Kitchen Creations

Peanut Butter Pretzel Delights

Last night I had a craving for something delicious, salty, sweet and peanut buttery...makes my mouth water just typing this!  I came up with these little cuties and they really hit the spot!  I hope you enjoy!

All the ingredients you will need are pretzels, Peanut Butter, Crispy Rice Cereal, Almond Bark and Marshmallows...couldn't be easier!

Start by heating the marshmallows and the Peanut Butter in the microwave for 1 minute.  Stir and then heat for 30 seconds, stirring in between 30 second increments, until smooth.

Next up, stir in the crispy rice cereal and then drop balls of the mixture onto wax or parchment paper.

While the balls are solidifying a bit place the pretzels in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.  Also, place the almond bark in a bowl and microwave, stirring often, until smooth.

Now, take the balls and coat them in the melted almond bark (you could use chocolate or vanilla candy coating as well).

After dipping the PB Balls, roll them in the crushed pretzels and then place back onto the wax paper until the bark has become firm again.  Once the treats have cooled....

Voila!!  You have a yummy, easy treat that is sure to please anyone with a Salty/Sweet/Peanut Butter craving!  Enjoy!

2 cups marshmallows
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
3 cups Crispy Rice
12 Pretzel Rods (or substitute other pretzel shape)
6 squares Almond Bark

1. Melt Marshmallows and PB in microwave for one minute in large bowl.  Stir, then continue to microwave in 30 second increments until smooth.
2. Add Crispy Rice to mixture then drop rounded spoonfuls onto wax paper to cool.
3. Place Pretzel rods in a Ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin.
4. Heat Almond Bark in bowl in the microwave, stirring frequently until smooth.
5. Dip Peanut Butter balls into the melted Almond Bark coating it completely.
6.  Drop the coated Peanut Butter balls onto a plate with the crushed pretzels placed on it while bark is still warm and roll to achieve total pretzel coverage.
7.  Place back onto wax paper and cool until Almond Bark is firm.
8.  Enjoy!

Kung Fu Panda Cake

My nephew, Adler, turned 5 on Saturday!  I can remember the day he was born so vividly!  I was in Florida on a scuba diving trip when I got the call from my brother in law that my sister was in labor.  We hopped in the car right away and hurried back to the city and I went straight to the hospital where I saw my sister for a a quick hug before she went into labor.  After what seemed like hours of anticipation in the waiting room my brother in law came out...white as a ghost I might add! (haha)...and announced a healthy baby boy had arrived!  From the day he was born he has been a blessing to everyone he knows.  He is a sweet hearted, adventurously spirited, action packed, back tickle lovin' little stud and I cannot imagine life without him!  This year I made the birthday cake for his Kung Fu Panda themed party.  It was the first time I have attempted a 3D cake and it was quite the experience. See how this cake was made below!

1. I started by making the most delicious chocolate cake following Amanda's recipe from the blog Kevin & Amanda.  This cake is serious business...for the full recipe click here.

2. I filled the Wilton 3D Bear cake pan with the yummy batter.  Very nerve racking!!

3.  I baked the bear as directed in the oven for about an hour.  Doesn't this look funny in the oven?!

 4. After an hour or so this was the result...a little spill over at the top but nothing to worry about...or so I thought!!

5.  When I turned the bear to the side I saw that there was actually a LOT of spill over!  This is when I began to worry!  I tested the cake with a raw spaghetti noodle and was shocked to find that the inside was totally raw!  I baked the cake for an additional 30 minutes or so before giving up and taking it out of the oven. The interior core that is supposed to bake the inside portion of the cake was a miserable failure as well.  When I flipped the cake over like the instructions directed the bear's guts basically fell out onto the counter!  Back to the oven he went!  As a result the bear was hollow...the cause of problems to come!
6. Next up I used the remaining batter (doubled Amanda's recipe) to start baking the base of the cake while the bear cooled.

7.  I let the bear and the base of the cake cool overnight and the next day, with fingers crossed, opened the bear pan to find....

(there was a slight crack in the head, and the whole hollow issue...but pretty good for a first try!)

8.  I got the idea to make "bamboo" out of Wilton Green Candy Melts dipped pretzel rods from another blogger and started the process.  It took a little longer than expected but the results were cute and yummy!

9.  I also made a few leaves to add to the cake out of the candy melts and let the bamboo and leaves cool on wax paper for around 45 minutes.

10.  While the candy cooled I started making the Buttercream frosting...also Amanda's recipe. I tripled her recipe which ended up being the perfect amount!

11.  After coloring a portion of the icing green I began frosting the base cake.

12.  Added the second layer and then iced the top!

13.  Next, I used another Wilton template and the candy melts to make these cute Happy Birthday posts!  I didn't end up using them because there was not enough room to stick them into the cake!  I did improvise a bit and made my nephew's name out of them, broke off the post portion and then stuck them to the front of the cake.  It ended up being a cute change!

14.  I was seriously intimidated to start icing the bear!   I went online and found a few inspiration images before I began...there are so many amazing cake images online!

15.  Then it was time....dun dun dunnnn....I started with a crumb coat...ever so carefully!
16.  Next, I started working on the basic panda fur patterning using a decorative tip.

17.  And at last the bear decorating was complete!!
18.  I was absolutely beaming with pride!!  I placed the bear on top of the base cake, then used buttercream on the bamboo sticks to adhere them to the side of the cake and sort of frame the bear. My final result was pretty darn cute and I was so excited to show him off to my husband!

My sweet hubby was super impressed but quickly our glee turned to terror when he accidentally bumped the box in the refrigerator housing the creation and the bear's head fell off!!  I was DEVASTATED!!  He felt horrible and we did surgery on the bear to salvage the head.  I put the head back on, put a few skewers through the bear to hold it up and then we stacked more bamboo shoots behind him as well to give him some extra support!  The end result was not as perfect as I would have liked but then again...what ever is?!  Haha... I was finally able to laugh about it...the next day...and my husband is now officially out of the dog house!  Lesson learned: refrigerate incredible 3D cake creations in a separate refrigerator!

The cake was a big hit at the party and tasted great too!  It made me so happy to see how excited Adler was to have a special cake for his special day. 

Only 3 1/2 months until my second nephew's birthday...will I be able to pull this off again!?!  I'm certainly up for the challenge! :)

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