Resolutions Schmezolutions.

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Whew.

Now that the Christmas gatherings are over and the cookies are all (mostly) eaten, I now have time to sit down and take a breather.  So what do I do?  Share more delectable desserty recipes with you all.

That's right, I am feeding you more sugar folks.  No worries, it isn't the new year yet.  Just endulge a bit longer, why don't ya? 

I knew you'd agree.  Or maybe you don't.  Ah well, I'm sharing anyway.

I am about to divulge three of my time-tested, oft-made, no-fail, unanimously-loved sweet treats to you.  Be ready.  Are you?  Okay then.

First up: Salted Nut Roll Bars.



These sweet n' salty bars are actually a family recipe, passed down through my father's side.  My Aunt Phoebe makes these bad boys far better than I do.  Somehow mine never look as good, or hold up as superbly, but they always taste just as fabulous.  And I do believe that's all that matters.  I also think she's holding some little prep secret that she refuses to share.  I will get it out of her someday.

But alas, my friends, no worries!  You CAN make these- it's super easy and like I said, they taste spectacular every time.  And they taste much better than these drab things:


Yes.  Please just refrain from buying the above product.  SO not even worth it when compared to these bad boys.

Ingredients:

-1 package yellow cake mix
-1/3 cup butter, melted
-1 egg
-3 cups mini-marshmallows
-2/3 cup white corn syrup
-1/4 cup butter
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-One 10 oz package peanut butter chips (look like choc. chips only peanut butter)
-2 to 3 cups dry roasted peanuts

Instructions:

-Mix first three ingredients and pat into a greased 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. 
-Remove pan from oven and immediately cover with marshmallows.  Place pan back in oven for 2-3 minutes or until marshmallow puffup.  Remove and cool COMPLETELY.

-In a saucepan put the following: white corn syrup and 1/4 cup butter.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and peanut butter chips.  Stir until smooth.  Pour over cooled marshmallows.  Immediately cover with peanuts- press nuts slightly into peanut butter chip layer. 

-Let sit at least 2 hours before cutting.

-Take a bite and savor the salty-sweet combo.  Share them (or don't).  Your choice.  These also freeze well in an airtight container for up to one month.


Next up: Mock Peanut Buster Parfait

This is actually a dessert I sort of made up because I had a craving but didn't feel like driving to DQ.  Yeah, I'm lazy sometimes.  However not lazy enough to sit around and pine away.  I made my own version of the original masterpiece and...well, I've now come to prefer my own!  Take that, Dairy Queen.  I can make a whole pan of the stuff for far less than it would cost me to drive there and purchase it...and have more for later.  Shabam.  Forget about this:


When instead you can create this:


It's really quite simple, and can be moulded to your own preferred tastes.  I made this one with an Oreo crust but I think next time I will try pretzel for another salty layer.  Don't let this recipe be the be-all, end-all for you.  Feel free to tweak and change, add and subtract whatever you like.  I love recipes like these because they have endless possibilities.

Ingredients:

-26 (one package) regular Oreos (or knock-off brand, I actually use Newman-O's).
-1/2 cup butter, melted
-half gallon (or more if you like it towering high, like myself) vanilla ice cream- I like Breyer's
-2.5 cups unsalted dry roasted peanuts
-two small jars, or one large, fudge ice cream topping (or make your own)
-one 9 oz container whipped topping (or make your own)

Instructions:

-Crush Oreos in a food processor or place in large ziploc bag and crush with a meat mallet until pulverized.  Mix crushed cookies with melted butter, press into a 9x13 baking glass baking dish (I like glass because you can see the layers, feel free to use metal or ceramic!).  Freeze 20 minutes.  Take out ice cream and let soften on the counter.

-After pan has been in freezer 20 minutes, take it out and spread softened ice cream over top of the cookie layer.  Place back in freezer for another 20 minutes.

-Spoon fudge sauce liberally over top of ice cream layer, reserving 1/3 cup.  Top with 1.5 cups peanuts (press them into the fudge layer a bit).  Place back in freezer for 20 minutes.

-Take pan out (yet again) and top with whipped topping.  Sprinkle remaining nuts over top and drizzle remaining fudge sauce over top.  Freeze again, tightly covered with tin foil or plastic wrap, until ready to serve (at least one hour). 

- Enjoy the money you just saved NOT driving to DQ- and having plenty of leftovers to boot.


The two above treats are easy knock-offs of the originals.  And- to be quite honest, they taste a heck of a lot better than the prepackaged, pre-made, pre-blah versions.  Just take my word for it.

The final recipe is not my own (gasp).  It is my close personal friend, Ina Garten's (Ha.  I wish.).



Don't let the first two words fool you.  Though this sounds "light" and "healthy"- it's extremely decadent and not overly good for you (which should be a stipulation for all desserts, I mean really- who wants to eat a "healthy" dessert?!  Not me, no thanks).  However this one will make you feel slightly better about indulging because it's made with a fair amount of yogurt, citrusy lemon zest, and canola oil- which is heart healthy.  So there you go- justify it all you want!  Just don't look at the sugar content.  That will send you crashing back to earth.

However because I'm lazy...and because my fingers are tired of typing, I'm going to let you find the recipe for this one on your own via the link above.  Sorry- but it's easier that way!  Enjoy it though- it's a crowd pleaser.  The density of each bite is to-die-for.  The pop of lemony goodness refreshing and vibrant.  The finger-licking frosting will leave you slurping at your digits for hours after.  Ina knows her stuff.



Now go in peace, my friends.  And don't let the year-end holidays leave you full and dissatisfied.  Go ahead and have a few more treats on me and ring in the new year with flavor and pizzazz!

Here's to a succulent, flavorful, juicy, delightful 2011!

Happy New Year.

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