Easy All Natural Chocolate Dipped Vanilla Butter Creams

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Hand Dipped Vanilla Butter Creams, Plain and with Sea Salt

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Cutting right to the chase, I LOVE chocolate. 

I don’t know if it’s every woman, or just me, but I crave it – and eat it – every day. Mostly, I am content with a few squares of my beloved Chocolove Premium Bars, or natural chocolate covered dried cherries we get from the Organic bulk bin section at our market.

But some days, I really want ooey, gooey, hand-dipped ‘Candy Shoppe’ Chocolate

But alas, the “good” Candy Shoppe is 20 minutes drive away, and a box of delicious Chocolate Dipped Vanilla Butter Creams costs nearly $20! 😦 What’s a girl to DO??

Last spring,, it came up in conversation with my Mom that I love butter creams so much, I had broken my no-artificial-chemicals-in-food rule to eat a few Zitner’s Butter Cream Easter Eggs (a Philly Area Tradition). I don’t usually get food guilt, but I had it with these. Because I wanted more.

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Mom said, “My friend So and So told me that she makes Butter Creams from scratch. She is no Betty Crocker, so I bet you can make them too.” Um, thanks, Mom? Lol. So I googled a few recipes, and gleaned together one that isn’t exactly Candy Shoppe perfect, but is EASY to make and TASTES terrific.

So, without further adieu, Let’s make Chocolates!

 All Natural Chocolate Dipped Vanilla Butter Creams

(Makes 20 Chocolates – Recipe Can be Doubled)

*  Filling Ingredients: (I used all organic versions)

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Organic Ingredients

2 Cups Powdered Sugar, Sifted

4 Tbsp Butter, Softened

1 tsp Good Quality Real Vanilla Extract

1 + 1/2 Tbsp Heavy Cream

Dash of salt

1 sheet pan lined with waxed paper, lightly greased with butter

Method:

1. Combine all ingredients. Mix well until creamy in appearance, yet firm enough to hold it’s shape. If it is too loose, add more sugar.

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Firm but Smooth

If it is too tight, add a drop or two more cream or vanilla. Taste and adjust to your liking, if needed.

Place in fridge for 5 minutes to make it a little more firm and easier to handle.

2.Spoon a small amount of chilled mix into your hand.

Working quickly so it does not melt, form into ¾ inch balls and place on the wax paper lined sheet pan.

3 . Pop into the Fridge while you make the chocolate coating

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Vanilla Filling, Ready for Fridge

* Chocolate Ingredients:

1 Cup All Natural or Organic Chocolate Chips

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4. Over a double boiler, just barely melt  about 80% of the chocolate. Pull off heat and stir with spatula or wire whisk until completely melted. Work with spatula until it is almost cooled to the touch. Add in the remaining 20% of the chocolate, Stirring until again completely melted and smooth in appearance.

5. Remove Cream Balls from Fridge. Carefully push all to one side of the greased tray.

6. Working quickly enough so the chocolate does not harden, dip each cream ball into the chocolate, turning or spooning to coat completely.

Place back onto greased sheet pan. To make fancier, spoon small amounts of leftover chocolate on the tops of each, using tip of spoon to create a swirled design.

7. When all are dipped, pop back in fridge 15 – 30 minutes, or until ready to serve.

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Chilled Chocolate Butter Cream Candies, Ready to Serve!

8 . ENJOY!!  🙂

* Variations: Get Creative! Try replacing half of the vanilla extract with orange, raspberry, cherry, mint or almond extract or essence. Try them with mixing ins, or toppings, such as toasted coconut,mini chips, sea salt or finely chopped nuts. You are only limited by your own imagination!

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Try Different flavors!

Poached Pears w/ Condensed Milk & Chocolate Ganache ~ Yum!

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This easy, elegant looking dessert recipe is another example of how to create something delicious to eat with whatever ingredients you already have on hand.

We both wanted dessert. There were three local pears in a bowl that had to be used, like, now. Bruce said “I can poach them in simple syrup.” That sounded good. I said, “I have an open can of sweetened condensed milk, a new bag of chocolate chips, and a little heavy cream left. I have an idea!” ***

Poached Pears with Condensed Milk

& Chocolate Ganache

METHOD:

He peeled the pears, then poached them in boiling sugar and water. Then we cooled the poached pears in the freezer for 10 minutes. Just before serving, Bruce heated the heavy cream over a double boiler, and folded an equal amount of chocolate chips into it. He drizzled the cooled pears with sweetened condensed milk, and then the ganache. I sprinkled a small amount of raw sugar over it, just to make it glisten.

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That’s It! It couldn’t be easier!

We just threw this together with what we had, and it was FABULOUS!

I mean, lick the bowl fabulous. :p

Remember – You CAN go into the kitchen with no ideas, and still come up with something great. You will never know how good you are at it until you try!

All it takes is to Be Creative!

Please feel free to share your photos, recipes or ideas with us.

If it worked and looks good – we’ll post it here

giving YOU full Photo or Recipe Credit! 🙂

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*** For our CHOCOLATE GANACHE RECIPE, click here!

Twice Cooked Pork & Pineapple – A Tasty 30-Minute Meal!

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Twice Cooked Pork and Pineapple

“A Delicious 30 Minute Meal”

Twice Cooked Pork & Pineapple

Its noon, and I’m hungry,
If you follow us, you know my routine by now.
Off to the kitchen to see what I already have in the fridge and pantry that needs to be used up.

I see 1 cup of Belizean rice that I think I bought in Belize last year, a bottle of oyster sauce that has maybe 2 ounces left, one 4 ounce filet of cooked pork (left over from making steamed pork buns), a carrot, a chunk of ginger, one lonely clove of garlic, some chunks of cut up pineapple, a half red onion, and fresh broccoli stems with no flowers (I save the stems for soup). ~ Chef Bruce

Perfect.

These ingredients can easily make a really tasty meal for two, in only 30 minutes.

Ready? Let’s get Cooking!

Twice Cooked Pork & Pineapple

 The Rice Step: (28 minutes total)

  • 1 cup rice & 2 cups water

Rinse rice and drain.

Bring to a boil 2 cups water in a small saucepan. Add rice and a pinch of salt, then place a tight fitting lid on saucepan. Reduce flame to low or simmer. Do not lift the lid. No peeking!

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Present Rice by Packing in Mold,
Then turn Rice out on a plate

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…Like this!

Simmer Rice on low for 18 minutes;

then let the rice rest – with the lid still on – for another 10 minutes.

In 28 total minutes, you will have perfectly cooked rice.

Method:

  • 4 ounces cooked pork, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices (loin, shoulder, round are all fine). Sliced cooked beef would work fine as well
  • 1 T corn starch mixed with 1 Tblsp water
  • 1 Tblsp Gochujang Fermented Red Pepper Paste OR Sriracha Sauce.

Red Pepper Paste

– Mix all ingredients together in a large dish or container.

Marinate the pork (10 minutes):

While the meat is marinating, Prep the veggies and Sauce (15 minutes):

2 Tblsp fresh peeled ginger, sliced into coins

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 carrot, cut into thin coins

Healthy Ginger

Healthy Ginger

1 handful of pineapple chunks

1/2 cup thinly sliced broccoli stems

1/2 onion, sliced

2 ounces oyster sauce

1 Tblsp soy sauce

2 ounces water or beef stock

3 Tblsp oil

* Time to Cook (5 minutes):

  1. Place a 12 inch wok on high flame, add the oil. Roll the wok so the oil coats the surface of the wok. When oil starts to smoke, add the marinated pork slices so they are separated in the wok. Cook the meat on one side to get some color; then flip the meat and cook on the other side.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and stir all together for 30 seconds; then add the veggies and stir 30 seconds.
  3. Add the pineapple chunks, soy sauce, oyster sauce, water and stir together about 30 seconds. Remove from the wok and serve with rice
  4. Plate, Serve, and Enjoy!

That’s it! In 30 minutes, you made a wholesome & delicious meal for two.

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Same basic dish, using different ingredients

On a busy work day, you too can be a hero by cooking a tasty meal
with food items you already have in your home.
Your grandma would give you a thumbs up for being frugal,
and you get a warm, home cooked meal. Win / Win!
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If you like, please feel free to contact me  with a list of ingredients in your home that need to be used,
and I will respond with an easy recipe. Teamwork!! ~ Chef Bruce

 

Easy Butter Pecan Caramel Candy Recipe

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Home Made Butter Pecan Caramels

Butter Pecan Caramels

I love sweets. There. I said it.

I must have a sweet treat after dinner every night. But we try not to eat processed foods anymore.

What’s a girl to do?

That is why I began my quest to make my own sweets. By making my own all natural desserts and treats, I can satisfy my sweet tooth without compromising our goal of eating as few food additives as we can.

I’d been making a lot of chocolates and such lately, and was craving something different. So I set out on a Google Search to find something yummy for my tummy. You can find a recipe for almost everything on the ‘net today. I am not sure how the idea of Squirrel Nut Zippers came to me. For some reason, it did.

My Inspiration: Squirrel Nut Zippers

Squirrel Nut Zippers are individually wrapped, odd little caramel-type candies I used to see only at Halloween time.Back in the days when candy didn’t have to be ‘sealed for your protection’. Anyway… Lo and behold, someone had posted a home made version of them! [original recipe link at page bottom] I couldn’t wait to try it!

I love that this recipe is super easy. I love that it is made in one bowl and one pan. I did not love that it called for corn syrup, as I don’t use it. Instead, I substituted honey in one trial, and  Brown Rice Syrup in another. Both worked fantastically. The original recipe also calls for walnuts. Neither of us likes walnuts, so I substituted pecans. WOW! It taste AWESOME! I made them twice in two months, so they must be good! Well, what are we waiting for?

Let’s Get Cooking!

Butter Pecan Caramels

Butter Pecan Caramels

Easy Butter Pecan Caramels

*Ingredients (makes 40 – 50 small candies) 
All Natural Ingredients

All Natural Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (I use raw cane sugar)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Honey, Maple, or Brown Rice Syrup (or light Karo syrup)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans (or other nuts of choice)
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
Sprayed Pan Lined with Parchment, then nuts

Sprayed Pan Lined with Parchment, then nuts

Method:
  • Prep a 8″ X 8″ casserole dish with cooking spray on bottom and sides, and then line pan with parchment paper. DO NOT skip the parchment paper step!! You need it to remove the candy from the pan.
  • Sprinkle nuts evenly on bottom of pan and set pan aside.
  • In a large microwave safe glass or ceramic bowl (i used corningware) mix together butter, sugars, honey / syrup and condensed milk. The caramel will bubble up when cooking, so make sure your bowl is large enough.
  • Cook mixture on High for 7 total minutes, STOP AND STIR at the 2, 4 and 6 minute marks.
Mix at 4 minutes

Mix at 4 minutes

Mix at 6 minutes

Mix at 6 minutes

  • Remove the cooked mixture from the microwave. Add the vanilla and stir.
  • Gently pour the hot caramel mixture into the lined pan, trying not to displace the nuts.
Cooked mix in lined pan

Cooked mix in lined pan

  • Sprinkle sea salt evenly over the caramel. Set the on the counter to cool for 20 minutes. The original recipe says to fridge the mix at this point, but when I did, it got all moist & sticky the next day. We recommend you simply allow to cool on counter several hours, until firm and no longer sticky.
  • Remove caramels from pan by gently lifting the ends of the parchment paper. If the caramel sticks, gently go around the edge of the pan with a spatula to loosen. They should then lift right out. lip & turn out on flat dish or cutting board. Remove parchment.
Cut into pieces

Cut into neat pieces

  • Using a bench scraper or large chefs knife, cut into 1″ squares, or 1 x 1.5″ rectangles.
  • Plate so they do not touch each other – they will stick. Or, wrap pieces in wax paper to store. Unwrap, eat, and enjoy!

Try them using maple syrup, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, coconut –  experimenting is fun!

Try Peanut  Caramels too!

Try Peanut Caramels too!

 

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** Original Source Recipe HERE: Homemade Squirrel Nut Zippers

Spiced Apple Raisin Compote & Pie Filling

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Spiced Apple Raisin Filling

Spiced Apple Raisin Filling

There are fresh apples, golden yellow raisins, and an array of aromatic spices in the kitchen,

simply begging to become something scrumptious together.

“Hmm. What can we make?” I asked. The little light bulb went on. 🙂

“I bet a raisin & spice variation of our Warm Apple Compote could be very goooooood!”

Bruce wholeheartedly agreed… So, we tried it!

Cooking the Apples

Cooking the Apples, Sugar & Spices

It came out so yummy, we are sharing this delicious version with you!

Spiced Apple Raisin Filling & Compote

Total Prep & Cook Time: 15 Minutes * Yield: 2 Cups of Filling

* Ingredients: 

All Natural Ingredients

All Natural Ingredients

4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin

1/2 cup yellow raisins,

1/4 cup sugar (or stevia)

2 Tblsp unsalted butter

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

1/8 tsp nutmeg

2-4 star anise (optional)

Apples, Raisins & Spices

Spiced Apples & Raisins

1/2 tsp vanilla

Pinch salt

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* Method:

  1. Saute sliced apples in butter until apples start to wilt (do not burn)
  2. Add sugar, and cook until sugar melts and starts to form bubbles
  3. Add raisins, salt, vanilla and spices. Cook until all boils, reduces and thickens. Turn off flame and remove from heat.

Mmmm, That’s It!

Ours became a filling for Spiced French Apple Tarts, baked in basic pie dough.

Spiced French Apple Tarts

French Spiced Apple Tarts

You can use your  Fresh, Delicious, Warm, Home Made

Spiced Apple & Raisin Filling

to stuff crepes, fill turnovers & pies,

as a topping for pancakes & waffles, or try it over vanilla ice cream!

This is easy to make, and totally yummy. We hope you give it a try!

Cheers, and Happy Eating!

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Spiced Apple Spring Rolls (recipe below)

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Dark Chocolate Avocado Pudding ~ A Delicious “No Cook” Recipe!

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Dark Chocolate Avocado Pudding

This dessert always starts the same way:

“I had one avocado sitting on the counter, that had to go.”

When I first saw a recipe for chocolate pudding using avocado, it sounded pretty weird. But all the comments and reviews were glowing. Everyone loved it. THAT intrigued me. I filed it away in the back of my head, and life went on. The next time I found myself with that “avocado that had to go”, I looked it up on the web, and decided to give it a try it.

It is super easy, and tastes FANTASTIC!

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Mmm! Creamy & Decadent!

I’ve now made this creamy, rich pudding a few times, and it was delicious each go around. I made it again last week (yep, still delicious!) , so I thought I’d post the recipe again, but with all new photos. 🙂 Are you ready? Let’s Get Cooking!

~~ Dark Chocolate Avocado Pudding ~~

Healthy Ingredients

Healthy Ingredients

 * Ingredients
1 Avocado, peeled & cut
1/4 cup quality Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
1/4 cup Honey or Agave Syrup (I like Honey)
1/4 cup Almond Milk (Soy or Dairy Milk is fine)
1/4 tsp Almond or Vanilla Extract
* Method:
Mix all ingredients in processor until smooth.
Garnish.
 THAT’S IT!
It is dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, raw,
contains essential amino acids, and is full of vitamins & antioxidants.
But don’t make it for those reasons. Make it because…
It is totally delicious and decadent!
Your friends & family will never know it has avocado!!
Score skin & peel the Avocado

Score skin & peel the Avocado

This recipe could not be easier ~ You have no excuse not to try it!
If you do, please check back and let us know what you think!
CHEERS, and HAPPY EATING!
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“Buh-Bye, Delicious Chocolate Avocado Pudding!”
  • Recipe Adapted from Fearlesshomemaker.com: Click Here
  • For  Our Original Creamy Chocolate Avocado Pudding RecipeCLICK HERE

 

Easiest Recipe Ever – Honey Mustard Dressing

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Honey Mustard Dressing on Fresh Grreens

This tangy dressing & dip is simple to make, yet totally addicting to eat!

* Honey Mustard Dressing *

Ingredients: 

3 TBSP Stone ground Dijon Mustard and
5 TBSP good quality Honey
1/2 to 1 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar, to Taste
Dash of expeller pressed Sunflower Oil (Optional, omit for low fat version)

Method: 


– Mix all ingredients. Tah Dah!
– Tip: Do not use too much vinegar! It will overpower the dressing

– Tip #2: Taste test first, and adjust mustard or honey amounts as needed

-Tip #3: Mix in a tsp of our Homemade Mayo (CLICK HERE for Mayo Recipe) for a creamy dressing.

That’s It! It could not be easier to make. Don’t stop at Salad –

Spread it on your Fave Sandwich,

or try as an awesome Dipping Sauce for Chicken Fingers or French Fries.

We hope you give it a try!

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