Holiday Barks

Along with these adorable Chocolate Pretzel Rings, I made a few holiday inspired barks this year.  This is a tradition that I started a few years back (these are last year’s barks), and I love how creative you can get with melted chocolate. 

Warning: this post has a lot of recipes and fun ideas!

 

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First Up…

Peppermint Bark!

 

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This recipe seems to be everyone’s favorite, especially this time of year.

 

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It’s so simple that I can’t believe I haven’t made it before.

 

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But I will definitely be adding it my yearly list!

 

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This bark makes a beautiful holiday gift, so I recommend making 2 batches…one for yourself and one to share with your friends!

 

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Moving On…

A new and innovative recipe from Crazy For Crust for Scotch Krispie Bark.

 

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Starring butterscotch chips…yum!

 

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Covered in Rice Krispies, chocolate, and then smothered with peanut butter!

 

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It was hard to wait for this one to harden because I was eager to taste it!

 

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I’m a huge fan of the sweet butterscotch and crunchy krispie combination!

 

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And although I love peanut butter, it wasn’t my favorite for this bark, so next time I will probably just omit it.

 

Getting Back to Peppermint…

 

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I was inspired by these Peppermint Pretzels to create an original bark.

 

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I stirred the chopped pretzels into white chocolate and then covered it with Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips and crushed candy canes.

 

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Super festive…right?

 

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This mish mash actually turned out pretty awesome!

 

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Lastly…

Who doesn’t love S’mores?

 

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This mixture of mallows and grahams creates a complex texture.

 

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That I guarantee you will enjoy!

 

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All of these barks make for easy, fun, and mouth watering gifts.  And because they store so easily in your freezer, there is always something for you to snack on.  I recommend storing them in freezer safe ziploc bags and remove as much air as possible.  Chocolate barks and candies are really forgiving, so you can use all of your leftover baking supplies to create your own sweet treats!  No measuring required!

 

 

Peppermint Bark

From Back to Her Roots

 

Ingredients:

8 peppermint candy canes

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

12 ounces white chocolate chips

 

Directions

Cover a large cookie sheet in aluminum foil. Set aside.

Remove candy canes from wrapper and place in large plastic, ziptop bag. Using a mallet, bottom of a glass or rolling pin, mash the candy canes until they are in small chunks.

In a double boiler (or microwave) melt semisweet chocolate chips. When completely smooth, pour onto cookie sheet and spread into a thin later (about 1/8"). Don’t worry if chocolate doesn’t spread to edge of cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in freezer.

Using a clean double boiler, melt white chocolate chips until smooth. Mix in all but 2/3 cup of the candy cane pieces.

Remove cookie sheet from freezer, carefully spread white chocolate over the dark chocolate in a thin layer. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of reserved candy cane pieces on top. Place cookie sheet in freezer.

Once bark is completely cooled and hard. Remove from cookie sheet and break into large pieces.

 

 

Scotch Krispie Bark

From Crazy For Crust

 

Ingredients:

1 bag butterscotch chips

1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 ½ cups Rice Krispies Cereal

½ cup peanut butter (I’d say this is optional)

 

Directions:

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Place butterscotch chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat on 50% power for 1 minute, stir, and then add increments of 30 seconds until chips are melted and smooth. Spread on cookie sheet.

Sprinkle Rice Krispies cereal on top of butterscotch layer. Press down with your hands.

Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in microwave, again using 50% power, stirring after 1 minute and continuing to heat at 30 second intervals until chips are melted. (If chocolate doesn’t seem smooth, add about a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil and stir.) Spread over Rice Krispie layer.

While spreading chocolate layer, melt peanut butter in microwave. Drizzle over spread chocolate and swirl with the back of a spoon.

Chill to harden bark, then break into pieces and serve.

 

 

White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Bark

 

Ingredients

1 bag of TJ’s Peppermint Pretzel Thins, crushed

8 ounces White Chocolate

Candy canes, crushed

1 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips

 

Directions

Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.

Melt white chocolate in microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth.  Do not over heat!

Stir in pretzel thins and Andes Peppermint Chips.

Spread over cookie sheet and sprinkle the top with candy canes.  Use a spatula or your hands to push the candy canes into the chocolate.

Freeze or refrigerate for 2-3 hours until set.

Then break into pieces.

 

 

S’mores Bark

 

Ingredients

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

8 ounces candy melts or chocolate

Marshmallows

 

Instructions

Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.

Melt chocolate and mix in your graham cracker crumb and half of the marshmallows.

Pour and spread across a parchment paper lined cookie sheet

Sprinkle on the remaining marshmallows and press them into the chocolate.

Freeze or refrigerate for 2-3 hours until set.

Then break into pieces.

 

 

What is your favorite chocolate bark? 

I’m always looking for new ideas recipes!

Candy Cane Puppy Chow

Wow!

I can’t express how exciting it is to read your thoughtful comments on yesterday’s Blogger-Versary post.  Ya’ll are incredible!

 

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I left sunny Florida (and my family) behind this morning, but plan to share warm, bright photos to melt winter’s chill until April : )  The BOY picked me up at the airport and after almost a week, it was great to see him!  We had a quiet day planned leaving me time to get prepped for Christmas Day and a take 2 hour nap!!! 

 

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The BOY and I head separate directions on Christmas Day each with our own traditions.  In the morning, I will be celebrating Christmas with my brother, his girlfriend, and her wonderful family.  In the afternoon, we move on to Jewish Christmas with a movie and Chinese food.  Surprise, surprise, I was put in charge of dessert.  Thankfully, he left me more than enough treats in the freezer to snack on and put together for tomorrow’s holiday.  However, I also wanted to make something for some of our friends who are gluten intolerant.

 

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Puppy Chow is always a fan favorite and can be made gluten free by using Chex Cereal.  I was inspired by our Halloween success with the pumpkin spices kisses, to try Hershey’s kisses puppy chow again…this time with my favorite candy cane kisses!

 

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What I didn’t expect was the bright pink color, but I loved it!  I was only sad that I didn’t have any green decorations to sprinkle throughout.  I did have some Andes Peppermint Crunch chips, so I sprinkled those in for an extra peppermint kick!

 

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Then doused everything in powder sugar while the BOY stood by watching, waiting for his taste test.

 

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What can I say…you just can’t go wrong with puppy chow?!

 

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This recipe just melts in your mouth leaving a fresh peppermint aftertaste!

 

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I was quite pleased with my creation and know it will taste even better once it is frozen.  I think I should make a tshirt that says ‘I heart frozen puppy chow!’  I quickly made a batch of these flourless peanut butter cookies.  Along with some bubbly, I am all set for tomorrow’s celebration!  Tonight we are headed out for our annual Christmas Eve dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Coopers Hawk!

 

Wishing everyone a happy and safe evening with family and friends!

 

 

Candy Cane Puppy Chow

Adapted from Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow

 

Ingredients

1 10 oz bag of Candy Cane Hershey kisses, unwrapped

6 cups Chex cereal

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Andes Peppermint Chips( optional)

 

Directions

Pour Chex mix and ~1/2 cup Andes Peppermint Chips into a large bowl.  Set aside. 

Melt kisses in the microwave ~1 minute. Pour melted kisses over Chex cereal, stirring to coat (I find a spatula works best).

Fold in powdered sugar and more Andes mints if desired.

Store in air tight container or freeze.

Where For Out Thou Circular Pretzels?

Is it wrong for me to tease you with pictures like this?

 

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If the answer is yes, then I sincerely apologize!  I had a fantastic first day in Florida.  I spent some quality time catching up with my aunt and my grandpa!  I took a dip in the pool, briefly trying out my new goggles and then came back inside to read, actually finishing my book.

 

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All in all, it was a pretty great day!  Along with reading, resting, and eating at the deli, I lugged my laptop down here so that I can catch up on emails (I’ve been awful recently) and some blogging.  Not at the expense of my vitamin D needs, of course, but I thought I would have some free time at night to catch you up on all my holiday baking.

Which brings me to this very important question…

 

Where Have All the Circular Pretzels Gone?

 

I searched near and far, high and low, this store and that store, plus another store and could not find circular pretzels for this year’s holiday chocolates.  I’m sure had I planned in advance I could have ordered some online, but since I found them so easily last year, I didn’t think twice.  I had some help from my mom in locating a non-buttered square pretzel, which was a successful stand in.

 

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Afterwards, I found football shaped pretzels that would have be fun.  Maybe next time!

 

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I spent an episode of Grey’s Anatomy unwrapping Hershey kisses.  I love variety when it comes to these festive sweets which means mixing different kisses and M&M flavors.  This year’s kisses included milk chocolate, dark chocolate, hugs, and white chocolate peppermint (these are the BEST!).  The Grey’s drama continued and my wrapper pile just kept growing!

 

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When my show was over, I took my bowl of kisses into the kitchen.

 

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Then got to work…quick hands mean action shots are hard to get.

 

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This year’s M&M flavors included…

 

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Plain (what was left after the BOY discovered them), mint, white chocolate peppermint, and coconut!

 

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I mix and matched all of the kisses with all of the M&M’s for some fun flavors and colorful candies!

 

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It is a-okay if your mouth is watering right now because this simple recipe is BIG on taste!

 

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I loaded up my chocolate pretzels with some holiday bark to share with my coworkers.  It’s amazing how simple these are to make yet wherever I bring them, EVERYONE loves them!

 

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I ended up with plenty of candy to share.  After making the bags for my coworkers, I added some to my already full holiday tins.

 

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And of course brought a bag down here with me to Florida!

But the big question remains…how many will be left when I return home. The BOY has already asked which containers ‘hiding’ in the freezer are on and off limits?  And he has snuck into his parent’s tin of cookies TWICE!

 

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At least we know if a big snow storm hits, he’ll have plenty to eat!

 

 

Chocolate Circle Rings Squares

 

Ingredients

Circle or square pretzels (in a pinch, the regular shape will work too!)

Hershey’s kisses

M&M’s (get creative with your flavor combinations)

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place pretzels on baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Unwrap kisses and place them on top of pretzels.

Bake for 4-5 minutes until chocolate is soft. Look for chocolate to start to ‘sweat’ and if you are not sure, try a tester M&M.  The ugly ones are perfect for snacks and samples!  (***NOTE: Milk chocolate will take longer to melt while white chocolate will melt quickly).

Remove from oven and immediately place an M&M on top of the chocolate pushing it down. Refrigerate until set.

Store in airtight container in the fridge of the freezer.

 

 

Other Varieties…

 

Turtle Pretzels

 

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Candy Corn Hugs with Pumpkin Kisses

 

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Halloween Hugs and Pumpkin Kisses

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Happy LATE Halloween!  I meant to make these before the actual holiday, but I figured that nobody wanted my sick hands unwrapping chocolate candies, so I postponed it to this weekend.  Today’s recipe is inspired by the dessert genius Sally.  It reminds me of my favorite holiday treat Chocolate Pretzel Rings.  I wasn’t able to find pretzel rings this time, so I subbed in regular pretzels.  I decided after making this Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow that I wanted to turn the perfectly spiced kisses into candy, and Sally had the awesome idea of using candy corn.  I love candy corn!

 

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With recipes like this, the most time consuming part is unwrapping kisses.

 

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Good thing that I miraculously found a Law&Order rerun that I had never seen before, so I was distracted.

 

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After this morning’s run, I set up a little assembly line in the kitchen.

 

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Making kisses candies.

 

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Before briefly sticking them in the oven and adding candy corn on the top.

 

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The pretzels worked out perfectly, which was good to know since the circular kind are hard to find.

 

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I wasn’t sure how the kisses and candy corn mixture would taste, but they are fantastic!

 

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The spiced pumpkin is the best tasting, but the hugs look super cute!

 

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These are a good looking and great tasting combination that make the perfect holiday (or post-holiday) treat!

 

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Ok, this might be my new favorite Halloween food!  I am a huge candy corn fan, and these guys are fantastic!

 

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You’ll have to go looking for the spiced pumpkin kisses tomorrow and make a batch right away!

 

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I am currently storing these in the fridge, and I don’t think they will last long.

Once you make them, you will understand why!  The only problem…figuring out what to do with all my leftover pumpkins before I eat them.  Any ideas???

 

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Did you stock up on ‘the day after’ Halloween candy 70% off? 

Here are a few more blogger options for your candy corn…

 

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Homemade Butterfinger Bark from Cookies & Cups

 

Candy Corn Cornflake Cookies from Pies and Plots

 

Candy Corn Cookies from Itty Bitty Bakes

 

Candy Corn Gooey Cake Bars from Inside BruCrew Life

 

Crispy Rice Candy Corn Treats from Paula Deen

 

Tricky Trash Candy from Shugery Sweets

 

Scarecrow Bars from Cookies & Cups

 

Candy Corn Truffles

 

Candy Corn Bark

 

 

Or you can eat it my FAVORITE way…odd as it sounds, I love to eat candy corn sprinkled into popcorn.  Make sure that you add the candy corn quickly so that it heats up and melts.  Trust me…you’ll be hooked!

 

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Do you like Candy Corn?  What is your favorite way to eat it?

Any other ideas for leftover Halloween candy?

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow

Yes…here it is again.  Another incredible puppy chow recipe!

 

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Although I can’t take credit for creating the recipe, I take full credit for making, eating, and sharing it.  The creation came from THIS BLOG and the recipe came to me by way of a close friend!

 

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow

 

1 10 oz bag of pumpkin spice kisses

6 cups Chex cereal

2 cups powdered sugar

Pumpkin pie spice to taste

 

Melt kisses in the microwave or double boiler.  I used the microwave, and the entire bag melted in about 2 minutes.  Pour melted kisses over 6 cups of Chex cereal, stirring to coat (I find a spatula works best).  Fold in powdered sugar and pumpkin pie spice.

Enjoy!

 

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We pulled the recipe together in my mom’s kitchen this week and proceeded to eat a significant amount before bagging it up and sharing it!  Everyone who tried it, loved it!  Oh the possibilities…I wonder what other Hershey Kisses are out there for puppy chow!

 

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Since the Chex box has 12 cups of cereal and this recipe only uses half, we had another 6 cups of Chex mix to use.  I found some vanilla almond bark and attempted to make a recipe similar to THIS ONE, but I didn’t really measure and used way too little butter.

 

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The result was a puppy chow crumble.  We came up with a ton of funny names for this concoction, but I think peanut butter puppy crumble is most appropriate.  Despite its crushed up nature, it tasted delish.  We ate the big clumps, and I took the rest home to use in some other recipe of sorts.  I was thinking PB Puppy Chow Crumble Brownies.  But when I got home, the BOY had some other ideas.

 

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The puppy crumble ball didn’t hold up too well, but the spoon idea was pure genius!

Luckily, the Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow was a HUGE success!  I’m heading out to Target for another bag of Pumpkin Spice Kisses immediately!  You will want to do the same!

 

Here are a few more creative puppy chow recipes!

 

 

Do you like puppy chow?

What is your favorite puppy chow recipe?

 

More Fudge

What is your best fudge memory?

 

Mine involves my best friend and a 1/2 pound block of chocolate delight in the Wisconsin Dells.  When you’re away at summer camp, fudge is as good as it gets! 

 

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The thought of fudge brings back so many fun memories of summers at camp and traveling to small town shops.  Even the smallest taste of fudge makes me smile!

 

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This fudge recipe comes by way of Sally at Sally’s Baking Addiction.  I spotted it on her site and immediately knew that I needed to try it.  Sally agreed!  Who knew it was this easy to make egg-less cookie dough?

 

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The fudge itself is made on the stove, then combined with the cookie dough and loaded with chocolate chips.

 

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I definitely added some extra chocolate chips, and I would recommend that you do the same!

 

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The fudge goes straight into the fridge, but I did lick the cookie dough spatula and it was fantastic.  Oh the cookie dough possibilities!

 

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Just like the Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars, the family and I sampled this fudge Monday afternoon before dinner.

 

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It is super sweet and tasted exactly like cookie dough!

 

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Definitely perfect for a sweet and special occasion!

 

Although discovered on Sally’s site, this recipe is actually from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook.  I’ve seen it on a few different sites, and it seems to have some sweet and tasty recipes.  Do you own The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook?  What is your favorite cookie dough recipe? 

 

 

Even More Fudge…

Cake Batter Fudge

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Strawberry Two Ingredient Fudge

Thin Mint Fudge

Chocolate Cake Batter Caramel and Pecan Fudge

Candy Corn Oreo Cake Batter Fudge

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

makes 36 fudge squares

From Sally’s Baking Addiction

 

For Cookie Dough

    1/3 cup unsalted butter, soften to room temperature

    1/4 cup sugar

    1/4 cup light brown sugar

    1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    1/8 tsp salt

    2 Tbsp half-and-half (or milk or cream)

    1/2 cup all-purpose flour

     

    For Fudge

      1/3 cup light brown sugar

      1/3 cup unsalted butter

      pinch of salt

      1/3 cup half-and-half (or milk or cream)

      4-5 cups confectioners’ sugar (I used 4 cups)

      1 tsp vanilla extract

      1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

      Line 8×8 square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Set aside.

       

      For the Cookie Dough, combine butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand or handheld mixer. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla, salt, and half-and-half. Add flour and mix until just combined. Do NOT overmix.

      To prepare the fudge base, combine brown sugar, butter, salt, and half-and-half in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until butter is melted and brown sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Slowly stir in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until mixture is smooth and sugar is incorporated throughout. Stir in vanilla. Add more confectioners’ sugar if desired. The more powdered sugar you add, the thicker, firmer, and sweeter the fudge will be. I used 5 cups.

      Add cookie dough to the fudge base and stir to combine. At this point, the mixture should have cooled to room temperature. If not, continue to stir until it is no longer warm to the touch. Fold in mini chocolate chips and spread fudge into prepared baking pan. Chill until set, about 3-4 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy!

      *Fudge will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.

       

       

      What is your favorite fudge recipe?

      Candy Corn Success

      I have 2 successes to share and both involve my favorite fall treat…Candy Corn!

       

      First…I received this bag of candy corn from a cute little patient yesterday morning at 7:45am.  She knows me well!  I am pleased to say that I did eat a few candy corns (and shared some), but by Saturday afternoon, the majority of the bag is still here.

       

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      HUGE Success!  There are candy corn people and there are not.  I, as most of you know, am a Candy Corn girl!  But in an attempt to stick with my Healthy Habits, I have only snacked on a few, saving the rest for a fun baking treat.

       

      Number Two…Look what I found at Target today?!

       

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      They do exist!  At first, it wasn’t looking good…

       

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      Can you believe how many new types of Oreos they make?

       

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      It wasn’t until I made my way up front to pay that I spotted the Candy Corn Oreos on the end cap by the register.  Success!

       

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      I wasn’t able to get a picture of where I found them because a worker was arranging the display, but I picked up 3 boxes and took a picture in the parking lot.  It took all of my will power not to dig right in, but I had a few stops to make before going home.

       

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      Once at home, I opened up the cookies immediately.

       

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      They are sweet and delicious!  I don’t know if I’ve ever had a golden Oreo, but I think I could be in love.  These cookies (slightly warm from the car) tasted wonderful!

       

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      Before I even found the Oreos, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them…Cake Batter Fudge!

       

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      I used the original Cake Batter Fudge recipe for inspiration adding in some chopped Oreos. 

       

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      I sprinkled a few more cookies over the top of the fudge.

       

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      And then pressed in some candy corn pieces for decoration and flair.

       

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      Waiting while the fudge cooled was the hardest part.  But, the BOY grilled us up some dinner, and I made a salad using my funky new bowl.

       

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      And we had some cool Wisco beers to sip on.

       

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      By the time the BOY and I ate dinner, cleaned everything up, and sat out back enjoying the gorgeous evening, the fudge was ready to be sliced.  I was surprised that the cookies mixed into the batter so well, and I loved the light orange hue of the fudge…very festive!

       

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      The cookie crumble on the top is a must!  I would consider this recipe success Number Three!

       

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      I can’t wait to figure out what to do with the other 2 boxes!

       

       

      Candy Corn Oreo Cake Batter Fudge

      Adapted from Cake Batter Fudge

       

      Ingredients

      2 cups white cake mix (yellow could work too)

      2 cups powdered sugar

      1 stick butter

      1/4 cup milk

      1 container of Candy Corn Oreos, crushed into big pieces

      A few pieces of candy corn

       

      Directions

      Place cake mix and powdered sugar in a large bowl and combine. Pour in the milk, top with stick of butter, and microwave for 2 and a half minutes. Immediately begin mixing everything together – the butter may not be fully melted but will as you continue mixing. Stir in the majority of the cookie pieces, then pour fudge into a greased 8×8 cake pan covered with foil. Sprinkle remaining cookies and candy corn over the top, pressing everything in with the back of a spatula.  Chill for at least 2 hours before cutting. Store in the refrigerator.

       

       

      Do you like Candy Corn?  Have you tried the Candy Corn Oreos yet?

      What recipe would you make with them?

       

       

      One other fudge recipe worth sharing is this Peppermint Oreo Fudge

      Without the Peppermint, I bet it would be perfect with these Oreos.