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Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Have you ever seen a recipe online and think “I really need to make that someday” … and then seen different versions of the same thing again like 30,000 times and have that same thought every time you see one … and then one day you FINALLY do just break down and make it, and you think to yourself, “my gosh that was SO easy … why did I wait so long to make that?”

That’s exactly what happened with these granola bars. They are so simple to make, I literally threw them together while I was in a conference call (and it was one of the kind of calls I had to actually participate in, not just listen …). And they’re SO good! These granola bars are way more flavorful and chocolatey than any of those store-bought granola bars. They are nice and chewy with a little bit of contrasting crunch from the nuts.

Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Adapted from Couponing & Cooking. After I mixed up the peanut butter and honey from her recipe, I thought it was way too sweet, so I added more peanut butter and then up’d the amount of oats too. Also, I cut down the amount of oil. I’m not sure it’s really necessary at all, but remember this was my first attempt at making granola bars so I didn’t want to stray TOO far from the recipe!

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 cup high quality chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (or other nuts)
  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup finely chopped dried figs, apricots, or other dried fruit  (I used figs)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan on medium heat, mix together peanut butter, oil and honey. Heat and stir until completely combined.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips and cocoa powder till the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Stir in the sunflower seeds, oats, and chopped fruit.
  4. Spray your pan(s) with cooking spray. I filled up 12 mini-muffin cups, then I pressed the rest into my 9×9 inch square pan. If you put this all into one 9×9-inch pan, they are going to be much thicker than your typical granola bar.
  5. Chill in the fridge for a while until they’ve firmed up, then cut into bars and enjoy! Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. (I think they’d probably be ok left out of the fridge too, but they will probably keep longer if you chill them.)

Chewy No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Katherine Martinelli’s Fig Bloghop and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Apricot Energy Balls

Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Apricot Energy Balls

The idea for these has been floating around in my head for weeks … I wanted to make a little ball of goodness that would be great for quick energy on the go, something with protein and fruit and a few carbs so it would give my body lots of the things it needs before or after a good workout.

And then of course I had to dip it in chocolate … for all those good antioxidants, right?  … it makes me think of a little thing my friend SueAnn Gleason of Chocolate for Breakfast says, “Dip it in chocolate … it’ll be fine.”

Oh yes, these are fine. I think I’m addicted …

Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Apricot Energy Balls

Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Apricot Energy Balls

  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped into small bits
  • 1 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coffee liqueur (Kahlua)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 to 6 ounces light cream cheese (I think fat-free cream cheese would work too, if you want to decrease the fat content)
  • A good quality dark chocolate bar or dark chocolate chips, for dipping

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients except the chocolate until everything is well mixed. They might fight you a little, but eventually the mixture will become a sort of thick paste that you can form into balls.
  2. Form balls and place them on a cookie sheet or platter. Refrigerate for a couple hours or until firm.
  3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler. Dip the balls in chocolate and place them on waxed paper. Let them sit until the chocolate sets up. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. If they last that long …

Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Apricot Energy Balls

This recipe was shared on Full Plate ThursdaysFoodie FridaysKatherine Martinelli’s DIY blog hop, and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Double Chocolate Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies (Secret Recipe Club)

Double Chocolate Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

It’s my second month of Secret Recipe Club and (as my kids would say) I am such a FAIL! I had a trip to California for work and I thought “I will have plenty of time to do this when I get back” … I so forgot that it’s DECEMBER and there are a million extra things that need to get done this month and on top of all that, my son’s birthday and then on top of THAT we had some other crazy things happen …

So here it is the night before our posting date and I have not even started! Well, that’s not totally true, I did look through the blog I was assigned to before my trip, and I picked out some recipes I wanted to try. But with the rush before Christmas and the interesting turn of events in our lives this past couple weeks, I just completely forgot to shop for ingredients, and make it. So I am staying up late to make this and get it photographed and up … (but I DID swap out the crappy late night photo for some good ones in the morning!)

My assigned blog this month was My Catholic Kitchen. She is chronologically going through a list of 50 women game changers and featuring each of these women. I think that’s pretty cool. This one is a recipe from Food52.

In a rush to get this done, I am making cookies. Because I love chocolate, and oatmeal, and nuts, and this recipe has all of those. I modified it a bit, but not TOO much … I added the cinnamon because I love cinnamon with chocolate. These cookies are AMAZING!

Double Chocolate Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Double Chocolate Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

From My Catholic Kitchen

  •  1/2 cup butter
  •   1/2 cup brown sugar
  •  1 large egg
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  •  1/4 cup cocoa powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  1/2 cup oats
  •  1/2 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate (I used Ghiradelli chocolate, just like she did!)
  •  1/4 cup chopped nuts

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla and mix until everything is nicely creamed together.
  3. Add the  flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Stir in the oats, nuts, and the dark chocolate.
  5. Drop spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake for about 12 minutes.
Double Chocolate Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

See what the other Secret Recipe Club members have made! Click the image below …


Chocolate Mocha Amaretto Rum Balls

Chocolate Mocha Amaretto Rum Balls

If you are looking for the perfect gift for someone special in your life … or you need something quick and elegant to bring to a (grownup) holiday party, this is it. That is, if they like rum, and chocolate, and amaretto and nuts.

I mean, who doesn’t like those things? Okay, I know there are people who don’t like chocolate and frankly I just think that’s weird. (But my mom is one of them and she is the best mom ever … love you mom! … even if you are weird … ) I know there are people who don’t like nuts, too. My kids fall in that category. But for those people that DO, they are going to LOVE these little balls of yumminess.

These little balls combine some of my very favorite flavors. And since they use dates instead of sugar, they are healthier for you: dates are rich in fiber, and they contain many health benefiting tannins. Tannins are known to have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic (prevent easy bleeding tendencies) properties. Plus dates are rich in vitamin A, iron, potassium, minerals and antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin*. Pair that with the health benefits of the dark chocolate and the healthy oils in the nuts and you (almost) have a lovely little health-ball! All right, there is still sugar and alcohol so it’s not quite health food, but my point is, you don’t have to feel TOO guilty when you eat these beauties.

Chocolate Mocha Amaretto Rum Balls

Chocolate Mocha Amaretto Rum Balls

Makes about 35 rum balls

  • 2 cups  chocolate graham crackers, crushed into crumbs (about 1 1/2 sleeves of crackers)
  • 1 cup finely ground nuts (I used mostly almonds and a few walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup oats, ground fine in a food processor or handi chopper
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted and processed in a food processor until the dates form a paste
  • 1/4 cup coconut rum
  • 1/8 cup amaretto
  • 1/8 cup coffee liqueur
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, melted (I used half of a 4-oz. Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chocolate bar … if you want a less intense chocolate taste, use milk or semi-sweet chocolate.)
  • For topping: finely chopped nuts, raw (turbinado) sugar, powdered sugar, or melted white chocolate

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the cracker crumbs, oats and nuts.
  2. Stir in the liquors, dates and vanilla. The dates will be tough to mix in, but break them into small bits and eventually they will.
  3. Add the melted chocolate, and stir until thoroughly combined.
  4. Form the mixture into balls about 3/4 inch in diameter, and roll each ball in finely chopped nuts, raw sugar, powdered sugar, or drizzle them with melted white chocolate.
  5. If you did the chocolate drizzle, allow the chocolate to set, then store in an air-tight container or package in pretty tins for a lovely gift.

Chocolate Mocha Amaretto Rum Balls

* Date nutrition facts are from Nutrition and You.

This recipe was shared at Midnight Maniac Meatless MondaysWonka WednesdaysTastetastic Thursdays, and the Secret Recipe Club Cookie Party.


Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Munch

Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Munch

One of our favorite treats at Christmas is to dip pretzels. I like mine with white chocolate and peppermint. My daughter likes just white chocolate, or sometimes we will drizzle the white chocolate pretzels with milk chocolate or sprinkles.

I meant to make lots of treats to bring on my trip for my friends at the office, but I was running out of time. So I had to simplify.

This is so much faster than dipping all the pretzels individually. You just spread them in a pan, drizzle them with melted white almond bark, and then sprinkle with crushed candy canes. I threw in some chocolate graham cracker pieces. Result: the same sweet and salty, chocolate minty taste, but without all the work–and it’s a great way to use up broken graham crackers and pretzels.

Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Munch

Peppermint Pretzel Munch

  • Chocolate Graham Crackers, broken into pieces
  • Pretzels
  • Almond Bark (I used 6 squares for my batch)
  • Peppermint Candy Canes, crushed

Directions:

  1. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and lay out broken chocolate graham crackers randomly across the pan.
  2. Add the pretzels, interspersing amongst the crackers to create a blanket of crackers and pretzels.
  3. Melt the almond bark or white chocolate chips. I used a plastic spoon to stir them so I could make a peppermint spoon.
  4. Drizzle across the cracker/pretzel blanket.
  5. Immediately sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
  6. Allow the mixture to cool, then break into pieces.
  7. Dip the spoon you used to stir the almond bark into the crushed candy canes and allow to sit until the chocolate has hardened. The spoon is great to include in a gift basket with some hot chocolate mix or coffee and a nice mug. I think it would be REALLY cool to do this with some funky antique real spoons.

White Chocolate Peppermint Spoon

This recipe was shared on Favorite Holiday RecipesTotally Tasty Tuesdays, Wonka WednesdaysHoliday Treats Week, Katherine Martinelli’s Mint Blog Hop and EveryDay Mom’s Meals.


Cookie Bloghop: Chocolate Graham Toffee Crunch

Chocolate Graham Toffee Crunch

I’m making food gifts for the holidays. This one isn’t healthy but it tastes really really really good. Like addictively, dangerously good.

If you make this, this is what I recommend: take a test piece or two or three, then put it in an airtight tin right away as soon as it’s done. Hide it away to keep yourself and your family members from eating it all. Give only small bits to people for gifts. Not too much … you wouldn’t want to be held responsible for any crazy candy-binges. By all means, do NOT tell them where you found the recipe, or how easy it was to make.

Oh please don’t make this if you or your intended recipient is trying to lose weight or has diabetes or a heart condition. We should all indulge occasionally, but you may have a hard time controlling yourself around this toffee. It is SO good. It doesn’t help that I’m a toffee fanatic and we always have toffee at Christmastime.

There. You have been warned.

Chocolate Graham Toffee Crunch

Chocolate Graham Toffee Crunch

Recipe from Hot Pink Apron who adapted it from David Lebowitz.com and Smitten Kitchen.com

  • About 20 chocolate graham crackers
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
  • big pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate)
  • Chopped almonds and/or pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet (approximately 11 x 17″, 28 x 42cm) completely with foil, making sure the foil goes up and over the edges. Cover the foil with a sheet of parchment paper. (I had trouble with the paper sticking to the toffee. I would recommend foregoing the paper and foil altogether and just generously spraying or buttering the baking sheet. If you have a silicone baking mat, use that instead. In fact, I’m thinking about getting myself one just for making this!)
  2. Line the bottom of the sheet with your graham crackers, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces.  Do your best to create a solid blanket of crackers across the baking sheet.
  3. In a large (3-4 quart) heavy duty saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil.  Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, add the salt and vanilla, and pour over graham crackers evenly, spreading with a heatproof spatula if needed.
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble up but make sure it’s not burning every once in a while. If it is in spots, remove from oven and reduce the heat to 325F (160C), then replace the pan.
  5. Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread with an offset spatula.  At this point, you can add any toppings you so desire.
  6. Let cool completely, then break into pieces and store in an airtight container until ready to serve. It should keep well for about one week.

Chocolate Graham Toffee Crunch

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysMidnight Maniac Meatless Mondays,  Frugal Days, Sustainable WaysGooseberry Patch Baking up Memories!Wonka Wednesdays, the Newlyweds Recipe Linky and the #Cookielove Bloghop.

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Berry White Chocolate Scones

Raspberry White Chocolate Scones

There is a local coffee shop in our town that makes the best raspberry white chocolate scones. They only serve them on weekend mornings and if you don’t get there early enough, you won’t get a scone because they ALWAYS run out of them.

I used to crave those scones, and I would seriously pout if they ran out of them. It was funny though, my kids would not even touch them. They “didn’t like scones”, but they had never even tried them.

This recipe changed everything. Now I make scones at home, and I don’t know how I ever even got them to try them, but my kids both love them (although my son has now decided he likes them plain, without berries or chips, so often I mix up the batter without berries or chips and take half of it and shape up some vanilla scones just for him). I pick mulberries and freeze them just to make these scones in the middle of winter when we’re dying for a taste of summer. My family, my friends, my neighbors all know me for these scones.

I’ve made these scones many, many times and I have tried both raspberries and mulberries in the recipe. I’ve found that raspberries tend to fall apart, but mulberries hold their shape. My friend tried them with blueberries and she said that was really good. I wonder how they would be with cranberries? That would be lovely to make for the holidays, wouldn’t it?

These scones are the perfect thing for a lazy Sunday morning like today.

Mulberry White Chocolate Scones

Berry White Chocolate Scones

Adapted from Dannon’s Summer Berry Scones

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into little pieces
  • 2 cups berries (mulberries, raspberries, blueberries)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt (or plain yogurt)
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • about 1/2 c. white chocolate chips (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Stir in sugar.
  4. Add the little pieces of butter and work it into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the butter chunks are all broken down and the mixture resembles a coarse meal. (I use my fingers–it’s messy, but fun!)
  5. Stir in berries.
  6. In a separate bowl combine egg and yogurt and mix until blended.
  7. Stir into flour mixture and mix until just blended (dough will be soft and wet).
  8. Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly 3-4 times. Pat or roll dough into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough into wedges and place on a cooking sheet. Sprinkle scones with the coarse sugar.
  9. Bake scones for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.

Mulberry White Chocolate Scones

This recipe was featured on Home Savvy A to Z Homemade Monday:


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