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!

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

Caye Lime Coconut Butter Cream Candies! ~ Made in Beautiful BELIZE!

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Woot! We are on holiday in sunny San Pedro, Belize

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We have been coming to the gorgeous Caribbean Island of Ambergris Caye (prounounced “Amber-Grease [or gris] Key”) for several years, and have developed friendships with a lovely and diverse group of people.

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Just 4 Simple Ingredients!

Today, a dear friend came to cook and lunch with us. While it was a casual thing, I wanted to have a little sweet treat for after our savory meal.

But some ingredients I use often at home are not available here, as they would have to be imported and barged here. Like Lemons.

Some recipes won’t hold up in the tropical heat & humidity.

I had to think about what I could easily purchase that was inexpensive,

quick & easy enough to make in an hour, work,

and still make us go, “Mmmm!”.

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Beautiful San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

As soon as I made my Lemon Coconut Butter Creams, I thought they would be awesome in a Caye Lime Version. So today I whipped them up while lunch was being prepared – AND THEY CAME OUT YUMMY! So, here is the Lemon Coconut Butter Cream again, using LIME instead of Lemon! 🙂

Caye Lime Coconut Butter Creams

*Ingredients

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Lime Butter Cream Mixture

2 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted

4 TBSP Butter, Softened

1 or 2 Limes – will need 2-3 TBSP of juice, and 1 TBSP zest

Scant Pinch of salt (adds balance to the sugar)

– Baking Sheet Lined with Buttered Wax Paper

– 1/2 Cup of Toasted Coconut Flakes (Recipe HERE) for Coating  – Optional: mix with 1 tsp Granulated Sugar

*Method:

Sift powdered sugar into large mixing bowl. Add all the rest of the filling ingredients and mix until it becomes smooth.

Taste and adjust to your liking. If it is not Lime-y enough add more zest. If it is too thick, add more juice. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.

Place in Fridge 10-15 minutes to chill to firm (in Belize, I used the freezer). Cream should be thick enough be easily handled – the mixing spoon should stand up on it’s own.

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Butter Creams, Ready for the Freezer

Meanwhile, prepare the baking sheet and place the toasted coconut in a shallow bowl, or on a dish. Pull the mix out of the fridge. Using a teaspoon, scoop a bite-sized bit of cream in to your hands, Working quickly so they don’t melt too much, pat into a roundish shape (they do not need to be perfect!), and then drop into the dish of coconut.

Gently cover ball & pat gently in coconut until coated, and place on butted sheet pan[see photo above] Continue until all the cream is rolled in balls, and rolled in coconut. Place sheet pan in the fridge (or freezer) again, for at least 15 minutes.

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Mmm! Caye Lime Coconut Butter Creams!

That’s It! They’re Done!

Now you have scrumptious, decadent, melt in your mouth

Caye Lime Coconut  Butter Creams!

Cheers, and Happy Eating!

Lemon & Coconut Butter Cream Candies

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If you’ve been following us, you know our M.O. is using what we already have on hand to make meals and treats. Today was my turn, so it was ~ Treats! I had good intentions to make some Iced Lemon Cookies, but the day got away from me. Secretly, really I wanted more Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites, or some kind of creamy candy instead.

With creamy candy on my mind, I remembered now I was left with two lemons that had to be used soon, and a bag of organic powdered sugar. Hmm. Powdered sugar. I used that to make Chocolate Vanilla Butter Creams…. (light bulb goes off)

Mmm, I know! LEMON BUTTER CREAMS! That sounds yummy!

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Sugar & Zest, Toasted Coconut and Pecan Lemon Creams

I’ve been sharing a lot of chocolate recipes lately. Thus, I pondered what to coat my candies with instead. I had a bag of chopped pecans, extra powdered sugar & zest, and leftover Toasted Coconut from our Quinoa Porridge. With a basic Butter Cream Recipe and those three coating ideas, off I went to the kitchen to experiment.

Trying all three, several times for good measure ( 😉 )… Bruce and I both agreed the Toasted Coconut ones were the Taste Winners, by a landslide. The experiment was a success, and I am pleased with the end result…So, Ready? Let’s Get Cookin’!!

* Toasted Coconut Lemon Butter Creams *

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l – Powdered Sugar & Softened Butter
r – Sift the Sugar

*Ingredients

2 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted

4 TBSP Butter, Softened

1 Lemon – will need 2-3 TBSP of juice, and 1 TBSP zest

1 1/2 TBSP Coconut Milk, or Heavy Cream

– Baking Sheet Lined with Buttered Wax Paper

– 1/2 Cup of Toasted Coconut Flakes mixed with 1 tsp Granulated Sugar for Coating

*Method:

Sift powdered sugar into large mixing bowl. Add all the rest of the filling ingredients and mix until it becomes smooth. It should be pretty thick, so it can be easily handled – the mixing spoon should stand up on it’s own. Taste and adjust to your liking. If it is not Lemony enough, and too thick to stir, add more juice & zest. If it is too Lemony and too thick, add a little more coconut milk. If it is too thin to shape, add more powdered sugar.

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Smooth, Creamy, Lemon Filling Mixture

Place bowl of cream in the fridge for 10 minutes until firm. Meanwhile, prepare the baking sheet and place the toasted coconut in an even layer on a plate. Pull the mix out of the fridge, and using a teaspoon, scoop a small amount of cream in to your hands, Working quickly so they don;t melt too much, roll scoop into a ball, and then drop into the dish of coconut.

Gently roll ball in coconut until coated, and place on butted sheet pan. [see photo above] Continue until all the cream is rolled in balls, and rolled in coconut. Place sheet pan in the fridge again, for at least 15 minutes. That’s IT! They are done!

 Now you have scrumptious, decadent, melt in your mouth

Toasted Coconut Lemon Butter Creams!

Lemon Butter Creams

Lemon Butter Creams

My friend Mary Beth swears these would be amazing coated with glazed & salted pecans.

My other friend, Sue, says I should have tried them chocolate dipped anyhow. Both suggestions sound delicious to me, and I got a few ideas for different filling flavors.

I guess there will have to be a lot more experimenting with Butter Creams in my future!

Hope there will be in YOURS too!

Cheers, and Happy Eating!