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Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

Homemade Crunchy Chocolate

Danes love to make many different types on confections (konfekt) around Christmas time. They are small delectable treasures and usually pretty easy to make. This one is super quick and easy and I adore the slight crunch from the biscuits and the hint of cranberries. It reminds me of my Kiksekage, which I looove, only this is in small bite-size pieces. However, it does contain nougat which I have never seen in a regular grocery store here where we live. So the only way for me to get nougat is to order it online, but it is well worth it 🙂

Homemade Crunchy Chocolate

Ingredients:

200 grams semi-sweet or milk chocolate (7 oz)

100 grams nougat (3.52 oz)

50 grams biscuits (1.76 oz)

30 grams dried cranberries (1 oz)

Directions:

Over a warm water bath, melt nougat and chocolate. Remove bowl from water bath and break biscuits into small pieces, add to melted chocolate. Add dried cranberries and gently stir to moisten and combine all pieces. Line a small container with parchment paper allowing paper to extend over edges for easy removal of chocolate. Pour chocolate mixture into container and place in refrigerator for two hours to cool and set. Glædelig Jul and Merry Christmas!

Nougat

Source: adapted from Odense Marcipan

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This cake was love at first sight and that love was confirmed with the first bite. I have always been indifferent to zucchini, didn’t pay them any attention. As a matter of fact I always thought they were a bit boring. So what initially drew me to this cake was the deep, dark chocolate look and then I read on and discovered it contained zucchini, and I was intrigued. I had to taste this for myself.

The result was amazing and the cake left me speechless…well almost speechless 🙂 The cake is moist with a delicious intense chocolate flavor and I still can’t believe that it has zucchini in it. I was a bit unsure when I first made this cake if I should simply just let the shredded zucchini sit in the sieve and drip off while I prepared the other ingredients. I seemed to me that it should at least get squeezed a little to get rid of some more liquid. But I decided to trust the instructions and just let it sit quietly and drip off and it turned out perfectly. As you can probably tell I am a little excited about this cake and it will definitely not be the last time that I make it.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake (makes 1 loaf)

Ingredients:

2 cups zucchini (1 large), shredded

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

6 tablespoons butter (3 oz.), melted

1 large egg

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Rinse and dry zucchini. Leaving the peel on, grate the zucchini using the small holes on the grater. Place shredded zucchini in a sieve over a bowl and allow the excess liquid to drain while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a loaf pan and set aside.

In a bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice, set aside.

Over low heat melt butter and set aside to cool a little.

In your stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a handheld mixer) beat egg and sugar until creamy and smooth. While continuing to mix, add vanilla extract and butter. Using a spatula, fold in the shredded zucchini. Then fold in the dry ingredients until combined, do this in three increments. Add chocolate chips and mix until combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

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Devil’s Food Cupcake With Perfect Chocolate Frosting

Attention all chocolate lovers…this one is for you! These cupcakes are double trouble. The cupcake is super moist with an intense chocolate flavor and the frosting is silky soft with an intoxicating chocolate aroma. Careful not to overbake the cupcakes, you don’t want to loose that perfect moisture.

Devil’s Food Cupcakes

I was taking a cake decorating class and had brought this chocolate frosting in with me for my project and we were about an hour into the class when all of the sudden the girl next to me burst out “omg that frosting smells amaaaazing” 🙂 It really does have a fantastic aroma.

Perfect Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients for Cupcakes (makes 24 cupcakes)

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (65 g)

3/4 cup hot water (177 ml or 6 fl oz)

3 cups all-purpose flour (400 g)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (340 g)

2 1/4 cups sugar (465 g)

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream, room temperature (225 g or 8 oz)

Ingredients for Frosting (makes enough frosting for 12 cupcakes)

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (120 grams), coarsely chopped

2/3 cup unsalted butter (150 grams), room temperature

1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar (160 grams), sifted

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions for Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowel, mix togther flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Melt butter with sugar over medium-low heat until dissolved and stir to combine. Remove from heat and pour into mixing bowl. On medium-low speed beat until cooled (4-5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is combined. Add vanilla and cocoa mixture, beat until combined. Scrape down sides as needed. On low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beat just until combined after each.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter. Bake, rotating muffin tins halfway through cooking time, for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer muffin tins to baking racks and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from baking tins and place on baking racks, allow to cool completely.

Note: cupcakes can be store at room temperature overnight or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

Directions for Frosting:

Melt chocolate over a hot water bath. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electrical mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add confectioners sugar and beat until smooth and light (about 2 minutes). Add vanilla extract and chocolate, beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase speed to medium high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (2-3 minutes).

Pipe or spread frosting onto cupcakes. Enjoy!

Source: Cupcakes – Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, Frosting – Joy of Baking

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Cornflakes Tops with Strawberries and Nougat

I don’t get into the hype of Valentine’s Day but for those of you looking for a quick and easy little treat to serve for your loved ones, these Cornflakes Tops are just that. I realize of course that nougat is not readily available in the grocery stores in the States, so I purchase it online and to me it’s well worth the effort. But if you don’t want the trouble of having to purchase something online, simply just leave the Nougat out of the recipe and add a little more chocolate instead. The Nougat adds a slightly nutty flavor to the chocolate and the freeze-dried strawberries gives it a sweet yet tangy sensation.  I love how every bite of these Cornflakes Tops stay crunchy. The cornflakes are perfect for holding its crispness even after they have been smothered with chocolate. I hope you enjoy these lovely little bites as much as we did. 🙂

Cornflakes Tops with Strawberries and Nougat

Ingredients:

7 oz semi-sweet chocolate (200 grams)

3.5 oz nougat (100 grams)

2 oz cornflakes, original (60 grams)

5/8 oz freeze-dried strawberries (15 grams), plus more for sprinkling on top

Directions:

Give dried strawberries a rough chop and place in a bowl with cornflakes. Over a warm water bath, melt nougat and chocolate. Remove bowl from water bath and pour chocolate over cornflakes and chopped strawberries. Stir gently but thoroughly to ensure dry ingredients are completely covered with chocolate. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop spoonfuls of cornflakes into little haystack shapes. Top with additional finely chopped strawberries and place in refrigerator for two hours to cool and set. To store, keep refrigerated. Enjoy!

Source: My Danish Kitchen

Nougat

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World Peace Cookies

This is my second month of participating in The Secret Recipe Club and I was assigned to go sneak around Everyday Insanity’s food blog. Everyday Insanity is a very lovely blog run by Cindy who lives in Utah and who has grown children as well as grandchildren. The blog has an even mix of wonderful savory foods and delicious sweets. Since Christmas is quickly approaching I really wanted to stick with the Christmas theme. When I came across Cindy’s World Peace Cookies I immediately knew what I was making. What could possibly be more appropriate for the Christmas season than World Peace Cookies?

I had already heard wild rumors about how delicious these cookies are and I am here to tell you that the rumors are true. The cookies are fairly simple and quick to make. I did read a piece of good advice which was to remove one tablespoon of flour and it worked out really well. So I measured out 1 1/4 cups flour and then removed 1 tablespoon. The final dough appears a little bit crumbly but simply just press the dough together gently. After the cookies are done baking they may look undercooked to you, but they really are fully cooked so don’t be tempted to over-bake them.

The cookies are slightly crumbly yet a little chewy and wonderful chocolaty with a hint of sea salt. I believe they will become a stable Christmas cookie here at our house. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe Cindy 🙂

World Peace Cookies

Ingredients:

1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (11 tablespoons), at room temperature

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

a small 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour – minus 1 tablespoon

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (use chips or chocolate that’s chopped into small chocolate chip size)

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add  brown sugar, sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Continue to beat for two minutes more, scraping sides of bowl and paddle as needed.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. With the mixer off, add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Pulse the mixer on low about five times, one or two seconds each time. Continue to mix on low-speed just until the flour disappears into the dough, do not over-mix. The dough will look crumbly. Add the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

Turn dough out onto work surface, press it together and divide dough in half. Working with one half at a time, press and gently roll the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, making sure rack is placed in the center of oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Using a sharp knife, cut the cold logs into 1/2 inch slices. If the sliced dough cracks, simply just press them together again. Arrange cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes. Do not over-bake cookies even though they may not look done to you. Transfer baking sheet to a cooling rack and let cookies rest until room temperature.

Note: the dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you are using frozen dough, you do not need to defrost it before baking (although it is a lot easier to slice if it’s defrosted) – just slice the logs into cookies and bake for 1 minute longer. Enjoy!

Source: Cookbookhabit via Everyday Insanity

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Anvil Cookies

My husband Joe asked me if I could make cookies in the shape of an anvil. I said “sure, but I don’t think you’ll find an anvil cookie cutter in the stores”. Of course I should have known that it wouldn’t stop him on his quest for anvil cookies. And so he proceeded to make an anvil cookie cutter…is there anything that man cannot make?

Gentile Forge Cookies

The cookie cutter is nice and sharp and it worked like a charm. I choose a delicious chocolate sugar cookie and to make sure the dough does not spread out during baking it’s important to let the cut-out cookies chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before baking.

Anvil Cookies

Anvil Chocolate Sugar Cookies (makes 44 cookies)

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (355 grams)

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder (75 grams)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup unsalted butter (226 grams), at room temperature

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (350 grams)

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Icing:

2 cups powdered sugar (220 grams)

1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder (15 grams)

1/4 teaspoon almond extract (can use other extract flavors if desired)

1/4 – 1/2 cup warm water (60 – 120 ml)

food color, if desired

Directions:

To make Cookies: In a large bowl sift together flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder and set aside. In the bowl of an electrical mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy and smooth (about 3-4 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract, mix until combined. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients. As dry ingredients becomes incorporated you can increase speed. Mix only until it forms a homogeneous dough. Divide dough into two portions, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).

Remove one half of dough from refrigerator. Lightly flour your work surface and roll dough out to a thickness of 1/4 inch (6 millimeters). Keep turning the dough so it does not stick to counter. Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter. Transfer cookies to baking sheets. Place baking sheets in refrigerator for 15 minutes (to prevent cookies from loosing their shape during baking). Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes or until firm around edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Frost with Icing if desired.

To make Icing: Note – for these particular cookies I only iced along the edges of cookies. If you plan on filling in cookies with icing, I would recommend doubling the icing recipe.

In a medium bowl sift together powdered sugar and meringue powder. Add almond extract. Add warm water in increments, while mixing with your electrical mixer. Add food color if desired. Beat on medium speed until smooth and glossy. Proper consistency is when a ribbon of icing falls into bowl and remain on surface for a few seconds. Add more confectioners sugar if icing becomes too thin. Use icing immediately or store in an airtight container covered with plastic wrap directly on the surface.

Be sure icing in completely set before storing cookies in an airtight container. It could take several hours for icing to set.

Source: adapted from Joy of Baking

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Havregrynskugler

Havregrynskugler is a Danish Christmas treat that children of almost all ages can really get involved in making. They are a fun activity and super easy to make and also no-bake.

There are numerous different recipes for Havregrynskugler varying from low-fat to much richer, lower sugar to sweeter as well as adult versions containing alcohol and coffee. I like this version because it does not have a lot of butter, contains Marzipan which I love and it has a slight crunch from the sugar. If you don’t care for the sugar crunch you could substitute with confectioners sugar.

Havregrynskugler

Ingredients:

50 gram unsalted butter, at room temperature (4 tablespoons)

50 gram marzipan (1.75 ounces)

75 gram sugar (2.63 ounces)

125 gram oats (1 1/2 cups)

25 gram unsweetened cocoa (0.87 ounce or 4 tablespoons)

1 -2 teaspoon almond extract

1 -2 teaspoon rum

2 teaspoon seedless raspberry jam

about 100 gram coconut flakes, chopped finely (3.51 ounces)

Directions:

Optional: process oats in a food processor for a few pulses to break up oats a little.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add butter and break marzipan into small pieces, cream together until smooth. Add sugar and continue to beat for 1 or 2 minutes longer. Add oats, cocoa, almond extract, rum and raspberry jam, continue to mix until homogeneous.

Form into small balls by pressing the dough together and rolling in your hands. Immediately roll each ball in the coconut. Place covered in refrigerator. Serve cold. Enjoy!

Source: adapted from Kvalimad

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Dark Chocolate S’mores Pie

I came across a big secret the other day. It’s called The Secret Recipe Club and here is how it works. It’s a club created by Amanda from Amanda’s Cooking which you can join. Every month you are assigned a participating food blog which you then secretly visit and choose one of their recipes to make/bake and blog about. Someone is then in turn assigned to your blog and makes one of your recipes and so on. On reveal day everyone post their recipes at the same time and the secret is out of the bag, I thought this sounds like a lot of fun.

My Secret blog turned out to be a very lovely food blog named Alli-n-son and it’s run by Allison who is the busy momma of two very cute little boys. Allison’s blog is filled with lots of delicious food and desserts. After much going back and forth trying to decide on what to make, I finally decided on Alli’s tempting Dark Chocolate S’mores Pie.

This S’mores Pie quickly became a bit of a hot topic around our house because I wanted to make it with a meringue topping instead of the traditional marshmallows, and so you see, technically it is no longer a S’mores Pie. This is true! Meringue is made with sugar and egg whites while marshmallows are made with sugar, corn syrup and gelatin. Not the same thing I admit, but both white, soft and fluffy 🙂 so therefore in my mind an acceptable substitute. I had to take the topic to my work for other opinions and imagine they all sided with my husband 😦 But as we all know, “you can always tell a Dane, but you can’t tell em much”. Yes that’s right, the stubborn Dane came out in me and so it is a S’mores Pie with Meringue topping.

Dark Chocolate S’mores Pie with Meringue Topping

The pie came out much better than expected. Originally I made this pie with cinnamon graham crackers which was too sweet, so I would recommend using regular graham crackers. Also, with the Meringue topping, the pie is best the same day it’s made. Other than that, wonderful pie and a lot of fun to make.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (123 g or 4.3 oz)

1/4 cup granulated sugar (55 g or 1.9 oz)

4 tablespoons butter, melted (56 g or 1.9 oz)

For the filling:

4 egg yolks

1 cup granulated sugar (220 g 7.7 oz)

1/4 cup cornstarch (33 g or 1.1 oz)

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

a pinch of sea salt

3 cups skim milk (710 ml or 24 fl oz)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (28 g or 1 oz)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

4 large egg whites

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (130 g or 4.6 oz)

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:

To make the crust:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)

Place graham crackers in a food processor or blender and process until you have a fine crumb. Place cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl and stir to combine. Place crumb mixture in a 9 inch baking dish and gently press crumbs out and up the sides of the pie dish. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool. Shut oven off but keep oven door closed to preserve the heat for later use.

To make the filling:

In a medium bowl using an electrical mixer, beat egg yolks to combine and set aside. In a medium sauce pan combine sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt and milk. Whisk vigorously to combine at first, then set heat to medium and bring mixture to a simmer stirring frequently. Allow to simmer for 1 minute, remove from heat.

While beating the egg yolks, slowly add 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate mixture to the egg yolks. Then pour the beaten egg mixture back into the sauce pan with the remaining chocolate mixture, return to the stove and over medium heat bring mixture back up to a simmer. Allow to continue to simmer for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla, stir to combine. Pour pudding mixture into baked pie crust and set aside, the pudding filling will continue to set.

To make the topping:

Separate the egg whites from the yolks and place the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl of your electrical mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Meringue should still have a glossy appearance.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C)

Spread meringue over the pie filling or fill meringue into a piping bag fitted with a decorating tip and pipe meringue onto the pie filling, starting in the center working your way out to the edge of pie. Return the pie to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until peaks are golden brown.

Place on wire rack and allow to cool. Serve and enjoy same day!

Source: crust and filling adapted from Alli-n-son, meringue is from Joyofbaking

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Danish Træstammer

We are looooong overdue for a Danish recipe, don’t you think? There are so many recipes that I want to make (Danish and others alike)  and simply not enough hours in the day. Maybe if I took a month off from work I could make a dent in my to-do-list.

Anyway, I have been planning and researching Danish Træstammer for a long time now and I am so excited to finally being able to share them with you. I remember buying Træstammer from the store at home and they were a very special treat indeed.  For this post I choose to use a ganache as a binder which seems perhaps a little cumbersome but very delicious. Making Træstammer is not an exact science. A lot depends on how moist or dry your left-over chocolate cake is, mine was actually quite fresh and moist so it did not take much ganache to form the inside cake “batter”. The ganache portion of this recipe makes more than enough, so if you happen to have something needing decorating, the left-over ganache will be perfect.

Ingredients:

For the ganache:

2.5 deciliter (9 oz) whipping cream

250 grams (8.8 oz) dark chocolate

For the chocolate filling (logs):

400 grams (14 oz) left-over good chocolate cake

1/4 cup ganache

3 tablespoons Bacardi Gold Rum

For the outside covering:

400 grams (14 oz) marzipan

confectioners sugar for sprinkling

dark chocolate for dipping

Directions:

To make ganache: Chop the chocolate and place in a small bowl. Pour whipping cream into small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Pour the hot whipping cream over chopped chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir chocolate mixture until it’s smooth. Place in refrigerator to cool for 20-25 minutes.

To make chocolate filling (logs): Break left-over cake into large chunks and place in food processor or blender, process until fine crumbs. Slowly add chocolate ganache, while processing, until crumbs start to come together into a ball. Add rum. Form chocolate mass into a ball and place in refrigerator.  

Sprinkle flat working surface with confectioners sugar. Form marzipan into a rectangle and start rolling it out making sure it does not stick to working surface.

Remove the chocolate filling from the refrigerator, divide into three parts and roll each part into long logs approximately 2-3 centimeters (0.8-1 inch) in thickness. Place logs one at the time onto the marzipan and roll the marzipan around the log, cut along the long edge to fit. Pinch together the long edge to close the marzipan around the chocolate log. Gently roll the marzipan log to flatten the seam. Trim off the ends of the log, cut the logs into equal lengths approximately 7-8 centimeters (2.8-3 inches). Place cut up logs on baking sheet and place in refrigerator.

Chop the remaining chocolate, place in a small bowl over a water bath and melt. Dip each end of the logs in the melted chocolate, place on baking sheet and allow to cool. Enjoy!

Source: Himmelske Kager

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Ghost Pretzels

Halloween is almost here and I wanted to sneak in one more Halloween themed post. These Ghost Pretzels are fun and very easy to make and they bring a smile to the faces of children and adults alike. I brought these with me to my husbands Blacksmith demo in Driver, Virginia and they were all gobbled down by the hungry Blacksmiths.

Driver Days

Driver Days is a Fall festival in Suffolk, Virginia and it’s an event which I look forward to each year. Driver is a wonderful, quaint little town which manages to put on a great event every October. There’s good music, arts and crafts for sale, fun activities for the kids, a classic car show, cute Blacksmiths which smile at you (ok, so that’s my husband smiling at me) and lots of good food and baked goods.

Back to the Ghost Pretzels. Of couse there is no real recipe for making the Ghost Pretzels so I feel a little silly posting one. But that’s what foodies do, they photograph and post recipes for everything, so here goes.

Ingredients:

1 bag of pretzel rods

14 oz bag of Vanilla flavored Candy Wafers (or white chocolate morsels)

edible ink marker

Directions:

Melt white chocolate over a warm water bath or in the microwave. Pour melted chocolate into a tall thin glass and dip pretzel rods into chocolate. Place pretzel rods onto parchment paper or stand up in a cup to allow white chocolate to dry. Once chocolate has hardened draw faces using an edible ink marker (which can be found at local craft and baking stores as well as online).

Source: Savory Sweet Life, originally from PBS Parents

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