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Pumpkin Gingersnap Truffles

Gingersnaps and chocolate. . . I swear to you, there’s not a better, more delicious combination during the holidays. Add in a little pumpkin, and it’s like having all of my favorite holiday flavors in a little bite-sized package.

Ingredients:
1 package of gingersnaps
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese (softened)
1 can of pumpkin*
2-3 Tbsp of powdered sugar
White Chocolate
Paper Towels
* I actually ended up only using a little less than 1/2 of the pumpkin.
Optional:
Reserve a couple of tablespoons of the gingersnap crumbs for garnish or use pumpkin pie spice instead.
1) Line a cookie sheet with three layers of paper towels. Spread the pumpkin on top of it in a thin, even layer. Top with a three more layers of paper towels to absorb the moisture.
2) Once the paper towels are completely saturated with liquid from the pumpkin, remove the top layer. Use the bottom layer of paper towels as a guide to fold the pumpkin over on to itself. Then, continue to fold it over and flip the pumpkin on to the cookie sheet. Discard the paper towels. 
Folding the pumpkin over.
3) Using either a food processor or a ziploc bag and rolling pin, crush the gingersnaps until they’re crumbs. Set aside.
4) Use a food processor or in a medium sized bowl, using clean hands (yep, go ahead and dig right in there with those hands) to thoroughly combine the gingersnap crumbs with the softened cream cheese, pumpkin, and the powdered sugar. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls. Lay them on a wax paper lined pan and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up. 
5) In the meantime, melt the white chocolate using whatever manner you choose. I did mine in the microwave for 1 minute, then stirring well until the chocolate was completely smooth.
6) Dip the truffles into the melted chocolate and place them on a wax paper lined tray. Optional: Sprinkle a little bit of the reserved gingersnap crumbs or pumpkin pie spice on top of each ball while the chocolate is still wet. Chill in the refrigerator until set.
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Presidential Cookies

I’m a week late posting these cookies, but oh well, they’re just as good no matter when you make them 🙂

I’ve been wanting to try out the recipe for Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies for a while after seeing it repeatedly in cookbooks and online. What better day to make them than Presidents’ Day? So, that’s what I set out to do last Monday.

It was such an easy recipe, and one that I may just have to share with my mom (who is a complete non-baker). But first let me say that I’m not much of a chocolate chip cookie baker as they just never seem to turn out like the yummy ones you can get in the mall, but these turned out amazingly well. Soft, melt in your mouth, and just how I like them.

You can see the original recipe here. The only things I changed when making them was: to cut the recipe in half to make a smaller batch, used wheat flour, and I made each cookie a little smaller than called for.

 
Hope everyone is having a great start to your week! For us, it’s rainy and altogether a little too soggy outside, and I may just have to make another batch of these cookies 😉
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Pretzel and Chocolate Bites

I love the combination of pretzels and chocolate, don’t you? It’s the perfect combination of salty and sweet, and so delicious. One of my favorite treats at Christmas time has always been the chocolate dipped pretzels that are so popular at holiday parties.

I saw a picture of these pretzel bites on a website a while back and thought they were the cutest things. My father’s church was having a party tonight, so I decided to try making them for it. They’re so yummy and super easy to make (only three ingredients!!).

Ingredients:
1 bag of pretzels*
1 bag of Hershey’s Hugs (or Hershey’s Kisses)
1 bag of green and red M&M’s
* For the best results, use either square or round pretzels. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find either at any stores in my town or at Wal-Mart two towns over. As much as I have always loved living in a small town, and don’t get me wrong I really do love it, the biggest downside is the lack of options when shopping 😉 

1) Preheat the oven to 175F degrees. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, place a single layer of pretzels. On top of each pretzel place one unwrapped Hugs candy.

2) Place the pan into the oven and warm them for about 3-4 minutes or until the Hugs have become slightly softened.

3) Remove from the oven and place one M&M’s in the center of each Hugs candy. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to firm up.

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Strawberry Icebox Cake

I don’t think there’s ever been a better combination invented than strawberries and chocolate. Whoever first combined sweet berries with the goodness of chocolate surely deserves to be memorialized forever. Since my mother is a major chocoholic, making a dessert for Mother’s Day that contains chocolate is usually a must. After browsing the internet for days, I stumbled on a picture of Strawberry Icebox Cake and knew immediately that it fit the bill. To top it all off, it’s a no bake, chilled dessert, which is perfect for us since we’re already feeling the hot weather that summer will bring. Not only that, it’s a really easy, but still very pretty dish. Best of all, my mother and grandmother loved this dessert and both have already asked me to make it again.

Ingredients
2 lbs fresh strawberries, washed
2 cups of heavy cream
1/4 c powdered sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3 sleeves of graham crackers
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate

1) Reserve three or four of the best looking strawberries for garnishing the cake. Cut the tops off the rest of the strawberries and slice them.

2) Using a mixer beat about 1 3/4 cups of heavy cream (set aside the rest) until it almost holds a stiff peak. Then, mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract until they’re well combined.

3) Spread a thin layer of whipped cream in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

4) Then, top that with a layer of graham crackers. I did two rows of three graham crackers and then broke off a little extra of another to fill in the side of the pan. Cover the graham crackers with another thin layer of whipped cream, and place a layer of sliced strawberries on top of that.

The first layer of graham crackers.

5) Repeat step 4 twice until you have three layers of graham crackers in all.

Just before starting the third layer. 

6) Chop the chocolate in to small pieces. Then, heat the reserved heavy cream (about 1/4 cup) until it just begins to bubble around the edges. In a small bowl, add the cream to the chopped chocolate and let it set for a couple of minutes. Then, stir the mixture together until the chocolate ganache becomes thicker and looks glossy.

7) Using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate over the dessert. Garnish with the reserved strawberries, and place the dessert in the refrigerator for at least four hours to allow the graham crackers to soften.

Enjoy!