Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘candy’

If my best friend Darya hadn’t been killed by her husband when she was 22, we would have celebrated her 44th birthday last month. She was Lutheran. My Grandpa Elroy died quite a few years ago. He was Baptist. My sisters and I grew up with the teachings and influence of a Protestant church. They both belong to different churches now.

monster cookie bars

 

I’ve spent the past 14 years attending Mass and holy celebrations with Jason and his family. Last fall I decided to convert. This Easter I will be baptized into the Catholic Christian church. As I’ve been attending Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) classes, I’ve been thinking about what happens to us when we die. Of course, I want to spend my eternal life in heaven with my family and friends, no matter their Christian religion. I want to be in the presence of Darya’s spirit again. I want to eat hard butterscotch candy with my grandpa. I want to hang out with my kids and my sisters. If we get to kiss in heaven, I want to kiss Jason each heavenly morning. So however we need to live our lives on earth to get to heaven, let’s be there together.

monster cookie bars

What does that have to do with a big batch of monster cookie bars? It was my turn for treat night at RCIA the week of Darya’s birthday. People loved these, especially Father Andrew. I gave him an extra one to take home. It was a compliment that people came back for seconds.

Cookie dough balls ready for freezer

Read about how I got this recipe and how I freeze cookie dough balls in Your IT guy knows how to make monster cookie bars and strips.

Monster cookies and bars

2 sticks softened butter

2-1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

2 cups white sugar

2 cups brown sugar

4 teaspoons baking soda

6 eggs

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla

9 cups quick-cooking oats

2-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

3 cups plain M&M’s

Heat oven to 350°. Prepare pans. If you want to use all your cookie dough at once, you can make one 13×9 pan of bars (baking time takes about 20-25 minutes) and at least two dozen large cookies (baking time takes about 12-16 minutes). Or, you can make two 13×9 pans of bars. Or if you only want cookies, you can make at least six dozen enormous cookies, a few more dozen if you make smaller cookies.

  1. In large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream softened butter and peanut butter together.
  2. Add white sugar and brown sugar, beating until well combined.
  3. Add baking soda.
  4. Add eggs and beat well.
  5. Pour in corn syrup and vanilla. Continue mixing until everything is incorporated well.
  6. At this point, you should be able to add at least a few cups of the oats and still use your mixer. But once the dough gets too heavy, stop using the mixer and continue adding oats stirring the batter with a wooden spoon. Use your sexy arm muscles.
  7. Stir in the M&M’s and chocolate chips.

If you are making bars, spread half of the dough into a 13×9-inch pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until nice and golden brown. If you take the pan out before they turn golden brown, the middle will not be done.

For cookies, baking time depends on how large you make them. Place on cookie sheet. Using the back of a spoon, gently push down the dough a little bit so that they spread out instead of baking in one mound. Bake at 350° for 12-16 minutes, or until golden brown. I like to sprinkle just a tiny bit of pink Himalayan salt or sea salt on mine when they come out of the oven.

Sweet heavenly wishes,

Staci

Read Full Post »

Popcorn is a healthy snack option; not the way movie theaters douse it with hot, greasy golden liquid mimicking butter, but remove the blanket of grease and it’s a guilt-free food to mindlessly munch while watching the latest Hollywood flick. Of course every savory snack should be balanced with a sweet snack so why not pair it with caramel popcorn?

red hots smiley

If you’re watching from your couch, not a germy reclining theater chair, skip the seeds and hulls by making your own sticky sweet and salty mix using puff corn cereal. And toss in hot tamales or cinnamon Red Hots® candies.

caramel cashew corn pops

If you go out for movie night, this brings up a moral question. Is it OK to bring a bag of homemade caramel cashew corn puffs into the movie theater if you buy an extortionate $12 box of hot tamales or Red Hots from concessions?

Caramel Cashew Corn Puffs

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

7 cups corn puff cereal (I use Corn Pops®)

2 cups salted cashews

1-2 cups red hots candies or hot tamales candies (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 225°.
  2. Mix cereal and cashews in a large bowl.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup; boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Drop in baking soda and stir well.
  5. Pour caramel mixture into cereal and cashew mixture. Stir to coat thoroughly.
  6. Spread cereal mixture onto two baking sheets lined with foil or parchment paper.
  7. Bake at 225° for one hour, stirring around every 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and cool the caramel corn on sheets of wax paper.
  9. Stir in hot tamales or cinnamon Red Hots candies. Store in airtight container for one week.

Sticky blockbuster wishes,

Staci

Read Full Post »

Another year leaves us with a trail of flour dust and kitchen memories. We’ve read enough “Top 10 recipes of 2014” articles to set our Pinterest boards on fire. Maybe you want to know my most popular recipes for the past 12 months but for now, let’s have fun with the 24 most curious and amusing search terms that brought people to Random Sweetness Baking in 2014.

The searches that made me laugh. 

I’m guessing the following searches brought people to my second most popular recipe in 2014, I was a better than sex cake virgin:

  1. “How long does better than sex cake last in fridge?” In my house, a day if we’re all home. At the office, within minutes of an instant message announcing its arrival. But I suppose it could last a couple of days in the fridge before it would get soggy.
  2. “Better than whatever cake” Clearly, this person already knew there are multiple names for better than sex cake.
  3. “Is there a recipe for virgin cake or is there a virgin cake recipe like the better than sex cake?” I’m so confused.
  4. “Virgin first time sex” I hope this guy’s wife doesn’t look at his Internet search history. Maybe he should spend more time in the kitchen baking cake.

Better than sex cake

The next one made me laugh AND tell my sisters:

5. “Why do old people like bran muffins?”

6. “Bran muffins for elderly”

Bran muffins aren’t just for old people and raisins ruin everything probably didn’t answer their questions because I didn’t talk about the benefits of fiber.

bran muffins | Random Sweetness Baking

My third most popular recipe in 2014 drew in a lot of people from searches for buffalo chicken dip with ranch, chilled buffalo chicken ranch dip, chicken wing dip with ranch, buffalo chicken dip for 16 people, buffalo chicken dip without blue cheese, and many others like:

7. “Can you make buffalo chicken dip with dark meat?” Yes, of course you can!

8. “Blue cheese dressing without blue cheese in it” Since I don’t eat blue cheese dressing, my suggestion is to just make the dressing but don’t add the crumbled cheese. Or seriously, don’t eat it at all.

9. “I want to make buffalo chicken dip but I don’t have any ranch dressing” Oh bummer! Then you can’t make my version but here’s a recipe from Food Network for buffalo chicken dip with blue cheese and no ranch.

Buffalo ranch chicken dip | Random Sweetness Baking

10. “Make celery sweeter” I’m not a dietician but celery is a vegetable. Maybe add peanut butter and chocolate chips if you want it sweeter? But here’s how I use celery in my simple tuna salad sandwich, my kids’ favorite homemade chicken noodle soup with healing powers, and crunchy ex-in-law broccoli ranch salad.

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

11. “Random shit you can bake” Ha ha! I’m picturing a sprightly redhead sitting at the nail salon waiting for the paint to dry on her toes, passing time on her phone and suddenly deciding to bake something when she gets home.

12. “I want to bake something sweet” Me too, me too! I’m glad you found me and I’m hoping you found some random sweets you can bake! How about making the #1 recipe on Random Sweetness Baking, Marshmallow Creme Crunch Brownies?

Marshmallow Creme Crunch Brownies

13. “Can kids have tequila lime chicken?” I won’t laugh because I’m sure there’s a concerned parent out there who didn’t know that alcohol burns off in the cooking process.

14.  “How do Mexicans make chicken street tacos?” I don’t know but this is how Minnesotans make chicken street tacos with cilantro and red onion.

cilantro lime chicken tacos

The searches that hopefully led to answers.

15. “Hershey’s Kisses won’t melt turned hard” It sounds like you passed that crucial melting point where the Kiss got hard and then there’s no turning back. Read about it in my recipe for mint pretzel Kisses.

mint pretzel Kisses

16. “If you bake a Hershey’s Kiss in a cupcake does it turn hard after cooling?” I’ve never baked a Kiss in a cupcake but I’m certain it would turn hard when it cools.

17. “Can you make cream cheese deli meat wrap a day in advance?” You certainly can. And in my recipe for crunchy deli wraps, I suggest that you can store the wraps in the refrigerator or a cooler for up to 12 hours. That’s why they are terrific for camping or picnics.

veggie and deli meat wraps

18. “Can I put baking dish from fridge into oven?” It depends on the pan. Never put a glass dish from the refrigerator directly to the oven or you risk the potential for the glass to shatter. But I think metal or stone would be ok. For example, if you prepare smoky ham and cheddar hash brown casserole ahead of time, you could put it in the oven from the refrigerator if it’s in a metal or stone pan.

19. “Only like the Chex cereal in the mix how to just use the cereal” Then by all means, substitute Chex cereal for all the mixed nuts and pretzels in Chex mix.

Staci's version of Chex mix

20. “Cookies chocolate island” If you found a chocolate island that serves cookies, I want to GO! All I can do is give you chocolate island mint bars.

Chocolate Island Mint Bars

21. “Hershey’s skillet cookie for 1” How about something even better – bake this giant chocolate chip skillet cookie, slice into triangles, eat a few, and freeze the rest.

skillet chocolate chip cookie

22. “Chocolate stringy brownie cookie” What exactly is a stringy brownie cookie?

23. “Casserole for boys” The most requested casserole from the boys in my family is hot dog casserole.

24. “Cook slice hot dogs with chips on the side” See #23.

And that’s a wrap on 2014! It’s been a fun and fast year of sharing what’s going on in my kitchen. Thank you for reading and sharing with me. There’s nothing better than getting an email from you asking about a recipe or seeing you in the grocery store and you telling me you have ingredients on your list to make something from my blog. Or when you stop me at a hockey game and tell me that what I wrote made you laugh. It’s just you and me kid.

Hoping to see you around Random Sweetness Baking on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Cheers to a new year!

Sweet & bubbly wishes,

Staci

Read Full Post »

Maybe I should carry a flashy No Raisins picket sign when I go to the farmers market. Who thinks to ask, “What’s in your monster cookie?” It’s not a trick question. (farmers market monster cookie below)

farmers market cookie

Wouldn’t you expect peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chips, and most definitely M&Ms? That’s how I make my monster cookies. (pictured below)

Monster cookies

I mean, who puts raisins in monster cookies? And were they hiding them from me? Remember, raisins ruin everything. History has already taught me to beware of bran muffins and those fancy, swirly loaves of cinnamon bread.

bran muffins | Random Sweetness Baking

Maybe the bigger question is, why didn’t I notice that the tower of cookies in the jar labeled “monster cookies” weren’t flecked with M&Ms? That should’ve tipped me off that something sneaky was going on.

Keep your eyes open out there cookie lovers.

Sweet summer wishes,
Staci

Read Full Post »

Some recipes are perfect just the way they are. And then doubled.

malted milk ball cookies

Malted Madness Cookies from Betty Crocker. 

Have a sweet day!
Staci

Read Full Post »

When it comes to making candy, there aren’t many simpler methods than no baking, no dipping, no cutting, no ball-rolling, and no candy thermometer testing.

That’s what you get with Boston baked beans tiger butter—none of the work but the result is a swirly layer of chocolate and butterscotch on a milky blend of almond bark and peanut butter infiltrated with the sweet snap of Boston baked beans candy. To add a wisp of saltiness, it’s coated with crushed dry roasted peanuts.

Boston baked bean tiger butter

I tried making peanut brittle once. When it cooled I tossed it into my toolbox to use as a hammer.

This recipe is not discriminatory. It doesn’t matter if you think you can’t bake or if you crinkle your nose at the thought of even owning a candy thermometer, because you don’t need one. If you can slowly melt chocolate in a saucepan, you can make Boston baked beans tiger butter. Just think about how impressed your friends will be.

Boston baked beans tiger butter

24 ounces (1 pound and 8 ounces package) vanilla flavored almond bark (candy coating)

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup crushed Boston baked beans candy (I crush them in my blender because I don’t have a food processor.)

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts, crushed (I use the salted peanuts because the salt balances out all the sweetness.)

Before you begin melting ingredients, finely chop the Boston baked beans candy and the dry roasted peanuts. Set them aside. Line a baker’s half sheet pan (approximately 13″x18″) or a jelly roll pan (approximately 10″x15″) with parchment paper or pan lining paper.

Drop the chunks of almond bark into a medium saucepan. Melt slowly over medium-low heat, stirring often so it doesn’t burn. Once it’s melted and smooth, turn the heat down to low and stir in the peanut butter. Mix until creamy. Remove from heat.

Grab a small saucepan and melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips together over medium-low heat. Stir frequently.

While the chocolate is melting, throw the crushed Boston baked beans candy into the melted almond bark peanut butter mixture and stir until combined. Remember to keep stirring the chocolate chips.

When the chocolate chips are melted, remove from heat and turn off the stove.

Spread the almond bark mixture evenly into the prepared pan. It works best to use an offset spatula if you have one. Scatter the chocolate and butterscotch mixture over the base layer. Using the offset spatula or a butter knife and without disturbing the almond bark mixture too much, gently swirl the chocolate into the almond bark using figure 8 motions. You’ve now created your tiger stripes.

Toss the crushed dry roasted peanuts on top, lightly pressing down so they harden into the chocolate.

Chill until hardened. Lift the candy from the pan and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container in a cool place or in the refrigerator.

I lied about the age of Random Sweetness Baking so you can find me on Facebook now! (If you have teenagers, you understand the sarcasm.)

Come give me a Like and tell me if you’ve ever eaten Boston baked beans.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Read Full Post »

Certainly there are fancier, more homemade baked goods that come out of our ovens. But let’s not kid ourselves. Even though we crave fresh-bakes cookies, on some weekends we are just too busy, and on some gray cozy Saturdays we are just too lazy, to spend more than half an hour baking and cleaning up the kitchen.

Peanut butter kiss cookies | Random Sweetness Baking

The good thing is that even as classic and simple as these are, I’ve never known a kid, or any human for that matter, to refuse a HERSHEY’S KISS surrounded by a soft peanut butter cookie. That’s why these used to be the perfect classroom or 4-H party treat. (B.P.A. – Before Peanut Allergies)

And I love that I can use my new bowl that I got from my mom last Christmas. It’s from the General Store of Minnetonka in Minnesota — an incredible shopping experience.

bowl from General Store of Minnetonka

Another one-bowl peanut butter and chocolate recipe that makes a couple dozen pop-in-your-mouth goodies is Reese’s P.B. Poppers. Basically, your pantry shelf should always hold a package of peanut butter cookie mix and either HERSHEY’S KISSES or miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Peanut Butter KISSES Cookies

1 package peanut butter cookie mix and the ingredients to make them

1/4 to 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, optional

approximately 36 HERSHEY’S KISSES milk chocolate candies, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 350˚. Make the cookie dough according to package directions; stirring in 1/4 to 1/2 cup peanut butter to dough if desired.

Place dough by tablespoons on a cookie sheet. I make the cookies really small because my favorite part is the middle bite that has a chocolate KISS with a little bit of soft peanut butter cookie stuck on the bottom. If you make them really small, you’ll get approximately 36 little cookies from one batch.

Bake according to package directions. Do not overbake. Remove from oven. Immediately place an unwrapped HERSHEY’S KISS in the center of each cookie, pressing down gently. Cool 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: