I try my hardest to not keep candy around the house, but when it comes to Christmas, I simply can’t resist. Hershey’s Kisses, M&Ms, Andes Mints and Reeses Pieces are a few of my favorite treats to keep in the candy jar during the holidays. Oh, and candy canes, of course!

This year, my new favorite candy treat is the perfect combination of salty and sweet, mixing pretzels with Hershey’s kisses and festive M&Ms. I originally saw the idea for this sweet treated used for Valentines Day on the blog g*rated. Since then, I’ve made them for several other holidays, including Halloween and Thanksgiving.

This time, instead of using Hershey’s Hugs (the black and white striped cousin of the Kiss), I found these yummy and festive peppermint kisses. The red and white stripes were the perfect seasonal update to the snack.

Beware: this snack is absolutely addictive. You seriously cannot eat just one. But worry not, it’s still December and those New Years resolutions don’t kick in until the first!

Christmas-Inspired Pretzel & Chocolate Button Bites

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Lay the butter snaps out into rows, leaving space between the pretzels to prevent them from melting together. Add a peppermint kiss to the top of each pretzel. Put the cookie sheet into the oven for 3-5 minutes. The kisses should get warm, but you should take them out before they start melting and losing their shape. Remove the sheet from the oven and immediately press green M&Ms into the kisses. Before removing from the tray, allow the bites to harden. It helps to put them into the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so.

Tips & Tricks:

  • You can use regular pretzels instead of the butter snaps, but I have found that the butter snaps taste better and since their holes are smaller, easier to manage with melted kisses.
  • Instead of setting the oven timer and walking away, keep an eye on the snack as it bakes. It’s pretty easy to tell when you should take them out if you keep an eye on them.
  • The peppermint kisses took a little less time to melt than the hugs usually do. More on the 3 side of 3 to 5 minutes.
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Quick & Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

My new obsession with pinterest has me in recipe overdrive. Last weekend I decided to try out an easy and cheap recipe for tw0-ingredient pumpkin muffins that recently took my pinterest feed by storm. I was totally intrigued by the idea of such a simple pastry and just had to try it for myself!

Given the simplicity of this recipe, I decided to start by doing some research and figure out which ingredients would make for the best result. The original pin called for a yellow cake mix, but after a bit of googling and reading through comments, I found that people who had made these multiple times liked a spice cake mix better. I can’t find where I read it, but one site suggested that you use Duncan Hines Spice cake mix in particular. I also found a few recipes that called for a yellow mix with nutmeg and cinnamon added, but that just seemed like too much work!

As you would suspect with a two-ingredient recipe, these babies were a breeze to make. It took no time at all! One thing that did surprise me was that this recipe didn’t make a full two-dozen muffins. On the recommendation of another blogger who said that they wouldn’t rise like regular cupcakes, I filled my liners with more batter than usual, which is probably why I ended up with 17 muffins instead of 24.

Some blogs showed the muffins topped with powdered sugar or iced with cream cheese frosting, but trying to keep them healthy and low-cal, I decided to leave mine plain.

Not only are these muffins easy to make, but they turned out super moist and very delicious. I brought them to the office this morning and everybody loved them! These are certainly going into my go-to recipe file for fall!

Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

Makes about a dozen and a half muffins

  • 1 box Duncan Hines Spice cake mix
  • 1 15 oz. can 100% Pumpkin Puree (Do not use pumpkin pie filling.)
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips, if desired

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Dump ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Blend with a mixer for two minutes on medium speed or until well mixed. The batter will be thick. If desired, use a spatula to fold in chocolate chips. Scoop batter into lined or greased muffin tins.

These muffins won’t rise like traditional cupcakes so fill them with more batter than usual. If you like smooth rounded tops, use a spoon to even out the batter. These will not settle like normal muffins or cupcakes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let muffins cool before removing from the muffin tins. You may choose to top them with powdered sugar or creme cheese frosting, but I thought they tasted delicious plain!

Tips & Tricks:

  • When made without chocolate chips, these moist and delicious pumpkin muffins are only 2 Weight Watchers points!
  • You may choose to top them with powdered sugar or creme cheese frosting, but I thought they tasted delicious plain!
  • As tempting as it may be, do NOT add the eggs, water or vegetable oil as instructed on the box.

Download the Recipe

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Rainbow Cake Slice - Taste the Rainbow!

A few weeks ago I was blown away when I saw the rainbow cake posted on Hostess Blog. I knew right away that I had to try it for myself! I’ve been waiting for a good reason to bake a cake so when I found out it was a co-workers birthday, I decided to give it a go. The tutorial at Omnomicon was delightfully uncomplicated (and hilarious). The cake not only turned out great but it got rave reviews from all around City Hall and brought a big smile to a good friend and co-worker on her special day! Though Aleta’s tutorial is above adequate I still feel compelled to post my own version of the tutorial and answer some questions that I had as I was making this colorful confection.

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Pseudo Souffles

Since the first time I saw the chick-flick Because I Said So (which I have now seen at least twenty times!) I have been wanting to attempt to make the chocolate souffles that not-so-subtly serve as a metaphor for Milly’s relationships in the movie. After a quick google search I learned that making souffles is nothing less than an art form and requires a bit more talent in baking than I possess. I’ve been biding my time until I can become a better cook, or find an easy alternative.

Luckily enough, in February I found my solution to the souffle! In February, my mom and her friends hosted a Valentines Dinner for Fourteen. Her friend, Leslie, was in charge of the desserts and used this quick and easy recipe to whip up fourteen souffle-like creations on the spot! There are only a few ingredients making these tiny treats are very inexpensive, yet impressive. I tried my hand at whipping them up and they turned out so well I decided I MUST share the recipe with you!

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The Perfect Pound Cake

A pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of flour, heck, I could put on five pounds just thinking about baking a pound cake! One of my very favorite dessert recipes is the “Perfect Pound Cake” recipe from Southern Living. And today, in honor of “National Pound Cake Day,” wanted to share it with you, my readers.

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Smore Please!

Last weekend I was invited to a camp out at my friend Morgan’s house. My mother taught me to never to go a party empty handed so in the campfire spirit I prepared a basket of Smores bags to bring along. They were a huge hit! Here’s the details on how to recreate them.

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