Category Archives: Snacks

Candy Confections: White Chocolate Candy Cane Bark

Plated and ready to be devoured. At least what's left of it.

Plated and ready to be devoured. At least what’s left of it.

Creamy white chocolate in holiday colours with a sprinkle of crushed candy cane on top — what’s not to like? Just like my Customize-Your-Own Chocolate Bar, this would make for great Christmas gifts!

I thought this up after seeing variations on foodie sites, and whipped it up yesterday. Oh so good! I was hard-pressed not to eat it all last night, but managed to save most of it for a gathering of friends at my place today. Where it was all eaten! Down to the very last crumb. I think that means it was good!

Let’s make some! (Because I want more. Because it’s so good.)

putting it kind of together

Yes, it’s this easy. And crushing candy canes is fun!

White Chocolate Candy Cane Bark

  • Belgian white chocolate wafers
  • green coloured chocolate wafers (a smaller amount)
  • red coloured chocolate wafers (a smaller amount)
  • candy canes

Choose a plastic container (I used a fast-food container — a plastic one, not a Styrofoam one). Melt the white chocolate in a mug or ceramic vessel in the microwave, using 15 second bursts, and stirring in between. Once melted, pour into the plastic container. Melt the red chocolate the same way, and drizzle if over the white chocolate. Do the same for the green chocolate wafers. Using a knife, swirl the colours together gently. Crush your candy canes with a mortar and pestle (or a baggie and a rolling pin) and sprinkle on top of the chocolate. Cool in fridge until chocolate is set. Turn over onto a clean plate, and smack the bottom of the plastic container until the chocolate comes out. Break into small pieces and eat! Or give away as gifts. Or serve to friends. (But it’s so good that you’ll want to eat it all yourself!)

Swirl and sprinkle. Marble-y goodness!

Swirl and sprinkle. Marble-y goodness!

As in the Customize-Your-Own Chocolate Bar post, I’m not giving quantities, because it really depends on the size of the container that you use. And on how thick you want the bark. My advice is not to make it too thick, because it will be hard to break. And remember, you can always re-melt the chocolate or add another layer!

This is such an easy recipe, you’ve got to try it! It looks fancy, but I always feel like I’m cheating by making it, because I’m really just melting chocolate, swirling, and sprinkling. It’s also not TOO peppermint-y, which I like. You could probably up the peppermint factor by adding another layer on chocolate and swirls on top, but I like it as is. If you make, let me know what you thought of it in the comments!

Next Post: Maybe a review of the Gingerbread Buche de Noel from the Cook-A-Long I’m in? Tasty seasonal fun!

Candy Confections: Make-Your-Own Customized Chocolate Bar

Wrapped and ready to  be gifted! Or eaten. By me.

Wrapped and ready to be gifted! Or eaten. By me.

I went on a weekend road trip with some friends last week, doing some cross-border Christmas shopping (I *may* have done some shopping for myself) in the Niagara/Buffalo area. My friends and I went into a shopping area in Niagara and saw a candy shop, which of course I had to go into. It was a make-your-own chocolate bar shop, with walls of chocolate and candy, as far as the eye could see. There were some children there, making their own chocolate bars, and I watched as the staff instructed them through the process. When I realized how simple it was, I couldn’t believe that people paid a premium for it.  So obviously I had to replicate it for myself!

This makes for a great last-minute Christmas gift, especially if you want to get children involved in gift-giving. They can choose the candy toppings, and actually help with the whole process, because it’s just so unbelievably simple. I also think this would be a great activity for a kids’ birthday party — the kids could go home with their own customized chocolate bar! Activity and loot bag in one!

Have I piqued your curiosity and/or appetite yet? Let’s get candy-making!

All you need: candy and chocolate wafers. And the willpower not to eat it all right away.

All you need: candy and chocolate wafers. And the willpower not to eat it all right away.

Make-Your-Own Customized Chocolate Bar

  • Belgian chocolate wafers (white, milk, or dark chocolate)
  • assorted candy
  • a plastic container

Melt the wafers in a mug in the microwave in 15 second bursts, stirring it each time you check it. When it is melted, pour it into your plastic container. (You don’t need a fancy chocolate mold — I used a mini Ikea food storage container. As long as it’s plastic, it’s all good!) Give the container a good tap on the counter to get any air bubbles out. Sprinkle the candies on top. Place in fridge until chocolate is set. Turn container upside down and de-mold. Wrap in a cellophane bag. Keep in a cool place until eaten. Revel in your inner Charlie-And-The-Chocolate-Factory!

Customize away! And then eat the leftovers. #wastenotwantnot (especially in regards to candy!)

Customize away! And then eat the leftovers. #wastenotwantnot (especially in regards to candy!)

I didn’t provide any quantities in the recipe ingredients, because it really depends on the size of your plastic container and your personal candy preference. The combos are endless: white chocolate bar with malted milk balls; rice krispies in milk chocolate; the list goes on! What’s your favourite chocolate & candy combo? Let me know in the comments!

Next Post: More candy confections! This time, Chocolate Candy Cane Bark!

Tasty Tapas: Veggie Croquetas

Warm and crunchy and lightly seasoned!

Warm and crunchy and lightly seasoned!

Ok, finally I have a chance to post that last tapas recipe I’ve been writing about, my yummy Veggie Croquetas! I actually grew up thinking that croquettes were Dutch, as I had only eaten them in Holland, when I went there on a trip with my family. Apparently, though, a number of different cultures have their own version, and the Spanish version uses béchamel sauce (white sauce) as a base. So that’s what I did!

Croquetas seem to me to be basically a way to use up leftovers, so I tossed in some taco-seasoned soy meat (the same seasoned meat that I used for the Easy Empanadillas) with some mashed potatoes, béchamel sauce, and green beans from my freezer, shaped them into log shapes, and rolled them in bread crumbs, before frying them up in a frying pan of oil. Low-calorie, these are not! But they are tasty! Want to make some?

Let’s get frying!

Caveat Eat-or {sic}: I realized when writing this recipe that I have somehow misplaced the quantities that I used when making up this recipe. So I’m going to give you the basics for the béchamel sauce, and then leave you to add in enough of the remaining filling ingredients to your taste. Feel free to substitute in what you want — use up those leftovers! As long as the filling is firm enough to hold its shape when cooking, it’s all good.

Veggie Croquetas

Béchamel Sauce

  •  2 tbsp. flour
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. milk

Filling

  • seasoned ground meat (soy, baby!)
  • green beans, finely chopped
  • mashed potato

Coating

  • bread crumbs
  • enough oil to fill a frying pan an inch deep

Melt butter in pot, and add in flour, stirring to cook the flour. Slowly whisk in milk. Voila, you’ve got a béchamel sauce going on!

Making the croquetas: it's really not that hard.

Making the croquetas: it’s really not that hard.

Mix béchamel sauce with the seasoned meat, the chopped green beans, and the mashed potato, to form the filling. Heat oil. While oil is heating, form filling into small logs (or whatever shape you want!) with your hands and set aside. Roll each croqueta in the bread crumbs, making sure to coat thoroughly. Fry in the oil-filled frying pan until golden brown on each side. To cool and drain off any excess oil, set on a cookie cooling rack covered with a paper towel. Serve warm, or cold, and feel very Spanish and cultured!

Cooling them slightly on a cookie rack. The one on the right is shaped the best.

Cooling them slightly on a cookie rack. The ones on the left and the right are shaped the best.

And that’s the last of my tapas party recipes! To recap, I made Super-Fruity Sangria; Easy Empanadillas; today’s recipe, Veggie Croquetas; and my Caramel Toffee Flan. Was a fun and tasty time — I do love a good themed dinner!

Next Post: Hmm. Not sure! I have a Brandy Ball recipe that someone gave to me that I want to try out; two different fruitcake (what? I love fruitcake!) recipes that I might turn into a Christmas Fruitcake Smackdown; a recipe for chocolate-mint homemade oreos that I want to try out; and then I want to make a batch of cookies for the DH’s work. I have some bok choy that is starting to wilt in my fridge, but I’m kind of miserable with a cold right now, and craving comfort food, so the chocolate-mint oreos are winning! I’m thinking of dipping them in chocolate for that extra yumminess! What do you think? Let me know in the comments!  

Parmesan Cheese Crisps and Classy Snacking

Potato chips made out of cheese. Yes, please!

Potato chips made out of cheese. Yes, please!

I made these Parmesan Cheese Crisps last night when I had a friend over for dinner, and served them with wine as an appetizer. My friend doesn’t eat gluten, so I wanted something that was tasty, hearty, and gluten-free. Also, I was grating cheese to top the quinoa-crusted pizza that I was making, and I thought, huh. Cheese crisps. I wonder how hard they are to make.

The answer? EASY-PEASY! Two ingredients, two utensils, and you’re done!

Not sure what they taste like? Think potato chips made out of cheese. Yeah. That pretty much sold you right there, right?

Let’s get snacking!

Two tasty ingredients.

Two tasty ingredients.

Parmesan Cheese Crisps

  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/8th c. grated parmesan cheese

Grate cheese. Sprinkle mozzarella on an un-greased baking sheet, in thin piles about the size of the bottom of a water glass. Sprinkle a pinch of parmesan on top of each pile. Bake in pre-heated 450 degree oven until fully melted, it looks like lace, and the edges are starting to change colour. Take them out and quickly use a spatula to pry them off the sheet. Cool on a plate. If they get stuck on the baking sheet, pop the tray back in the oven to heat for a moment more, and then pry off the remaining ones. Eat and be classy! Makes 12 crisps.

Honestly, these are a super-easy, rather fancy appetizer/snack to serve, and really nice with wine. That said, I’m snacking on another batch right now, as I sit on my sofa and drink a glass of lemonade, and they’re just as tasty. Excuse me while I got eat one from the platter I set aside for the DH. *a minute later* Ah, that hits the snacking spot. *grin*

Next Post: The Chai Tea recipe I’ve promised. Good recipe for a chilly Sunday night, I think. Or a final tapas recipe, for Vegetarian Croquetas. Any preferences? Let me know in the comments!

Vegan Thanksgiving Spice Cake and Fall Hikes with Family

A quick mix of the batter. Don't overbeat and remember, there WILL be lumps!

A quick mix of the batter. Don’t overbeat and remember, there WILL be lumps!

I made this spice cake for a bake sale recently, and it always conjures up a host of memories for me. When I was a kid, my mom would take my sisters and I for a nice, long walk through a park on Thanksgiving weekend, and she often packed this spice cake for a snack. So for me, I associate it with the fall and with the trees changing colours, with crisp air and hot chocolate.

I also associate it with an ex-boyfriend, because I baked it for him once. I had broken my arm in two places (roughly wrist and shoulder) and it had taken months to heal. While it was still in a cast (at least the wrist was. The shoulder was cast-free, and let me tell you, having a broken arm dangling from a broken arm? Is painful), I baked this cake single-handedly. Alright, my sister may have held the bowl for me, so that it didn’t go spinning along the counter top. But I did the rest! Anyway, I packed it up and gave it to him during a winter walk around the neighbourhood, and I still remember the expression on his face as he tasted it. He liked it, of course!

And I think you’ll like it too! It’s easy to make, can be fancied up, or just packed as squares for a lunch box. And, it happens to be vegan, so if that’s your thing, you’re in luck! I tend to grease my cake pans with butter, but a mixture of vegetable shortening and flour would make sure the spice cake stayed vegan.  This comes from my mum’s recipe box and I’m not entirely sure where she got the recipe from, as it’s from decades ago, so if you know the original source, let me know so that I can credit it. I did change the spice and salt quantities slightly from the original recipe. And now, let’s get our vegan on!

Vegan Thanksgiving Spice Cake

  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. each: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/4 c. oil

Mix together wet ingredients and in a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Then add wet to dry and mix until just moistened (you’ll see some foaming action as the vinegar hits the baking soda). Do not overbeat. There WILL be lumps, and that’s ok! Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

A very necessary taste test. Quality control and all that.

A very necessary taste test. Quality control and all that.

This will make a single cake layer, which is my favourite pan to bake it in, or a 9′ by 9′ square pan. You can also double it, which is what I did for the bake sale, and bake it in a lasagna pan. The spice cake freezes nicely, so you can make it ahead and pull it out for lunches as you need it.

If you want to fancy it up, you can bake it in a cake pan, and then serve it with a caramel or custard sauce. My mum just sprinkled icing sugar on it in a pretty pattern. If you make it, let me know your favourite way to serve it!

Next Post: Harvest Apple Crumble or Slow Cooker Apple Butter? Any preferences? Both are super easy.