Christmas Goodies: Triple-Decker Maple Peanut Butter Pretzel Fudge

Maple. Peanut Butter. Pretzel. FUDGE.
That’s exactly how I read this entry from one of my blogger idols, Heather, at Sprinkle Bakes. Oh, I’ve tried twice before to emulate her absolute perfection in the amazing treats of hers that I’ve tried to make. Unfortunately, I never seemed to execute the projects quite to her level of awesomeness. But I’m gonna be frank here — this time, I nailed it.

The second I saw all those combined together in one delectable treat, I knew I had to make it for my friends this holiday season.

The look of this fudge is so stunning. I love the way the pretzel rods and crumbs look on the top of the rich ganache layer. The middle layer is the thickest, creamiest, most scrumptious peanut butter fudge ever — with just a hint of maple. And the bottom is a “crust” of all chocolate/butter/crushed pretzel goodness.

It was a no-brainer that I’d make the fudge, but what I didn’t know was how I was going to package it. Because it’s so pretty, I knew I wanted the wrapper to be clear, but just putting this stuff in a treat bag didn’t seem to do it justice. After trying a few things, I finally settled on printing a label to use as a backing inside, and printed it out on kraft brown cardstock.

It’s super easy to do. Just leave an equal extra amount at the top and bottom of the label to score and fold over (I used a ruler on the fold line and traced over it with a butter knife —careful, you don’t want to cut through! — to get a clean folded edge), so that the label wraps the bottom and top sides of the piece of fudge. I also recommend cutting a piece of wax paper for the fudge to sit on so that it doesn’t seep through the paper and mess up your pretty label!

FourEyedGirl-mpbpfudge-thumWant to make this delicious and amazing fudge? Of course you do! You can find the recipe here at Sprinkle Bakes (Heather, thank you for sharing this with the world!). If you’d like to use the tags I made, you can download the free printable tag here. If folding it as a backing isn’t your thing, punch a small hole and tie it to the outside with some red/white bakers twine to keep it looking seasonal!

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

*added note: The pieces of fudge pictured are pretty huge. The idea was to give out mini “bricks” of fudge to each recipient. Again, because of how pretty the topping is, I thought it looked better to give a larger piece. You could realistically cut about four pieces of candy from the size of the block I have pictured.


Baking from the Heart

I’ve had a friend on my mind for the last few days, and I just haven’t been real sure what to do. So this morning I finally just decided that I was going to bake some cookies.

I used Bakerella’s fabulous “Cowgirl Cookies” recipe — a friend gave away a jar with all of the ingredients for these cookies at her daughter’s birthday party a while back, and the cookies were so good that I knew I’d have to make them again. They combine chocolate chips, oatmeal and M&M’s, so I figured they were bound to please just about anybody. Make no mistake, these cookies are amazing.

To package the cookies, I used a cute little wood bark patterned treat box that I found in the dollar bins at Target a few weeks back, and I embellished it by making one of Martha’s cupcake liner carnations. Then, I added a simple tag I made that said exactly how I felt: “When I don’t know how to help, I make cookies.”

Want to make some cookies for a friend  you’re thinking about too? Download the free tag here and make your own box for somebody special.

Sweet Treats: Making it work when results aren’t what you planned for!

One of my favorite toddlers recently turned two, and I was asked if I would help with the birthday girl’s party sweets. I was feeling really ambitious and thought I’d try something like these adorable ice cream cone cupcakes at Bergdorf Goodman, but I was a little too ambitious! We got the cupcakes to bake quite well in the cones, but no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t get them to be even sizes, and some were straight-up crooked and just wouldn’t stand up!

Sample only – use link to download

So, I channeled my inner Tim Gunn and decided we’d make it work. Afterall, cupcakes in the ice cream cones are so easy for a toddler to hold themselves, and with independence at a real high at this stage – whatever makes it easier for them to do things by themselves is a win. I decided to turn the cupcakes upside down and place them in color-coordinating baking cups to match the party theme, use a little ribbon to jazz up the “handles,” and I made little tags and stick them into the top. Voila! We pulled it off, and the guests had no idea the new upside-down treats were a happy accident!

Would you like to download the tags to print yourself? Download here. Just cut out and tape to a toothpick – they’re super easy!

Sweet Treats: Shortbread Cookies for Mother’s Day

These tea bag cookies have been all over the internet lately, and as soon as I saw them on Pinterest, I knew I’d have to make them. The ones I’d seen online were beautiful of course, but I just felt the need to put my own fun + lighthearted “mommy” twist on them. They were more labor intensive than I’d anticipated, but I think they were well worth the trouble!

What made these really special to make was the fact that I made them with my mom. I love to bake treats, but I have a lot to learn from my mom — who fortunately, is always willing to help me (no matter how ambitious the project). The biggest challenge for me as a perfectionist was learning how to roll the dough evenly and get the thickness the same throughout. Big thanks to my mom is due for giving me the essential tips!

I’m a sucker for details, so I tried to make the tags as awesome as possible. I was too last minute to find the clear favor boxes I wanted to package the set of six cookies in, so I ended up packaging them in clear cellophane treat bags with wraphia and a “you’re awesome, momma!” treat bag tag.

I just wanted to pay homage to all of the awesome momma friends I’m fortunate enough to know, and if I could find a way to mass produce these suckers without driving myself crazy, I’d make a batch for every awesome momma I know! It’s going to be fun to see all the different variations on these as they pop up online post-Mother’s Day. This is a really great tutorial on how to make them yourself if you’d like to try!

Happy Baking! (and Happy Mother’s Day!)

Sweet Treats: Easter Candy Bark

After seeing this recipe for Easter Candy Bark, I just knew I’d have to make it this Easter. I can’t help it, Easter candy is just so pretty, and this stuff looked divine. The best part? It was SUPER EASY to make. (I’m not kidding, either!)

I loved how simple it was to make the marble effect with the white chocolate. After the dark chocolate is melted and spread on wax paper, all you have to do is put dollops of white chocolate on top and use a knife to swirl it around to get the effect. I think that’s what makes it look so fancy!

After you marble it up, just sprinkle your Easter candy on top (I used chopped mini Cadbury eggs and M&M’s) and let it dry for atleast 2 hours. The final step is to break it up when its all set.

I kept the packaging simple and made my own little tags, and then folded the top of a ziploc baggie down, and hid it under a folded piece of scrapbook paper. I punched holes and secured it with white wraphia. If I really wanted to make it perfect, I would’ve bought some clear plastic square treat boxes and wrapped it up like a present. Guess I’ll just have to be sure to do that next year!

Sweet Treats: Grown Up Goodies for Valentine’s Day

I’m feeling a little defeated tonight. I’ve had my heart set on making these red wine lollipops as soon as I stumbled across the recipe. I thought they’d be a perfect treat to surprise all my grown-up friends with for Valentine’s Day (treats for the little people are coming soon!). Well, my mom told me that her grandmother used to curse candy making, and now I know why …

Gathering all the ingredients was simple enough. Making the red wine reduction was a piece of cake. But when it gets to getting the candy mixture up to 300 degrees without burning it, that’s hard. I tried over and over, making 4 batches total, and I could only salvage 8 lollipops.

The good news is, the 8 I did successfully make look really cute. I kept the packaging simple and went with plastic lollipop bags, red + white baker’s twine, and a little gold tag. I’m pretty happy with how they look, I just wish I had more!

I am determined to master it … I’ve got one last pot of red wine on the stove top, and I’m hoping for the best!

Party: A Very Toddler Valentine’s Day

This year, my daughter hosted her very own Valentine’s Day Party! Well, maybe I helped a little. I just couldn’t think of anything cuter than a bunch of toddlers at a Valentine’s Day party … and, it was an excuse for me to make some treats. There were 5 girls and 5 boys invited, along with 10 of my very favorite mommas!

I wanted to keep things very old school and homemade looking, so I bought a heart-shaped craft punch and went to town with it. I punched hearts in all the different red/white/pink papers I had and taped them to thin red ribbon for garlands, and punched smaller ones to tape to toothpicks for the cupcake toppers. I even taped hearts to the water bottles – I admit, I’m fully into hearts!

I made goodie bags for all the kids that were filled with Carrot Zucchini Cookies. I tried to be considerate and not get everybody’s kid all hopped up on sugar, and thought any chance at sneaking in some veggies would be welcome. My mom had the great idea to try baking them in a heart shaped pan, and even though they don’t look so appetizing here, I swear – the kiddos loved them! Of course, I saved my Heart-shaped Red Wine Lollipops as a party favor for all of the moms!

We had so much fun that we may need to make this an annual event. What can I say, I love the day of love!