Spring Chocolate Molten Cakes in 30 Minutes

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Many of you may have seen these Molten Cakes on my blog before. If you have, please forgive me for running them again, but when I went out last for my friend, Julie’s birthday dinner at “Flemmings” restaurant, that was the top dessert pick. It was delicious and oozing of warm chocolate, as it always is, and I told Julie that she can easily do these at home. Then the next day, I saw these spring, Easter ramekins at Target, and was so excited to give them a new look. This is a great idea for an Easter or spring dessert. You can make them ahead and warm them up, right before serving. To see these and other spring dessert ideas, watch the link from  “Daytime Alabama” that was on Monday on NBC 13.

Healthy Organic Trail Mix

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When I am on the go (which is all of the time), I like a quick healthy snack. This trail mix is perfect because it has the combination of a sweet and salty crunch made with some of my favorite ingredients. Today, I am taping 4 different cooking segments for a new local NBC show, “Daytime Alabama”. I can’t begin to explain what it’s like to prepare for 4 different cooking shows (I thought 1 show was difficult). Don’t get me wrong, it’s really fun. I would like to give thanks to my friend Alacia who helped me prepare for these television segments. 

 

Organic Trail Mix

Prep: 5 minutes

Yield:  6 cups

Ingredients

21/2 cups Oatmeal Squares

2 cups granola

1 cup peanut-butter filled pretzels

2 (10-ounce) package Harvest blend trail mix (I used Back to Nature)

1 (5.2-ounce) dried strawberries

1 (5.2-ounce) dried blueberries

1 (8.3-ounce) yogurt covered raisins

Preparation

1. Combine all ingredients in a airtight container and store at room temperature.

Valentine Treat: Four Ingredient Chocolate-Dipped Caramels

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With just 4 ingredients and about 20 minutes, you can prepare these homemade candies for your favorite Valentine. These are so easy and fabulous! Be sure to butter the pans good to prevent sticking and use wax paper after the candy has been dipped in chocolate. They disappeared in a matter of minutes at my house so I hope you will love them too! Also, thanks to http://www.tipnut.com for recommending my Valentine ideas.

 

Chocolate-Dipped Caramels

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Yield: 24 candies

Ingredients

1 (14-ounce) package caramels, unwrapped

2 tablespoons skim milk

2 cups chopped pecans

1 cup semisweet chocolate

Preparation

1. Combine caramels and milk in a heavy saucepan; cook mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Stir in pecans, and drip by tablespoonfuls onto buttered baking sheets. Let stand until firm.

2. Microwave chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 minute or until melted, stirring once.

3. Dip caramel candies into melted chocolate, allowing excess to drip; place on wax paper. let stand until firm.

Valentine’s Day White Chocolate Lovers: White Chocolate Dried Cherry Pistachio Bark

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This three ingredient recipe was one I made for Christmas, but since there are so many white chocolate fans, I thought I would feature it again for Valentine’s Day. It’s so easy, quick and delicious. It also can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. I used Nestle semisweet morsels, and it worked great! Happy Valentine’s Day! Enjoy!

 

Dried Cherry and Pistachio Bark

Feel free to double or triple this recipe.

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 1 minute

Yield: 11/2 pound

Ingredients

1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate morsels or any white chocolate

1 cup pistachio nuts, shells removed and toasted

1 cup dried cherries or cranberries

Preparation

1. Place white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, covered with wax paper on HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Add pistachios and cherries, stirring well. Spread on large baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

2. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Break bark into pieces. Store in a tightly sealed container in refrigerator up to 1 month. Pack in decorative boxes or tins lined with wax tissue paper or colored cellophane for gift giving.

Valentine Treats-Chocolate-Laced Waffle Cones

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Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I have 3 children, I am always trying to come up with something clever and sweet. Their school has Valentine class parties, and I have an easy idea that is sure to be a hit. Start with a large waffle cone that can be found in any grocery store and simply coat it in chocolate. Fill with your favorite candy for a colorful, fun presentation. These can be made up to 5 days ahead stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also fill these with your favorite ice cream topped with Valentine candy.

 

Chocolate-Laced Waffle Cones

For a simpler version of the chocolate mixture, use 1 (7-ounce) container microwavable Baker’s Dipping Chocolate.

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 2 minutes

Yield: 8 cones

Ingredients

6 to 8 large waffle cones

1 (12-ounce) package semisweet morsels

1 tablespoon milk

Milk chocolate pieces, solid white chocolate and milk chocolate pieces (kisses and hugs), candy hearts, chocolate hearts

Preparation

1. Place waffle cone, pointed end up on a baking sheet covered with wax paper. Combine chocolate and milk in top of  stove in a double boiler; bring water to a boil; reduce heat to low; cook until chocolate is melted, stirring frequently. (You can also microwave chocolate and milk in a microwave-safe dish 1 minute on HIGH or until melted.)

2. Slowly spoon chocolate over cone coating evenly. Let stand 20 minutes or until chocolate is set. Repeat with remaining cones. Refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, fill cones with your favorite Valentine Candy.

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Christmas and Holiday Mini Chocolate Cookies

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If you’re looking for the easiest cookie ever, look no further.  With just a few ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, you can make these cookies with ease. Whether you’re having guests over for the holidays, want to make a holiday snack or headed to a cookie swap, this recipe makes plenty and is sure to please (also kids go nuts over them). They are so small that you won’t feel any guilt eating more than one or two. Feel free to add extra chocolate chips if you like. 

 

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

Yield: 4 dozen

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter or margarine, softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups or 1 (12-ounce) package  semisweet mini morsels

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

Powdered sugar

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in flour; stir in morsels and nuts. Shape level tablespoons of dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and lightly browned. Remove from oven. Sift powdered sugar over hot cookies on baking sheets. Cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar, if desired. Store in airtight containers.

Christmas and Hanukkah Homemade Gifts-Chocolate-Covered Popcorn

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Since the White Chocolate Popcorn recipe was so popular, I thought I would try it with a mixture of milk chocolate and semisweet. It turned out even better than I thought. “Fabulous”, said some of my friends. Everyone will love receiving this food gift, but make plenty because once you start eating it, you won’t be able to stop.

 

Chocolate Popcorn

Feel free to double this recipe.

Prep: 5 minutes

Yield: 6 cups

Ingredients

1 /2 (12-ounce) package milk chocoolate morsels (I used Nestle Milk Chocolate Morsels)

1/2 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels (I used Nestle Milk Chocolate Morsels)

6 cups popcorn (popped without salt or fat)

Preparation

1. Place chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl on HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once. Combine chocolate and popcorn in a large mixing bowl, tossing gently.  Spread mixture on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper; refrigerate until chocolate gets hard. Store in an airtight container.

Two Ingredient Food Holiday Gift Idea-White Chocolate Popcorn

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Caramel popcorn can be a popular holiday gift. We usually receive several tins of it every year, and my kids devour it. As a Recipe Developer, I sometimes try to take a popular concept and give it a new twist. Since I had some extra white chocolate on hand, I thought I would develop a simple new recipe for White Chocolate Popcorn, and it worked great! This recipe takes no time at all and has only two ingredients. Best, of all, there’s hardly any mess. 

 

White Chocolate Popcorn

Feel free to double this recipe.

Prep: 5 minutes

Yield: 6 cups

Ingredients

1 (11-ounce) package white chocoolate morsels (I used Ghiradelli white chocolate or Nestle Milk Chocolate Morsels)

6 cups popcorn (popped without salt or fat)

Preparation

1. Place white or milk chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring once.  Combine chocolate and popcorn in a large mixing bowl, tossing gently.  Spread mixture on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper; let cool and store in an airtight container.

Homemade Holiday Gifts-White and Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

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Every year, peppermint bark is a holiday hit! My friend and neighbor, Kathy, said she was searching for a wonderful peppermint bark recipe, and since one of my favorite parts of being a Food Consultant for magazines and Food companies is recipe development, I made it my mission to help Kathy out. This recipe is simple to prepare and tastes great. I crushed my candy canes in the food processor to save time and went a little overboard, so I ended up with peppermint snow (as my kids called it-and that’s just how they liked it, by the way). Feel free to chop them more or less, depending how you like it. I used Nestle white and semisweet morsels, but I recommend using a quality chocolate such as ghiradelli (you can also use dark chocolate, if you prefer). Be sure to refrigerate the bark and keep it stored in the refrigerator for optimal results. It will keep for up to 1 month.


Peppermint Bark

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 4 minutes

Yield: 2 pounds

Ingredients

1 (8-ounce) package candy cane

1 (12-ounce) package semisweet morsels or baking dark chocolate

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Cooking spray

1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate morsels or baking white chocolate

Preparation

1. Place candy canes in a food processor and process until crushed or in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.

2. Melt semisweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl 1 to 2 minutes on HIGH until melted, stirring once. Add peppermint extract, stirring well. Spread evenly on a large 12-x 16-inch baking sheet covered with parchment paper; spray with cooking spray. Place chocolate mixture in refrigerator for up to one hour to set.

3. Melt white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl 1 to 2 minutes on HIGH until melted, stirring once. Spread over semisweet chocolate and top evenly with crushed candy canes. Refrigerate 1 more hour or until set. Break into pieces and give as gifts.