Storm the Cassoulet

Holy Cow Cake

holy cow

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cake Mix (your preference), baked as directed…
1-14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. jar of caramel topping
4-5 Butterfingers candy bars, crushed
1-8 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. Cool Whip

Method:

Prepare and bake cake as directed on package.

Meanwhile, blend caramel and sweetened condensed milk.

After removing cake from oven, use a skewer or fork to poke holes into the top of the cake.

Pour caramel mixture over cake.

Crush candy bars and sprinkle half of them over the warm cake. Chill.

Stir cream cheese and Cool Whip together until blended well. Spread over cooled cake.

Sprinkle with remaining candy.

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Oreo Frogs

frog

Ingredients:

Candy Eye Balls
Package of Green Candy Melts
Oreo Cookies
Pretzels
Red Candy (for the tongue – Starbursts, gum drops, etc.)
Green Sprinkles

Method:

Melt your chocolate following the directions of the bag.

Cover your pretzels and oreos in the chocolate.

Place pretzels together ( bottoms side by side)

Place oreo cooie on top of pretzels. Place your tongue, eyes and sprinkles on the cookie!

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Crunchy Caramel Popcorn

crackerjack

Makes 10-12 cups

What You Need

Ingredients
1/2 cup unpopped corn kernels (10-12 cups popped)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Optional extras, see Recipe Variations (below)

Equipment
Large lidded saucepan
Large heatproof mixing bowl
2-quart saucepan
Heatproof spatula
2 baking sheets
Parchment paper or silpats

Method:

Gather ingredients and equipment. Arrange two oven racks in the top and bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 250°F. Line the baking sheets with parchment or silpats. Once you start making the caramel sauce, everything comes together quickly so have all the ingredients and equipment you need handy.

Make the popcorn. Warm 3 corn kernels and the oil in a large lidded saucepan over medium heat. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the corn kernels to the pan, shake to coat with oil, and put the lid on the pan. Pop the corn, shaking the pan occasionally, until the popping slows. Empty the popped corn immediately into a large heat-proof bowl. This makes about 10 cups of popcorn; make the popcorn in two batches if your pan is not large enough.

Make the caramel sauce. Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Mix in the sugar until the sugar is completely moistened. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, boil for 3-4 minutes while stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan continuously. (Boil for a minute less if cooking on an electric stove.)

The exact cooking temperature isn’t critical with this recipe, but ideally you want the sugar mixture to reach between 250°F and 300°F. The longer you cook the syrup, the crunchier it will be. For very crunchy popcorn (my favorite!), stop cooking when you see the first wisps of smoke coming from the sugar mixture.

Add the vanilla, salt, baking soda, and any extras. Off the heat, add the vanilla, salt, baking soda, and any extras, and stir until combined. The sugar mixture will bubble up violently. Continue stirring until you form a thick, glossy sauce.

Combine the carmel sauce and popcorn. Slowly pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn while stirring the popcorn (it helps if you have a partner for this step — one person pouring while the other stirs the popcorn). Continue stirring the sauce into the popcorn until all of the kernels are coated.

Bake the caramel popcorn. Divide the popcorn between two baking sheets, spreading the popcorn out into an even layer. It’s ok if the popcorn clumps together. Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes and breaking up any clumps.

Let cool completely. Let the popcorn cool completely on the baking sheets. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Recipe Notes:

Recipe Variations:
Salted Caramel Popcorn: Increase the amount of salt to 1 teaspoon and sprinkle the baked popcorn with sea salt while it’s still warm from the oven.
Cracker Jacks: Add 2 tablespoons of molasses to the sugar mixture as it boils and mix in 1 cup peanuts when combining the caramel sauce and popcorn.
Spicy Caramel Popcorn: Add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or 2-3 tablespoons Sriracha or other hot sauce to the caramel sauce along with the vanilla.
Curried Caramel Popcorn: Add 1-2 teaspoons curry powder to the caramel sauce along with the vanilla.

Popcorn Balls or Clusters: To make popcorn balls or clusters, quickly press the popcorn together with buttered hands after the popcorn is finished baking and before it cools. If the popcorn cools too much to stick together, put the trays back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Getting Rid of Unpopped Kernels: To get rid of unpopped kernels before making the caramel popcorn, pour the popcorn into a large bowl and shake it a few times so the kernels fall to the bottom. Then use a measuring cup to scoop the popped popcorn into a second bowl, leaving the kernels behind.

ALTERNATE CARAMEL RECIPE:

BEST SALTED CARAMEL

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar…
1 2/3 cups heavy cream (WARM IT IN THE MICROWAVE FIRST)
2 Tbsp salted butter
3/4 tsp coarse sea salt

Method:

Method to make the caramel sauce:

Spread the sugar in an even layer in a large metal pot, at least 6 quarts. Set over a moderate heat and cook without stirring, until the sugar near the edge just starts to liquify.

Use a wooden spoon and begin stirring, encouraging the melted sugar around the edges toward the center, delicately stirring up any sugar melting on the bottom as well. The sugar will start to look pebbly as it cooks, but keep going until it is melted completely and an amber color. If you think it is cooking too fast, lower the heat and keep stirring. Be patient.

Continue to cook until the sugar turns deep brown. Once brown, take it off of the heat!!!!

Time to add the cream but here is my trick….only add a DROP at a time and stir, stir, stir. This will eliminate the seizing of your caramel and you will love me for this trick. Keep adding a drop at a time and stirring until all of the cream is mixed in. Be patient…you have a lot of cream so this will take a few minutes. Once smooth, add butter and salt. Let cool. Will store in fridge up to one month.  Makes 2 cups

Serve vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce and some of the popcorn.  Add sea salt.  Or try the 2nd Street Creamery Copper Kettle Caramel ice cream.

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Campfire Cone

campfire-cones

Ingredients:

1 ice cream cone
Tinfoil

Any assortment of the fillings, such as:

Chocolate chips
Butterscotch morsels
White chocolate morsels
Walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pecans, etc.
Toffee pieces
Mini marshmallows
Brown sugar
Coconut
Raw fruit pieces (apple, banana, strawberry, peaches, pineapple, etc.)
Dried fruit (raisins)
Cinnamon
Chopped pieces of your favorite chocolate bars

Method:
Allow each person to design their cone with the fillers of choice in layers. Wrap securely with foil and place over heat near campfire or on grill to allow the chocolates to melt. Unwrap and enjoy.

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Cake Surprise

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cake surprise

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Homemade Marshmallows

homemade-marshmallows

Ingredients:

3 packages unflavored gelatin

1 cup ice cold water, divided

12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups

1 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

Nonstick spray

Method:

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

For regular marshmallows:

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

For miniature marshmallows:

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray and dust with the confectioners’ sugar mixture.

Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round piping tip. Pipe the mixture onto the prepared sheet pans lengthwise, leaving about 1-inch between each strip. Sprinkle the tops with enough of the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture to lightly cover. Let the strips set for 4 hours or up to overnight.

Cut into 1/2 inch pieces using a pizza wheel or scissors dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

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Squirmy Jelly Worms

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Ingredients:

2 packs (3 oz) Raspberry jello
1 pkg unflavored gelatin (for extra firmness)
3/4 cup whipping cream
3 cups boiling water
15 drops green food coloring
100 flexible straws (or enough to fill your container)
Tall container (1 quart or 1 liter carton of milk)

Method:

Combine gelatin in bowl and add boiling water.

Let it cool to lukewarm and then add the whipping cream and 15 drops green food coloring.

Gather your straws (don’t forget to flex them out) and put them in the container. It’s important that the straws have a tight fit so the jello stays in the straws. For this reason, a 1 liter carton may be better; you will probably get longer worms since there is a tighter fit. If you have a bigger container, a rubber band around the straws is helpful. Or you could just add more straws to fill the container.

Add the gelatin mixture to the straw-filled container and let it set until firm.

There are multiple ways you can remove the worms from the straws. You can roll a rolling pin over the straws and squeeze them out or you can hold the straws over warm water. The worms will slip right out.

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Kris’ Chocolate Covered Oreos

DSCF1950

INGREDIENTS:

(see notes below for quantities*)

Double-stuffed oreos

Good quality dark chocolate melting wafers

Good quality white chocolate melting wafers

Pure peppermint oil

Parchment paper

METHOD:

Lay out strips of parchment paper on a clean flat surface.  Melt a bag of chocolate in a glass bowl (or double boiler).  Add a few drops of mint oil, and mix well with a wooden spoon.  Dip the oreos in the chocolate, lay on the parchment paper, and cover up your fingerprint.  Don’t use any broken ones!  (When you melt the chocolate, leave it a little bit thick – keep stirring – don’t overmelt!) Once the cookies have begun to dry, melt down the white chocolate (don’t add mint oil) and drizzle over the cookies, either back and forth or in swirls.  The idea is to get a fine drizzle. Once all the oreos have been drizzled, place any decorative candies you have in the center.  Let sit until they are completely dry.  Store in tupperware, in between layers of wax paper.  Will last at least a month.

*Quantity Estimates:

2 packages of oreos take 3 bags of chocolate and yield 72 cookies, if all cookies are perfect in the package.  (note:  package quantities have been reduced – they now only contain 30 oreos, not 36).

5 lbs. of dark chocolate make approximately 4 packs of cookies.

7 lbs. of dark chocolate & 1 bottle of oil makes approximately 6 packages of oreos!

2 hours of work…..4 hours to dry well.

 APPROXIMATE COST:

Oreos:  $3.00 per package

Chocolate:  $2.25 per lb.

Oil = $1.30 per bottle

Gold Loops – 4 for $1.00

Divider Pads = 4 for $1.00

Boxes = 4 for $1.69

Decorative Candies = 50 for 2.99 (small ones) or 16+ for $2.75-$3.99 (larger ones) 

12 lbs. of dark chocolate, 2 lbs. of white. 261 candy decorations:  ($89.00) Used all the dark, with a little bit of white left over.  Family Pack:  55 oreos per box.  Used 6 full boxes, plus 16 more cookies.  1 broken, 2 eaten.  343 Oreos. (160 holly, 21 wreath, 80 big candies, 82 plain).

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Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Brownie Bars

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INGREDIENTS:

Premade cookie dough

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Premade brownie mix

METHOD:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray the insides of a square all edges brownie pan with Pam spray.   Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of premade cookie dough and press into the bottom of each square.  Top the cookie dough with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup placed upside down.  Then fill up the well with your favorite prepared brownie mix up to 3/4 full.   Bake in oven for 15-18 minutes.  Remove and cool slightly.

TIPS:

You can use cupcake/muffin tins (either small or large) in replacement of the all-edges brownie pan.  For the large muffin tins, just bake about 5 minutes longer.

You can substitute Rollos for the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  You will have caramel instead of peanut butter.

You can substitute Peanut Butter cookie dough for the chocolate chip cookie dough to really make a peanut butter experience!

For those who do not like chocolate use sugar cookie dough for the base.  Place a Dove chocolate in the center and top with blonde brownie mix.

You can use all the wonderful variations of prepared brownie mix as well.  Use the caramel brownie with the Rollo centers or the white chocolate brownie mix with the sugar cookie base and a Rollo.

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Peanut Butter Cups

candy-peanut butter cup

INGREDIENTS:

6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped

6 oz.) milk chocolate , chopped

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 Tbsp peanut flour

1 Tbsp graham cracker crumbs

Extras:

Mini-muffin tin

baking or candy liners

candy thermometer (optional)

kitchen scale to measure chocolate (optional)

METHOD:

Place 24 candy or baking liners in the cavities of a mini-muffin tin. Set aside for later.

In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar and peanut flour. Mix until smooth. Add the graham cracker crumbs and mix until well combined. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and chill for 20 minutes or until the mixture is firm.

Using a 1/2-teaspoon measure, scoop out 24 rounded spoonfuls of peanut butter. Gently roll into balls and place on a cutting board or plate. Lightly flatten the balls with your fingertips, making discs. Refrigerate for 10 minutes so they firm up.

Place all of the chocolate in a large glass bowl and mix together. Remove about one third and reserve for later. In the meantime, heat 4 to 6 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Once the water comes to a simmer, turn the flame down to its lowest setting and place the glass bowl with chocolate on top of the saucepan (This process of using a double boiler prevents the chocolate from burning by melting it over consistent, but moderate heat). Gently stir the chocolate for several minutes until the mixture is smooth. Use a candy thermometer to ensure that the chocolate gets to 115°F but doesn’t go above. Turn off the flame.

Place a towel on your work surface and place the glass bowl on top of the towel. Add the reserved chocolate and stir constantly, bringing the temperature of the melted chocolate to about 82°F. Once it hits 82°F, return the bowl to the saucepan of hot water and bring the temperature of the chocolate back up to about 90°F. You may or may not have to turn the flame on to achieve this. Keep the chocolate at 90°F while you work with it. (This process is known as tempering the chocolate, which will help the chocolate maintain its high gloss finish and “snap” when you break or bite into it.)

Drop one teaspoon of tempered chocolate into each of the liners in the muffin pan. When done, gently tap the pan on the counter so that the chocolate spreads to the bottom of the liners. Tilt the pan slightly in each direction to encourage the mixture to coat the sides of the liner slightly and then tap the pan again.

Remove the peanut butter discs from the refrigerator and gently place one on top of the chocolate in each liner. Next, spoon additional chocolate on top of the peanut butter. When complete, tap the pan to remove air bubbles and level off the tops. Add more chocolate if necessary and repeat tapping.

Refrigerate the muffin pan for at least 60 minutes or until the chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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