Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Balls

Chocolatw Raspberry Truffle Balls

Although I like to make scratch recipes, sometimes taking a short cut and making something semi-homemade works best for me. These truffle balls would be fun to make with kids and since I’m a kid at heart, these were great fun for me to make. To be honest, I did not care for the raspberry gummy candies. Next time I will use a different type of candy. But others in my family loved them. So, it’s all a matter of preference.  This recipe yields 24 truffles.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 box your favorite chocolate cake mix
  • 24 raspberry jelly candies (I used Haribo Black and Red Raspberry Gummies)
  • sprinkles for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt butter in the microwave until in liquid form.
  2. Combine melted butter and chocolate cake mix. Be sure to mix well.
  3. Spoon a rounded tablespoon of batter into your hand and flatten.
  4. Place raspberry gummy in the middle of the flattened circle and enclose with chocolate batter.
  5. Roll into a ball between your hands.
  6. Roll the chocolate truffle into sprinkles.
  7. Set onto wax paper.
  8. Place in refrigerator to allow to firm and dry. Serve after chilling for one hour.
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Cranberry and Pistachio Bark

Cranberry and Pistachio Bark

I had planned to make nine different cookies for my Christmas goodie boxes this year. But getting sick right before Christmas ruined my plans. I was able to make four differents cookies but I had to stop there. My ambition was there, but my energy level was exhausted by then. Since I had a ton of extra chocolates not being used now, I  decided to try my hand at making a chocolate bark. Surprisingly simple to make and quite tasty to boot.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided (1 teaspoon and 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, place dark chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Microwave on half power in 30 second intervals, stirring between each time, until melted.
  3. Place white chocolate chips in a separate bowl with remaining coconut oil. Repeat microwave directions until chips are melted.
  4. Spread dark chocolate out on prepared sheet pan. Cranberry and Pistachio Bark 1
  5. Drizzle white chocolate over dark chocolate. Use a butter knife and drag through drizzles to make a pretty pattern. (Yeah, I know mine isn’t dragged or pretty. But I was sick!)Cranberry and Pistachio Bark 2
  6. Sprinkle with pistachios and dried cranberries. Chill until hardened. Break into small pieces and serve. Cranberry and Pistachio Bark 3

Mini Cheesecakes

mini-cheesecake-1Since my father passed away earlier in December, this Christmas was bittersweet. I think my cooking and baking has reflected my sadness. So these mini blueberry cheesecakes I made weren’t given the usual attention and detail that I normally like to give my recipes that I post. So I apologize if the pictures aren’t as appealing as the mini cheesecakes really are.

 CRUST INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 graham cracker sheets
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick of melted butter

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

TOPPING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

To make the crust:

  1. Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until they are crumbs.
  2. Add sugar and melted butter and pulse until well combined.
  3. Press 1-2 tablespoons into the bottom of your cupcake liners.mini-cheesecake-2

 

To make the filling:

  1. Using an electric hand mixer, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth
  2. Add heavy whipping cream, vanilla and almond extract, and lemon juice. Mix on high for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Pour filling over crusts to the rim of each cupcake liner.
  3. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours. I made mine the night before, so it was refrigerated for 12 hours.mini-cheesecake-3

To make the topping:

  1. Combine the blueberries, sugar, butter, cornstarch, vanilla extract and lemon juice into a small saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium high heat for about five minutes.  Stir frequently until the blueberries breakdown and the sauce thickens.
  3. Let cool down and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Are you ready to serve? Let’s go:

  1. Carefully remove the mini cheesecakes from the cupcake liners.
  2. Arrange on a platter and spoon the blueberry sauce over the top of each mini cheesecake.mini-cheesecake-4

 

This recipe yields 12 mini cheesecakes. Double the recipe if you have a larger crowd to feed. You can substitute any berry for the topping. I just like blueberries the most.

Holiday Fudge

Holiday FudgeOnce upon a time, when I was new to holiday baking, I used to do a day and night long marathon of making all my holiday sweets in one day. And I mean ALL of them. (Three types of cookies, fudge and one or two desserts for the holiday dinner. Yikes! ) Now that I am older and maybe, a tad bit wiser, I have learned to spread my holiday sweets creating to the 3-5 days before the holiday festivities. Here is another fudge recipe that requires no baking and easy enough for beginning cooks to follow.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (Ocean Spray Craisins)
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Grease a 9 X 9 square baking pan with butter or line with foil and cover with baking spray.
  2. In a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat, add chocolate chips, marshmallows and sweetened condensed milk. Keep stirring until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Stir in vanilla extract, heavy cream, cashews and dried cranberries. Immediately pour into prepared baking pan.
  4. Meanwhile combine white chocolate chips and vegetable oil into a microwavable bowl and melt in 30 second intervals. Stir after every 30 seconds until melted and smooth.
  5. Use a fork to drizzle the white chocolate mixture over the top of your fudge.
  6. Refrigerate 3 hours or until fudge is firm. Cut and serve as desired.

Store in an airtight container. Refrigerated, fudge will keep 2-3 weeks.

Holiday Fudge Tray

I didn’t have any patience when drizzling the white chocolate.  Yours will be much prettier I’m sure.

Easy Gingerbread Fudge

Gingerbread FudgeNeed something to bring to a holiday get together? And you don’t want to be that person that brings something store bought? But, you just aren’t the baking type? If you have a microwave and a microwavable bowl, I have a recipe for you! In just a few minutes and with only six ingredients you will create a tasty holiday treat that will hold it’s own at a dessert table full of holiday sweets.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package (12 ounces) white chocolate chips
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons red and green holiday nonpareils, plus additional tablespoon to garnish top

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large microwavable bowl, combine white chocolate and sweetened condensed milk.
  2. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals until white chocolate is melted. Stir after every 30 seconds.
  3. Once white chocolate chips are melted and mixed with sweetened condensed milk, add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and 2 tablespoons of holiday nonpareils. Stir until well combined.
  4. Pour fudge into a foil lined 8 X 8 or 9 X 9 baking pan. (I only have a 9 x 9 pan, so mine came out a little thinner than I like.)
  5. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon of nonpareils over top of fudge.
  6. Transfer to refrigerator to let set up. 3 hours minimum.
  7. Remove from baking pan and cut up into desired size squares and serve.

Store in an air tight container. In room temperature the fudge will last 7-10 days. Refrigerated, the fudge should last 2-3 weeks.

Gingerbread Fudge tray