Turtle Rolos

A hundred years or so ago, the neighbor boy always wanted to go to the grocery story with the golden child and I.  I found out later it was because I always bought them Rolos.  So much for thinking it was neighborly love.  We’ve always liked Rolos in this family.  We love our caramel.

This is a new recipe for me.  Could it be any easier?  I don’t think so.  They end up tasting like a turtle candies.  As usual, it takes longer to unwrap the Rolos than it does to put the candy together.

36 Pecan halves

36 Rolo candies
36 mini pretzel knots

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Unwrap the Rolos.
  • Place the pretzels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and top each one with an unwrapped Rolo candy.
  • Bake in oven for 3 minutes, until the chocolate just begins to melt. The Rolo should be soft but not completely melted.
  • Remove from oven, place on cooling rack and immediately squish the Rolo with a pecan. Watch the caramel ooze out.

*  from the Recipe Box:

The original recipe I saw said to bake the Rolos for 3 to 5 minutes.  Don’t do it!  I baked mine for 4 minutes and that was too long.  You want them soft, not melted, so go with 2 to 3 minutes.

Rold Gold are my favorite pretzels.  However, next time I won’t use them.  Snyder makes a square pretzel that would support the Rolo better.  They look like a grid and the caramel won’t ooze through.  I still like Rold Gold best flavor wise.

G also made a good point:  a salty pretzel is best.  It complements the sweetness of the Rolo better.

I know you’re thinking it’s a stupid candy for god’s sake, but you want everything to be the best it can be.  True?

and remember: On the good ship Lollipop, it’s a sweet trip to the candy shop, where bonbons play, on the sunny beach of peppermint bay.  Lemonade stands everywhere, crackerjack bands fill the air, and there you are, happy landings on a chocolate bar. Big kiss, Lynn

Two-tone Cookies

Hooray, a new cookie….I’m loving it.  Just when you think you’ve seen it all, there it is.  I acknowledge freely that each and everyone of my teeth is a “sweet tooth”.  I love cookies, even more than pie or cake.  Coffee and cookies should be the national dish of the USA.  I know it’s the state dish of Minnesota.

I found a similar recipe to this one in one of my mom’s binders, so I went on the Hershey’s website looking for an update.  These are super easy and quite tasty.  They are soft and moist.  Plus, they passed my brother the chocoholic’s taste test.

My favorite part is the way they show up on a cookie platter.  Usually cookies don’t stand out; they all have a pretty standard color range.  I wish Hershey’s made colored kisses, but I guess I’m asking for too much.  These cookies would look totally cool with colored kisses though.  Hint, hint.  The Hugs mirror the cookie so well, I guess I shouldn’t complain.

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick) , softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 48 Hershey’s Hugs Candies, unwrapped

  • 1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  • 2. Beat butter, shortening and sugar until well blended. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir together 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually beat into butter mixture.
  • 3. Divide dough mixture in half. Add remaining 2 tablespoons flour to one half and cocoa to the other half, blending well. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. (Roll together a pinch of vanilla dough and a pinch of chocolate dough for marbled cookies.) Place balls on ungreased cookie sheets.
  • 4. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are set. Remove from oven to wire rack. Cool 1 minute. Press candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack; cool completely.
  • Makes about 48 cookies.

*  from the Recipe Box:

As you can see, I did not use Hugs, I used regular Kisses.  You know my rule, no store trips for only one item.  I do have a bag of Hugs now, so I’ll keep you posted.

I rolled out 48 balls of each flavor and then combined them.

and remember what the Lumineers sang:  I belong with you, you belong with me; you’re my sweetheart.  Big kiss, Lynn

Chocolate Candy Pizza

Tomorrow is the first day of our Harry Potter movie marathon.  Neither G or I have seen them.  I know, WTF!  As much as I love Star Wars, my bro and his wife love Harry Potter.  We’ve been trying to coordinate a viewing schedule for months and it’s not been easy.  Of course we will be having popcorn, but I decided we needed concession stand candy as well.

I’m revisiting a recipe I wrote about last December.  I tried to avoid chocolate in that one, but I’m celebrating it today.  The bro is a total chocoholic, so this rendition will be totally appropriate.  I went with a couple of different candy bars and the Christmas M&M’s for maximum chocolate in every bite.

This is a super easy recipe and when you walk in with it, people do a little mini gasp of pleasure and eagerness to get into it.  The pizza cutter is the way to go when it comes to cutting it.  There will be crumbles, but you won’t care.  The ganache gets thick in the center so if you are a chocolate freak, you will be in heaven.

Ingredients

  • 1 tube (16 1/2 ounces) refrigerated chocolate chip dough (or homemade if you would rather and aren’t a lazy butt like me)
  • Assorted candies
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup whip cream

Directions

  • Let dough stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes to soften.  Press onto an ungreased 14 inch pizza pan.  This is not an easy task with all those little chocolate chips poking back at you.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes or until deep golden brown.  Cool on pan on a wire rack.
  • Coarsely chop large candies; set aside.  In a microwave, melt the chocolate chips and the cream, stirring until smooth.  This is the ganache I was talking about.  Spread over cooled crust, top with candies while still warm so they will set up as the ganache cools.  Refrigerate, covered, until chocolate mixture is set.  Cut into wedges.

and remember:  Albert Einstein said:  Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited, imagination encircles the world.  Big kiss, Lynn

Grandma Olson’s Bread Pudding

I do love bread pudding.  I know I’m constantly telling you how much I love sweets, but ultimately I’m not sure it’s true.  I love “sweetish”.  Not Swedish, but marginally sweet.  This is not a sweet dessert.  It’s more of a custard and you know how we Norwegians love custard.  I think my mom’s favorite pie was custard.  I’m not going that far, but I do love a good custard.

This is Grandma Olson’s bread pudding.  As you can see, it is totally unfancy.  With basically 6 ingredients, you can make this with ingredients on-hand.  I doubt if Grandma specifically called for an Italian boule, but it’s the closest thing I could find to the bread she would use.

The other thing you’ll notice is the lack of a sauce.  Grandma never made a sauce for the bread pudding when she served it.  So often you will see vanilla or rum sauce to serve alongside the pudding, but Grandma always served it with whip cream and a sprinkling of sugar.  Not whipped cream, but straight out of the milk jug cream.  She might froth is up with a fork, but truly this is a simple dessert.

3 cups cubed Italian boule, allowed to stale overnight in a bowl

2 cups granulated sugar

5 beaten eggs

2 cups whole milk or half and half

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup raisins soaked in bourbon for 10 minutes or so

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8 x 8 inch pan.

Combine the sugar, eggs, vanilla and half and half in a bowl.  Pour over the cubed bread and let it sit for 10 minutes, so the bread can absorb the liquid.  Add the raisins.

Pour into the greased 8 x 8 inch pan.  Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set.

There’s not much to this recipe.  I’ve even fancied it up a bit from the way Grandma did it.  I do not remember her soaking the raisins.  I’d eat it right after it comes out of the oven.  You’ll like it; I promise.

*  from the Recipe Box:

A boule is basically a round, fairly dense loaf of white bread.  It is much thicker than a French loaf or baguette.

You’re on your own if you want a sauce, but they are all over the Internet.

and remember:  Tell the truth or someone will tell it for you.  Big kiss, Lynn

Banana Bread/Muffins

I can’t remember a time when my mom did not make banana bread.  She always had a loaf or 2 hanging around.  As I write this, it happens to be her birthday so my thoughts are with her today.  While I rarely make banana bread, I did have a request for the pumpkin muffins made with chocolate chips instead of pecans.  That sounds totally ka-ka to me, so I’ve been thinking about alternatives.  Up popped mom’s birthday and the rest is history.

Chocolate chips do not ring my chimes, but I think I’m the only person who feels that way.   This is a truly fine banana bread recipe.  I just decided to add chocolate chips to make my little sous chef happy.  He’ll do anything for me, it seems only fair I do it for him.

If you choose to follow the recipe as originally intended, you will end up with 2 moist loaves with intense banana flavor, although a smear of butter makes it even better.  If you choose to make it into muffins, you will still get a moist muffin but with J’s requested chocolate chips.  You choose and let me know what you think.

½ cup butter

1 ¼ cup sugar

2 eggs

¼ sour cream

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons rum (or milk if you’d rather)

1 cup mashed bananas, very ripe

2 cups flour

½ teaspoon soda

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cup chopped nuts or mini-chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar; beat in eggs and sour cream.  Mix in almond extract and rum.  Add dry ingredients alternately with bananas, beginning and ending with flour.  Stir in nuts.  Bake in 2 greased 8 x 4 loaf pans at 350 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes.  Cool on racks.

To make the muffins, follow all the steps until “stir in nuts”.  Instead, add a cup or a cup and 1/2 of mini chocolate chips.  Using an ice cream scoop, portion into paper lined muffins cups.  This will make approximately 18.  Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

*  From the Recipe Box:

This is mom’s recipe.  The woman could bake!  I’ve tasted a lot of Banana Bread in my time, but none better than this.  Great flavor, moist, nummy and I don’t even like bananas.

One banana equals approximately 1/2 cup mashed banana.

and remember:  Never be cool.  Never try and be cool.  Never worry about what the cool people think.  Head for the warm people.  Life is warmth.  You’ll be cool when you’re dead.

Big kiss, Lynn

Cream Puffs/Profiteroles

I asked G what he wanted for his birthday cake and he said cream puffs, so I made cream puffs.  I was 20, he was turning 22.  I didn’t know they were supposed to be hard.  I had my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook and I was ready to try anything.  I didn’t know how to cook; I just used logic.  I guess that’s the point to this story.  I knew almost nothing about cooking.  Why would I when my mom was a great cook; I didn’t need to learn.  So, what is the point you keep asking?  If you are patient, have a cookbook, know how to read, can follow instructions, you can make anything.

We were living in Hawaii at the time, not a hotbed for French desserts.  I had Grandma Olson’s cookbook with me, what could go wrong?  This is what I’m trying to tell you.  Please give yourself a chance.  Don’t judge yourself too harshly.  We can do this!

Profiteroles are simply cream puffs that have a French cousin.  I love making cream puffs.  The same dough can be used to make a sweet dessert or a savory nibble.  G loves them filled with a good vanilla ice cream and drizzled with a thick hot fudge sauce.  At Christmas, I’ve been know to fill them with peppermint ice cream.  When making an hors d’oeuvres, I usually make them about the size of a golf ball, but for a dessert I lean more towards a baseball.  The size is totally up to you.  If you want 3 on a plate for the ultimate indulgence or a tray of single bites, you got this.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Plan on baking 45 to 50 minutes for large or about 25 to 30 for small.  Makes 8 large puffs or 20 small puffs.

Heat to boiling point in sauce pan…

1 cup water

1/2 cup butter

Stir in…

1 cup flour

Stir constantly until mixture leave the pan and forms into a ball (about 1 minute).  Remove from heat.  Cool.

Beat in, 1 at a time…

4 eggs

Beat mixture until smooth and velvety.  Drop from spoon onto ungreased baking sheet.  Bake until dry.  Allow to cool slowly.

I’m such a maroon.  I’ve since learned you can use your mixer to beat in the eggs.  I did it by hand and they were still fabulous.

Remember to adjust the cooking time to the size puff you make.

This is the recipe for cream puffs I used all those years ago and I’m still using today.  I keep notes in my cookbooks.  Betty Crocker and I are tight!

and remember:  Sometimes you need to give people high fives just for getting out of bed.  Being a human being can be hard.  Big kiss, Lynn

Popcorn Brittle

What is wrong with me?  I see a recipe for anything caramel corn-like and it’s as though I lose my sense of right and wrong.  I immediately want to make it and eat the whole batch.  I’ve never seen a recipe like this one before.  Usually my caramel corn needs to bake in the oven so the caramel permeates the popcorn.  I think this one could use a little oven time, but I’m on a real lazy-butt kick today, so what you see is what you get.

If there is a next time for this recipe, I would make a few changes.  I would definitely need a way to separate the popped from the unpopped corn.  Those leftover kernels are a dental bill waiting to happen.  I tried using my Chinese strainer, but the holes weren’t quite large enough.  I would also not use mini M&M’s.  They melted when I poured on the caramel and made it look a little on the dirty side.  See how colorful the first picture is before the hot caramel and how uncolorful the last picture is post caramel.   Using holiday M&M’s would be fun though if you’re careful.

This is another church cookbook recipe.  Big kiss, Pat.  I keep telling you what a goldmine they are.  I wish I had all of my mom’s back, but I never imagined back then how much I would enjoy having them as a resource.  I’m going to be much wiser my next life instead of so cute.

2 bags microwave popcorn

1 cup M&M’s

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup peanuts

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Pop popcorn, removing all the unpopped kernels you can.  Put in a large bowl.  Add M&M’s.  Melt sugar, butter, corn syrup and vanilla in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add peanuts.  Cook another 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add baking soda.  Pour over popcorn.  Mix well and place on a cookie sheet.  When set, break into pieces.

*  From the Recipe Box:

I used mini M&M’s.  Don’t do that.  They melt too easily.

I don’t know about this one.  I worry about the unpopped kernels.

and remember:  When a jack-in-the-box plays “Pop Goes the Weasel”, why does a clown always pop out instead?  Big kiss, Lynn