Star Patriotic Pops

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Here’s such a fun patriotic treat to enjoy this summer! Super simple, and your kids will love helping you make these.

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Makes 4- prep- 5 minutes total time 4 hours 5 min

 

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INGREDIENTS / MATERIALS:

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DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wash and slice your pears into thin pieces.
  2. Use your star cookie cutter to cut out star shaped pears.
  3. Thaw your ice pops and fill 1/4 way full with the red ice pop, add in a few stars, place a lollipop stick in the center, and freeze for 1 hour.
  4. Now fill another 1/4 with the blue ice pop, add in a few more stars (you might need to center your lollipop stick at this point), and freeze for another hours.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 until full and frozen.
  6. Place the plastic part of your mold under running hot water for 10-15 seconds, wiggle on your stick, and they will slide right out.

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*(apples can be used in place of pears as can a red and blue sports drink for juice)

 

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Looking for more patriotic desserts?

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Nutter Butter Balls

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Y.u.m.

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My sweet niece Sarah visited over Easter and made these super yummy Nutter Butter Balls, and I’ve been waiting to share them with you! They were so good, so simple, and a huge hit at our house.

 

So, if you’re looking for a new twist on regular Oreo balls, I promise you’ll love these. Here’s what you’ll need  . . .

 

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Nutter Butter Balls

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
  • 24 Nutter Butter cookies, crushed (about 3 cups)
  • white melting chocolate
  • dark melting chocolate

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Directions:

  1. Mix cream cheese and nutter butter crumbs until combined.
  2. Shape into 48 1-inch balls – place in a shallow pan and freeze for 10 mins.
  3. Dip frozen balls into the melted chocolate and place on a pan lined with wax paper.
  4. Drizzle white and dark chocolate over the dipped balls for decoration.
  5. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.  Keep refrigerated and enjoy!

 

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Recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen.  If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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No Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake

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Don’t you just love when penny pinching makes you a wee bit resourceful, and the results turn out fantastic?

 

(Me too.)

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Last week my sweet boy turned sixteen.

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Sixteen.

 

 

However, over the weekend we’d purchased a new car (finally retiring my 10-year-old-190,000-mile-mini-van ~ eek!), and I’ve been determined to really be wise with our finances. (We were able to purchase our new-to-us-car using cash which is the coolest feeling ever. But, shelling out that much cash that’s been saved hurts just a bit!)

 

So, I decided I was absolutely not going to buy anything we didn’t need for at least a few weeks.

 

And then I remembered that I needed a cake for my cute kid’s birthday.

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I went through my pantry, fridge and freezer to try to come up some genius plan, and remembered this E’clair cake a friend of mine made for us years ago.

 

It usually calls for cool whip, but I only had Kroger Reddi Whip in the fridge, so decided to make that work.

Goodness, that boy of mine was in heaven.

 

In fact, he asked this weekend if I could make him some e’clair cake again.

 

The moral of the story?

 

Get a little creative with what you already have before spending more moo-lah ($40 for a cookie cake? No thanks!) and your family might just enjoy that little penny-pinched-splurge too.

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Directions

Mix together cool whip or reddi whip, pudding and milk. Layer graham crackers on bottom of 9×13 baking dish.

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Next, spread half pudding mixture over graham crackers, then cover with another layer of graham crackers.

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Spread remaining pudding mixture over graham crackers, then top with another layer of graham crackers.

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Pop frosting in microwave and heat for about 30 seconds. Then spread carefully over graham cracker layer.

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Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, then serve.

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No Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake

Ingredients:

2 packages instant vanilla pudding
2 cans of dairy whipped topping (or one tub of non-dairy whipped topping)
3 cups milk
1 package graham crackers
1 container chocolate frosting

Directions:

  1. In a bowl mix together the pudding mix, whipped topping, and milk until completely combined.
  2. Place a single layer of graham crackers in the bottom of a 9×13″ dish. Spread half the pudding mixture over the graham crackers. Top the pudding layer with another layer of graham crackers.  Add the other half of the pudding mixture and top that with a final layer of graham crackers.
  3. Spread frosting over the graham cracker layer all the way up to the edges of the pan. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

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Looking for more dessert recipes?

Recipe adapted from All Recipes.  If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Small Batch Chocolate & Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Bars

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Need a quick treat for just a few? I love this recipe for a small batch of peanut butter rice crispy bars ~ perfect when you just want a quick treat in a small batch!

 

 

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Ingredients:

1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/4 cup corn syrup or honey
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/8 cup sugar
2-3 tbs of chocolate chips

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Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a small microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir the ingredients and microwave another 20-30 seconds.
  2. Remove the mixture from the microwave, stir again and then add in the 1 cup of crispy rice cereal. Stir to combine the ingredients and coat the cereal.
  3. Drop by round spoonful onto wax paper or evenly spread in a small baking dish like this one. Let set and then cut into bars.
  4. Serves 1-2.

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More easy snack options:

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3 Ingredient Easter Nests

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You guys …  are you looking for something quick and easy to add to your Easter menu?  These cute nests took just ten minutes to make!!

 

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Here’s what you’ll need . . .

 

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Melt candy coating in the microwave and dump in the chow mein noodles …

 

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Drop by tablespoons onto parchment paper, add Cadbury mini eggs (I love those!)

 

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And use them to decorate your table.

 

You’re welcome. 🙂 

 

Hope your family is enjoying a wonderful Easter weekend!

 

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Easter Nests

  • 1 lb of candy coating (vanilla or chocolate)
  • 1 bag of Chow Mein Noodles
  • Cadbury Mini Eggs

Directions:

  1. Microwave the candy melt for 1 minuet.  Stir and melt again in 15 second intervals until completely melted.
  2. Dump the chow mein noodles into the melted chocolate and mix until they are all evenly coated.
  3. Drop the “nests” onto parchment paper using a spoon.
  4. Place two Cadbury mini eggs on top and you are done!

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Whoopie Pie Cake

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Oh my word.

 

You have got to make this cake.

 

It’s got everything you need rolled right up in one perfect cake, and your family will rave about your baking skills. 🙂 

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Start off with a chocolate cake mix (substituting the oil for unsweetened applesauce, and adding an extra egg – I forgot to include a picture of the applesauce in the picture!)

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Now, beat up the whoopie pie filling.  Mix in butter and marshmallow cream until it’s nice and fluffy . . .  then add in the powdered sugar until combined.

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Dump all that whoopie pie filling on the first layer of your cake and spread around evenly.

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Top with your second layer and get ready to make the ganache.

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Ganache is so easy to make ~ don’t let the name fool you (just two ingredients!)  Heat up your half and half on the stove and just before it starts to boil, remove it from the heat.

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Dump in your chocolate chips and stir gently …

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… until they’re all completely melted.

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Spread that perfect ganache all over the cake, and let your friends share what an amazing cook you are.

 

You’re welcome. 🙂 

 

Yummmmmm!

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Whoopie Pie Cake

CAKE
  • 1 box of chocolate cake mix (prepared per package directions – subbing unsweetened applesauce for the oil and adding one extra egg)
WHOOPIE PIE FILLING
  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups marshmallow fluff
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
GANACHE
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Whoopie Pie Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Spray or Grease 2 9×13 pans.
  3. Prepare cake according to package directions, subbing unsweetened applesauce for the oil and adding one extra egg.
  4. Split the batter between the 2 pans and bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Let the cakes cool completely.

Whoopie Pie Filling

  1. Mix the butter and marshmallow fluff together until smooth.
  2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar until smooth.
  3. Spread the whoopie pie filling on top of one of the cakes. Top this with the other cake.

Whoopie Pie Ganache

  1. In small saucepan bring the half and half to an almost boil.
  2. Quickly remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips until smooth.
  3. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and spread evenly over the cake.

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Recipe adapted from Cookies & Cups.

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Scandalous Grace Cake

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Years ago, I heard Julie Ann Barnhill speak about her book Scandalous Grace at a MOPS conference.

 

She made the analogy that scandalous grace was like her grandmother’s beloved cake recipe. Lavished with mounds of Philly cream cheese frosting, grace was simply abundant.

 

Since then, every single time I think of grace, a picture of a big ole’ slice of chocolate cake comes to mind. 

 

So Saturday afternoon, as I baked my daughter’s 13th birthday cake, of course I thought of grace.

 

{Am I the only girl who thinks about grace when she bakes a cake? Hmph.}

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I was in a hurry for that cake to bake up, and pulled the most luscious, perfect chocolate cake out of the oven just a wee bit too early.

 

After a few moments I looked over to see those perfectly plump cake rounds fall just a bit in the center.

 

Then a little bit more.

 

And within just a few minutes, they were thoroughly depressed.

 

The perfect cake that I’d spent over an hour preparing wasn’t quite perfect any more.

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But, out came the grace.

 

I whipped up the frosting.

 

Not just a smidgen, but gobs of perfect chocolate buttercream and a little Oreo-filled-frosting too. 

 

Once the first layer plopped out on its plate I doled out the frosting.

 

A little cavern where it fell a pinch further?

 

Heap on a little more grace. 

 

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{Topped with a few semi-sweet-morsels to hide extra flaws too.}

 

Adding on the second layer, I knew I’d find a few more holes to fill in. 

 

A dollop here, a smattering there, this cake’s grace was abundant.

 

Scandalous, really. 

 

In fact, all those extra imperfections simply made way for a heaving pile of amazing grace.

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You’ve never tasted a cake so perfectly delightful.

 

And just like that cake . . .

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Our imperfections.

 

Our mess.

 

Our holes.

 

Our weakness.

 

His grace fills them all in.

 

It fills in the empty spots where I’ll never be good enough.

 

it inflates the sullen areas too worn down to keep going.

 

It smooths over each hollow and blemish completely.

 

It plumps everything right up perfectly ~

 

deliciously

 

~ and turns this mess of a momma into His masterpiece.

 

Thank.

 

heavens.

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And it makes us want to do better.

 

To be fuller.

 

To live richer.

 

To lavish abundant grace on everyone around us, because we’ve so generously experienced it ourselves.

 

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So go ahead.

 

Layer on the grace.

 

Whip it up fully and plop it down on everyone you meet. 

 

And share grace completely, because He first showered it on you.

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‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’ 2 Corinthians 12:9 

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Scandalous Grace Cake, adapted from Taste’s Better from Scratch Chocolate Cake with Oreo Frosting

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Ingredients:

CAKE

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup boiling water

OREO FILLING

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (to sprinkle in the middle)
  • 6-8 Oreo cookies, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (to sprinkle on the top)

CHOCOLATE FROSTING

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk, or regular milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray two 9-inch round cake pans well with non-stick cooking spray .
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add oil, eggs, vanilla, milk and sour cream and mix until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully pour in the boiling water. Beat on high speed for 1 minute until batter is nice and fluffy.
  3. Pour the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake for 28-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Remove the cakes from oven and allow them to cool completely.
  5. To make the Oreo filling, beat butter with electric mixer about 3 minutes.  Add powdered sugar, vanilla and milk and mix well.  Fold in crumbled Oreo cookie pieces.
  6. Spread Oreo filling over the top of one of the cake rounds and sprinkle with half of the mini chocolate chips then top with the second cake round.
  7. To make the chocolate frosting, add cocoa powder to a bowl with the melted butter and mix well to combine. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating until you reach your desired spreading consistency.  Stir in vanilla.
  8. Cover the cakes with chocolate frosting and decorate with whole Oreos and mini chocolate chips.

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scandalousgracecake

Need a little extra grace today? Here you go . . . 

Recipe adapted from Tastes Better from Scratch.  If you need a little more menu inspiration, go HERE

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Bites

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My husband’s office is nuts and each person brings in a homemade batch of cookies to share each week before Christmas, and his co-worker Jordan was sweet enough to share the recipe with me!

James said they were delicious (high praise from him – he’s usually pretty picky), and I can’t wait to try them out. However, they may have to wait until next Christmas – I’m just about ready for some new year’s dieting to start but this is the last dessert I’ll share for at least a week or two. 🙂 


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Peanut Butter Chocolate Bites (Adapted from Taste of Home)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 milk chocolate candy bars (1.55 oz each)
  • Optional – colored sprinkles

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Directions

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1.  In small bowl, combine 1/2 cup peanut butter, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until smooth. Set aside.

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2.  Melt the chocolate chips, candy bars and remaining 1/2 cup peanut butter. Stir until smooth.

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3.  Set up paper-lined miniature muffin cups to prepare treats in, either in a muffin tin or on a plate.

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4.  Drop enough chocolate mixture into each muffin cup to cover the bottom (1/4 full).

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5.  Roll peanut butter interior picture into small balls (1/4 – 1/2”) and add 1 ball to the chocolate layer of each treat.

6.  Fill the remaining muffin cup with chocolate mixture and decorate with sprinkles if desired.

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Store in refrigerator until ready to eat! Makes roughly 30 treats.



 

 

 

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12 Christmas Treats You Need to Make This Year

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You all know I love (looooove) me some Christmas baking, so I pulled together a roundup of our family’s favorite Christmas treats! While we love just about everything Christmas around here, baking is probably the thing I most enjoy during the Christmas season.

 

(In fact, I snagged a ba-jillion bags of Nestle last week at Kroger. ‘Nuf said.) 

 

I’d love to hear what your family makes this time of year too ~ leave a comment to share! Here’s a peek at our favorites . . .

 

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1. Christmas Crack

This has been the number ONE recipe on PPP for several weeks now.  It’s so worth your time (and so simple) and EVERYONE you share this with will thank you (and hound you for the recipe)!

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2. Slow Cooker Christmas Candy

Such an easy way to make delicious treats for teachers, mail carriers, neighbors, and just about anyone on your list.

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3. Christmas Treat:  Buckeye Balls

We love these and just made a double batch this week to share. So good!

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4. Honey Bun Cake {aka Happy Birthday Jesus Cake}

This is by far our family’s favorite Christmas tradition. I only make it once a year, but it’s just perfect.

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5. Peppermint Glaze Chocolate Cake

This one is so simple but looks just perfect. Use a box mix to save time this year!

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6. Perfect Peanut Butter Fudge

The. best. peanut. butter. fudge. ever. I promise.

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7.  Easy Marshmallow Fudge

This one has just three ingredients, and if you have older kids at home they can make it without any help. Love that!

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8.  Almost Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

We usually make these during Christmas week as a special treat. My kids love my almost-homemade-cinnamon rolls anytime of year, but after seeing my friend Jen make hers in the shape of a Christmas tree, I had to tweak our recipe too for the Christmas season!

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9.  Muddy Buddy Chex Mix

All you need is a jar of peanut butter, some chocolate chips, a box of Chex mix and a bunch of powdered sugar. Honestly this is one of my kids favorites and they devoured ours when we made it over the weekend.

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10.  White Chocolate Gingerbread Bars

This is a Martha Stewart recipe, but they’ve got so much real butter in them that you’d swear they were Paula Deen’s. Super easy to make and I love that you can cook them in one big batch.

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11. Best Chocolate Chip Cookies {EVER}

I’m not kidding, these are the best chocolate chip cookies you will ever eat. For real. It’s the only recipe I have down by memory, and I’ve even tripled the batch before in my Kitchenaid. By far the best cookie recipe around!

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12.  {Simple} Pumpkin Quick Bread

This one’s perfect to put in the mailbox for our mail carrier, drop in the front office of our local school or just enjoy ourselves. It’s so easy and makes several loaves, so you’ll have plenty to keep and share. (Or, just keep.) 🙂

 

What recipe is the one your family just has to have at Christmas? I’d love to hear ~ always looking for a few more to add to our baking list each year!

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5 Ingredient Buckeyes

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If you haven’t made peanut butter buckeyes before, you have got to add them to your list this year! They’re a little time consuming, but soooooo worth the effort. Even before moving to Ohio we loved them, but now that we really are in Buckeye country we’ve decided they’re one of those things we’ve just got to make. 🙂

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Here’s my favorite recipe for these . . .

4 Ingredient Buckeyes

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 pound powdered sugar (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
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Directions
  1. Cream together peanut butter and butter in mixer.
  2. Add 2 cups powdered sugar, and mix until blended.  Then add additional powdered sugar as needed to make the peanut butter mixture stiff enough to mold into peanut butter balls and stay on a toothpick when dipped into chocolate.
  3. Roll into balls and refrigerate until firm (about 15 minutes.)buckeye2
  4. Meanwhile, using double boiler (or makeshift double boiler like mine shown above), heat water to simmering. Then melt chocolate chips and shortening in bowl sitting on top of the simmering water. Stir frequently until smooth   buckeye3
  5. Using toothpick, dip peanut butter balls into chocolate leaving some peanut butter showing at the top to resemble buckeyes, then set on wax paper.
  6. Shake off excess chocolate.

buckeye47. To hide your toothpick mark, smooth over holes before refrigerating,  then refrigerate until hardened.  Yummmm!

 

christmascrack

Looking for more Christmas recipes to try out this Christmas?  Here are a few of our favorites . . .

 

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