Friday, December 14, 2012

Caramel Cashew Clusters

This Christmas candy looks very time intensive, but it isn't. What it is, is delicious. The caramel hardens  and makes this so chewy and the cashew add the perfect amount of sweetness. The chocolate that is drizzled over it gives it the perfect look and not too mention, when does chocolate not make something better? If you are making these, go ahead and make a double batch. They are too good not to!
Source: My Baking Addiction

30 individually-wrapped Caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons of Heavy Cream
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cup of Cashews, halves and pieces, salted
1/2 cup of Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips + teaspoons of vegetable shortening, or some semi-sweet baking bark

First, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Next, place a medium saucepan over medium heat and melt the caramels and cream together. Stir constantly until the caramels are fully melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Now, using a rubber spatula, fold in the cashews and vanilla.

Next, using a tablespoon measuring spoon or cookie scoop, measure out a tablespoon of the mixture and place on parchment paper. Place 2 inches apart.

Now, in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chips and shortening or just the bark in 30 second intervals until melted. Drizzle the chocolate over the clusters.

Store these in the refrigerator on parchment paper, bring to room temperature about 30 minutes before serving.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Peppermint Bark

It just isn't Christmas without some things, and here in the Barbee household it is peppermint. Peppermint bark to be exact. You know the delicious Ghiradelli chocolates that only come out around the holidays in peppermint flavor, yeah those. Ethan loves them, I know you are thinking what doesn't this man love? He is actually pretty picky, this blog is just kind of dedicated to the food that he loves.

Anyway, back to the peppermint bark. There are some that have three layers, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and then peppermint, and then there is my kind. It is not the most beautiful in the world, but the taste is amazing and the simplicity can. not. be. beat.  It's great, so save yourself from a few extra splurges on the candies from the store and make this, you won't regret it and neither will your bank account!

6 squares of Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
12 squares of White Baking Chocolate
60 peppermints, unwrapped and crushed

First, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Next, place the white and semi-sweet chocolate in a microwavable safe bowl and heat for 1 minute and 30 seconds, stir, and heat in 30 second intervals until it is completely melted.

Now, stir in about 50 of the peppermint candies.

Next, pour the mixture onto the baking sheet and spread to desired thickness. Sprinkle the remaining 10 peppermints on top. Harden in the refrigerator and then break into pieces.

Store in an air-tight container.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Maple Snickerdoodles

I was very intrigued by this unique combination of maple and snickerdoodle and made this cookie within minutes of reading the recipe. I am glad I did because these were a big hit. The maple flavor is not too strong or overpowering, it just adds a nice little unexpected touch in a snickerdoodle.

They were soft, chewy, cinnamony, sugary, mapley, and downright delicious. When they first came out of the oven I literally had to shoo Ethan out of the kitchen. He was inhaling them, I wasn't going to have any for my care packages. I limited him to 6, he had already eaten 2, so I set aside 4 more. I have since made another batch.
Source:, via PreventionRD

2 cups of All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon
1/2 cup of Butter
1 1/2 cups of Sugar, divided
1 Egg
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons of Real Maple Syrup, divided

First, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Now, line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Next, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Now, in a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg and 3 tablespoons of maple syrup. Gradually add the dry ingredients until just mixed.

Next, in a small bowl, stir the 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of maple syrup together. Set aside, next to the cookie sheets.

Now, form the dough into 1 inch balls, then roll it in the maple/sugar mixture, and place on the cookie sheet. Place them 2 inches apart.

Bake 8-9 minutes. The cookies will be crackly and not look set in the middle yet, they are ready. Remove from the cookie sheets and place on a wire rack to cool.

Yields: approx. 3 dozen


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Monday, December 10, 2012

Cinnamon-Sugar Pull Apart Bread

When I am meal planning for the week, I try to be realistic. This means that on Friday or Saturday night we are going to want to go out with our friends, so that is usually our meal out for the week. Then I know that the other night, we will be watching football, UFC, etc on TV at home and the urge for take-out will hit. I have started planning a snacky dinner for these nights. It is usually a homemade pizza variation or homemade wings. Ethan's favorite part about ordering pizza is the dessert pizza or cinnasticks, so I knew I had to make this.

This was so much fun to make. I made the dough Saturday morning when we first got up, and let it rise all day until we were ready to make it. We also had Pepperoni Pull Apart Bread with it. I will be showcasing that after all of the holiday treats have made their rounds.

I think this would be perfect for Christmas morning. It is easy to make, delicious, and portable. You don't have to sit down with a knife and fork in the middle of all of the gift wrapping (now torn to shreds) and new presents spread out for viewing.
Source: Dainty Chef, via Joy the Baker

Ingredients for the Dough:
2 3/4 cups of All-Purpose Flour, plus more as needed
1/4 cup of Sugar
1 package of Instant Yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
4 tablespoons of Butter
1/3 cup of Milk
1/4 cup of Water
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
2 Large Eggs

Ingredients for the Filling:
4 tablespoons of Butter
1 cup of Sugar
2 teaspoons of Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of Nutmeg


First, in a large mixing bowl, I used my stand-mixer bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside.

Now, in a cup or small bowl, whisk together your eggs. Set aside.

Next, in a small saucepan, melt the butter and milk together. When it is just melted, remove from heat, and add the vanilla and water. Set aside to cool for 2-3 minutes.

Now, pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredient mixture. Mix with your stand mixer and dough hook, your hands, or a wooden spoon. When the ingredients are combined, add the eggs, and keep combining the ingredients together until they are well incorporated. Now, add the additional 3/4 cup of flour and knead for about 3 minutes. The mixture will still be sticky.

Next, get a large bowl out and spray it with cooking spray or coat it with olive oil. Place the bread inside and cover with plastic wrap and then place a kitchen towel on top of it. Place in a high, warm spot to rise. Alternatively, you can place in the refrigerator overnight, just set it out for 30 minutes on the counter to come to room temperature before continuing to the next step.

It is time get the dough back out, lightly flour a working space, and deflate the dough and knead with 2 tablespoons of flour. Leave on the counter and cover with kitchen towel for 5 minutes.

Now, place the butter in a small saucepan and melt until browned. Set aside.

While the butter is browning,in a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Next, grease and flour a loaf pan, 9x5x3 inch. Set aside.

Back to the dough, use a rolling pin to roll it out into a 12x20 inch rectangle. Use a pastry brush to brush the butter on the dough. Sprinkle all of the filling over the dough, it may seem like a ton, but use it all.

Slice the dough vertically into 6 equal size strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice into 6 equal slices again. You should have 6 stacks of 6 strips. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan. Place the kitchen towel over the pan and let rise for 30-45 minutes, until doubled in size.

Place the loaf pan into a pre-heated oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes, you want it to be a dark golden brown to ensure that it is cooked thoroughly.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges and invert onto a serving tray.

Start pulling away!


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Friday, December 7, 2012


More Christmas candy! I have had these many times before, but with white chocolate. Ethan loves butterscotch, so I thought I would try them this way. These were so perfect and once again, easy! There are only 4 ingredients, which all go together perfectly for this wonderful crunchy snack.

I had to double this recipe because it did not make near enough. Ethan walked in the kitchen and said he could eat all of them and that we needed more for our friends! These are best kept in the refrigerator, they can get soft after sitting out, or maybe it is just the 70 degree weather here in Texas?!

1 cup of Butterscotch Chips
1/2 cup of Peanut Butter
1/2 cup of Peanuts
2 cups of Chow Mein Noodles

First, set up a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.

Next, in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butterscotch chips and peanuts for 1.5 minutes on high. Stir to combine any chips that did not melt. Microwave in 30-second intervals after this until melted.

When the chips and peanut butter are melted, fold in the peanuts and noodles. Cover all of the ingredients well.

Now, using a tablespoon measurer drop one tablespoon of the mixture onto the wax paper.

Let harden at room temperature or place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to harden faster.

Store in an air-tight container.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Salted Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Bark

This holiday treat will be gone in minutes. It is one of those ever-so-addicting snacks that has you coming back for more. It is sweet, salty, and crunchy.

Here are some comments from people that have tried this, aka, my husband.
"Delicious, Jack"- he has been watching way too much Duck Dynasty.
"Really good."
"It's a holiday hit."
I may not go to him again for his comments on food. Regardless of his unappetizing comments, he really did love this salted chocolate toffee pretzel bark.

This was really easy to make and tastes more impressive than it looks!
Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

8 oz. of Mini Pretzels, broken into smaller pieces, about 1/2 of a 1 lb. bag
1 cup of Butter
1 cup of Light Brown Sugar, packed
2 cups of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Sea Salt

First, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Next, line an 11x17 in. pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the pretzels onto of the paper, to cover the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

Now, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat with the butter and brown sugar in it. When the mixture starts to gently bubble, let it cook for 3 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and pour over the pretzels, try to cover them all.

Next, bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Let them melt for 2-3 minutes, then spread them gently with a spatula or spoon. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt.

Let the bark cool and room temperature and then place in the refrigerator if the chocolate needs to harden more. Break the bark into pieces and store in an airtight container.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas White Trash

This is one of our favorite Christmas treats. It is so easy to make and has all of the right components. It has a little salty, a little sweet, and lots of chocolate. This may be my husband's favorite Christmas treat of all, which is why I am sharing it first.

It isn't Christmas without Holiday baking. I spent the entire past weekend in the kitchen making all types of Christmas treats, so I am going to hold off on some of the savory, delicious, recipes I have been making for dinner and share all of these treats with you. They are perfect to wrap up and give to your neighbor, hair stylist, mail-man, trash-man, best friends, co-workers, and family. This Christmas White Trash is a favorite with everyone and a classic.
Source: Cooking With K

24 oz. Vanilla Almond Bark
6 Cups of Rice Chex
3 cups of Pretzels
16 oz. of Peanut M&M's

First, line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Set aside.

Now, in a large bowl add the chex, pretzels, and m&m's together. Set aside.

Next, in a microwave-safe  bowl, heat the bark on high for 45 seconds, stir, and then on high for 1.5 minutes. Stir well.

Now, pour the melted bark over the chex, pretzels, and m&m's. Fold the chocolate over each piece, until well coated.

Finally, pour the mixture onto your lined cookie sheet and let harden, you can place in the freezer to speed up the process. Once the mixture has harden, break into pieces and store in an air-tight container.


Happy Cooking,
The Barbee Housewife