Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wrapping Up The Holiday's with Symphony Pie!

I have had some major bloggers block. We have been so busy this holiday season, as have all of you, but I have really struggled posting lately. My sister has bailed me out. I am pregnant, and I have no desire to look at food, and struggle making it. My family has suffered, that's for sure. It has been nice having so many parties and get togethers so that I don't have to cook as much. Now with the holiday's coming to a close, I've got to get back in the groove of making and planning meals. The thought really makes me ill. I like to eat what sounds good to me, but the rest of the family has to like it too. It's definitely a problem, and I can't wait for it to be over. I shouldn't complain. I have very easy pregnancies, compared to my sisters'. The beginning is my hardest part. On to this creamy Symphony pie dessert!

This is my GO TO dessert when I need something speedy, and delicious! I always make this pie to go along with a meal for a neighbor. You put it together in the morning, pop it in the freezer, and don't have to worry about it until you are ready to eat it, or deliver it. I got this recipe from an awesome neighbor who brought it to me after I had my first child. My husband and I fell in love with the dessert and HAD to have the recipe. We were sure that it was complicated, and had some special ingredients in it. We couldn't believe how easy it was. We have tried it several ways, but this is our favorite.

Symphony Pie

1 King Size Symphony bar (milk chocolate or toffee chip)
1/4 cup water
1 8 oz. tub Cool Whip
Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Break up Symphony bar and add water in large microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 45 seconds. Remove and mix with spoon so that all of the chocolate is melted. Add Cool Whip and mix very well. I do this for about five minutes making sure that all of the chocolate is incorporated. Pour chocolate mixture into Graham Cracker Pie Crust and spread evenly. Cover and freeze for 3 hours before served. It will stay good in the freezer for weeks, but I guarantee you that it won't last that long.

***We prefer the Milk Chocolate over the toffee, but they are both fantastic. We stock up on the Symphony bars when they go for 10 for $10. Then we always have them on hand when we need them. This is a great pie to experiment with. We have done a Reese's pie with about 8-10 cups, made the exact same way. It was delicious.

Enjoy!!! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Candy Cane Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert & BIG HUNK

Well, Christmas is almost upon us. We've had my husband's family in town this weekend and it's been full of lots of good food. We're the only ones with a house, so we've been the headquarters for all of our activities and meals. We've had a lot of fun! This dessert is now one of my favorites. I made some changes in my normal recipe for this to make it more, "Christmasy". It was very good.

Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert
10 Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches
12 ounces cool whip
1/4 -1/2 cup crushed candy canes (I crush them in a food chopper or processor)
Chocolate Syrup

Unwrap ice cream sandwiches and place in a 9x13 baking dish. I can fit 2 1/2 sandwiches on each row. Take crushed candy canes and stir into cool whip. Once mixed, spread evenly over ice cream sandwiches. Drizzle chocolate syrup over cool whip. Top with pieces of candy cane. Place in freezer until ready to serve.

Here's another favorite treat. I will never buy a Big Hunk candy bar from the store again. This is soooo soft and yummy. I got this recipe from a friend in my ward. She brought it to a cookies exchange a couple years ago and was so kind to share the recipe with me.
Homemade BIG HUNK
1 larger bottle Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts (lightly salted)
3 smaller jars Kraft Marshmallow Cream
2 1/4 cups light corn syrup
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
Butter a large cookie sheet. Scatter peanuts equally on cookie sheet. Place marshmallow cream in a LARGE bowl, set aside. In a large saucepan, combine corn syrup and sugar. Place over high heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture comes to a boil. Clip on candy thermometer. Cook to 280 degrees F, or to soft crack stage. Remover from heat and let stand 2 minutes undisturbed. Without scraping, pour entire batch into marshmallow cream and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add butter, vanilla, and salt and stir with wooden spoon until butter in incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly across peanuts. Allow to stand at room temperature until firm, about 3 hours. Cut and wrap in wax paper.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Treats

I can't believe that Christmas is in a week! We've been getting a lot of snow in Utah this week. It's fun to look out the window and see it falling. My kids love it! I've let them go out and play in it a few times. It's amazing how cold it is and they still have smiles on their faces. Here are a few holiday treats. The first is a Peppermint Oreo Ice cream and the second is Muddy Buddies with a little kick!

For my birthday a few weeks ago I got an ice cream/sorbet maker. I used the simple vanilla ice cream recipe that was included and added some peppermint oreo's that I found at Walmart. These Oreo's are so good! I don't like regular Oreo's unless they are in ice cream or shakes. I couldn't stop eating these ones! They are so yummy! I think that next time I make this, I will add some crushed candy cane on the top.

Peppermint Oreo Ice Cream

1 cup whole milk, well chilled
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup coarsely chopped Peppermint Oreo cookies

In a bowl, mix milk and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Stir in heavy cream and vanilla. Place freezer bowl on machine and turn on. Slowly pour mixture in through ingredient spout and let mix until thickened, about 25-30 minutes. Add chopped Oreo's to mixture during last 5 minutes of mixing.

Christmas Muddy Buddies(Recipe taken from Rice Chex Cereal box)
9 cups Rice Chex cereal
1 cup smisweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 powdered sugar

In a microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microave about 30 second more or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2 gallon resealable plastic bag. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag and shake until well coated. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Christmas kick: Add 1/2 bag M&M candies (This could be done at any holiday with M&M holiday candies).

**Special note: I made a mistake on the hot fudge recipe that I posted last week. The measurements of the evaporated milk should be 2 2/3 cups and the powdered sugar should be 4 cups. It still tastes good with the other measurements, but it's better with all of them. Sorry about that.

Coming Soon: Homemade BIG HUNK & Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Candy Cane Cookies

I absolutely love these Candy Cane Cookies! With just a hint of peppermint, these sugar cookies make a great side to a nice cup of Hot Chocolate on a cold Christmas night. All you need is your favorite Sugar Cookie recipe, red food coloring, peppermint extract, sprinkles, and you can jazz up a plain old sugar cookie! I got this idea from the amazing Sandra Lee on the Food Network a few years ago, and I haven't missed a Christmas without making them. I will include Sandra Lee's original recipe in which she uses a packaged Sugar Cookie Mix. I know you will love these yummy Candy Cane Cookies, and the kids will eat them right up!

Candy Cane Cookies
By: Sandra Lee

1 Sugar Cookie Mix (Betty Crocker)
1/2 Stick butter (melt for 20 sec. in microwave)
1 egg
1/3 cup soft cream cheese
1/2 cup flour
Red Food Coloring
1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Combine first 5 ingredients in large mixing bowl until well blended. Split dough in half and place in seperate bowls. Add almost a whole container of red food coloring to one half of dough, and mix very well so that the die is spread throughout. Add the peppermint extract to the other half of the dough and mix well. For each cookie you will need about a 1-inch ball of peppermint dough and a 1-inch ball of red dough rolled into 1/4 inch wide ropes and about 4 inches long. Twist together and form a candy cane, (pictured above). Spinkle with Christmas sprinkles if desired. Bake at 325 degrees for 12 minutes.

***You can use any sugar cookie dough with these. I always use my favorite Sour Cream Sugar Cookie recipe found here: http://mysisterscucina.blogspot.com/2008/10/halloween-night-menu.html . (You will have to scroll to the bottom of the post).

Serve with some Hot Chocolate and snuggle up to a good Christmas movie! If you are looking for a great Christmas movie to snuggle up to, some of our favorites are: White Christmas, Holiday Inn, Smokey Mountain Christmas, Polar Express, and Once & Twice Upon A Christmas.
Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday Fudge & Gift Ideas

The first week of December is done. I, along with many of you, am trying to get my neighbor gifts put together and delivered so that I can enjoy the rest of the month with my family. Here are a couple ideas for you. The first is a wonderful hot fudge recipe that comes from my aunt. She makes it every year for and puts them in a small ziploc or glad storage container and ties it with a bow. I decided to do it a couple years ago and it was a hit.

Hot Fudge
2 cubes butter
2 2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips (do not substitute milk chocolate chips)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Place butter, evaporated milk and chocolate chips in pot. Cook over medium high heat until butter is melted. Add powdered sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 8 minutes stirring constantly. Turn of heat and add vanilla. Let sit, stirring occasionally and enjoy on ice cream with your favorite toppins. ( It's very good on pepermint ice cream with a chocolate brownie on the side).

Holiday M & M's
This is what I am doing for my neighbors this year. I had a friend that did this a few years ago and I thought it was so cute. Whenever I eat M & M's, I always think of this little poem. I found the poem on one of my favorite webites, http://www.sugardoodle.net/ . I will put it here, but be sure to check out this website.

As you hold these candies in your hand
And turn them, you will see
The 'M' becomes a 'W',
An 'E', and then a '3'.
They tell the Christmas Story--
I'm sure it's one you know.
It took place in a stable
A long, long time ago.
The 'E' is for the East,
Where the star shone so bright.
The 'M' is for the Manger,
where the Baby Jesus slept at night.
The '3' is for the Wisemen,
Bearing gifts, with which they came.
'W' is for Worship, Hallelujah!
Praise His Name!
So as you eat these candies
Or share them with a friend,
Remember the meaning of Christmas:
It's a love that never ends.
Here are a few ideas and I will post a few more in the next day or two! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Yummy, Chewy Andes Peppermint Crunch Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

We're back! After a fun filled Thanksgiving filled with food, family, & fun, I'm ready to get back to blogging. We had a brother return home from an LDS Mission in Brazil over the weekend. It was great to see him, talk to him, and hear about the last 2 years of his life where he changed many lives. It made for a great Thanksgiving celebration! I love Christmas! I love baking during Christmas. I have my favorites that I bake every year. I will be baking a few batches of my favorite Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies, Andes Mint Cookies, Cinnamon Rolls, Peanut Butter Balls, and I'm sure I am missing something else. I love the aroma of homemade sweets during the holidays. Especially when they have the tastes of Christmas as peppermint, mint, cinnamon, and peanut butter and chocolate fit in all year round...right!?!

This little cookie I put together was awesome! I used Prudy's recipe for her Chewy Oatmeal Cookies. If you can't tell, I love Prudence Pennywise's blog! She has got amazing recipes. Click her link on our sidebar for a sight to see! Her Chewy Oatmeal Cookies were a perfect match for my Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips I snagged last year after the season. I have been waiting all year to use them. The time has come, and they are delish! With a great peppermint taste, and a little crunch to top them off. They were perfect in the Chewy Oatmeal Cookies! I also threw in some chocolate chips that really completed this cookie. My good friend introduced me to some chunky chocolate chips you can get in the grocery store. The brand is Gitard, and they are big chocolate chips. I love them, and they make such a difference in cookies. Try them out. They can be pricey, but just watch the sales. They are worth it! So if you are in the mood for some awesome Chocolate Chip cookies this season, jazz them up with Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips!

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies from Prudence Pennywise, Recipe found here: http://prudencepennywise.blogspot.com/2008/09/fall-colored-chewy-oatmeal-m-and-m.html

Add Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips and Chocolate Chips to your liking. Serve with milk. Chewy, Pepperminty, Chocolatey, Yum!!!