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Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #51 and Chocolate Turtle Cookies

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I’ve always loved turtles–that is, the four-legged kind with the built-in shelter like a mobile home. I especially like the small turtles you occasionally see in your backyard or garden, the painted and box turtles that once were so common but less so now, the ones that would hide in their shells till the dog stopped barking and moved on to something more interesting (and mobile), freeing the turtle to quietly (and slowly) plod off into the weeds.

Where have those turtles gone?

Well, in honor of those garden turtles and in recognition of (and hope for) the approach of warm spring days and the accompanying greenery of grass and leaves, we’ve named this week’s recipe Chocolate Turtle Cookies. They look like little dark-shelled turtles with their legs and head withdrawn into the shell. But don’t worry. There’s no turtle inside, just peanut butter and a vanilla wafer: good stuff.

These cookies actually mimic a certain type of popular girl-scout cookie with a trademarked name we won’t use here. But I think Chocolate Turtle Cookie is a better name than that other anyway. You see, I always liked turtles and miss seeing them in my yard. This recipe is for them, and in hopes of their return–this spring and all springs.

copy cat tagalongs

Chocolate Turtle Cookies

9 vanilla wafers

3 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter

4 ounces milk chocolate chips*

1-2 Tablespoons milk

Lay vanilla wafers on a plate lined with parchment paper. Top each with a teaspoon of peanut butter. Place the cookies in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Put the chocolate and 1 tablespoon of milk in a small sauce pan and melt over low heat, stirring constantly. If the melted chocolate seems too thick, add 1 more tablespoon of milk. Once the chocolate is completely melted, turn the heat off. Place one cookie on top of a fork. Spoon melted chocolate on top to completely cover the peanut butter and cookie. Gently shake excess chocolate off. Place chocolate covered wafer back on a plate lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining vanilla wafers.

Place cookies back in the freezer. Allow the chocolate to set on all of the cookies. Place hardened cookies in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

Makes 9 cookies.

*If you can find milk chocolate candy coating, that will result in a shinier, harder outer coating. My local store did not have this product, so I used milk chocolate chips, as indicated in the recipe. If you can find candy coating, use 4 ounces and follow instructions on package for melting and dipping.

homemade tagalongs

{Adapted from Back For Seconds}

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #51, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #51, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #47 and Snickerdoodle Truffles

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Ever wish you could capture all the delicious flavors of one of your favorite desserts in a single intense bite? How about all the nuances of banana pudding in one pop-in-your-mouth bite? That would be nice but near impossible with all the textures and subtle flavors of banana pudding. The same could be said for such traditional favorites as key lime pie or tiramisu or red velvet cake or lots of other possibilities you might think of.

But what about capturing the flavors of a snickerdoodle cookie in one bite? Seems possible, doesn’t it?

Well, we’re here to tell you that not only is it possible, we’ve done it with these Snickerdoodle Truffles. No baking required. Just mix, chill, roll into bite-size truffles, and eat. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

And you’ll have all the flavor of a snickerdoodle cookie in one yummy bite. Not quite the same as Caribbean vacation in a glass or a spa day in a jar; but we’re just a sweets and stories site, not miracle workers. Just pop one of these Snickerdoodle Truffles in your mouth and close your eyes and dream about that Caribbean vacation. That’ll have to do for now.

snickerdoodle truffles

Snickerdoodle Truffles

2 cups vanilla wafers (roughly 40 cookies)

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

pinch of salt

2-4 Tablespoons milk or cream

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

Add the vanilla wafer cookies to a food processor. Pulse the cookies until they become fine crumbs. Add the white chocolate chips, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk to the food processor. Blend the ingredients until the mixture comes together. If the mixture still seems too dry, add another tablespoon or two of milk. Scrape sides of food processor and blend ingredients together until completely smooth. This will take about 4-5 minutes. It will be the consistency of natural peanut butter when it is done. Pour the mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in your freezer for 20 minutes, or until firm.

Once the mixture is firm, roll the dough into 1-inch balls. The dough will be sticky. You should get about 12 truffles. Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Roll each truffle in the cinnamon sugar. Place truffles in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Serve the truffles chilled.

Makes 12 truffles.

snickerdoodle truffle candies

{Adapted from The Smart Cookie Cook}

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #47, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #47, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #42 and Chocolate Dipped Rum Balls

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Somebody’s got a sweet tooth.

But then, that should hardly be a surprise. This is after all a website dedicated to making small-batch desserts to be nibbled while reading or listening to a story. Sweet is our middle name! (Truth be told, when developing this blog we considered naming it “Sweets and Stories” but opted for Reading and Recipes.)

But even for us, the back-to-back candy recipes is a little extreme. Chalk it up to holiday fun and wishing to make something with good wow factor without wanting to heat up the oven or worry about lots of ingredients or prep time (there’s more than enough other stuff to fill our time, right?).

Plus these Chocolate-dipped Rum Balls fit right into tonight’s New Year’s Eve theme, with a touch of rum and the perfect size for a bowl set out on the coffee table or sideboard for company.

Or keep them all for yourself–one (or two) tonight, one tomorrow, one the next day, and so on. By the time you get to the end of the batch, you’ll be so far into the new year you’ll have forgotten this old one and fully embraced 2016 (or at least be writing the correct year on your checks and correspondence–the little burst of sugar and booze will help you on your way!).


rum balls

Chocolate Dipped Rum Balls

1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons bourbon

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

heaping 3/4 cup powdered sugar

4 ounces chocolate candy coating*

Mix nuts and bourbon and allow them to soak for 6 hours, or overnight.

Once the nuts have absorbed all of the bourbon, you are ready to make the rum balls. In a small mixing bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Mix in the bourbon soaked nuts until all ingredients are well incorporated. Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Place the balls onto a plate or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate candy coating according to package directions. Place one rum ball on a fork and dip into candy coating. Place rum ball back onto parchment paper. Repeat with remaining rum balls.

Allow the candy coating to harden before putting the rum balls into an airtight container. Store rum balls in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Makes 8-10 rum balls.

*Candy coating is preferred because it hardens quickly and leaves a shiny coat. If you cannot find candy coating, you can use semisweet chocolate chips and mix in a small amount of shortening. Melt over low heat and stir ingredients together.

chocolate rum balls

{Family recipe}

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #42, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #42, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #41 and Easy Chocolate Fudge

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Ahh, it’s finally Christmas–Christmas Eve, anyway (or Christmas Day maybe, if you’re bored after all the presents have been opened and you’re checking your e-mail from the last few days for something to occupy your time). Either way, probably the last thing you want to think about now is more sweets, whether preparing them or eating them. I mean, those tins of Christmas cookies (all five hundred of them!) will get finished up around the Fourth of July, right?

But–there is life after Christmas.

You will want to cook again. And you will want to indulge yourself with a little treat one night soon when you don’t have anything to do and just feel like curling up with something to read and a freshly made sweet. Who knows–such an occasion may come along sooner than you think. Like tomorrow night, after all the family has gone home; or sometime next week, when you’ve taken time off but have a break between activities.

Whenever such an occasion comes along, Reading and Recipes will be there with this Easy Chocolate Fudge recipe. It provides about the easiest and quickest gratification of any candy recipe you can find–just mix the ingredients together, cool it down, and eat! Doesn’t get much easier than that.

You will want a sweet treat again, guaranteed. Bookmark this page to have it ready when you do.

Merry Christmas!!!!

three ingredient fudge

Easy Chocolate Fudge

1/2 can sweetened condensed milk*

6 ounces (about 1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract**

Line a 5×7 pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Add the condensed milk and chocolate chips to a saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, or until the chocolate is melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour mixture into prepared pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set. Remove the fudge from the pan and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes 8-12 squares.

*Use the other half of the can to make this.

**Feel free to use peppermint extract, hazelnut liqueur, orange extract, or any other flavoring agent in lieu of vanilla. Adjust amount based on potency of extract you use. Start with 1/2 teaspoon; taste and gradually add more until it is to your liking.

chocolate fudge

{Adapted from Chocolate, Chocolate, and More}

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #41, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #41, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #37 and Peanut Butter White Chocolate Bark

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One good thing about posting each week on Thursday (aside from giving our readers a chance to pick up the ingredients on the way home from work the next day for a Friday night or weekend treat!) is that each year we get to make a post on Thanksgiving!

Now sometimes this linkage does produce logistical problems–like trying to prepare the recipe and take the pics while packing the suitcases and loading the dog in the car and heading out the door, or figuring out how to get Internet service to publish the post while weaving through mountain roads with no cell tower or wi-fi connection to be had anywhere. But we’ve figured out these glitches and will work out any new ones that arise.

And for our Third Annual Thanksgiving Day Post, we’ve come up with an over-the-moon doozy (thanks, Sally!): Peanut Butter White Chocolate Bark! This stuff is really out of this world–colorful (in perfect autumnal colors, though you could change the candies on top to red and green for our next big holiday!), easy and quick to make, and absolutely irresistibly delicious.

You may not get the recipe in time to make some for your Thanksgiving table, but save a little room in the tummy for a taste of this treat over the long holiday weekend. You’ll be glad you did, and glad R&R publishes its posts on Thursdays each year, one more Thanksgiving Day treat.

Now off to get the turkey in the oven.

pb white chocolate candy

Peanut Butter White Chocolate Bark

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 

pinch of salt

8 ounces white chocolate chips

2 teaspoons margarine

1-2 teaspoons milk

1/2 cup peanut butter candies, peanut butter chips, and/or milk chocolate chips

Line a 8×8 square pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

To a mixing bowl, add the peanut butter, powdered sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and salt. Mix these ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Add the white chocolate chips, margarine, and 1 teaspoon of milk to a sauce pan. Heat on low, stirring constantly, until the white chocolate is melted and smooth. If the white chocolate still seems thick, add one more teaspoon of milk until it becomes smooth and easy to spread.

Pour half of the melted white chocolate into the parchment paper lined pan. Spread to cover the parchment paper. Spoon the peanut butter mixture onto white chocolate layer, and spread evenly with your fingers to cover the white chocolate. Top the peanut butter layer with remainder white chocolate, spreading to cover peanut butter. Sprinkle peanut butter candies on top.

Place the bark in the freezer for 20 minutes or until set. Remove and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

pb white chocolate bark

{Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction}

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #37, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #37, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #23 and S’mores Bark

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Used to be that bark was the sound your dog made or what you found on the outer surface of a tree trunk.

But now the term has made its way into the kitchen (and my mouth) in all sorts of delightful and decadent combinations. These easy to make candies are especially popular at Christmas time as gifts and dessert-buffet treats.

And now R&R has a summertime bark candy for you. The traditional s’mores prepared around the campfire have been a summertime staple back about as long as there were campfires and kids to sit around them. I’m guessing the marshmallow roasted on a pointy stick was a way for adults to let kids play with fire without burning down the forest.

With this S’mores Bark you can have that traditional campfire treat without the pointy stick or the charred marshmallow or the risk of burning down the woods. These s’mores are in an easy to prepare, easy to store, easy to carry packet. Just make up a sheet, bust it into small pieces, and divide into single serving baggies, then share them with your grateful friends.

Or keep them all to yourself. It makes for a decadent nibble while listening to Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #23, or any of the other audio stories on this website.

smore bark S’mores Bark

2 cups chocolate chips*

2 cups mini marshmallows

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 full graham cracker sheets, broken into small pieces

smores bark

Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.

Place 1 cup of your chocolate chips into a sauce pan and melt over low heat. Pour melted chocolate onto your Silpat mat and spread with a knife, ensuring the layer does not get too thin. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for an hour.

After an hour, remove the chocolate layer from the refrigerator. In a separate sauce pan, add your mini marshmallows, butter, and salt. Heat over low heat until fully melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in vanilla extract. Working quickly, spread the melted marshmallows over top of the chocolate layer. Press graham cracker pieces into marshmallow layer. Refrigerate bark for another 30 minutes.

Lastly, melt remaining cup of chocolate chips over low heat. Spread chocolate over top of graham crackers. Place the bark in your freezer for an hour or until completely hardened.

Break the bark into pieces and serve. Place any remaining bark in a Ziploc bag and store in your refrigerator.

Makes about 10 medium pieces of bark.

*I used a mixture of milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips, but feel free to use just milk chocolate.

smores candy

{Adapted from Wine and Glue}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #23 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #23, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #23, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #14 and No-bake S’more Bars

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Talk about the power of suggestion!

Last week with our Brownie Batter Dip, we suggested maybe you pack some graham crackers and marshmallows to go along with the dip and make yourself a quickie S’mores snack out by the pool.

Now this week we’re going straight to the source and making the real deal–No-bake S’more Bars: as in mix it all together, chill for a little while, then have yourself about the most fun snack in the world!

But this snack has to be eaten in the summer. So call it our jump-into-summer-with-a-bang dessert, to kick the season off. You can eat them on the deck and pretend you’re sitting around the campfire, or eat them around the campfire and avoid that disgusting charred marshmallow taste–yuck!

Or just say the heck with all those pretend settings and eat the whole pan while sitting on the couch in the air conditioning listening to Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #14. Now that’s a way to kick off the summer season!

no bake smores bars No-Bake S’more Bars

4 cups mini marshmallows, divided

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

pinch of salt

6 ounces (a scant 1 cup) milk chocolate chips, divided

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup Honey Teddy Grahams*, broken into small pieces

no bake smores

Line a 5×7 inch pan with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat 3 cups of the mini marshmallows, unsalted butter, and salt over medium heat. Stir frequently until all of the ingredients are melted and smooth. This will take about 2-3 minutes. Add half of the milk chocolate chips and stir until melted and incorporated with other ingredients. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in vanilla.

Quickly add the remaining marshmallows, chocolate chips, and Teddy Grahams and fold into the mixture until evenly distributed. Spoon mixture into prepared pan and spread evenly. Cover and refrigerate until firm, or about 2 hours. When ready to eat, cut into squares with a serrated knife.

Makes 6-8 bars.

*You can also use whole graham crackers broken into small pieces.

no bake smores

{Adapted from Nestle}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #14 of “Two Sisters Times Two”.

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #14, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #14, text © Jeffrey Anderson