Christmas has ended but a New year will begin.

christmas-tree-2

hard to believe Christmas has come and gone, and now we wait to celebrate the New Year.  The last few months has been a busy time for Chris and I. We recently bought a house of our dreams, and got to celebrate our first Christmas in our new home. We wanted to get to know our new neighbors and welcome them in our new home. Chris and I made gift bags for each neighbor along with a get to know us letter. I of course did some baking to share with them, and one Sunday morning we walked to each house and introduced ourselves to them. Chris and I were thrilled to meet most of our neighbors, and invited them to an open house the following weekend. It was a success for sure and we truly enjoyed everyone. Chris and I were thrilled to meet them and feel blessed to live where we live now.

Of course we had to have our little niece stay over that night, and it was her first night over in our new house. Chris bought her a cute reindeer made out of wood to put together and paint, and then we all made a gingerbread house with her. I love doing crafts with her when she is with us . claire-and-chris-making-gingerbread-house-2

I usually like to make Christmas gifts for my friends and family, but this year I did not have a lot of time to do so, instead I baked away for everyone. I decided to make some gift boxes of baked goods and then a little package of Teriyaki Jerky that my husband made. My boxes were a hit because all I could see was smiles. I love doing that stuff and seeing people smile it is a gift to me knowing that I did my job to make someone smile. In my gifts I made red velvet whoopee cakes, Peppermint Rice crispy treats, Bourbon balls. Just the simplest things are more than anything.

Of course I had to make my famous Sugar Cookies for my workers  cookie exchange party.  These are not just any sugar cookies they are the kind that melt in your mouth and are so light they are absolutely amazing.  I actually learned how to make these from a woman named Jenny Keller when I lived in Washington state. Please check out her website and Blog Jennycookies,   and her new website Jennycookies bakeshop.  I would give  the recipe out, but I think this one I will have to keep a secret.sugar-cookies-roses-2

Besides doing all the baking, for Christmas one of my nieces had mentioned that since the whole family was gathering for Christmas we should all wear Pajamas. I actually thought that would be a fun and cool idea so I was totally in. After hearing that the whole family was in on this idea I thought why not get the whole family together in a photo shoot. It has been a long time since we had a family photo, and our family is growing . I wanted to do this so I can get the photos  copied and give to my family members as memorabilia.

This holiday has come and gone, but I have to say it was a fun time with family and friends. I certainly enjoyed everything this season, and I hope next year we can do this again.

Bourbon Balls Recipe

Ingredients

1          box (12 oz) vanilla wafer cookies, finely crushed
1          cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4      cup powdered sugar
2          tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2      cup bourbon
2 1/2   tablespoons light corn syrup
Additional powdered sugar

Directions

  • 1 In large bowl, mix cookie crumbs, pecans, 3/4 cup powdered sugar and the cocoa, stirring well.
  • 2 In small bowl, mix bourbon and corn syrup, stirring until blended. Pour bourbon mixture over cookie mixture; stir until blended. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in additional powdered sugar. Store tightly covered at room temperature up to 2 weeks

Red Velvet Whoopee Pies

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.5-oz) box red velvet cake mix
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or see Note)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (3.9-oz) box instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 (16-oz) can cream cheese frosting

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Combine cake mix, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and pudding mix in a large bowl. Mix on low speed with an electric mixer until ingredients are just blended, then on high 1 minute.
  • Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until set.
  • Let cookies cool 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting:

  • 2 cups of imperial margarine
  • 2 tsp of clear vanilla
  • 5 table spoons of coffee creamer I usually get sweet cream creamer
  • 2 lbs of C&H Powdered sugar

Directions:

Blend the Margarine together with the vanilla, and Creamer once that is mixed well then add the powder sugar by cups one at a time. If the Consistency is still not stiff enough I usually add more powder sugar to get it fluffy.

Note: Make your own buttermilk by blending 1/2 cup milk and 1 1/2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice.

You can also get my Peppermint Oreo Cookie Rice Crispy treats recipe from one of my latest blogs the red velvet Oreo cookie white chocolate Rice Crispy treats by clicking onto the link.

Caramel Butter Bars

caramel-butter-bars

Caramel Butter Bars

Today was a very busy day for me which started at 4:30 AM ( my alarm clock was my cat and if you are a cat owner you will understand). I started off doing some errands, and then doing things around the house, cleaning out the Cupboards in my kitchen throwing things away and finding stuff to put together for meal prepping for the week.

My Husband and I have a very hectic schedule during the week, and so I try on Sundays to prep our meals for the week. I actually started doing this about a month ago and totally love it. It certainly takes a couple of hours to do this, but I have to be honest well worth it. So to make a long story short last weekend I had made another easy treat which required caramel. I have to be totally honest the last time I tried to make homemade caramel I burned it.  I came across a recipe that I thought I would try and master, and I did!  Of course I made a lot of it, and so I had put the rest of it in a mason jar and refrigerated it. I honestly did not want it to go to waste so I came across this amazing treat, that is certainly Buttery and Oh so comforting.  Now I found this recipe off of this website Salted Caramel Butter bars which was very easy to follow the only difference was that I had already had Caramel made so I did not have to use Caramel candy Pieces. I actually followed this you Tube Video on how to make home made Caramel and I have to be honest so easy to follow, and I did not burn the sauce I actually mastered it!! Sorry I got a little over joyed there for a moment. I guess I am going to have to shares these with my Co-workers tomorrow because I know my husband will eat more than one and then Complain to me. We only live one life right so enjoy it to the fullest.

Ingredients

For the Crust:
    • 1 lb. butter, softened
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1½ cups powdered sugar
    • 2 tablespoons vanilla
    • 4 cups flour
For the Filling:
  • 1 bag (14 oz.) caramel candies (about 50 individual caramels), unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup milk or cream or half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • Or if you want to try to make home made Caramel check out the you tube video I posted

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Using mixer on medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour and mix until smooth.
  2. Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Press one-third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust.caramel-butter-bars
  3. Place remaining crust mixture in the refrigerator
  4. Preheat oven to 325F.
  5. Bake crust until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown approximately 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool about 15 minutes.
  6. While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling. Place the unwrapped caramels in a saucepan, add the cream and vanilla and cook and stir over low to medium heat until completely melted. (You can also use the microwave in short bursts to melt the caramel mixture.)
  7. Pour the caramel filling over the crust. Generously salt with sea salt.
  8. Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel. You may find the chilled dough doesn’t “crumble” that easily. If so, just place on a cutting board and chop into the dough
  9. size pieces you want for the topping.caramel-butter-bars-1
  10. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 25 – 30 minutes.
  11. Let cool, and cut into squares.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Oh Avalanche!

Avalanche Bark (2)

Did I get your attention already with the Title? Yes these are called avalanche Bark, and they are very sweet so  one of these and a glass of milk will be required. One of my Co-workers had found this on the internet, and she posted it to her face book page. I of course had to make these since I already had everything in my cupboards and in my fridge from what the recipe called for.

honestly it  did not take very long to put this together, and not much clean up duty afterwards so I was highly impressed. It took me like 10 minutes to put it all together, and then it took 30 minutes to harden up in the fridge.  These are great treats for little ones lunch box surprise, and children’s birthday parties etc.

Avalanche

you want to make sure with the white Chocolate and peanut butter that you do not burn the chocolate in the microwave.  When melting the chips with the peanut butter I actually had to microwave on high for 45 seconds, take it out and stir the Contents to make sure all the mixture and the chips were combined. Then I placed the microwave bowl back into the microwave and cooked the contents on high for 30 seconds.Next  I took the bowl out of the microwave I  began to stir to make sure the chips were completely melted in with the peanut butter. Once I have completed this task then I poured the rice krispies in the bowl and stirred it up  making sure all the cereal was coated well. Let the Cereal mixture sit for about 8 minutes to cool down before you pour in the dark chocolate chips and Marshmallows, because you don’t want them to melt in the cereal.

Once the cereal mix has cooled down pour the remainder of the recipe in the bowl stir the ingredients all together, and then place in a 9×9 greased pan. I like to give this tid bit out when you go to push down on  the rice krispie recipe make sure you do not crush the cereal and make sure you do not use your hands to do this. When you use your hands they tell you to coat with butter all over so the mixture does not stick to your hands.  I have a better idea for you to use, take wax paper and put it over the pan and start to push down to bind the cereal and mixtures together. No mess with your hands and you just throw the wax paper away when your done .

Ava

Once you are done doing this task then set the pan in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour to set. Now you have an Avalanche! Its quick and easy to make and in the end so sweet !

Ingredients
  • 12 oz bag of White Chocolate Chips
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups Rice Krispies
  • 1½ cups mini marshmallows
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips + 2 Tbsp for garnish.
  • Lightly grease a 9×9 pan

Brazilian Chocolate Truffles (Brigadeiros)

 

Two years ago I came across these unique truffles and wanted to make them. They were simple and easy to make. I wanted to share them to my Co-workers and they were a hit. These truffles are a Brazilian treat, and since the Summer Olympics are being held in Rio I thought let’s get a little taste of Brazil.

Brazil is one of the largest Countries in the world and the wide varieties of food available in different regions reflect that. Ubiquitous touches include rice, beans, vegetables and fruit. Brazil produces more fruit than almost anywhere else on Earth, including avocados, oranges, pineapples, papayas, guavas, acai berries and more . Brazilians love their desserts for sure especially Chocolate.

These truffles are fun to make, you can cover them in sprinkles, powdered cocoa, Cinnamon. One of the things I like to do is make mine with a little kick. I sometimes add to the mix a little crushed red peppers. You get the sweetness with a little sneak of heat. It is a quick idea and great for parties, wedding favors. One thing to remember though when you make them always keep your hands lathered with plenty of butter because if your hands are dry the mix is very sticky and messy. Go team USA win the Gold !

 

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons of butter, plus extra for hand-rolling.

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

1 cup sprinkles you can use chocolate or multi color or both

 

Directions:

Put butter, cocoa powder and condensed milk in a saucepan and heat the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly as the butter melts. Reduce heat and continue to stir for 5 to 7 minutes as contents thicken.

turn off heat and cool mixture to room temperature -about 15 minutes. lightly butter your hands, scoop up a tablespoonful of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Coat the ball in a plate of sprinkles. Repeat then store in a sealed container for up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. Makes 5 to 6 servings.

Eewy Gooey S ‘mores Bars

eewy gooey smores bars

 

This Summer has been a crazy one with work, and so many things going on My husband and I have not made time to go camping. I love going camping in the Summer time, seeing the camp fires, people gathered around just sitting back and enjoying the company of others. Then again if you are alone with your significant other just enjoying the peacefulness of the surroundings around you.

My favorite thing to do when I go camping is play games and tell ghost stories with others. Something about that moment  you feel like a little kid again. My favorite past time is making s’mores . Now my husband is really not a big fan of marshmallows so he does not like to participate in making them, but I have to have them if I don’t then it just does  not complete the experience of camping.

I wanted to make some S’mores but actually came across a brilliant idea to make S’mores Bars.  I am so happy that I did because they turned out to be  pure heaven.

Now when I made these and followed the instructions for baking time I have to admit I actually baked them longer because I had added more marshmallows then what the recipe called for. I could not resist I wanted those in there thinking that my bars would come out Fluffy, they came out of the oven more like gooey. I had to let them sit for at least an hour after I took them out of the oven so they could firm a little since it just was not happening right away. So word of advice Do not cut them into bars right away let them sit for awhile to cool completely before you attempt cutting them up.

 

It certainly was not hard to make, and one of those bars can just put you into what I call a Sugar Coma.

 

Eewy Gooey S’mores Bars

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows plus a few extra for the top
  • 1 bag of mini Hershey bars broken in pieces

Instructions

  1. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper. Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Place in bottom of prepared pan and press down to form a crust.
  2. Cream 1/2 cup softened butter, add in sugars and cream again till fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla. Mix again. Combine Flour, baking soda and salt, then add to butter mixture. Once all combined, fold in chocolate chips and marshmallows. Spoon Cookie dough on top of cookie crust as evenly as possible. Don’t worry about spreading perfectly. Dough will spread as it cooks to fill in any gaps. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes.
  3. While bars are cooking, break candy bar into sections and place in freezer. 8-10 minutes before bar is done cooking, sprinkle remaining marshmallows on top, just to decorate. Return to baking for remaining time. Remove pan from oven and carefully place broken candy bar pieces on top. Let cool completely before cutting.

All From The Tart

Orange Chocolate Tart

Orange Chocolate Tart

Last weekend I needed to do a little cleaning in our refrigerator since we tend to forget things and then some new science project starts to happen, ewww!  I forgot that I had a couple of oranges and thought what can I make with oranges hmmmm. I love to challenge myself ( who knew!) so I found in my fridge that was needing to be used soon Ricotta cheese,and oranges  what can I make with the two combined. I came across this recipe Orange Ricotta tart with Chocolate ganache  from the baked by an introvert blog.

Believe me when I say I have never made a tart before so I was a little hesitant to start this, but once again I love a challenge. It certainly was not hard to do  at all , and I do have a confession  I am terrible at making crust for  pies so when I made the crust for this tart it turned out perfect!

The Filling part was easy and simple, but to be honest from the recipe that I followed if I had to change it I would a little bit by adding an egg to the mix to make it fluffy since without that egg the recipe was more crust then filling to me. I would also suggest orange extract is fine to use, but if you want more orange flavor use the juices from the oranges that you have it really brings out the natural flavor  of orange in the desert. I also would add 1/3 cup of ricotta cheese to the 1 cup that the recipe calls for , once again to make it a little more filling added to the  tart.

For the Chocolate piece I used dark Chocolate it certainly made this a rich flavored tart, and if you are like me a Chocoholic then this would be perfect for you Bone appetit!

Ingredients

For the crust:
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 large egg, room temperature
    • 1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
For the filling:
    • 1  1/3  cup ricotta cheese, room temperature
    • 1 egg room temperature
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon orange extract I would recommend adding more of the orange juice from the orange in the mix 1 table spoon
    • 1 tablespoon orange zest
    • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the ganache
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped fine I added more Chocolate but that is because I am a chocoholic.

Instructions

  1. Make the crust: In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, until fluffy. Stir in the salt and vanilla. Add the egg, beat until well blended. In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. Stir with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture 1 Tbs at a time. Toss with a fork until a soft dough forms. Gently knead the dough until it sticks together in a ball.
  2. Shape the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F degree. Grease and flour an 8-inch springform pan. Place wax paper in the bottom. Press the dough out into the bottom of the pan, press up the sides of the pan about half way.
  4. Make the filling: In a medium bowl, cream together the cheese and butter. Beat in the sugar, salt, orange extract, and orange zest. Beat in the flour until well blended. Spread the mixture into the bottom of the crust. Bake for 25 minutes. Set pan on a wire rack to cool. Remove the tart from the pan.
  5. Make the ganache: Place the cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until cream begins to simmer. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate, stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Let the ganache cool. Pour it over the filling, used a silicone spatula to spread the ganache evenly over the tart. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Notes

© Sweet and Sassy and oh so crafty – All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use any photo without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own words and link back to this post.

 

Happy Fourth of July

Fourth Of July Wreath

Bandana Wreath for Fourth of July

Fourth of July holiday always makes me remember those great childhood memories being with my big family at my grandparents farm. We would all get together either in the back yard area near the garden that they had or inside depending on what the weather was like. Living in Washington state you would never know if it was going to be hot or not. My family was huge 14 Aunts and uncles all together with their own children each couple had either 2 to 4 kids so add that up in your head. We would have three big picnic tables full of food which would turn out to be a great big potluck. All of us kids would play outside around the barn or out around the land. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken on the BBQ grilling away hmmmmm smelled so good. The best part was eating the water melon and having water melon fights messy yes, but so much fun.

Then when the sun went down it was time for those fireworks, and kids running around with the sparklers. The Ohhhhs and the awwws when the bright colors would appear in the sky. Best Memories ever, but we would not have those memories if it wasn’t for the men and women in service who fight for our Country, for our freedom, for us to enjoy life. They are the true hero’s who are so selfless and signed themselves up to do the hardest job ever. So this blog message is for them, Thank you for everything I salute you.

 

So I have a couple of things that I wanted to share this holiday how to make a wreath for Fourth of July, and  instead of apple pie the traditional treat I made a caramel apple cake. For something light to start off with I made some zucchini bites  horsd’oeuvres.

To each and everyone of you Happy Fourth of July!

Carmel Apple Cake (2)

Caramel Apple Cake

 

Zucchini Bites  (2)

Zucchini Bites

 

How to make a Fourth of July Wreath

1 18 inch floral wire wreath

6 red bandanas, 6 white bandanas, 6 blue bandanas

stars you can get paper stars or wood stars

Glue Gun to glue the stars on the wreath.

Cut all bandanas in half then tie them on the wreath

 

How to make zucchini bites

Yield: Makes 2-3 dozen zucchini bites

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups packed shredded zucchini (no need to peel the zucchini)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 – 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup panko or regular bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon dried basil (or 1-2 teaspoons fresh)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray or lightly grease an unlined baking sheet.
Place the shredded zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and wring out all the excess water over the sink until the zucchini is really dry.
Place the zucchini and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until combined.
Drop the mixture by tablespoonfuls on the prepared baking sheet and lightly press the mounds with your hands to flatten slightly.
Bake for 16-20 minutes until the edges are golden.

Recipe Source: adapted from this recipe at Skinnytaste (used more zucchini, omitted the onion, added basil and garlic, changed the type of bread crumbs, increased oven temp, etc.)

Caramel Apple Cake

1 Box of Pillsbury Caramel Apple cake mix

3 Apples- I used Fuji  Apples

1 8oz cream cheese  Softened

1cup of Granola

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1 cup of sugar

1 table spoon of cornstarch mixed in 2 tsp of water

1 table spoon of lemon juice

caramel sauce

 

Directions:

start with the cake mix and follow directions by mixing all ingredients set aside.

Next Cut up all the apples thin slices and stick them in a pot over medium heat on the stove, add the lemon juice and the 1 cup of sugar and cook down. Mix corn starch in 2 tsp of water make sure the mixture is blended in the water before adding it to the Apples. Once the corn starch is added then stir that in the apple mixture and once it starts to bubble stir. Once the apple mixture has gotten thicker set aside.

Poor the cake mixture in the pan use half the mixture first  then lay the apple mixture on top of the cake mixture. Last poor the remainder of the cake mixture on top of the apple mixture. Now bake as directed on the cake mix box.

Once the cake is done baking let it cool before putting the frosting on top.

 

While the cake is cooling mix the cream cheese with 1 cup of sugar if you have caramel sauce add some to the frosting mix and mix. set aside

 

Next take a cup of Granola and cook it over the stove in 1 cup of brown sugar. Let the sugar mixture melt down and the granola get brown color. To let the Granola mixture cool down before putting over the frosting set it aside on wax paper.

Once the cake is cool then add the Frosting to the cake, and last but not least add the granola mixture on top ( make sure it is complete cool before adding to the frosting).

Enjoy!