Crock Pot Chocolate Candy

With the holidays quickly approaching, this is actually a recipe that I’ve seen floating around in several different places.  And naturally, since it’s floating around in several different places, there are several different recipes for it.  I’ve seen different types of chocolate, different nuts, added coconut, all kinds of stuff.  Well, I kept this batch really simple, and including things that I know my family would love.

crock pot chocolate candy

The original recipe I saw had twice the amount of ingredients, which makes a TON of these little guys.  This is a smaller batch than the original recipe I saw, and it still made over 50 of them…and I made them about the size of a standard cookie.  If you don’t have a crock pot, no need to worry!  You can melt the chocolates in a large, microwaveable bowl in increments of 45 seconds, stirring in between each one until all of the chocolates are melted, then stir in the peanuts and distribute them to wax or parchment paper.  Or, if you even prefer to melt your chocolate on the stove, you can do that as well on low heat, and proceed as usual.  What was so easy about this recipe was being able to walk away from it, not having to stand by the whole time.  So, whichever way you prefer to make it, go for it!

Crock Pot Chocolate Candy Recipe:

1 lb. almond bark white chocolate

12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

12 oz. peanut butter chips

16 oz. dry roasted peanuts

Chop up almond bark, and combine all ingredients in crock pot on low.  Cover and cook for one hour, stir mixture.  Stir every 5-10 minutes after first hour until chocolate is melted and peanuts are coated.  Spoon clusters on to wax or parchment paper to set.  Store in airtight container at room temperature (these do not need to be refrigerated, and will actually cause them to have a whitish film if they are stored in the fridge).

Peanut Butter Fudge

As I’ve mentioned before, my family is a bunch of peanut butter nuts.  A lot of times, the in-laws in our family either chuckle or roll their eyes when yet another peanut butter dish comes into the house, and this would be a good example.

peanut butter fudge

The first time I made this was several years ago, before my baking experiments had exploded far beyond out of control.  It was around the holidays, and my aunt (who usually makes the peanut butter fudge), was out of town when the family was getting together.  Christmas without peanut butter fudge?  No way.  That can’t happen.  And to top it all off, I couldn’t find that recipe that she had given me…so I had to start searching.  This particular recipe is on allrecipes.com, and it is fantastic…and easy.  Double whammy there.  Honestly, I had forgotten all about this recipe until the holidays rolled around again and I had made the Cookies ‘n Cream Fudge.  So naturally, this had to be made as well.

Peanut Butter Fudge Recipe:

1/2 cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1  teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in brown sugar and milk.  Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat.  Stir in peanut butter and vanilla.  Pour over confectioners’ sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Beat until smooth; pour into an 8×8 inch dish.  Chill until firm and cut into squares.

Buckeyes

For some reason, I forgot all about these little desserts…until recently when I saw them posted on Facebook.  The second I saw them, the memories flashed back in my head of being a kid and shoving as many of these things into my mouth that I could get.  Although my family worships peanut butter (literally…my brother has two dogs named Peanut and Butter), we didn’t make these, so it was a special treat when they showed up somewhere for dessert.  The process of making these is similar to making Oreo Truffles, but these are actually easier to make.  Partly because the dipping process is faster, since the tops are open.  Using a toothpick also makes the process ten times easier, but since I wasn’t a big fan of the little toothpick hole in the top, I just let the peanut butter center soften slightly, then smoothed over the top to get rid of the little toothpick hole.  These were magnificent.

buckeyes

I usually try to take some sort of dessert to culinary school every couple of weeks for my classmates to indulge in, so these definitely made the list.  A girl in my class has Celiac Disease, so she’s missed out on several desserts that have come in because of their gluten content, and I feel guilty every single time.  So, when I showed up with these in my hand, I waved to her, smiled and said, “These are gluten-free!”  Not really sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that there are literally about 80 of these things in one batch.  They make a wonderful dessert finger food for gatherings…but watch out, because they’ll disappear quickly!

Buckeyes Recipe:

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 1/3 cups crunchy or smooth peanut butter

3 cups powdered sugar

1 package chocolate bark, melted

Beat butter and peanut butter in large bowl at medium speed with electric mixer until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until well-blended. Using a mini cookie scoop, scoop out mixture one by one onto parchment lined cookie sheet.  Place in refrigerator to harden, about 30 minutes.  Melt chocolate bark  in 30 second intervals in microwave, stirring in between each interval until completely melted.  Using a tooth pick or wooden skewer, dip each ball into chocolate–coating 3/4 of the ball. Place on wax or parchment paper, uncoated side up. Let stand until chocolate sets up. Store in airtight container at room temperature or in refrigerator.

Chocolate Covered Reese’s Stuffed Oreos

Wow, that’s a long name.  Well worth it though, considering all of the chocolate and yumminess inside.  When I made these, my brother and friend were at my house.  They were in another room, chatting away, with no clue as to what I was doing in the kitchen.  I figured it would be best to surprise them when I was finished.  My brother was getting ready to walk out the door when I stopped him, a big glob of chocolate on a paper towel in my hand, holding it out for him.  He immediately took it and looked at it.  “What is it?” he asked.  “Don’t worry, you’ll like it,” I responded.  He said, “Well, I’m sure I’ll like it, but what is it?”  “Just take a bite and you’ll see.”  It’s a good thing he trusts me.  He took a bite, and looked at the inside.  When I explained exactly what was inside the big glob of chocolate in his hand as he gobbled away, he looked at me and said, “I outta beat you for giving me this.  I guess this is lunch AND dinner!”  He still finished it off, and I got a good chuckle out of it.  When my friend ate it, she said, “This is STUPID good.”  I’m going to take that as a compliment.

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First, get your ingredients.  Double Stuf Oreo cookies, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and dark chocolate melting wafers.  That’s it, just three ingredients.  Separate the Oreos, disgarding the side of the cooke that doesn’t have the cream.  Or, save it for something else.  Or, just eat it.

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Sandwich one of the peanut butter cups in between two of the cream-coated Oreo cookies.

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Melt your chocolate wafers in 15 second intervals in microwave safe dish (I use a coffee cup or glass measuring cup), stirring in between each interval.  Dip each cookie in melted chocolate using tongs, then place on wax paper for chocolate to harden.

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Eat, and enjoy.  Beware, because it’s a LOT of chocolate and tends to be quite rich…but I noticed that after I gobbled one down, I was talking myself out of eating another one and just staying away.  It worked long enough for them to get out of the house.  Whew!

Dark Chocolate Covered Apples

I’ve actually been meaning to make these for a while, but over the holidays was the perfect opportunity.  After putting together an edible gift basket for my in-laws, I kept looking at it and thinking,  Seems like it’s missing something.  Then, I realized that this would be the perfect addition.  And apparently it was a wonderful addition…  When I told my mother-in-law that the big lump of chocolate on a stick was a dark chocolate covered apple, she dropped her hands to her side, and her eyes got big.  Her jaw dropped, and she engulfed me in a big hug, and told me that she loved me.  Not only was I overly flattered, but very shocked that she loved them so much.  Mental note.  Might even be a good way to suck up to the in-laws in the future.  😉

IMG_3653First, buy the necessary ingredients and materials.  I bought these at the local arts and crafts store.  For this project, I picked up cookie sticks, large treat bags, twistie ties, 1 bag of dark chocolate, and 4-5 small apples.

IMG_3654Insert the cookie sticks into the apples.  I used a hammer to tap them in…this keeps the sticks straight.  Push the sticks all the way down until they hit the bottom of the apple.

IMG_3655Melt the chocolate wafers in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval.

IMG_3656Insert the apple into the melted chocolate, swirling around to completely cover apple with the chocolate.

IMG_3658Gently twirl the apple around, letting the excess chocolate fall off the apple.  This will help prevent extra pooling of chocolate at the bottom while setting.

IMG_3659Set chocolate covered apple on wax paper for chocolate to harden.  Try your best not to eat while chocolate is still liquid…you’ll need a bib.

IMG_3660How do you like dem apples?!  I love them!

IMG_3661When I packaged these, I trimmed down the treat bags so that the stick was coming out farther than the end of the bag.  Wrap twistie tie around to seal.  Store at room temperature.

Pretzel Turtle Candy Bars

Homemade chocolate candy bars.  Yummmmmay.  I wanted to try out something that combined the flavors of sweet and salty, and here it is.

IMG_3537First, combine the pretzels, caramel, and honey roasted peanuts in a bowl.  Stir together well so that the caramel completely covers everything.

IMG_3538Next, melt your chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval.  Do not overcook, the chocolate will scald and you won’t be able to use it, due to the yuckiness.  Place a small amount of chocolate in the mold, and use a paintbrush to smooth the chocolate out and brush up the sides of the mold.  Place in freezer for 3-4 minutes for chocolate to set.

IMG_3540Spoon a small amount of the mixture in the mold, move around so that the mixture is in a semi-thin layer on top of the chocolate, and evenly distributed throughout each bar.

IMG_3541Pour chocolate over the nut mixture, use the paintbrush to completely cover.  Place in freezer again for about 5 minutes.

IMG_3543Take out of freezer, then turn bars out onto flat surface.  Let the chocolate come to room temperature before trying to eat one…unless you want to crack a tooth.  😉  Enjoy!!

Pretzel Turtle Candy Bars Ingredients:

1/2 cup chopped honey roasted peanuts

1/2 cup pretzel pieces (I used pretzel sticks and broke them up)

1/4 cup caramel sauce (like the ice cream topping)

1 lb. dark chocolate

Chocolate Covered Almond Clusters

This is definitely my favorite little cure for having a sugar craving.  There’s enough sweetness in these little guys to satisfy your sweet tooth without overindulging…AND it packs protein.

Here, I’m adding almonds to the melted chocolate.  When making any kind of nut clusters, I prefer for the nuts to be lightly coated in the mixture.  This way, there are more nuts in the clusters than chocolate.  Spoon the clusters on to wax paper for them to set.  One of the great things about making clusters is that you can decide how big or small you want them to be.  Here, I made some bigger ones, along with little bite sized clusters.  You also have a lot of flexibility with what you want to add to the clusters.  Almonds, peanuts, cashews, macademias, there are so many options!

Ta Da!!  I put these in the refrigerator to help them set faster.  Letting chocolate harden in the refrigerator or freezer gives that glossy, smooth look.  When making chocolates in bulk, I always stick them in the freezer since it saves so much time.  Just try not to eat them directly out of the freezer, since they get so hard.  Ouch!

Chocolate Covered Almond Clusters Recipe:

1 lb. almonds

8 oz. dark chocolate, melted

Microwave chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring after each time and until completely melted (do not overheat, chocolate will clump).  Add almonds and stir until all almonds are covered.  Scoop out clusters by the spoonful, set on wax paper to harden.