​Marshmallow of Delicious Death

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Marshmallow of Delicious Death


I make so many different holiday treat gifts that require time for the chocolate to set up, that results in some downtime. Downtime leaves me alone with my thoughts. Never a good thing. So during those downtimes I play around with goodies I have on hand. During one such playtime I made (deep voice echo) THE MARSHMALLOW OF DELICIOUS DEATH !
You will need: jumbo marshmallows, candy coat, chocolate chips, caramel pieces or bits, and pecan pieces.
I use Kraft caramel bits. If you prefer some other type of caramel, go for it. If you use caramel bits. Don’t forget to add a little water before melting. Unless you want to break a tooth. Milk will probably work in place of water. I forgot the water on my first batch. Even as I was stirring my melted caramel it didn’t even occur to me to be concerned about how thick it was. The marshmallows were beautiful. I took a bite, well I tried. I’ve never bitten a rock but I imagine it must be like my marshmallow. Lesson learned.
Okay let me quit rambling and get down to THE  MARSHMALLOW OF DELICIOUS DEATH! Melt your caramel. On wax paper have the marshmallows sitting there, just hanging out waiting on their shower of caramel. Once the caramel is melted spoon it over the marshmallows. Let the caramel set.

Then melt your chocolate. I use a 3:1 ratio of chocolate candy coat to semi-sweet chocolate chips. If mixture is too thick just thin it out with a tad of coconut oil. Spoon chocolate over the marshmallows. Let set a few moments then sprinkle on the pecan pieces.

Now impatiently wait for the whole thing to set up. Take photos and send to the people on your naughty list so they can see what they will be missing out on. Or skip the photos and just throw down on THE MARSHMALLOWS OF DELICIOUS DEATH!

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Open Sesame Chia Seed Candy

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I have been wanting to do this for awhile. I have went through tons and tons of Pins to find the perfect recipe. Is there a perfect recipe for this? I don’t know but I found the perfect recipe for me, it was more the measurement and technique I needed. I omitted and added a few things here and there.
What am I talking about?

Sesame Seed Candy!

Yes that little bitty pale unassuming seed that adorns out hamburger buns. You take that seed, work a little bit of magic, and BAM! You have a nice little candy that makes a great tasting, sorta close to healthy snack.

Here is the original Sesame Candy recipe. Below is my adapted recipe along with my account of the whole process.

Sesame Chia Seed Candy

Ingredients:

1 c. Sesame seeds
2 tbsp. Chia seeds
3-4 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. coconut sugar

Dry roast your sesame seeds for 5-7 minutes. Pour into a bowl add the Chia seeds and mix well. Set aside. In a small pot add the sugar and honey. Bring to a boil, now simmer for 5 minutes. Stirring constantly. Add seeds. Stir. Pour onto a piece of wax paper or a silicone baking mat. Cover with another sheet of wax paper, roll candy with a rolling pin until about ½ inch thick. With a knife cut/score into 1 inch squares. Let cool. Break apart. Done!

I measured out my sesame seeds, put them in the pan to toast. I toasted mine the full 7 minutes because I wanted some of my seeds a dark brown color. After toasting I pit them and the Chia seeds in a dish. I happened to have my small pie dish close by so I used it.

Ready for toasting

Ready for toasting


Toasted Sesame seeds mixed with Chia seeds

Toasted Sesame seeds mixed with Chia seeds

The pot was on the stove to heating up while I mixed my seeds together. So the pot was hot when I started measuring out the honey. I poured my first tablespoon in and it went wild with the boiling. So I had to work fast to get all the honey and the coconut sugar in the pot, while trying to stir at the same time. FYI: have what you need in arms reach, closer if you can. I was like a crazy woman trying to do all that at once with everything I needed in different place around the kitchen.

Boiling, boiling, get that stuff a boiling.

Boiling, boiling, get that stuff a boiling.


5 minutes and a lot of stirring later I poured in my seeds and began mixing, this comes together quick. At first you think that is not going to be enough honey mixture to coat that much seed. It is plenty.
I did not have any wax paper so I used one of my new baking mats. I used another to lay over top. I also don’t have a rolling pin (mainly for the husbands safety) so I used this high tech gadget called a can of soup. Worked fine.
Ready to roll

Ready to roll


High tech rolling technique.

High tech rolling technique.


Okay as soon as I finished rolling I tried to remove the top baking mat. Nope not a good idea some of the candy mixture was coming up with it. I just stopped pulling the mat and mashed it back down over the candy. I popped the whole thing in the freezer for maybe 2 minutes. Took it out while it was still warm enough to cut. This time the top mat came up easily. Not wanting to damage the bottom mat I used a butter knife to ‘cut’ the candy into squares. I did not cut all the way through the candy.
You can see in the upper right where I tried to lift up the top mat

You can see in the upper right where I tried to lift up the top mat


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After letting the candy cool a few minutes I broke the pieces apart. Both mats had sticky stuff on them but I only had to run water over them for a few seconds and they were clean. I think I might be in love with silicone baking mats.

How did the Sesame Chia Seed candy taste? Great. Sweet with a toasted nutty taste. This is going to be my midday snack at work next week. Thanks for joining me on this Pinteresting adventure.
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Coconut Sugar Candied Pecans

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yummy

So it’s 5:15 a.m., I just saw my husband off to work a little before 5. I don’t have to be at work till 8. Usually I go back to sleep after kissing him goodbye. I was lying in bed trying to go back to sleep but all I could think about was a zombie apocalypse and candied pecans. So at 5:05 I get back up and hit the kitchen. I am obsessing about a zombie apocalypse because I’m outlining a new story about…you guessed it, a zombie apocalypse. So a little after 5 in the morning I’m jotting down zombie ideas and making candied pecans. I’m also making pancakes for my breakfast. And cleaning the kitchen. And doing laundry. I am a multi-tasking fool today.

Yes I have shared the candied pecan recipe before but I just got a bag of coconut palm sugar. This recipe has been begging me to try it with the coconut sugar instead of plain sugar.

So let me tell you about my coconut palm sugar. I opened the bag and this wonderful aroma hit me. I think that is what Heaven must smell like.

So what is coconut palm sugar you ask? Well if you been paying attention you know it is Heaven in a bag.

What it is and I’m quoting the bag here, “it is a brown sugar which is produced by tapping the sweet nectar from the coconut palm tree flower and drying the juice in a large open kettle drum. The juice condenses into the brown sugar.” I still think heaven in a bag is a much better description.

My original recipe using regular sugar calls for cinnamon. I haven’t tasted the coconut sugar yet. So I don’t know how strong or if any coconut flavor there is. To me coconut and cinnamon don’t jive well together. So I decide to omit the cinnamon.

I really liked how these pecans turned out. Even though the coconut palm sugar has a coconutty (yes I made that word up, don’t judge) smell to me it didn’t have a strong coconut flavor. So if you want to add a touch of cinnamon to the recipe your pecans should be fine.

I will give measurements for a full batch but I only made half a batch. The husband had dental surgery so he can only eat soft foods for awhile. I didn’t want to make a full batch and run the risk me eating a whole pound of candied pecans. This way I only do half as much damage to my already doomed waistline.

Coconut Sugar Candied Pecans

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut palm sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound pecan halves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silicone baking mat..

In a bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and salt. Mix well, you may have to fight a few lumps to break them up. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water and vanilla extract. Add your cinnamon/sugar mixture, stir. Add the pecans to the bowl and stir with a rubber spatula, making sure they are all coated.

Pour the coated pecans onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 1 hour, stirring them every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. The pecans can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. (but they will be long gone by then, well they are at my house).

Dry mix

Dry mix

Wet mix

Wet mix

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Oh what a mess. Luckily clean up I easy thanks to this silicone baking mat my sister gave me.

Oh what a mess. Luckily clean up was easy thanks to this silicone baking mat my sister gave me.

Now go make some coconut sugar candied pecans for yourself. I’m going to go eat the rest of mine.

Oh so yummy

Oh so yummy

Candied Pecans

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pecans3
Two years ago I found a pin for candied pecans, I made several batches to give as Christmas gifts to family and friends. To go off point a moment, why say family and friends? Don’t friends before all is said and done become family? Okay back to the pecans.

Thankfully I wrote the recipe down because for some reason I no longer have that pin, pinned. I have found a few pins/recipes similar it over the years but most are more involved, but have the same outcome. Why use more steps if you don’t have too? So here is the recipe. I have also made candied almonds and peanuts with this recipe.

Candied Pecans

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound pecan halves

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and salt, mix; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water and vanilla extract. Add your cinnamon/sugar mixture, stir. Add the pecans to the bowl and stir with a rubber spatula, making sure they are all moistened.
4. Pour the coated pecans onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 1 hour, stirring them every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. The pecans can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. (but they will be long gone by then).

These things should be called candied crack. They are that good.

I box these up with some chocolate covered pretzels, some fudge, cookies and a few other goodies to give as gifts for the holidays.
pecans4

When Caramels Attack

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Inside this chocolate goodness lurks a surprise

Inside this chocolate goodness lurks a surprise

Last Christmas I did so much baking and candy making for family and friends. When all was said and done I had a few things left over I needed to use. One thing I had was little caramel candies. Honestly I don’t even remember what I used them for originally. They were still there taking up much needed cabinet space.
I remembered a pin where you put a ROLO candy in the middle of a cupcake or brownie before baking. I thought why not use the caramels in the same way? So the plan was simple, bake some chocolate cupcakes with caramels inside as a nice little surprise.
Yeah, pretty thought. Everything appeared to have worked out greatly. I opened one up while it was still warm, oh it looked so heavenly. The hubby and I ate one right away. The others I put some icing on after they cooled.
So after they cooled, icing applied and they sat on the counter for a little bit I decided I needed to eat another one. Did you know that once melted and cooled those damn little caramels get hard again? Hard as a damn rock. Why that did not dawn on me when I came up with the plan, I do not know.
Biting into that soft moist cupcake then hitting that hard sticky piece of caramel. Not a happy moment for me. I’m not going to lie one of my teeth got stuck in that chunk of caramel. I had to run to the nearest mirror and thus began the fight to get my tooth free from that evil caramel. I was in a panic I feared if I yanked that caramel to hard my tooth would come out with it. I envisioned an emergency trip to the dentist where once he asked to see the tooth I would shamefully pull from my pocket that piece of caramel with my tooth embedded in it. That was not going to happen!
I tugged, I twisted, I even tried to talk that caramel from my tooth. Wouldn’t budge. Finally I grabbed the caramel with both hands and yanked as hard as I possibly could. There was a “pop” then it was over. Thankfully it ended well for me. The tooth is still where it is suppose to be. No shameful emergency dentist visit. Whew!
I threw those cupcakes in the trash. I would say lesson learned but I know me I will see some pin, read the directions and decide to try it my way. Once again I will be off on another Pinteresting adventure.

Looks so innocent doesn't it? That caramel is EVIL!

Looks so innocent doesn’t it? That caramel is EVIL!

 

It Was the Best of Chocolate It Was the Worst of Chocolate

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A close up of paradise.

A close up of paradise.

 

Chocolate. It’s only one word. Yet that one word has power over me. It can make me happy when I‘m eating it, sad when I don’t have it, the smell of it can and often does lift my mood. Certain times of the month chocolate is a life saver. In excessive amounts it can be a life ender, or make me so nauseous I vow to never touch the stuff again. Then a few days later I’m having a Hershey bar.

The silky texture as it melts slowly in my mouth, oh chocolate you sexy piece of work. I have never done this but I know if there was a shortage of chocolate I would be willing to kill. Both strangers and those I hold dear. Okay maybe not those I hold dear, unless it’s really good chocolate. Like Dove.

I love chocolate so much it is one of the main items in my ‘Bug Out Bag’. You know, the bag hanging out by the back door of your house ready to help ensure your survival during an emergency or zombie apocalypse. When I planned my bug out bag I was realistic. I’m a big girl, not in the best of health. Any apocalypse will be the end of me. So if I’m out trolling the mean streets of rural North Carolina and I am soon the meet my end. I will make damn sure my last meal will be chocolate and not some cardboard tasting meal bar. The thought of running out of that glorious melt in your mouth lighten your mood goodness during an end of people event horrifies me. I also have this fear of a zombie outbreak happening during the night, I get bit, turn, and get caught dead wearing a pink nightgown. Oh the horror of people seeing me in pink clothing and not my normal black. Yes I wear a lot of black, but damn it matches my soul.

Look I’ve been rambling, lost focus. Lack of chocolate people! I am currently without chocolate. My brain does not function properly when I’m out. Not that I eat it constantly just knowing I have some in the house (hidden of course) eases my troubled mind.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, the latest pin I tried involves CHOCOLATE! At one point this pin began to sink like the Titanic but the candy gods smiled down upon me at the last moment and the pin was saved.

First I must confess I did not use real chocolate for this pin. I used chocolate flavored candy melt. I’m not even sure real chocolate candy would work. Maybe one day when I have an over abundance of chocolate I will try using it. HAHA who am I kidding? There will never be an over abundance of chocolate in my house.

So on to the pin. Chocolate bowls. Oh my goodness. A bowl. Made of chocolate. Chocolate. Made into a bowl. Oh sweet pin, you had me at chocolate. The pin I saw on Pinterest just had photos no link to instructions.

You will need:
Candy melt, almond bark, whatever you use for chocolate dipping/coating.
Several small balloons. (I gave the outside of the balloons a quick wash)
Glass or metal bowl along with a cooking pot for the double boiler method.
Wax paper.
Something awesome like ice cream to fill the chocolate bowl.

Please note, from here on out when I use the word chocolate I am referring to the candy coat. Mainly because I have just began to realize my excessive use of the word chocolate. Now it’s just a challenge to see how many times I can actually use it.

Here is how this bowl of happiness is made. WARNING: There will be scenes of violent acts against chocolate below. Not everything went perfectly. If your heart is fragile like a Hershey bar left out in the sun, look away. Please just look away.

It began easily enough. Blow up several balloons. Not huge balloons. You want to make a dessert bowl not a punch bowl. Melt your chocolate. Dip, swirl, coat the bottom of balloon with chocolate. Sit this on wax paper, hold for a few seconds for the candy coat to set up slightly so your balloon will stand up and not fall over. Dip a few more balloons. DO NOT KEEP DIPPING UNTIL THE CHOCOLATE IS GONE. Make sure you have a good amount of melted chocolate left. Or you will learn the hard way like I did.

Bowls of chocolate setting up on wax paper.

Bowls of chocolate setting up on wax paper.

Here I must tell you what I did and the disaster that followed. I let the bowls set up. With scissors I snipped a tiny hole right below where the balloon was tied off. You want to air to release slowly. So I snipped a hole in just one balloon, stood back and waited for the magic to happen. There was no magic. No jaw dropping angels singing in the background Disney moment. My pin hit an iceberg and was sinking fast. The pictures will tell the story. I cannot find the words to describe the horror I witnessed.

oh the horror

oh the horror

Learn from my chocolate bowl apocalypse. Dip your balloon, let it set up, then dip it again. Dip it, dip it good, dip it real good. I dipped a second time. I also used a spoon to drizzle chocolate over any thin spots I saw. If there is a spot that is thin your bowl will collapse at that spot.

Everything was redipped, the weak spots taken care of. I snipped one of the balloons and this time: MAGIC HAPPENED. Oh happy day. I danced around my kitchen, song burst forth from my vocal chords, birds fluttered around me eventually landing on my shoulder to vocalize with me. Okay here’s what really happened when the pin went right. MAGIC HAPPENED. Oh happy day. I danced around my kitchen singing, badly out of tune. Birds and other animals escaped to far away or died on the spot as my voice reached their ears. Yes my singing is bad. People say every time I sing a musical dies.

SUCCESS !

SUCCESS !

Success. I now have chocolate bowls. Now all that is left to do. Fill a bowl with other sweet goodness, snap some photos then dig in.

Chocolate bowl filled with vanilla ice cream, berries, and caramel.

Chocolate bowl filled with vanilla ice cream, berries, and caramel.

This is not something I will make often. It was easy, it tasted good. But in reality you have to make the bowl so thick with candy coat you can only handle a bite or two. This is really something to make to impress others. Like cooking for your lover or having your boss over for dinner. Or having your lover boss over for dinner. Who am I to judge?

Even if you don’t have any special occasions to make this. Make it once anyway. That way during the zombie apocalypse when you and a small group of survivors are huddled around a fire with everyone telling what survival skills they have to benefit the group, right after the guy who says he can build shelter with a spool of thread and a dull pocket knife you can proudly declare to the group. “I can make a bowl…from chocolate.”

Dark Days Ahead

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Words to live by: IT IS NEVER TOO EARLY TO PREP FOR HALLOWEEN

With that being said let me share a little photo from my garden this past Fall. This is one of my all time favorite photos. When I see it pop up as my computer background my normally non-beating heart gives a little jump. I love Halloween, every aspect of it from the whimsical to the horrifying. The hubby and I are renters so I am unable to go all out on my gardening or my Halloween decorations. My landlords are very religious so I must respect their beliefs while celebrating my favorite holiday. In a neighborhood of thirty plus homes my house is the ONLY one decorated for Halloween. Which has all the neighborhood kids coming to look at the yard all October long. Most are young kids so between my landlords and little children I tone down my scary outside decorations. I’m okay with that, the scary is inside my house year round. Just ask my cable guy. He says when he sees my address pop up on the days rotation he is so excited he tells everyone he is going to the “Zombie House”.  Sad that I have so much trouble with my cable that he has to visit regularly. Okay now that I’m done rambling here is the photo.

My Happy Place

My Happy Place

Oh Halloween, how I miss you so.

Back to what today’s blog is about: Halloween prepping. Even though it is only March I use this time to stalk Pinterest for Halloween pins. Costumes, decorating ideas, projects, food, etc. Today I searched Halloween treats. Bite size candy apples caught my attention. There were several pins, I looked at them all. One common theme: everyone was having trouble with the candy coating not sticking to the bites. Seems it would just slip off the apple bites. If I would have had all the ingredients handy I would have tried it anyway. I think maybe caramel would stick better, sadly the only caramel I had was caramel sauce for ice cream. Yes I could have broomed it down to the store to buy what I needed but that would require me to change out of my spooky cupcake pajamas. Wasn’t going to happen.

Now I did have chocolate candy coating items on hand. Apples and chocolate? I have never tried it but I like apples and I adore chocolate. Why not?

What you need:

Apples (I used Granny Smith)

Lollipop sticks

Chocolate for melting (I used Wilton light cocoa candy coating)

Melon ball scoop

Tiny cupcake/candy liners (optional)

Sprinkles (optional)

Wax paper

Here we go:

Wash and dry your apples

Lay out your wax paper on counter.

Use what ever chocolate melting method you prefer. I used the double boiler method. Pot of simmering water with a glass bowl sitting on it.

double boiler method

double boiler method

As the water is heating go ahead and scoop you out some apple balls. Put peel side down, stick in lollipop sticks.

Scoop those apples

Scoop those apples

Once chocolate is melted, get to dipping.

After dipping I put some of the apple bites into the cupcake liners. A few I just sat out on the wax paper and tossed on some sprinkles before the chocolate set.

I was also working on another pin project that required the caramel sauce (holy giant pumpkin that pin turned out awesome).
For the photos I took one of the apple bites in a liner and covered it with caramel sauce. Looked nice for the photos, trying to eat that one caused a major caramel sauce incident. Which resulted in me having to change out of my spooky pajamas and into something not covered in caramel sauce.

Yummy apple bites

Yummy apple bites

Gooey goodness

Gooey goodness

One of the original pins: Candy apple bites

I must say that now having tried apples and chocolate together, I am a fan. I will be adding this to my Halloween line up. I would tell you what the hubby thought of the apple bites but my dad came by and we ate them all before hubby came home from work.

Candy apple bites are not something you should make a day ahead. I would make them a couple hours before any haunted events.

I think I will make these for the family trip to the pumpkin patch this year. I’m sure my little devils would enjoy them as a snack.

So this Pinteresting project turned out very well, very well indeed. I do plan on trying the apple bites with candy apple coating and the caramel coating. I will share that Pinteresting adventure with you.

I will be doing more Halloween prepping pins throughout the next few months. I also have a Halloween pin project from last Halloween to share. See you soon, same Pin time, same Pin channel. (Sorry had a flashback to my young days of watching Batman after school).