Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Easy Chocolate Almond Bark

This Easy Chocolate Almond Bark was brought about one day when I was craving a treat, wanted it fast, and needed it to be made from things I had in my cupboard. I’ve made a lot of different kinds of “barks” on Plenty Sweet Life – Halloween Bark, Easter Bark, Leprechaun Bark, Autumn Bark, Minnesota Viking Bark – and they’re beautiful and delicious, too, but I just needed a treat that I could whip up in a hurry. I had chocolate chips, some roasted almonds, flaky sea salt, and sprinkles. That’s the beauty of making a bark. You can pretty much add anything you want to it: candies, marshmallows, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, coconut, nuts of any kind, sprinkles of all colors and shapes and sizes. The list goes on and on and on . . .

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Easy Chocolate Almond Bark

I started by melting 1 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave, then stirred in 1 cup of the roasted almonds.

Next I spread the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkled on some flaky sea salt. If you like things on top instead, spread out the chocolate and then sprinkle the nuts and all the goodies on top. Anything goes.

I just HAD to put on some sprinkles. I mean, what’s life without a few sprinkles? That makes it a party – am I right? Next I put the pan into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up.

Finally, I cut it into chunks and the bark was done (you can also break it apart). I had my treat. Whew. Thankfully this is a very quick and easy way to make yourself a treat – and it’s fairly healthy. Ahem – I said, FAIRLY healthy. Make it for anyone – this makes a wonderful hostess gift or present for someone you want to surprise or maybe you just want a treat or maybe just because it’s Friday. There is no end to the different kinds of bark you can make. I happened to make Easy Chocolate Almond Bark – I’d love to hear what kind of bark you make out of what you found in YOUR cupboard!

 

 

 

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Gingersnap Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert

Gingersnap Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert – that’s quite a mouthful. That’s exactly what you’re gonna want of this dessert – a mouthful! Well, more than a mouthful, for sure! Oh my goodness – this is the tastiest thing I’ve tried in many, many years. I have done other pumpkin desserts on Plenty Sweet Life, like Pumpkin Crunch Dessert and Pumpkin Pie Dessert, plus many other pumpkin pies and cakes, but this one is the tastiest – in my opinion. I keep saying it, and you all know how I feel about it, but those old church cookbooks are THE ABSOLUTE BEST. Especially in this case. This recipe came from one of Grandma’s church cookbooks, and it. Is. So. Good. I’m not even kidding with this one. The best thing about this recipe is that you can make it ahead. I should have posted this in the first part of September, because it would be great anytime from September through the end of December. This is a total make-ahead wonder. You HAVE to make this one ahead of time, which is absolutely perfect for holiday entertaining. You’ll see what I mean as we go along. I’m not sure how long you could keep this in the freezer, but I had it in there at least a week and it was perfectly fine. That’s the beauty of this one – you can make it ahead and it’s unbelievably delicious!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Gingersnap Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert

Mix:

30 gingersnaps, crushed (yes – store-bought)

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup brown sugar

Press into a 9″ x 13″ pan.

Freeze until firm.

Spread over crust:

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened (most ice cream containers are 1 1/2 qts now, not 2 – I used the 1 1/2 qt one and it was fine – you can use the exact amount, if you want to, then just buy two containers)

Combine:

1 cup pumpkin

1/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ginger

Spread over ice cream.

Spread over top of all:

12 ounce Cool Whip (I couldn’t find a 12 oz container, so I used an 8 oz – I’d use 2 of those next time)

Sprinkle additional gingersnaps over top, if desired.

Freeze until serving.

Even though the recipe doesn’t say to melt the butter, the crust reminded me of a graham cracker crust, so I thought melted butter would work best.

I just put all the crust ingredients into the food processor. Easy peasy.

If you have the pumpkin layer ready to go before starting, it’s pretty fast to pull together.

I felt that since both the ice cream and Cool Whip amounts were smaller than the recipe called for, I might be able to get away with a smaller pan. Nope.

Once the crust and ice cream layers were in, there wasn’t much room in my smaller pan.

There was room to put the pumpkin layer on, but no room for the Cool Whip. Don’t panic – just worry about the Cool Whip later. At this point, into the freezer with the pan.

You can see here how close I was cutting it for fitting it all into the smaller pan. No worries – a spoonful of Cool Whip will work just as well! The 8 ounce container worked just fine for putting a dollop on top, but if I had used a bigger pan and had the room, I’d have put in the exact amount called for.

See? How pretty is this?!! I used sprinkles, of course, and they are so cute! There’s no reason not to be festive at the same time. For some reason, the gingersnaps stayed in bigger chunks instead of breaking up more into crumbs. Good thing I used the food processor on the crust!

Let me just say this one more time – this is the best pumpkin dessert I’ve had in many, many years!!! It is so flavorful and tasty – I could hardly believe it! It’s my new favorite! I know, I know, I say that all the time. This time I mean it! Make this now for your thanksgiving gatherings. I think if you make it this weekend, or next, and wrap it well, it should be fine. Just wrap well (airtight) to stay away from that “freezer” smell and taste. Let other people bring the pies – your Gingersnap Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert will be the big hit – I guarantee it!

 

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Junket Danish Dessert

Today’s recipe is summer on the farm to me. It’s funny how food can bring back so many specific memories, and this dessert can really do it. Me and my sister would spend time during summer vacation at grandma and grandpa’s farm, and when it came time for lunch, that was when we had the big meal. Grandpa, being a farmer, needed that energy for the hard work he would do all afternoon and sometimes into the evening. It was always fun to have dessert at lunchtime instead of dinnertime. It was so strange to me, but I loved it. We called this Danish Pudding, but the official name on the box is Junket Danish Dessert. I never asked Grandma about this, but I wonder if the reason they first tried this dessert is because my grandpa was half Danish. Hmm. Could be. Heritage was always very important to those two! Whatever the reason, I’m glad they made it a part of the tradition of visiting at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I do remember that when I finally got to help Grandma make this, I was amazed at how simple it was. It’s just a box of the dessert and water. It’s so easy to make and so unbelievably good! We usually had the strawberry kind, which is my personal favorite, but for this post I used the raspberry flavor. This dessert was also used, occasionally, for making the glaze for strawberry pie, so maybe we were just using up an extra box that wasn’t used for pie. In any case, the addition of the vanilla ice cream was genius. There’s just nothing better – it’s so fruity and so creamy.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Junket Danish Dessert

You buy a box and follow the directions for pudding.

That’s it.

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When you first mix the water and pudding mix, it looks a bit cloudy. When it starts to boil, the color turns a dark red.

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We usually had this warm for dessert after lunch.

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It’s mandatory that you serve this with vanilla ice cream. The pudding is warm and the ice cream is cold and when the ice cream starts to melt, you MUST stir and make white swirls in the red pudding! That’s just how it works.

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I happened to have some fresh raspberries when I made this, so I gilded the lily just a little bit.

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When you stir it up and get the melted ice cream in a bite with the warm fruity pudding . . . heaven. Summertime on the farm and those great memories of having lunch together and Grandpa coming in from the fields or working somewhere in the yard or the shed. Try this unusual pudding for your next lunch. You’ll love this fruity, creamy, delicious dessert!

 

 

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No-Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie

Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. Pumpkin is synonymous with this time of year. There are just so many great things to do with it. I’ve posted a few recipes over the years. I’ve done Pumpkin Pie – the Chiffon Kind, Pumpkin Pie Dessert, Pumpkin Cake, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie , and Autumn Gold Pumpkin Cake. I’ve done Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds, Freezing Pumpkin, and Knit Pumpkins. I haven’t even done just your basic Pumpkin Pie yet. Here is another great fast and easy recipe for one more kind of pumpkin pie. This No-Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie is a great pie to do last-minute.

No Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie

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I love how easy this one is!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

No-Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie

Beat together for 1-2 minutes:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 stick butter, softened

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Blend in:

1 can pumpkin

Pour into 9″ graham cracker crust (I’m not going judge you if you use a store-bought one and not make your own. Not much anyway.)

Chill 6 hours or overnight.

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Here is the recipe for a graham cracker crust that I used.

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The filling is so smooth and luscious.

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I wanted to use my pretty milk glass pie plate, so, as usual, I had some graham crumbs and filling leftover. I put crumbs in the bottom of the glasses and made 3 desserts for dinner that night.

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Topped with some whipped cream and more crumbs – delicious dessert!

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It’s a soft pie and the cream cheese gives it a bit of a tangy taste.

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Any of the pumpkin recipes mentioned at the top of this post would be great additions to your Thanksgiving table, but this is also a great recipe. I love that you can make it VERY easily the night before (you could even stretch it to two days before your gathering). Done. Ready to go. You’re going to love this one and so will your guests!

 

 

 

 

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Almond Bark Cookies

Today’s recipe comes from one of Grandma’s sisters, but it has Grandma’s name on it. The possibilities are endless for these Almond Bark Cookies. You could add any kind of cereal you want, and I think the idea of adding bright and cheery colored Fruit Loops cereal would be so great for kids. I used Cheerios with this batch, just because that’s all I had on hand. I do seem to remember Grandma making these when I was growing up, and I think she used Rice Krispies. I also seem to remember that she made these around Christmas time because they are kind of a candy, too, not just a cookie. Cereal always reminds me of staying weekends at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. I don’t know why, but it was so exciting to go there and have cereal for breakfast. She would have several kinds of cereal to choose from, and that was so much fun! We didn’t have that selection at our house, because I don’t think some of us ate breakfast every day (Mom! Ha! She still doesn’t!). Grandma had a lot of cereal because they ate breakfast every day after the initial morning chores. I would assume that when you’re up at sunrise getting the livestock fed and other farm things ready to go for the day, you have a cup of coffee (or Postum) and/or maybe cereal before you head out, and when it’s everybody else’s normal time to get up in the morning, you’d be just coming in for a more/bigger breakfast. So she probably had plenty of cereal on hand to make this recipe. This is a great recipe any time of year. We’re heading towards summer and not wanting to heat up our kitchens, so now is a good time to share this recipe.

Almond Bark Cookies

This one is no-bake goodness!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Almond Bark Cookies

(This is a half recipe – the whole batch makes a lot of these cookies.)

Melt in double boiler (I used the microwave):

1 pound white almond bark

Stir in:

2 cups crisp cereal (you can use a combination of more than 1 if desired) of your choice: Rice Krispies, Cheerios, Fruit Loops, etc.

3/4 cup miniature marshmallows

3/4 cup cocktail peanuts

Drop by teaspoon on waxed paper.

Cool until firm.

I got about 3 dozen cookies from this half batch, but as usual, I probably made them bigger than Grandma would.

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I might have to try some other kinds of cereal for these bars. The summer stretches out ahead of me, just waiting for treats!

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I added an extra 1/2 cup of Cheerios because there seemed to be a lot of melted almond bark.

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I tried to make these small, I really did. I didn’t make them TOO big. I wanted to. They seem a bit addictive to me. But that might just be me.

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This is a great, easy recipe. You could top them with sprinkles, too, if you want to make them more fancy. These treats will be good for summer gatherings, camping trips, or weekends!

 

 

 

 

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Butter Mints

I remember having these Butter Mints at big family gatherings back when I was a kid, but I don’t know where they came from or who made them. All I know is that they were delicious and I LOVED them! I have never made them and when I had the excuse of making them for a birthday party, I decided to give it a shot. The birthday party is for my mom and here’s the birthday girl at about age 4 – what a sweetie! She’s celebrating a big birthday this year.

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I’m sure she wouldn’t mind me telling you that she just turned 75. I wanted to make these mints for the birthday party, so I looked up a recipe and found one from Emeril Lagasse – you can find the original recipe here. These only have 3 ingredients and are VERY easy to make. There is also the possibility that the mints that I had as a kid were made with cream cheese, but these made with butter are the ones I’m trying today.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Butter Mints

10 2/3 Tablespoons butter, at room temp

1 pound powdered sugar

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Cream butter in large bowl with electric mixer until softened.

Add sugar and extract, mixing at low speed, until mixture is thick, creamy, and smooth, scraping down sides of bowl.

Divide mixture in 2 parts, putting each part onto a sheet of plastic wrap.

Roll up into a log about 1/2 inches in diameter and put into refrigerator to chill for 4 hours.

Scoop with a teaspoon measure, roll into balls, place on waxed paper, and press with tines of a fork.

Refrigerate until ready to serve (some people say to cover with a paper towel and leave them out for a day or overnight).

Will keep for up to one week.

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Having done these mints now, I would have made the logs smaller in diameter. It would make it easier to roll the mints into balls. I did see that sometimes they are rolled into thin “snakes” and just cut with a knife into pieces instead of rolled and pressed with a fork.

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I started out trying to use a teaspoon measure to get the balls all the same size, but it was nearly impossible when the logs are chilled. I tried slicing the logs into even slices and that worked pretty well.

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I saw somewhere online, when looking for the recipe, that one person rolled the balls in granulated sugar. I tried that and I like how they look kind of sparkly. It also helps the mints not stick so much to the waxed paper. One more tip – don’t have the tines of the fork cover the entire ball when pressing it down. This allows you to gently use your fingertip to hold the mint in place while lifting the fork off of the mint.

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These mints absolutely melt in your mouth. They’re great for parties, but they’re REALLY great anytime.  So good, so pretty, and so buttery – just like I remember!

 

 

 

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Chocolate Ice Cream Dessert

This is one of those desserts that I can soooooo see Grandma making for entertaining. Chocolate Ice Cream Dessert is right up her alley. It’s got ice cream, an easy to make crust, and chocolate. Perfect. My husband thinks Grandma had quite a sweet tooth because of all of the recipes she had for sweets and desserts, but I think she had this many recipes because of the unbelievable amount of entertaining they did. They entertained a lot with family AND friends AND church groups. One of the last times that she and Grandpa entertained a large group was just before they moved to the assisted living facility where they lived out their days – they had 8 people “in” and I think it was for dinner. They were around 85 and 88 years old at the time. Those two just loved to entertain.

Chocolate Ice Cream Dessert

This is another very easy, very good dessert.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chocolate Ice Cream Dessert

While mixing other ingredients, take out one gallon of vanilla ice cream to soften (of course the amount in a box of ice cream are not what they were back then, but I used one box anyway, even though it wasn’t a full gallon – it was a bit short).

Put into a unbuttered 9″ x 13″ cake pan:

1 package of Nilla (vanilla) Wafers, crushed (save a few for the top)

Put half of gallon of vanilla ice cream on top of crushed vanilla wafers (it will get softer while you make the rest of layers). I used a spoon to evenly put it on top of the crushed crumbs.

Melt:

2 squares semi sweet chocolate (I used 2/3 cup chocolate chips)

1 stick butter

Mix with:

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 egg yolks (use pasteurized eggs if you are worried about raw eggs, but they do get heated by the warm chocolate/butter mixture)

Fold into chocolate mixture:

3 egg whites, beaten until stiff

Put this chocolate mixture on top of layer of ice cream (on top of crushed vanilla wafers).

(The recipe says to put on a layer of chopped nuts here – I did not, since my son doesn’t like nuts. Peanuts would maybe be a nice choice.)

Layer on the other half-gallon of softened ice cream.

Top with the rest of the vanilla wafer crumbs.

Freeze.

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The chocolate mixture is quite thick until folding in the egg whites.

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I used my trusty rolling-pin/plastic zip top bag system to crush the vanilla wafers.

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I spread the ice cream with my small offset spatula and then pour on the chocolate mixture.

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I didn’t get the ice cream split exactly in half, but once the rest of the vanilla wafer crumbs were sprinkled on, you can’t really tell that the top layer of ice cream is a little short.

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I had this in the freezer overnight and it stayed pretty soft. It didn’t get rock solid but held its shape just fine.

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This dessert is delicious. Try this one next time you need a different kind of dessert. It’s great for entertaining!

 

 

 

 

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No-Bake Chocolate Cookies

The recipe for today is one that we all remember from childhood. These No-Bake Chocolate Cookies were made by everyone back in the day. This is another recipe that I thought was lost and then I found it in one of those old church cookbooks that my mom gave me. Hot summer days call for more treats that we can make without heating up the house and this is just one more for our no-bake repertoire.

This is a summer photo of me at 6 months old. As you can see by the chubby cheeks, I was destined to be a cook and a baker! I hope I had just had a bath and the hair is not slicked down because I was sweating in the heat. I don’t really care for heat OR humidity even now.

No-Bake Chocolate Cookies

There were also comments made by my dad (and others) about the shape of my round head and a bowling ball. But that’s another story for another time! So . . . on to the recipe. These cookies are a classic and you’ll remember them, I’m sure.

No Bake Chocolate Cookies

I LOVE these cookies and I think that both of my grandmas made these.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

No-Bake Chocolate Cookies

Mix together:

2 cups white sugar

6 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup butter

Bring to a full boil for one minute.

Remove from heat and add:

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (I used smooth – it was all I had)

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups regular oatmeal (not the quick kind)

Drop onto waxed paper and cool.

Mixture hardens quickly work fast.

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They aren’t kidding about mixing it fast. It does firm up pretty quickly.

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I got about 3 dozen cookies making them the size I did.

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These are so tasty and they really do remind me of childhood.

Summers were so much fun back then.

Let’s make summers fun now, too, and make a batch of these classic summer no-bake treats!

 

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Creamy Rice Pudding

Today’s recipe is another one of those really quick, really tasty ones.

Creamy Rice Pudding is made even simpler by cooking the rice ahead of time.

I cook my rice according to the package directions, put it in 1 cup measurements in a freezer bag, and then freeze it for later use.

I do this for white rice, brown rice, and wild rice.

It’s a big time saver – all ready to go.

This recipe also reminds me of the rice Grandma used to make when I was a child.

She used whole milk instead of water to cook the rice and then served it with cinnamon and sugar on top.

It’s done when the rice is cooked and creamy.

The aroma of that rice cooking is a BIG childhood memory for me.

I never can make it so it’s just like Grandma’s.

It’s just not the same.

Creamy Rice Pudding

Creamy Rice Pudding 2

You get another bonus recipe on the back of this card!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Creamy Rice Pudding

2 cups long grain rice, cooked

1 (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk

2 egg yolks

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup raisins

2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine milk, egg yolks, water and cinnamon. Over medium heat, cook and stir until it thickens slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and add cooked rice, raisins and vanilla. Cool. Refrigerate leftovers.

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You can see how it changes from before cooking to after and turns thicker and more blended.

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This is another great comfort food dish.

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Warm and creamy and sweet – a special treat.

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It’s nice enough to put in a pretty dish and have for a fancy dessert.

So quick and so easy and so good and so comforting.

Another good one!

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Chocolate Rice Krispie Cookies – Part One

Today we’re doing Part One of a two part post on these little treats.

Part Two will be a quick tutorial on how to make a cute glass pedestal to display the cookies on.

The recipe is a very quick and easy one called Chocolate Rice Krispie Cookies.

The recipe card didn’t have a name, so that’s what I’m naming them.

These taste suspiciously like the old Haystack cookies except instead of chow mein noodles, they have Rice Krispies in them.

This card has my mom’s name on it, so chances are she got this recipe from a co-worker.

Funny – this recipe has chocolate in it. Hmmm. Yes – it’s from my mom!

Chocolate Rice Krispie Cookies

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chocolate Rice Krispie Cookies

Melt:

1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup of butterscotch chips

2 Tablespoons peanut butter

Stir in:

4 cups Rice Krispies cereal

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Its easy to melt the chips and peanut butter in the microwave.

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I used my trusty little ice cream scoop to make these as uniform as possible. Without it I think they would have been more spread out. The scoop kept them a bit more mounded.

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I let them sit about an hour to firm up and then I hid them so they would at least last overnight.

Fat chance.

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These also make great Halloween treats for girlfriends!

Part Two coming on Friday – check back for a quick tutorial on how to make these cute pedestals!

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