Chocolate Pretzel Buttons

In honor of Valentine’s Day coming next week….this holiday of all things love and chocolate I have a perfect little treat!    You can make these in bulk and give them to all of your special someones!

A friend of mine (Kelly)gave me this idea when I was trying to figure out something cute and edible for teachers this  past Christmas.    Once I made them, I was hooked!   They are so easy, you can do any combo of chocolates and they are the perfect combo of sweet and salty!  AND you can use any color M&M so these can be used for holidays, birthdays, sporting events, and they are still so cute!    So far I’ve done them for Christmas, for fun and for Valentine’s Day and they always get rave reviews!  I’ve done them with HUGS instead of KISSES and I’ve done them with dark chocolate and milk chocolate!    These have milk chocolate KISSES and dark chocolate M&Ms (not my first choice, but I couldn’t find regular and didn’t want to use peanut butter.)

Chocolate Pretzel Buttons

 Bag of pretzels (the square ones that look like little windows)

Bag of Hershey Kisses (or Hugs)

Bag of M&Ms (which ever colors you want)

Pam

 

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

Spray Pam on baking sheet.

Lay pretzels on baking sheet — I get about 70-80 per sheet

Unwrap and put a Hershey Kiss on each pretzel

Place in oven (middle rack) for 3-4 minutes….keeping an eye that the kisses don’t melt and have their shape

Remove from oven and gently push an M&M into the center of the kiss

Place baking sheet in refrigerator until chocolate hardens (about an hour)

Store in air tight container or fridge

 ENJOY!!

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Thanks, Kelly!!!

~gianna~

Red Velvet Cake

Recently I had a discussion with my bestie about favorite desserts.   We were talking about if we were going to buy each other a dessert, for each other’s birthday….would we know what to get?   I guessed carrot cake or coconut cream pie for her…..and I was right AND she picked red velvet for me and she was correct!   Red velvet cake (well red velvet anything) is probably my most favorite dessert of all time.  Funny thing is I don’t like chocolate…and red velvet is cocoa based…..BUT it’s for sure my favorite!  I think when it’s paired with a cream cheese frosting….I’m in heaven!  Plus who doesn’t love that bright red cake/white frosting combo.  It’s just looks FUN!

And with Valentine’s Day right around the corner….I’ll be posting a bunch of red velvet/dessert recipes for the occasion!   Give them a try on your loved ones…..they will fall in love.

One of my all time favorite red velvet cake recipes comes from Bakerella.  Def check her out…. for all your baking favorites.  She’s truly amazing!  I’ve made her cake many times over the past few years and it’s always raved about!    I’ve made other recipes, but none are quite like hers……moist (I know…..I hate that word too) and delicious.  And her cream cheese frosting  will send you over the edge!

WOW your love this Valentine’s Day with this red velvet cake recipe!  ❤

Red Velvet Cake

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. red food coloring

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans. 

Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Add remaining liquid ingredients and stir together with whisk until blended. Set aside. 

Place all the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir together really good with another wire whisk. 

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high for about a minute or until completely combined. 

Pour into cake pans and then drop the pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. 

Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

After about ten minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack. I also cover in plastic wrap while the cakes cool. 

Then make the frosting. 

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups confectioners’ sugar

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Sift sugar and set aside. 

Beat cream cheese and butter on high until creamy. Add vanilla. 

Then, add the sugar in batches. Scrape down the sides in between each addition. 

And frost. 

ENJOY!!!!

red velvet

I can’t forget a shout out to my sister-in-law and my cousin  today!!!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GIRLS!!!  xoxoxo

~gianna~

Soft Pretzels

We had a snow day yesterday and since we’ve had so many snow days this winter I’m running out of things to do with the kids….we’ve baked, cooked, crafted, watched movies, played in the snow….and today we made homemade soft pretzels!  YUMMY!  They are a bit time consuming, but a perfect thing to do on a snow day!   It’s like playing with edible playdoh…..so we are crafting and eating at the same time!  BONUS!!!   And to up the ante even more…..for anyone on weight watchers or watching their weight…..these little gems are only 1 point each and delicious!  Get your littles involved too….mine love making different shapes!  We made hearts, figure 8s (or infinity symbols) and of course pretzel shapes!   We were feeling extra fun today…so we made a double batch!  

Soft Pretzels

1/8 cup hot water

1 package active dry yeast

1 1/3 warm water

1/3 cup brown sugar

4+ cups flour

Coarse kosher salt

Baking soda

Butter or shortening (to generously grease cookie sheets)

******************************************

In a large bowl mix together hot water and yeast until the yeast dissolves.  Stir in the warm water and brown sugar and mix until the brown sugar dissolves.

Slowly add 4 cups of flour, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the mixture is smooth and does not stick to the sides of the bowl.

Lightly flour counter. Dip your hands into extra flour. Knead the dough until it is stretchy and smooth. (Push it down and away from you with the palms of your hands, turning the dough as you work)

Line cookie sheets with foil and generously with butter or shortening. Sprinkle greased cookie sheet(s) with kosher salt. Preheat oven to 475°. (It is very important that you grease the cookie sheets very well)

Using liquid measuring cup fill a large saucepan at least 1/2 full of water. For each 1 cup of water, add 1 tbsp baking soda.

Divide the dough into equal sized pieces.

 Roll the dough into a rope 14″ long and as thick as your thumb. Bend the dough into a U shape. (if you have trouble rolling the dough into a rope slightly wet your hands and try again).

 Cross one end of the rope over the other one. The ropes should cross about three inches from the tips.

OR form into any shape you want!

Twist the crossed ends, making a full turn. Fold the ends back, towards the middle of the U.

Open the ends slightly to form a pretzel shape. Press the ends into the dough firmly.

Bring water in saucepan to a gentle boil (not too many bubbles) Use pancake turner or a scoop & drain to lower each pretzel into the saucepan. Count slowly to 30. Then lift the pretzel onto the greased and salted cookie sheet (shaking off excess water back into the saucepan). Repeat until all the pretzels are done.

Sprinkle some kosher salt on top of the pretzels and put them in preheated oven.

Bake for 8 minutes or until the pretzels are golden.

**If you have a KA mixer, you can do all of this in there, and skip the kneading part. It makes things much easier! I used the mixer thing to mix it all then the hook to knead it all!!!!

ENJOY!!!

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~gianna~

Lemon & Wine Salmon

Whenever I am asked, “Where did you learn to cook?”  My answer is simple……”My Nana and my Mom are 2 of the best cooks, EVER and they taught me everything I know!”  That’s 90% true….the other 10% comes from my love of cooking and other bloggers and friends who give me yummy recipes!  🙂

This recipe is one of my Nana’s recipes.   We eat a lot of fish in our house (mostly salmon, shrimp, scallops, tilapia), but salmon is one of our favorites.  My kids gobble it up, which makes it a great dinner choice for us!  This recipe is one of our favorites, and while I definitely do it’s justice, I’ve got nothing on Nana!

1 pound filet of salmon (skin removed)

Half a sick of butter

1/4c white cooking wine (or any white wine you use to cook with)

1 lemon

garlic powder

paprika

 

Preheat oven to 375°

Grease bottom of baking dish with butter.

Wash salmon and pat dry with paper towels.

Place salmon in baking dish.

Pour wine over salmon.

Squeeze lemon over salmon.

Sprinkle garlic powder and paprika.

Place in oven; uncovered for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

 

ENJOY!!

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~gianna~

Are you Ready for Some Football??

Seattle_Seahawks

The big day is finally here!!!   And we are having a party!  My family is split this year….my youngest daughter (Ava) and I are hoping for a Seahawks win and my husband and older daughter (Olivia) are hoping the Broncos can pull it off!   Should be exciting!!!

What’s on the menu, you ask?  Well…..I’ll be making things I’ve already posted on here and adding a few more surprises!  This year we will be having:

Pepperoni Bread

Wings

Sloppy Joe Sandwiches — NJ Style (much different than the rest of the world) — Recipe Coming Soon

Bacon & Cheese Dip — Recipe Coming Soon

Artichoke Dip (made by a friend)

Pigs in a Blanket (made by friend)

Football Themed Cupcakes (made by a friend)

Snickers Dip

I’m ready for some food….and football…are you?

What’s on your menu for the Super Bowl???

Who are you rooting for?

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~gianna~

 

 

It’s a Jersey Thing

In honor of New Jersey (YES…..It’s being played in New Jersey, NOT New York) hosting the Super Bowl tomorrow, I decided to post a recipe that’s popular here.  And just because everyone’s asking and talking about it……This Jersey Girl and JETS fan will be sporting my Seahawks shirt (#25)!!!  Go Seahawks!!!

This is a great thing to make after a night of drinking…so maybe Monday morning after the big game!  

Here in NJ we have one of the most delicious things you’ll ever lay your mouth on.  In North Jersey we call it taylor ham, egg and cheese in South Jersey they call it pork roll, egg and cheese.  It’s also popularly known as “TEC” because this is what is written on the wrapper after it’s wrapped up to go with your coffee, iced tea, 1/2 & 1/2 (known around the world as an Arnold Palmer, but in my parts a 1/2 & 1/2).  You can’t even get taylor ham/pork roll in many parts of the USA….shocking that some people have never had the pleasure of enjoying this NJ delicacy.

So what IS taylor ham and pork roll, you ask????   Well Taylor Ham is actually a brand of pork roll…..just like Q-Tip is a brand of cotton swab or Band-Aid is a brand of adhesive bandage.  Pork roll is a breakfast meat…similar to ham, but when pan-fried in a skillet or on a griddle, tastes much different.   It gets sliced (sometimes it comes sliced already) into a circle and then gets 3 or 4 slits around the circle…to prevent the finished product from curling around the edges.  

Once cut up, you put the pieces onto a hot, buttered griddle or frying pan and cook it for about 5 minutes on each side…or until it’s browned.  On the other side of the pan or griddle crack open your eggs….right on the hot pan!  Cook the eggs however you like them cooked….they are usually served fully fried or over medium (yolk harder), BUT some like it a over-easy and more runny.  You can cook it however you’d like.  

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Once it’s almost cooked to your liking you add the American cheese and let it cook until it’s melted on top of the eggs!

Next you simply layer it all on top of a hard roll, a bagel, a croissant..I prefer mine on a hard roll and add some salt, pepper and ketchup (SPK).   When you order one of these sandwiches in NJ…..they will always ask “saltpepperketchup?”   3 words, mumbled into 1, but that any New Jerseyian understands. 


I eat mine with just ketchup…no salt or pepper!  So that’d be “TEC K” in Jersey terms!  I’d say most people get “TEC SPK”. Make sense???  


There really isn’t a specific recipe for this breakfast sandwich…it’s really how you like it!  All you need is


Taylor Ham (pork roll) sliced

Eggs

American Cheese (sliced)

saltpepperketchup

Rolls, bagels….


And voila……THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER!

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~gianna~

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