Bing Balls

Valentine cherry cake pops Why not give your sweetie one of these little delights on a stick – “Bing Balls”!

They start out with a sweet cherry pink candy center and then you dip them twice into melted chocolate and then roll them in coarsely chopped cocktail peanuts! They are like a Bing Cherry Bar only on a stick! Seems like we are putting everything on a stick these days, why leave out the Bing Cherry Bar?  Yum Yum…   :)

And if you don’t  care for peanuts or are allergic, skip the nuts and go for the gusto! -  dip them three times into the chocolate! Seriously, is there anything as too much chocolate??

pink cake balls for Valentine's day Bing Balls

Melt in a medium-sized saucepan:

      1/4 c salted butter

Then add:

      1 cup granulated sugar

      1/3 cup evaporated milk ( NOT sweetened condensed milk)

      1/8 teas salt

      6 large marshmallows

Stir and bring to a boil. GENTLY boil for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and add:

      2 teas cherry extract

      1 cup red candy coating wafers

Stir occasionally until the wafers have completely melted. Pour the mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper to cool down. When the mixture has cooled and has started to “set up”,  start kneading it and begin forming it into little balls ( about 3/4 inch). Place the balls on a cookie sheet that has been covered with waxed or parchment paper. Place the balls into the refrigerator until they are firm.

Meanwhile, melt:

      1 Tablespoon red candy coating wafers

Dip a skewer into the melted wafers and then insert the skewer into one of the balls ( stick the skewer in only about halfway. Be careful not to push it clear through the ball) Place the skewered balls back into the refrigerator. Meanwhile, in a small heavy saucepan, melt over low heat:

      1 cup or so semi-sweet chocolate chips

      1/3 cup peanut butter

This amount may vary depending on how many times you are going to dip the balls. You can always melt more if needed…  Dip the skewered balls into the chocolate mixture so that the chocolate is covering not only the balls but a little of the skewer as well….

Stick the skewered dipped balls into a chunk of plasticwrap-covered styrofoam to firm up. Place them back into the refrigerator until chocolate has firmed up and then dip them again. Then roll them in:

      1 cup or so coarsely chopped cocktail peanuts

When the chocolate has firmed up, it is time to take a bite…or two… :) 

valentine candy bouquets

 

 

 

 

Cherry Walnut Popcorn

walnuts

Oh, this is soooooo good, almost too good, it’s hard to stop with just a few pieces! Cherry Walnut Popcorn is filled with toasted walnuts, dried cherries, a buttery cherry-flavored caramel…

cherry caramel

And chunks of red chocolate-covered dried cherries!…

chocolate covered dried cherriescherry popcornCherry Walnut Popcorn

Into a very large bowl put:

      6 cups air-popped popcorn

      1/2 c dried cherries, sliced into thin strips ( using a clean scissors works best)

      1 c toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

Toss. Meanwhile, into a heavy medium-sized saucepan put:

       1/2 c butter

       1/2 c granulated sugar

       1/2 teas salt

       1/4 c light corn syrup

Gently boil for 5 minutes. Turn down heat to low and then add:

       1 teas cherry extract

Stir and add:

       1/2 teas baking soda

Stir well. Pour the mixture over the popcorn, cherries and walnuts. Mix just until combined. Then sprinkle over the top:

      1 Tablespoon powdered butter sprinkles ( optional, but it adds a little extra buttery salty flavor! :)  )

Mix, then gently stir in:

      1 c coarsely chopped red chocolate-covered dried cherries

Don’t overstir or the chocolate will completely melt off the cherries. Spread the popcorn out over a cookie sheet and let it completely cool and firm up.  Enjoy!

 

 

Strawberry Shortcake Ice cream

red generanium

 

Doesn’t  it seem like the best tasting ice creams are always rock hard right out of the freezer? And in some cases, so hard  you bend your spoon trying to dish some out of the container?

Has the following ever happened to you?…

While grocery shopping, you come to the frozen food section and start eyeballing one of those little expensive containers of ice cream. You think  “Heh, that would make a nice treat for the drive home!”  You swing by the deli counter and pick up a plastic spoon for a little taste of that ice cream when you get into the car. (I’m chuckling as I am writing little taste. How many of us have polished off most of that little carton before we have even pulled into the driveway?)

After you have walked across the parking lot and reached your car, you begin to load the groceries. But before they can actually go into the car, you thoroughly search each and every bag for that little tub of frozen goodness. Then –  your heart skips a beat - there it is!   Buried beneath the bananas and package of weenies…

You take the ice cream out of the bag and casually carry it with you as you climb into the driver’s seat because after all,  you don’t want to draw attention to yourself and that ice cream. People might think as soon as that car door is shut you are going to dive into it. Darn right!  Now where’s that spoon?…

You slam the car door, start the car, search for the spoon in your purse, pry off the ice cream lid, stick in your spoon and then snap!  The spoon breaks off!  

Now,  I ask you, IS there anything more frustrating than the sound of that snap?? All your dreams of “sampling” that ice cream…gone. And now all you are left with is a broken worthless piece of spoon in your hand…

ice cream cookies

Rock hard ice cream. You love it, you despise it!  You chisel and saw, dig and prod and what do you have to show for all your work  after 3 minutes? A broken spoon and this itty-bitty piece of ice cream that finally broke off as your reward!

But you know, I bet the ice cream was worth all the frustration, wasn’t it?

strawberry shortcake ice cream

The following ice cream is filled with fresh strawberries, ripples of homemade fudge, and crumbled vanilla creme-filled cookies  and ooohhhhh…is it yummy!

It has a very creamy smooth texture, but it is very hard out of the freezer. So to avoid any frustration be  kind to yourself and your spoon and set it out on the counter for awhile and just…walk away. Try not to think about that ice cream. Oh!  and don’t listen to it when it starts calling your name after the first 2 minutes of sitting there!

Your patience will be rewarded after about 20 minutes. The strawberries will still be nice and frosty…

strawberry

The vanilla cookies will be soft and the ice cream and fudge will yield perfectly to your spoon!…

Happy Summer to you! 

strawberry shortcake ice cream

Strawberry Shortcake Ice cream

You will need:

3 cups sliced fresh strawberries

10 vanilla creme sandwich cookies, crumbled or coarsely chopped

Into a small heavy saucepan, put:

2/3 c heavy whipping cream

Scald the cream ( heat the cream and then as soon as it begins to boil, take it off the heat)   Take the pan off the burner and then add:

2 T  butter, at room temperature

2/3 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Stir slightly then let it sit for about 5 minutes (the warm of the milk will melt the chips). After the 5 minutes has passed, take a whisk and gently stir the mixture until it has a smooth, dark and glossy appearance.  Set it aside while you do the next steps…

Into a medium-sized mixing bowl, put:

2 c heavy whipping cream

Beat it until it forms stiff peaks.  Set aside.

Into a large mixing bowl, put:

1 can sweetened condensed milk

4 egg yolks (be sure your eggs are clean, uncracked, Grade A)

1 t  pure vanilla extract

Stir together.  Fold in the whipped cream.

To assemble the layers of your ice cream, you will need about a 2-quart size freezable container that has a lid.  Pour approximately  a third of the whipped cream mixture into your container.   Then drop in about 3/4 cup of the fresh strawberries and half of the chopped cookies.  Then drizzle half of the chocolate evenly over this.

Cover with another third of the whipped cream mixture, another 3/4 cup or so of the strawberries and the rest of the cookies and the chocolate.  Follow up with the rest of the whipped cream mixture and top with the rest of the strawberries. Seal up the container so that it is air tight and place it in the freezer. Freeze until firm.

When serving, please remember to take the container out of the freezer at least 20 minutes before indulging…

Malted Coconut Cookies

blue bellsThe other day, it was just beautiful outside so I was having a “quiet” moment sitting out in my garden. My husband and our daughter were gone for the afternoon so our little son and I decided to spend our time together in the backyard.

He loves to water my flowers. So it being a rather hot day, I let him loose with the hose. Ummm… a 3 year old with a garden hose all to himself. You can probably imagine what went on!  A few of the flowers got watered and everything else, well…got rinsed off…pretty well.

blue bells

blue bellsDo the flowers remind you of little umbrellas? I think they do…

One summer while A. (our son)was playing with an umbrella, E. ( our daughter) was filling the blow up pool with water. One accidental squirt of water next to A. with the umbrella, and it started something…
While A. stood in the pool holding the umbrella, E. rained water down on him! And you can imagine all the squeals and laughter that went along with that fun!

Isn’t funny how kids can have so much fun doing the simplest things? Now, if my husband was standing in the pool holding an umbrella while I was shooting him with the hose, I wonder if he’d be squealing with laughter? Well, then again… maybe he would! :)

Malted Coconut Cookies

Into a  mixing bowl place:

      1/2 cup butter flavored vegetable shortening

      1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

      2 eggs

      2 Tablespoons milk

      1 Tablespoon molasses

      1 teas vanilla extract

      1 teas coconut flavoring

Beat this until creamy. Sift together:

      2 – 3/4 cups of flour

      1/2  cup chocolate malted milk powder

      1 teas salt

      1- 1/2  teas baking powder

      1/2 teas baking soda

Add this to the creamed mixture and beat well. Then, into a food processor place:

      2 cups of malted milk balls

Process until the balls are about the size of peas. Pour this into the above mixture. Then put into the empty bowl of the food processor:

      2 cups flaked coconut

and process until the coconut has been reduced in size ( I do this so that my kids don’t recognize the coconut in the cookies – so you can skip this part if you wish…) Pour the coconut into the above mixture and then beat until combined. The dough will appear dry and crumbly. Form into 1-1/2 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes. The cookies are done when small little cracks appear on the tops. Do not overbake. Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies. When they are cool, place them in an air tight container to keep them nice and chewy…