March 31, 2013

Use up those leftover Peeps and all those candy bars! Candy Bar Cheesecake and Peep Krispy Bars!

This is a photo of my favorite kind of cheesecake; Vanilla but add bits of candy bars to yours!

Candy Bar Cheesecake Bars

The week of Easter... the time when the excitement over the Easter candy has worn off and Moms and Dads everywhere are thinking about some recipes they can make to use up a few of the leftover candy bars. How about cheesecake bars?  Snickers, Butter Fingers, 100 Grand... doesn't matter. Take your pick. 

Candy Bar Cheesecake Bars

3/4 c  (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/3 c  packed dark brown sugar
1/3 c  granulated sugar
2 c  all-purpose flour
1 c  almonds, ground

2 - 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c  granulated sugar
1 t  vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Butter Finger, Snickers or other candy bars; chopped or diced into pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In large bowl, beat butter on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute. Add sugars; beat 3 minutes or until smooth and fluffy. On low speed, beat in flour. Beat in nuts just until incorporated. Reserve 1 cup of mixture for later. Press the rest into a 9X13" pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; let cool slightly.

In large bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract and eggs; beat for 2 minutes. Fold in candy bars. Spoon over baked crust. Sprinkle reserved crust mixture over top. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheesecake layer is set. Transfer pan to wire rack; let cool to room temperature. Chill at least 2 hours before serving either cool or at room temperature.

Peep Krispy Bars

3 T butter
30 Peeps (which, really no one should have that many Peeps... so use part Peeps and make the rest up with marshmallows. You'll need a grand total of 10 oz. which is about 40 large or a package of mini. Adjust accordingly to how many Peeps you have to use up!)
6 c crispy rice cereal

Put the butter and marshmallow peeps into a very large microwavable bowl and microwave until they puff up and double their size in the bowl. This takes about 1.5 - 2 minutes in my microwave.

Immediately stir in the cereal with a rubber scraper that has been sprayed with Pam style cooking oil or oiled with canola or vegetable oil. Now place the mixture into a greased or sprayed 9X13 inch pan. As soon as they are cool, cut and serve!Print Friendly and PDF

How to use up leftover ham from Easter dinner!? Here is one idea - Hashbrown Potatoes with Ham

Happy Blessed Easter!  Many people will be celebrating with a big Easter Ham today and will be looking at the leftovers of that Easter ham tomorrow.  And Tuesday.  And maybe Wednesday, depending on how large that ham was.  Ha ha. 

The first thing I would suggest is simply wrapping it in foil and putting it in a large Ziploc style baggy and freezing it for another week or two until you feel like eating ham again!  But if you are wanting to use it up instead, this is one of our family's favorites. 

It's actually named "Haley's Potatoes" in our house, in honor of our daughter's good friend who loved them and requested them whenever she would spend the night.  She would even eat any leftovers for breakfast the next morning.  She's as tiny as can be with a metabolism that would allow her to do so - which is a good thing because when you made them as listed below, you use cream!  You can use heavy or light cream, or half and half.  I also love to make these with evaporated milk.  However, I wouldn't suggest regular milk unless that is all you have.  It will still taste fine, but it won't be as creamy.   This makes a family sized batch so you can half it if you wish or make the whole thing and freeze half. 

Hashbrown Potatoes with Ham

32 oz. pkg. frozen shredded or diced hash brown potatoes
2 c cream, heavy or half and half (substitute evaporated milk if you wish - about 12-15 oz.)
 1 - 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 t fresh ground black pepper
1 t onion powder
1 1/2 c cooked, diced ham

Mix in a large bowl and pour into a greased pan.  Bake at 375F for 1 hour.  In a crockpot, cook on high 3 hours and leave the lid off for the last 45 minutes or so to thicken up.  Note you can adapt this recipe in many ways!  Including using evaporated milk instead of cream, adding shredded cheese, real diced onion instead of powder, etc.

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March 30, 2013

Garlic and Olive Oil Flatbread: What to do when you let your bread rise too long and it falls!

Although I have a handful of bread and dough recipes I like to use, when I'm busy and need to get a dough ready for anything from bread to buns, pizza to cinnamon rolls, there is a basic white dough recipe I turn to as it's just a simple, basic, classic dough that works for almost anything.  The only way you can really mess it up is if you forget about it during the raising process and it raises too high, gets full of air and collapses when you finally remember it a few hours later.  Uh, hmm... not that I've done that or anything?

Ok.  Not only have I done that, I do it quite often.  Ha.  And last week I was busy and although I made the dough into three long, french style looking loaves, I left them to raise and promptly forgot about them.  When I remembered, they had risen so high they all joined together on the pan and were full of air.  No worries.

If this happens, just poke your fingers into it.  As it falls, continue to poke indentations all over the dough, drizzle with olive oil or brush with butter and then cover in a sprinkle of dried parsley, fresh minced garlic and a bit of garlic salt or garlic powder and Parmesan cheese.  Then, pretend like you planned to make a garlic flat bread the whole time.

This is also very good to cut into bread sticks and serve with a side of melted garlic butter or marinara or pizza sauce!

Classic White Bread Dough

12 oz. water
1 1/2 t salt
2 T butter
4 c bread flour or all purpose flour
2-3 T dry milk (I pour it in but never measure)
2 T sugar
1 3/4 t dry yeast (although I don't always measure this either as mine comes from a large jar). One small individual package is 2 1/4 teaspoons. 

Place into your bread machine in order listed (water, salt butter, flour, milk, sugar, yeast) unless of course your machine has a different order needed to achieve results (some make you do the dry first). You can also put them in your KitchenAid mixer and mix on low to knead for about 10 minutes.  I have let it raise, punch it down, shape into my bread loaf in a greased pan, let raise again and bake - and have also taken it out after mixing and shaped it and let it do just one rise before baking.  Both worked with this recipe.

Use the dough as you want. For bread it makes 2 loaves - bake about 25 minutes at 350.

This was three long, thin loaves that I let raise too long and forgot about.  No worries!  Now, flat bread.

Bake until golden brown and serve as if you planned it that way the whole time.

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March 29, 2013

Raspberry Meringue Bites

This is a recipe I posted once before, a couple years ago.  I worked at the museum at the time and while looking through a co-workers Pampered Chef catalog, I spied a photo of these little meringue cups and knew they would be perfect for Easter dinner!

I actually make something similar to this already;  I make the meringue cups in circles about 2-3 inches round and I fill them with a vanilla or lemon curd pudding style filling and top with strawberries, kiwi, blueberries and raspberries.

This recipe takes my dessert one step 'smaller' by making the circles tiny and topping with just one raspberry.  So very pretty and dainty and perfect for a beautiful Easter buffet.


3 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 jar marshmallow cream
1/4 tsp Vanilla

Filling and Garnish
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 t Vanilla
1 pint fresh raspberries
Fresh mint leaves

Preheat oven to 200°F (100°C). Line two Cookie Sheets with Parchment Paper; set aside. In Stainless (4-qt./4-L) Mixing Bowl, beat egg whites on high speed of electric hand mixer until frothy; add cream of tartar. Continue beating until soft peaks form. Add marshmallow cream and vanilla; beat until mixture is glossy and stiff peaks form.

Spoon about half of the meringue batter into a decorator bag with the tip cut off 1/2 inch or use a large round decorator tip.  To form pedestal base, starting 1/2 in. (1 cm) from edge of Cookie Sheet, pipe a small round of meringue, 1/2 in. (1 cm) in diameter, onto Cookie Sheet. Pipe a ring of meringue around the edge of the base and spiral upward and around two more times, forming a tiny cup; repeat with remaining meringue in six rows of six pedestals each, refilling bag as needed and filling both Cookie Sheets. Bake 30 minutes or until meringues are dry. Turn oven off, leaving meringues in oven; let stand 2 hours or overnight.

For filling, place cream into a clean, grease free mixing bowl.   Beat on medium-high speed until slightly thickened. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until soft peaks form. Attach round tip to a decorator bag, fill with cream filling. Pipe cream filling evenly into meringue cups. Garnish each cup with a raspberry and a mint leaf.

Yield: 6-7 dozen meringues

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March 28, 2013

Almond Bon Bon Cookies for Easter or for Spring in General!

Almond Bon Bons are a cookie I make every year at Christmas and use brilliant green and red icing as well as snowy white.  They are cute and delicious and are a top request of my oldest daughter.  However, if you need a dainty, cute cookie for Easter they would be just as adorable in pastel icing shades, perfect for your spring table.

Almond Bon Bon Cookies

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c butter, soft
1/3 c powdered sugar
2 T milk
1 t vanilla
4 oz. almond paste

Almond Glaze:

1 c powdered sugar
1/2 t almond extract
drops of food color to make yellow, green, blue, purple or pink
4 t milk - mix all until blended smooth

Heat oven to 375. Beat flour, butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla on medium until mixed well. Slice almond paste into 1/2 inch slices and then cut each slice into fourths. Shape one inch balls of dough around each bit of almond paste. Roll into a nice ball shape. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until they are set and the bottom is just starting to get golden. Remove to a rack and cool completely. Dip the tops of the cooled cookie into the almond glaze. Let set to harden or sprinkle decorator sprinkles or sugar on top if you wish when the icing is still wet.

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March 27, 2013

Yellow, Orange and Springtime Green - Cupcakes for Easter

This weekend is Easter - do you need a last minute dessert? Children and adults alike can't resist a tempting cupcake!  These are cupcakes I whipped up for a last minute dessert to bring to a family gathering a few years ago.  We still lived close enough to family (well, 3 hours away at the time) to 'gather' at a moment's notice.  These cupcakes were so easy but turned out so cute and were a hit with everyone.  And really, they are so quick to make, why not whip some up today and surprise your crew for Easter dinner this weekend?
  • Make your favorite cake recipe or use a box mix.
  • Make it into cupcakes. 
  • Let cool completely and top with your favorite frosting recipe (I have a bunch to choose from on my side bar!).
  • Sprinkle with non perils or colored sugar and wha-la! You are done!

The frosting I used on the cupcakes in the picture above is;

1 c shortening
1 c butter
4 c powdered sugar
3/4 c marshmallow cream
4 t vanilla extract

Beat on low 30 seconds and high 2-5 minutes until it looks like whipped cream.

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March 26, 2013

Cut Out Cookies for Easter

As a Mom, I've made sure my kids have grown up with many different memories and traditions, some as simple as holiday cookies.  When the children were all younger I had no idea if the energy and love I poured into the crafts, games, learning experiences, trips, cookies and things made any real difference but once the kids were older, I knew it did.  They told me.  And continue to tell me, and continue to 'make sure' Santa comes to (and I quote) "poor, starving, college students"  or that the Easter bunny will remember them, or I'm going to make their favorite goodies or cookies for the holidays.   

I don't really love baking and cutting out sugar cookies, but I did it.  Every holiday and usually at least once a month even when there no holidays, you would find cute, cut out cookies.  Frogs, ice cream cones, football helmets, dinosaurs...  even fish.  Something fun.  And they loved them!

So this week is my "Easter"  cookie week.  I hope it is in your house too.  If you are short on time, just make the dough on one day and refrigerate it.  Bake the cookies another day and pop them in the freezer for decorating on a third day.  By breaking it into little time frames, it's easy to fit them into busy schedules.

Sugar Cookies (or Cut Out Cookies)

1.5 c butter, soft
2 c white sugar
1 c powdered sugar
4 eggs
2 t vanilla
5 c flour
2 t baking powder
1 t salt

Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and chill dough for an hour or up to as long as overnight. Preheat oven to 400. Roll dough on lightly floured surface. Cut. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 6-7 minutes for a semi chewy cookie and 8-9 for a more crisp. Cool completely. Can be frozen after cooling until you want to decorate at a later time.

Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 c butter, soft
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cream of tartar
1 t salt

Combine  sugar and butter, beat until creamy with your electric mixer.  Add eggs  and vanilla.  Beat well.  Add dry ingredients and mix until blended.   Chill dough until it's easy to work with;  30-60 minutes.

On  lightly floured surface roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut out  cookies.  Bake at 350 until the edges just start to turn golden brown,  about 10 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.  Frost.

Tea Cup Metal Cookie Cutter


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March 23, 2013

Easter Almond Truffles - Sugar Free or Regular!

This is a recipe our family has been using for homemade truffles for years, but the truffles on our counter this morning could be enjoyed by anyone... even if they are forced by Diabetes or other health issues to limit their intake of sugar.  They look like sugar laden truffles.  They taste like sugar laden truffles.  They are not, however, sugar laden truffles.  Here is my original recipe which I'd love to share with everyone, but be aware of the substitutions you can make to make them sugar free friendly as well.  I had two with my coffee this morning and I assure you, they are incredible, smooth, decadent and creamy.

Almond Truffles

1/2 c evaporated milk
1/4 c sugar
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 t almond extract
1 c finely chopped toasted almonds
OR 1 cup melted chocolate almond bark for dipping (or extra chocolate chips)
and melted white almond bark for drizzling

Combine evaporated milk and sugar in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil. Boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in chips and almond extract, stirring gently until smooth. Chill mixture about 45 minutes until it can easily be shaped into balls. Roll into the crushed nuts or dip in melted chocolate. Drizzle or sprinkle with nuts if desired. Chill until ready to serve.

Sugar Free Almond Truffles

1/2 c evaporated milk 
1/3 c erythritol
1-2 t worth of liquid sweetener since erythriol is only 70% as sweet as sugar
2 c sugar free chocolate chips
1/2 of a small square of Baker's unsweetened chocolate (a block has 2 pieces, break it apart and use 1)
1/2 t almond extract
1 c finely chopped toasted almonds

Combine evaporated milk and sugar substitute in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil. Boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in liquid sweetener, unsweetened chocolate piece, chips and almond extract, stirring gently until smooth. Chill mixture about 45 minutes until it can easily be shaped into balls. Roll into the crushed nuts or dip in additional sugar free melted chocolate. Drizzle or sprinkle with nuts if desired. Chill until ready to serve.

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March 21, 2013

Potato Salad - a Great Spring or Summer Dish

I've posted our favorite potato salad recipe previously (here) which uses a hearty dose of milk, some sugar and vinegar.  However, this one, similar to a popular restaurants, is a second favorite.  You can leave the pimentos out if you wish of course and play with the amounts in 'taste testing' to see what you think.  Remember that the flavor changes though, after it's been chilled a few hours.

Potato Salad

2 lbs. russet potatoes
1 c mayonnaise
4 t sweet pickle relish
4 t sugar
2 t minced onion
2 t prepared mustard
1 t vinegar
1 t minced celery
1 t diced pimentos
1/2 t shredded carrot
1/4 t dried parsley
1/4 t pepper

Peel and dice potatoes into 1 inch cubes.   Boil the potatoes 5 to 10 minutes till fork tender.  In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, pickle relish, sugar, onion, mustard, vinegar, celery, pimento, carrot, parsley, pepper, and a dash of salt. When the potatoes are cooled to room temperature, mix all, and chill for at least 2-3 hours.

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March 20, 2013

Tie dye Cookie Bars

From my files - saved with this recipe so I could see what they look like, but it's not my picture.
I saw this recipe online some time last Spring and saved it to my collection to make - but since it was more the method than the recipe - I saved the images to remind me what to do - but I didn't copy down any instructions.  My site is for my 'collection' of recipes I've found to make or have made - (and my kids now that they are old enough to use it to cook and bake on their own) but I hope that some of the people popping in and seeing these will consider making them too as they are just so pretty!

Today is officially the first day of spring and I immediately thought of these pretty pastel bar cookies when I was thinking of something to celebrate the day, the start of the season and of course, Easter - right around the corner.

  • Looking at the photos, I can see what to do and I saved the pictures in my files for that 'visual' instruction. (I didn't save any instructions - just the photos.) 
  • You can see the idea is to choose 3-4 colors and pipe lines down your baked and cooled cookie bars. 
  • Cover with clear plastic wrap.
  • Press them very gently through the plastic to join them at the edges.
  • Remove the plastic.
  • Using a skewer, knife or other item, drag lines through the frosting from top to bottom.
  • Cover with plastic again.
  • Using your finger, draw down the scored lines to blend the edges again, blurring the lines and giving it a tye-dyed effect.

I hope the instructions make sense to my daughter or anyone else that may stop in to use some of the idea's and recipes on my site-collection.  You can use them on any bar cookie, but the simple sugar cookie style recipe is below the photos as it's a basic and easy recipe to use.

Sugar Cookie Bars

1 c butter
2 c sugar
2 t vanilla
4 eggs
5 c flour
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda

In a large mixing bowl cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy and smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Sift dry ingredients together and add to sugar mixture in small amounts. Mix batter until all flour is incorporated. Press into a 9X13 or 11X17" pan. Bake in 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.


1 1/2 c butter, soft
2 t vanilla
6 c powdered sugar
1 t salt
3 T light corn syrup

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add vanilla and salt then one cup powdered sugar at a time, scraping down sides until well blended. While mixer is running on medium-high speed add in karo and beat frosting until light and fluffy. Makes about 5 cups frosting.Print Friendly and PDF

March 16, 2013

Homemade Key Lime Pie for St. Patrick's Day!

Thinking 'green' for St. Patrick's Day tomorrow, I wasn't crazy about some of the traditional idea's to make or bake.  The sun is out, the temperature is rising today and I thought of how good a Key Lime Pie would taste.  Wait!  Key Lime Pie is light green....  green is a fun food color for St. Patrick's Day.  It's a win-win situation!  If you don't have the little Key Limes you can substitute lime juice you can purchase at the store.  But if you have to go to the store for the lime juice, be sure to look for a bag of fresh, little Key Limes as your first choice.

Key Lime Pie

1 bag of Key Limes (the very small limes!)
4 egg yolks
1 - 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 pre-made graham crust ready for filling

Zest about 4 of the limes.
Slice and juice all the limes save one. That one will be for garnish.
Strain the juice and reserve. You should have about 2/3 cup of liquid.
In an electric mixer bowl whip the egg yolks and lime zest 5 minutes.
Add the condensed sweetened milk and whip 3-4 minutes more.
Add the lime juice and mix until blended.
Pour into the graham crust. Bake 15 minutes at 325 degrees until filling is set.
Cool 20 minutes on counter. Chill 2 hours in the refrigerator.

A Topping Option

1 c heavy or whipping cream
1 -2 T confectionery sugar (powdered sugar)
1/2 t vanilla extract
*optional - 3-6 oz. cream cheese, softened
Mix and use to decorate dollops on your pie if you desire a topping. Print Friendly and PDF

March 12, 2013

Irish Cream Ice Cream - 4 recipes for 4 different versions and flavors!

This morning I was thinking about some different idea's to serve on St. Patrick's Day besides the regular goodies I've done in the past.  What came to mind was ice cream!  My personal choice, I admit, would be to use a pistachio gelato to celebrate as it's one of my favorite kinds and is green - but it's not really embracing the whole "IRISH" theme.  So instead;  An Irish Cream flavored ice cream!

There are as many ways to make an Irish Cream Ice Cream as you can possibly think of, so really it just comes down to choosing your favorite 'style' of recipe.  I decided I was going to put 3 recipes into my collection as well as tell you about a 4th idea that I like best because it is a non-alcoholic version so it's yummy for me but safe for kids to enjoy too.

When choosing your favorite recipe take into consideration;
  • Eggs or no eggs?
  • Chocolate chunks?
  • Coffee based or vanilla based?
  • Alcohol or no?
I usually like the thick, rich and delicious ice cream we get from using eggs, however there are other times a simple, fast and softer ice cream is fine and then I skip the eggs and use a mixture of creams and milks.  I like the idea of a coffee flavored base so it's similar to the popular Irish Coffee drink - however, you can have fun with the idea's and obviously choose the one you think sounds best.

Another option I'm going to throw out there is to add a few drops of food color - making it a fun shade of green to go with the holiday theme. 

First off however, I want to start with what might be the easiest "recipe" ever.  Fast, easy, yummy and non-alcoholic.

Non-Alcoholic and even Sugar Free Option for 
Irish Cream Ice Cream (safe for kids)

1 container vanilla ice cream of your choice
Torani Irish Cream Syrup (either regular or sugar-free)
Mini chocolate chips optional
Green food color optional

Let the ice cream sit out about 10 minutes to soften a bit.  Place in a large bowl to mix by hand or in a large mixing bowl and use the paddle attachment.  Mix in Irish Cream flavored syrup to your desired strength of taste.  Start with about 1/4 cup and do a taste test.   Blend well and add chocolate chips and/or green food color if you wish.  Place in a freezer safe container like a rubbermaid container with a lid and freeze until ready to serve.

These 3 options do have alcohol so keep that in mind;  however, you can use my idea of adding the Irish Cream syrup instead of the alcoholic liqueur for a non-alcoholic version to be enjoyed by everyone.  If you don't have an Electric Ice Cream Maker, these can be made without one but it is a painstaking process.  Freeze in a container with a lid but remove from the freezer every 15 minutes or so to stir and blend smooth, return to the freezer and continue the stirring and blending process for about 2 hours before finally allowing it to freeze solid without additional stirring.

Irish Cream Ice Cream
No eggs - soft verion

2 c half-and-half
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 c heavy whipping cream
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 c Irish cream liqueur

Mix the half and half in a bowl with the sugars until dissolved.  Add the whipping cream and vanilla extract.  Freezer per your machines directions.  When ready, add the liqueur and mix well.  Freeze in your freezer until ready to serve. 

Irish Cream Ice Cream

6 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
2 1/4 c milk
2 t vanilla
1/4 c heavy cream
1/4 cup Irish Cream liqueur

Whisk the eggs and sugar in a saucepan until thick and blended.  Heat the milk and vanilla to a boil, remove from heat and drizzle into the egg mixture while whisking. Pour the mixture back into to the saucepan and heat slowly and gently to thicken.  Beat the heavy cream and Irish cream into the mixture. Chill, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Irish Cream Coffee Ice Cream

2 eggs
3/4 c sugar
1 3/4 c whipping cream
1/4 c bailey's irish cream
1 c skim milk
3 T instant coffee
1/2 c chocolate chips or crushed chocolate bar

Whisk eggs until light and frothy. With a whisk or electric hand mixer on low, add the sugar a little at a time until incorporated.  Blend in the cream, irish cream, milk, and instant coffee until combined. Place the mixture in an ice cream machine and follow machine's directions. When ready, add the chocolate pieces and freeze until ready to serve.

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March 08, 2013

Chocolate Cupcakes with Homemade Chocolate Leaf Decorations; chocolate leaves made by you!

Chocolate leaves top simple and delicious chocolate cupcakes

Today is a very SPRING like day and that always makes me feel like opening the windows, letting in the sunshine and baking.  Granted, when we lived farther North, these days didn't arrive until April or May!  But since our relocation to the South, I've been blessed to have a few of them in March.

Today I looked over my website recipes and although I first chose another cupcake - I then saw these.  One my family loves, but also all the friends and family I've shared them with enjoy them as well.  The novelty of course is the chocolate leaves... but they are simple to make.

You can use your favorite cupcake recipe (I have several - just use the labels or search bar to your right) or just use a cake mix.  Bake as directed, let cool, then top with your favorite icing or frosting and use a homemade chocolate leaf as a simple decorating touch.

How to make chocolate leaves;

Take a walk through your yard to see what non-poisonous plants and tree's you have that may offer you beautiful small leaves with a lot of character and 'veins' on their undersides.

Clean leaves that you know have not been treated with chemicals are a must. I like to get them from my own garden and back yard as I can be sure of their chemical-free history.
Using melted white or dark chocolate or even almond bark, use a butter knife or a small, new paint brush or makeup brush to 'paint' the under side of the leaf.
Try not to get any melted chocolate on the top of the leaf, just paint the bottom in a nice thick, even layer.
Lay the leaves on foil, parchment paper or wax paper. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes to help the hardening process.

When the leaves are chilled the chocolate will be hardened and ready to peel off the leaf.
Gently and slowly peel the leaves off the chocolate and lay the chocolate leaf down. Sometimes the leaves can be used a second time if they are a bit sturdy but for the most part, plan to use each leaf only once.

Peel slowly and carefully

Use your leaves to decorate cakes, desserts, cupcakes, cookies and more. The more veins the leaf has, the better and remember to only paint the under side for the best results.

Chocolate cupcakes need very little decor to make them scrumptious looking!
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