Your Questions Answered: Chocolate Fondues and Fountains

New Years Eve is just a few days away! One thing is certain, from reading Twitter, Facebook, and the net in general – melted chocolate is factoring into celebration plans in a BIG way!

In preparation for this blog entry, I put out the call for questions on Twitter and Facebook – and you guys had some good ones! Chocolate can be an incredibly finicky thing, so I’m happy to be able to provide some answers!

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Massive Post of Holiday Baking and Candy Making Inspiration!

Less than a week to go until Christmas, and still so many reasons to bake loom ahead. Hostess gifts for holiday parties… a good spread for your own holiday party. Christmas dinner. Last minute holiday gifts… New Years’ Eve!

If you’re sitting here, still not sure what to make, you’re about to be hit with the inspiration that you’re hoping for!

I have gone through all of my past blog posts and culled the absolute best recipes for the holidays – all linked here (click on the photos)! Cookies, Candies, Truffles, Bars, and Desserts.

Happy Holidays!

– Marie & Michael

PS: Be sure to take a photo of anything that you make from our recipes, and post it to our Facebook page! We love seeing what you come up with!

Now, on to the recipes…
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Clodhoppers Recipe: Cheap, Quick, Easy, ADDICTIVE Candy!

Here’s another one of those recipes that is so minimalist in both ingredients and preparation, I’m a little embarrassed to post it. Much like my Honey Dill Dipping Sauce Recipe, it may be simple and easy, but it’s a hometown memory for me.

I always enjoy exposing people to “new” ideas – even if only new to them!

Clodhoppers are a very well known candy back home in Canada. One Winnipegger wanted to market his grandmother’s candy, got together with a childhood friend of his, and got to work. Within a few years, the candy was selling all over Canada.

homemade clodhoppers candy

The candy is apparently no longer made in Winnipeg, having been sold to a company on the West Coast – and I’ve since become allergic to gluten, rendering these treats toxic to me – but I’ll never forget em. Super, super addictive stuff.

Was thinking of them, the other day. I’ve never seen them here in the USA, so I decided to create a homemade version for my husband. The proportions turned out beautifully!

Clodhoppers have only 3 simple ingredients – white chocolate, cashews, and graham crackers – and they whip up in no time. Have bowls of this out at holiday parties, or package them up for a hostess gift, stocking stuffer, or “Thank you” that your friends and family will love!

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Peppermint Patties Recipe

When I was a kid, my mom used to make peppermint patties… out of mashed potatoes. I thought it was the weirdest thing in the world, but they sure were tasty! I don’t know what got me thinking of this recently, but I decided to use that information, and come up with my own peppermint patties recipe.

Knowing that I’d only need a small amount of potato, I got a bit lazy .. Err.. CREATIVE, and picked up a couple “sour cream and chive” baked potatoes at Wendy’s!

It only took a minute to scrape off the chives, and voila! Tons of time saved. Suck it, Martha Stewart!

Knowing that my husband hasn’t been fond of peppermint patties – but was willing to have his opinion changed over homemade ones! – I picked up some good dark chocolate to dip these in. You can dip them in whatever chocolate you want – chocolate chips, a few good chocolate bars, or baking chocolate. Also, feel free to play with the flavoring in this! If you’re not a fan of mint, ANY extract can be used! Add a little food coloring, and you can make an assortment of cherry, orange, maple… whatever fillings you can imagine!

This recipe works up quickly. It only takes about 5 minutes to mix it up, another 5 or so to roll/flatten, and probably 10-15 to dip them. SO worth it.

Enjoy!

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Milk Chocolate Chai Truffles Recipe

If you’re looking for a little pre-Thanksgiving dinner treat, a hostess gift to bring along with you, an after dinner sweet…. or just want to get your chocolate on – here’s a great recipe for you!

These truffles are based on our famous Chai cake flavor. The warmth of the spices – cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg – pair fabulously with creamy milk chocolate, for a super satisfying sugar rush.

Truffles are easy to make – much easier than their retail cachet would have you think! Even a novice cook can turn these babies out, with very little effort, stress, or cost.

While chocolate chips may be a highly unusual medium for truffle making, they are easy to find, and lack the sticker shock that comes with the more traditional chocolate options. Anyone can make these truffles at home, with common ingredients, for only about $4.00/30 truffles!!

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Maraschino Cherry Nanaimo Bars Recipe

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians! I am getting a little green eyed, hearing and reading about all of the yummy food you guys are planning to snarf this weekend. Plus, I mean… long weekend! Could *totally* use one of those, but we’re gonna be busting our butts on exterior repairs this weekend. Spare a thought for us? LOL!

Anyway, in honor of the holiday weekend, I’m gonna share an awesome version of our national dessert – the Nanaimo bar.

As I’ve previously mentioned, on my Mocha Nanaimo Bars Recipe, I do my bars a little different than the norm, just in that I prefer a lot more filling.

I love the bright color and flavor of these cherry Nanaimo bars – they make a really pretty addition to any holiday dessert table!

Enjoy, and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, eh? 🙂
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Happy National Coffee Day – How to make Coffee Truffles!

Happy “National Coffee Day!”

We’re pretty big on caffeine in this house. While I prefer mine to come as energy drinks or shots, I am keenly aware of my husband’s coffee addiction. (Read: He’s a miserable bastard before his morning coffee!)

A few years ago, I created these truffles for my husband – kind of like an inside-out version of a chocolate covered espresso bean. They’re super easy – and cheap! – to make, and are a perfect gift for your favorite coffee junkie.

I’ll warn you – rolled in straight-up ground coffee, they’re pretty hardcore. For a more delicate caffeine kick, be sure to cut the coffee with chocolate or powdered sugar, as described in the notes below!

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Mini “Baked Minnesotas” Recipe!

Well, it looks like I’m getting dragged to the Minnesota State Fair after all. It’s been a few years – but not long enough! LOL. Hot temps + tons of people + tons of noise + obnoxious smell of grease everywhere… not my bag, I hate to say. Back in 2009, I struck a deal with my husband that resulted in a couple years of not having to go – and in the creation of “beer battered corn on the cob.. on a stick”. Well, I don’t have the kitchen or the brainpower to come up with a deal this year, so… we’re going! LOL

Around the time of the fair, Minnesotans really focus on new, unique foods. Yes, a lot of the time this means just “X Food… ON A STICK”, but, still. It’s sometimes fun to hear of the creative ways that vendors are coming up with ways to either add calories, put it on a stick, or Minnesota-it-up with various foods. Hell, even Caprese salad can be “Minnesota’d up”, as long as you serve it on a bed of wild rice! (?)

A couple years ago, I decided to “Minnesota-up” an old fashioned dessert – the Baked Alaska. There is a HUGE emphasis on camping, camp fires, etc here – moreso than anywhere I’ve ever lived – so I decided to do a Smores themed version. Custom designed a base – a graham cracker flavored cookie – and went from there. These are individual sized servings – smaller than a normal baked Alaska.

The result was awesome. So much fun, and perfect for this coming long weekend!

Enjoy, and have a great labor day weekend!

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Tropical White Chocolate Truffles Recipe

I know that the idea of making “fancy” desserts – like truffles – can seem intimidating to some. Many foo-foo desserts don’t seem to come across as something that can be made at home, or at least definitely not by a beginner.

I swear that’s not true of this recipe – or any of the other ones in my cookbooks, The Spirited Baker and Evil Cake Overlord! Truffles, cream puffs, baklava… all deceptively easy to make. Go ahead, try some!

Chocolate chips may be a highly unusual medium for truffle making, but they are easy to find, and lack the sticker shock that comes with the more traditional chocolate options. Anyone can make these truffles at home, with common ingredients, for only about $4.00/30 truffles.

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Amy and Lisa’s Wedding Cake… Recipe You Don’t Want To Miss

I met Lisa and Amy back when I was sponsoring – and later volunteering for – the Twin Cities Pride Festival. Sweet people and an adorable couple, I promised that I would make their wedding cake some day.

As this was LONG before I announced my retirement from cakes, I made an exception to my “No more cakes!” vow, and created the cake for their wedding this past weekend. I also had the honor of shooting the wedding with my husband… an exception to our “No more wedding photography!” vow! (more…)