longer to melt.  I used white chocolate peppermint candy melts for more holiday flare)
  • Holiday M&Ms

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  I first tried doing this on broil and burt them to a crisp.  Don't be like me.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Line up pretzels on parchment.  Depending on the size of your baking sheet, you could get 30-40 pretzels on a sheet.  Place one candy melt on top of each pretzel.

Bake for like 1 minute.  Watch these babies like a hawk.  Seriously.

Don't be like me, burnt chocolate stinks-literally!

When the Candy Melts are shiny all over pull them out of the oven.  Press one M&M into a soft Candy Melt.  If the M&M doesn't sink in, return the pan to the oven for another 30 seconds to a minute.

Place 1 M&M on top of each Candy Melt.  Allow to cool completely.  Slide off pan and into a jar.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Food Gift Idea: Candied Grapefruit

We all have those people on our Christmas gift list.  You know the people.  The ones you want to give something special but it's not in the budget to spend a lot of cash.

You could pick up yet another tin of half stale caramel corn at the store.  Or, you could make your own homemade food gift.

Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to share different ideas that can be made in bulk and packaged up pretty and sweet for everyone on your list.

First up, candied grapefruit.  Candied citrus is a long time traditional treat at Christmastime.  I love it because you can make it well in advance (weeks and weeks) and it will keep just fine in a jar in the fridge until you are ready.

Candied Grapefruit

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-3 large grapefruits

In a large saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil.  While the water and sugar are boiling, cut the grapefruits in half.  Juice the grapefruits (or eat them).  With a spoon, dig out all of the fruits membrane and as much pith as possible.  Slice the skin thinly.  Cut out any extra pith.  Toss the grapefruit skins into the boiling sugar/water mixture.  Boil the grapefruit peel until they become translucent, about 30 minutes or so.  Pour peel and syrup into a clean jar.

When you are ready, pull the grapefruit peel pieces out of the syrup.  Pat dry on a paper towel.  Roll in granulated sugar and allow to dry for a few hours.  Bag up and gift away.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Cookie Roundup

So obviously I have taken some time away from the blog in order to get moved and to get our new place together, but I am back and ready to get started celebrating the holiday season.  Here are some past ideas to get the party started:

Classic Sugar Cookies
Grandma Goodell's Butter Cookies
White Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies 
Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles
Peppermint Bark

Friday, November 7, 2014

Apple Bread

apple, bread, yeasted bread, yeast bread, cinnamon,

So here is what I am supposed to be doing: packing, cleaning, sorting.  Here is what I did: bake some bread.  Made some honey cinnamon butter to go on top.  Took some rather crummy photos of said bread and honey butter.

Queen of procrastination.  Awesome.  Well, at least we had breakfast for a few days...even if the packing isn't done.

Apple Bread

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 3 small apples
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 2  tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1/2-3/4 cup water

In your food processor, puree 2 of the 2 apples.  You can peel them first, you don't have to.  Dice the third apple.  If you already packed your food processor, dice all the apples.

In a medium bowl, stir together flours, spices, and yeast.  Add in eggs, pureed apples, and honey.  Stir to combine.  Slowly add in water until dough comes together and is tacky but not too sticky.

Turn out onto a floured surface.  Knead dough until smooth and elastic.  Incorporate apple chunks when kneading dough.  Cover with a clean, lint free towel and allow to raise for about 1 hour.

Punch down dough and knead for about 2 minutes.  Divide dough in half and shape as desired.  I shaped my dough into 2 round loaves.  Place shaped dough onto baking stone covered in cornmeal or parchment.  Cover with a clean, lint free towel and allow to raise for another 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  If desired, beat an additional egg in a small bowl until frothy.  Brush egg wash over dough.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes.  Cool and enjoy with honey cinnamon butter.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Honey Cinnamon Butter

We're packing fools this week.  We hope to be moving this weekend.  Thusly, much of my kitchen is packed and my time is limited.  This honey cinnamon butter, though it looks simple, really rocks some toast.  Also, it's easy, takes less than 2 minutes and makes breakfast feel fancy.  Side note, make sure your butter is at room temp.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Avocado Truffles

vegan, truffles, chocolate, candy, vegan candy

Happy Halloween!  Hope everyone big and small has some fun today!

True story: until my trip to Peru this past May, I did not want anything to do with avocados.  I thought they were slimy tasteless fruits that were incredibly difficult to cut.  Then, in Peru, I was able to eat really fresh avocados with a squirt of lemon juice and salt.  I was in heaven.

When we got home, I started eating everything avocado.  One of my favorite ways is to sub out meat or mayo in a sandwich and use avocado instead.  Which got me thinking...if avocado is a savory fat substitute, why can't it be a sweet fat substitute.  After all, we've seen it done before.  Enter the avocado truffle.  Surprisingly, the avocado (with a little help from some lemon juice) makes the truffle taste fruity.

Avocado Truffles

makes about 12 truffles

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips, 60%)
  • sprinkles, cocoa powder, crushed nuts, or powdered sugar for rolling the truffles

In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips in the microwave.  While you are melting the chocolate chips, beat together avocado, lemon juice, and salt until smooth.  Once the chocolate chips are melted, fold chocolate into the avocado mixture.  Cover and allow to cool.  I waited about 4 hours.

Using a teaspoon or small cookie scoop, scoop out a portion of the truffle mixture.  Roll it in your hands to make a nice smooth ball.  Then roll the ball in a small bowl of sprinkles (or cocoa powder or powdered sugar, or crushed nuts).  Continue with the same rolling process until all of the truffle mixture is gone.

Alternatively, you can dip the truffles in more melted chocolate instead of rolling them.  Personally, I like the ease and color pop I get from rolling them in sprinkles.

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