Category Archives: Food Presentation

Candy Corn-Peanut Popcorn Balls with Marshmallow Coating

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Did you know that October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month? I had no idea until I saw it mentioned somewhere on the net. That got me thinking about making some popcorn balls! I found this recipe at About.com that sounded good. I decided to try it with peanuts added in, since they had tasted so good in the Candy Corn “PayDay” Mix I had made a several weeks ago. Yum! These popcorn balls are very easy to make, so this is a great recipe to start out with if you’ve never made popcorn balls before. It’s a great treat for kids and adults–who wouldn’t like munching on a fun popcorn ball like this?

CANDY CORN-PEANUT POPCORN BALLS with MARSHMALLOW COATING by NancyCreative, adapted from About.com

Makes 12 to 14 popcorn balls

  • 12 cups plain or light butter popped popcorn
  • 1 1/2 cups candy corn
  • 2/3 cup dry roasted peanuts (or you can use salted cocktail peanuts)
  • 1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) butter
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spraying the lining with nonstick cooking spray.

In a very large bowl, mix together the popped popcorn, candy corn, and peanuts; set aside.

In medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter for 30 to 45 seconds. Add the marshmallows and microwave an additional 90 seconds to melt them and stir, blending them with the butter (the marshmallows may not look melted, but they will liquefy when you stir them). After blending butter and marshmallows well, then add vanilla and salt, and stir until everthing is well-mixed.

Pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn-candy corn-peanut mixture, and stir until everything is thoroughly combined. Allow mixture to sit for a minute so the hot marshmallow mixture can cool slightly. Note: if some of the candy corn and peanuts are collecting at the bottom of the bowl, you can work those in as you’re forming the popcorn balls.

Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray and scoop up a handful of popcorn. Press it firmly between your hands, forming a ball shape. It’s kind of like making a firmly-packed snowball! Make sure your popcorn balls are all compact; loosely formed popcorn balls fall apart easily. If the balls aren’t sticking together, allow the mixture to cool for another minute; they should hold together better then.

Place popcorn balls on the prepared baking sheet and allow them to firm up at room temperature. Store popcorn balls in an airtight container in a cool, dry room.

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These popcorn balls would be great any time of year–just leave out the candy corn and add some extra peanuts to the mix! Have you ever made any popcorn balls?

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Owl Cupcakes

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Here’s a fun fall cupcake decorating idea–Owl Cupcakes! There are several different ways you can make owl cupcakes, and you may have already seen other ideas for these on different sites. I thought this idea from Recipe Snobs was one of the cutest and easiest–all you need are cupcakes, Oreos, and M&M’s!

Make sure you generously frost your cupcakes, because the frosting is what holds your Oreo “eyes” and “ears” in place, as you press the cookie halves into the top of the cupcake. Hope you have fun making these!

OWL CUPCAKES adapted from Recipe Snobs

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 12 chocolate cupcakes generously frosted with chocolate frosting (make your favorite recipe or try these yummy Chocolate Cupcakes with Fudgy Frosting–that’s what I used!)
  • 24 Oreo cookies (regular or Double-Stuff Oreos–I’ve used both; since I really like the cream filling, I prefer the Double-Stuff)
  • 36 M&M candies (I like using blue, green, brown, or red for the eyes, and orange for the nose)

Split the Oreo cookies in half crosswise, so the cream is all on one half and the other half is plain (the directions on Recipe Snobs say you can microwave 5 cookies at a time for 3-5 seconds to help keep the cream side solid; I didn’t try this, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re having problems splitting the Oreos. Also, you can use a frosting spatula or knife to help split the cookies. And you may need to use a small knife to scrape off small crumbs from the cream filling side or to smooth down the filling after splitting the cookies).

For the eyes: Press two of the cream filling cookie halves, with sides almost touching, gently into the middle of a frosted cupcake (part of the cookie halves will extend beyond the cupcake). Press the M&M’s, with the M side down, into the cream filling on each cookie half (refer to my photos for where to place the M&M’s).

For the ears: Use the plain Oreo halves for the ears above the eyes (they kind of look like eyebrows, too!). Score the flat smooth cookie sides with a small sharp knife down the center so you get a clean break for your two ears. OR, if you want thinner ears like I made on these cupcakes, score the cookie half on each side not quite to the center; this will leave you with an extra center strip of cookie (which you can eat or discard–I ate mine! 🙂 ). Score and break all your plain cookie halves.

Take two of the “ears” that you’ve made from the plain cookie halves and press them into the frosting right above the “eyes,” slightly slanted downward and almost meeting at the upper center of the cupcake (the bumpy side of the cookie should be showing from the front).

For the “beak,” press an orange M&M (on its side) in the lower center, right below where the cookie “eyes” meet on the cupcake.

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There you have it! Enjoy eating these fun cupcakes!

What’s your favorite way of decorating cupcakes for fall?

Acorn Treats

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I saw these fun fall treats on the Hershey’s site and they were so cute I just had to make them! They’re so easy, too…kids would have a lot of fun making these. Acorn Treats are great for fall parties, snacks, and fun food gifts…they’re perfect for any autumn get-together or celebration!

The Royal Icing acts as the “glue,” attaching the Kisses and peanut butter chips to the Mini Nilla Wafers. The icing is very easy to make (see directions below), but if you don’t want to make your own, you can use purchased icing that comes packaged in a container with a small tip. I’ve also seen other bloggers use creamy peanut butter as the “glue,” and you could even try Nutella. Whatever you use, you just need a small dab! I used the Royal Icing (see recipe below), and I was very happy with how that worked out.

You can use either milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or pumpkin-spice flavored Kisses–I decided it would be fun to have a variety, so I used all three! For the top part of the acorn, I used peanut butter chips on the “acorns” with milk and dark chocolate Kisses, and semi-sweet chocolate chips on the “acorns” with pumpkin-spice Kisses. You can also use butterscotch chips.

Have fun trying these out!

ACORN TREATS slightly adapted from Hershey’s

Makes 64 to 73 treats per bag of Hershey’s Kisses

  • Royal Icing (see recipe below) or use purchased decorator icing that comes in a container with a small tip
  • 1 (10 to 12-ounce) bag of Hershey’s Kisses-Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, or Pumpkin Spice–or a combination of these flavors! (Depending on size, bags contain about 64 to 73 kisses).
  • 1 (11-ounce) box Mini Nilla Wafers
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag peanut butter chips or 1 (12-ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (or substitute butterscotch chips); or use a combination of flavors (you won’t need the whole bag, so if you already have part of a bag of chips left over from another recipe, that should be enough)

Prepare Royal Icing: Stir together 1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar and 1 Tablespoon warm water (the original recipe says to also use 1 1/2 teaspoons of pasteurized dried egg whites (meringue powder), but I couldn’t find any, so I left it out–I used an extra Tablespoon of powdered sugar instead). Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer or mix by hand until spreadable. Add additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to get desired consistency (I added an additional ncAcornTrts3nmTablespoon plus a teaspoon of water to get a stiff, spreadable icing). Transfer icing to pastry bag with desired tip. Cover icing and tip of pastry bag with damp paper towel to keep icing from drying out. Note: If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can use a toothpick to dab small amounts of the icing on the Kisses and chips. This recipe makes about 1/2 cup icing, which is plenty for what you’ll need.

To assemble treats: Place mini vanilla wafers on a tray or plate with flat side of cookie toward the top. Squeeze a small amount of icing onto the bottom of a Hershey’s Kiss. Immediately press candy bottom onto vanilla wafer cookie. Allow icing to set.

Place small dab of icing on bottom of peanut butter or semi-sweet chocolate chip. Immediately attach to top of cookie to finish acorn. Let icing set before serving.

That’s all there is to it! Super-easy!

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Have you made any fun, easy treats to celebrate autumn this year?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Holiday Peanut Butter Chocolate Meltaways

Peanut Butter Chocolate Meltaways2 @ NancyC If you’re looking for quick and easy recipes for holiday sweets, this is one you’ll want to try out! There are  just 4 simple ingredients: white chocolate (or vanilla) baking chips, dark chocolate (or semi-sweet chocolate) chips, creamy peanut butter, and coconut oil (or shortening). I like using coconut oil instead of shortening myself. Continue reading

Desserts for a Sweet Fourth of July

Here are a few yummy desserts I found over at MarthaStewart.com. All of these great photos are from Martha’s site, too. Some of these don’t involve any baking, so even if it’s really hot out you can still make some yummy no-bake treats! The Red, White, and Blue Berry Trifle (shown above), is one of the no-bake desserts, and it’s so fun and festive, even without the sparklers! (The sparklers shown are special cake sparklers, recommended for outdoor use only!)

I love these Flag Cupcakes, decorated in a simple and easy way with piped blue buttercream dots and red licorice stripes!

These Pretzel Sparklers are a lot of fun, too! All you do is melt 4 ounces of semisweet chocolate, then coat the top third of each pretzel rod with the chocolate, using a pastry brush. Cover with sprinkles, stand upright in a glass and refrigerate about 5 minutes, or until firm. You could also use white chocolate instead of semisweet chocolate and add some edible glitter to make them more sparkly if you want.

Here’s another Red, White, and Blueberry Trifle…this one is made with cream cheese; the other trifle (the first photo in the post) is made with mascarpone cheese.

These Red, White, and Blue Parfaits look cool and refreshing with their red and white striped layers!

I like the idea of using raspberries and blueberries to decorate these Fouth of July Cupcakes…such a simple and easy idea, and so pretty!

These are just a few of many ideas at MarthaStewart.com…there are 30 fun and patriotic ideas for you to take a look at!

Wishing you a sweet Fourth of July! What kinds of treats will you be making for your celebration?