December 30, 2012

Homemade Gummies & The Year in Review

2012 is almost at it's close. I can't say that I'm going to miss it. It's been a rough year for me, for my family, for my neighbors, and for the world, I think. There were a lot of tragedies this year, too many to think on. And no series 3 of Sherlock. Exactly how much to you expect me to endure, Steven Moffat? There are only so many Reichenbach theories I can handle.

But the world didn't end, proving that the Mayans just got tired of making their calendar (although we did have some epic storming on Dec. 21st, proving that Mother Nature is the ultimate troll), so here's to hoping that 2013 is a much better year. And I do not want to hear anything about 13 being an unlucky number. Because it's not. It's a baker's dozen. Which is 1+ a dozen. Which is like getting one extra. Which is awesome.
I made a collage. Because collages are cool
Here are your top 10 favorite posts from my first full year of blogging:

  1. Green Tubular Peyote Bracelet
  2. White Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
  3. Dark Chocolate Dreams Cupcakes
  4. Mush Pie (Cookies & Cream Mousse Pie)
  5. Peanut Butter Chiffon Pie
  6. S'mores Icebox Cake
  7. Cookie Dough Truffles
  8. Vampire Fang Cupcakes
  9. Pumpkin Pie Icebox Cake
  10. Cherry Limeade and Lemon Lime Ice Pops
The most pinned on Pinterest was Cookie Dough Truffles.

You guys with your mad Google skills never failed to keep me entertained with your search terms. Here are some of my favorites:
  • "Why does the Doctor love bananas?" Because of my banana strawberry milkshake muffins, apparently
  • "What is a Whedonite?" Thaaaaaaat's me!
  • "Cheesy jokes" This searcher and I should be friends
  • "Homemade gifts for Whovians" Cookie Bouquets?
  • "Can a grandma wear steampunk?" Yes. Obviously.
  • "Banana Muffin Terrorist" I will now refer to myself as such. Because I terrorize with wholesome breakfast foods.
2012 was not a great year, but having this blog and the wonderful foodie community to turn to made it a little bit easier to bear. Here's hoping for lots more food and friends in the new year.
But you don't care about that. You're here for my super awesome, semi-geeky, homemade gummies. I had actually meant to post these before Christmas, but I ended up being way too busy. Still, they were too cool not to share. And so super easy. Three ingredients, and they take about 10-20 minutes hands-on cooking time. Then 8 hours to chill and set. Then 24 hours to crystallize. But it's not like you have to do anything while they chill, set, and crystallize. Unless you're like me and check on them obsessively. But I have a neurosis, so don't follow my example there.

And yes, those are R2-D2 and Batman gummies you see there. Because I have the silicone ice-cube molds from ThinkGeek, and they ended up working great as candy molds. I also made a bunch of Christmas trees for presents, cut some into squares, and cut some into strips to make gummy worms. Because I could.
But Batman came out the best. Because Batman is awesome. Just make sure to spray your molds with non-stick cooking spray, and the gummies pop out easy-peasy. And you can make them any flavors you want, so long as you have the extracts. And with all the recipes for homemade extracts out there, the sky is really the limit.

Homemade Gummies {Printable Version}
Yield: About 3 dozen gummies

3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1¼ cups cold water, divided
2 cups sugar
Food coloring
Flavored extract (such as lemon, peppermint, raspberry, etc.)
Approx. 1/3 cup additional sugar

Lightly spray your candy molds* with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over ½
cup of cold water and allow to soften. Add the remaining water and sugar to a small saucepan and heat
on high until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and the
mixture is thickened slightly. Whisk the sugar syrup into the softened gelatin and continue to stir until
the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Divide evenly into 4 (or more) small bowls. Tint each bowl with 4-5 drops food coloring, and ¾ -1 tsp.
extract, and stir until well mixed. Carefully spoon into the prepared molds and refrigerate about 8 hours,
or until set.

Carefully remove the gummies from the molds and toss in the additional sugar. Place on waxed paper
and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours to crystallize. Store tightly covered at room

*Silicone ice cube molds work well. Or use mini loaf pans and cut the gummies into even squares.

Recipe found via
If you eat a Batman gummy on midnight on New Year's Eve, the new year will be awesome. Truth.

December 19, 2012

Skinny Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa with Sweet'N Low® Brand

I have to tell you guys something that you may find shocking:

I have a massive sweet tooth.

I know, I know, I hide it well. But I know I'm not alone in this, because if you're reading my blog, I'm guessing you have a massive sweet tooth as well. So right now I'm offering you the chance to indulge that sweet tooth totally guilt free.
I recently received some free samples of Sweet'N Low® Brand Sweetener. Like most of us, I've seen those bright pink packets on nearly every restaurant table and in nearly every coffee shop I've ever been in.

Sweet'N Low is made up of saccharin (sweetener) and dextrose (a carbohydrate derived from corn). Like the rest of you, I've heard the rumors that saccharin is not safe, so I did my research. Recent studies have shown no clear evidence that saccharin causes health concerns in humans and is no longer listed as a possible carcinogen ( So yes, saccharin is perfectly safe for human consumption.

Sweet'N Low, like most artificial sweeteners, is much sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a long way. I use it to sweeten my tea, and rarely do I have to use an entire packet. It dissolves quickly and easily which makes it perfect for making drinks.
'Tis the season for sweets and hot, wholesome drinks that warm you from your belly to your toes. This cocoa is no exception. Smooth and chocolatey, flavored with caramel, a hint of coffee, and a touch of sea salt for decadence. It satisfies almost all your sweet tooth cravings, and is almost completely guilt free. That's right, I said it. Guilt free salted caramel hot cocoa. Skim milk, sugar free caramel syrup, and Sweet'N Low. I will now accept your thanks. Preferably in monetary form.
Of course, the marshmallows aren't guilt free, but that just means you can afford to add extra. And some decorating sugar on top. And maybe some whipped cream...

Skinny Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa {Printable Version}

Yield: 1 serving

1 cup nonfat (skim) milk
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sugar-free caramel flavoring syrup
1 tsp. instant coffee granules
1 packet Sweet’N Low® Brand Sweetener
½ tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
Pinch sea salt

In a small saucepan over low heat, heat milk to boiling, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and
whisk in all remaining ingredients, except the salt, until smooth. Transfer to a mug and stir in the salt.
Top with marshmallows or whipped topping, if desired, and serve hot.

Recipe by Kim
*Disclaimer: I received free samples of Sweet'N Low® Brand Sweetener as part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker program. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

December 14, 2012

Chocolate Peppermint Icebox Cake

Urgh, you guys. I should know better by now. Me and planning, we will never get along. Ever. We will be mortal enemies. One day there will be an epic battle, and only one of us will survive. With light sabers.

Can you tell I had a bout of insomnia last night?

I think planning is gunning for me. Loading the deck. Everyone tells me, try it out, it'll make things easier on you, you won't have to do everything last minute. But then I try. And it's not easier. It's never easier. It just screws me up and ends up taking more time, and now I'm frustrated because it didn't work and I hate myself and I just make another icebox cake. Because icebox cakes are cool. And next to impossible to screw up. I know. I've tried.
This isn't exactly the prettiest icebox cake I've ever made. And it's a bit...tilty. You see, I screwed up making the ganache, and I tried (read: planned) to do something funky with the graham crackers and it didn't work. No more planning for this girl, nuh-uh. So I came out with a cake that's a bit wonky because I had to manhandle it out of one container into another, and I didn't have enough whipped cream, because I screwed up the ganache. So it's not quite right, doesn't have that half-melted ice cream cake texture.

And while I was making it, I realized I totally screwed up when giving you the recipe for red velvet graham crackers. I never put down the cocoa powder. D'oh. So I fixed that up and tweaked it a little bit further for you. Because I never make a recipe the same way twice. That would be boring.
For some reason unknown to man, I had Reddi whip in my fridge, so I tried to distract you by doing a cute swirl on top, with a peppermint kiss and some Christmas-y sprinkles. But the Reddi whip started melting 30 seconds out of the can. The one time I actually want to use that fake stuff, and it completely lets me down. My life is this.

But, it's all Christmas-y and yummy and (if you do as I say and not as I did) pretty. So, I guess we can call it a success?

And don't forget to enter my giveaway! Only 2 days left to enter to win the cutest apron in the entirety of existence or a surprise box of awesome.

Planning, you better watch your back. Because I been training up my light saber skills. Zwong! (That's kind of like the noise it makes, right? Zwong, zwong. You can totally hear it, can't you? Maybe I should just stick to laser guns. Pew pew pew!)

Chocolate Peppermint Icebox Cake {Printable Version}
Yield: 8-10 servings

2 cups heavy cream, divided
3 oz. white chocolate, chopped
½ tsp. peppermint extract
1 recipe Red Velvet Graham Crackers (or 1 box chocolate graham crackers/wafer cookies)

In a small saucepan over low heat, heat ½ cup heavy cream just until the edges start to bubble. Remove
from heat, add the chocolate, and stir until completely melted. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Add the remaining cream and the peppermint extract to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk
attachment, beat the cream at high speed until soft peaks begin to form. Add in the chocolate mixture
and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Spread some of the whipped cream evenly in the bottom of the loaf
pan, about ¼ inch thick. Place a row of graham crackers over the whipped cream, filling as much space
as possible. Spread more of the whipped cream, and top with more graham crackers. Repeat until the
top of the loaf pan is reached, ending with the whipped cream. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

To serve: invert the loaf pan over a serving dish to release the cake (it should pop right out). Frost the
sides with the remaining whipped cream. Serve chilled.

Recipe by Kim

December 8, 2012

Apple Cheddar Scone Mix & 1 Year Blogiversary Giveaway!{Closed}

The Giveaway is now Closed
Do you guys know what today is? It's my one year blogiversary!!!

Well, technically, it was November 28th. But I don't know what I was thinking starting a blog in November. Dec. 8th 2011 was my first recipe post, and from now on, we're going to pretend that it's my actual blogiversary. Okay? Okay.

Since one of my first posts to gain any real traction was my homemade gift sets, I thought it was fitting to celebrate with something along the same vein. Homemade scone mix.
Since this is apple cheddar scone mix, there are really 2 options for making it. Which one you choose will really depend on your recipient and how lazy you are. The first way, the way I made it, is just the dry ingredients. Flour, powdered buttermilk, dried thyme, sugar, and leavenings. Then when making them, you add some fresh apple, cheese, butter, and water.

While I was making it, however, I was thinking, that's really not much of a mix. Chopping the apple is the hardest part. So I thought, why not add in some dried apples as a part of the mix? Then, if you're going to go that far, you might as well add some powdered cheddar cheese, too.

Now, I don't have dried apples or powdered cheese in my pantry. But if I were giving this mix to, say a new mom, or someone who doesn't have too much time to spend in the kitchen, I might go out and get some. Then it'll be butter, water, done. But I'm too lazy to go out and get those specialty ingredients, so I won't be giving it to anyone like that.

And if you're going to go the powdered cheese route, make sure to get quality stuff, like this. No sense in making a homemade mix if you just plan on adding in the junky stuff.
Then just put it in a holiday themed bag or jar, print out some baking instructions, and you're all set. You could add a cute little spatula, or a pastry cutter, or give it with a holiday mug and some good coffee, the possibilities are endless.

For your convenience, I've linked 2 different sets of baking instructions. One with the dried apples and cheese powder, and one with fresh. I've also put them two to a page, because this is super easy to make multiple batches of. Then you make presents for ALL the people.
The scones themselves are pretty darn tasty, with the peppery thyme and the salty cheddar and the sweet apples. Goooood stuff.

But wait, there's more!

My buddy Tracy of Sassy Apron Creations made a special apron just for one lucky Treats & Trinkets reader.
It's cute. It's pink. It has ruffles. And polka dots. I am so super tempted to keep it for myself. I'll have to content myself with the epic awesomeness of the ruffled Batman apron Tracy made for me.

And a second lucky reader will get a surprise box of awesome.

What's in the surprise box of awesome? It's a surprise. Why is it a surprise? Because it's my blog's birthday and I want it to be and surprises are cool.

Leave a comment on this post answering one of the following two questions:

What's the best gift you've ever gotten?
What is your favorite holiday treat?

Additional Entries:
That's a total of FIVE possible entries! Remember to leave me a SEPARATE comment for each entry. (If you already follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, let me know in separate comments).

This giveaway is open to US residents ONLY and will run from 11:30am EST (GMT -5) on Saturday, December 8th, 2012 until 12:00pm EST on Sunday, June 16th, 2012. The winners will be chosen randomly via RANDOM.ORG on Monday, December 17th, 2012.

Please note that all comments are moderated, and it may take some time for your comments to appear.

Apple Cheddar Scone Mix {Printable Verson}

Yield: About 2 cups mix*

1¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. powdered buttermilk
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup diced dried apples (optional)
½ cup powdered cheddar cheese (optional)

In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients until well blended. Store in an airtight container up to three

*If adding the dried apples and powdered cheese, the yield will increase accordingly.

Recipe adapted slightly from Favorite Brand Name Gifts From the Kitchen

Baking Instructions:
With dried apples and powdered cheese
With fresh apples and cheese

December 5, 2012

French Butter Cookies

It just isn't the holiday season without someone getting injured, amirght?

My Aunt Ida-- who you might remember as the only person who I will make these lemon cookies for-- broke her ankle. She's okay, but she's in a rehab facility back in Brooklyn. So when I went to visit her this weekend, I had to bring her cookies. Because cookies have magical healing properties, didn't you know?

I didn't have lemons, so I couldn't make lemon cookies (and I wasn't all that upset about it. *whistles innocently*). I know she likes shortbread cookies, but my mom gets her a giant tin of shortbread cookies every year for Christmas. I didn't want to give her more of the same. So I decided on butter cookies as a similar-but-different choice.
I was a little disappointed to find that these cookies are almost exactly like shortbread cookies, except with a smoother texture and a lot less crumbly. But then I ate one that I had cut kind of thick and baked just until the dough set and it was still kind of soft in the middle and I could taste the difference a lot better. And actually, the flavor sort of matures the next few days after baking, so these would work well as presents. You don't have to bake them the morning of for the best results.
So how do they compare to shortbread? They're a little bit sweeter than regular shortbread, but as a slice and bake recipe, I think they're a lot easier to make. They're firmer and less crumbly, and take only 10 minutes to bake. Flavorwise, shortbread's the winner, but only by a nose. Holiday-baking-wise, these butter cookies win hands down.

French Butter Cookies {Printable Version}
Yield: Approx. 5 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
Approx. 1/2 cup raw or decorating sugar

Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together at medium speed until well-combined and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour and salt on low speed until well incorporated. Divide the dough into three equal parts, and roll each part into a log about 6-8 inches long. Wrap each log separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll each cookie dough log in the decorating sugar, so it is well coated. Slice into 1/4 inch rounds and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat, leaving about 1 inch between each. Sprinkle the tops with more decorating sugar, if desired, and bake 10-15 minutes, or until the dough is set and the edges just begin to turn golden brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Recipe adapted slightly from

December 2, 2012

Raspberry Nutella Marshmallows-- A Guest Post at Go Bake Yourself

The Christmas season is a great time for candy. It's not too hot out to be cooking sugar, and candy makes great gifts. It's also a time for the raspberry and chocolate combo. Luckily for you, I put all three together, with a little added hazelnutty goodness. Because it's the holiday season, and I'm nice like that.
Want the recipe? Don't lie to me; I can see you salivating from here. Head on over to Go Bake Yourself and say hi to my Whovian buddy Uru. I'm totally bringing these bad boys with me when we go traveling with the Doctor.