The Christmas Treats Clock Is Ticking…

Christmas is right around the corner!! :mrgreen: I can’t even believe it!

Have you gotten all of your holiday baking done yet????

Well as you know, I’ve been on a pretty mean baking streak lately, so just in case you’re a “Last-Minute Mary” like I often tend to be, here are a few of my favorite cookies and baked treats (New AND Old!) that may come in handy…

I promise, they’re all winners!! 😀

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Oreo Truffles

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

Maple Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies

Dark Chocolate Turtle Graham Bars

Lemon Curd Filled Butter Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Butterscotch Cheesecake Cookies

Blueberry Banana Bread

Granola Blondies

Aaaaand, just in case you’re all set on the baking front, how about some Christmas morning breakfast ideas?

Want to know what I’ll be eating on Christmas morning????

It’ll be the same recipes that I’ve been making ever since I received them in my 7th grade Home & Careers class. 😉

Overnight French Toast

and Egg Strata

Is it obvious I’m just a little bit excited for Christmas??

Or maybe I’m just as excited for the eating part of Christmas? 😉

Question for the Day:

Do you have any special meal traditions on Christmas Day?

In addition to my special breakfast seen above, my family always sits down to a nice lasagna dinner on Christmas, complete with Mom’s homemade sauce, meatballs, and bread. Mmmmmm. 😛

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

As you know, this holiday season has consisted of two pretty major cookie baking marathons with mi madre. 🙂

During both of those baking days, I had very important cookies to bake for a very special Cookie Swap!

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And those cookies just so happen to be the ones that I’m finally about to share with you. 😉

As I found out earlier on Twitter, turns out these cookies ended up being quite a hit!

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I must say, I was really surprised on how soft they remained, even after freezing them for almost 2 weeks. And it’s all thanks to this pretty lady:

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Alas, as much as I would like to claim this recipe to be my own, it is the one and only Paula Deen who has once again struck gold with this fantastic recipe!

First, you’ll start out by mixing your butter and cream cheese. Yup, it’s a Paula Deen recipe, that’s for sure! 😉

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Next, add in your egg and vanilla.

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And beat until smooth.

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Next, comes this bad boy. 😉

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Beat the cake mix into the batter,

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which will then turn out looking like this:

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If you’re laughing right now, that is totally acceptable. My mom and I got a pretty good chuckle both times we made this dough; I mean, c’mon, really? Does it not look like…… 😯

Once you’ve gotten a handle on your laughing fit, go ahead and cover the dough and place it in the fridge for about 2 hours. Don’t worry, it will still look just as fun a couple hours later. 😉

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Now it’s time for the fun part!

Roll the chilled batter into balls and then roll them into in your confectioner’s sugar. *The original recipe says to roll into tablespoon sized balls – I did mine much smaller, just so I could get more “bang for my buck” – probably about 1/2 tablespoon.*

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Make sure those little buggers get nice and coated!

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Place ‘em all on an ungreased cookie sheet so they can start to work their magic. 😉

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After about 12 minutes, you’ve got some cookies!

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Ohhhhh, these are SO DARN GOOD. 😀 They have got to be some of the softest, gooiest cookies I’ve ever made. And when I tell you that they’re just as soft and gooey two weeks later as they were on the day you baked them…well, I promise you, I’m not kidding.

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And they actually kind of DO taste like chocolate donuts. I’m just sayin’… 😉

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Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

(Original recipe courtesy of Paula Deen)

(Makes 2-3 dozen, depending on size of cookies desired)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (18-ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and “gooey.” Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners’ sugar, if desired. ENJOY! 😛

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I’m REALLY curious to see how these cookies would come out with different kinds of cake mixes…

-Gooey Pumpkin Spice Butter Cookies??

-Gooey Funfetti Butter Cookies??

Ohhh the possibilities! What would YOU want to try? 😉

Who Wants Oreo Truffles??

Hubby and I have BIG plans tonight! 😯

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am

It’s gonna be a roarin’ good time, oh yes it is.

Tonight, we are ripping up the kitchen floor…

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Yes, can you tell just.how.excited.I.am??? (Hopefully my major sarcasm is translating easily to you all right now…) 🙄

So while I may not be excited about the labor ahead of me tonight, I definitely AM excited to be one step closer. We’re getting there!

Here’s the view of our new door we put in from last week.

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Looks a little different, wouldn’t you say?

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So, most of today’s eats weren’t all that exciting…

(Exhibit A – a whole wheat Arnold’s Sandwich Thin with PB & banana)

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(Exhibit B)

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In case you’re wondering, that’s a 1/2 of a container of V8 Golden Butternut Squash Soup + leftover roasted zucchini; I took the picture before I heated it up, hence the unappealing, chunkiness. I must say, I’m really a fan of this soup! I’ve had it before, and it’s quite good.

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I did say “most” were unexciting…not all. Enter, Exhibit C. 😉

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So since I don’t have much left to offer on the meals front, I figured it would only be fair to share a recipe tonight!

During my first Christmas Cookie Baking extravaganza this year, my mom and I were sure to whip up another family favorite:

Oreo Truffles

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These truffles taste so incredibly decadent, people hardly believe when I tell them that there’s only 3 ingredients! 😯 I don’t think I’ve ever brought these anywhere where they weren’t a hit!

Start by chopping up an entire package of Oreos. After dividing the Oreos, simply mix one part of them with a block of cream cheese.

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It will take a little while to get everything totally incorporated, but don’t sweat it. Think of it as a mini-workout…or as an excuse for that extra piece you just snagged out of the bowl. 😉

Roll your mixture into balls and allow to chill in fridge for about one hour.

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Once the balls are chilled, melt your chocolate and start dippin’!

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Right after the balls are dipped into the chocolate comes the fun part:

It’s time to roll them in MORE Oreos!

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And after giving them a little more time to chill and the chocolate to harden, you’ve got yourself a big ‘ol batch of decadent, delicious Oreo Truffles.

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While I’ve only ever tried using regular Oreos, I’d be rather interested to see someone try experimenting with the other flavors that are available…

Mint Oreo Truffles??

Strawberry Milkshake Oreos??

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Have fun with this one…they’re pretty stinkin’ amazing! 😀

Oreo Truffles

Ingredients:

  • 1- 8 oz. block cream cheese (I use 1/3 less fat)
  • 1 package Oreos, finely crushed
  • 2 pkg. (8 squares each) semi-sweet chocolate, melted**

Directions:

Crush 13 Oreo cookies from package and set aside.

Crush remaining Oreo cookies and mix with cream cheese until well blended.

Shape into approx. 48 (1-inch) balls. Chill for 1/2 – 1 hour.

Dip balls in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Roll in reserved cookie crumbs.

Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator. ENJOY! 🙂

**I melt my chocolate on the stovetop, using a double boiler. I find it works easiest this way and the chocolate remains easy to work with.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

My Mom and I came across this recipe for Mexican Wedding Cookies probably three years ago, and it has been a Christmas Cookie staple in our family ever since.

The ingredient list is simple, not to mention totally tasty, and the prep is fairly easy too. Unfortunately for us (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the boys in our family don’t find these as appealing as we do, so we end up enjoying a good amount of them ourselves. 😉

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They are light and flavorful, making the combination of shortbread + pecans a total winner.

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If you’re looking to add something a little different to your “cookie repertoire” this season, go ahead and give these a try!

Mexican Wedding Cookies

(original recipe found here from the Food Network)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for coating baked cookies
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting hands
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped into very small pieces
  • Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

    Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at low speed until smooth. Beat in the vanilla. At low speed gradually add the flour. Mix in the pecans with a spatula.

    With floured hands, take out about 1 tablespoon of dough and shape into a crescent or mini disk. Continue to dust hands with flour as you make more cookies. Place onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 40 minutes.

    When cool enough to handle but still warm, roll in additional confectioners’ sugar. Cool on wire racks.

    ENJOY! 😛

    My Nasoya Wrappy Hour Party + 3 Recipes!

    I think I may just have a new favorite food to play with! 😀

    Tonight, I headed on over to Mom & Dad’s house, goodies in tow, so I could host my Nasoya Wrappy Hour party. I was so grateful that they let me host over at their place, since…well…we all know what my place looks like. 😯

    So Mom & I got right to work on the goods while sporting our snazzy Wrappy Hour aprons. Nice, right?

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    Although I had about fifty different ideas for recipes to make tonight, I knew I had to take it easy since it was only the five of us to eat everything. Mom put together one of the recipes, while I tackled the other.

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    Who would have thought that won ton wrappers could be so fun…yet so easy, too?!? 🙂

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    Using Nasoya’s Won Ton wraps, I was able to create three delicious, crowd-pleasing recipes!

    Chicken Wonton Pockets (see recipe below)

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    Spinach Ravioli & Cheese Ravioli (see recipes below)

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    I started off by enjoying two spinach ravioli + 2 chicken wonton pockets. Both of them were so tasty that I had to go back for one more of each!

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    Even though it doesn’t look like a whole lot of food, it was actually quite filling and very satisfying. I could definitely foresee making any of these recipes again; but I’m also just as excited to try something new with these won ton wrappers too. 😯

    Now I’m headed in to relax on the couch with my favorite boys…and I may have to break out a Christmas Cookie from my stash. 😉

    Hope you all have a great night! I’ll leave you with my recipes from tonight’s festivities.

    Spinach Ravioli

    (recipe from Nasoya)

    Ingredients:

    • 1 pkg Nasoya Won Ton Wraps
    • 10 oz fresh spinach
    • 2- 15 oz containers ricotta cheese
    • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

    Preparation Method: Cook spinach with 2 tbsp of water in the microwave or on the stovetop for 5 minutes or until just wilted. Let cool and drain excess water. Place tofu in food processor and pulse until it is pureed. Add the ricotta cheese, pulse until combined, then add spinach and grated cheese and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.

    Line baking sheet with parchment paper, or spray sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Take a wrap and place approximately 2 tbsp of mixture in the center if each wrap. Do not place filling near the edge. Use a pastry brush dipped in water and brush edges of wrap. Place a second wrap on top, then crimp edges together tightly with your fingers or the tines of a fork. Brush ravioli lightly with olive oil.

    Bake in 375° F oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve ravioli with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping.

     

    Cheese Ravioli

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup ricotta cheese
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tbsp. grated Romano cheese
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • 1 tbsp. parsley

    Mix all ingredients until combined.

    Line baking sheet with parchment paper, or spray sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Take a wrap and place approximately 2 tbsp of mixture in the center if each wrap. Do not place filling near the edge. Use a pastry brush dipped in water and brush edges of wrap. Place a second wrap on top, then crimp edges together tightly with your fingers or the tines of a fork. Brush ravioli lightly with olive oil.

    Bake in 375° F oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve ravioli with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping.

     

    Chicken Wonton Pockets

    Ingredients:

    • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
    • 6 tbsp butter, softened (divided)
    • 2 tbsp green onion, minced
    • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
    • 1 large + 1 small can chunk chicken, drained
    • 1 pkg Nasoya Won Ton Wraps
    • 2/3 cup breadcrumbs

    Directions:

    Beat together cream cheese, 2 tbsp butter, green onion, and lemon pepper. Fold in chicken.

    Place a rounded teaspoon in center of each wonton wrapper. Fold sides of wonton wrapper toward center. Moisten edges with water and roll up tightly.

    When filled, brush wrappers with 4 tbsp melted butter (I only used about half of this) and roll in breadcrumbs.

    Place on baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake in 425° F oven for 10 minutes. Turn and bake 5-10 additional minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve with duck sauce or marinara sauce.

    Maple Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies

    There’s only 17 baking days left until Christmas

    How are YOU doing on your list?? 😉

    Ohh, what’s that you say? You need a little inspiration on what to bake next?

    No problem-o! You’ve come to the right place.

    Last week while baking up a storm with Mom, I came across a recipe for gingerbread cookies that had my name written alllll over it. Believe it or not, I had never up to this point attempted to make a gingerbread cookie; however, including the addition of these ingredients was enough to make me want to tackle the challenge:

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    Pumpkin, you say?? YES PLEASE! So let’s stop wasting time and get to the good stuff…

    Begin by creaming together your butter and brown sugar until nice and fluffy.

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    Add your egg and admire the pretty “flower” that has possibly formed in the bottom of your bowl. 😉

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    Next, it’s time to start adding the star ingredients!

    Thick, gooey molasses…

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    Sweet, succulent syrup (if you have the real stuff, USE IT…if not, just go with what you have on hand)

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    And of course, my beloved pumpkin.

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    Blend everything so it’s well combined. Fantastic…you’re halfway there!

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    Next, it’s time to get together all your dry ingredients…

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    …and get ‘em all acquainted.

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    Now add your dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix until just combined.

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    Be careful not to over mix! 😯

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    Now you need to go ahead and divide your dough into two discs. The dough will still feel slightly sticky…that’s ok.

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    Wrap the discs up in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight if you have the time).

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    Once the dough is chilled, take out one disc and roll out onto a well-floured surface, to about 1/4-inch thickness.

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    Then start cutting away! 🙂

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    Place your cut-out cookies onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-17 minutes at 350 degrees.

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    And before you know it, you’ll have yourself some wonderful looking (and smelling!) cookies!

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    But you’re not done yet…

    Once the cookies have cooled completely, it’s time to make the maple icing. 😛

    Mix together your cream cheese and powdered sugar,

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    along with some delicious maple syrup!

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    Mmmmm. 😛

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    Now it’s time to start frosting!

    *Note: I started by using this mini plastic knife and frosted around the edges that way. But about halfway through, I realized that if you gently dip the cookie upside-down into the icing, it will work out just as well and a whole lot faster! You’ll just need to smooth it out with the knife a bit.

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    Nice and festive! 🙂

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    Be careful when storing these cookies; even after they’re frozen, the icing is still too sticky to be able to stack the cookies.

    So in that case, just put together a nice, pretty tray and bring them to share with your co-workers. 😉

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    They’ll be happy you did!

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    Maple-Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies

    (makes 3 dozen 3-inch cookies)

    Ingredients:

    • 1/4 cup butter, softened
    • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tbsp molasses
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 1/2 cup solid-pack pumpkin
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp cloves
    • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

    Maple Icing

    • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
    • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
    • milk as needed

    Directions:

    1. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Add egg; mix well. Add molasses, syrup, pumpkin, and water; blend well.
    2. Sift together flour, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper. Add to pumpkin mixture all at once. Mix on low speed until just combined. Divide dough into two discs. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
    3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
    4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out 3-inch cookies, using desired cookie cutter. Place on baking sheets, 1-inch apart. Repeat with second disc of dough. Re-roll dough scraps once.
    5. Bake 15-17 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool cookies on pans 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack; cool completely.
    6. Meanwhile, prepare Maple Icing. Place cream cheese in food processor bowl; process until smooth. Add sugar and syrup; process until mixed well. Add enough milk to reach spreadable consistency. Decorate cookies with icing as desired. Store covered in refrigerator.

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    ENJOY! 😀

    Dark Chocolate Turtle Graham Bars

    Iiiit’s Monday…are you psyched??? 🙄

    Well, perhaps sending a nice Monday morning recipe your way will put a little “pep in your step?” I’m pretty sure it will, but don’t say I didn’t warn you…

    This recipe is INCREDIBLY DECADENT and outrageously delicious. 😯

    Yesterday afternoon, I came across an email from the 12 Days of Cookies that had me totally intrigued. After reading the ingredient list + preparations, I decided it was easy enough, yet worth any effort to attempt to make, so I put together my ingredients and got to work.

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    Yes, that’s two sticks of butter…Hey, I warned you. We’re not counting calories here today folks. 😉

    Start off by lining a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (or a silicone mat, if you have one…I don’t). Arrange the graham crackers in a single layer on the baking sheet. Luckily, my 15×10 jelly roll pan fit ‘em all perfectly!

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    Next, combine your butter, brown sugar, chopped pecans, and a pinch of salt in a medium sauce pan.

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    Bring the mixture to a boil…

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    And continue to boil for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. You’ll notice the mixture will start to thicken up and bubble nicely.

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    Pour the butter mixture evenly over the graham crackers…

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    But be prepared to start unconsciously licking your lips. It will happen. 😛

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    Bake for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

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    While the graham cracker + butter mixture is cooking, start to prepare your chocolate.

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    Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl placed over a simmering pot of water (if you’re smart, you’ll simply rinse out the same pot you used for your butter mixture and just fill it with a little water…less dishes to wash!) 😉

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    At this point, it is absolutely, positively acceptable to snag a couple chips. Hey, you’ve been working hard. 🙂

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    Now it’s time to be patient. Give ‘em a few good stirs, and go ahead and “accidentally” let your finger slip and hit the chocolate coated rim of the bowl.

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    It will take a good 10-12 minutes for the chips to start melting, but I promise…eventually you’ll end up with a smooth, creamy chocolate.

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    By now, it’ll probably be about time to take your graham cracker + butter mixture out of the oven.

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    It’s ok to stare in amazement, then continue on.

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    Pour your melted chocolate over the toffee-covered graham crackers and spread evenly.

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    I also sprinkled my dark chocolate layer with a little sea salt. If you have some on hand, go for it. 🙂

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    Chill completely in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Cut into bars (they won’t break perfectly) snag one (or three) for yourself, then immediately put the rest in the freezer.

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    Or share them with friends.

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    Otherwise, you’ll be making a new batch quicker than you can say “flippin’ fantabulous!” 😀

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    Dark Chocolate Turtle Graham Bars

    (recipe from Food Network’s Day 6 of “12 Days of Cookies”)

    Ingredients:

    • Approximately 12-14 graham crackers (if each graham cracker is 5″ x 2.5″)
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 cup chopped pecans
    • Kosher salt, to taste
    • 12 oz. bag dark chocolate chips

    Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat. Arrange the graham crackers in a single layer on the lined baking sheet.

    Put the butter, brown sugar, pecans, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour the butter mixture evenly over the graham crackers and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.

    Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a glass bowl placed over simmering water. Pour the chocolate over the toffee-covered graham crackers and spread evenly. Chill completely in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Cut into bars.

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    ENJOY! 😛