I hope that you all had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  I was so excited to share the Gingersnap Mocha Cookies with you last week,

Gingersnap Mocha Cookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

but I am equally as excited to share this great Caribou Coffee giveaway with you!

Caribou Coffee wants you to experience some of their holiday cheer, so they are giving one lucky reader a holiday gift pack including a gift card to enjoy your favorite coffee drink, this festive and sleek hammered stainless steel tumbler, a bag of Caribou Coffee Reindeer Blend coffee beans and Bou chapstick.  It will be like Christmas came early this year if this Caribou Coffee package shows up at your door!

Caribou Coffee Giveaway

Entering to win this Caribou Coffee holiday gift pack is simple, just use the Rafflecopter widget below:
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*Caribou Coffee is sponsoring this giveaway, but all opinions, are as always, my own.

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With Valentine’s Day only a few days away, my mind is gravitating toward all things chocolate.  Who doesn’t love to indulge a little bit extra on Valentine’s Day by sneaking a few of your favorite chocolate treats?  I think that making your own homemade chocolates and presenting them in a heart-shaped box to someone you love or admire would be an adorable and memorable Valentine’s gift.  This Pretzel Toffee Fudge would be the perfect addition to your chocolate box.

Pretzel Toffee Fudge {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

Homemade chocolate doesn’t have to be fussy and stressful.  You can skip the complicated tempering and expensive chocolate by using a few basic ingredients that still result in decadent and indulgent treats.  All you need to make this Pretzel Toffee Fudge is some chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and a few other basic ingredients.  I chose to let my fudge set up in a mini muffin pan with individual paper liners so that they could be placed into a chocolate box with other varieties.  You could also simply pour the warm Pretzel Toffee Fudge into a well-greased pan, allow it to set and then cut it into squares.

Pretzel Toffee Fudge {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

I had purchased a can of fat-free sweetened condensed milk around the holidays because I wanted to experiment and see if the fat-free version would change the consistency or flavor of recipes I used it in and I have to tell you, for this recipe, you would never guess that it used any “healthier” ingredients!   For this Pretzel Toffee Fudge, I chose to mix in crushed up pretzels and chopped Heath bar bits because I love the sweet and salty combination along with the crave-able crunch that these ingredients offer.  You could easily make this recipe into a S’mores version by mixing in crushed graham crackers and sprinkling marshmallows over the top or you could try Rocky Road by adding nuts and marshmallows.

Pretzel Toffee Fudge {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

Pretzel Toffee Fudge Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 34 pieces

This Pretzel Toffee Fudge is the perfect sweet and salty, creamy and crunchy treat

Ingredients

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (I used fat-free)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pretzels
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits (or Heath bits)

Instructions

  1. Line a mini muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium, microwave safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips and butter in 30 second increments until melted and smooth.
  3. Stir in cocoa powder, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until combined.
  4. Stir in chopped pretzels and toffee bits.
  5. Spoon mixture into prepared pan using a spoon or a small cookie scoop filling each cavity 3/4 full.
  6. Refrigerate to set for about one hour.
  7. Recipe adapted from Mini Treats and Hand-Held Sweets by Abigail Johnson Dodge

Pretzel Toffee Fudge {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

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Some kitchen gadgets are so inventive yet so simple that it makes you wonder how you didn’t think of the invention it yourself!  For example, purchased these rolling pin rings because I wanted consistent thickness when I roll out cookie dough or pie crust.  These rings made for easy technique when making the Layered Mint Chocolate Cookies that I am sharing with you today.

The idea behind these rolling pin rings is simple:  you place different sized rubber bands on the two ends of your rolling pin so that as you roll the dough flat between the rings until the rubber bands both touch your work surface, you are creating a perfectly even thickness of dough.  This is such a simple material and concept, but really a pure stroke of genius and a huge help in the kitchen.

Layered Mint Chocolate Cookies {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

Once I had the dough for these Layered Mint Chocolate Cookies divided into 3 parts, I just slid the 1/8″ rings onto the ends of my rolling pin and in no time, I had 3 perfectly even layers laid on top of each other and ready to cut into cookies.

Layered Mint Chocolate Cookies {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

I absolutely love how pretty and delicate these cookies look, not to mention how good they taste.  You know those people who describe things as “too sweet”?  Yeah, I don’t understand what the meaning of this phrase is either, but these cookies are perfect for those people.  These Layered Chocolate Mint Cookies are simple butter cookies sandwiched between layers of subtle mint and chocolate layers.  They are so cute that you could place them into a plain cellophane bag, tie it with a ribbon and give them as a gift.

Layered Mint Chocolate Cookies {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

Layered Mint Chocolate Cookies

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: ~2 dozen cookies

A simple butter cookie sandwiched between mint and chocolate layers

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • green food coloring

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together with a mixer for 2 minutes to combine.
  2. Mix in egg.
  3. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix well.
  4. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Wrap one part in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  5. For the second part of the dough, mix in the cocoa powder using a mixer. Pat together, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  6. For the third part of the dough, mix in peppermint extract and a couple of drops of green food coloring and mix with mixer. Pat together, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  7. Allow dough to refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  9. Remove chocolate dough portion from refrigerator, lightly sprinkle work surface with flour and roll out to 1/8" thick. Place rolled out dough onto a cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator.
  10. Repeat the rolling out with the plain dough. Place on top of the chocolate dough, cover with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator.
  11. Repeat with green peppermint dough. Place on top of other two layers of dough. Place stack of dough onto a lightly floured work surface.
  12. Cut dough into 1/2" wide pieces and place pieces onto a cookie sheet.
  13. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  14. Recipe adapted from Cooking Club of America

Layered Mint Chocolate Cookies {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

Because I think these rolling pin rings are so helpful, I want to make your life a bit easier too!  I am giving away a set of these rings to one lucky reader!  Please log onto the widget below using Facebook or your email address and enter for a few chances to win!  Good luck!
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I love the touch of savory with dessert trend that has been popular for the past year or so.  Salted caramel or chocolate anything makes me happy because the salt prevents the rich chocolate and/or caramel from becoming too overwhelming.  There is a pizza restaurant that my husband and I love that has olive oil ice cream with sea salt for dessert and they serve it with warm chocolate chip cookies.  The sweet with the salt is just enough to be dangerously addictive.

One of my other favorite savory additions to dessert is balsamic glazes or reductions.  I particularly enjoy this savory accompaniment with berries.

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

You can make a simple sauce of balsamic and berries and pour it over ice cream for an effortless, yet decadent dessert.  The fine people at Mandarano sent me their award-winning Balsamic Glaze and I have used it in so many ways.  The Mandarano Balsamic Glaze is so great drizzled over sandwiches, pasta or salmon.  I made a simple caprese panini and this glaze kicked it up a notch and made it taste very gourmet and sophisticated.  It is the perfect condiment because it is made with high quality balsamic vinegar that has already been reduced and is ready to use.

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

One of the best ways I have used this glaze is to make this Blueberry Balsamic Sauce to top this perfect Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread.  As you make the blueberry balsamic sauce, the balsamic glaze infuses the blueberries so that when you bite into one of them, the subtle rich flavor of balsamic vinegar bursts into your mouth.  It really is the perfect addition to this sweet and tart lemon bread which even on it’s own is so moist and delicious.

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 1 9-inch loaf

Sweet and tart lemon poppyseed bread bursting with juicy blueberries and drizzled with a decadent blueberry balsamic reduction

Ingredients

    For the bread:!
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp poppy-seeds
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • For the glaze:!
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 Tbsp water
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic

Instructions

    For the bread:!
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice.
  4. Mix in buttermilk and eggs.
  5. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt until well combined.
  6. Mix in poppyseeds and blueberries.
  7. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into bread comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan on wire rack.
  9. For the glaze:!
  10. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for about 6 minutes or until mixture has thickened.
  11. Serve sauce poured over bread.
  12. Bread recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour Baking Companion

mix sugar, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

mix in buttermilk and eggs

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

mix in flour, baking powder and salt until well combined

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

mix in poppyseeds and blueberries

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

pour into prepared baking pan and bake

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

for the sauce, combine all ingredients, bring to a boil and reduce

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

Lemon Poppyseed Blueberry Bread with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

*Mandarano provided me with their balsamic glaze, however, all opinions are, as always, my own.

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When I posted this Peanut Butter Cup Fudge,

Peanut Butter Cup Fudge {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

I shared some of my candy making conundrums with you and offered some tips that I have learned for how to resolve them.

Vanilla Bean Sea Salt Caramels {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

I have had my fair share of caramel-making challenges as well, but the past few years, I have been able to make chewy caramels that are soft and so buttery.  This year, I decided to add some some vanilla bean paste and sea salt to my mom’s classic caramel recipe.  The sea salt really takes these over the top and balances the sweetness so perfectly.

Vanilla Bean Sea Salt Caramels {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

I also attribute some of my recent candy making success to the use of the Thermapen.  This digital thermometer allows for precise accuracy down to the tenth of a degree which is so crucial for candy making.  Read my full-review of this helpful kitchen tool here.

To help  your candy-making courage and encourage you to try some new recipes, the kind people at Thermoworks have offered to give a Thermapen to one lucky Satisfy My Sweet Tooth reader!  Use the widget below to enter and good luck!

Vanilla Bean Sea Salt Caramels

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: about 50 caramels

Soft, chewy and buttery caramels infused with vanilla bean paste and sprinkled with sea salt

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Liberally butter a 9X13" glass pan. Line with parchment paper overhanging the edges and lightly butter the parchment paper.
  2. In a medium pot, melt butter over low heat.
  3. Add sugar, milk and corn syrup and heat over medium-high heat until mixture boils, stirring only a couple of times.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until mixture reaches 240 degrees on a thermometer.
  5. Remove from heat and quickly and carefully stir in vanilla bean paste.
  6. Pour (carefully) into prepared pan, sprinkle modestly with sea salt and allow to cool completely (you can place the pan into the refrigerator once it is cool enough to handle and allow to cool and set).
  7. Once cooled, lift caramels out of the pan using the overhanging parchment paper.
  8. Cut into desired size (I like to use a buttered kitchen scissors to cut the caramels) and wrap individually in wax paper.

melt butter

IMG_0258

add sugar, milk and corn syrup and bring to a boil

IMG_0259

cook until mixture reaches 240 degrees (I am aware that the thermometer does not read the correct temperature in this picture, I had to snap a photo before the critical temperature was reached!)

IMG_0261

pour into prepared pan and cool before cutting and wrapping

IMG_0262Vanilla Bean Sea Salt Caramels {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

Vanilla Bean Sea Salt Caramels {Satisfy My Sweet Tooth}

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*ThermoWorks provided me with a Thermapen to review however, all opinions are, as always, my own.

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