Christmas Treats: A twist on traditional bark

I can hardly believe it’s the holidays again! It’s been hard to squeeze in some making this year, but I can’t let my favorite season go by without crafting some homemade treats. This year, I really wanted to do something different β€” but with an insane work schedule, it had to be simple. So, I took to the internet to see what interesting options would yield from a “bark recipe” google search.

And then I found it: Coffee Roasted Almond + Pistachio Dark Chocolate Bark with Coconut! (recipe via Half Baked Harvest)

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So the name is quite a mouthful, but WOW β€” it was exactly what I was looking for. Something you can enjoy with your holiday blend coffee, something unexpected and bonus: this stuff is totally vegan, too! It’s sooo easy to make, you could whip some up today.

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Toss almonds and pistachios in coconut oil and vanilla, then mix with fresh ground coffee.

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Ready for roasting!

I found a cute Christmas silicon mold on clearance last year (similar mold here), and knew it would be perfect. Melt your dark chocolate, pour into mold, and toss some coconut flakes on top. Make sure the nuts have cooled, add nuts to the top, and then drizzle more melted chocolate lightly on top. Place in the fridge for 30-60 mins., and voila!

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Once it’s out of the silicon mold, cut and package. This stuff tastes sooo good. And like the original author says, with almonds, dark chocolate and coconut, its practically health food, right? πŸ˜‰ I packaged mine in cellophane as whole bars for a pretty presentation, and they were done!

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Thanks, Half Baked Harvest! This is gonna be some great gift-giving this year!


Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole raw almonds
  • 1 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup fresh ground coffee beans
  • 1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 16 ounces dark chocolate, chopped, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted
  • flaked sea salt, for topping

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

Pour the almonds onto the baking sheet. Roast, the almonds halfway through, until the almonds are fragrant, about 10-12 minutes. Watch closely to make sure they don’t burn.

In the meantime mix together the coffee grounds, cocoa powder and salt. Add the melted coconut oil and vanilla to a small bowl. When the almonds are done roasting add the pistachios to the baking sheet. Toss the nuts with the coconut oil and then toss them with the coffee. Toss well making sure the coffee grounds evenly coat the almonds and pistachios. It will seem like a lot of coffee, but this is what you want!

Roast the almonds + pistachios until the coffee is fragrant and the almonds are starting to become crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Line a sheet pan with parchment or wax paper.

Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until melted.

Pour 3/4 (leaving about 1/4 of the chocolate for drizzling over top the nuts) of the melted chocolate on to the prepared baking sheet that has been lined with wax or parchment paper and spread the chocolate out to form a rectangle, be careful not to make it too thin. Immediately sprinkle on half of the toasted coconut, then sprinkle on the almonds and pistachios, leaving out most of the coffee grounds. If desired, sprinkle the bark with a few tablespoons of the coffee grounds that were left on the baking sheet (I probably used about 1/4 cup). Add the remaining toasted coconut and then drizzle the remaining melted chocolate overtop of everything. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Peel off parchment, and break bark into pieces.

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Red Velvet Oreo Rice Krispy Treats for Valentine’s Day

Well, somebody had to do it…
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I’m always up for doing a good deed for my fellow friends in Treatsland. πŸ™‚ When these Red Velvet Oreos came out, my brain just naturally defaulted to the idea of doing some fancy chocolate covered versions of these in pretty gift boxes, but I was just kinda bored with that idea after doing so many for Christmas. Then last night I got to thinking about all the receipes out there for Oreo Rice Krispy Treats and it dawned on me – I knew what needed to be done.

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I can’t help it – I have a weakness for Valentine’s Day. I’ve said before and I’ll say it many times over again – I love the day of love. All the haters that spew negativity with their whole “Valentine’s Day is just a Hallmark holiday …” and “Valentine’s Day is just a ploy for people to spend their money …” blah, blah, blah …Β  should look at the focus of February 14th: it’s LOVE. Not chocolate. Not lingerie. Not gifts. Not even Hallmark cards. Focus on somebody you love and show them you care with a simple homemade gesture.

I’ll stop there, but I will say β€” I’m a sucker for all the adorableness out there in red + pink, so I just HAD to make something. So here it is, as valentine-y as it gets: Red Velvet Oreos, Rice Krispies, Marshmallows, White Chocolate drizzle and heart sprinkles. The heart-shaped cookie cutter is just a nice (and very easy) touch, but they’d be just as full of love if you went traditional and cut ’em in squares. Make some yourself!

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Recipe adapted from chef-in-training.com:

Ingredients

  • 6 cups Rice Krispie Cereal
  • 1 pkg. Red Velvet Oreos, chopped (1 pkg = 20 oreos)
  • 5 cups mini marshmallows
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • White chocolate for drizzle (optional)
  • Heart sprinkles (optional)
Instructions
  1. Spray a 9×13 dish with cooking spray
  2. In a large bowl, pour measured Rice Krispie Cereal
  3. Chop and mash Red Velvet Oreos. You want the Oreos to be a variety of sizes from chunky to finely crushed.
    Tip: Put Oreos in a large ziplock bag and crush with a mallet or wooden spoon to help keep the mess under control.
  4. Add Oreos to Rice Krispy cereal and stir to combine.
  5. In a medium sauce pan, heat butter and marshmallows together over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted
  6. Pour melted marshmallows over cereal and oreos. Use a spatula sprayed with non-stick cooking spray to quickly combine all the ingredients
  7. As soon as all the cereal is combined, spread mixture into the prepared 9Γ—13β€³ dish. Use the spatula to press the mixture around the dish, and flatten as needed.
  8. Let sit until completely cooled.
    Note: When the rice krispie treats are cooled, you can use a heart cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes, or cut into traditional squares. Melt white chocolate to drizzle and add sprinkles if you want for a pretty finish and let set until hardened.

Enjoy!
(Original recipe post here)

PSA: Red Velvet Oreos are here …

… and they’re legit.
rv-oreosI enlisted the help of my #1 cookie tester yesterday to see if Red Velvet Oreos are something I should be looking into for aΒ Four-Eyed Girlie Limited Edition Valentine Boxed Set this year (’cause you know I love making things with Oreos). I mean, they are pretty appealing to me for many reasons (they are red and red velvet flavored, enough said), but I wanted to make sure they didn’t have that chemically, artificial taste similar to strawberry cake mix and blue raspberry icees.

In short β€” they don’t taste artificial. I dig the crunchy red-velvety tasting cookie, but I think the most convincing part is the cream cheese filling. At least that’s what my cookie tester said. The cream cheese filling is definitely softer than the regular Oreo filling, but don’t worry β€” they’re definitely still stackable. πŸ™‚

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So yeah, pick some up – you just might have the same reaction yourself once you peel back that seal and feast your eyes on that lovely red velvety goodness. The package is smaller than the regular variety (just 20 cookies), so may help to lessen the guilt.

It’s been decided: Limited edition Four-Eyed Girlie Red Velvet Oreo Treats to come. Who’s in?

Sweet Treats: S’mores Popcorn

In honor of the biggest night celebrating movies, for your consideration: S’mores Popcorn. Four ingredients. Five minutes. You can do this.

Not gonna lie, Four-Eyed Girlie’s had her hands full lately. I’ve been out of the kitchen and trying to whittle the waistline, so I haven’t been up to my usual shameless indulgences. But it’s Oscars Night people, and I need a snack. Just like Amy Adams isn’t showing up in her usual jeans/t-shirt combo, I’m not munching on the standard carrot sticks + hummus.

I decided no night honoring the movies was right without popcorn, so I went on a frantic internet search to find out how to take it to the next level. All I needed was microwave popcorn, marshmallows, golden grahams and chocolate chips. Thank you, Kellie β€”Β I’m soooo glad I found your blog, Nest of Posies.

Yep, that’ll do it. Salty, sweet, crunchy, chocolatey. I got the recipe here, but am copying below:

Ingredients

  1. 1/2 box of Golden Graham cereal
  2. 1/2 bag of miniature marshmallows
  3. 1 & 1/2 bags of Tender White Orville Redenbacher Popcorn
  4. 1 bag chocolate chips – melted (I like Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Chips)

How:

  1. Pop popcorn
  2. Mix together with marshmallows + Golden Grahams
  3. Spread out on large cookie sheet and drizzle with melted chocolate
  4. Let chocolate set/harden and enjoy!

Have fun tonight!

Sweet Treats: Holiday Fun with Oreos

Did Christmas sneak up on you as fast as it did for me this year? With limited time, I decided that I would ditch all my baking from scratch (gasp!) and have a little fun with Oreos this year. After all, it’s kind of merging my love for candy-making with cookies, and how could that be anything but a win? I had a lot of fun playing with different varieties of Oreos and chocolate combinations to make both pops and chocolate-covered treats. It’s so easy to do, I almost feel bad for bragging about doing it.

Christmas Oreo Treats, project #1: Gingerbread Cookie Pops

I’ve been holding on to this little idea for awhile. After I first saw them on Love From the Oven I knew I had to make them. Did you know there were Gingerbread Oreos? Unfortunately, I couldn’t find them here locally in CA this year, but thank goodness Target came out with some generic “Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies” under their Market Pantry label. They tasted great and allowed me to stick with the theme!

All you gotta do to make these cute little pops are buy some cookies, some white chocolate and some popsicle or lollipop sticks (and whatever sprinkles you think would make them look cute, if you’re into that).

  1. Screw the tops off your “oreos”, lay ’em on a tray, and get your chocolate melted. You dip the sticks in the melted chocolate, and gently push them down into the layer of creme filling. Make sure you’ve got enough chocolate on there to stick to the cookie once you put top back on as well. Once they’re put back together (“glued” by the chocolate), stick them in the freezer so the chocolate can set and the sticks will be in place.
  2. Add a pinch of cinnamon to your white chocolate and about 10 mins. after the cookies have been in the freezer, dip them again to make the cookie pop. Add sprinkles/decorations and you’ve got yourself a tasty and adorable little treat!(Find The Domestic Rebel‘s original recipe post here.)


I used lollipop wrappers from Wilton and found cute holiday-themed twist ties to wrap ’em up with. Piece of cake. And because I’m a sucker for those Candy Cane Oreos (and anything Peppermint flavored or themed during Christmas for that matter!), I did Milk Chocolate Candy Cane Oreo Pops as well.

Christmas Oreo Treats, project #2: Chocolate Covered Poinsettia Oreos

Seriously – these are so impressive and all you have to do is melt some chocolate into a mold and stick an Oreo in it – they really are that easy! My mom and I found poinsettia molds on the amazing Fancy Flours site a few years ago and we finally tried making a few last year. Since they turned out so gorgeous, we knew we wanted to make them for gifts this year. We bought Winter Oreos (regular Oreos with red filling) and made red poinsettias, and I bought some White Mint Chocolate to make white poinsettias with Candy Cane Oreos.

First, I melted a tiny bit of red chocolate to put in the center part of the flower mold (I used yellow on the red poinsettias) and let that chocolate set. Then, I filled 1/2 the mold with white chocolate, submerged the Oreo, and covered the top. They’re ready to pop right out of the mold in about 15 minutes!

Christmas Oreo Treats, project #3: White Chocolate Covered Candy Cane Oreos decorated with icing and sprinkles

I bought plain molds like these to get a cleaner look than the pops, and I was really pleased with how they turned out. It was fun to use different sprinkles and toppings to create different looks for each one. I didn’t use anything fancy β€”Β just the Red and White sprinkles out of Wilton’s Christmas Confetti Sprinkle Mix, some of the white candy canes from Wilton’s Candy Cane Sprinkles, Crushed Candy Cane Topping and red, white and green cookie icing. Since I didn’t have boxes to fit three, I cut gold cardstock to fit inside of the Wilton Pretzel Bag and used my hole punch to add two holes to feed my ribbon through. I tied it up in bow and had a pretty little trio to gift a few friends with.


In the end, it was a really fun and easy way to dress up Oreos that ended up looking great. I made a few larger variety boxes with 6 cookies and wrapped them up with ribbon to give as gifts, too. I can safely say I’ll be making these again. You should too!

Operation Ballerina Birthday Cake: Cherry Vanilla Cake, from scratch!

I have a secret to share: Four-Eyed Girlie is intimidated when it comes to making cakes. Making a perfect cake is hard. And I have this problem with needing things to be perfect. It takes work, and a lot of practice, and still β€” it’s not always perfect. But when it comes to my daughter’s birthday, I enjoy making them (perfect or not). I guess it’s because when I was a kid, my parents made me a custom birthday cake every year for my birthday. All I had to do was name a theme, and it was on! So now, I consider a special cake for my daughter’s birthday the ultimate labor of love.

This year, my soon-to-be three year old muttered two words when the topic of cake came up: “Pink” and “Ballerina”. Whoa. This girl is SUPER girly these days. Although I’m pretty girly myself (I am a grown woman who wears a bow in her hair most days), a pink ballerina cake was still a little out of my comfort zone. But, it was her birthday request and I was eager to deliver.

I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about the “pink” cake. I knew I could use food coloring and dye it, but that just seemed like a cheat. And strawberry cake mixes taste like … well, let’s just say they don’t taste so much like strawberry, but more like sticky sweet chemical sludge. So, I knew I had no choice β€” I had to find the ultimate recipe, from scratch. I went to the Sprinklebakes blog right away (she is a complete superhero and totally my idol), and sure enough, I found it: her Cherry Vanilla Cake recipe.

This cake is no joke. It uses maraschino cherries and the juice … and paired with almond extract instead of vanilla, it actually isn’t as sweet as you’d expect it to be. This baby is entirely from scratch … and guess what, it’s not difficult! Most importantly, it is the perfect shade of pink to make any girly-girl smile. I didn’t even need the optional food coloring in the recipe, the batter was pink enough, and the bits of cherries throughout were gorgeous! You really should make it yourself. Click here for the recipe.

As for icing, I went with the Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting I used last year on my daughter’s jumbo sprinkles cake. I love this frosting SO much. I just added a teeny dab of Wilton’s pink color gel with a toothpick to get the perfect ballerina pink. Click here for the recipe.

Of course, I wanted it to look “charmingly homemade” (it’s how I justify it to my perfectionist self!) and slightly retro … so after I found a vintage looking ballerina cake topper, pearl sprinkles for the side, and iridescent glitter dust to sprinkle on top, I was all set. I took super girliness to a whole new level with this one! The birthday girl was thrilled though, and all the adults enjoyed this uber-pink creation as well.

If you decide to make it, let me know how it goes! πŸ˜‰

Sweet Treats: Pumpkin Swirled Brownie Bites

photo(1)I was asked to make some treats for the Sip + Shop event at Fox & Moon Clothing last night and the lovely shop owner Kristen asked, “Can you do something ‘pumpkin-y’?” Of course, I thought about Martha’s Pumpkin Swirled Brownies right away!

For the event, I thought bites would be better, so I used my cute little heart-shaped cutter to make adorable bite-sized pieces. Then, I decided they still needed to look cuter, so I drizzled them with cream cheese frosting.

Visit this post to get the recipe!

These “brownies” are really more like pumpkin bread with brownie batter mixed throughout. They do have a little bit of an after-bite thanks to a dash of cayenne, so be warned β€” but truly, it’s that bite that make these guys really special. When I serve them as brownies, I like to skip the drizzle, because the brownie/pumpkin swirl is really pretty – but the drizzle on these bites were just perfect!

Enjoy!