Category Archives: Recipes

Marshmallow Santa Treats

One of the things we love about Disneyland is all the yummy treats they have.  Our favorite place to get something sweet is Pooh’s Corner in Critter Country.  One of our friends suggested we try a tigger tail on our recent trip to The Happiest Place on Earth, and boy were we glad we did!

These little treats had layers of marshmallow, caramel, white, chocolate, and sugar sprinkles.  They were so yummy, but at $5 each, I just couldn’t buy more than one.  I promised the kids that we would try to make our own at home.  I thought it would be cute to give them a holiday twist, so we made them into Santa treats instead.  Want to make a few of your own?  Here’s what you’ll need…

  • 1 bag regular sized marshmallows
  • 1 bag Kraft caramel bits
  • Vanilla flavored Candy Quik or white chocolate
  • Red sprinkles
  • Sucker sticks
  • A handful of chocolate chips
  • Yellow food coloring

Start by skewering your marshmallows on your sucker sticks.  I used 3 marshmallows per stick.

Pour your caramel bits into a medium sized pan and add 2 tablespoons of water.  Heat on a medium-low setting, stirring constantly until smooth.  Once your caramel is completely melted, spoon it over the marshmallow sticks.

Make sure your marshmallows are completely covered, and tap the stick gently against the side of the pan.  Remove as much of the caramel as you can by tapping the stick against the side of the pan.  This will give you less of a caramel “pool” under your treat.  Try not to wipe the marshmallows with the spoon.  The hot caramel tends to melt the marshmallow a bit, and you want to coat them with caramel without smearing marshmallow everywhere.

You may have to return your caramel to the heat for a few minutes every so often.  I’ve found that after a few minutes the caramel starts to set and becomes tricky to work with.  A return to the stove (on low) makes the caramel easier to work with.  Once you’ve coated your stick, place it on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  When you’ve got all your marshmallow sticks dipped, place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to set the caramel.

Melt your Candy Quik (or white chocolate) according to the directions on the package.  Dip your frozen caramel marshmallows into the white chocolate and return them to the cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with red sugar sprinkles while the white chocolate is still wet.  Return to the freezer for 10 minutes.

Melt a few chocolate chips in a Ziploc bag and snip off the tip.  Draw belts and buttons on your Santa treats.

For the belt buckles, I added a little yellow food coloring to my Candy Quik.  I put the yellow candy melt in a Ziploc bag and snipped off the tip.  Then I piped on a belt buckle.  These were so easy and fun.  The kids absolutely love them, and I probably spent $5 total to make all of them.  (I already had the sucker sticks.)

Be careful.  These little guys are sugary and rich!  Enjoy!

My Favorite {Fall} Things

It’s finally Fall!  You can tell because the weather is no longer in the triple digits here in Arizona.  We have cooled down to about 90 degrees.  ;-)  But even though we don’t officially need jackets over here, I still enjoy a lot of the traditional fun that comes with a changing season.  Like these…

I love these Pumpkin Caramel Latte candles from Bath & Body Works.  I have been burning them since October hit.  I even bought several of them because I loved the smell so much.  They make my house feel all warm and homey, like I’m baking away–which is nice because sometimes, I don’t set foot in the kitchen all day.  I always grab a few when they are 2/$20, and I make sure to use my coupons so they are extra inexpensive.  I love having a candle burning when I’m home.

I am also a big foodie, so when it is no longer scorching hot in my kitchen, some baking actually does take place.  One of my favorite yummy fall treats is November Cakes.  We made them back in August (here), but they are soooo gooey and caramel-ly (is that even a word?) that you just have to make them when the weather cools down.  My kids love them with a mug of hot chocolate in the mornings.

Another one of my favorite recipes is the Loaded Baked Potato Soup from Disneyland’s Carnation Cafe.  If you’ve never tried it, you must the next time you visit Disneyland.  It is amazing, and this recipe is pretty perfect.  Every time I make it at home, I get this overwhelming urge to go to Main Street USA.  It’s perfect for a chilly Fall evening, and you can find the recipe here.

But my very favorite new Fall flavor is this…

Oh my gosh!  This stuff is to die for.  I’m not even a big gingerbread fan, and I could seriously eat this by the spoonfuls.  You can pick it up at Trader Joe’s for about $4 a jar.  I knew we had to make something yummy with this as soon as we found it.

So I searched the web and found this yummy recipe from The Three Little Piglets.

I followed the recipe exactly, and they came out pretty dang good.  They have a little more of a muffin texture, so we even ate a couple without frosting.  My only advice would be to watch your baking time closely, because these will dry out fast.

We washed out a plastic berry container and packaged up a few for some friends.  Add some ribbon, and you’ve got the perfect Fall treat.  Yum-O!

How about you?  Do you have any Fall favorites you wait all year for?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies {& The Raven Boys}

Today, I will not step foot in the garage.  I probably won’t even get out my sewing machine.  Why, you ask?  Well, as much as I love crafting, I love reading just a smidge more.  And today, this arrived in my mailbox…

I have been waiting months for this book to come out.  Maggie Stiefvater is a brilliant author.  I have documented my love of all things Maggie here.  So, naturally, I preordered The Raven Boys ages ago, and have been anxiously awaiting its arrival.  Now that it’s here, I will probably do nothing but read… and eat cookies.  Which reminds me!  If you love cookies, I’ve got a fabulous cookie recipe to share today.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup cocoa

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 (8 oz.) bag Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis, frozen

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla with a mixer until light and fluffy.  Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir (by hand) into butter mixture until well blended.

The secret to these cookies is these little guys.  They are so yummy.  I freeze them before I add them to my cookie dough, so they will hold their shape in the cookie.  So after your cookie dough is all thoroughly mixed, add your chocolate chips and your Reese’s PB Cups.  Yes, I use a whole bag.  These are not healthy in the least.

Then I roll my cookies into about 1 1/2″ balls and place them about 2-3 inches apart on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Bake them about 8-10 minutes (9 minutes is perfect in my oven).  You want the cookie to look done.  It shouldn’t still be doughy in the middle, but don’t overcook.  I wouldn’t go any longer than 10 minutes on these.

Then I remove them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.  These are a little like brownies, so you can eat them hot, but you’d better do it on a plate.  They will fall apart pretty easily until cooled.

My kids love them warm with a big glass of milk.  Even Bug, who is not a fan of chocolate, loves these cookies.  So hopefully I’ve inspired you to bake up a batch of these amazing cookies, and possibly even read The Raven Boys.  I know that’s what I’ll be doing today!  ;-)

November Cakes… in August

Let me introduce you to my BFF, Maggie.  (My husband is rolling his eyes right now.)  Okay, so we aren’t technically BFF’s.  In fact, Maggie has no idea who I am, but thanks to her Twitter feed, I know a lot about her.  So every time she says something witty on her blog or Twitter, I always tell my family all about Maggie’s (we’re on a first name basis) funny stories.

Maggie also happens to be my favorite YA author.  I first fell in love with her storytelling when I read Lament.  Most recently, she has released a fabulous book called The Scorpio Races.  It is my new favorite book.  I love it fervently.  In fact, I love it so much, that I allowed my daughter, Bug, to read it.  Bug is an avid reader, but she is not yet 12, so I am very picky about content.  In fact, I haven’t let her read some of Maggie’s other books (Shiver) just yet.  Sorry, Maggie.  Bug loves The Scorpio Races as much as I do.  So when Maggie posted the recipe for the November Cakes that make an appearance in The Scorpio Races, we knew we MUST make them.

We followed the recipe pretty closely, except that I don’t have a stand mixer.  This meant that Bug and I had to knead the dough by hand for a reeeaaallly long time.  We also had to add a little more flour to make it more manageable.  I’m not sure that step would have been necessary if we weren’t doing it by hand, but we did add about 3/4 cup more flour than called for.

Once the dough had risen the requisite hour, we rolled it out spread out the filling, and made our rolls.  I softened the butter for the filling, rather than melting it.  Then I mixed it with the orange extract and spread it on the dough.  It was easier to spread that way, and I didn’t have to worry about it running all over the place.

These were very similar to cinnamon rolls.  In fact, they roll up the same way, but are baked in muffin tins.  Once they were all baked up, we added the glaze, which was soooo  yummy.  There may or may not have been lots of little fingers trying to mop up the leftover glaze.

I think we nailed it.  They were a great first bread roll recipe for Bug.  They were so yummy.  We had them for dessert…  and for breakfast the next day.  I know they are more of an autumn-ish recipe, but these were light enough for summer.  They were much less sweet than my cinnamon rolls, which made them devilishly easy to keep eating.  I highly recommend reading the book and baking up a batch of these yummy rolls.  Even if you don’t get around to the book (GASP!), these cakes are worth the effort.