Sugar Swings! Serve Some: March 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Easy Graham Cracker Bars for Easter

So if your kids are like mine, Easter time tends to be a chocolate and candy overload since the grandparents like to buy them all some sweets for the season.  And 3 kids times 4 grandparents, makes for ALOT of candy!  (Shhhh don't tell them I give a lot of it away!).  

But, these graham cracker bars are a nice compromise since I do still like to do something special for the kids at Easter time. 

They are made from cinnamon graham crackers, some melted chocolate or candy melt, and some store bought cotton candy.  (Ok they are still sugary but at least it's not adding to the mix of candy bars, jelly beans, peeps and other spring time candies).

And as promised they are really are so simple to make:
  • Lay out your graham crackers (keep them big, like out of the pack big) - the hardest part is trying not to break the bar!
  • Melt some chocolate or candy melt in the microwave in a zip lock bag
  • Snip off an end of the baggie and "pipe" on your design.  I went with bunnies because they are simple and really hard to mess up!
  • While still wet, add a bunny tail with some cotton candy
  • Customize with names or sayings as you like
  • Add a border to cute'n it up even more and let the chocolate harden

See, so simple and a fun alternative to the store bought candies that are everywhere right now.

And simple is great for me because I leave for Costa Rica in a couple days.  My sister is getting married there (WOOT!) and I'm bringing my 8 year old with me for some 1:1 time.  Can't wait, and I'm looking forward to some warm weather, good eats, and some great time with my sister, almost brother-in-law, niece and of course my oldest kiddo.  Hopefully I'll be posting about some yummy Costa Rican treats soon!

Have a great week!

Here are some other great and simple graham cracker treats too!

Graham cracker sandwiches
Graham cracker s'mores candy
Ice cream s'mores pops
Graham cracker dessert treats
Owl s'mores

And stop by these fun sites too!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hula Bunny PEEPS and a Spring Hop Along PEEPS Party!!

Yay! It's PEEPS season! If you follow the blog or my posts at all you probably know I'm all about PEEPS.  Totally LOVE 'EM! Last year I had an entire week of PEEPS Pops including PEEPS dressed up as The Beatles, The Sesame Street GangKISS, Some famous Art Work, The AvengersBaseball Players, Where the Wild Things Are and this year some Mickey and Minnie PEEPS Pops, and of course the Star Wars PEEPS Troopers!  You can say I kinda have a thing for Marshmallow PEEPS!

And this year a bunch of crazy bloggers agreed to do a Spring Hop Along PEEPS Party where everyone created a unique treat with PEEPS as a theme.  I know crazy, right? Well if crazy means super fun and awesome, then it's crazy! 

This year I definitely had some trouble coming up with a fun idea.  I had a couple and they just didn't pan out right, but then tried these hula bunnies!

Start with a square pretzel as a base and I used PEEPS bunnies (I like them better than the chicks for whatever weird reason).  Attach to pretzel with some candy melt or melted chocolate.  Then add a grass skirt with some more green candy melt (I put the wafers into a zip lock baggie, melt in the microwave, then snip a small end off and pipe on).  Use brown to do a belt on top of the grass skirt.  Add a "coconut top".  This is just some plain m and m's attached with more melted candy.  I wanted all brown to be more like coconuts, but apparently there are very few brown m n' m's in a single pack these days, so I used the other colors too, which I think work well with these colorful Hula PEEPS!

 You can make them alone, or add them to your favorite cupcakes or treat too! They'd be great for a luau or Hawaiian themed party!  I really had fun with these, especially the ties in the back for the coconut m and m tops!

The tiny bunny arms are some non-pareil sprinkles.  Add a candy melt/sprinkle flower to the ears and you have yourself some hula bunnies!

I really like how these came out and the little flower really pulls it together!

Please check out the other PEEPS creations from the other bloggers who joined in on the Spring Hop Along PEEPS Party! Thanks to all of you for playing along and especially to Christi from Love From the Oven for helping to put all this together! She also put together an awesome PEEPS giveaway, so enter via the Rafflecopter below to win some PEEPSalicious PEEPS stuff to make your own PEEPS treat (or to just eat 'em stale like I do!).

Ready for more fabulous PEEPS recipes and ideas???  Visit the following websites, each is sharing an amazing PEEPS post for you today, so hop on over and check them all out!   Don't forget to enter to win the fabulous PEEPS Prize Pack as well!   Happy Spring!

Enter to win some fun PEEPS treats!

Open to US Residents Only.  Use the Rafflecopter Widget below to enter, please remember it can be slow to load.  Good luck!
THANKS to everyone who participated in this PEEPS Party, all are bloggers I totally look up to and admire.  And THANK YOU for visiting and indulging the slight PEEPS problem I seem to have!  Have a great week!

Sharing these PEEPS with more peeps here:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mint Chocolate Chip Men Cookies for St Patty's Day!

So it's almost St. Patrick's Day! The time of all things green which just happens to be one of my favorites colors.  Especially food (well except moldy green food because that's just gross)! 

I'm always looking for other uses of my molds and cookie cutters and started thinking about the gingerbread man cutter, which usually gets stored away most of the year except to be dusted off around christmas time.  Of course these guys are not exactly leprechauns, but maybe if you use your imagination a little they can be.  AND I pinned this mint chocolate chip cut out cookie recipe ages ago from Flour De Lis and thought mint chocolate chip men cookies for St Patty's Day would be a great excuse to make them.

I followed the recipe pretty much exactly except I used mini chocolate chips. 

Roll out the dough with a little bit of flour to prevent sticking and cut out your gingerbread men leprechauns!

I put the cut out cookies in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes before baking (the recipe suggests the freezer but I couldn't get the cookie sheet to fit, and I'm assuming this helps to prevent the cookies from spreading while baking, and keeps the shape a little better).  

I also did some mini chocolate chip men in another mini mold I have.  I made them around christmas time here as mini super heros and also turn them upside down to make reindeer here!  Definitely love re-using the molds for other ideas!

Then just add some fun St. Patty's Day sayings or little shamrocks to give them a little something extra. I used royal icing but you can using regular frosting or candy melt too.  To speed these up a lot you could also use store bought sugar cookie dough and add about 1 teaspoonful of peppermint extract, some mini chocolate chips, and some green food coloring.

And if you like mint chocolate chip, you have to make these! Eat some with a big glass of milk (or a shamrock shake!) and you'll be so happy you did.  Mint Chocolate is a flavor that all 3 of my kiddos like (go figure!) so these went over really well as an after dinner dessert today.

Thanks for stopping by and happy early St. Patrick's Day!  Having a virtual green beer (or cookie!) with you all.  Cheers!

Here are some other fun mint chocolate chip recipes that I'm planning on making soon!

Mint Chocolate Chip Scones from Created by Diane
Thin Mint Muffins from The Food Librarian
Mint Chocolate Chip Pancakes from The Idea Room
Mini Dark Chocolate Cakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Icing from The Realistic Nutritionist
Mint Chocolate Brownies from Nish Whips Up a Dish

Stop by these fun parties too!

Tidy Mom's I'm Loving It

Friday, March 8, 2013

Mini Marshmallow and Candy Cupcakes...!

So what is it about foods in cupcake shape and form? Doesn't it make everything like 1000 times better??? And since I hate using things just once (like the candy molds I seem to have accumulated), I decided to go with some cupcake shaped candies.  AND I have been meaning to make some more homemade marshmallows.  I was lucky enough to win Shauna Sever's Marshmallow Madness Book in a giveaway last year, so I've been meaning to whip up another batch of these puffy little treats!

For the bottom of the "cupcakes", add some chocolate or candy melt/wafers to a candy mold and let set (I put them in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes, it's much easier to pop the chocolate out of the mold that way).

The marshmallow is this recipe, which really is super simple to make.  My first attempt was here with these mini marshmallow ice cream cones.

Once you have the marshmallow whipped up, add it to a piping bag and pipe some on top of the chocolate base.  I wanted nice little cupcake frosting swirls, but alas, that's not what I ended up with.  From doing some marshmallow research, you need to pipe it soon after it comes together.  The longer it sits the more firm it will become (duh they are marshmallows! and it makes perfect sense, but I let the marshmallow sit about 10-15 minutes while I finished some of the chocolate bottoms so no wonder it didn't pipe nicely).  But I think they are still pretty cute.  Add sprinkles and candy toppers to cute'n up even more.

And you can really do these for any holiday or event, like 4th of July.

Or in some fun rainbow colors.

Or Valentine's Day!

Halloween too!

Just use any of your candy and sprinkles to decorate any old way.  You could do birthday or wedding colors too.

I really couldn't stop myself and it really is a great excuse to use all those sprinkles you have been collecting over time.

And you end up with some bite sized fun in cupcake form (which usually make people smile!)

I may bring these in for my kiddos' school birthday party since there are so many food allergies these days (my kids included).  Hopefully these will work for most kids in the class! and they are bite size, even better! Hope you have a great weekend.  We are enjoying even more snow in NJ today.  As much as I love the snow, I am so ready for spring! 

Here are some other fun candy "cupcakes" from other bloggers and sites!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dr. Seuss Thing 1 and 2 Meringues....!

So every year I try to do a fun post in celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday (which is March 2nd!).  Last year I did some Dr. Seuss characters in PEEPS form here.  And of course you need some cupcakes to go with them like these Seussical cupcakesGrinch cupcakes, and Cat in the Hat cupcakes.  How can you just not love anything Dr. Seuss related??

And meringues kinda reminded me of the hair of Thing 1 and Thing 2!

This is from a Martha Stewart recipe (you can never go wrong!) you can find here.  I didn't have a vanilla bean so just used vanilla extract and left out the lemon/orange rind too.  If you have never made meringues before they are super simple to whip up.  Once you get the egg whites and sugar melted together, you add them to the rest of the ingredients and whip it up on high until you get nice stiff peaks like this:

I used a Wilton tip #352 to pipe the wild hair but you could probably use any tip to get the effect!

You bake meringues at really low heat (200 degrees F) for about 1 and 1/2 hours, if your meringues are bigger you may need more time.  Once cooled I added some red candy melt to the bottoms just to give them a little more Dr. Seuss look and then added discs of candy melt with 1 and 2 on them.

And you get a bunch of fun and tasty treats to celebrate one of the best kid authors of all time.  Amazing his stories have stood the test of time (for reals that's hard to do, right??).  I attempted some swirl meringues as well, but wasn't as happy with the look of those, but it was good practice!

Anyhoo, Happy Birthday to you Dr. Seuss! I always look forward to this time of year too because you get so much fun Dr. Seuss stuff, St. Patty's Day and lots of yummy green foods and treats, and of course spring is around the corner.  Woohoo!  Thanks for stopping by and have an absolutely fantastic weekend!

Tidy Mom's I'm Loving It