chocolate

Squirrel Bars

Squirrel Bars

Squirrel Bars are chewy peanut butter cookie bars with swirled chocolate chips.  When I needed to whip up something sweet for a potluck, I found this recipe in my “Just A Matter of Thyme” cookbook (Every recipe I have ever tried in this cookbook is fantastic!  It is a staple in my potluck recipe collection.)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 cup chocolate chips

Mix together the butters and sugars.  Mix in the eggs and vanilla.  Stir in the flour and baking powder.

Spread the dough in a greased 9″ x 13″ baking pan.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.

Bake at 350 degrees (325 if you’re using a dark nonstick pan) for 3 minutes.  Take the pan out of the oven.  Use a knife to swirl the chocolate throughout the bars.

Return to the oven and bake another 18 – 20 minutes.

Let cool completely.  Cut into bars and store in an airtight container until potluck time!

 

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Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

guinness-chocolate-cupcakes3

Since I’ve seen so many recipes for Chocolate Stout cupcakes lately, I decided that I must make them for St. Patrick’s Day!  The stout makes them extra soft and fluffy.  I found this recipe on the Betty Crocker website and loved it because they only need a few ingredients and are so simple to make.  I chose to do a vanilla icing, but you can also do an Irish Cream frosting, which is perfect for an all adults potluck.

Ingredients:

1 box deviled foods cake mix

1 1/4 cups Guinness stout beer

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 stick butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt

4 T. milk

Using a mixer, combine together the cake mix, Guinness, oil, and eggs in a large bowl on low speed for 30 seconds.  Then, mix on medium high speed for another two minutes.

Line a regular-sized muffin tin with baking cups.  Scoop 1/4 cup batter into each tin.  If using a dark or nonstick pan, bake at 325 degrees (or 350 degrees if using a regular pan) for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Transfer to a rack and let cool.

In a separate bowl, mix the butter and powdered sugar until combined.  Add the vanilla, salt, and milk. Mix on medium speed until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost them, and store them in an airtight container until potluck time!  (I made them the day before and they were still wonderful, but I wouldn’t make them any earlier than that.)

Quick and Easy Chocolate Oreo Truffles

Quick and Easy Oreo Truffles

Only 3 ingredients are needed for these Quick and Easy Chocolate Oreo Truffles!  You can keep it simple by rolling them in powdered sugar or get fancy with crushed candy, coconut, sprinkles, or nuts.

This recipe was provided by Sam from the Sugar and Sam Blog.  She and I share an affinity for chocolate and Cadbury Mini Eggs and I love her blog!  She has tons of fun recipes, so check out it out at http://sugarandsamblog.com.

Ingredients:

1 box of Oreos

3/4 cup (or 6 ozs.) of cream cheese, softened

Powdered sugar, nuts, crushed candy, or other ingredient of your choice, for rolling

Put all of your Oreos into a really good blender or food processor and blend until most of the big chunks are gone.  If you don’t have a blender or food processor, put them in a large ziploc bag and crush them using a rolling pin or the smooth side of a meat tenderizer.  Pour the crumbs into a large bowl.

Cut the cream cheese into small cubes and pour in the bowl with the crumbs.  Mix together until smooth.  Measure out approx. 1/8 cup (or use a melon baller) and roll into small balls.  Place them on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper.  Once they’re all rolled out (it should make approx. 24 balls), then roll them in powdered sugar or your favorite ingredient.

Place in an airtight container until Potluck Time!

 

 

 

Sweet and Saltines – Holiday Version

Sweet and Saltines - Holiday Version

 

This is our holiday version of Sweet and Saltines.  You can use white chocolate or semisweet chocolate.  And they taste as lovely as they look!

Ingredients:

35 to 40 Saltine Crackers

2 sticks (1 cup) butter

1 cup light brown sugar

8 ozs. semisweet or white chocolate (I used chocolate chips)

Crushed candy cane

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line 1 large or 2 small jelly roll pans with aluminum foil, spray with nonstick spray and arrange the saltines salt-side down in a single layer.

In a medium pan, melt the butter and brown sugar together and boil until it turns a caramel color, a few minutes.  Remove from the heat and pour over the crackers, covering them evenly.  Put the jelly roll pan into the oven and bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until just bubbly, watching carefully.  Remove from the oven and pour the chocolate chips over the crackers.  When the chips melt a bit, spread them over the crackers with a knife. Then sprinkle candy cane on the top.

Transfer the pan to the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until completely cold.  They will form one big sheet.  Break up into pieces.  Store in an airtight containe

Cranberry and Pumpkin Seed Bark

Cranberry & Pumpkin Seed Bark

When you need to whip up something sweet for a potluck, this Cranberry and Pumpkin Seed Bark is quick and easy to make.  You’ll love the sweetness of the chocolate and cranberries combined with the salty pumpkin seeds.  And it looks pretty, too!  This bark is especially great for holiday potlucks.

This recipe was inspired by Bon Appe’tit Desserts cookbook “Dried Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bark” with slight variations.

Ingredients:

12 ozs. semisweet chocolate chips

Dried cranberries

Salted and toasted pumpkin seeds

Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Melt chocolate chips in medium bowl over saucepan of simmering water, stirring until melted and smooth.  Pour the chocolate onto the foil and spread with a rubber spatula to about 1/4 inch thickness.  Sprinkle cranberries and pumpkin seeds over the chocolate.  Chill in the fridge until the chocolate is firm.

Break into pieces.  Store in the fridge in an airtight container, separated by layers of wax or parchment paper, until potluck time.  This bark is best when served slightly chilled.

Candy Bucket Cookies

Candy Bucket Cookies 2

Put your leftover Halloween candy to great use in these fun, delicious cookies!  Jeff Mauro made these on Food Network’s “The Kitchen” Halloween show last week and I knew that I had to make them.  Had a few friends over last night for a potluck and everyone loved them!

You can use any combination of chocolate candies.  I used Butterfingers, Reese’s Pieces, Peanut Butter M&M’s, Peanut M&M’s, Kit Kats, and Snicker Bars.  Would have loved to put in some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and regular M & M’s, but there weren’t any left in my son’s Halloween bag.  The more variation, the better as it makes every bite a surprise.  I avoided anything with too much soft caramel because I didn’t think they would hold up well during the baking process.

Ingredients:

2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp.) salted butter, melted then cooled slightly

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 large whole egg

1 large egg yolk

2 cups chopped leftover Halloween candy

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, whole egg, and egg yolk.  Blend until smooth and combined, about 30 seconds.  Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Fold in the candy pieces.

Using a 4-ounce ice cream scoop (I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup), put mounds of cookies on cookie sheet (give them lots of space as they will be big cookies).  Bake until slightly golden and puffy, about 14 to 17 minutes.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Then store in an airtight container until potluck time!

Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies

Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies

These Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies are absolutely decadent!  They are soft and chewy on the inside with a crispy outer layer.  You can easily make these with gluten and dairy free ingredients (double check your labels!) and your GF/DF friends (and everyone else) will love you for making these at your next potluck.

For a larger crowd, you should definitely double the batch.  A single batch makes 24 to 30 cookies and no one can eat just one!  This recipe is from Bon Appe’tit Desserts cookbook.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (about 9 ozs.), divided

3 large egg whites, room temperature

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 T. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line 2 heavy, large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave, stirring twice, about 2 minutes.  Cool slightly.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in 1 cup powdered sugar.  Continue beating until mixture resembles soft marshmallow creme.  In a separate bowl, whisk 1 cup powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt until blended.  On low speed, beat dry ingredients into meringue.  Stir in lukewarm chocolate and remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dough will become very stiff).

Place remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar in small bowl (I always need more powdered sugar for rolled cookies, so make sure you have some extra on hand).  Roll dough into rounded tablespoons (or use a melon baller for no mess and uniform cookies).  Roll balls in powdered sugar, coating thickly.  Place them on the baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cookies are puffed and the tops crack.  Cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes.  Then, transfer cookies to a rack and cool completely.  Store in an airtight container until potluck time!

Ridiculously Easy Coconut Cream Bars

Ridiculously Easy Coconut Cream Bars

Four ingredients are all you need for these ridiculously easy and amazing Coconut Cream Bars!  Thank you to Ali for including these bars on her site Ali Does It Herself and for allowing me to share them here on Potluck Time!

Ingredients:

20 ozs. shredded coconut, plus extra for the tops

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups powdered sugar

24 ozs. chocolate (Make sure to have some extra on hand.  Depending on the size and number of bars that you cut, you may need extra.  I used a combination of semi-sweet chocolate chunks and chocolate chips.)

Spray a 9 x 13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine the coconut, milk, and powdered sugar in a larger bowl and stir until combined well.  Put the coconut mixture into the pan and press down firmly and evenly.  At the end, I put wax paper over it and evened out the top with a rubber spatula.  Take the wax paper off and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Place pan in the freezer for an hour.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate over low heat in a sauce pan.  Take off the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.  Cut the coconut bars into squares.  Dip a square in chocolate, place on wax paper, top with a little coconut, and repeat until they’re all done.  Let them cool completely.  If needed, place in the fridge until they are completely set.

Store them in the fridge in an airtight container.  Take them out when you’re headed to the potluck.  By dessert time, they’ll be perfect and at room temperature.  However, if they do get devoured before dessert, not to worry.  They’re also delicious when chilled!

Dressed To Im-Pretzel Cookies

Dressed to ImPretzel Cookies

Peanut butter cookies with chocolate chunks, crushed pretzels, oats and sprinkled with coarse sea salt!  I made these for a potluck at work today and they were a complete hit (I really wish I had made a double batch and kept some for myself!).  This is a MUST if you love the combination of sweet and salty!

This recipe is from Kat, my fellow potlucker, at Oh My Potluck!.  Not only does Kat have fantastic recipes, but she gives them all clever names, includes photos, an illustration, and a relevant music video with each one!

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks (about 6 ounces)

3/4 cup crushed pretzels (Be careful not to crush the pretzels too small)

2 T coarse sea salt (for sprinkling)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Cream together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and white sugar.  Beat for 2-3 minutes until soft peaks form.  Add the vanilla and eggs.  Beat until combined, about 30 seconds.

Stir in half the flour mixture and mix until well combined.  Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until well combined.  Fold in the rolled oats, chocolate chunks, and pretzels.

Grease a cookie sheet (or just place a sheet of parchment paper on it).  Roll dough into 1 3/4 inch round balls and place on cookie sheets at least 2 inches apart.  Flatten the balls slightly with a fork or the palm of your hand so they are 2 inches wide.

Bake in the oven for 10-13 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.  Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with a touch of sea salt.

Allow to cool slightly. Then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before storing and taking to potluck.

Chocolate Caramel Cake

Chocolate Caramel Cake

Heath Bars, chocolate, caramel.  Need I say more?  You can never go wrong with this classic potluck cake recipe!

The recipe calls for 2 Heath Bars.  But, as you can see in the picture, I used a lot more than that.  So, if you LOVE Heath Bars like I do, get a bag of the snack size bars (minus what you eat in the process; usually ends up being about 1/2 to 2/3 of a bag).

And if you haven’t tried this recipe before, then you must!  Thank you, Marisa, for sharing this recipe!

Ingredients:

1 box German Chocolate Cake mix batter

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 jar caramel topping

1 pint of Cool Whip

2 Heath Bars, chopped

Make cake as directed in a 9 x 13″ pan.  Remove from oven and while still hot, use end of a wooden spoon to make several holes in the cake.  Pour sweetened milk and caramel topping over cake, spreading evenly.

After cake cools, spread Cool Whip on top and sprinkle with Heath Bar pieces.  You can serve right away or store in the fridge until it’s potluck time!