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Pumpkin Pretzels

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I ran across the cutest idea for making pumpkins out of mini pretzels on Butter with a Side of Bread.  I found a limited edition of Wilton’s candy melts called “Pumpkin Spice” and thought of those cute pumpkins.  I couldn’t resist!

Jessica made solid pumpkins, covering the holes with the candy coating (see photo below for my attempt at this), but I decided to just keep to a thin coating and leave the holes because it seemed to turn them too sweet to use that much coating.  Also, I think the texture of my coating made it harder to do the way she did hers.  In my experience, adding food coloring (the gel kind used in frosting, like Jessica used) to candy coating changes the texture and makes it thicker, which probably helped her coat her pretzels completely with no holes.  Mine was thinner and it was a lot easier to coat the pretzels thinly – the two I did like Jessica’s actually took more time because the coating kept wanting to fall through the holes.  Whatever you decide to do, these are fun, easy, and tasty! Kids are sure to love them.

I highly recommend the Pumpkin Spice flavored candy melts if you can find them – they are so good!  I found mine at Walmart in the Halloween section where all the Halloween sprinkles and treat-making supplies were located.

They almost looks like spooky jack-o-lanterns!

Pumpkin Pretzels

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Printable recipe with picture

50-75 mini pretzels
1 (10 oz) bag orange colored candy melts (Wilton’s Pumpkin Spice recommended)
Green M&M’s*

Melt the candy melts according to the package directions.  I recommend being even more careful than the package recommends and after doing 1 minute at 50% power in the microwave, doing only 15 second intervals and stirring extremely well between zaps.  These candy melts tend to get very thick if you overheat them at all, so be careful.  Once melted, dip each pretzel in the coating using a fork and tap off the excess chocolate before placing on waxed paper.  Take a green M&M and press into the top (I dipped mine in the coating a little to help them adhere, but it’s probably not necessary) to make a stem.  Continue with remaining pretzels until all the M&M’s are used up, gently reheating the coating as necessary when it becomes too thick or starts to harden.  If you still have coating left when the M&M’s are gone, keep dipping pretzels until it’s used up.  Allow the coating to set completely before removing the pretzels to a bowl to serve.  Keep covered until ready to serve.

Makes about 50 pumpkin pretzels

*I got about 50 green M&M’s from a regular bag, which turned out to be an almost perfect amount. I only had a little bit of candy coating left once I ran out of the M&M’s, and I just coated about a dozen more without stems and mixed them in with the others.

Recipe source: adapted from Butter With a Side of Bread

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Snickers Popcorn

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I have a lot of faults.  I still wear Crocs (and love them).  I always want to lose weight, but like cake more.  Once you get to know me, I can be kinda bossy.  I am a total dessert Nazi and will threaten bodily harm to anyone who refrigerates my goodies and eats them cold.  Thou shalt not eat my desserts cold unless they’re intended to be cold or…

Veronica Miller: Dessert Nazi

Another of my faults is getting irritated by things people do that I’m guilty of as well.  Such as over-apologizing.  I’m a total over-apologizer and I think it’s knowing that and not liking it about myself that also makes me cringe when other bloggers do it.  I hate it when a blogger apologizes for bad photos because what they’re considering “bad” is something I could only accomplish in my wildest dreams.  And yet here I am, biting my tongue to keep from apologizing for these photos and the over-processing I did to try and remove the blue hue on the background.

Well you know what, I’m not apologizing.  So there.  You can hate them and I can hate them but they’re the best I can do and if you think I care enough to actually learn how to take good photos and learn how to edit them properly, you’ve totally overestimated my interest in photography.  I just don’t care, therefore I’m not apologizing.  You might want to change your color settings to black and white to avoid eye strain, though.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about this popcorn.  Scratch that, there’s really not much to say.  I mean, look at the photographs.  It looks delicious, even with the harsh contrast and weird blue hue, right?  Well let me tell you, it tastes even better.  I mean, Snickers and caramel corn?  Yeah, that was meant to happen.

I made this for Christmas treats last year and was a big hit!  I now buy mini Snickers on sale after holidays just so I can make this popcorn and Sneaky Snickers Cookies.  Fo shizzle, mah grizzle. Get ‘r done, with yonce grizz-maleon toes!

Um yeah.  Sorry for the momentary lapse into Vraklis-speak.  That didn’t mean anything beyond, “please make this.”

Snickers Popcorn

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Printable recipe with picture

½ cup popcorn kernels
1 cup salted butter
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
½ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup salted, roasted peanuts
1 (11.18 oz) bag Fun Size Snickers (about 19 bars), coarsely chopped
2 almond bark candy coating rectangles, melted

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Pop the kernels in an air popper into a large bowl. Set aside. In a large 3-quart saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Heat over medium high, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to boil. Stop stirring, reduce heat to medium, and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Pour over popcorn and mix well. Transfer to a large roasting pan and bake for 1 hour, 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Stir in the Snickers and bake three more minutes to allow them to melt into the popcorn a little. Spread out onto waxed paper and drizzle candy coating over the top. Allow to cool completely before breaking up and storing in an airtight container or Ziploc bags.

Recipe source: tweaked from Cookies & Cups

Apple Pie Cupcakes

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The Secret Recipe Club

This month I was assigned to Cookin’ With Moxie for the Secret Recipe Club.  Jamie is a beautiful Italian girl who loves to cook, and I was tempted by many of her Italian dishes, but circumstances led me to these wonderful cupcakes instead.  I had volunteered to provide the cake for my sister’s boyfriend’s belated birthday gathering in the park, and had already decided to bring cupcakes since they don’t require forks.  And since Jimmy’s favorite pie is apple,  I just had to make these.  Aren’t they so cool?

Vanilla cupcakes filled with homemade apple pie filling, topped with vanilla buttercream that mimics the ice cream you’d use on real apple pie.  Totally delicious.  And I have to tell you, I actually ran out of filling (more on that in a minute) and used some canned filling for about 4 cupcakes and I was nervous that people would like those better than the homemade ones. I didn’t get to taste the ones with canned filling, but another lady tried both and said the homemade version was SO much better.  So there you have it.  If you want to cheat, do it with the cake (using a vanilla or yellow mix) but please do make your own filling and buttercream.

OK, about running out of filling.  This cupcake recipe makes 32 cupcakes if you fill the liners the appropriate amount–1/2-2/3 full.  I don’t know if others have overfilled their cupcakes (don’t do it, they will spread out on the sides and it will not be pretty), didn’t cut their cones as deep, or just made more filling to fill the extra cupcakes, but there was not enough filling for all 32 cupcakes for me.  So I have adapted the recipe to make more filling.  If you use a mix, which makes 24 cupcakes, refer to Jamie’s original recipe for the filling as that will be the perfect amount.

Another strange discovery I had is that the batter that was left out waiting for a pan to be freed up (I didn’t have a third pan for the extra eight cupcakes) actually baked up better than the ones I put in right away.  So weird, right?  They didn’t brown as much and domed more in the middle instead of spreading out on the sides.  They had a much better appearance.  You can do whatever you wish with that information, as the taste will be the same whether it sits or is baked right away.  Just know that if you have to let some of the batter sit and wait for a pan to be freed from the oven, the cupcakes will not suffer.

I want to thank my Group C hostess, Debbi, for all she does, and April who runs the entire club.  They both keep things running so smoothly it’s easy to overlook all their hard work.  And of course Jamie for sharing this fabulous recipe, which I otherwise never would have made. You ladies rock!  And if you’d like to find out more about The Secret Recipe Club, click the link and join sooner rather than later to get a better place on the waiting list.  It’s a popular club and it can take a long time to get in!

Apple Pie Cupcakes

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Printable recipe with picture

Cupcakes
3 cups (12 ¾ oz) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (14 oz) granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk, room temperature

Apple Filling
2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large apples, peeled, cored & diced small (I used Gala & Jonagold)

Vanilla Buttercream
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix well to combine. Add in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.

Fill the cupcake liners ½-2/3 full.  You should have several cups of extra batter–set it aside. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely before assembling.  Fill eight cupcake tins with liners and fill with the remaining batter and bake and cool as before.

For the filling, heat butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon and sugar and cook for a minute, until the mixture begins to bubble. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the apples. Mix well. Cook until the apples are somewhat tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

While the apple mixture is cooling, use the cone method to remove a chunk from the center of each cupcake, making sure to leave a rim around the top of the cupcake. Fill the holes with the cooled apple mixture.

For the frosting, beat the butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined.  Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.

To decorate, top each cupcake with a swirl of vanilla buttercream; careful not to hide the lovely apples.

Recipe source: adapted from Annie’s Eats, as seen on Cooking with Moxie

Couldn’t resist sharing this photo of my sister eating a cupcake…

To check out all the other great Group C SRC recipes this month, click the linky man below!

Apple Pie Cupcakes

Mocha-Frosted Kahlua Brownies


Happy Valentine’s Day!  Do you have any special plans?  Dennis and I are finishing up the first cycle in the 17 Day Diet, so our celebration is going to include some very healthy and delicious food, and NO SUGAR.  I know, right?  Yes, this is still Veronica’s Cornucopia, and yes, I just said I will not be eating sugar on Valentine’s Day, nor serving it to my Valentine.  What is the world coming to? ;)

Well, despite us not partaking of any sugar (don’t worry, I do have a stevia-sweetened chocolate treat planned, so we will not be totally deprived), I do have a fabulous sugary treat to share today.  I know I’m sharing it a bit late for you to actually make it for the holiday, but I can’t just post another soup recipe–that is just way too unromantic, right?  Nope, it’s gotta be chocolate today.

I’ve been making this recipe for years, and in fact, have posted it on my blog before along with two other brownie recipes, but despite the number of times I’ve made it, I never had a decent picture until now.  (The brownies always disappeared before I got a chance to give them a photo shoot!)  And now that I do, I’m giving these brownies the individual post they deserve.

This is my own creation that I first started making when my sister opened her shop in 2008.  I used to sell my baked goods there in the beginning and these babies were best sellers.  It didn’t matter what other delicious treats I brought along with them, these always went first.  They are oh-so mocha-licious, over-the-top, decadent, rich treats.  Apparently you don’t even have to like coffee to love these, because my husband, who shivers at the mention of coffee, goes crazy for these brownies.  But if you do like coffee, and chocolate, and like them together, oh boy you gotta make these. Just do it.

Mocha-Frosted Kahlua Brownies

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Brownies
1 box fudge brownie mix
2 eggs
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1/4 cup Kahlua (I make my own with this recipe)

Frosting
2 tablespoons Kahlua
1 tablespoon instant coffee crystals
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened

Ganache
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Make the brownies: mix up everything, spread in a 9×13 pan (grease the bottom only) and bake at 350 for however long the box says. Don’t overbake unless you like dry brownies. Cool COMPLETELY before frosting.

Make the frosting: Microwave the Kahlua for 30 seconds or until boiling (I use a glass 1-cup measuring cup and fill it 1/2 way to the 1/4 cup line). Stir in the instant coffee until dissolved, and place in the freezer to cool. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 1 minute, stir and then give it another 30 seconds, stirring again. It should be melted but if not, continue this cycle in 30 second intervals.  Be careful not to overheat it.  Once smooth, set aside to cool. Cream the butter then beat in the cooled chocolate. Last, add the coffee mixture and beat it until everything is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl. Spread over the cooled brownies.

Make the ganache: place the chocolate and heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute at 50% power and stir. The mixture should turn dark and shiny but you will probably need to return the bowl to the microwave for another 5-10 seconds or more to get it fully melted together. Be careful not to overheat, just warm it enough to get the chocolate and cream to emulsify completely.  If your mixture is warm to the touch, allow to cool to room temperature and then drizzle over the top of the brownies before cutting and serving.

White Trash


I drafted this post on December 26th, 2009. It is the oldest draft in my collection, so I’m pretty excited to finally have a fairly decent photo of it so I can share the recipe with you!

On my wedding day eleven years ago, my new Grandmother (this one) gifted me with her church’s fundraiser cookbook*, which included many recipes from her and other members of my new family.  I treasure it!  I love spiral-bound recipe books like these because they are filled with tried-and-true recipes that real people use–simple, unpretentious, and delicious.

Love that it has a cornucopia on it--perfect for my blog! :)

Take this one, for example. I had to giggle when I read the name “White Trash.” I really like the name because it’s funny and does accurately describe the appearance, but it is also known in classier circles as “Christmas Crunch.” I don’t care what you call it, it’s salty and sweet and addictively-delicious!

So this is the last recipe I’ll be sharing before the holiday, and I think you’ll find it a perfect treat to whip up if you need a last-second snack or gift.  Dennis and I are heading to Abilene as soon as we get out of church to spend Christmas** with his family, and will be back some time on Monday so I won’t be posting anything else until Tuesday at the earliest.

I wish you a merry Christmas! Be safe and have fun!

White Trash

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3 cups Rice Chex Cereal
3 cups Cheerios cereal
2 cups salted, roasted peanuts
2 cups pretzel sticks, broken in half
1 lb. white chocolate or vanilla almond bark*
1 (12 oz) bag M&M’s in seasonal colors

Mix all ingredients except chocolate or almond bark in a large bowl. Melt chocolate or almond bark as package directs; pour over mixture, mixing to coat well. Spread out onto waxed paper to dry. Break into chunks and store in airtight containers or Ziploc bags. Saves well for several weeks.

*1 lb. of almond bark is 8 rectangles.

Recipe source: tweaked from Donna A’s recipe.

*Although I’m very thankful for this cookbook, I don’t advocate any church fundraising beyond the weekly collection.  You can click here for a good article that reflects my thoughts on church fundraisers.

**You can also click here to find out why I’m a Christian that doesn’t celebrate Christmas as the day of Christ’s birth, and why the mention of it is never on our holiday cards!  Don’t be too alarmed, we will be honoring our savior in worship on Christmas, because it is the Lord’s day, just like every Sunday. :)

Puppy Chow/Muddy Buddies

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Puppy Chow.  Muddy Buddies.  Monkey Munch. Reindeer Chow.  This recipe goes by a lot of names, but what it boils down to is an addictive, peanut butter & chocolate, crispy & crunchy, sweet & salty treat that abounds at parties and in gift baskets during the holiday season.  (And despite the name, it is most certainly not intended for dogs.  Please do not give this to any dogs-chocolate can kill them!)  I know most of you probably have been making this for years, but I’m sharing this for the .00001% that have never heard of it.  The added bonus is that if you  are in need of some gluten-free treats, this one fits the bill if you make it with Rice Chex.

You must make this!  I promise you will love it.  Unless you don’t like chocolate and peanut butter, in which case I advise you seek counseling immediately.  Or maybe you’d like to trade that dislike in for my dislike of exercise?  Because I could use a lot more exercise and a lot less Puppy Chow.  Anyone?

Puppy Chow

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 (12 oz.) box Rice Chex or Crispix Cereal
1 (12 oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 (1 lb.) box confectioner’s sugar

Pour cereal into a large bowl that has a lid you can snap on and set aside.  Gently melt the chocolate, peanut butter, and butter in a double boiler or in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring well in between and removing when almost melted to stir until the residual heat melts the chocolate completely.  Pour over the cereal and stir well until the pieces are evenly coated.  Add the confectioner’s sugar, cover bowl with lid, and shake well to coat thoroughly.  Alternately, if your bowl doesn’t have a lid, you can pour the cereal into a large paper grocery sack, pour the sugar in, fold the top, and shake until combined.  Two Ziploc gallon-size bags will do the trick as well.  Spread out onto wax paper to cool, then store in an airtight container or Ziploc bags.

Recipe source: Kim D.

Secret Recipe Club

Cake Batter Crispy Treats

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If you’re like me and need a little help getting through your Mondays, I’ve got a happy fix right here!  I’m a fan of crispy treats, especially those that are a little different, like my favorite Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats and Gingerbread Crispy Treats, and now I have a third unique and fun recipe to add to my growing list of favorites.  Cake batter flavored crispy treats!

Come on, get up, throw your hands in the air, squeal a little “Yay!” and do a happy dance for technicolor sprinkles.  OK, now your Monday is already off to a better start!

Cake Batter Crispy Treats

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 (10.5-ounce) bag of mini marshmallows
1/2 cup yellow cake mix
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 (1.75-ounce) container of sprinkles

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and add marshmallows. Stir until they begin to melt, then add cake mix and stir until combined and marshmallows are completely melted. Stir in cereal until it is completely coated with marshmallow mixture.  Add half of the sprinkles and mix. Press into a 8 or 9” square baking dish and top with remaining sprinkles.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes before cutting.

Recipe source: adapted from Dana’s Food for Thought who snagged it from How Sweet It Is

So if you’re like me, you’re wondering what to do with the nearly full bag of cake mix that will remain after making this recipe.  Don’t fret, there are plenty of things that you can easily add it to for more delicious cake batter flavor.  So far I have made cake batter oatmeal (I subbed wheat bran for oat bran and more cake mix for the vanilla protein powder but did everything else the same and felt I was eating a fairly nutritious, not to mention delicious, breakfast), cake batter candy (stirred some mix into leftover white candy coating from a batch of cupcake bites and poured the chocolate into candy cups molds, then topped with sprinkles–tasted fantastic!), and here are a few more ways to use up your extra mix: Cake Batter Pancakes, Cake Batter Cinnamon Rolls, or how about mixing some into a vanilla milkshake to magically turn it into a sprinkle-licious cake batter milkshake?  The possibilites are endless!  Wheeeee!

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