Easy Holiday Chocolate Covered Pretzels

These are almost TOO easy!   Which is perfect for the holiday season as things get crazy around this time of year.  That being said, I only had to buy a few ingredients for this delicious wonder. So enjoy! This is a great homemade gift idea as well and isn’t as labour intensive as making eight billion different types of cookies!

Ingredients:

  • Pretzels (if you can find the cute holiday shaped ones, go for it!)
  • Chocolate! (I bought the humungous bag of milk chocolate chips from Safeway, and I find this works great)
  • Coloured melting chocolate (red, green, white)
  • Candy canes (peppermint)
  • Festive sugar sprinkles

Tools:

  • Microwavable bowl
  • Two forks
  • Small spatula
  • Cookie sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Magic Bullet or food processor/blender
  • Small ziploc type bags

Step-by-Step:

Start by melting the milk chocolate in a microwavable bowl. I start by putting it in for about 18 seconds, stirring and repeating as many times as possible to get the right consistency. Melted chocolate

Then I drop two pretzels in at a bowl (I find its easier than dumping a whole handful in the chocolate).

I slightly press the pretzels into the chocolate, then using the forks, flip them and slightly press again.  I’ve found this method leaves a good coating of chocolate on the pretzels without having to shake off too much excess.

Gently put on the parchment paper covered cookie sheet.  Leave enough space between each pretzel so they are easier to break up later, but close enough that you’re not wasting space or the fancy drizzle later on 🙂

Chocolate covered pretzels in the making

Chocolate covered pretzels

   Then the real fun comes in!  Start by placing maybe a half cup or less of the melting chocolate in either red, green or white in a ziploc type bag.  (NOTE: the amount will totally depend on how many pretzels you’re dipping. I had about 35 chocolate covered pretzels on each sheet and had five sheets in total). Place all the candy melts in one corner of the bag and pop in the microwave for about 20 seconds.  Pull out and gently massage the bag and repeat (microwave/massage) until you get the desired consistency.

Red melting chocolate

Red melting chocolate

Snip a TEENY hole in the corner and start to drizzle over your chocolate covered pretzels. This is the fun part. Promise.  Let your creatively out!

 

 

 

 

Chocolate covered pretzel - red

Chocolate covered pretzel red-green

Chocolate covered pretzels - candy cane

The next pans I placed about 4 peppermint candy canes in my magic bullet and crushed them up until it was almost powder. Using a spoon I sprinkled the peppermint sugar over one of the pans.

 

 

 

 

Chocolate covered pretzels - sprinkles

On the last pan I shook festive holiday sugar sprinkles over the sheet.

I left all the pans out for a few hours to let the chocolate harden before breaking up off the cookie sheets and placing them in holiday tins for gifting.

 

It’s best to work in batches. So I’d finish a cookie sheet and sprinkle the candy cane pieces over the whole sheet (while the chocolate is still wet, as it helps it stick).  Same with the sugar sprinkles.  The coloured melting chocolate though, can all be done at once.  I had three sheets done before I used any of the coloured stuff, that way I wouldn’t have to remelt the coloured chocolate melts over and over again.

Anyway, this whole process is crazy simple, so enjoy! and Happy Holidays!

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Chewy Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Craisin White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wow!  That’s a mouthful! I guess it really just is my oatmeal cookie recipe with other add in’s, but still. Its more fun with longer titles.  These are easy and simply delicious (and moderately healthy because its got oatmeal in it…right??)

I really do have a problem with baking cookies.  Some weeks more than others.  And really, who doesn’t like things like chocolate, cinnamon and other yummies? Makes it a easy sale for me.  I can whip these up pretty quickly so I’d consider them really easy and not very time consuming.  You could always double the batch too 🙂

cookie

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½  tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt (I never measure salt, so this is my guess)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¾ cup butter (softened)
  • 1 heaping c. brown sugar (the more the merrier-AND chewier!)
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract (again, the more the merrier, I seriously love the smell of this stuff)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups rolled or quick oats (I used quick oats)
  • 1cup. raisins
  • ½ cup craisins
  • ½ cup (or more) white chocolate chips, but really any chocolate chips could work here.

 Recipe:

In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and set aside.

Soften the butter in a large bowl (don’t melt it, but you can soften it up with a few seconds in the microwave).  Add the brown and white sugar to the butter and mix together until well combined.

Add in the vanilla and the egg to the butter/sugar mixture and beat until creamy and light.

Slowly add in the flour mixture and keep stirring. If the dough is super sticky you can add a bit more flour.  Once there are no remnants of flour lingering around the bowl, add in the oatmeal, raisins, craisins and white chocolate chips and stir to incorporate all the ingredients.  Stir until well mixed, or just until there are little bits of the good stuff throughout the dough.

Roll in your palms a heaping tablespoon and drop onto cookie sheet. My perfect cookie comes from the Panderno sheets with the air-pocket underneath it for even cooking, worth the investment I promise. Slightly press the ball of dough to flatten just a little. The balls I make are maybe the size of a golf ball or slightly bigger (to give you a reference point)

Bake at 325F for 10-12 minutes. Until the edges of each cookie are browning, but the middle is still soft and doughy. Wait a minute to transfer the warm cookie to the cooling rack, as they might try to fall apart. Be strong, and don’t let them. Makes about 2 dozen, depending on how big you make the cookies. Remember, if you make them smaller, they won’t need as long in the oven.

Enjoy them while they last. I always find these don’t last very long in my kitchen…!

Incredible Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns

Yummy cinnamon buns!  I mean really, who doesn’t love these? And then with the added twist of pumpkin its like a special fall treat!

If attempting to make these, make sure you’ve got the time, as the whole process can take up to say 3 hours. Other than that, I simply say enjoy!

The Ingredients

Dough
2 Tbsp butter
½ cup milk
2 ¼  teaspoons active dry yeast (one envelope)
1 cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (+extra for kneading), *you could use Bread flour if you have it on hand.

Filling (yum!)

1 cup golden brown sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp  butter

Notes:

Make sure the pumpkin is pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie mix, as its not quite the same, and the results won’t be the same.

The Incredible Instructions:

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, lightly brown the butter (2 tbsp). Let it bubble slightly but don’t burn it.  I like to keep stirring it slightly as I find it helps me keep an eye on it.

Once it’s a nice warm brown colour remove the saucepan from the heat and add the milk ( ½ cup).  Its easiest if the milk is room temperature.  Put the pan back on the heat and let it heat up again.

Phew!  Now it gets more exciting and science-y! (I love baking because it is basic chemistry in my kitchen!)

Pour the butter/milk mixture into a large glass bowl. (I find glass works best as metal bowls can sometimes leave a funky taste in bread dough, it’s a yeast thing). Making sure that the mixture it’s too too hot ( I don’t own a thermometer so I always guessitmate this part), but still warm enough add the yeast (2 ¼ tsp) and sugar ( ½ cup) and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  The yeast will react with the warmth and start to froth/foam up. (Hurray for science!) If it doesn’t foam, your yeast might be old.

After its all foamy add the pumpkin (1 cup), salt (1 tsp) and about half the flour (1 cup).

Stir together until all the major parts are combined, and then starting adding more and more flour (about a ½ cup at a time).  At a certain point stirring makes no sense and its best to wash your hands and get in there!  Kneading bread dough is very therapeutic, or at least I think so! (if you need to use a bit more flour, don’t be scared to do so).

Once the dough its smooth and not super sticky put a bit of vegetable oil in a clean large glass bowl (1 tbsp), form a ball with the dough and place the ball in the bowl with the oil, I usually wipe the bowl with the dough to cover the ball and get the oil on the rest of the bowl. (The oil keeps the dough from sticking to the bowl as it rises; I find it helps later on).

Cover the bowl with a clean teatowel and leave to rise in a warm place.  *Now I like to cheat this part, especially when its dark outside… Typically if I’ve got sun streaming in one of the big windows during the day I’ll put the covered bowl in the sunlight and let the sun keep it warm, it not, I’ll turn the over on super low for a bit, turn it off, then put the bowl in the oven with the door open (so it doesn’t cook the dough, only keeps it’s a bit warm. OR turn the oven on for a bit and turn off and put the bowl over the vent the heat comes out from.   Maybe I’ll take some pictures next time…Confusing I know.* If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to explain better

Now the tricky part, walk away and leave it alone for an hour or so, until its doubled in size. Depending on timing this can take anywhere from between say 60 and 90 minutes. So sit and watch some tv, knit a scarf or tackle the laundry pile. haha

Once it’s a big doughy ball of goodness, take off the teatowel and PUNCH IT! (honestly my fav part, it’s so satisfying).  Sprinkle some flour on the counter and flop the dough on to it.  Work the dough and knead with clean hands for about 2 minutes.

Roll the dough out on the floured surface into a nice big rectangle.  I flour my rolling pin as well, keeps the dough from sticking to it.  I never measure, I just roll til I’m satisfied.  (I know that’s really vague… my bad). Either way, you need a big rectangle, if I had to guess say 12 x 20 inches?

Once rolled out and even cut the butter (2 Tbsp) into small chunks and lay out ALL over the dough. *you could melt the butter and brush on as well*. Sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg on the dough and then do the same with the brown sugar. After you’ve covered every square inch of the dough with the yummy goodness, start to roll it up starting with the longest side (photo).

IMG_0057

Rolled out pumpkin dough

 

Grease some circular pans (I used two, but depending on the thickness of the dough, and how thick you cut the pieces this can vary). Take your yummy rolled up log and start cutting.  I ended up with 14 rolls and two little end pieces. 🙂

Place them in the greased pans, making sure to leave some room (as they will continue to rise and expand). Place in a warm place again *see above* and cover with a teatowel for about 30 minutes. Just long enough for them to grow and touch each other (photo).  I forgot to take a picture before they rose, but I left about half an inch in between each roll.

 

 

IMG_0058

Risen pumpkin cinnamon rolls

 

While waiting, preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After they’re done their second rise, bake them for 30-40 minutes or until the top is a nice golden brown.

Let cool, and EAT! You could also make a simple icing for these to drizzle on, but I like them just the way they are.  Once cooled, store in an air tight container, and I highly recommend 10-12 seconds in the microwave when eating them the next couple of days.  Because really, nothing is better than a warm pumpkin cinnamon bun!  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

IMG_0059

baked pumpkin cinnamon roll deliciousness

IMG_0060

Blueberry Cake with Crumble Topping

Who loves cake? Seems like a silly question, right? Personally I’ve been a big fan of cake in all its marvelous forms since my first birthday. I believe I was given a chocolate cake with a clown wearing a pink hat on top. Classic 80s. Since that fatefully day I’ve been asking these same simple questions—-
Did someone say there was cake? Can I have some? Is there icing? Can I have another sliver please? Can I have the recipe?
Sound familiar? Well, heck yes! While I will admit that I am not expert at making basic cakes from scratch (I’ll admit to using the boxed stuff… eeep), but I can whip up a mean blueberry cake with a yummy crumble topping. Trust me on the yummy part of that sentence. This recipe is one I may have borrowed from mom.To begin to make this delicious 8×8 cake with the even more delicious topping you’ll need to:
Cream together in a large bowl:
-1/4 c. softened butter
-3/4 c. sugar
-1 egg
Leave aside.

In a separate small bowl mix together:
-2 c. flour
-2 tsp. baking powder
-pinch of salt, about 1/2 tsp.
Mix these dry ingredients into the wet mixture alternatively with 1/2 c. milk
Mix well, the batter will be thick

Add 2 c. blueberries. (Frozen is fine, but make sure they have thawed enough, or they’ll freeze the batter and make it incredibly difficult to stir, trust me, I’ve made that mistake one too many times). The batter will turn purple because of the berries, but that’s normal. Once its baked, the cake won’t be purple anymore 🙂

Pour the batter into a lightly greased 8×8 glass pan (I greased mine with some butter to make it easier when removing the cake later.)

The topping:
-1/4 c. softened butter
-1/3 c. flour
-1/2 c. brown sugar
-1/2 tsp. cinnamon


Mix well, and then crumble with your fingers on top of the cake batter and bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Now comes the easy part, wait for the cake to cool and you can cut the pieces right out of the glass pan. I promise tasty. The crumble topping makes the cake absolutely delicious, guaranteed. Enjoy!!