MINT CHOCOLATE ICEBOX CAKE

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I realize I make a lot of icebox cakes, but out of all the different flavors I have experimented with, this is my all time favorite; and everyone at my Mom’s house on Christmas day agreed.  If you want to make something that tastes and looks like the holidays, while freeing up your oven for sugar cookies, this is the dessert for you!

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp peppermint extract
  • 28 gluten free chocolate cookies (I prefer Enjoy Life’s Crunchy Double Chocolate)
  • Red food coloring

In a mixer with a whisk attachment, mix heavy cream, sugar, peppermint and a couple drops of red food coloring on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form Then, on a cake plate, layer the peppermint mixture and cookies, starting with cream and alternating with cookies until finishing with cream. Optional: Top with crushed candy canes and chocolate shavings.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in your refrigerator over night (or if you’re impatient 8 hours will do!) Enjoy!

*For a summertime treat, color whipped cream with green food coloring so it resembles mint chocolate chip ice cream!

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BUCKEYE BARK

Because of the cult-like following of our college football team, everyone in Ohio knows what a buckeye is; little chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls made to resemble the nut that grows on our state tree.  

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I don’t know how common they are in other parts of the world, but in Ohio they are everywhere.  Basically they taste like a really creamy Reese Cup, and I am seriously addicted to them.  The only thing I don’t like about them is they’re a little tedious to make, not very Stay At Work Housewife friendly.  First you have to roll the peanut butter mixture into little balls, then you have to carefully dip them in melted chocolate without completely submerging them so that some of the peanut butter still shows (to resemble a buckeye), and if you accidentally drop one in the chocolate, it’s no longer a buckeye so you have to just eat it because you can no longer gift it that way.  I told you, Ohioans are fanatical about buckeyes.  A few Christmases ago I lost motivation by the time I got to the buckeyes and I decided to sort of cheat.  No way was I rolling out all those peanut butter balls.  That was the day my Christmas Buckeye Bark was born!

Ingredients:

Two 10 oz bags of chocolate chips (I use semi sweet but I also love it with white chocolate)

2 tbsp Crisco shortening, divided

1 and 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

3 cups powdered sugar

Combine peanut butter, butter, and vanilla until blended, then slowly add powdered sugar while mixer is still on and combine completely.  Set aside.

Place one bag of chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon Crisco in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted.

Pour melted chocolate on to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, spread the melted chocolate out as smooth as you can get it; then place in the refrigerator or freezer until it hardens.

Once the chocolate has set, remove from fridge/freezer and add peanut butter mixture to the top.  Spread it out evenly (I use my hands and push it out like a pizza crust), careful not to crack the chocolate underneath.

Melt remaining chocolate and Crisco, pour over peanut butter and smooth it out, make sure you cover the peanut butter completely.

*Optional: Add Christmas sprinkles or crushed peppermint before the chocolate has set.

Place it back into the fridge/freezer to harden.

Once the chocolate has set, you can cut it into desired sized squares with a sharp knife.  I usually run my knife under hot water to heat it up, but dry it off before cutting the buckeye bark.  Refrigerate in an airtight container. Enjoy!

M&M MONSTER COOKIES

 

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If you haven’t noticed yet, I have a bit of a sweet tooth; and usually cookies are my treat of choice.  My always on the go side loves that they’re a portable dessert (you’ve never thought of them like that have you?!)  and the nostalgic side of me can’t help reminiscing about making a big batch of classic chocolate chip cookies with my Mammaw in the summers that I spent with her.  But these are not your Mammaw’s cookies!  Every bite is packed full of chewy, chocolatey, peanut buttery goodness.  They’re so good I had to use fake adjectives to describe them!  Oh, and of course they’re gluten free!   (Well the jury is still out on oats, technically they ARE gluten free, but most oats are processed in a facility that also handles wheat products so there is a chance of cross contamination.  There are gluten free brands available, and I personally have never had a reaction to oats, but everyone’s intolerance is different so just pay attention to how you feel after eating them!)  This recipe is completely customizable; swap out the M&Ms for Reese Pieces, or use red and green ones for Christmas, switch the white chocolate chips for butterscotch or more chocolate!  I’ve also seen versions where they add shredded coconut, I personally hate coconut but to each their own!

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter; room temperature

1 and 1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp baking soda

1 and 1/4 cup peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

5 cups old fashioned oats

1 and 1/2 cup M&Ms

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Cream butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and peanut butter butter together, add eggs, vanilla, baking soda and oats; mix well.  Fold in M&Ms and white chocolate chips (this takes some muscle!).  Drop on a parchment lined cookie sheet; I make them heaping tablespoon sized and give them plenty of space to spread out, this makes about 48 cookies.  Bake them in a 350 degree for 8-10 minutes; I like them nice and chewy so 8 minutes does the trick.  Now comes the hard part….you have to let them cool before eating, otherwise they fall apart (they still taste the same when they fall apart, so if you can’t wait, I won’t judge you!).  Enjoy!

 

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