Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Pretzels

{chocolate dipped} Peanut Butter Stuffed Pretzels
These bite sized little babies are seriously so addicting. I mean, I was eating the peanut butter mixture alone by the spoonfuls. And as I was making them I was daydreaming about every possible scenario where these would be needed. Class parties, holiday parties, ward parties, after school snacks, neighbor treats…pretty much these would be appropriate for any of life’s occasions. I got the recipe from a blog I recently came across and have really enjoyed, Crunchy Salty Sweet, and if ever there was a snack that was crunchy, salty and sweet, this would be it!

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Pretzels
In a mixing bowl, beat the peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of butter until smooth and creamy. Mix in the powdered sugar, brown sugar and vanilla and continue to mix at medium speed until smooth. Take 1 teaspoon of peanut butter mixture and roll it into a ball, then gently press the ball between two mini pretzels to flatten.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Pretzels

Place the pretzel sandwiches onto a baking sheet and repeat until the peanut butter mixture is gone. Place the sheet into the freezer for 10-20 minutes, or until firm.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Pretzels

{chocolate dipped} Peanut Butter Stuffed Pretzels

{chocolate dipped} Peanut Butter Stuffed Pretzels

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
70-80 mini pretzels
1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, beat the peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of butter until smooth and creamy. Mix in the powdered sugar, brown sugar and vanilla and continue to mix at medium speed until smooth. Take 1 teaspoon of peanut butter mixture and roll it into a ball, then gently press the ball between two mini pretzels to flatten. Place the pretzel sandwiches onto a baking sheet and repeat until the peanut butter mixture is gone. Place the sheet into the freezer for 10-20 minutes, or until firm. Add the chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 second intervals, stirring between each one, until smooth and melted (or use a double boiler). Dip half of each pretzel sandwich into the chocolate then return to the baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate has hardened.

Source | Crunchy Salty Sweet

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Classic Dutch Apple Pie

So I’ve got a thing for apple desserts. There’s just something about warm slightly tart and tender apples swimming in caramel sauce and melted ice cream that just gets me going. Plus, if it has fruit and oats in it then I’m totally justified in eating two slices. And eating it again for breakfast. Right? Apple pie is one of my all time favorites, but it’s one of those special occasion only things. I feel like I’m being unfaithful to Thanksgiving if I dare make it any other time of year. It’s become a tradition to make my apple pie from scratch every year and I just don’t want the novelty to wear off. BUT, I can totally justify making this Dutch Apple Pie any day of the year. Without fluted edges and a criss cross top, I am totally not cheating on Thanksgiving. Plus this is much quicker to whip together but still tastes phenomenal. Mmmm….seeing the pictures is making me crave it all over again.

Classic Dutch Apple Pie

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, melted butter, and oats until well combined. Remove 1 cup of the mixture and set aside for the topping, press remaining crumb mixture into a 9-inch greased pie pan and set aside. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring to a boil and constantly stir while it boils for 2 minutes, until the mixture is thickened). Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the diced apples and vanilla then pour into the pie pan.

Classic Dutch Apple Pie
Top with the remaining 1 cup reserved crumb mixture.

Classic Dutch Apple Pie
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the crust is a golden brown. Let cool before serving, otherwise the filling will be runny. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

Classic Dutch Apple Pie

Crust/topping:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
¾ cup butter, melted
½ cup quick oats
Filling:
3/4 cup white sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/3 cups cold water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 medium apples, diced and peeled (best if you use a mix like Granny Smith and Gala)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Optional: vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce to serve

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, melted butter, and oats until well combined. Remove 1 cup of the mixture and set aside for the topping, press remaining crumb mixture into a 9-inch greased pie pan and set aside. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring to a boil and constantly stir while it boils for 2 minutes, until the mixture is thickened). Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the diced apples and vanilla then pour into the pie pan and top with the remaining 1 cup reserved crumb mixture. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the crust is a golden brown. Let cool before serving, otherwise the filling will be runny. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce

Source | Six Sister’s Stuff

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{simple & elegant} Cream Puffs

This right here is it. The epitome of beautiful and delicious. Cream puffs have been a favorite of mine ever since, well, forever. But when I say “cream puff” I’m referring to the frozen ones from Costco, the ones that never seem to thaw out evenly. But despite the fact that they are eternally half frozen, I always make a beeline straight to the cream puff plate whenever they’re served at a party. When I came across this recipe for a home made version (well, I didn’t really stumble across it, I scoured every page of a cookbook and scrawled out all the recipes on the back of my son’s homework paper that I wanted to try. And then I gave the  cookbook to Grandma Judy for Christmas. Is that bad?), I was intrigued. They looked so dainty and delicate, I figured they must be a bit fussy to make. And I was waiting for a good excuse to make them. So I put it off for months, but they were always there in the back of my mind calling my name. Nobody was throwing any parties, there were no ward potlucks, no baby showers to attend and no reason at all that I would need to make an entire batch of cream puffs. But then we had some left over whipped cream from Sunday brunch that I was about to throw out. And that right there was my excuse. So in celebration of a completely average day, I made cream puffs. And you know what I found out. They are about the easiest things to make. And they are SO.FREAKING.GOOD. Like, they blow your mind and they blow the frozen Costco variety waaaaaaayyyyy out of the water. It’s not even a competition. They are little puffs of sweetened air that just melt in your mouth. You better believe that every single party I attend from here on out, these will be my signature plate that I bring. And you better believe I’m not waiting for an invite to a party to make these again. Without further ado, I present to you the best bite sized little morsels you will ever consume in your entire life. Amen.

After all these years of inhaling the frozen Costco cream puffs, I had no idea how easy and how freaking good the homemade ones are!
Preheat oven to 400. In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, heat water and butter until it begins to boil. Gradually add flour and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat, mix in sugar and vanilla then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg before adding the next. If it looks like a gooey hot mess, then you did it right.

After all these years of inhaling the frozen Costco cream puffs, I had no idea how easy and how freaking good the homemade ones are!
Line a large tray with parchment paper, use a tablespoon to scoop out a ball of dough and place at least one inch apart. I know, I was a little skeptical at this point too. It doesn’t look like these will amount to anything, but just you wait….

After all these years of inhaling the frozen Costco cream puffs, I had no idea how easy and how freaking good the homemade ones are!
Bake for 30 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned. See, I told you! Beautiful, huh? Transfer to a cooling rack and split along the side to release any moisture.

After all these years of inhaling the frozen Costco cream puffs, I had no idea how easy and how freaking good the homemade ones are!

After all these years of inhaling the frozen Costco cream puffs, I had no idea how easy and how freaking good the homemade ones are!
And just one more, because they’re so flippin cute.

After all these years of inhaling the frozen Costco cream puffs, I had no idea how easy and how freaking good the homemade ones are!
When they’re completely cooled, fill the split with whipped cream then dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate sauce to serve

After all these years of inhaling the frozen Costco cream puffs, I had no idea how easy and how freaking good the homemade ones are!

1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1 cup flour
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
freshly whipped cream (to fill)
powdered sugar (to dust)
chocolate sauce (to drizzle)

Preheat oven to 400. In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, heat water and butter until it begins to boil. Gradually add flour and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat, mix in sugar and vanilla then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg before adding the next. Line a large tray with parchment paper, use a tablespoon to scoop out a ball of dough and place at least one inch apart. Bake for 30 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned. Transfer to a cooling rack and split along the side to release any moisture, then when they are completely cooled fill the split with whipped cream, then dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate sauce to serve.

Source | Gran’s Kitchen Dulcie May Booker

ANZAC Biscuits

ANZAC Biscuits

I’ve loved living here in New Zealand, for many obvious reasons. But I especially love that my kids are getting exposed to a new culture. It’s so good for them to realize that the world is a bigger place than just our little Arizona bubble. I love the kiwi phrases they have picked up, and every time I hear them sing kapa haka songs or the national anthem at assemblies it just gives me chills.  With ANZAC day coming up they’ve had a chance to learn about the roll New Zealand played in World War I, and a reverence for the many lives that were lost. ANZAC stands for the “Australia New Zealand Army Corps”, and ANZAC day (on April 25) commemorates the anniversary of the day the troops landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. The conflict that followed led to the deaths of over 150,000 total. Thanks to Google for all these facts, I’m still learning the history myself as well. So the story behind the ANZAC biscuit is that rolled oat cookies were sold at galas, festivals and public events at home in order to raise funds for the war effort. The most popular of these cookies was given the title of the “ANZAC biscuit” and that is how the name came about. So there’s a little side of history with these absolutely delicious cookies. It’s hard to imagine how a cookie could help in a war effort, but after you taste these you can see why. They’re super quick and easy to throw together, and don’t follow a traditional cookie recipe so they have a unique but delicious flavor and texture. My daughter declared these were tied with White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut cookies as her favorite cookie. Fair enough. I hope you get a chance to make these, and I hope you take a moment to remember all those who have served from which ever country you are in, and especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom.

ANZAC Biscuits

ANZAC Biscuits

1/2 cup + 1 Tbs butter
1/4 cup golden syrup (can substitute with corn syrup)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbs hot water
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and golden syrup until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat. Dissolve baking soda in hot water then mix into the saucepan. In a separate bowl, mix flour, sugar, coconut and oats. Gradually mix it into the saucepan and stir until combined. Using a tablespoon, scoop out the mixture and place at least 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press with a fork to flatten. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden.

ANZAC Biscuits

Source | The Great New Zealand Cookbook

Raspberry Cream Crepes

And Valentine’s Day just wouldn’t be complete without this family favorite. Berry Cream Crepes. You can use raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries…it’s delicious any way! We just lucked out to have a raspberry bush in the backyard of the home we are renting here, so rasbperries were the obvious choice. These crepes are delicious any time of the year, but they are an extra special treat for our Valentine’s Day breakfast!

Crepes:
1 ½ c milk
1 c flour
2 Tb sugar
1 Tb veg. oil
2 eggs
butter (for cooking)

In a bowl combine milk, flour eggs, oil, and sugar. Beat until well mixed. Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium heat, add a little butter and swirl around until melted. Remove from heat. Pour in approx. ¼ C of batter; lift and tilt skillet to spread batter. Return to heat and cook until it starts to bubble then flip it over and cook until lightly browned. Repeat with each crepe, adding more butter to the skillet each time (step-by-step crepe instructions here).

Filling:
2 C raspberries (or any other berry)
8oz pkg. cream cheese
¼ C powdered sugar

Topping:
1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup chocolate chips
whipped topping
powdered sugar
fresh berries

Soften cream cheese then beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Gently fold in raspberries (if using frozen berries, make sure they are thawed then rinse and pat dry). To make the chocolate sauce, heat cream in saucepan then slowly whisk in chocolate chips until smooth (adjusting amounts until desired consistency is reached). Spoon berry mixture onto crepe, roll up, dust with powdered sugar, drizzle with chocolate sauce and top with whipped cream and fresh berries.

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Pink Hot Chocolate

I don’t know when this tradition first began, but having pink hot chocolate with our Valentine’s Day breakfast has been something we’ve loved for years now. It’s fun having a novelty food that becomes a special part of the holiday. This hot chocolate is just dreamy and we could easily drink it all winter long, but I like to keep it as a special treat for the kids to look forward to and get excited about. I won’t lie, I get just as excited to drink it as they do! And even though it’s still technically summer over here, we woke up to a cold, rainy, overcast morning. The kind of morning made for slippers and hot chocolate. Especially if it’s pink. Happy Valentine’s Day!

1 heaping cup white chocolate chips
1 c. heavy cream
4 c. half and half
½ tsp vanilla
approximately 7-8 drops red food coloring

Pour the cream into a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until heated through. Whisk in white chocolate chips until melted, stirring until completely smooth. Whisk in the half and half, vanilla and food coloring. Continue stirring until heated through, but don’t bring to a boil. Serve in mugs, topped with mini marshmallows or whipped cream.

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Grilled Herb Chicken with Creamy Tomato Pasta

I got this pasta recipe years ago from a friend and immediately fell in love with it’s creamy texture and rich flavor. Sometime later I was watching Oprah and Rachel Ray was doing a Valentine’s Day cooking segment. She promised that her pasta recipe was so irresistible that it was guaranteed to help you land a guy. Her recipe was almost identical to this, minus the vodka (which could play a part in the whole “landing a guy” deal 🙂 and a few small details. It really is that amazing! This grilled chicken recipe is one I came across more recently and not only does it make the dish a little more hearty, but the fresh herbs compliment it perfectly. So give it a try this Valentine’s Day, I can’t guarantee it will help you find your prince charming, but I can guarantee it will be delicious and make whoever you are serving it to very happy!

For the chicken:

2 Tbs chopped parsley
2 tsp chopped rosemary
2 tsp chopped thyme
1 tsp dried sage
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts

In a blender combine the parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic, oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Blend together then place chicken in a large Ziploc bag and marinate at least 2 hours or up to 48 hours. Preheat grill to medium high heat or set oven to broil. Remove chicken from dish and grill or broil for about 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside.

For the pasta:

2 cans (14.5 oz each) Italian diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbs tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped (plus extra to garnish)
Salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese, to garnish

Puree diced tomatoes in blender. Sauté garlic in olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes to pan. Add whipping cream, tomato paste, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30-35 minutes. Serve over cooked fettuccini noodles with sliced grilled chicken, garnish with chopped parsley and freshly grated parmesan.

Source| Pasta- Amber (it was so long ago, I can’t remember her last name!), Chicken- Allrecipes.com