Dessert Recipes

I’m loving the weather we’re having this spring, but since we can’t escape the snow today, we might as well take advantage of it. Today after shoveling the walks and building a snowman, we made snow candy for the first time. My kids loved it, especially since it’s so much fun to make!

You can use maple syrup or molasses to make snow candy. Each turn out a bit differently, but both are absolutely delicious!

Molasses Snow Candy Recipe

Adapted from The Little House Cookbook.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Molasses
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

Directions

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In a sauce pan, add molasses and brown sugar. Stir and cook until it reaches about 245 degrees Fahrenheit on your candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you’ll want it to be well blended and bubbly.

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Get a one casserole pan or two cake pans and fill them with fresh, clean snow.

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Carefully pour the molasses mixture over the snow. Drizzle it all over in small strips and shapes.

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Allow the molasses mixture to sit in the snow for a bit and harden. The snow cools the molasses, hardening it into chewy hard candy.

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Once the molasses mixture is hardened, pull the candy up. It’s okay if it breaks, you’ll want it in bite size pieces anyway.

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Break any large pieces into bite-size pieces. You can enjoy this immediately or place the pieces in a storage baggie or container. Store it in the freezer or the candy will melt into a gooey mess once again.

Maple Syrup Snow Candy Recipe (a.k.a. Maple Taffy or Maple Taffy Snow Candy)

Adapted from Shelteriffic.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Butter (Salt-Free)

Directions

Like with the molasses snow candy, heat the maple syrup and butter in a sauce pan until it reaches 245 degrees Fahrenheit on your candy thermometer or is well blended and bubbling. Get a one casserole pan or two cake pans and fill them with fresh, clean snow.

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Pour the maple syrup mixture over the snow. The maple syrup snow candy doesn’t harden. Instead, it melts the snow becoming a gooey sweet concoction, so plan to eat this immediately. In fact, it’s more like caramel syrup over ice cream, then hard candy. It doesn’t store well.

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Use popsicle sticks, craft sticks, or spoons to eat the snowy maple syrup straight out of the snow.

Tips for Maple Syrup Snow Candy

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can simply go pour the maple syrup concoction over the snow outside and let your kids eat outside right out of the snow. Just don’t let them step in it and and then eat it! You can also pour the same mixture over ice cream, if you prefer, to create a maple syrup sundae.

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Thanks to Heather Tallman of Basilmomma for this 25 Days of Christmas post.

You know, I make no secret of the fact that I am not a good baker. I am not crafty, I am not a scrapbooker, I am not a good decorator. These things I am not. I am OK with this. I do not feel like I am missing out by not making dozens of Martha-like cookies every holiday season that are perfectly iced and decorated.

If you are one of those people who can make a cookie recipe from start to finish without a catastrophe and they come out of the oven perfect then I raise my glass to you. I will probably try to buy them from you even. But I am not ever going to reach that level of expertise. And I am fine with that. I try and that counts, right?

Now , my kids saw this cookie recipe in a Family Fun cookbook a few years ago and I have saved it all this time. I thought I would surprise them and make them Monday night. I also wanted to use them for an upcoming column in the Greenwood Daily Journal so I had a dual purpose here.

4 puffy, overcooked batches later I finally refined the recipe to turn out perfectly and they are now a tradition every Christmas.

Candy Cane Twists Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3/4 C unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 LG egg
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • red food coloring

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat well. Stir in the peppermint and vanilla. Gradually mix in the flour until combined.

Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and work the red food coloring into 1/2 until you reach the desired redness. To shape the canes roll a small amount into a ball and then roll with your hands to a cylinder. Do the same for a piece of red. Twist the 2 pcs. together and pinch the ends to form a candy cane shape. Continue to do this with the rest of the dough. Place on the cookie sheet 2 inches apart and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until set but not brown.

About the Author: Heather Tallman is a Greenwood area blogger, food writer, newspaper columnist, television hist and host of Around the Kitchen Sink Radio on Toginet.com. You can find her at basilmomma.com, @Basilmomma on Twitter and Basilmomma on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Not long after I went on a mission to make beautiful ice pops without a Zoku, Indiana’s Family of Farmers was kind enough to present me with one as part of the July Table Talk.

I’ll be honest, I’m super grateful to Indiana’s Family of Farmers, because it’s a great tool to have in the kitchen and I really do love my Zoku Duo, but it brought back Rice Krispie Treat-making flashbacks.

Let me explain… while I can whip up homemade tortillas or Chicken-Stuffed Portabella Mushroom, I can’t make Rice Krispie Treats. It’s embarrassing, because I’ve seen young kids make them with ease, but I always end up with a Rice Krispie glob.

My Zoku ice pop making went along the same lines and I learned some valuable lessons.

1. A watched Zoku Pop never freezes (and I may lack some serious patience). When I made ice pops without a Zoku, of course they took A LOT of time, but I could do so much in between tasks. Zoku pops are suppose to be instant (or quick in the very least). They are. How else could you get a ice pop in 6-8 minutes? However, pouring ingredients to make lines and designs took extra time. It wasn’t enough time to do anything else, but watching that Zoku pop freeze… well, it was the longest 6-8 minutes of my life.

2. Picking my least favorite kid is hard. My Zoku Ice Pop Maker is a Zoku Duo, which makes 2 ice pops at a time and I have 3 kids. Do you see the dilemma? I quickly learned not to enjoy them instantly, otherwise one kid sat for the 6 minutes or more waiting and watching their siblings enjoy their ice pops. Instead, I made them early, then stuck them in sandwich bags in the freezer to give to all three kids at once.

3. Sugar will solve all of your problems. We should all know this by now. Maybe isn’t not the best lesson to learn, but I’ll admit I’m definitely guilty of trying to overcome troubling times with delicious, sweet foods. Zoku reinforces the belief that sugar will make things better, since half of the things that could go wrong with your ice pop are a result of not enough sugar. I’m not going to admit how many ice pops we ate in a bowl with a spoon after prying them out of the Zoku with a knife.

4. When all else fails, start drinking. With a Zoku, you have to be fast, because while you’re making beautiful ice pops, it’s thawing. We started making extravagant ice pops with lines and designs, but quickly learned that if we took too much time, the second set wouldn’t freeze enough to pull out properly. Since many of the recipes made 6 ice pops and we could barely get out 4, it’s quite possible we finally gave in and started just drinking the left over ice pop mix. It’s pretty good.

5. Everything tastes better frozen. Almost anything you drink, with the exception of soda and water, can be poured into the Zoku and made into an ice pop. After a while, we got creative, by pouring our smoothies into it and enjoying them frozen for breakfast. My kids loved popsicles for breakfast! My 5-year-old even turned her chocolate milk into a ice pop and it was pretty delicious.

6. There’s nothing a Zoku can make that a regular ice pop mold can not. When it comes to quick treats for the kids made from simple one-liquid, I’ll definitely be pulling out my Zoku. But, I’m going to leave any extravagant ice pop making to my old-fashion ice pop molds, which I used to pop out 28 ice pops in 11 hours without standing there while each one froze. The Zoku could never do that.

While it is wonderful to have, don’t let those beautiful photos on Pinterest convince you that you have to have one, especially if it’s not quite in your price range or you prefer healthier ice pops without so much sugar!

Do you have a Zoku? Do you love it? Or did you struggle like I did?

Chocolate Chip Malted Milk Ice Pops Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3/4 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Vanilla Pudding
  • 1/3 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/3 Cup Malt Mix
  • 1 1/2 tsp Agave Nectar
  • 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips

Directions

1. Whisk all ingredients together until well blended.

2. Pour into your Zoku or regular ice pop molds. While pouring, drop a few chocolate chips in here or there.

3. Add more chocolate chips to the bottom.

4. Freeze regular molds in the freezer until thoroughly frozen or pour into your Zoku and wait 6-8 minutes until frozen.

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In Good Cents is a Table Talk Contributor, sponsored by the  Indiana Family of Farmers. While I was not compensated for this post, I was provided with tools to enjoy some delicious summer food for inspiration. All opinions are 100% my own. For more information, please read our terms & conditions and disclosure policy.

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If you’ve been on Pinterest recently, you’ve probably run across the beautiful photos of ice pops that have been making the rounds recently.  With fresh fruit popping out of the sides, they look healthy and delicious, so I started clicking to get some recipes.  Every one mentioned getting your our Zoku.  Since I’m always up on the latest cool gadgets, I Googled “What is a Zoku?” and found out it’s an “instant” ice pop maker.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m susceptible to advertising and beautiful pictures, so I immediately wanted one…. the I did the research.

Pictured - Left: Fruit Punch with bananas, grapes, and pear slices. Right: Strawberry Creamsicle with pear slices.

The single Zoku makes one ice pop in 8-10 minutes and cost about $26.  Now yes, that’s instantly frozen, so that’s quick, but I had visions of my 2 other kids screaming for the 8-10 minutes while I made theirs or me attempting to make a dozen to keep in the freezer.  It didn’t sound fun.  There’s also a Zoku duo ($36.99) and a Zoku ($49.95) that makes 3 ice pops at a time.  And then there is the tool kit ($19.99), extra sticks ($11.99), storage case ($19.99), and character kit ($14.99).  When all said and done, I figured the first three ice pops I made would be some pretty expensive ice pops and we all know I’m cheap frugal.  Now there is a less expensive version from Hamilton Beach for only $32, but it has horrible reviews across the internet.

I also found out that you can’t use the Zoku to make sugar-free ice pops.  And, even though it makes one ice pop in 8-10 minutes, you have to freeze the entire Zoku in your freezer for 24 hours before using it, plus refrozen between batches if you take too much time making them pretty.

I got it into my head that I could make those beautiful fruit ice pops without a Zoku.  The tricky part was getting the fruit to stick to the side of the ice pop mold and getting it to stay there while I poured in the juice, but I’m happy to say I succeeded!

My hodge podge of ingredients. I didn't use them all, but I wanted to see what I had to have some fun with, before I started.

What you’ll need:

  • Popsicle Molds
  • Cutting Board
  • Lemon Juice
  • Small Knifes and/or Cookie Cutters
  • Ingredients (juices, liquids, yogurt, pudding, honey, fresh fruit, etc…)

How to get started:

If you plan to use fruit, which is completely optional, the first thing you’ll need to do is pour a little water into each slot of the ice pop molds and then pour it out.  Next, set them on their side in the freezer while you cut the fruit.  Put the side you plan to put the fruit on down.

The goal here isn’t to get them soaked, but to create a very thin layer of ice along one wall that will act as an adhesive to the fruit.  Even if you can’t see the water, there are droplets that will work perfectly.

Make sure your final pieces will fit into your molds!

While your thin layer of ice freezes, start getting creative with your fruit.  Cut the fruit into thin (very thin) layers.  Use a cookie cutter or small knife to cut them into shapes for the ice pops.  Make sure to place them on the cutting board, since you’ll have to press hard on cookie cutters to cut through thicker fruits like pears.  Of course, help small children.  My 5 year old *thinks* she’s old enough to use a knife herself, but gets a bit too wild creative if not guided.

While you get creative, place the cut pieces of fruit in a small bowl of lemon juice to soak, so the don’t turn brown.  Plus, the lemon juice ads a light layer of liquid to the fruit to help it stick to the thin layer of ice currently freezing in the molds.

It’s time to get creative once again.  Pull the mold out of the freezer and place it on it’s side the same way you had it in the freezer.  Slide your fruit in the molds.  Lay them flat against the side that’s down.  You can create designs, like my daughter did, or simply lay them in there, like I did.  Put them back in the freezer, fruit-side down, while you whip up your ice pop bases.

Mixing up Cookies & Cream Ice Pops (They were AMAZING!)

Since this entire thing is really about creativity, it’s time to get creative again.  The best part about whipping up ice pop bases is that you get to taste them.  In fact, I encourage it, because the way they taste now is exactly the way they’ll taste when they are frozen, just a bit colder.  So, you can decide now if they need more vanilla or orange juice.  Remember, less is more.  You can always add more ingredients, but it’s a bit harder to fix if you add too much of one.

Here’s a few recipes we loved from our batch:

CLICK HERE to get the rest of this delicious recipe!

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Okay, I am going to be honest, this is by far the most disgusting and yet fun thing I have done in a long time. We have done plenty of Jell-O Molds, Knox Blox and the like in our time, but Jell-O Worms? I wasn’t too sure, but I had two little boys in my house who were absolutely sure that this was THE thing to do for Wacky Wednesday.

So I embarked on a journey to create worms! Now you can too!

What you’ll need:

  • 2 boxes (1.4 oz) Jell-O or Flavored Gelatin (raspberry or grape if you want brown worms)
  • 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 5 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cup Cool Whip
  • green food coloring, (if you want brown worms)
  • 100+ plastic straws with bendable necks

How to get started:

Find a tall thin container for making your worms. If you have a 1/2 gallon or carton of milk or orange juice, trim off the top and that will work perfectly. I used a thermos that we had laying around (fail!). Thermos’ are insulated to keep the cold stuff cold and the hot stuff hot. SO with now thinking ahead planning on my part, running the water over a thermos to loosen the Jell-O from the sides, doesn’t work very well. So learn from my mistake and just chop off the top of your orange juice container, rinse it out and consider yourself warned.

What ever you do decide to use, make sure it can hold about 6 cups of liquid and that it is straight up and down to hold your straws erect. Now fill it with straws, this was my son’s favorite part, because not only did he get to ‘grow’ the straws (extending out the bendy section), but he got to put them in and practice his counting skills. Place all your extended straws into your container with the bendy part facing down and make sure that the end of the straws are sitting flush to the bottom of your container. Pack the straws in tightly to get a nice snug fit, a rubber band around the top of the straws will help pull them together when you pour in the Jell-O mixture.

Now it is time to make the Jell-O mixture. In a medium bowl, stir together the plain and the unflavored gelatin, then add the boiling water over the gelatin powder. Stir until the powder is dissolved. If you would like to make multi-colored worms, you can! Just use 1 box of flavored gelatin and 2 packets of unflavored gelatin instead and dissolve it with 2 1/2 cups boiling water. At this point let your bowl (or bowls) of gelatin cool down for about 20 minutes, not set but slightly warm, then add in the Cool Whip. If you are making one color worms, put in the entire 1 1/2 cup, use 3/4 cup if you are planning on using two separate colors. My plan was to make orange and red, but I didn’t wait for the orange to set enough before adding my red so they came out one color. We didn’t opt for the brown worms, because my stomach couldn’t handle that, but this is the point where you would add the green food coloring to turn your worms a natural brown color.

Put your container of straws on a cookie sheet or inside a larger bowl, like I did because there will be spills!! Now that your mixture is ready to go, slowly pour the Jell-O over the straws. Some of the Jell-O mixture will seep up the sides, but no worries, your straws should be filling up. If you are using two different colors, pour in the first color and allow it set for about 30 minutes or more in the refrigerator. Then pour the other color on top. You can see that mine turned all red, because I didn’t allow my first color to set long enough, but it was still very disgustingly delish! I also used a clean lid for the extra Jell-O mix since I ran out of room in my thermos of straws.

Chill your Jell-O filled straws in the fridge overnight. After the Jell-O has set, it’s time for the messes of all messes! Run your container under warm water until you can pull the entire Jell-O/straw blob out easily. (This is also the part where you thank me for stopping you from using a thermos for your straws! This part was next to impossible and I wound up hacking away at the sides with a butter knife while my friend and the two excited boys tried to pull this mess out.) After about 15 minutes of hacking and pulling we finally managed to get the straws out. (this would have been much easier had I thought ahead and NOT used a thermos, even if it was pink!)

Now onto removing your worms, on all the websites I read, they said to “tightly squeeze and slide your thumb and finger down the length of the straw and the worm will be pushed out of the bottom”. I must not have very strong fingers because after about 5 very broken and quickly devoured worms were “squeezed” out I was just about done! The two little boys I spoke of earlier were about this close to missing out on Jell-O worms because I just couldn’t squeeze any more Jell-O from these straws.

So I ran some hot water back into the now empty thermos, gave each straw a quick dip in the hot water bath and they slid right out with ease. Make sure you don’t leave them in the hot water for too long, or you will experience the slimy mess falling out in the water, in the sink, on the counter and just about anywhere else, EXCEPT where you want them to go. Once they are all out of the straws, place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and put them back in the fridge until ready to serve, if they make it that long!

Even though ours turned out red, and not at all appearing like real earthworms, when you pop one in your mouth, it does FEEL like you would imagine a real worm does, so if you have a weak stomach leave these for the kiddos!

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Frugal RecipesA little something to sweeten up your diet plan.

70 Calorie Chocolate Mousse Recipe
Recipe Type: Dessert
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup fat free Half & Half
  • 1 pkg (1.4 oz) fat free, sugar free instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 tub (8 oz) frozen light whipped topping, thawed
Instructions
  1. In large bowl , whisk together Half & Half and pudding mix until creamy.
  2. Fold in Whipped topping, reserving 1/4th for decoration.
  3. Divide into dessert bowls and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Top with remaining cool whip before serving.
Notes

Try out some different flavors. Lemon Mousse, Butterscotch Mousse, Banana Mousse.

 

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