Easy and Super Delicious: Spiced Nuts

Happy New Year! Excuse the Christmas packaging, but I’m a little late on posting this. Couldn’t let it slip by though – this would be a delicious addition to your party tables tonight. They’re quick, easy and fall right in line with everybody’s mindset of staving off sweets after the holiday over-indulgences. You can make these for the party or package them up to give to your friends to start off the new year. Enjoy!

Spiced Nuts (adapted from the recipe found at JaxHouse.com)

Ingredients
  • 1 large egg white
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 40 oz. mixed nuts (I bought in bulk at my local Sprouts market)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 300°.
  2. Beat the egg white until nice and foamy. Mix in all spices. Add nuts and stir to coat.
  3. Bake nuts in a single layer on an ungreased baking pan.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, pull ’em out and give ’em a stir.
  5. Reduce heat to 250° and bake for another 20 minutes
  6. Let nuts cool completely and store for up to two weeks.
Notes: It was recommended to double this recipe and use 40 oz. of mixed nuts and 40 oz. of cashews. I have to second that recommendation. Cashews rule!
Packaging: The sky is the limit! Use treat bags, brown paper bags or mason jars! I found these clear cylinder containers from my local Cake Supply Store. Similar containers can be found here.

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 — 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!

Special Treats: Surprise for Mamas!

I sure am lucky to have a lot of mama friends in my life, and when new babies are born, I like to make “special” cookies, just for mamas. I found this special recipe after I had my daughter and they helped me, so I like to make them for moms who might want a little help, too.

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I made a batch yesterday and wanted to make a few surprise deliveries. My packaging supplies are a little tapped out lately, so I threw together these bags with stuff I already had. It’s super easy, and it’s not hard to do!

Here’s what you’ll need:

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1. Cardstock/Scrapbook Paper Stack; prices vary by brand and store / 2. Scalloped edge scissors; $3.95 / 3. X-Large Circle squeeze punch, $17.99 / 4. Plain brown paper lunch sacks, Prices vary by store

Simply choose whatever paper you’d like to use, cut the same width as the bag. Fold bag down, and fold paper over the bag fold. Punch holes through bag and paper and tie with ribbon or wraphia. Embellish using craft punches, scalloped scissors or whatever you have on hand!

If you’d like to make your own cookies for a nursing momma, check the recipe! Have fun surprising someone, too!

Crafty: Baby Shower Cupcakes + Favor Boxes

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I had the privilege of making cupcakes and favor boxes for a baby shower yesterday —one of my very favorite kind of projects! The hosts chose a “little man”/necktie theme, and wanted cupcakes for both the party and to take home as favors. When they told me baby-to-be’s name was going to be Lincoln and they wanted to incorporate an Abraham Lincoln quote into the favors, I was inspired!

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The boxes were pretty simple. I bought individual kraft brown cupcake boxes and inserts from a local cake supply store, designed the artwork for the quote for on the back, the two circles on the sides and the tie for the front, and printed on kraft brown cardstock. I was able to tuck the top of the tie into the closure tab of the cupcake box on the front.

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I just used the various scrapbook papers I had available for the cupcake toppers — the hosts requested blue, lime green, yellow and orange — and cut little neckties. I used my 1-in. scalloped circle punch to use as a backing and tape to a toothpick.

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All in all, pretty simple stuff — I do love a baby party!

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Crafty: Make a Diaper Cake

RedTricycle_Badge_FNL 1This weekend was filled with celebrations, two of which were baby showers for second-time mommas. And because I’m a momma myself who appreciates practical things now more than ever, I really enjoy gifting diaper cakes. Because seriously — you always need diapers. So. Many. Diapers.

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There are lots of variations on the diaper cake out there, but most are … pretty cheesy. I worked with a woman years ago who taught me how to make gorgeous diaper cakes, and they always turn out cool and pretty darn impressive. It’s fun to play with different ribbons and colors to create a different look for each one. I also like to add a pair of shoes to it as the “cake topper”. Want to make your own? Of course you do! It’s not hard, I promise. Here’s a little “how-to” for you:

What you’ll need:

  • 60 diapers (I use Pampers Swaddlers, size 2. These diapers seems to have the least printed designs on them)
  • Rubber bands
  • Paper clips (2)
  • Ribbon
  • Artificial Flowers
  • 1- 14″ round cardboard cake board
  • 1-yd. white tulle
  • Hot glue gun and/or double-sided tape

Instructions:
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1. Begin with rolling one diaper (printed design facing inward) and wrap a rubber band around it. (This diaper will be the “core” that all of the diapers are stacked and layered around)

2. Make stacks of about 5 diapers, spaced out equally, one on top of the other.

3. Take these stacks one at a time, and fit and form around the core you created. Keep building, approx. 5 diapers at a time. Keep rubber banding after each stack or so to keep all the diapers together.

4. After stacking and building, create two layers for the “cake”, one larger than the other. I usually use about 30-35 diapers for the larger bottom layer, and about 20-25 diapers for the top layer. (Diaper count will vary, depending on how much spacing there is between diapers)

IMG_012455. After the two layers of the cake reach the desired size, wrap ribbon around the center of each (you want to hide the rubber bands). Cut ribbon to appropriate length.

6. Use a paperclip to attach one end of the ribbon to the rubber band — the goal is not to damage the diapers in any way, you want all diapers to be be fully intact and useable. Attach double-sided tape to the other end of the ribbon and wrap around to close.

7. Once ribbon is centered and secured, cut the flowers off their stems, and use the stem to feed through the center of each diaper cake layer (This will keep the layers from slipping off and will secure them to each other). Cut excess stem from the top so you can’t see it.

8. Use a hot glue gun to attach flowers to the ribbon. Be sure that you don’t get glue on the diapers by gluing on the plastic backing of the artificial flower. When attaching the flower, place your hand behind the ribbon to keep glue from leaking through to the diapers. Attach the flowers to cover the cut in the ribbon.
IMG_012429. Once your cake is assembled, set it on the cake board and place your shoes on top. If you don’t want to use shoes, you can add more flowers, a baby toy, or whatever else you think might look cool. I love Chucks, and because this particular baby has a daddy who lives in his Converse, I knew this cake had to have a tiny pair!
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10. Once you’re ready to wrap, place the diaper cake on top of the tulle, and gather towards the top. Use a rubber band to secure the tulle once you’ve got it wrapped perfectly. I like to cover the rubber band by tying thin ribbon at the top, and for this particular cake, I included a round rattle for the top that went perfectly with my black + white theme.

Hooray for Happy Mamas!
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The second one I made this weekend was for a baby girl — and had some moolah to go along with it! It looks so different!
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Another happy mama!
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What will yours look like?

Sweet Treats: Carrot Cake Fudge

Truth be told, one of the things I love most about this time of year are all those adorable, pastel-colored Easter candies that float around alongside smiling bunny rabbits and super-cute baby chicks. The candy is totally my downfall … I love Cadbury Creme Eggs, Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs, and of course the old-school Easter favorite: Peeps.

It only seemed right to make candy for Easter this year, but because there’s usually such chocolate overload, I wanted to find a chocolate alternative. Then I came across this recipe for Carrot Cake Fudge and I knew I had to make it.

If you’re a fan of Carrot Cake, you’re definitely a fan of this Carrot Cake Fudge. It’s got a thick bottom layer of Carrot Cake flavor, and it’s even topped with a thin layer of Cream Cheese fudge. Yep — that means very rich and decadent. The original recipe called for Carrot Cake M&M’s, but since I never found any, I settled on Reese’s Pieces. I like the way the small bit of peanut butter pairs with the fudge.

Because I was feeling very confectionery, I decided to go old-school and wrap up the fudge in wax paper. I couldn’t seem to stop there, so I made a little “belt” for the wrapper out of various scrapbook papers I had available, and tied it up with a simple tag and wraphia.

Want to make your own? Follow the link for the recipe. Happy Easter!

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.