Sweet Simple Acorns … the best ever!

Hello everybody!  I am home from vacation … happy to be home, but miss vacationing and visiting with family.  The supplies for these Acorns were sitting on my kitchen counter when I left home … was dying to make them, but ran out of time.  While visiting my hubby’s sister in Tennessee, I bought more supplies and made them for her grandkids.  The kiddos were so cute … I was taking photos for you and they were taking photos too!  It was like these Sweet Simple Acorns were surrounded by paparazzi!  Let me tell you why I call them the best ever … they’re sooooo simple and fast to make …

Sweet Simple Acorns - SweetSimpleStuff.com

caramel, salt, chocolate and a cookie … need I say more?

Acorns 2014 cookies and caramel

So … this was a working vacation … don’t you agree with me?   The hubby didn’t buy my story and laughed at me … again ;)

This is what you will need …

cookie caramel acorn supplies

  • Keebler Mini Fudge Stripes Cookies (100 calorie packs)(each pack contains about 12 mini cookies)
  • Individual Caramel Squares (such as Kraft)
  • Pretzel Sticks
  1. Break pretzel sticks in half (one half will be used for each acorn)
  2. Unwrap a caramel and use your fingers/hands to form the bottom portion of an acorn.  The kiddos can help … it’s like playing with Play-Doh.
  3. Place a cookie (chocolate side down) on top of the caramel acorn.  Insert a pretzel piece thru the hole of the cookie and into the caramel.  Reshape the caramel if necessary.  Easy peasy!!!

Chocolate caramel acorn

The kiddos also helped me arrange the acorns for photos.  I made 12 acorns … grandma ate one before we could stop her!

Simple Acorns for Kids - SweetSimpleStuff.com

 

Do you remember these acorns from the past …

nutter butter acorns - SweetSimpleStuff.com

Nutter Butter Acorns

chocolate acorns

Chocolate Acorns

I’m happy to be home and looking forward to your comments!

 

 

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Favorite Stuff in 2013

Today … the last day of 2013 … I’d like to say THANK YOU!!!  Thank you to each and everyone one of you … for stopping by, reading and leaving your comments.  This has been a great year and I’m sure 2014 will be even better!

I thought that it would be nice to share the top 10 favorite (most viewed) recipes edible crafts … OK, I don’t know exactly what to call it … it’s stuff … a mixture of recipes, holiday treats, peanut butter, chocolate and sugar.

In David Letterman fashion … let’s start with …

# 10  Nutter Butter Acorns 

Nutter Butter Acorns

# 9  edible cupcake box

Cupcake Box … that’s edible!

#8  ding dong the witch is dead

Ding-Dong, the witch is dead!

#7  Peeps on skateboards

Skateboarding Peeps

#6  m&m's Chicks

m&m’s Chicks

#5  pecan pie cupcakes

Pecan Pie Cupcakes

#4  Nacho Cupcakes

Nacho Cupcakes

#3  ooey gooey pumpkin cake

Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Cake

#2  Nutter butter bats

Nutter Butter Bats

#1  Peanut Butter Cup Christmas Tree

Peanut Butter Christmas Trees

Thank you again!  I wish you and your family a happy and safe New Year!  :)

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Bars

Bar desserts are one of my favorite things to bake … especially when they are cheesecake bars!  Throw in some chocolate, pumpkin spice, sugar cookie crust and caramel sauce … they are sure to be a crowd pleaser!

chocolate pumpkin spice cheesecake bars

I’ve shared a similar cheesecake bar recipe in the past and just made a few changes to create a new flavor.  Personally, I love recipes that are versatile like that!

pumpkin spice cheesecake bars

Baking a dessert in one pan and cutting it up into 20 individual servings sure can be a time saver this time of year.  These bars can be made and stored in the fridge for several days … great to make ahead of time!

This is what you will need …

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Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Bars with Sugar Cookie Crust

  • 1 – 16.5 ounce tube of Sugar Cookie Dough (at room temperature)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 1 Ovation Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Break a Part
  • Caramel Sauce (I used Smucker’s) & candy pumpkins for garnish
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  Press dough evenly in a greased 9″ x 13″ baking pan.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese  and sugar.  Add egg and vanilla, beat until smooth.
  3. Break candy a part according to package directions.  You will have 20 candy sections, lay candy sections in rows (4 x 5) on sugar cookie dough.
  4. Pour cheesecake mixture over candy and spread evenly.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until edge of crust is light golden brown.
  6. Cool completely, cut into 20 bars, refrigerate.  Serve with caramel sauce.

cheesecake bar sugar cookie crust cheesecake ovation slices

I found that using the Break a Part candy was a nice way to add a tasty little surprise in each bar, it was so easy to do and tasted great!  The entire family enjoyed these bars … especially with the caramel sauce added.

chocolate pumpkin spice ovation cheesecake bars

I will be sharing another version of this dessert tomorrow … please stop by and check it out ;)

Thank you to SweetWorks for supplying the Ovation Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Break a Part!

I always enjoy your comments!

♦  I share my stuff at these fun parties  ♦

A Tall Cake with Autumn Colors

It’s November and autumn … Christmas is around the corner and I’ll be sharing some new ideas very soon … in the meantime, don’t forget fall!

falling autumn leaves cake

I tried and tried to come up with a clever name for this cake … just didn’t happen. One thought was … Redemption Cake!  I made the cake to help Son #3 redeem himself for his past contributions to the office potlucks!  He has been found guilty of picking up cookies at the grocery store and calling them dessert, even though I offered to bake something!!!  When will that boy learn that Mom knows best?  I’m not saying that store-bought are bad … it’s just that his coworkers were expecting something homemade …

autumn tree cake sixlets

I made a very simple three layer cake, frosted it and used chocolate frosting to draw some trees … then added pretty Shimmer Autumn Sixlets as leaves!   This cake is not about perfection … it’s about taste, texture and fall colors!  I’ve seen so many tall cakes where the sides are decorated … just wanted to give it a try!

I am sharing what I did … of course you can do what’s best for you!  I am not a professional and not a cake decorating teacher … just a mom making a cake for her son ;)

  • I used two cake mixes to make four layers … used three of them for this cake and served the extra layer as dessert after dinner ;)   Duncan Hines is my choice of mixes … baked each one using 4 eggs, 1 cup buttermilk and the oil called for on the box. I baked the cakes a few days ahead, leveled them, double wrapped them in plastic and froze them … I find it easier to handle a frozen cake.   Note … having good pans with straight sides makes baking and frosting easier.
  • I made two recipes of my Favorite Decorator Frosting using half butter and half shortening … had about one cup of frosting leftover.  I achieved the creamy color by using one and one half tablespoons of vanilla bean paste as flavoring and then added two drops of yellow gel coloring.

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Put a little frosting on the plate (helps hold it in place), first cake layer, frosting, second cake layer, frosting, third cake layer … adjust if necessary and make sure everything is secure.

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Add a thin layer of icing on sides and top … sometimes called a crumb coat or dirty icing … just helps control crumbs.

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Cover the whole cake with frosting … doesn’t have to be perfect … just fairly even.

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Use a small spatula (or dinner knife, even the back of a teaspoon) to add texture … I am right-handed and started with my spatula pointed to the left and pulled it toward the right for about 3-4 inches.  You will probably remove some frosting while doing this.  I did this all the way around the cake in a random pattern and cleaned up a few smudges of frosting on the plate.

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Ready made chocolate frosting that I had on hand worked great.  I filled a disposable pastry bag and just snipped off the tip.

Next I piped three trees … please excuse my lack of artistic ability ;)

tree on side of cake SixletsThen I added the Autumn Sixlets as leaves on the trees and as the border at the base of the cake!

fall cake sixletsI only used about 2/3 of a 4.5 ounce bottle of candy!

autumn fall leaves sixlets cakeIt sounds like the cake was a hit … some people even took photos!  Son #3 is now in good standing at the office ;)

Thank you to SweetWorks for supplying the Shimmer Autumn Sixlets :)

♦  I share my stuff with these fun parties ♦

 

Double Chocolate Pudding Cookies with Pumpkin Spice M&M’s

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  I have a treat for you today … no tricks.  Double Chocolate Pudding Cookies with Pumpkin Spice M&M’s!

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Let me tell you … these cookies are a treat!  I finally made pudding cookies … seen them everywhere … kept talking about them … so happy that I made them!

double chocolate pudding cookies pumpkin spice m&m's

These cookies are soft, moist and double chocolate … what’s not to love?  Oh, don’t forget the Pumpkin Spice M&M’s, they add crunch and a wonderful spice flavor!  These M&M’s are a Target exclusive item (I’ve also seen them on Amazon, eBay and Etsy).

In past years, I’ve had a difficult time finding autumn themed candy after Halloween … the shelves are filled with Christmas candy immediately!  A few days ago, I saw candy canes at Wal-Mart … yikes!  I am going to stock up on things that I may need for Thanksgiving … maybe it will be on clearance ;)

Let’s get down to cookie making.  Here are a few things that you will need in addition to the normal flour, butter, etc. …

m&m's pumpkin spice

Double Chocolate Pudding Cookies with Pumpkin Spice M&M’s

                                                           adapted from Kraft Recipes

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 package Instant Chocolate Pudding (3.9 ounce)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cup flour (I used unbleached)
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 bag M&M’s Pumpkin Spice (9.9 ounces)
  1. Heat oven to 350° F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy.   Add dry pudding mix and beat well.
  3. Add eggs, vanilla and baking soda, mix well.
  4. Gradually beat in flour until well blended.
  5. Add mini chocolate chips and mix well.
  6. Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to drop dough on prepared pans, 2″ apart.
  7. Place 3 – 4 M&M’s on each cookie and press down lightly. (I used 3 on each cookie, had some candy leftover as seen in the photos)
  8. Bake 10-13 minutes.  Cool for a few minutes on baking sheets, then remove to wire racks.  Cool completely.  Makes 42 cookies.

m&m's pumpkin spice cookie dough

I will be making pudding cookies again … the flavor combinations are endless!

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NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

A few weeks ago, the hubby and I went to a movie theatre to see Captain Phillips.  The hubby wanted to arrive at 6:30pm … I wasn’t ready … arrived at 7:00 … the 7:20 showing was sold-out … got tickets to the 9:20 showing … went shopping to kill time … found nothing for me … found something for you instead!  So … you can thank the popularity of Tom Hanks for this giveaway …

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This is my treat to one lucky reader … a few fall things … two dish towels, a silicone spatula and leaf doilies ;)

To enter the giveaway, share your favorite fall flavor combo, in the comments section below.  Do you like pumpkin and chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg, cranberry and turkey … or just say “Hi”!

The Rules:  One entry person.  Deadline to enter is Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 11:59pm.  Winner will be drawn using Random.org and announced on this page Monday, November 4.  I will also send the winner an email.   Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn. This giveaway is now over.

This giveaway is sponsored by me!

Monday, November 4, 2013 … Random.org selected #18 … Amy Orvin!!!  Congratulations Amy!  I hope you enjoy your prize :)  (I will be sending you an email to get your mailing info, please respond ASAP)

BTW … I loved reading all of the comments … great flavor combos … I agree with each and every one! 

Halloween/Fall Peanut Butter Treats

Halloween will be here in just three days!  Are you prepared?

We usually get 100-200 Trick-or-Treaters each year.  I brought 22 bags of candy home from the store and hid them … I know that if a bag gets opened up, it will disappear ;)

Today, I am sharing a few quick and easy treats that have one thing in common … peanut butter!

Nutter butter bats

I made these Nutter Butter bats last year and they are my most popular treat this year!

Nutter Butter Zombie Eyeballs

Happy Zombie-ween!  Celebrate with Nutter Butter Zombie Eyeballs!

I love these Peanut Butter Cup Brooms (courtesy of Hershey’s)!  Thank you to Colleen B. (a reader) … she was thinking of my peanut butter lovin’ hubby and sent me the info … so sweet!

Nutter Butter Acorns

Nutter Butter Acorns are so easy to make … this is the “2012 Acorn” … possibly my favorite acorn!

012

My first acorn … a version that I’ve seen done so many different ways … can’t go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter!

Hope you enjoyed these peanut butter treats :)

Fall Review

I’m working on some new Fall/Halloween ideas and will be sharing them in a few days.

Until then … here’s a quick little review of some fall ideas from the past …

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Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Cake

Creamy Pumpkin Butter Pie Bars

Creamy Pumpkin Butter Pie Bars

pecan pie cupcakes

Pecan Pie Cupcakes … one of my most popular recipes that happens to be gluten-free, too!

spiced pecans

Spicy Salty Sweet Pecans

Brown butter, sea salt, pecan cookies

Brown Butter, Sea Salt, Pecan Cookies

See you in a few days :)