Candy cane syrup

Who else has leftover candy canes? I love the look of them on the Christmas tree (I should probably take that thing down, huh?), but I’m not likely to sit around and eat a dozen candy canes when it’s all over. I love peppermint in my coffee, though, so I figured why not use them up?

Candy cane syrup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 6-12 candy canes

Instructions

  1. Stir together sugar and water in a heavy pot over medium heat
  2. When sugar has melted, drop in unwrapped candy canes and stir until dissolved
  3. Let syrup cool in the pan, then pour into clean jars

I hear tell this is also great over ice cream. How else should we use it?

Goo Goo Cluster nachos

Here in the South we love our Goo Goos. They’re made right here in Nashville, and lots of local folks have done lots of amazing things with them: Goo Goo Pie, anyone? I wanted to try my own hand at coming up with a recipe for them (although, good heavens they’re amazing just plain), and this is what I came up with! Goo Goo Cluster nachos are easy to make, and can be scaled up or down on the homemade scale as far as you want; I landed somewhere in the middle.

What else would you top these with? Any ideas?

For the record, this post is not in any way sponsored by Goo Goo; I just think they’re fabulous.

Goo Goo Cluster nachos

Ingredients

  • 1/2 package puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • 4 Goo Goo Clusters (I used original, but any would be great!)
  • Caramel sauce (I used homemade; any will do)
  • Whipped cream
  • Optional colored sugar or sprinkles for topping

Instructions

  1. Slice puff pastry sheets into triangles and bake at 400F for 12-15 minutes until golden brown
  2. While the pastry is cooking, chop the Goo Goos and have them ready
  3. As soon as the pastry is done pull each one partially open and drop in a few pieces of chopped Goo Goo (this will make the Goo Goos melty and even more awesome), and put them all on a plate
  4. Drizzle with caramel sauce, then sprinkle with any remaining Goo Goo pieces
  5. Serve with whipped cream in a bowl for dipping

Peach pie

This is Magee’s peach pie recipe and I just love it. She scribbled it on a post-it note for me years ago and I go back to it every year. As you can see in the picture, I have a hard time waiting for the pie to actually cool before I eat it, so mine gets messy. Maybe you’ll have more patience than I do. ;)

Informal poll! How do you like your peach pie? Plain? With ice cream? With whipped cream? My Grandpa used to top his apple pie with half a slice of American cheese; I was never sure how I felt about that.  What’s your vote for peach pie?

Peach pie

Ingredients

  • 2 pie crusts of your choice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 cups peaches, sliced (this can be approximate)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450F
  2. Place one pie crust in your pie pan and brush with some of the egg (so the crust doesn’t get soggy)
  3. Gently mix together the peaches, sugar, corn starch, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg, then pour into pie pan
  4. Cut up the butter and dot it over the top of the pie, then top with the other pie crust. Be sure to cut slits or use a pie bird so the steam can escape, and brush the top crust with the rest of the egg
  5. Put the pie pan on a foil-covered cookie sheet for easy cleanup of any spillover, then bake for 10 minutes 450, then add a pie shield or cover the crust edges with foil
  6. Reduce temp to 350F and bake another 30 minutes or so, until juice is bubbling through crust vents

 

North Carolina pie

This recipe comes from Crook’s Corner restaurant in Chapel Hill, N.C. by way of Katie Workman, by way of NPR. It was tweeted and retweeted and favorited all over the place till I decided I just had to try it out. This turned out to be an excellent decision.

It’s very similar in construction to key lime pie , with the obvious difference of a Saltine crust, which is fabulous. This pie is sweet and tart and salty all at once — everything a summer dessert should be.

North Carolina pie

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sleeves Saltine crackers
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • whipped cream and coarse sea salt for garnish (which I completely forgot)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Crush the crackers pretty finely, but not to complete dust. Add the sugar and knead in the butter till the mixture holds together like dough
  3. Press into an 8 inch pie pan, chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until the crust is slightly browned
  4. While the crust is partially cooling, beat the egg yolks and milk together, then mix in citrus juice, making sure everything is completely combined. Pour into the pie shell (it doesn’t need to be completely cooled), and bake for 16 minutes or until the filling has set
  5. Chill pie completely now, and serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt

Make this. You will not be sorry. :)

Banana pudding poke cake

Happy banana pudding day!

Today is my mother’s birthday, and banana pudding was her favorite; my sister and I always eat banana pudding today in her honor. :) Because we like it so much, I thought y’all might enjoy our new favorite incarnation of this: banana pudding poke cake. I found the recipe at The Country Cook, and it’s pretty dang great. I am a weirdo and I don’t like actual bananas in my banana pudding (please tell me I’m not alone in this; the texture gets weird and the bananas turn brown; ick), so for me this is just about perfect.

Banana pudding poke cake

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • ingredients listed on cake mix box (eggs, oil, water)
  • 2 packages (3.4 oz each) instant banana pudding
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 tub (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • mini Nilla wafers

Instructions

  1. Following box directions, bake the yellow cake in a 9×13″ pan
  2. Let it cool for about two minutes, then use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke rows and rows of holes in the cake, all the way to the bottom
  3. Whisk together instant pudding and milk until lumps are gone; let it sit for 2 minutes, then pour over cake, using a spreader or spatula to make sure the pudding flows into all the holes
  4. Pop it in the fridge and chill till cake is completely cooled and pudding is set up
  5. Spread chilled cake with a whipped topping, then top with mini Nilla wafers and you’re done!

S’mores pops

 

It’s summer! I don’t know about the rest of y’all but we’re already kind of sweltering in Nashville. Baby Peanut is rocking a heat rash on her neck and thinks that cold bananas are the best thing ever right now. Kiddo is all about “cold water with LOTS of ice cubes!” I may or may not be sneaking my feet into the wading pool in the back yard.

In the midst of all this heat, the folks at Aldi sent me a summer care package: graham crackers, marshmallows, cute sprinkles and a chocolate bar. S’mores! I love s’mores. However, since it’s hot outside (have I mentioned it’s hot?), by the time the package hit my front porch the chocolate was rather melty, so traditional s’mores would be hard.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

I thought about what else I could do that would be yummy, and I came up with these: s’mores pops. I’m pretty sure I’m not the first person to invent these, but since I totally thought of them one night I’m not going to google them and see how many other people came up with them before I did. ;)

You need these in your life!

S’mores pops

Ingredients

  • 4 graham crackers
  • 1 large chocolate bar
  • 1 bag large marshmallows
  • Sprinkles, optional but totally fun
  • Popsicle sticks, skewers or craft sticks
  • Wax paper lined cookie sheets or trays

Instructions

  1. Melt or temper the chocolate. I used this method for tempering. I’m honestly not sure if the chocolate really needed to be tempered or just melted in the microwave; tempering seemed like a good idea and not hard so I went with it
  2. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor or in a zip top bag with a rolling pin, then put the crumbs in a bowl
  3. Skewer the marshmallows, then dip in the chocolate. Let it drip a little bit, then dip in graham crackers and sprinkles in whatever method and order you like — go crazy, have fun! — then set them on the wax paper to let them cool

 

See how easy this is? If grown-ups do the melting part, kids can absolutely step in and make their own creations with different sprinkles and combinations. Make some and show me what you’ve come up with!

Peanut Butter Krispy Treats

We’re gearing up for the 4th of July! It’s especially fun this year because — get this — Kiddo has all kinds of foods that he likes now! He keeps trying something new and saying, “I CAN’T BELIEVE I’VE BEEN MISSING OUT ON THIS!” Top of that list? Peanut butter. He would now eat it all day every day if I let him, so he was excited to be my official taste tester for these little treats which I adapted from Momadvice.com. Verdict: thumbs up!

Peanut Butter Krispy Treats

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups rice krispies*
  • sprinkles, if you so desire

Instructions

  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add in sugar and honey, stirring together; bring to a boil then remove the pan from the heat
  2. Stir in the peanut butter, cinnamon and salt till peanut butter is melted and everything is thoroughly combined
  3. Add in cereal and stir to coat
  4. Press into ungreased silicone muffin pans (Mickey Mouse optional) or greased square 8″ pan, press firmly, top with sprinkles and wait for treats to cool

Notes

I think you could pretty much make this with whatever cereal floats your boat, but the peanut butter sauce is so sweet that I wouldn’t pick a very sugary cereal — might be sugar overkill.