Caramel Apple Bites

This is a genius idea. What a great way to make a usually messy snack into a wonderful, party friendly finger food! These Caramel Apple Bites are so cute and I can think of so many possibilities, including candy, chocolate, nuts, pretzels, you name it. Wouldn’t some Hot Fudge Sauce drizzled over these be yummy?

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Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Cheesecake Pops

Ingredients

Cheesecake:

  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups creamy peanut butter

Chocolate:

  • 5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions

Wooden pop sticks

For the cheesecake: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Line a 8 by 8-inch baking pan with foil letting long flaps overlap on each side. Spray foil with nonstick spray.

Break up the brown sugar to remove all lumps. In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until very smooth. Add the cream and beat slowly; then add the yolks and vanilla mixing until just combined. Gently stir in peanut butter. Take care not to over beat the mixture; this incorporates too much air and causes the cheesecake to crack.

Pour and evenly spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Open the oven to release some heat, then lower the temperature to 200 degrees F. Continue to bake the cheesecake until the outside is set but the center is still loose, for about 45 minutes. Turn off the oven, and cool cheesecake in the oven for 45 more minutes. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Lift cheesecake from the pan by lifting up the foil. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into

1 1/2-inch cubes. Stick a wooden pop stick halfway into each bar and freeze for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, put the shortening and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. (Alternatively, put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue to heat until completely melted, about 1 minute more.)

Dip the pops into the chocolate mixture, and stand on waxed paper to set, about 5 minutes. Serve cold (straight from the fridge), or freeze up to 2 weeks. Frozen pops make a cool summer treat, or can be allowed to temper for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Upgrade: Coat the pops with chopped nuts or candies for a really decadent finish. To do this let the dipped pops drip over a bowl for 15 seconds before rolling them.

This is an original Food Network recipe. How cute are these?

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Soft Pretzel Tots

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt or coarse Sea Salt

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 22-inch rope. Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces; using your two hands, one-by-one, roll them into circles. Place the balls (or tots) onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels tots into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel tot with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt (or coarse sea salt). Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source: As adapted by A Cozy Kitchen, originally by Alton Brown

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