Tag Archives: Queen of Quick Quantity

10 Simple Chocolate Candy Recipes

Chocolate Almond Bark Recipes

GiveMe Chocolate Recipes

This is a recipe post from the Holiday season two years ago before I stopped eating most chocolate. I now use raw chocolate in my recipes along with raw honey. But for those of you who eat any and all chocolate; these recipes will make your taste buds happy!

Maybe you heard the below rumors two years ago. Fortunately the chocolate price increase was temporary and prices are back to normal.

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I have heard about child labor and even slavery being used for cocoa harvesting. Read more about it at Slavery in the Chocolate Industry. I am thankful for journalists exposing the ugly truth. Hopefully shining light on the truth will force the industry to stop the practice of using children and slaves for profit. I will gladly pay more for my chocolate if it means freedom for people whose lives have value because they are created by God; and loved and precious in His sight.

Now add cocoa plantation owner’s concerns regarding low rainfall expected in their regions in the coming months. Cocoa grows best in climates with high rainfall so a country known for high cocoa production not receiving enough rain will affect the country’s cocoa harvest; meaning a shortage of beans. A shortage of beans could mean a drastic price increase to the chocolate foundries. The chocolate manufacturer will then pass the increase on to us, the consumers. The cost of cocoa butter has risen by 70% in the last twelve months with retail prices increasing by only 7%. The question is how long companies can wait before passing the higher cost on to the consumer; especially dark chocolate lovers. Me!

If you travel the World Wide Web or partake in social networking on Pinterest you have likely read about preppers; people who take precautionary measures to be prepared for catastrophic events. By gathering in advance, supplies and necessities, preppers have a plan to help them survive potential disasters.

Well, as an admitted chocoholic I’ll tell you—I’m taking no chance of chocolate becoming too expensive for me to afford it. Long term or short-term. I am prepared. I am responsible for my children—I must think of my boys. They need chocolate too. If tart and sour candies are ever in jeopardy I will make a run on the store for Riley a survival rationing of Sweet Tarts, Sour Patch Kids and Skittles, but for now her taste buds are safe.

Upon hearing the news of expected price increases and possibly only the wealthy being able to afford chocolate in the near future, I drove straight to Aldi’s where I purchased my affordable favorite Choceur chocolate candy bars; milk chocolate, rich almond chocolate, dark chocolate, dark hazelnut chocolate and Moser Roth Privat Chocolatiers Toffee Crunch. I’m not telling how many but it could last a long time if it absolutely had to. I will fess up to buying a case of chocolate almond bark. Yes, a case. This is in addition to the packages already on hand for my Thanksgiving and Christmas candy making.  A case is only twelve packages after all and it has a longer shelf life than the expiration date suggests.

Chocolate almond bark goes a long way for candy making. When mixed with an array of diverse ingredients you have the ability to produce various candy bar type treats. If you have never tried using almond bark for your holiday baking I will pass on my favorite recipes. I am the queen of quick quantity so you will find these recipes easy to make, faster than baking cookies, and they yield a high number of bite size goodies. I forgot to mention another high point of almond bark; it is inexpensive compared to using chocolate chips for candy making.

I relish thinking half-heartedly of myself as being the Proverbs 31 woman. Here is my spin on it. Proverbs 31:13-15 & 28: Carolyn selects milk chocolate, dark chocolate and almond bark; and works with eager hands. She is like a merchant van bringing her chocolate from Aldi’s. She stays up while it is still the middle of the night; she provides chocolate to her family; but mainly to herself; followed by A.J., Colson and Riley.  Her children arise asking for chocolate and call her tired; but blessed.

The inspired word of Proverbs 31:13-15 & 28 reads:

“She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family

Her children arise and call her blessed;”

I am prepar-r-r-ed! My family shall not run out of chocolate candy options any time soon.

NEEDED SUPPLIES:

Baking with almond bark requires a double boiler. If you do not own a double boiler use two pots of varying sizes or a pot and a metal or glass bowl.

Double Boiler Double Boiler with 2 saucepans Double Boiler using a pot and bowl

A 1 – 1 ½ quart saucepan (which technically is a pot) works beautifully because the chocolate melts deep enough to easily submerge the candy.

If you are mixing ingredients into the pot you will need a 2 ½ quart saucepan (pot) for the almond bark and a larger pot for holding the water. A metal or glass bowl could also be placed on top of the water pot. The technique requires water in the larger bottom pot (approx. 1/3 full of water) with the smaller pot resting on top, You will also need wax or parchment paper and large cookie sheets or trays.

Remove almond bark from package and melt it in a double boiler. (If your packages are a year or two old—beware of crumbling plastic packaging.)

DO NOT ALLOW WATER TO BOIL UP INTO TOP PAN OF CHOCOLATE. DO NOT ADD ANY OTHER INGREDIENT TO ALMOND BARK FOR THINNING PURPOSES. It will become gritty and dry; ruining your candy.

Line cookies sheets and large trays with Wax or Parchment Paper for easy removal of candy & easy clean-up.

When I have removed a batch of candy from the wax paper I turn the paper over and use the other side for the next batch.

Place finished goodies in airtight containers or freezer bags.

All of these candies freeze perfectly; so if do all of your baking before Thanksgiving it will last through the New Year’s celebrations.

I also make the candies in small pieces, 1-2 bites each. This way when I give a tray of cookies, candies and breads for teacher gifts, neighbor gifts and appreciation gifts; the receiver can sample everything without being overwhelmed with sugar. I find this works well for my own holiday trays too since we eat and snack all day long. We can sample everything without grossly overeating to the point of nausea.

All of these recipes may be created with chocolate or vanilla almond bark. I do not consider vanilla bark or white chocolate true chocolate. I only bake with it to cater to non-chocolate lovers and to add color to the cookie/candy trays.

Baking sprinkles, glitters, ground nuts or shaved chocolate may be added to the top of freshly dipped wet chocolates for decoration.

 Chocolate Covered Peanuts(or any nut)

chocolate covered peanuts

Use at least a 2 ½ qt. saucepan/bowl for melting the bark

-1 package Chocolate Almond Bark – melted

-32 ounces Party peanuts or Spanish peanuts stirred into melted chocolate.

You can cook raw peanuts (found in the produce department of the store) in the microwave by cooking 6 minutes; stirring every 2 minutes. If you begin to smell burning peanuts they are beginning to overcook and may be removed from the microwave. They are ready to use in a recipe. Peanuts make my favorite chocolate nut clusters!

Spoon small clusters onto Wax paper lined trays. Keep clusters close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel clusters off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Yields: about 5 dozen small clusters

Chocolate Covered PretzelsKids love these and they are ridiculously easy to make.

Chocolate covered pretzels

-1 package Chocolate or Vanilla Almond Bark – melted

-1 bag Pretzel Twists

Use a fork to fully dip pretzels in melted almond bark. Tap fork on side of pan to remove excess chocolate. Use an extra fork, knife or candy tong to push pretzel off of dipping fork.

Keep pretzels close together on wax paper but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel pretzels off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Chocolate Almond Bark Cookies

Chocolate Almond Bark

Use at least a 2 ½ qt. saucepan/bowl for melting the bark

-1 package Chocolate Almond Bark – melted

-1 ½ cup Peanut Butter – stirred in.

-3 cups Marshmallows – stirred in.

-4 cups Rice Crispies – stirred in.

Spoon small amounts onto Wax paper lined trays using an extra fork, knife or candy tong to push pretzel off of dipping fork.

Keep clusters close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel clusters off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Yields: about 5 dozen cookies

 Oreo Truffles

(I always double the below recipe and use: 2 packages cookies,  2-8 oz. cream cheeses & 1 pkg. almond bark.

oreo truffles

-1 package Oreos, Mint Oreos, or Great Value from Walmart.  ALDI’S brand does NOT work – Place one package of cookies at a time in blender, then add to the cream cheese which has been softened in the microwave.

After mixing Oreos and cream cheese together, cover with plastic wrap & place in fridge or freezer until firm.

-½ package melted Chocolate Almond Bark

Roll mixture into small (3/4 -1 inchI) bite size balls, place onto Wax paper lined trays.

predipped oreo truffles

Return to fridge or freezer to re-firm before dipping.

Dip with a toothpick, candy pick or nut pick to completely cover balls in melted chocolate almond bark. Tap toothpick on side of pan to remove excess chocolate; use an toothpick to push pretzel off of dipping fork.

Yields: 3 dozen

Keep balls close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel truffles off of paper and place in airtight containers..

Turtle Truffles

turtle truffle

-8 ounces Cream Cheese softened

-7 oz. which equals ½ bag of Kraft caramels. Unwrap and place in microwaveable bowl with 1 Tbsp. water. Cook 1 minute, stir, and repeat at 1 minute intervals until completely melted.

-8 ounces chopped pecans

Mix softened cream cheese, melted caramel and chopped pecans.

Cover with plastic wrap and place mixture in fridge or freezer until firm.

Melt 1 package Chocolate Almond Bark

Roll mixture into ¾” – 1” small bite size balls, place onto Wax paper lined trays. Melt ½ pkg. Choc. Almond bark.

Return to fridge or freezer to re-firm before dipping.

Use a fork to dip balls in melted chocolate almond bark; covering all sides. Tap fork on side of pan to remove excess chocolate. Use a second fork to slide the truffle onto the pan/tray.

Yields: 30

Keep balls close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel truffles off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Ritz Cookies So simple—so easy!

Chocolate Ritz cookies

-1 package Chocolate Almond Bark – melted

-1 box, 4 sleeves, Ritz or store brand crackers

-Peanut butter spread to desired thickness on one cracker. Place a second cracker on top of peanut butter to create a sandwich.

Ritz cracker spread with peanut butter

Use a fork to completely dip crackers in melted chocolate almond bark. Tap fork on side of pan to remove excess chocolate. Use a second fork to slide the cookie onto the pan/tray.

Keep crackers close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel cookies off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Yields: just under 4 dozen

Mint Bark

Mint Bark

WHENEVER YOU HAVE LEFT OVER ALMOND BARK in the bottom of a pan ADD FLAVORING SUCH AS MINT, PEPPERMINT OR ORANGE, 3 DROPS AT A TIME UNTIL YOU APPROVE OF THE FLAVOR; STIR. POUR ONTO WAX PAPER LINED PAN & TAP PAN UNTIL MIXTURE IS SMOOTH or spread with a spatula. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When hardened, peel BARK off of paper, break into small pieces and place in airtight containers.

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

-½ package White Almond Bark – melted

-Peppermint  extract, 1 tsp. to begin; stir, and add more if desired.

-1 box of peppermint Candy canes, crushed, I pulse them in a blender or food processor

Mix candy canes in for desired thickness.

POUR ONTO WAX PAPER LINED PAN & TAP PAN UNTIL MIXTURE IS SMOOTH, or use a spatula. Place trays in fridge freezer for quick set time. When hardened, peel BARK off of paper, break into bite size pieces and place in airtight containers.

This recipe can be changed using lemon extract and crushed Lemon Drops candy.

Yields: 4 dozen small pieces

 

Millionaire Bites

Millionaire Bites

-½  package Chocolate Almond Bark – melted

-1 14 oz. package Kraft caramels unwrapped. Place in a microwavable bowl and add 3 Tbsp. water. Melt 1 minute at a time; stirring after each minute until melted.

-1 ½ cups ground pecans – use a blender of food processor

-1 ½ cups Rice Crispies

Yields: 3 about 3 dozen

Line two large pans or trays with wax paper; GREASE the paper (or you will be sorry – guess how I know?)

Combine melted caramel, pecans and cereal (in this order). Drop small teaspoonfuls onto greased pans. Place in fridge or freezer for quick set time.

Line two more pans/trays with wax paper. The greased wax paper will not be reusable.

When the candy is set, dip it in the almond bark on all sides with a fork; tap fork on the side of the pot allowing excess to drip back in the pot. Use a second fork to slide the cookie onto the pan/tray. Keep candies close together but not touching. Place  trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, pop candies off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Peppermint Patties

Peppermint patties

-½ package chocolate almond bark – melted

-¾ cup sweetened condensed milk

-1 ½ teaspoons pure peppermint extract –imitation does not taste good; mint extract could be substituted

-4 cups confectioners (powder) sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine condensed milk and peppermint extract. Beat in enough confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, to form a stiff dough that is no longer sticky. Form into 1/2 inch balls, then place on waxed paper. Grease or butter the bottom of a flat glass. Press the glass on the dough to form small thin patties.  Let patties dry at room temperature one hour, turning once at a half hour.

IMG_0026

Using a fork, a meat fork may be necessary depending on the size of the patties, dip the patties, one at a time, into the melted chocolate. . Tap fork on side of pan to remove excess chocolate. Use a second fork to slide the patties onto the pan/tray lined with wax paper. Keep patties close together but not touching. Place trays in fridge or freezer for quick set time. When set, peel patties off of paper and place in airtight containers.

Yields: about 3 dozen

~Enjoy

GiveMe Chocolate Recipes

Peanut Butter Cup Bars Soothe Super Bowl Wounds

Super Bowl season could not have been more exciting for this Denver Broncos fan. Until the game that is.

After 20+ years I still am, and will always be, a Broncos fan.

And that’s all I have to say about the game.

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But the food—well there is always plenty to discuss regarding the food; including, forgetting about eating Gluten Free  when I saw the Jalapeno Poppers come out of the oven. I couldn’t see straight or think straight. I wanted, I had to have; hot, ooey-gooey, cheesy Jalapeno Poppers. I was so overcome with glee at the sight that, “Wrong. Bad decision. Don’t eat those. Alert! Alert!” never entered my mind. An unknown force took over and before I realized what was happening I was half way through my second popper. Then I remembered, “Gluten, these are coated with wheat.”

I felt like a teenager experiencing the rush of an unknown force; otherwise known as, out-of-control hormones. My middle-age female hormones were screaming for one of my favorite appetizers.

I am resolved to never again lose my mind to the sound of Jalapeno Poppers seductively calling my name. The attraction is over!

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The week before the Super Bowl required making decisions on what food to take to the party, compiling a shopping list and going to the grocery store.

My friend, Kim, always makes certain there is a delicious spread of food for her guests. Some attend the party for the food and some of us attend for the game.  We all attend because we enjoy each other’s company.

While preparing food Saturday; including, Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread (I posted this recipe last week) I realized I did not have enough hours in my day to make everything on my list. Then, Colson added that he wanted to make homemade chocolate peanut butter candy to take to the Super Bowl party.

That is when I remembered my,  “Chocolate Emergency Preparedness” stash which included a case of Chocolate Almond Bark. Almond Bark! It is always easy and quick. It does take time to melt but I had plenty of other recipes to mix and bake during the wait. Plus my boys were helping me in the kitchen and Colson would take care of collecting the ingredients and mixing the dough/batter.

DSCN2999(Left)My helpers were busy using the side of a pan as a magic mirror. They laughed hysterically while making silly faces in the concave and convex curves of the pan. Free entertainment for boys.

I placed my double boiler on the stove with water in the bottom pot; on medium heat.  I Double Boileropened a package of Almond Bark and placed it in the top pot along with two cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Stirring occasionally until melted. If you do not have a double boiler you may find alternative options in my, “Chocolate Almond Bark Recipes: There Might Be a Run on Chocolate!” post. (I’ve included 3 pictures of different options.)

Double Boiler using a pot and bowl Double Boiler with 2 saucepans

We lined a jelly roll pan, bottom and sides, with wax paper. (A jelly roll pan is known to some as a four-sided cookie sheet.)

We poured half the melted chocolate into the jelly roll pan and, for the sake of speeding up the process, placed the pan flat in my freezer.

Ten minutes later we spread the peanut butter mixture over the entire pan of chocolate and returned the pan to the freezer. I wanted the peanut butter firm before pouring heated chocolate over it. Then we poured and spread the remaining chocolate on top of the peanut butter and returned it to the freezer for ten minutes.

It came out looking like a giant candy bar. I used a sharp knife to cut it into 1 ½ inch X 3 inch bars.

DSCN2992I don’t know who enjoyed the bars more, the adults or the children, but they could not stop eating the Peanut Butter Cup bars and said they tasted just like Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. I returned home with an empty plate which hours earlier held a pan full of bars.

DSCN3005The worst part about me cooking and baking in the kitchen is that I make many of my recipes up as I go. Then when someone requests the recipe I have to recall the ingredients and measurements. Fortunately, I usually do not forget chocolate recipes. Here it is:

PEANUT BUTTER CUP BARS

2 cups peanut butter

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

2 cups confectioners’ (powder) sugar

1 package chocolate Almond Bark

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

Melt the Almond Bark and chocolate chips in a double boiler. Do not add liquid or oil to melted Almond Bark. It will ruin the consistency and make it crumbly. Extract flavorings are fine.

Cream together the peanut butter, melted butter and confectioners’ sugar in a medium mixing bowl until a uniform consistency is achieved.

Line a jelly roll pan with wax paper.

Spread half of the melted chocolate in the entire bottom of pan and allow it to harden.

Spread the peanut butter mixture over the entire pan of chocolate and place in fridge or freezer to allow the mixture to chill.

Pour the remaining half of chocolate over the peanut butter and spread until all the peanut butter mixture is covered.  After it hardens, use a sharp knife to cut it into 1 ½ inch X 3 inch pieces. When placing in a container or on a platter place a sheet of waxed paper between the layers of bars for easy removal.

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Peanut Butter Cup Bars will make your taste buds happy! Gluten Free taste buds will be super happy!