• Mini Caramel Chocolate Apples

    How to make Mini Caramel Chocolate Apples

    Yield: about 40

    Prep Time: 25 minutes

    Cook: 40 minutes

    The yield will greatly depend on the size of your apples and the size of your melon baller.


    4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
    1 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/2 cup corn syrup
    1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    3/4 cup heavy cream
    1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    5 medium organic Granny Smith apples
    12 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
    Toppings as desired (nuts, candy, sprinkles)


    In a small heavy saucepan set over medium heat melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt and bring to a boil. Add in the cream and spices if using and cook until a candy thermometer or instant read thermometer registers 250°F. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

    Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each burst, until melted and smooth.

    Using a melon baller, scoop out balls from each apple. Place a candy stick into the center of each ball. Dip into the chocolate, coating evenly. Let the excess drip before placing on a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.

    Dip the apples into the warm caramel, letting the excess drip before rolling in any desired toppings and placing back on the lined baking sheet. Let cool and set completely before serving. Apples that are completely coated can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 day before serving, though they are best served sooner rather than later.

  • Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Bites

    How to make Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Bites

    Yield: 36 bites

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 4 hours 10 minutes

    The key to beautiful, easy-to-dip bites is to make sure they’re as cold as possible. If they warm up too much pop them back in the freezer until they’re firm and frozen again.


    For the crust:

    9 whole graham crackers
    1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

    For the filling:

    2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup sour cream
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

    For the chocolate coating:

    16 ounces semisweet chocolate
    4 tablespoons coconut oil


    To make crust:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 by 8-inch square baking dish with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

    In a small bowl combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press mixture evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until light golden and fragrant. Reduce heat to 325°F.

    To make filling:

    Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, add in the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, flour, and salt and beat until just combined. Be careful not to overmix. Pour the batter over the crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cheesecake is slightly puffed and center is set. If the center is slightly jiggly, that’s fine.

    Let cool completely on a wire rack. Freeze for 3 hours, or until very cold and firm, or overnight.

    To coat in chocolate:

    Once frozen, lift cheesecake out of pan and gently peel away foil. Using a sharp knife, cut cheesecake into 36 bite-size squares. If squares become too soft, freeze until chilled again.

    Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth. Place parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a baking sheet. Dip cheesecake squares, one at a time, in the melted chocolate. Let the excess drip off and place on prepared sheet. Repeat for all the squares then refrigerate until the chocolate is set. Serve or store the squares in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

    Adapted from Taste of Home

  • Peppermint Oreo Truffles

    How to make Peppermint Oreo Truffles

    Yield: about 36 truffles

    Prep Time: 25 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour 25 minutes

    While I prefer a smoother texture, you can add some crushed candy canes into the cookie mixture for more peppermint taste and crunch.


    39 regular Oreo cookies
    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
    3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
    16 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil
    2 regular-size candy canes, finely crushed


    Place the Oreo cookies in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the cream cheese and peppermint extract and pulse until the mixture is well combined and smooth.

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop the mixture into balls about 1-inch in diameter. I like to use this cookie scoop.

    Place the cookie balls in the freezer until well chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

    When cookie balls are chilled, combine the chopped chocolate and oil in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring between bursts, until just melted and smooth. Do not overheat.

    Drop each cookie ball into melted chocolate, coating evenly. Remove with a fork, gently tapping off excess chocolate. Place back on cookie sheet and immediately sprinkle with the crushed candy canes. Repeat with the remaining cookie balls.

    Refrigerate until set before serving. Store the truffles in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

  • Loaded Cookie Bars

    How to make Loaded Cookie Bars

    Yield: 24 bars

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour


    1 1/2 cups (6.6 ounces) all-purpose flour
    1 cup (4.5 ounces) bread flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon fine sea salt
    2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
    20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped
    1 cup M&M’s, or other candy
    1 cup chopped Reese’s or other candy


    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 by 13-inch pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

    In a medium bowl combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, baking soda, and salt.

    In a large bowl, vigorously stir the melted butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until very well combined. Add in the vanilla, eggs, and egg yolk and stir until well combined. Gradually add in the flour and stir until just combined. Fold in the Oreos, M&M’s, and Reese’s, reserving some to sprinkle on top.

    Remove the dough to the prepared pan, pressing evenly. Sprinkle with the reserved candy, pressing down lightly with a spatula. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown but not overcooked. Cool completely before cutting into squares and serving. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

  • Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

    How to make Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

    Yield: 24-36 peanut butter cups


    1 cup peanut butter
    4 tablespoons butter
    Pinch salt
    1 cup powdered sugar (more or less depending on preference)
    1 pound tempered semisweet chocolate


    In a small saucepan heat the peanut butter and butter until melted, being careful not to scorch. Remove from heat and add in the salt and sugar, mixing until smooth. Let cool then refrigerate until ready to use (can be made and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead of time).

    If using miniature paper cupcake liners, use a pastry brush to brush the bottom and up the sides of the liners with the tempered chocolate to create a chocolate shell cup. Let sit at room temperature until shiny and hardened. Fill each cup with about a teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture. Pour tempered chocolate over the peanut butter mixture to seal the cup, using a spatula to spread into an even layer. Let the peanut butter cups sit until shiny hardened. Place in the refrigerator to speed up this process.

    If using a chocolate mold instead, generously pour tempered chocolate into the holes of a candy mold to fill each hole completely. Flip the mold upside-down and let the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl with the remaining tempered chocolate so that each mold is thinly coated in chocolate. Flip right-side up and let sit until the chocolate is hardened.

    Scoop a teaspoon of filling (more or less depending on your mold) into each mold. Be absolutely certain that there is no filling sticking up above the surface of the mold. It should be a little less than flush with the mold. Place in the refrigerator so the filling can firm slightly.

    With a spatula, smooth the tempered chocolate over the filled molds, being careful not to disturb the filling. Tilt the mold to allow the excess chocolate to drip off. Let the chocolates sit until hardened before popping out of the molds to serve.

  • Monster Cookie Bars
  • Chocolate Brigadeiros

    How to make Chocolate Brigadeiros

    Yield: About 45 balls

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook: 4 hours 20 minutes

    Brazilian fudge balls


    2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 tablespoons heavy cream
    2 teaspoons light corn syrup
    3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
    2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    5 ounces good-quality chocolate sprinkles


    In a medium saucepan, combine the condensed milk, butter, cream, and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.

    Once the mixture starts to bubble, add the chocolate and cocoa powder, whisking to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is dense and fudgy, about 8 to 10 minutes. The mixture is done when you swirl the pan and the mixture slides as one soft piece, leaving a thick residue on the bottom of the pan.

    Slide the mixture to a medium bowl (without scraping the bottom) and cool to room temperature. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

    Place the sprinkles in a shallow dish. Roll the mixture into teaspoon-sized balls then roll in the sprinkles. Store the brigadeiros in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature or up to 1 month in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.

    From Cook Brazilian by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz

  • Homemade Ferrero Rocher Truffles

    How to make Homemade Ferrero Rocher Truffles

    Yield: About 100 truffles (can be easily halved)

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour


    For the filling:
    3 cups crushed hazelnut wafer cookies (I used Pepperidge Farm’s Pirouettes)
    3 cups finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
    1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) Nutella

    For the chocolate coating:
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1 teaspoon coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
    1 1/2 cups finely chopped toasted hazelnuts


    For the filling:

    Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper. In a large bowl combine the crushed hazelnut wafer cookies, hazelnuts, and Nutella until well combined. Mixture will be sticky. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until firm enough to shape, about 30 minutes. Shape into 1/2-ounce balls about the size of a teaspoon. Place balls on prepared baking sheet then chill in the freezer until they are hardened, about 15 minutes.

    For the chocolate coating:

    Meanwhile, combine the chocolate and oil in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring between each burst, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Stir in the chopped hazelnuts. Let the mixture cool slightly.

    To assemble:

    Using a toothpick, dip each chilled truffle into chocolate, coat completely, then place back on the baking sheet. Once all the truffles are dipped, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until the chocolate coating has hardened, about 15 minutes. Place truffles in mini cupcake liners or wrap in foil to serve. Truffles can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

    Adapted from The Red Spoon Blog

  • Apple Cider Caramels

    How to make Apple Cider Caramels

    Yield: about 75 caramels

    For a fun twist, sprinkle the caramels with sea salt or an extra dose of cinnamon right after pouring the hot caramel into the pan.


    2 cups apple cider
    3/4 cup heavy cream
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon allspice
    Pinch nutmeg
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    1/3 cup light corn syrup
    1 stick unsalted butter, cubed


    In a small saucepan set over medium heat, bring the cider to a simmer and heat until it is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 35 minutes. Set aside to cool.

    Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Butter or spray parchment with nonstick cooking spray. In a glass measuring cup or small bowl combine the heavy cream, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and reduced cider. Set aside.

    In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan combine the sugar and corn syrup. Set over lower heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolved. Simmer the sugar mixture until a candy thermometer registers 234°F.

    Remove mixture from heat, remove thermometer, and slowly and carefully whisk in the cream mixture (mixture may foam and splatter, you may want to wear oven mitts). Add the cubed butter and stir until the butter is melted and incorporated. Return the pan the the heat and cook over lower heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thickened and sticky and the candy thermometer registers 250°F.

    Remove the caramel from the heat and pour into the prepared pan (again, you may want to wear oven mitts). Let the mixture cool to room temperature or refrigerate until set. Once set, remove caramel from pan and cut into 3/4-inch squares. Wrap each piece in wax paper, twisting each end. Store caramels in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

    From America's Dairy Farmers via Our Best Bites