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Chocolate temptations

February 5, 2014
By Pat Jensen , Marshall Independent

The store shelves are filled with all kinds of sweet treats to satisfy any sweet tooth. Many packages feature brightly-colored wrappers adorned with red hearts - a reminder that Valentine's Day will soon be here.

Chocolate is considered to be one of the holiday's most popular gifts. Both imported and domestic brands of chocolates are readily available in a wide range of flavors, aromas and textures.

When it comes to candy, I'm very easy to please. Just give me a box of creamy chocolates that contain a hint of caramel and some pecans or almonds ... better make it a small box. I don't always practice self-control.

Pretzels provide a little crunch

MOCK TURTLES

25 caramels, unwrapped

2 tsp. water

1 cup Hershey's Special Dark Chips

2 squares white almond bark

Approx. 24 pretzels (tiny twists)

Approx. 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Lightly spray small saucepan with cooking spray. Add caramels and water. Melt over low heat.

In microwave or saucepan (low heat), melt chips and almond bark.

Dip pretzels into melted caramel and allow excess to drip off. Drop coated pretzel into bowl containing chopped pecans. Turn pretzel over to coat both sides. Arrange 1 inch apart on waxed paper. (I spray waxed paper with cooking spray and then remove excess so just a light film remains - prevents pretzels from sticking). Drizzle melted chocolate over each piece. Cool. Enjoy. Yield: about 2 dozen.

Note: I use a tiny pickle fork when dipping pretzels; works great.

Bet you can't eat just one

NUT CLUSTERS

1 pt. marshmallow creme

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 can sweetened condensed milk

30 caramels, quartered

1 can (15-16 oz.) mixed nuts

In a heavy saucepan over low heat, combine marshmallow creme, chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk. Stir often. When melted and well blended, stir in caramel pieces and mixed nuts. Drop on waxed paper, forming small clusters.

Note: I added the marshmallow creme after the chocolate chips were partially melted.

Quick to make

CAN'T LEAVE ALONE BARS

1 pkg. (18.25 oz) white cake mix

2 eggs

1/3 cup veg. oil

Combine; mixing well. With floured hands, press 2/3 into greased 9x13 pan. Set aside.

Combine the following:

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter or margarine, cubed

Heat in microwave, uncovered, for 45 seconds. Stir. Cook 45 to 60 seconds longer or until melted. Stir until smooth. Pour over cake mixture in pan. With a teaspoon, drop remaining 1/3 of cake mixture over top. Bake at 350, 20 to 25 min. Cool before cutting.

Another tasty meat loaf

SMALL MEAT LOAF

1-lb. lean ground beef

1/2 cup saltine cracker crumbs

1/4 cup diced onion

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup milk

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

20 olives with pimiento, chopped

Combine all ingredients. Bake in a small greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

BAKED POTATOES WITH ONIONS

Peel baking potatoes; cut in half lengthwise. Coat potatoes with soft butter or margarine. Place each split potato on piece of foil which has been sprayed with no-stick spray. Cut onion slices to place between the halves. Wrap potato in foil, sealing well. Place in a shallow pan and bake at 350, for 1 hour.

Note: No need to turn potatoes while baking.

Food for thought: There is nothing more strenuous than having to push the thought of chocolate to the back of the mind.

 
 

 

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