Easter Chocolate Coconut Nest

nests (2)

What do you do when Easter is a week away and the COVID-19 quarantine hasn’t been lifted. You make homemade Easter treats of course! Use this quarantine as an opportunity to expand your culinary skills. Hold true to your Easter traditions without leaving the safety of your own kitchen. Russel Stover makes a coconut chocolate nest at Easter that has become an Easter basket staple. Don’t let being locked at home keep you from enjoying this crunchy sweet confection. The homemade version is so much better than it’s commercial counterpart you may never go back…even when you are allowed to shop again 😉

These nests are as much fun to make as they are yummy to eat. I use sweetened flaked coconut because it becomes so much crunchier than unsweetened when toasted. You can use any milk chocolate you choose. Yes, even chocolate chips.  The oil in the coconut thins and shines the chocolate so beautifully you will be amazed.  I like to use a medium cookie scoop to mound the chocolate and coconut mixture then I use the backside of a melon baller to press and form the inside of the nest. Next, place three Cadbury mini eggs inside the nest and let dry completely before moving. Now, Russel Stover puts jelly beans in their nests…but yuk! why on earth would you ruin perfectly paired chocolate and coconut with pectin of any kind when you can just as easily add rich and creamy Cadbury mini eggs to the nest.  One of the best things about this treat is they are no-bake, easy to make, yet taste like they were purchased at a high-end chocolatier.

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Wedding Cream Cheese Buttermints

WEDDING MINTSEarlier this month we wrote a blog post about cream cheese buttermints. As February was just around the corner, we had Valentine’s Day fever and a surplus of sanding sugar at our house. Needing to utilize the crazy amounts of sugars and sprinkles I had purchased in red and pink we decided to turn the buttermints into Valentine’s Day confections. I have a small addiction for sprinkles if it sparkles and shines I buy and think about the practical use later.  In our original blog post, I mentioned making these mints for my wedding over twenty years ago.  I have since had many people message us asking for ideas on how to make these mints for their own weddings. This weekend I had extra cream cheese in the fridge and a sweet tooth to satisfy so the girls and I decided to make a batch of mints in wedding colors to show how elegant these mints can look displayed at a wedding. The girls were so happy with the results that Maddie made me promise to make them again when she gets married. As much as I love making these mints lets hope I have many years before that happens 😉

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Easy Strawberry Fudge

strawberry fudgeStrawberry and chocolate are the perfect combination. Something about these two flavors brings out the best in each other. I wanted to make a fudge that tasted like fresh chocolate-dipped strawberries. I tried using flavorings but it tasted too artificial. I then tried fresh strawberries but the moisture ruined the fudge and the shelf life wasn’t worth the effort. I finally decided to try freeze-dried strawberries. Dehydrated fruit doesn’t retain the same fresh flavor as the flash process in freeze-drying. The result was perfect. But don’t take my word for it. This is the easiest fudge you will ever make with a flavor all its own. There is nothing like it…except of course a fresh strawberry dipped in chocolate.

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Meringue Kisses

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After posting yesterday’s blog we were overwhelmed by the number of people who loved the cookies and wanted to try making meringues, but felt the piping work looked too difficult to master.  Meringue can be piped into almost any intricate design you can think of.  Although the possibilities are endless nothing can compare to a meringue kiss. The drop shape design is the perfect introduction to meringue cookies using a simple large round tip (I use Wilton A1). They are simple and delicate, creating the perfect presentation for any gathering. Meringues not only look classy and sophisticated but the taste sets them apart from other deserts. The light and airy crunch of meringue melts in your mouth.  Sprinkle them with sugars or sandwich them together with a ganache filling. Any way you create them they are sure to impress!

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Valentine Meringue Cookies

heart shaped merigues

The origination of meringue is highly disputed. Italy, France, and Switzerland all claim to be the birthplace of this light and airy protein structure of egg whites, and sugar. Regardless of where it came from one thing is indisputable, it takes cookies, pies, and even buttercream frosting to a whole new level.

Meringue cookies were originally shaped in the17th century by using two spoons to scoop and dollop the meringue as carefully as possible.  Today many bakers have taken the skill of making meringues to an absolute art form. The protein structure created in meringue enables bakers to use limitless creativity in making meringue cookies. With a kitchen full of piping tips you can truly let your imagination be your guide in creating colorful decorative cookies. These crunchy cookies are so light, airy and low on calories that you don’t have to feel guilty indulging on your baked masterpieces.

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Soft Valentine Sugar Cookies

valentines sugar cookie

There are a few must-have treats every holiday. Valentine’s Day is no exception. Sugar cookies with red and pink sprinkles are as important as pink boxes filled with conversation hearts. Something about this holiday just screams sprinkles and sanding sugar. The memories of my kids standing on stools with adult-sized aprons falling off their tiny bodies as they decorate the perfect cookie for each classmate. Cookies so covered with frosting and sprinkles that you barely recognize the cookie buried beneath. Who needs date night with long-stemmed roses when you can decorate cookies to accompany handwritten Valentines. The cookies were almost as important as the box the Valentines would go in. Handwritten cards. Homemade Valentine boxes. sugar-dusted cookies. The sweet simplicity of childhood love! Continue reading

Sweet and Salty Valentine Chex Mix

wordpress valentines chex


ust one taste will be love at first bite. This sweet, salty, ooey-gooey Chex mix is unlike any other you have tried. Toasted coconut and honey set this mix apart from all of the copycat versions. This recipe has been tried and tested to the point of perfection. I must warn you…you may develop a love-hate relationship with this mix. It is SO addictive my kids call it crack. We have a version of this recipe for every holiday as it is our family’s all-time favorite snack. Skip the flowers and show love to your friends and family with this irresistible treat.

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Homemade Raspberry Marshmallow

rasberry marsh

For Valentine’s Day this year, we experimented with our marshmallow recipe by adding freeze-dried strawberries. The result was so good that we couldn’t help but wonder what raspberry would taste like. Freeze-dried raspberries are a little more difficult to locate but well worth the search. I can honestly say I do not prefer one over the other. Homemade strawberry marshmallow dipped in chocolate is even better than a fresh strawberry dipped in chocolate. Raspberry, however, is a little tart and tangy bursting with flavor. Dust these marshmallows with pulverized freeze-dried raspberries and let the flavor combination dance in your mouth! This recipe requires no cooking or boiling at all. You simply have no excuse not to try these easy homemade marshmallows. Continue reading

Homemade Strawberry Marshmallows

vivid marshmallow


omemade marshmallows are so easy and fun to make that I am surprised anyone is still buying the bagged version. Seriously, they are nothing alike. The homemade version is so silky smooth, light and fluffy…seriously amazing! The best part is creating your own flavors. I have been making my own marshmallows for years because of the flavor options you can create. Vanilla bean marshmallow creates a smores that makes camping a luxurious culinary experience.IMG_1055

For Valentines Day this year, we decided to take the recipe up a notch by adding freeze-dried strawberries to the mix. The result was so yummy I was left wondering why it took so long to try. Many people add artificial strawberry flavoring to marshmallows, but extracts can’t come close to this fresh flavor. Even adding fresh strawberries cooked down into a syrup does not provide the concentrated fresh flavor that freeze-dried pulverized strawberries create.

Cut the marshmallow into heart shapes and the possibilities are endless. Toss them in sanding sugars and sprinkles for a stand-alone confection or put them on top of a steaming mug of hot chocolate on a cold morning. I have to admit the strawberry flavor begs to be dipped in chocolate. Homemade strawberry marshmallows dipped in chocolate, decorated and packed in a box make the perfect Valentine’s Day gift.

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Superbowl Chex Mix

superbowl chexmix


his Chex mix is better than the halftime show! Everything about this ooey-gooey mix is incredibly addictive. Just one taste will make your guests wonder what sets this mix apart…psst…it’s the honey. Whether you are tailgating or having fifty of your closest friends and family over for the big game, make sure you make enough or it could disappear before the coin toss.




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