White Chocolate Gummi Bear Bark

This is a sponsored post for McCormick.

White Chocolate Gummi Bear Bark
I’m celebrating McCormick’s 125th birthday today, during the most popular month for birthdays, with their new Extra Rich Pure Vanilla Extract because I’m a dedicated vanilla lover through and through.

I’m making candy while McCormick is celebrating by asking you, me, and everyone around the world to share our favorite flavor birthday stories.

  • McCormick’s Flavor of Together program is a yearlong initiative to share 1.25 million stories about how flavor both unites and defines people across the globe.
  • For every story shared on any of McCormick’s brand websites or social channels, McCormick will donate $1, up to $1.25 million, to United Way to help feed those in need.
  • All are invited to join the conversation at Flavoroftogether.com where they can share their flavor story and discover globally inspired dishes, videos, news articles and more.
  • Stories can also be shared on social media using #flavorstory.


Read More »

Copycat Payday Candy Bars

Copycat Payday Bars

Homemade payday candy bars made of sticky-sweet, gooey caramel balanced by the crunch of a thousand salty peanuts. They’re almost paydays. They would be more aptly titled payday “wannabees” being they’re not exactly alike yet completely delicious in their own right. You’ll find the same flavors are present but with a much softer caramel, not the firm, crunchy one found in the originals.

The caramel is super easy to make by melting dulce de leche, mini marshmallows, butter and peanut butter together on the stove. You can easily make your own dulce de leche, a milk caramel, by roasting sweetened condensed milk in the oven for an hour or you can buy it already made. Look for it in the baking aisle or the Spanish section of your market. If you never had it before then you’ll want to seek it out because it is one of the most delightful things you will ever taste. Think smooth, creamy, spoon-able caramel that doesn’t stick to your teeth.

Homemade Payday Bars

To assemble the bars half the peanuts are spread in a pan, the caramel confection is poured over them then the rest of the peanuts are sprinkled on top. After spending a little time in the refrigerator they’re ready to cut up into bars and devour enjoy.

They don’t look like much, you might be thinking, because I thought the same, but for all their simplicity they have strangely addictive qualities. I hope you get a chance to make them, even if you’re not a payday candy bar lover, so you can understand exactly what I’m talking about.

Salty Peanut Caramel Bars

Copycat Payday Candy Bars

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 1 (9x9-inch) pan

Copycat Payday Candy Bars

Homemade payday candy bars made of sticky-sweet, gooey caramel balanced by the crunch of a thousand salty peanuts. They're almost paydays. They would be more aptly titled payday “wannabees” being they're not exactly alike yet completely delicious in their own right.


1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk or dulce de leche
32 ounces (4 cups) salty roasted peanuts, divided
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter


    Make the caramel/dulce de leche (skip this step if you bought it already made):
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a shallow baking dish - I like to use a non-stick loaf pan.
  2. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and set it inside a larger roasting pan. Pour in hot water to reach about halfway up the side of the smaller pan.
  3. Bake 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool.
  4. Make the bars:
  5. Line a 9x9-inch pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Add 2 cups of peanuts and spread them out evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  6. Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium-sized heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the marshmallows and stir until they're melted.
  7. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the dulce de leche and the peanut butter. When the mixture is completely combined, pour gently over the peanuts. Smooth it out with a rubber spatula then sprinkle the remaining peanuts evenly over the top. Use your hand to press them down gently into the caramel.
  8. Refrigerate until set about 2 hours. Use the parchment to remove from the pan to a cutting board and cut into squares or bars with a sharp paring or chef's knife. Store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator or in a cool, dry place up to one week.


Adapted from Michael Symon

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved


Easy Iced Mint Chocolate Fudge

Iced Mint Chocolate Fudge

Sweet and creamy chocolate fudge topped with mint-infused white chocolate icing. I promise this recipe from McCormick is the easiest, quickest fudge you will ever make!

There are two steps to making the fudge. The first is to make the bottom layer – confectioners’ sugar is mixed with melted chocolate and spread in a pan where its left to set up for an hour in the refrigerator before being topped with melted white chocolate. The white chocolate has McCormick mint or peppermint extract added to it along with a little bit of McCormick green food color to turn it a perfect shade of holiday mint green.

This makes a great homemade gift! Fudge is one of the season’s favorite treats and combining it with one of the season’s most distinctive flavor, mint, makes it twice as easy to give and receive.

You can cut it into squares and set them in paper candy cups or cut into triangles and layer them in small cardboard boxes or treat bags. I’m doing some of both! I’ve already gifted them and I’m also using them to fill up the empty spaces on my cookie platters.

Here are some more recipe ideas from McCormick to make your holiday delicious! Homemade gifts from the heart filled with the flavors and colors of the season.

Mint Chocolate Fudge

Easy Iced Mint Chocolate Fudge

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 16 bars or triangles

Easy Iced Mint Chocolate Fudge

Sweet and creamy chocolate fudge topped with mint-infused white chocolate icing. I promise this is the easiest, quickest fudge you will ever make!


1 pound (about 4 cups) confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup milk
1 + 1/2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Mint or Peppermint Extract
1/8 teaspoon McCormick® Green Food Color
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips for sprinkling over top, optional


    Make the fudge:
  1. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper or foil and let it overhang on two sides. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl whisk the sugar and cocoa powder together. Set aside.
  3. Add the butter and the milk to a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds and stir to melt the butter. If the butter doesn't completely melt microwave in 15 second increments and stir well in between until completely melted. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Pour over the sugar and mix until well combined. Spoon into the parchment lined pan and evenly spread it out. Cover with plastic and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.
  5. Make the icing:
  6. In a medium microwavable bowl melt the white chocolate chips and milk together. Use the chocolate setting in 20 second increments and stir in between until completely melted and smooth. Stir in the mint extract and green food color.
  7. Spread over the chocolate layer and sprinkle with the chocolate chips, if desired.
  8. Refrigerate about 15 - 20 minutes or until firm. Use the parchment/foil to lift out of pan onto cutting board. Cut into small bars or triangles (Cut 16 (2-inch) squares then cut each square diagonally in half).


Adapted from McCormick

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved


Epic Peppermint Candy Bark

Epic Peppermint Candy Bark

Homemade Christmas bark with semi-sweet and white chocolate topped with a ton of chopped peppermint candy. Scattered over the top are peppermint and mint m & m’s, peppermint patties, Andes peppermint crunch thins, Andes mint thins and Junior Mints peppermint crunch. That’s a lot of peppermint. Epic.

Almost every type of peppermint candy I could find on the candy aisle is on here! Except actual candy canes or any other type of crunchy candy. In place of candy canes I used finely chopped peppermint Andes mints. With their red and white colors they give it the same pretty appearance that candy canes do without the crunch.

Before you go thinking I have something against candy canes or crunchy candy. . . I don’t. I just wasn’t feeling it this year and wanted something different.

{It could be because I made myself sick last year eating an entire family size bag of crunchy peppermint bark all by myself in a very short period of time.}

Peppermint Candy Bark

You can include any type of peppermint candy you want in your version. It’s completely up to you! You can include crushed up candy canes or lots of soft peppermint candies or a combination of both. That is the beauty of it. Versatility.

Peppermint bark. Every Christmas should have some.

It’s tradition.

Peppermint Christmas Bark

Epic Peppermint Candy Bark

Rating: 51

Prep Time: PT H40M

Epic Peppermint Candy Bark

Homemade Christmas bark with semi-sweet and white chocolate topped with a ton of chopped pepper mint candy.


8 ounces good-quality semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (I like Callebaut or Guitard )
12 ounces good-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
2 teaspoons melted vegetable shortening, divided
3 - 4 cups peppermint and/or mint candies like m & m's(leave whole), peppermint patties(cut like a pie), Andes peppermint & mint thins(chopped), Junior Mints peppermint crunch(leave whole)


  1. Turn an 11 x 17-inch baking sheet upside down and place a sheet of parchment paper on top. Chop up all the peppermint candy and set it near the baking sheet.
  2. Melt all the semi-sweet chocolate but 1/3 of a cup. Use a double broiler or your microwave set on 50% power. Using a microwave bowl set it for 1 minute at a time and stir in between. Once it is smooth and completely melted add the 1/3 cup chocolate you set aside and stir until completely melted and smooth - it may take a minute or two. If you find the chocolate won't melt all the way microwave for 10 more seconds and continue stirring until it is completely melted. Stir in 1 teaspoon of shortening.
  3. Pour onto the middle of the parchment and use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the parchment leaving a 1 - 2 inch border all around. Let set 5 - 10 minutes then refrigerate 5 - 10 minutes.
  4. Melt all the white chocolate using the same method (don't leave any out). Once it is smooth and completely melted mix in the shortening. Pour over the chocolate and spread to cover from edge to edge, working quickly. Some of the semi-sweet chocolate might melt and mix in - that's ok.
  5. Sprinkle the chopped peppermint Andes all over the top. Sprinkle with the rest of the candy, working quickly. Once it is completely covered in candy gently press it into the chocolate using your hands. Let it set 10 minutes then refrigerate 10 minutes. Place it in a cool, dry place for 1 hour or overnight to set completely.
  6. Break it up into irregular sized pieces using your hands or with the help of a knife. Store tightly covered with parchment paper inbetween the pieces in a cool, dry place up to 2 weeks.


Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved


A Little Help for the Holidays from Kraft

Homemade chocolate chip peanut butter cups are the perfect holiday treats! They round out a cookie tray nicely and can be used for any and all your entertaining purposes.

You can hand them out as party swag, give them as a hostess gift, tuck them into stockings on Christmas eve or leave them on Santa’s cookie dish for an unexpected treat.

You know what makes these extra special? Two things, really. The first is that they have mini chocolate chips in them making them kind of taste like cookie dough. The second is that I used my favorite peanut butter, Planters®, to make them.

Right now you can save up to 20 dollars on participating Kraft products, including Planters® peanut butter, using these coupons offered by Kraft, at Target.

You can use all that savings to make delicious recipes for quick weeknight meals and to help make your holiday entertaining easy. Kraft has you covered!

Here’s a little recipe inspiration:

Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip

Pimento-Cheese Pinwheels

Favorite Holiday Turkey Melt

Chicken Italiano

Did you know peanut butter cups are really easy to make? You can make up a batch in under an hour and they are a fun project to involve kids in. Don’t forget the Planters® peanut butter!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cups

  • 1 cup Planters® peanut butter
  • 2/3 -1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt, optional
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 16 ounces chopped milk chocolate, divided
  • 2 teaspoons shortening, melted

In a medium mixing bowl combine peanut butter, 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and salt with a fork until well mixed. Taste and add additional sugar/salt if desired.

Add the chocolate chips and work them in with a spoon – the mixture will be thick.

Line a mini muffin tin or baking sheet with small aluminum candy cups or baking cups.

Add half the chocolate to a microwave safe bowl and then remove about 1 tablespoon of it and set aside. Use the chocolate setting on your microwave to melt the chocolate until smooth and creamy, checking it in 30 second increments and stirring.

Once it is completely melted stir in the little bit of chocolate you set aside – keep stirring until it melts completely. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the melted shortening.

Drop a teaspoonful of chocolate into the bottom of each liner and use the back of a spoon to draw the chocolate up the sides. A 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon works well for this. Refrigerate for ten minutes or until set up.

Add a spoonful of filling to each cup and flatten out the top. Depending on how much confectioners’ sugar you used the filling might be thick enough to shape with your hands.

Melt the remaining chocolate using the same method. Drop a teaspoonful over top of each one and smooth out. Refrigerate until the tops set 15 minutes.

Store in a cool, dry place up to 10 days.

*Makes about 32 candy cups.

From shopping for gifts to planning family dinners, it’s hard to keep up with all your holiday to-do’s. This year, Kraft is helping out with great weeknight meals and entertaining ideas to make the season a little bit easier. Plus, Kraft is offering up to $20 in coupons, redeemable exclusively at Target, to make food shopping easier and to help you have a happy holiday season.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kraft. The opinions and text are all mine.

White Chocolate, Blueberry & Toasted Coconut Truffles

White Chocolate, Blueberry and Coconut Truffles

Blueberries, toasted coconut flakes, white chocolate, crystallized ginger and macadamia nuts come together in these delectable truffles. My entry in the “Blueberries Meet Their Match” blogger recipe contest being held by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

The challenge was to use blueberries with coconut, balsamic vinegar, rosemary or bananas. Being I had six bags of shredded coconut (stocking up for Christmas baking) on hand it was an easy choice.

How I came up with this combination of flavors and the idea to make them into truffles is a complete and utter mystery. Sometimes the ideas come to me out of the blue, exactly like a lightning bolt from the sky. Sometimes they’re bad ideas and I dismiss them immediately, other times I take notes. This was an “other” time.

Truffles weren’t my first choice. I confess. There may have been a batch of blueberry bars using these very same flavors that didn’t make the cut. Everyone loved them but I just didn’t think they were good enough. . .

The thing I love most about these is how all the many flavors come together to make one delicious bite but at the same time there will be a solitary standout. You may taste the zinginess of the ginger in one bite while the next one is all about the macadamia nuts. One thing I do know is the subtle hint of blueberry permeates them through and through and the toasted coconut is a stand out.

Wish me luck.

Blueberry Coconut Truffles

White Chocolate, Blueberry & Toasted Coconut Truffles

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Yield: about 34 truffles

 White Chocolate, Blueberry & Toasted Coconut Truffles

Blueberries, toasted coconut flakes, white chocolate, crystallized ginger and macadamia nuts come together in these delectable truffles.


3/4 cup unsweetened shredded organic coconut (I like Woodstock Farms )
2 cups frozen blueberries
1/4 cup light brown sugar (not packed)
a pinch or two of salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
16 ounces white chocolate from a block or bars, chopped (I like *Callebaut )
2 tablespoons heavy cream, half & half or whole milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus a little more if needed, to roll the truffles in


  1. In a medium skillet set over medium heat toast the coconut until golden, stirring often. Remove from heat.
  2. In a medium sauce pan set over medium heat cook the blueberries with the brown sugar and a pinch or two of salt until they release their juices and start to soften, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and allow to cool until lukewarm. Use a hand blender to puree them right in the pan or add them to a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth.
  3. Meanwhile, put the macadamia nuts in a ziploc bag, place them on a cutting board and cover them with a kitchen towel. Pound them into fine crumbs using a meat mallet or small frying pan. Alternately you can use your food processor but I found this works better for such a small amount.
  4. Before you start the next step be sure you have everything lined up and ready to mix in because once you melt the chocolate you have to move quickly before it sets up.
  5. Pour the blueberries back in the pan over medium heat, once it starts to boil stir in the cornstarch. Continue cooking about 3 more minutes, stirring often until the blueberries thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the ground ginger and crystallized ginger. Cover with a lid to keep warm.
  6. Meanwhile, set aside 1/3 cup of the chocolate and melt the rest with the milk over a double boiler or in a large microwave safe bowl using the chocolate setting. If microwaving check every 20 seconds - white chocolate can easily scorch - and stir it. Once it's melted stir in the 1/3 cup of chocolate you set aside along with the coconut oil until it's smooth and creamy.
  7. Immediately mix in the blueberry mixture - the chocolate may start to thicken fast - add the coconut flakes and macadamia nuts. Combine well using a metal spoon to work it into the chocolate - it should be very thick at this point but still pretty soft.
  8. Once everything is combined allow to cool off for 10 minutes on the counter then refrigerate 15 minutes - no longer or it will harden too much.
  9. Scoop up slightly rounded tablespoons and pat into a rough-shaped ball (about 1-inch in size), using your fingers to pack it together and shape it. Set on a wire rack and repeat until all the mixture is used.
  10. Roll them in confectioners' sugar. Store tightly covered up to one week - these do not do well in the refrigerator because they harden up. For longer storage you can freeze them. If they do get too hard to eat you can microwave them for 5 seconds before eating.


*I use Callebaut White Chocolate Blocks. Look for it by the deli or near the artisan cheese section.

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved


Rocky Road Graham Cracker Candy Bark

Bark candy is made from melted chocolate with toppings mixed in or scattered over top. Think of it as candy bars gone wild. After the chocolate sets it’s broken up into irregular pieces and has a rustic, homemade look to it that I love…. 

Read More »