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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

Printable recipe
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

Cow Pies Candy

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I got the above Hallmark (because I care enough to send the very best, lol!) card for my Mother-in-Law’s birthday.  Most of my husband’s family lives a couple hours north of us and I usually mail some sort of edible goodies to them on their birthdays.  Since I haven’t figured out how to ship a cake without destroying it, I thought this would be a great card to send  to her along with some cow pies candy.  Cute, if a little gross, right? :)

I’m not sure where this recipe originated but you can find it all over the web.  Mine is a little different from the others, which only call for almonds and raisins with the chocolate.  Because cow pies have grass in them (OK, maybe I’m getting a little too graphic here!), I like to add coconut to mimic that.

Although I went with sliced almonds this time (it was all I had on hand), my favorite way to make these is with roasted, salted peanuts, raisins, and coconut.  If you like Chunky candy bars, you’ll like that version too because it is very similar in taste.  (I also have an award-winning recipe for cookies that are based off the flavor profile of the Chunky Candy bar, if you’re interested in that!)

It’s best to use salted nuts to counteract the super-sweetness of the candy.  If you only have unsalted, just add some salt to the mixture before stirring. Kids love these things (apparently the idea/grossness as much as the taste–KIDS!), and they would be great for Halloween…and maybe even Easter.  We usually think of barn animals (OK, barn animal babies) in correlation to Easter, so I guess cow pies fits, right?  Or maybe I’ve grown a little twisted over the years.  I blame my husband.  He is the King of Strange.  I mean, remember those horrific-looking no bake cookies he made? Yeah.  He totally started it.

Cow Pies Candy

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 (12 oz) bag milk chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
2/3 cup roughly chopped salted nuts*
1/2 cup packed raisins
1/3 cup packed shredded coconut
*Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the recipe if not using salted nuts.

Gently melt chocolate and shortening together in double boiler or in microwave, stirring frequently until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop spoonfuls onto a wax paper lined baking sheet and let sit until firm, about an hour.

Veronica’s Note: If you want to add more mix-ins, decrease the amounts of the other mix-ins accordingly (for instance, decrease nuts to ½ cup and raisins to ⅓ cup in order to add an additional ⅓ cup mix-ins). Ideas for mix-ins: toffee bits, crushed pretzels, bacon bits, crumbled potato chips, additional types of nuts or dried fruits.

Makes 24 candies. Per serving: 121 calories; 7.6 g fat; 12.7 g carb; 1.1 g fiber; 2.2 g protein

Recipe source: adapted from Taste of Home

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