Chocolate Mice

Hershey kisses form the face of chocolate-dipped maraschino cherries with stems sandwiching almond slivers for ears.

Hershey kisses form the face of chocolate-dipped maraschino cherries with stems sandwiching almond slivers for ears.

Chocolate Mice

My bee buddy David turned 70 years old this year. To celebrate, his sons joined him for a weekend of fine dining, theatre and catching up on family stories, including a chocolate birthday cake with white icing decorated with, what else – bees.

There’s another passion in David’s life, besides his lovely wife. Three cats have found refuge at David’s house, each with a story sadder than the next one until you see them today, coats shiny as they happily lounge on the grass outside David’s basement office.

There is Shirley, a one-eyed calico suspected of being at least 18 years old who is the self-designated house greeter. Chatty Shirley will let you know it’s time to pick her up when she rolls over after telling you all about her day.

Then there is black Henry with yellow eyes, who hides from most people but who talks to me, especially when he wants inside the house. One time he led me to all house doors to see if I could let him inside. Unfortunately I didn’t happen to have a key and he let me know what he thought of my shortcomings by dashing off.

Finally, there is black and white Smokey, who played hard to get for 3 years and now won’t let David, or Henry, out of his sight. I, on the other hand, Smokey can easily do without and tries to, every time he sees me.

When I heard about David’s landmark birthday, I knew the furry family had to contribute – actually Shirley asked me, she has a lot to say every time she sees me – so I made one of my favorite gift treats, chocolate mice.

Chocolate Mice Recipe

You need:

Unwrapped Hershey milk chocolate kisses

Maraschino cherries with stems

Dark almond bark

Almond slivers

Storage container

Tin gift can

Wax paper

Paper Towel

How To Make Chocolate Mice

Drain maraschino cherries and place on paper towel.

Unwrap Hershey kisses. It's okay to test them for freshness.

Melt dark almond bark in microwave for 1 ½ minutes until melted. Dip maraschino cherries in chocolate until covered; place on wax paper to dry.

Add dab of melted chocolate to flat Hershey kiss; add 2 Almond slivers. Press against cherry. Allow to dry.

Store in air tight container.

Package chocolate mice in a tin container to keep the almond ears from breaking and add toy mice on top instead of a ribbon for a feline treat. (Photos by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Package chocolate mice in a tin container to keep the almond ears from breaking and add toy mice on top instead of a ribbon for a feline treat. (Photos by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

How to Package Chocolate Mice

To make these even more special, I packaged them in a tin container. Make sure the tin is tall enough not to break the almond sliver ears.

If you want to make sure they don’t move, you can use a tiny dab of chocolate to “glue” the mice to a cardboard bottom.

For fun, I added three catnip mice to the tin instead of a ribbon. The gift card was “signed” with the three cats footprints, a cat foot print stamp my cats have been known to use for their gift-giving. I added names just in case David couldn’t distinguish between one set of prints against another one but he seemed to know who had contributed to the birthday sentiments without my saying another word.

These also make wonderful Christmas and Halloween treats. Trick or treat!

Charlotte

Make Your Own Ready to Bake Cookie Dough

Chocolate chip cookie dough frozen in wax paper makes handy cookie dough for quick cooking.

Chocolate chip cookie dough frozen in wax paper makes handy cookie dough for quick cooking.

Make Your Own Ready to Bake Cookie Dough

When I was growing up, this time of year, we would make icebox cookies, cookie recipes designed to wrap the dough up in wax paper and freeze for quick later use.

Years later, I took my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, wrapped that up in wax paper and voila - after freezing, I could also quickly cut, cook and serve. Well, yes, they should be cooled but when one has a chocolate chip cookie emergency, there is very little to no rack cooling time.

I have also tested this with some other favorite cookie doughs and they all worked well, too so if you need to make dough ahead of time for cookie baking, this is a good option.

One more tip: if you just need a few cookies ready, bake in an electric toaster oven.

Another important tool for emergency cookie baking, a little toaster oven.

Another important tool for emergency cookie baking, a little toaster oven.

Keep an eye on the toaster oven the first time you bake cookies to make sure you get the right amount of time and temperature.

When finished, cookies look just like they came out of the oven.

A rare sight, chocolate chip cookies cooling on a cookie rack.

A rare sight, chocolate chip cookies cooling on a cookie rack.

Cookies are part of our family holiday tradition so anything that makes the process easier so we can keep the tradition is a great addition!

Charlotte

Bahklava Revisited

Alex Pizza bahklava topped with Greek Farms, Rolla, Mo. honey but there's more to serving this.

Alex Pizza bahklava topped with Greek Farms, Rolla, Mo. honey but there's more to serving this.

One of the perks of hosting monthly beekeeping meetings is that people bring in goodies to share. One delicious offering comes from Mike Samaras with Alex's Pizza, Rolla, Mo., one of our beekeeping students now selling honey at his Greek Farms.

Now I have enjoyed homemade bahklava off and on over the years but it's not a dessert I have seen mentioned how to best serve in Missouri cookbooks.  Mike said the best way to enjoy this pile of filo dough layers filled with chopped nuts is to drizzle honey over the top. Already rich to my taste, adding honey seemed unnecessary but I tried it. It was delicious.

Then Mike said and the other part of how to serve this desert is to add a sprinkling of cinnamon.

A piece of Alex Pizza bahklava served drizzled with honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Yumm!

A piece of Alex Pizza bahklava served drizzled with honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Yumm!

I took a piece of bahklava home, added a drizzle of my own honey and sprinkled with cinnamon. The cinnamon helped cut some of the richness and gave the combination a more subtle taste. Still wonderful and rich.

Thanks for the tip, and the delicious bahklava, Mike!

Charlotte

 

Sweet Nutty Treat

Sometimes you want something sweet to end your meal  and these nutty treats are easy, and fun, to make.

Using mini-vanilla wafers, add a dab of melted chocolate to the bottom. Attach a Hershey kiss.

Once dry, use a toothpick to dab a tiny stem on the top.

Takes 5 minutes from start to finish and adds charm to any dish as a sweet, desert garnish.

Acorns, any one?

Charlotte