Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups

This year has been my sweet craving winter. I think it’s because it has been really cold and really snowy. Or maybe it’s because I have been cooped up indoors way too much. On the plus side, I have been making a lot of delicious treats that I have wanted to make for ages. And I’m still breastfeeding, so I can get away with it, right? Ha!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups

These babies are totally sinful. I mean really, peanut butter, cookie dough AND chocolate? Yes please! I’ll take two, thank you. I love to keep them in a large ziploc baggie in the fridge. That way, they will last a long time. Well, theoretically they should, but I end up eating them a lot faster than I’d like. The easiest way to eat cookie dough, chocolate and peanut butter. Need I say more?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups

Yield: 24 cups

  • 2 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the brown sugar until dissolved, then let it bubble for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter, then the vanilla. Let sit and cool completely, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, line a mini muffin with with liners. Melt 1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips either in the microwave or over a pot of barely simmering water. Drop 1/2-1 teaspoon of chocolate into each liner, then use a pastry brush to brush chocolate up the sides of the liner. (This will be messy!) Place in the freezer for 20 minutes. By this point the butter mixture should be cool. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar, salt and flour, until combine and a few lumps remain. Fold in the mini chocolate chips. Place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to allow the dough to harden.

Remove muffin tin and cookie dough, then place 1 teaspoon of cookie dough into the chocolate cups. Place back in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Melt the remaining chocolate chips, then cover each cookie dough top with chocolate, smoothing with a spoon. Freeze again for 15-20 minutes. These are fine out in room temperature for a few hours (they may soften a bit) butthey are best stored in the refrigerator.

Source: How Sweet It Is

Peppermint Fudge

Peppermint Fudge

Peppermint is probably my favorite holiday treat. Something about the cool, refreshing mint is just so appealing. I definitely indulge during the holiday season. But hey- I wait all year to enjoy myself, so why not!? Fudge is another holiday treat that my family loves. I have been seeing peppermint all over the place, but not one peppermint fudge recipe that looked like the “one”. So, I decided to take it upon myself to make that come true.

It was so easy. I took my favorite chocolate fudge recipe, and converted it to peppermint. Brilliant! (Is it acceptable to toot my own horn like that?) This is it folks, you need not look any further! The perfect holiday treat to enjoy yourself or bring along to a holiday gathering.

Peppermint Fudge

Yield: About 16 2-inch pieces

  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1 pound (about 2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes

Directions

Line an 8×8 pan with enough tinfoil to hang over the sides. Set aside

In a medium glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the condensed milk, vanilla and peppermint extract. Stir in the chocolate chips and butter. Place the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and stir constantly, until the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth, about 6 to 8 minutes (mixture will be very thick). Using a spatula, scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes evenly over the top and gently press down. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until firm.

Remove the fudge by lifting out the tinfoil and transfer to a cutting board. Peel off the tin foil and cut the fudge into 2-inch pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 6-7 days.

Source: Barely adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Butter Toffee Heath Popcorn

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What is it about caramel corn that is so addicting? I have made different popcorn recipes in the past, but this one definitely is in the top three. My son’s daycare had a Halloween party on Halloween, so of course I had to make something. I also had to make something for my daughter’s kindergarten party on the same day, so I wanted something that was reasonably easy and none time consuming. Especially since baby has decided that sleeping is overrated after a several month-long stretch of sleeping through the night.

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This popcorn is everything it should be, and then some. Sweet, addicting and delicious. Adding chopped candy bars to the mix? Brilliant, I say! As if the caramel and chocolate drizzle weren’t good enough. Psshtt! This is a great way to use up any Halloween candy laying around.. Wait, does that happen in other people’s houses?

On a different note- I finally am on Instagram! Head on over and follow me to see what kind of crazy things I am up to.

Butter Toffee Heath Popcorn

Yield: about 6 cups

  • 6 cups popped popcorn
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped Heath candy bars

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place popcorn in a very large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4-5 minutes, or until the mixture is a deep golden color. Remove from heat and carefully stir in baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will bubble.

Pour mixture over the popcorn in a thin stream. Stir to coat the popcorn. Place popcorn on a large baking sheet that has been lined with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Bake for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

When the popcorn is cool, break into pieces. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. Drizzle chocolate over the popcorn. Add the chopped Heath candy bars. Let the popcorn set until chocolate hardens. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Source: Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

Cookie Dough Fudge

Hello cookie dough lovers! I am on a roll here. Cookie dough fudge? Brilliant I say! It’s like little pieces of heaven. These are uber sweet, but who doesn’t enjoy that sometimes? The title alone is enough of a description for this fudge. Writing about these makes me want to make the fudge again. Immediately. These might have to make it into my Christmas gift bags this year…

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

Yield: 36 squares

For the cookie dough

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the fudge

  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • 4-5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

Line 8×8 square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Set aside.

For the cookie dough, combine butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Mix in vanilla, salt, and half-and-half. Add flour and mix until just combined.

To prepare the fudge base, combine brown sugar, butter, salt, and half-and-half in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until butter is melted and brown sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Slowly stir in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until mixture is smooth and sugar is incorporated throughout. Stir in the vanilla extract. Add more confectioners’ sugar if desired. The more powdered sugar you add, the thicker, firmer, and sweeter the fudge will be.

Add cookie dough to the fudge base and stir to combine. At this point, the mixture should have cooled to room temperature. If not, continue to stir until it is no longer warm to the touch. Fold in mini chocolate chips and spread fudge into prepared baking pan. Chill until set, about 3-4 hours. Cut into squares and serve. Fudge will keep for 1 week stored in the refrigerator.

Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction, originally from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook, by Lindsay Landis

Peppermint Patties

Peppermint Patties

So peppermint patties are my absolute favorite type of candy. When I was pregnant with my first child, all I ever wanted were peppermint patties. Something about the cool mint was very refreshing and satisfying. I love the chocolate-peppermint combo. Since I love peppermint patties so much, I wanted to see if I could make them at home and bypass all the artificial flavors and additives found in the store bought candy.

Peppermint Patties (1)

I am in love. I don’t know if I could ever go back to store bought. These are phenomenal. I like to store mine in the freezer, which makes them last longer (well they would last longer if I didn’t eat them all). I did NOT want to share these with my husband. I totally hoarded these. A perfect little bite-sized treat.

Peppermint Patties

Yield: about 20-25 patties

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 Tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  •  3 cups milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

Prepare a baking sheet by lining with wax paper or silpat.

In an electric mixer, beat the powdered sugar, butter, evaporated milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and peppermint extract until smooth. Scoop into a bowl and place in the refrigerator to set, 30-6- minutes. Once firm, roll into one inch balls (if it sticks to your hands, cover your hands in powdered sugar), and place on the prepared baking sheet. Push down to flatten. Set in freezer for 1 hour, until hard.

Place chocolate chips in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir until completely melted. Remove the patties from freezer and dip in the chocolate, turning to coat all sides. Let excess drip back into the pot, then set on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining patties. Place in the freezer and let completely freeze before serving, or storing in a ziplock bag in the freezer. These will last in the freezer for several weeks up to 2 months.

Source: How Sweet It Is, originally adapted from Joy of Baking

Cinnamon Chocolate Fudge

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I have searched far and wide for a good, plain chocolate fudge recipe. It seems like every recipe I come across has nuts or marshmallows in it, or made with fluff. No thank you. I really wanted something creamy and just chocolate. I was skeptical to try this recipe at first. But oh my word. This fudge is like little pieces of heaven. It is creamy, chocolatey, melt-in-your-mouth amazingness. The cinnamon is faint, but adds a little something extra. Beware, you won’t want to share these if you make a batch. I won’t judge if you eat the whole pan.

Cinnamon Chocolate Fudge

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pound (about 2 cups) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature

Directions

Grease or butter the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch baking pan. Line the pan with a sheet of parchment paper, about 14-inches long and 7-inches wide, allowing the excess to overhang the sides. Set aside

In a medium glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the condensed milk, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir in the chocolate chips and butter. Place the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth, about 6 to 8 minutes (mixture will be thick). Using a spatula, scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until firm.

Run a warm knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the fudge. Remove the fudge to a cutting board. Peel off the parchment paper and cut the fudge into 1-inch pieces. Store refrigerated in an airtight container or freeze.

Source: Giada De Laurentiis via foodnetwork.com

Vanilla Bean Caramels

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So, I am sure you all know by now that I have a crazy sweet tooth. I can hardly resist anything sweet. Caramel is a personal weakness of mine. My favorite sauce for ice cream as a kid was always caramel. So, I knew that as soon as I saw the recipe for these caramels, I needed to make them immediately.

They did not disappoint. I actually made these as part of my christmas gifts to my family. I saved a few back for myself and immediately wished I didn’t have to share any at all. They are creamy, chewy and amazing. Don’t make the mistake I did and skip individually wrapping them. I had run out of time and didn’t feel like dealing with cutting little pieces of wax paper out to wrap them with. I paid for my laziness. They ended up getting soft (they were out of the refrigerator), then sort of melting together. They still tasted amazing, but it was kind of a gooey mess. So, make sure you don’t miss that step!  Make these today and you won’t be disappointed.

Vanilla Bean Caramels 

Yield: About 64 caramels

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, split lengthwise and scraped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper.  Lightly butter the parchment.In a small saucepan or a heatproof measuring cup, combine the cream, butter, vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds, and fleur de sel.  Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  (Alternatively, microwave until the butter is melted and the cream has come to a boil.) Remove from the heat and set aside.In a medium saucepan with a candy thermometer clipped to the side, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.  Boil, without stirring but gently swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture is a light golden caramel color.

Once the sugar has reached the desired amber color, carefully stir the warm cream mixture into the caramel in a steady drizzle down the inside of the pan – the mixture will bubble up, so pour slowly and stir constantly.

Continue simmering the mixture until it registers exactly 248˚ F on a candy thermometer.

Immediately remove from the heat and pour into the prepared pan. Let sit until completely set and cooled.  Cut into 1-inch pieces (a buttered pizza cutter works well).  Wrap the individual caramels in small pieces of wax  or parchment paper, about 4-inch squares.

Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats, originally from Confections of a Foodie Bride