Saturday, December 17, 2011

easy party treats

something for everyone

People always want different kinds of tastes - sweet like chocolate, caramel/candy, salty, and everyone loves rice crispy squares!  These party snacks are super easy and just take the original recipes to a new level.

mars bar rice crispy squares
I always save my baby spinach plastic containers...
so useful for storing things like this or transporting to another party!

what you need:
  • rice crispies
  • 2 mars bars, chopped into small cubes
  • marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
what to do:
  1. In a large pot, melt butter and then add marshmallows (about 250 g), stir and when the marshmallows are almost melted, add the vanilla and one mars bar.  
  2. Turn off heat and once mars bar is melted, add 6 cups of rice crispies.  Stir to coat with marshmallows, then add the remaining mars bar cubes.  These won't melt as much and will be a delicious chocolately/caramel surprise bite!

swirly cheesecake brownies
what you need:
  • your favourite brownie recipe ingredients
  • 1 package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
what to do:
  1. Beat cream cheese with sugar until fluffy and smooth, then beat in the egg and vanilla extract.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Prepare your brownie batter.
  3. You can make the brownies in a large square pan or make mini-brownie bites as I did this time.  The second is more labour intensive.  Basically for both, you pour the brownie batter first into a well buttered pan, then pour the cheesecake mixture on top and swirl with a butter knife to get the marble effect.  When you make them into small individual brownies, you have to make sure you butter the mini-muffin tin really well and use a smaller tool (e.g. chopstick or toothpick) to swirl the brownie batter up into the cream cheese to get the marbling.                  
  4. For the large square, bake for about 40 minutes and check with a toothpick.  It depends on how gooey you like your brownies, but usually a little sticky residual batter on the toothpick means it`s ready.  If it`s clean it`s a more cakey texture...and if its super wet then its not done yet.
  5. For the mini-brownies, bake for 8 minutes then check with a toothpick.  It will probably take about 8-12 minutes, but keep checking because they are so small they will over bake quickly.
  6. Be sure to gingerly remove the mini-brownies after a minute from the pan to a cooling rack - you don`t want them to continue cooking in the pan.  Enjoy!

caramel dip

what you need:
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 whipping cream
  • 1 pinch of salt
what to do:
  1. In a small saucepan, add water and pour the sugar right in the middle.  Do not stir.  Place it on medium-high heat, and add the corn syrup.  Allow the mixture to bubble away, you can swirl the pan by holding the handle and gently swirling, but do not stir with a spoon or it will crystallize.
  2. Once the mixture becomes a dark golden brown, remove from heat and whisk in the cream.  Be careful as it will steam and bubble a little.  Add the salt.  The caramel will thicken once cooled.  Enjoy with any sliced fruit!
homemade bits and bites
I was inspired to make these after having some at my friend Hill`s.  So easy but such a crowd pleaser.

what you need:
  • 1 cup peanuts, unsalted
  • 1 cup pretzel sticks
  • 1 cup toasted O`s
  • 1 cup shreddies
  • you can add anything else you like...some people add the cereal corn bran, cheese nips, different nuts...
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp each of onion powder, garlic powder
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • a few dashes tobasco *optional
what to do:
  1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
  2. Melt butter in microwave and then mix in the spices.
  3. Combine peanuts, pretzels and cereals in a large bowl pour the butter and spice mix all over.  Toss a few times to coat the mixture as evenly as possible.  Transfer to a large baking dish or cookie sheet and place in the middle rack of the oven.  Bake for about 35-45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes or so.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.  Enjoy!  It can also be stored in an airtight container for several days.

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