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sweet and salty halloween bites

Ingredients:Mini Pretzels (these are made with snaps, shaped like squares, but you could use the twists too)Hershey Kisses Hugs (any kind of kisses would do, but the stripes are cool)Candy Corn
Directions:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place pretzels on cookie sheet, not touching. Unwrap Hershey’s Kisses and place on top of pretzels and then place filled cookie sheet in oven. Bake for 3-5 minutes but no longer. You will know they are ready when the Hershey Kisses start to get shiny. Take out of oven and gently place candy corn on top of Hershey Kisses, pushing down ever so gently. Cool and then transfer to serving platter or wrap up as gifts.

raspberry swirl cheesecake cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the crust:
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp. sugar

For the topping:
6 oz. fresh raspberries
2 tbsp. sugar

For the filling:
2 lbs. cream cheese, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar.  Stir together with a fork until well blended and all the dry ingredients are moistened.  Press 1 tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner.  (I like to use a small drinking glass to easily and evenly press the crumbs down.  One of Andrew’s sippy cups works wonderfully.) Bake until just set, 5 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack.

To make the raspberry puree, combine the raspberries and sugar in a blender or food processor.  Process until smooth, then pour through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds.

To make the cheesecake, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy.  Blend in the sugar until smooth.  Mix in the salt and vanilla.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

To assemble, spoon 3 tablespoons of the cheesecake batter over the crust in each cupcake liner.  Dot a ½ teaspoon of the raspberry puree in a few dots over the cheesecake filling.  Use a toothpick or a wooden skewer to lightly swirl and create a marbled effect.

Bake until the filling is set, about 22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  (They will look quite puffed initially but will return to normal quickly.)  Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool to room temperature.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

mango-date muffins

Mango - Date Muffins
Inspired by Fresh Mango Bread from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie GreenspanYields 18 jumbo muffins

4 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/3 cup canola oil
3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 - 3 cups diced, peeled mango (about two mangoes)
1/3 cup diced dried dates2 T dark rum
1 T orange zest
Soak chopped dates in dark rum in a small dish until softened.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin tins with baking spray or butter and flour.  Whisk together eggs and oil in a small bowl.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.  Pour the egg mixture over the dry ingredients and stir just until combined, either by hand with a wooden spoon or on low speed in mixer.  The batter will be thick.  Drain dates and add along with mango and orange zest and stir to distribute.  Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling about 2/3 of the way full. 
Bake the muffins about 25 minutes until golden brown. 

s’mores cups

7  whole graham crackers (1 cup finely crushed)1/4 cup powdered sugar6 tablespoons butter, melted4 bars (1.55 oz each) milk chocolate candy, divided12 large marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place graham crackers into a large resealable plastic bag. Finely crush into crumbs. Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and butter in a small bowl.
Place 1 tablespoon of crumb mixture in each cup of a mini muffin pan. Press crumbs to form shallow cups. Bake 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling. Meanwhile, break two of the candy bars into rectangles. Remove pan from oven; place one rectangle into each cup.

Cut marshmallows in half crosswise using shears dipped in cold water. Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup. Return to oven 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly softened. Remove pans from oven to cooling rack; cool 15 minutes. Carefully remove cups from pan. Cool completely.
Break remaining candy bars and place in small microwavable bowl. Microwave on high 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 20 seconds. Dip the top of each marshmallow in melted chocolate. Turn top-side up and let stand 40 to 60 minutes or until set. Makes 24 cups, 100 calories each.

dipped apple slices,much easier to eat than whole caramel/candied/chocolate apples 

dipped apple slices,
much easier to eat than whole caramel/candied/chocolate apples 


Ingredients:8 tbsp. unsalted butter2 cups packed brown sugar1 cup light corn syrupPinch of salt1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk1 tsp. vanilla extract10-12 small Granny Smith apples, stems removedPopsicle or lollipop sticks
Directions:Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Mix in the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil.  Stir in the condensed milk.  Cook and stir until a candy or instant-read thermometer reads 248° F (firm ball stage.)  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Insert a lollipop or popsicle stick into the top of each apple so that it is firmly in place.  Dip the apples one at a time into the caramel mixture, turning slowly to coat evenly.  Transfer to a baking sheet lined with wax paper and allow the caramel to set.  Decorate as desired, with melted chocolate, chopped nuts, or candy pieces.

Ingredients:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
10-12 small Granny Smith apples, stems removed
Popsicle or lollipop sticks

Directions:
Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Mix in the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil.  Stir in the condensed milk.  Cook and stir until a candy or instant-read thermometer reads 248° F (firm ball stage.)  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Insert a lollipop or popsicle stick into the top of each apple so that it is firmly in place.  Dip the apples one at a time into the caramel mixture, turning slowly to coat evenly.  Transfer to a baking sheet lined with wax paper and allow the caramel to set.  Decorate as desired, with melted chocolate, chopped nuts, or candy pieces.

peach cupcakes

*makes 24 cupcakes

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1.75 oz (49 grams) freeze dried peaches, pulverized in a mini food processor
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup pureed fresh peach
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with liners.

Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large measuring cup or bowl, mix together buttermilk, peach puree and vanilla extract. Set aside until needed.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl until pale, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in pulverized peaches. Mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two batches of buttermilk mixture. Mix until just combined, scraping down bowl as needed.  Scoop batter into cupcake tins.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 21 to 24 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool in tins for 10 minutes, and then remove cupcakes and place them on a cooling rack.

PEACH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 8 oz of cream cheese, softened
  • 1.75 oz (49grams) freeze dried peaches (Target has Archer Farms brand), pulverized in a mini food processor
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-5 cups of confectioners sugar

In a large mixing bowl, mix butter until it is softened and uniform. Add cream cheese and beat together until it is uniform. Add vanilla extract and mix. Add pulverized peaches and mix. Add 3 cups of sugar to the mixture and mix. Add more sugar if necessary. Mix again until mixture is creamy and spreadable. Add more sugar if necessary, otherwise prepare to frost cake.

awesome chewy-crunchy clusters

*Personally, I made these with craisons instead of dried cherries, and they were really awesome. But this is the original recipe :)

  • 1 cup whole almonds, toasted & coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup died cherries, coarsely copped
  • 6 oz. dark or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1. In medium bowl, toss together almods & cherries. Line baking sheet with wax paper.
2. Melt half of the chocolate in top of double boiler over slightly simmering water, on lowest possible heat setting. Stir frequently, making sure water in bottom pan doesnt touch top pan. Remove double boiler from heat. Stir in remaining chocolate until melted. Remove top pan and wipe water from bottom of pan; set aside. To keep chocolate at the right temp while making clusters, replace the simmering water in the bottom pan with warm tap water & place the pan of melted chocolate on top of the warm water.
3. Stir fruit-nut mixture into chocolate. Spoon heaping tablespoons of mixture onto wax paper-lined baking dish about 1” apart. Refrigerate to cool and set, about 20 minutes.

Each cluster: 190 cal, 8g fat

easy blackberry fro-yo

  • 3 cups fresh blackberries
  • 3 cups yogurt cheese
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  1. In a blender puree the blackberries with the sweetened condensed milk.
  2. In a medium bowl mix the puree with the yogurt cheese.
  3. Pour the mixture into your ice-cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions or use Popsicle molds for fresh homemade Popsicles.

omg adorable, chocolate rasberries

Scoop out pit, smoosh in chocolate chips. Enjoy the cuteness