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Bittersweet Chocolate Bark with Pretzels

Surprise your special someone this Valentine’s Day with quick and easy Bittersweet Chocolate Bark with Pretzels.

Bittersweet Chocolate Bark with Pretzels

While I’m all for the convenience of store-bought candy, it’s hard to avoid going the DIY route when it’s as easy and customizable as this Bittersweet Chocolate Bark with Pretzels. I’ve swapped the spicy candy additions in the original recipe for a little something salty and a little something sweet. But before we get to the toppings, let’s talk chocolate.

Bittersweet Chocolate Bark with Pretzels

If there ever was a time to splurge on high-quality chocolate, this is that moment. Aim for the best bittersweet chocolate you can find, as it’ll be the primary canvas upon which you scatter a colorful array of toppings, so you want that canvas to be as pleasing to the palate as possible.

Bittersweet Chocolate Bark with Pretzels recipe

And then it comes time to top the melted chocolate with all of your favorite snack items, from salted pretzels and sour gummy O’s to heart-shaped sprinkles and any other festive or flavorful odds and ends stashed in your pantry.

Bittersweet Chocolate Bark with Pretzels recipe

The final touch to your confectionery canvas? A swift drizzle of pink candy melts that lend a pop of color to your Valentine’s Day dessert dream. You can purchase candy melts in large grocery stores or craft stores, or find every color of the rainbow by purchasing them online.

Bittersweet Chocolate Bark with Pretzels recipe

Ready to woo your special someone with homemade Bittersweet Chocolate Bark? Check out the recipe then find inspiration with a few more of my favorite Valentine’s Day-inspired sweets.

- Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste


Apple Streusel Pie with Caramel Sauce

Hi!  I’m Katie Workman, author of The Mom 100 Cookbook, and I also write themom100.com blog.  Both the book and the blog are intended to make your life easier, filled with  delicious, no-fuss, easily adaptable recipes, plus tips, maybe a little wisdom for surviving and staying happy in the kitchen.  And a hefty dose of honest reality — I’ve got two kids, a full time job, a husband, a dog, and I’m right there with you, figuring it out one day at a time!

This is the story of possibly the best apple streusel pie everApple pies, in whatever form they come, are always one of the most welcome items on the dessert buffet, and never more appealing than on Thanksgiving.  Something about the smell of those warm spices and tender apples, that flaky crust.  I’ve never met an apple pie I didn’t like, and I think I speak for the masses.  And when that pie gets topped with a sweet and slightly crunchy streusel topping ….WELL, that’s the apex of apple pie, as far as I’m concerned.

But what if you added one more element, a simple custardy filling to envelop the apples in a rich, silky filling underneath that wonderfully bumpy topping?  That would be a whole other level of apple pie heaven, wouldn’t it?  And what if, just what if, you passed a small pitcher of caramel sauce on the side for those who were looking to gild the lily?

This recipe starts with the fabulousness of Crumb-Topped Apple Slab Pie, but we are suckers for pie in pie pans over the holidays, so I changed it to a regular pie instead of a slab pie.  Then I added a custard filling to bing the apples together.  I also added ground ginger and cloves along with the cinnamon to give it different layers of flavor.  You could also use pumpkin pie spice mix if you wanted.  I usually use Granny Smith apples, which have a nice tartness to stand up to the sweetness of the filling and the topping, but you could use any firm apple that is available.  If you have the time and inclination to make your own pie crust  as the original recipe suggests by all means, bully ahead, but I can get a little lazy in the pie crust department, so I fall back on the rolled up pie crusts found in the refrigerator section of the supermarket, and the ready to bake crusts in the freezer section.  I really love them, and they allow me to make pies more often that I otherwise would.  You can use your fingers or a pastry blender to rub the butter into the streusel topping if you don’t have a food processor; just make sure the butter is quite cold.  It’s a good idea to put a baking sheet under the pie when it’s baking, as the streusel topping can tend to bubble of the side a bit.

This streusel pie inspiration was combined another inspiration, this one from Mile-High Caramel Apple Pie.  I loved the idea that caramel would be just the perfect finishing touch.  Ironically, instaed of using a store-bought caramel as that recipe suggests, I made my own — but another time I might well just grab a jar of pre-made sauce.  If you wanted to swap out the caramel for whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, that would also be delicious.  Or, if you are feeling a little outrageous, you could do caramel AND whipped cream or ice cream.

The pie can be baked a day ahead of time and kept wrapped in the refrigerator.  Let is return to room temperature before serving or heat it in a 300°F oven for 15 minutes to warm it.  Click here for the pie recipe.

 

Easy Slow Cooker Desserts


Two Tomato Carrot Ribbon Pasta

There’s something so satisfying (yet a bit indulgent) about a big plate of pasta, right? But what if you could make it just a little lighter and shave off a little of that guilt? Starting with this recipe, I replaced half the noodles with carrot ribbons, and guess what…JUST as satisfying! It’s a great flavor combo, too- sun dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, parsley and fresh mozzarella balls. Perfect when entertaining, or for a weeknight dinner.

Click HERE for the BHG recipe that I have adapted. Use any type of pasta you’d like (wheat, gluten-free, etc…they type I used with the curly edges is called Riccia). To lighten things up, substitute about half of the pasta serving per person with carrot ribbons. I have found this to be about 1-2 carrots per serving, depending on how big the carrots are. When boiling the pasta, I just throw the carrot ribbons in the water for the last 1 minute the pasta is cooking, then strain it all together. But be sure not to leave the carrots in too long- they are so thin that they will fall apart quickly when over cooked. One minute or less should do it, just until they start to wilt.

You can also use carrot ribbons to replace all the pasta if you like! For this version, instead of boiling the carrots, try just quickly sauteeing the ribbons over medium heat in a non-stick pan with a bit of olive oil until they wilt (about 3 minutes).

For the Two-Tomato Pasta recipe, click here. For my version substitute carrot ribbons for half (or all!) of the pasta. Enjoy!

Photos and illustration by Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast, a blog and cookbook inspired by living in a cabin in the woods.

 


Butternut Quesadillas

 

I made a big batch of these Butternut Quesadillas recently for a party, and they were a hit! They’d be perfect for a Superbowl Party. I started with this BHG recipe for Avocado Quesadillas, but swapped the avocado out for roasted, mashed butternut squash. I found that with the squash, you didn’t need quite as much cheese, and it was still moist and delicious! I made them ahead of time and kept them warm in the oven, which worked great.

I use a potato peeler to remove the rind from the squash, which makes things much quicker. Then you can just slice it up and remove the seeds. I cut the squash into cubes (about 1 inch) and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast them at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until a fork goes in easily and they are a bit browned. When they come out, mash them in a bowl with a fork.

Just spread about 2 tablespoons of mashed butternut squash onto a tortilla (I used corn). Then sprinkle with cheese (I used Manchego like in the BHG recipe, but anything works!), and a pinch of fresh thyme. Cover with another tortilla and heat in a skillet until the cheese melts, flipping once. Stack the quesadillas in a warm oven until it’s time to eat. I cut them right before serving, and top each with a dollop of sour cream and/or salsa.

Enjoy!

By Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast, a blog and forthcoming cookbook full of simple recipe and entertaining ideas inspired by living in a cabin in the woods.

 


Hot Cocoa Ghost Cake

Julie Blanner is the voice behind Coordinately Yours, a stylish lifestyle blog filled with do-it-yourself inspiration for effortless entertaining, home design and thoughtful gift-giving. As a seasoned event planner, her approach is warm and simple: entertaining and design that celebrates life.

best chocolate cake

I’m a fan of anything chocolate – and easy! I was looking for recipes I could make for Halloween and came across this hot cocoa brownie cake with marshmallow frosting recipe on BHG. It was quick, easy, and these little ghosts vanished nearly as quick as they appeared, making this a new family favorite recipe.

I chose a fudge brownie mix to give it a great, chewy base. Spray your pan well, lining it with parchment paper for easy removal.

baking tip: how to remove cake from pan easily

Confession: I don’t own a double boiler or a hand mixer. As much as I love baking, I’m a minimalist in the kitchen. To create a double boiler, just place a saucepan that fits well into a large pot of boiling water {water shouldn’t touch pan}. I warmed the marshmallow topping ingredients accordingly, transferring it to the metal bowl of my stand mixer {which kept them warm} and beat until stiff. To make this recipe a little more child friendly, I eliminated the coffee and liquor.

diy double broiler

I piped the marshmallow cream on to create ghosts with standard disposable icing bags. I didn’t worry about them being perfect – ghosts sway in the wind, right? I used store bought gel icing in a tube for the eyes. Next time I make this recipe {which will be sooner than later}, I will reduce the bake time for the ghosts to 4 minutes for a whiter appearance.

easy cake for Halloween

halloween dessert

This cake fits into my chic black and pink Halloween decor.

best chocolate cake recipe

Aren’t they adorable?

Halloween cake

piping ghosts on a cake

but definitely not too cute to eat!

marshmallow icing

Summer may be over, but toasted marshmallows and chocolate are here to stay!


Orange Tare-Glazed Grilled Chicken Salad

Hi, I’m Julie Deily, a former software engineer turned freelance recipe developer and food photographer. I’ve been blogging at The Little Kitchen since December 2009 and love to share easy to make meals that are indulgent enough to call comfort food. Follow me on twitter and instagram.

 

Orange Tare-Glazed Grilled Chicken Salad


I saw the recipe on the Better Homes and Garden website for Tangerine Tare-Glazed Grilled Chicken Salad back in May and I printed it out immediately. I wanted to try it because I have never made a salad with udon noodles before. Once I had the wonderful opportunity to guest post on Delish Dish, I knew what recipe I wanted to blog about!

Orange Tare-Glazed Grilled Chicken Salad

I couldn’t find tangerines or snow peas at my grocery store so I opted to change it up by using oranges and asparagus. This salad is bursting with flavor and has so many different textures, I’m completely in love with it. From the udon noodles to the orange slices, the crunch napa cabbage and the wonton crisps.

I made the glaze and salad dressing and then boiled the noodles. After I boiled and drained the noodles, I returned the pot to the stove with water and once the water was boiling, I added the asparagus (cleaned and cut into thirds) and only cooked it for about 60 seconds. (Drain it and run it over cold water to stop the cooking.)

I refrigerated the dressing so it would be cold. And while the chicken was grilling, I toasted the wonton shells to make crisps.

Orange Tare-Glazed Grilled Chicken Salad

I’m completely obsessed with the wonton crisps and by the way, so is my dog, Angel. She knows when I’m snacking on them, she comes running over and asks for a bite!

For the amount of ingredients in this salad, it’s surprisingly quick to make and if you want to make it even quicker for a fast lunch or dinner, grill the chicken indoors using a grill pan.

I will be making this recipe again and again. I know you’ll enjoy it if you try it!

For the entire recipe, please visit Tangerine Tare-Glazed Grilled Chicken Salad.


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