Marshmallow Fruit Salad

Often times I head over to our bookshelves and bring down a book or two. Typically these are recipe books but I am known other work/production related books but in my recent browsing I decided to bring down one book in particular, a Filipino recipe book called A Culinary Life  by Nora V. Daza. I’m really uncertain as to why I collected or decided to hold onto this particular book because it’s just crazy in terms of it’s layout, writing (typos), and really random recipes! One in particular which I read out loud to my wife was called Pampangan Frozen Fruit Salad. She stated ‘My mom made that every year!’. I knew that I had to recreate it but make it my own. The funny thing is that this Pampangan Frozen Fruit Salad recipe is one that we have probably all have had at some point in time, and one that brings back great memories. It’s one that I know as Marshmallow Fruit Salad.

Marshmallow Fruit Salad Recipe
Marshmallow Fruit Salad Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bag of mini marshmallows
  • 15 oz can of fruit cocktail, strained
  • 3.5 oz vanilla pudding
  • 10 maraschino cherries
  • 1 gala apple, peeled, cut into cubes
  • 4 strawberries, quartered
  • 1/2 cup of pineapple chunks
  • 2 nectarines, seedless, peeled, segments only
  • 1/2 cup seedless grapes, optional
  • 2 cups Cool Whip

Add the pudding to a mixing bowl. Add the strained fruit, the pineapple, apples, cherries, strawberries, nectarines, apples, and cool whip. Mix well but don’t get all aggressive and damage the fruit. Once mixed, add in the marshmallows, and gently fold into the mixture to get them nicely incorporated.

Marshmallow Fruit Salad Recipe
Marshmallow Fruit Salad Recipe

Cover and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to chill before serving.

This recipe is not only way too simple to make, but it’s a sweet was to finish a meal, and the fresh fruit really adds a great pop of tartness. This would be great served with crushed graham crackers prior to serving.  This definitely brought back some excitement, and when it’s that easy, why not make it? What are your thoughts on this fruit salad? Are you a fan?

Looking for more fruit related recipes? Try these below:

Chocolate No Bake Cookies with Cranberries and Pepitas

I grew up eating this style of cookie. Granted my grandma made some darn good, and probably the best oatmeal cookies that I have ever eaten, but my dad of all people turned me on to these chocolate no bake cookies. I remember watching him make them, and saw excitement in making them. I know the excitement because it was essentially a no bake cookie, and one that you melted ingredients, poured into a bowl, mixed, and formed into cookies. Wait about an hour and you have treats for the week. What is not to get excited about right?

I’ll admit that these cookies are not my kids favorites. They eat them, and are always curious. They are dense, which I love, and one that carries you a long way in terms of not wanting to go back in and eat three or four of them (which I also love). So I decided to whip up a batch but add in a couple of different ingredients to jazz them up a bit (not that they need jazzing).

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and Pepitas
No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and Pepitas

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups oats
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of craisins, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • Parchment Paper

In a sauce pan, add the sugar, cocoa powder, milk and butter, and melt that down and bring to a boil.

During this time, line a baking sheet with the parchment paper.

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and Pepitas
No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Cranberries and Pepitas

Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium, and then add in your pepitas, vanilla, and craisins. Mix.

To a mixing bowl add the oats and peanut butter.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the mixing bowl and get stirring.  Mix well, then drop a tablespoon, or larger of the mixture onto the lined baking sheet.

Let these cool to harden, then grab and go. I love these, I really do. Maybe it was the history of seeing my dad’s face and that smile that he was creating something yummy back in the day, or maybe it’s because I find them just darn delicious. Whatever the case, they are part of the cookie platter in 2018, and will be on the platter as long as I’m able to make cookies. Plus, did I mention that hidden crunch from the pepitas, and that mild tartness from the craisins that make them even better?! Enjoy!

Looking for more cookie recipes? Try these below:

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

I counted 21 total different kinds of holiday cookies that I baked or ‘formed’ these past couple of weeks. Can you believe that? I didn’t think it was a lot of cookies but after looking at all of them, I was pretty impressed. I actually had to load them into a box so that I could sort them all out. Most of not all of them were dreamy and I only say that as I watched my wife and kids expressions after eating them. This was one of those delicious morsels and one that is way too simple to make. It’s essentially melted peanut butter and chocolate chips, marshmallows, and holiday colored M&Ms.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Marshmallow Bars
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

Sugar bombs, if you will but everyone seems not to mind that around this time of year.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
  • 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 11 oz package butterscotch chips
  • 10.5 oz bag mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup holiday colored M&Ms
  • parchment paper, optional but recommended

Pretty standard holiday baking ingredients. I can’t tell you how many bags of chips I have gone through, as well as butter, so I was a bit glad this one was not utilizing butter and sugar! That’s how much I have been going through.

You have a couple of options for the melting of the chips and peanut butter. You can use a double boiler method, or you can utilize your microwave. I go microwave as it is quicker and one less dish.

To a microwave safe bowl, add in the peanut butter, chocolate and butterscotch chips. Melt, stirring every minute, up to about 3-4 minutes until it is nice and smooth. Be careful as this is super hot.

During this time line your large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Marshmallow Bars
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

Fold in the marshmallows until they are fully coated.

Scrape the mixture onto the parchment paper, smoothing it out and covering the sheet. Next begin pouring on the M&Ms with your hand to level out the chips. Gently press the M&Ms into the chocolate marshallow mixture so that they adhere. Place the sheet into the fridge, or in my case in the cold garage for about 1 hour to let it become solid.

Once solid, cut into bite sized bars and dig in. These Peanut Butter and Chocolate Marshmallow Bars are so good. There is already a great relationship between chocolate and peanut butter, but then you get this great added texture of the M&Ms and the softness of the marshmallows. This is a real treat and a quick and simple treat to bring to any party. Enjoy!

Glazed Italian Cookies

Butter. Sugar. Flour. Baking Soda. Baking Powder. Eggs. Extracts. Those are the basic ingredients that I have been dealing with for nearly three weeks, among a few others such as Cocoa powder, salt, and more butter. My cookie game is on point, at least I thought it was until I decided to come up with this glazed Italian cookie that I thought was going to fail, but I was completely wrong.

Most every time we frequent our favorite Italian grocery and deli, Glorioso’s we tend to visit their baked goods area and pick up a good dozen of their cookies. Everyone in the family loves them. They are great alone, and a perfect snack with an afternoon coffee, so I decided to come up with a batch that I was hoping would come close, and I did a pretty darn good job.

Glazed Italian Cookies Recipe
Glazed Italian Cookies Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 tsp baking powder
  • 5 cups all purpose flour, possibly more
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • parchment paper, optional but recommended
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2-4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 5-7 tbsp milk
  • colored sprinkles, optional

This is a great cookie dough recipe and you can adjust your extract accordingly whether you want vanilla, almond, lemon (preferred), or other to your taste.

Keep in mind that you need to be care when adding the lemon extract as it can be a bit ‘chemical’ tasting if you go too far. You can always zest a lemon and add that in for an extra kick as well.

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet, or two with parchment paper.

Get a mixing bowl ready as your main mixer, then another bowl for sifting some dry ingredients. There is something about sifting that I really love. I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it is the fine powder coming out of it, or maybe it was a memory of being a kid and seeing my elders use them in baking, not sure.

Glazed Italian Cookies
Glazed Italian Cookies

To the mixing bowl, add in the butter and sugar. Put the mixer on medium-low and begin creaming the butter. During this time sift your flour, baking powder, and salt. Crack your eggs into a separate bowl to prevent any shells from getting in the batter.

Add the lemon extract to to the butter and sugar, then start slowly adding in the eggs, one at a time. Once all of your eggs are nicely mixed into the butter, slowly begin adding the flour. Mix on medium until you have a nice batter. Stop and scrape down the sides, and mix some more. Add more flour if needed to form a nice, thick and somewhat sticky dough.

I placed all of my dough into a piping bag, but you can use your hands and form these into 2 inch log shapes if you want. I placed mine in a gallon sized ziplock, clipped off the corner to the size I was going form, and piped strips onto the parchment paper.

Once all of your dough is used, place into the oven for about 9-11 minutes until golden brown.

While the cookies are baking, make the glaze. Take the melted butter, powdered sugar, and milk and whisk in a mixing bowl. Mix, feeling free to add a bit more sugar or milk until you have your desired consistency.

Once the cookies are baked, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack. Let these cool for about 30 minutes before adding the glaze. I simply add the same parchment paper under the cooling rack to catch excess glaze.

Take a cookie strip and cut them into bite sized pieces. Dip each piece into the glaze, the put on the rack. Repeat. Sprinkle your decorations if you desire, and let the glaze set. I let these sit out overnight, then bagged them for later use.

When my wife and daughter came home, they said something along the lines of ‘Oh boy, what are these!?’, then upon biting into them they knew right away where I was headed, and that was the Italian cookie. Addicting, but well worth it, these Italian glazed cookies will be a real hit, especially this time of year. Enjoy!

Toffee Saltine Bars with Chocolate and Nuts

We have been waking up for a few weeks now with part of our kitchen counter top covered in holiday baking ingredients. It is now starting to dwindle down which is great because to be honest, I’m a bit tired of looking at all of it taking up space, but what I still love about it is that every time I walk by them I begin thinking of things I can make out of them. Sure it is pretty much the same ingredients (butter, flour, sugars, variety of chocolate chips, extracts, nuts, and snacks) but something always comes to mind, well at least after a few thought attempts!

I made these toffee saltine bars for a couple of reasons. I recall someone in my family stating they did not like coffee, or nuts on their desserts, and for my advantage I wanted to use up some leftover saltine crackers that were just on the brink of getting stale, so this was an easy challenge to make haters of toffee and nuts into lovers and get rid of the crackers. I will mention that I won on both accounts!

Toffee Saltine Crackers with Chocolate and Nuts
Toffee Saltine Crackers with Chocolate and Nuts

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped, optional
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • parchment paper, recommended

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start by heating a small pot on medium heat. Add in your sugar and butter, and let that begin to come to a light simmer.

During this time, line a baking sheet(s) with parchment paper. Lay the saltine crackers onto the parchment paper, covering edge to edge if possible, salt side up.

Once the butter and sugar is completely melted and bubbling, let it bubble for about 1 minute, the pour the mixture over all of the saltines, covering all of them.

Place these into the preheated oven and bake for about 8 minutes.

 

Remove from the oven, and pour on the chocolate chips, covering all of the crackers.

Toffee Saltine Crackers with Chocolate and Nuts
Toffee Saltine Crackers with Chocolate and Nuts

Let the chocolate chips set for about 2-3 minutes, then use an offset spatula or spatula and gently spread the chips as they should easily be melted.

Once covered, top with the chopped nuts. As you can see I did a half sheet of nuts, and one with just chocolate. A win/win for everyone. Doing so prevents kids or adults from taking a bar covered in nuts and stopping them from brushing off any nuts!

Let these cool and harden, about 1 hour or 10 minutes in my garage, and then begin breaking them into bite sized pieces. Place them onto a serving platter, or freeze in a ziplock bag until ready to gift.

The result is a real crowd pleaser. These a chocolaty, buttery, and crunchy deliciousness. There was no doubt on the toffee part would be a overall treat, and something that won over the family. Hope you enjoy!

 

Christmas Cookies – Pretzel and Hershey Kiss Bites

It is holiday season, and one thing that I probably would never thought I would really get into from a cooking experience is baking cookies. I think that ‘time’ is currently on my hand and when I heard my wife and daughter talking about making cookies for guests this year, I decided I would get my feet wet and dive in. This baking of sweets is something I typically always stay on the sidelines with as I am not into desserts or sweets (I stand corrected), so I have always let my wife take the lead during this time of year.

I’ve said it countless times of how I am not into desserts, and I stood by that for many, many years. That is until recently. Now, I cannot get enough of sweets, whether it is candy, cookies, bars, or anything in between… I am trying these sweets, loving every bite, and making attempts at baking. So to say the least, I have been on a roll in the baking zone now for nearly a few weeks now, typically batching out at least two different types of holiday cookies a week. This recipe is just too simple not to make and the combination of sweet and salty just make them very addictive. These are the Pretzel and Hershey Kiss bites.

Christmas Cookies - Pretzel and Hershey Kiss Bites
Christmas Cookies – Pretzel and Hershey Kiss Bites

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag mini salted pretzels
  • 1 bag Hershey Kisses
  • 1 bag Christmas colored M&Ms
  • Parchment paper, optional

That’s it. Sometimes it is crazy to think about how little a few ingredients combined can make something so delicious and addictive. This is one of those.

Preheat oven to 175 degrees.

Now for the monotonous part, and a great task to hand over to kids. In my case I was home alone and I had to take this one over. Talk about a test of patience, this is it but if you can get over this hurdle, then you are going to be a winner.

Lay the pretzels onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Unwrap and place a Hershey Kiss onto the center of each pretzel piece.

Repeat until all pretzels are completed. Place the sheet(s) into the preheated oven and bake for about 7-10 minutes, making sure that the kisses do not melt. You want the chocolate to be nice and glossy.

Carefully remove them from the oven and gently push a M&M piece into the Hershey Kiss. Repeat (again, super monotonous) until all Kisses have been topped. I place the baking sheets in my garage for about 10 minutes to set. Did I mention I love having the garage as my second refrigerator/freezer?

Once the chocolate is cool and hardened a bit, plate them up, take a few for snacking, and freeze what you want in a ziplock bag for future holiday plating.

Your patience will pay off, trust me. I know mine was well worth it seeing the expressions on my kids faces, and their constant intake of these little morsels. Hope you enjoy and I’m curious as I trek through lots of holiday baking… what is your favorite holiday cookie?

Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispies Treats

I’m not sure if Kellog’s came up with the idea of Rice Krispies treats before thinking of just coming up with the idea of pouring cereal into a bowl and simply add milk. Who knew that melting butter, adding more sugary goodness from marshmallows, and adding rice krispies would yield one of the most popular deserts for kids (and adults) since who knows when! According to the Internet they were invented in 1939, and I am so glad that they were. Now if you know me, or have followed Simple Comfort Food for any time, you will probably realize that I have never been a fan desserts, but lately that game plan has changed (and I think I am thankful that it has).

Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispie Treats
Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispies Treats

So as I often do when making desserts, I start by thinking of my kids (and wife) and visualize how happy they will be that a dessert is present in the house, and for whatever reason pumpkin spice popped into my head. I know it is the season of pumpkin spice, and to be honest I am not a fan of pumpkin spiced anything, but again I was thinking of my kids and realizing that they love pumpkin spiced anything, especially growing up (they still are) and when really young pumpkin muffins were their absolute favorite, so I knew they would love trying these.

Rice Krispies are so easy to make that however you spin them up they are sure to be a hit. For me, these are seasonal, full of that pumpkin spice, and were not for me. I will pursue other desserts, but my kids… they pan of pumpkin spiced rice krispies treats were devoured.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 10.5 oz bag of marshmallows
  • 6 cups of Rice Krispies
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 13×9 pan sprayed with cooking spray

Way too simple.

Add a pot to the stove (or one large enough to hold all of the rice krispies), and begin melting the butter. Once the butter melts, add in the marshmallows and pumpkin spice. Reduce the heat to low melt all of the marshmallows. Once melted, add in the rice krispies and thoroughly combine.

Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispie Treats
Pumpkin Spiced Rice Krispies Treats

Spread evenly into the 13×9 dish. Let the marshmallows mellow and form, then slice into bars and enjoy!

Again, I am not too big of a fan for pumpkin spice, but as this was a seasonal dessert, and full of those warm fall spices, they were hard to resist. Simply put, they were delicious and my kids devoured them.

What’s your take on pumpkin spice? Fan? If so, what is your favorite way to use it? Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip

It was not too long ago where our families got together for an early summertime barbecue, or cookout if you will. I tend not to be a snob when it comes to the terms barbecue and grill out (or cookout), but when I hear a barbecue I think of meat smoked low and slow, then served while grilling is typically done over charcoal or wood, or for those that use gas, cooking at a faster pace. Regardless, any get together is always a fun time in our book, and we always like to bring something to the get together. When I ask the question to my wife if we can bring anything to the party, when I hear the word ‘Dessert’ I often panic in a sense. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t freak out or anything, but dessert is typically not my cup of tea and I typically only make dessert for my wife and kids. I am more into the savory, not the sweet.

So when I heard a dessert, I immediately thought of taking this one on myself and making something very simple, sweet, and something I knew adults and children would love. That’s when I came up with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Recipe
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup salted caramel (or caramel chips)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Graham crackers or sliced apples

Again, this dip is way too easy to make and everyone crushed it. I think there was about 1/2 tablespoon left when we gathered the kids to leave the party. Yes, it’s that good, and a bit addicting.

Start by adding the cream cheese, butter, sugars, salt, and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl. Turn on your mixer and mix until all of the ingredients are well combined.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Ingredients
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip Ingredients

Next add in both of your chocolate and caramel chips. Mix again to make sure all of the chips are combined.

Now get your silicone baking spatula out and get all of those goods scraped out and placed into your serving bowl.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Party Dip

When you are ready to serve, place your serving bowl next to a plate lined with graham crackers and sliced apples. Spread onto either one and get to town. These are sweet, creamy, and have a great little texture from those mini chips.

This is a quicker winner of a dessert. Hope you enjoy!

Baseball Park Style Candied Cashews

Unfortunately we were not able to get out to a ballgame this year. It is one of those things we love to do as a family. Everything from the tailgate, walking into the stadium, and enjoying the game (and more food). If there is one thing my wife loves it is the candied style nuts that they serve. The smell of them cooking is intoxicating, and they are as good to eat as they are to smell. It’s one of those things we typically buy together when we go. So with that being said, and a bit disappointed that we were not able to get to a game this year, I was not going to let that stop me from coming up with a batch of these baseball park style candied nuts for my wife and kids to enjoy.

Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe
Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of whole cashews
  • 1 whole egg white, beaten
  • 1 tsp ice cold water
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • cooking spray, or parchment paper

The trick to getting that candied effect on the nuts is the egg white. It adds just the awesome crunch and serves as the glue for the seasoning.

Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe
Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat the egg white and water in a bowl until it is nice and frothy.

Add the nuts to the bowl, along with the spices, and mix very well.

Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe
Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe

Lay the nuts evenly on the baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until everything begins to caramelize and get nice and toasted. Once that is achieved, remove from the oven, and slide those nuts into a serving bowl. Let cool for about 5 minutes (if you can resist), and dig in.

You want to talk about not only a great ballpark snack, but these nuts are perfect this time of year, especially around the holidays! Hope you enjoy and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Chocolate Cake Waffles

Do you know that time when you wake up and you immediately think of how much you love your kids? Yeah, me to. Granted parenting can be a very difficult thing in anyone’s life, but getting those ‘I love you Dad’ on a daily basis, especially, and personally nowadays it means everything to me. I love my kids and it is probably one of the reasons I cook and come up with recipes to hopefully continue to build memories and get them thinking about family, food, and all kinds of different cuisine. I mean what kid doesn’t love Thai/Lao larb, right? I know mine do.

My kids love breakfast, and I know how they roll. Chocolate chip whatever is how they roll. Me? I am not a fan of the sweet breakfast, but if you throw in a breakfast hash, some toast, and an easy egg, well then I am all in. But it is about them, and so are these super easy to make chocolate cake waffles.

Chocolate Cake Waffles Recipe
Chocolate Cake Waffles Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • Waffle iron
  • cooking spray
  • 1 box of your favorite cake mix
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cup of water

It doesn’t get any easier than this. Read the back of your cake mix box if you want and take if from there. I go chocolate because that’s how my kids roll, but think of the endless amounts of waffles you could be making!

Heat your waffle iron. During this time mix the cake mix, oil, eggs, and water, and make into a smooth batter.

Chocolate Cake Waffles Ingredients
Chocolate Cake Waffles Ingredients

Once your iron is heated, lightly coat it with cooking spray.

Ladle in some of the cake mix to fill into the waffle iron. Close, flip, and cook until your waffle iron tells you so. The waffles should easily be removed from the iron. Repeat and get ready to see smiles on your kids faces.  The result? No clue, but what I can tell you is they LOVED them. Enjoy!