This is post is sponsored by LINDT & SPRÜNGLI (USA) Inc. As always all opinions are my own.

How to Host a Wine & Chocolate Pairing Party #LindtPairing

If you love dark chocolate and love wine then you are going to love todays post. Not only am I going to show you how to host the perfect wine and chocolate pairing party, but I have a pretty sweet giveaway, too! Last month, LINDT contacted me and asked me if I wanted to host a wine and chocolate pairing party… um yeah! I didn’t think twice when the opportunity came about. I love Lindt EXCELLENCE chocolate and I drink J. Lohr Estates wine often. It was a match made in heaven. When I started to think about where and when to host this event I decided this would be the ideal event for my brother in-law’s 35th birthday. He is a huge fan of J. Lohr Estates wine and of course loves dark chocolate. My mother in-law and husband had been hard at work on the menu and when I told them I would add in and do a little wine and chocolate pairing after dinner they both got excited. We kept it secret from everyone attending and when the rest of our family and a few friends arrived they are were all shocked and super excited. And also asking when we could start the wine and chocolate tasting! If you follow me on Instagram then you got a sneak peak of the wine and chocolate pairings we indulged on over the weekend.

J. Lohr Estates Wine #PerfectPairing

Here are a few tips on how to host a successful wine and chocolate pairing party:

  1. Set-up everything before your guest arrive. This is a given, but to be honest nothing like running around while guest are arriving to your home. I set this up as soon as I arrived to my mother in-laws house so I wasn’t trying to set up the party while everyone was arriving and/or already at the house.
  2. Don’t forget to chill your wine. As soon as I arrived to my mother in-laws I placed all the bottles of the wine in the wine fridge (my mother in-law is quite the wine connoisseur). Red’s went in the red area and whites in the white area. Give them a few hours to get to the correct temperature. If you don’t have a wine fridge you can place your whites in a regular refrigerator and I like to place the reds in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before drinking. But it’s all preference.
  3. Remove the foil from the bottles prior to the party starting. This will help cut down on time wasted tending to wine bottles and give you more time to tend to your guest.
  4. If at all possible have both red and white wine glasses available. I didn’t have this option, so everyone drank from the single glass I gave them. But if you have enough glasses pair the correct glasses with the correct style of wines.
  5. Have a “dump” bucket available for guest. This is good to have at your table in case your guest don’t decide to drink the sampling of wine you pour for them. Most of my guest would go to the kitchen and rinse out their glasses before we moved on to the next wine.
  6. Keep it casual. Most people are intimidated by wine–not so much by chocolate. So keep it casual. It will make your guest feel more welcomed and they will be interested and not intimidated about learning about the wine and chocolate pairings.
  7. Do your homework. Learn about what wines pair well with what chocolates. You can learn about the five J. Lohr Estates and Lindt EXCELLENCE Chocolates we paired for our party below.

How to Host a Wine & Chocolate Pairing Party

My guest were excited to learn more about Lindt EXCELLENCE and how it allows you to elevate yourself to the ultimate chocolate pleasure experience. I think everyone has heard about the Lindt Master Swiss Chocolatier’s. Every single piece of chocolate is created by the Lindt Master Swiss Chocolatier’s unmatched expertise to perfectly combine the most refined intense dark chocolate and the finest ingredients into thin shapes. After we were done with dinner we all headed to the formal dining room where I had our party set-up. Everyone found a spot at the table. My husband is currently installing wood floors for his parents so we all stood around the table (hence the concrete in the background in the above picture). We kept our party super casual. Everyone had been swimming earlier in the day–no one was dressed up. I think it’s important to keep it casual when dealing with wine. Especially for those who might enjoy drinking an occasional glass but feel intimidated. For the purpose of our party and by the request from some of my guest they asked that I not photograph their faces, so I respected their wishes!

Lindt EXCELLENCE Pineapple paired with J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay

Lindt EXCELLENCE Pineapple paired with J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay

This by far was my favorite pairing of the evening. The brand new EXCELLENCE Pineapple was delicious. I’m so glad I have a bar leftover from our party because I’ve been eating a square each day as a little daily indulgence. At least half of my guest loved this pairing the best as well!

Lindt EXCELLENCE Pineapple paired with J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay

Here is what you need to know about this wine and chocolate pairing: Bright aromas of apples, pears and lemons in this rich, well-balanced Chardonnay pair perfectly with the naturally sweet pineapple and roasted hazelnut pieces in the EXCELLENCE Pineapple bar, providing a delightful finish of caramel and cream. EXCELLENCE Pineapple, masterfully made to pair perfectly with Chardonnay, provides the perfect pairing for lovers of both Chardonnay and dark chocolate.

Lindt EXCELLENCE Intense Orange paired with J. Lohr Estates Bay Mist White Riesling

Lindt EXCELLENCE Intense Orange paired with J. Lohr Estates Bay Mist White Riesling

The EXCELLENCE Intense Orange is intense and full of flavor. It paired beautifully with our second wine of the night. Reislings are on the sweeter side and worked well with this chocolate. It was a toss up as to who loved this pairing, but the end result–everyone was happy they got to try the two together.

Here is what you need to know about this wine and chocolate pairing: Enticing notes of lychee, pear and orange are present in this bright and luscious wine. It is the ideal match for the sweet citrus profile and equally complex EXCELLENCE Intense Orange. Full fruit flavors and a balanced seam of refreshing acidity work in harmony to create perfection!

Lindt EXCELLENCE Sea Salt paired with J. Lohr Estates Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir

Lindt EXCELLENCE Sea Salt paired with J. Lohr Estates Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir

This was my husband’s favorite pairing of the night. He loved the sea salt in the EXCELLENCE chocolate.

Here is what you need to know about this wine and chocolate pairing: The fresh ripe berries in this wine are accompanied by a touch of earth and brown sugar that complement the sharpness of the Fleur de Sel and sweet cacao characteristics of EXCELLENCE A Touch of Sea Salt. Together they invoke flavors reminiscent of fresh cream, butter and finish with a pleasant tanginess.

Lindt EXCELLENCE Chili paired with J. Lohr Estates South Ridge Syrah

Lindt EXCELLENCE Chili paired with J. Lohr Estates South Ridge Syrah

You have to like spicy food to like the EXCELLENCE Chili! Just keep that in mind with this pairing.

Here is what you need to know about this wine and chocolate pairing: This is an elegant red wine with deep, rich fruit aromas and flavors of pomegranate, blueberry and prune with a spicy finish. Experience it with EXCELLENCE Chili, a fine aromatic sweet dark chocolate perfumed with premium red chili. Enjoyed together they create spicy warmth that bursts onto the palate.

Lindt EXCELLENCE 70% Cocoa paired with J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon

Lindt EXCELLENCE 70% Cocoa paired with J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon

Everyone decided to clink glasses one last time since we were on our last pairing.

Here is what you need to know about this wine and chocolate pairing: Ripe aromas of blueberry and black plum meld with a bouquet of chocolate and hazelnut in this superb wine. Pair it with the balanced and rich EXCELLENCE 70% Cocoa, which features notes of tobacco, leather and roasted nuts. They are a match in both depth and body and finish with a creaminess that coats the palate.

Lindt EXCELLENCE Dark Assortment

The next time you want to host a party think about how you can master the art of refinement, and host your very own wine and chocolate pairing party. All of my guest got to go home with a bag of Lindt EXCELLENCE Dark Assortment bags of chocolate as well as a chocolate bar or two of their choice.

Everyone had a great time. The next day, my father in-law was still talking about how much he loved the wine and chocolate pairing party. And then insisted that my mother in-law start opening up multiple bottles at a time so he can have his own wine tasting.

Now, for the giveaway. One lucky winner will receive a Lindt Chocolate Gift Box (retailed at $45)! All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter widget below for a chance to win. United States residents only, must be 18 years of age or older. One winner will be selected at random. If the widget does not load, please click on the link to enter.

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Mini Snickers Ice Cream Cakes

First off, I never intended to neglect the blog last week. A teething baby plus a clogged milk duct and I was down for the count. But this week I’m back with some spectacular recipes that will sure to brighten and cool you off on some of the hottest days of summer.

Let’s talk about these Mini Snickers Ice Cream Cakes. To be honest, just by looking at the photos I feel like I’ve gained 5 pounds.

Growing up I only thought that ice cream cakes came from the store. I had no idea how easy it is to make your own until just a few years ago when I made the Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream Cake. I made my dad these Mini Snickers Ice Cream Cakes for his birthday a few weeks ago. I quickly put it together during the day and placed it in the freezer and it was ready that evening for our after dinner dessert. Since most of us are watching our weight we each took a tiny slice from one of the three mini ice cream cakes I made. Although I could have easily consumed one whole mini cake on my own. Or better yet split a mini cake with my better half!

Mini Snickers Ice Cream Cakes

If you want to make an ice cream cake–they are super easy and all you need is mini spring form pans (or one large spring form pan). Typically, you’ll use spring form pans for cheesecake but they also work well for ice cream cakes.  I bought a pint of dulce de leche ice cream, puree’d oreos for the crust, chopped up a bag of mini bite-size snickers bars and then layered it all. Topped it with some cool whip topping and popped it back into the freezer for a few hours. Just before I was about to serve the mini cakes I removed them from the spring form pan, Topped it with more chopped Snickers and some honey roasted peanuts and then drizzled on caramel sauce.

Katie Original Recipe

Mini Snickers Ice Cream Cakes

Prep Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 3 Mini Ice Cream Cakes

Mini Snickers Ice Cream Cakes

Ingredients

  • 3 oz Oreo, crushed
  • 14 oz. Dulce De Leche Ice Cream, softened
  • (2) 2.83oz packages of Snickers Bites, divided
  • 1/2 cup Whipped Cream Topping
  • 1/4 cup Honey Roasted Peanuts
  • Caramel Sauce

Directions

  1. In three mini spring form pans, divide the crushed Oreos evenly (use a cup to smash down the oreo crumbs into the pan). Divide the softened Dulce De Leche Ice Cream Cakes between the three pans. Then chop one bag of Snickers bites, divide among the three pans. Divide whipped topping between the three pans. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 3 hours.
  2. Before serving, chop the remaining bag of Snickers Bites. Top each cake with caramel sauce, divide the honey roasted peanuts and chopped Snickers bites on top of each of the cakes and serve immediately.

Notes

This recipe works best with mini spring form pans.

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Today, Rachel from Rachel Cooks is here to share her recipe for Dark Chocolate and Pecan Cookies. Rachel has helped out before and shared her recipe for reduced-fat cucumber salad. And when she had her baby I helped her out while she was tending to her newborn. We’ve yet to meet in person, but chat online often, and I know one of these days we will finally get to meet! 

 Dark Chocolate and Pecan Cookies

Hi everyone! I’m so thrilled to be helping out Katie while she’s at home snuggling with her little one. I know blogging  is the last thing on her mind right now as she’s keeping herself very busy with diapers, chubby thighs, tiny little toes, priceless snuggles, and sleepless nights.  I wish I could bring her dinner but I guess virtual cookies will have to do.

If you’re wondering who I am, I’m Rachel and I blog at extremely creatively-named blog Rachel Cooks. I’m a physical therapist (sometimes), a blogger (almost always), a wife (always), and a mom (more than always).

 Dark Chocolate and Pecan Cookies

I survive on toddler giggles, popcorn, and coffee.  But adding cookies to the mix can’t hurt. And these cookies are winners. They’re a sophisticated version of the classic chocolate chip cookie that everyone loves. However, I promise you everyone will love these too. Big dark chocolate chips automatically start these off on the right foot. Pecans add a great nutty flavor and bite to these cookies and cinnamon adds interest, flavor (and antioxidants!).  These thick, chewy cookies immediately climbed to the top of my list of favorite cookies. Even if you think the cinnamon sounds weird, I urge you not to leave it out! It really makes these cookies special and unique and…perfect. If I do so humbly say…

 Dark Chocolate and Pecan Cookies

Wish I could bring you over a batch of these cookies and snuggle with your little cutie, Katie! Congrats and thank you for having me here today! I’m honored to be able to help you out.

I’d love for you to stop by Rachel Cooks and say hi some time! You can also find me on TwitterFacebookGoogle+Pinterest, and Instagram. Or you can subscribe to my emails and never miss a recipe!

Original Recipe from RachelCooks.com

Dark Chocolate and Pecan Cookies

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 2-3 dozen depending on size of cookies

Dark Chocolate and Pecan Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In a bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), cream together butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). With the mixer on low, add in egg and vanilla. Return mixer to medium and mix until incorporated. Scrape sides as needed.
  3. With the mixer back on low, add dry ingredient mixture gradually until dough forms. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans by hand. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat and set aside.
  4. Form balls from approximately 1 tablespoon of dough. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until edges are just barely golden. Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes on baking sheet before removing and placing on wire rack to finish cool. Store in airtight container.
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Chocolate - Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes from KatiesCucina.com

I’ve had a crazy sweet tooth this pregnancy. Like, I need a dessert after every meal/snack I have. I think its natural that I crave sweet breakfast items like pancakes, waffles, and french toast. All three of those breakfast items are topped with sweet maple syrup. Sure, I’ll have my greek yogurt, fruit, and granola parfait at like 6am on the weekend and then by 8am I’m ready for “breakfast” or sometimes I’m ready for dessert, and that’s when I make a recipe like this one, Chocolate – Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes.

My husband isn’t really into the dessert like breakfast items, but has grown accustom to them over the past 8 months (yes, I know–I can’t believe I’m 8.5 months pregnant–it’s mind blowing). He doesn’t really complain. I remind him to be grateful that he is getting a hot breakfast. Plenty of starving husbands out in the world that get to enjoy cold soggy cereal, and he gets a hot breakfast just about every Saturday and Sunday!

Chocolate - Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes from KatiesCucina.com

I really wanted these to be red velvet chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes, but I ran out of red food coloring. They didn’t really turn out “red velvet” like…. so that’s why I’ve called them Chocolate – Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes. I used mini chocolate chips, since my husband isn’t really a fan of chocolate to begin with (but let’s get real, who did I make these for? me!). The mini chocolate chips just make the pancakes that much more decadent.

For my husbands version, I topped his with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, and my version is the one pictured and written about with more chocolate chips and chocolate syrup. I think I disgusted my husband when he saw what I did to my pancakes… but he said nothing and kept eating his pancakes like a good husband would do! If you’ve opted to celebrate Valentine’s day over the weekend and you have a chocolate connoisseur you want to swoon… make these Chocolate – Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes.

Katie Original Recipe

Chocolate - Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 8

Chocolate - Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips + additional for topping
  • Whipped Cream
  • Chocolate Syrup

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs, and melted butter.
  3. Add a few tablespoons of butter to a frying pan or griddle over medium-high heat.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, and blend well, then add the chocolate chips. Stir until it’s just blended together. Make sure to not over stir!
  5. Using a soup ladle, pour the batter onto the griddle, using about 1/2 cup for each pancake (or less if you want silver dollar pancakes). Cook for 3-5 minutes or until bubbles start to appear on top. Then flip and cook for one additional minute.
  6. Top with whipped cream, mini chocolate chips, and drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Notes

For a deep chocolate color add 20 drops of red food coloring to the batter. For "red velvet" version add 2 tablespoons!

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easy homemade hot chocolate using just a few ingredients you have on hand!

 

Nothing beats hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day. 90% of the United States right now is freezing… schools are cancelled, roads are iced over, and well everyone is stuck inside trying to stay warm. Last Friday, we had a little “freeze” in Florida. Get ready for it… our temps reached 43 degrees. I know all of you that are in the single digits are cursing me right now, I can’t help that I live in sunny, warm, Florida!

Whenever the temperature drops below 50 degree’s in Florida it calls for Homemade Hot Chocolate!

homemade hot chocolate 1

 

My recipe for Homemade Hot Chocolate is rich and decadent. No sparing any calories here my friends… with a combination of whole milk, half and half, and heavy cream and a whole lot of chocolate my recipe for hot chocolate is pure dessert in a mug. And of course warms you up! I’ve made this with just whole milk, with a mixture of just whole and half and half and of course what I like to call the “trifecta”. I prefer the trifecta way, but if you want to cut some calories you can use one or all the “milks” I recommend for the recipe.

I served my homemade hot chocolate on Friday night to my husband and neighbor. It was our neighbors birthday and my husband started up our fire pit. Being that we live in Florida we only get to use it a handful of times each year. So anytime it gets remotely cool out he itches to make a fire! I figured what better way to enjoy the cold weather than have hot chocolate. It made for the perfect dessert. My husband and neighbor also added 2 oz. of Kahlua to their hot chocolate to really warm them up. Whether you want an adult version or stick with the classic Homemade Hot Chocolate recipe–either way its sure to warm your soul and satisfy your sweet tooth.

Katie Original Recipe

Homemade Hot Chocolate

Prep Time: 1 minute

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 11 minutes

Yield: 4 - 8 oz mugs

Homemade Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1-1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Mini Marshmallows and Whipped Cream for topping

Directions

  1. In a large pot, combine whole milk, half and half, and heavy cream. Cook on high for 2-3 minutes or until the milk is warm but not at a boil. Reduce to medium heat, whisk in cocoa powder and granulated sugar.
  2. Stir in the semi-sweet chocolate chips. Continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Carefully pour into four mugs. Top with mini marshmallows and whipped cream.

Notes

Want to really warm up? Add 2oz. Kahlua to each mug!

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easy to make -->> dark chocolate macadamia nut bark from katiescucina.com

I’ve been a little absent lately. I’ve definitely been in a food blogging slump. I expressed it the other week–when I cook I need to cook quick because I’m starving. I don’t have time to wait the extra 5 minutes to take photos of my food. I need food NOW! I recently made a batch of dark chocolate macadamia nut bark to hand out to family and friends during the holidays and I figured this would be the perfect recipe to share with my loyal readers. I promise I will get out of this slump and start sharing more recipes (frequently) again. Until then… hang in there with me. Please!!??!?

dark chocolate macadamia nut bark

This dark chocolate macadamia nut bark is super easy to make, but looks way fancy and will impress just about everyone you know! That’s why I love making this bark. Plus, who doesn’t love macadamia nuts? I toasted them to really let the flavor come out and used some of the best chocolate I know… SCHARFFEN BERGER Chocolate. I always have a little stash on hand especially during the holidays so I can make delectable barks to hand out. I also always have dried fruit on hand. I recently purchased a Costco size bag of dried apricots. I eat a handful nightly to keep the calf cramps away. It seems to be working, and I’ve actually started to love them.

Oh and because I like no-mess I used a SILPAT mat to pour my warm chocolate on to. If you don’t have one, no worries–just line you’re baking sheet with parchment paper. I popped the tray into the refrigerator for 30 minutes and voila… it was ready to be broken up and distributed. Of course, you have to have room in your refrigerator to be able to store the cookie sheet. Luckily, I had the room since any more I can’t keep our refrigerator full enough thanks to my raging teenage-boy like appetite! dark chocolate macadamia nut bark

So if you are looking for a quick and easy holiday gift to give your friends and family this holiday season, give my recipe for dark chocolate macadamia nut bark a try! Don’t worry–if you don’t have dried apricots and pomegranates on hand you can use other dried fruit. The sky is the limit!

Katie Original Recipe

Dark Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bark

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Dark Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bark

Ingredients

  • 9.7 oz Bittersweet Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • 1 6 oz package of Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 1 cup Macadamia Nuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Dried Pomegranates, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Dried Apricots, chopped

Directions

  1. In a frying pan, toast macadamia nuts until golden brown 3-5 minutes on medium-high (tossing frequently). Remove from the pan, and rough chop.
  2. While the nuts are roasting, begin to melt the bittersweet dark chocolate. *I use a microwave on the melt setting in 30 second intervals. Mix every 30 seconds then add in the semi-sweet chocolate. Mix until just melted.
  3. Pour on a lined cookie sheet, top with chopped macadamia nuts, dried pomegranates, and dried apricots.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until hard. Break apart and package. Store in sealed container for 3-5 days.
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Handmade Holidays Bake, Craft & Sew Along

Today, I’m participating in the Handmade Holidays Bake, Craft & Sew Along! It’s a month long festivity full of all things handmade and perfect timing for the holidays! I’m sharing this delectable recipe for Hello Dolly Bars over at a Southern Fairytale. Oh and did I mention I’m also sharing a super simple craft project over at According to Kelly as well?

Hello Dolly Bars + Giveaway

I make these bars every year and hand them out to family, friends, and neighbors. Along with a slew of other baked goods. I typically like to spend a weekend int he kitchen baking up a storm and then we begin to pass out the goodies come that Monday before the holidays! So if your looking for a tasty homemade treat to share with family and friends, definitely head on over to A Southern Fairytale to get the recipe for my Hello Dolly Bars!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And one lucky winner has the chance to win an awesome prize pack!

Don’t forget to head on over to According to Kelly for 30 fabulous crafty gifts and Skip to my Lou  for sewing inspiration!

Disclaimer: I did not receive anything to participate–just wanted to share the love with my readers!


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These Candy Bar Cookies have the base of a traditional chocolate chip cookie, and incorporates any leftover candy bars you might have laying around! The sky is the limit–chop up your favorite candy bars and add them in these sweet cookies.

Great way to use up leftover Halloween candy -->> Candy Bar Cookies from KatiesCucina.com

Happy Halloween! I can’t believe I’ve held out all month sharing a sweet treat. Yesterday, after leaving my doctors appointment I was craving cookies. I’ve been very good (and so has my husband) and neither of us have tapped into the Halloween candy bars. Although, I will admit my neighbor did bring over a bag of half-opened candy to get it out of her house and we have had a few kit kats here and there. But other than that–we haven’t tapped into our own stash. Do you eat the Halloween candy that you bought for trick or treaters or save it for the kids like we do?

Candy Bar Cookies from KatiesCucina.com

Back to these Candy Bar Cookies… I tapped into some of the candy I had on hand. Miniature Kit Kat bars (from our neighbor), some miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and a bag of m&m’s I picked up at the store! I chopped up the soft chocolates (Kit Kat Bars and Reese’s) and mixed those into the butter mixture, pour the dry flour mixture in and during the last few seconds I mixed in the bag of M&M’s. If you want these to be Fully Loaded Candy Bar Cookies you could easily add even more candy bars to the mix. Just make sure you chop the candy bars small enough. I also used my favorite OXO cookie scoop. Using the medium scoop made it no-mess and gave me 36 beautiful soft candy bar cookies!

Oh and if your wondering what the gender of the baby is… head on over to my DIY blog Sew Woodsy where I share a very unique Halloween inspired gender reveal!

Katie Original Recipe

Candy Bar Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 36

Candy Bar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 individual Kit Kat Bars, chopped small
  • 1/2 cup mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, chopped small
  • 2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package (3.14oz) M&M

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a KitchenAid stand mixer, begin to cream butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed for 1 minute. Then add the vanilla extract and eggs (one at a time). Mix until incorporated about 1 minute. Then add in chopped Kit Kat Bars and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Mix for 10 seconds until incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl add 2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the stand mixer, and mix for 30 seconds or until well incorporated. Add the package of M&M to the bowl and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix one last time (for about 5-10 seconds.
  4. Using a medium cookie scoop, begin scooping dough and placing on an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and let sit on the hot cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat until all the cookie dough has been made.

Notes

*You can add any type of candy bars you'd like. You can also add more candy, but not less than what is in the directions above. You could supplement chocolate chips for M&M's if need be. If you don't feel like using all the dough in one sitting, seal well and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze.

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Dark Chocolate Mocha Fondue for Two! #FondueWeek #Recipe #Chocolate #ValentinesDay

Day 3 of Fondue Week and today I’m sharing with you a simple fondue recipe that you can make for just two people. Valentine’s Day is next week, so naturally this dessert is perfect for two! My friends at Scharffen Berger Chocolate sent me a gorgeous box of chocolates (just like the kind you can win right now… so head on over to the giveaway after you done reading this post). This recipe is made with just one 3oz. Dark Chocolate Mocha bar. Hence the name Dark Chocolate Mocha Fondue for Two! The mocha flavoring comes from finely ground Sumatran coffee. You can taste the texture and real coffee in every bite. Of course I stepped it up a notch and added a little Kaluha for a grown-up spin on my fondue. If you don’t have the Dark Chocolate Mocha Bar you could always use the highest quality dark chocolate and a tablespoon of espresso to the mix and then of course add Kaluha if desired.

Dark Chocolate Mocha Fondue for Two! #FondueWeek #Recipe #Chocolate #ValentinesDay

Oh, and I also forgot to memtion that today is National Chocolate Fondue day. Tonight, Christine and I will be speaking with Chef Shane from The Melting Pot. If you want to hear some of the secrets to making great fondue we’d love if you watched us live on our Google+ channels. We will tweet out the link around 9pm tonight.

Once again I’m brining you a two for one recipe. You know… two holidays/events equal one recipe. Remember on Sunday, I brought you a fondue recipe and one that worked well for Super Bowl i.e., Buffalo Chicken Fondue.  I feel like I need to balance out the sweet and savory and mix it up as an every other day kind of recipe week.

I love not only dipping strawberries in fondue but raspberries. To me there is something about chocolate and raspberries together. It is pure bliss. Oh and if you have plump blueberries those will work too. This is what I like to call my take on “healthy” fondue. Dark Chocolate is good for you. Fruit is good for you. Both items are good for you so that means we are in the clear (minus the heavy cream and butter but shhhh it’s a special occassion. We can all splurge). Oh, so maybe this isn’t “really” healthy, but in my mind it is. And let’s all keep pretending in front of my face that it is healthy, please.

Dark Chocolate Mocha Fondue for Two! #FondueWeek #Recipe #Chocolate #ValentinesDay

Whether you decide to make this quick and easy Dark Chocolate Mocha Fondue next week for Valentine’s Day or just any other day for no apparent reason. Either way I’m sure you will enjoy this coffee laced treat!

I’ve got dessert covered and today Christine is sharing A Warm Goat Cheese Dip for a Romantic Dinner over on her blog. She shares her thoughts on what makes for a romantic dinner. Between the two of us we have covered both your dinner and dessert for next week!

Katie Original Recipe

Dark Chocolate Mocha Fondue for Two!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2

Dark Chocolate Mocha Fondue for Two!

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a pot melt butter on high heat. Then add in heavy cream followed by finely chopped chocolate. Mix until melted. Turn off the heat and remove the chocolate from the burner. Add in two tablespoons Kahlua. Mix well then portion out into two servings (or keep it as one mini pot for two). Serve with strawberries and raspberries.
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Disclaimer: I received  Scharffen Berger Chocolate to create this recipe. I was not compensated nor required to create a recipe. All opinions as always are my own. 


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Peppermint Chocolate Rice Krispies Treats

It’s the day before Christmas and you get an unexpected gift… what do you do? Make these Peppermint Chocolate Rice Krispies Treats! Or if your like me and have been too busy to think about the neighbors you whip up a batch or two of these treats and pass them out! I always have cellophane bags on hand. Place a couple krispie treats in the bag and adorn with a few candy canes and you’ve got yourself a beautiful handmade gift that anyone will enjoy receiving!

Peppermint Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats

These are different from my Mint Chocolate Chip Rice Krispies Treats because I use chocolate rice krispies. I also don’t die them with green dye OR add mint extract. The mint flavoring comes from the marshmallows and I can attest as well as a few other food bloggers who had the privilege of trying these that they don’t have a strong peppermint flavor to them! That’s why I decided to kick them up a notch by adding a layer of chocolate and some smashed peppermint candy canes!

Katie Original Recipe

Peppermint Chocolate Rice Krispies Treats

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 24

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp salted butter
  • 1- 10 oz bag of Jet-Puffed Peppermint Marshmallows
  • 6 cups chocolate rice krispies
  • PAM cooking spray
  • 1 - 12 oz bag of Wilton Candy Melts (red/vanilla flavor)
  • 12 candy canes, chopped

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan melt the butter. Once the butter is melted remove the saucepan from heat and add in marshmallows. Mix until melted.
  2. Then add the six cups of chocolate rice krispies to the pot. Stir until well incorporated.
  3. Spray a 9×12 pan with PAM cooking spray and begin spreading the Rice Krisipie treats out on the pan. Let cool in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from refrigerator and cut into equal squares.
  5. In a heat resistant bowl melt the candy melts in the microwave (in 30 second increments) until melted. While the chocolate is melting crush candy canes in a zip lock baggie and place to the side.
  6. Have a baking sheet with parchment paper (or SILPAT) ready. Begin dipping each rice krispie treat in the melted white chocolate *half way. Place each chocolate dipped treat on the baking sheet and sprinkle with peppermint. Repeat until you have done this with all the krispie treats. Let cool in refrigerator until chocolate is firm (about 15 minutes).
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