Recipes

Saltine Toffee Fudge aka Christmas Crack Fudge

Saltine Toffee Fudge aka Christmas Crack Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Have you heard of Christmas Crack? It’s a layered candy dessert of saltines, toffee and chocolate that is sweet, salty and – you guessed it – seriously addictive. I wanted to turn this classic Christmas holiday treat into a new chocolate fudge variation. This recipe is similar to the Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge I posted last week, but instead of pecans and caramel we’re loading the semisweet chocolate up with saltines and toffee bits.

Saltine Toffee Fudge aka Christmas Crack Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

The bottom layer is a layer of saltine crackers. I think a big reason this fudge is hard to stop eating is because of the saltines. I hadn’t eaten saltines in forever, but as soon as I opened the sleeve for this recipe I couldn’t stop munching them! So before we even add the chocolate we’re already in a losing battle. Unless your goal is to bring a dessert that gets wiped out first at the potluck, in which case you definitely would be winning that battle!

Saltine Toffee Fudge aka Christmas Crack Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Anyways, on top of the salty cracker layer I added half a batch of the smoothest ever chocolate fudge that has been loaded with crunchy toffee bits. Why half a batch? Well that’s because we’re doing a second layer of saltines followed by the second half of fudge! Christmas Crack is normally very thin so I wanted to add two layers of saltines so the salty element of the treat would come through. On top we have more toffee bits. I think I went a little light on these; the sweet toffee flavor is so good so feel free to top it to your heart’s content!

Saltine Toffee Fudge aka Christmas Crack Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

I already find the original World’s Smoothest Chocolate Fudge addicting so having the salty saltines and sweet toffee bits made it that much harder to resist. So we just ate a bunch and then gave the rest away so we wouldn’t have to fight the urge to eat the whole batch. You’ve been warned! When you cut this fudge, the saltine crackers on the bottom break off everywhere so you could spread a thin layer of chocolate down first if you want, but I found it still had enough crackers making it the way I listed in the recipe below.

Saltine Toffee Fudge aka Christmas Crack Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

One other element of this recipe that I want to discuss is our method for making this fudge. If you’ve read or made any of my other fudge recipes you will know that I always use a double boiler to melt the chocolate evenly without it getting burnt. I use and love this universal double boiler since it’s inexpensive and fits on any pot. However, when I was making this last batch, I was thinking about how I make chocolate ganache by warming the liquid in a nonstick pot and then adding the chocolate chips and letting them melt. I figured I would give it a shot with the fudge since using the double boiler is easy, but if I could use just one pot instead of two, it would be even easier.

Saltine Toffee Fudge aka Christmas Crack Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m so glad I tested it because it worked! I made sure to use low heat the entire time and I was constantly stirring the mixture to make sure none of the chocolate burned. So if you don’t have a double boiler and don’t feel like buying one then definitely give it a try with my new instructions below! Happy Friday, everyone!

Saltine Toffee Fudge aka Christmas Crack Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Saltine Toffee Fudge aka Christmas Crack Fudge
 
Yield: 32 to 64 pieces depending on how small you cut them
Ingredients
  • 25 saltines (a little less than 1 full sleeve)
  • 1 ounce Baker's unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • One 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 14-ounce can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup toffee bits, plus more for topping
Directions
  1. Line an 8" x 8" pan with wax paper with some overhang so it’s easy to pull the fudge out of the pan. It is easier if you crunch up the wax paper in your hands then smooth out into the pan. Layer 16 saltines on the bottom. They will be overlapped a little.
  2. Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate in a medium nonstick pan over low heat, stirring regularly with a heatproof spatula to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn.
  3. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and stir to combine. Let the mixture get a little warm then pour in half the bag of chocolate chips. Stir to help melt. Once partially melted add the rest of the bag of chocolate chips and stir until fully melted, being sure to scrape the bottom as you stir. Stir in the vanilla extract and remove from the heat. Add the toffee bits and stir to combine.
  4. Pour half the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan onto the saltine layer and smooth the top with the spatula. Make a new layer of 9 saltines then pour over the remaining half of the chocolate mixture, smoothing the top. Top with additional toffee bits. Refrigerate until the fudge is set; I usually let mine set overnight. Carefully pull the fudge out of the pan using the wax paper overhang, place on a large cutting board and cut into bite size squares with a clean, sharp knife. I usually cut mine into quarters and then cut each quarter into 16 pieces to get 64 pieces. Best eaten straight from the fridge.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral if you purchase something. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Quinoa Pizza Bites

Quinoa Pizza Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

Happy Monday and happy December, everyone! I’m making the mistake of writing this post while I’m hungry and just thinking about these Quinoa Pizza Bites is making my stomach rumble! I should get up to go eat something, but I’m going to use it as motivation to finish writing this post!

Quinoa Pizza Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m interrupting my Christmas and holiday dessert posts to bring you this Quinoa Pizza Bite recipe. Don’t worry, there’s plenty more chocolate and desserts to come, but today we’re all about this easy, cheesy and healthy-ish appetizer.

Quinoa Pizza Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love using pizza flavors in appetizers because they tend to be universally loved and nothing tastes better than some gooey cheese when you’re hungry.

Quinoa Pizza Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

These little bites are made right in a mini muffin pan sprayed with nonstick spray so you can pop them right out and serve them hot. The base of the bite is some cooked quinoa. Mixed in with the quinoa is shredded mozzarella cheese, chopped roasted red peppers, grated Parmesan, an egg and some pizza seasonings. Don’t forget the marinara for dipping!

Quinoa Pizza Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

The outside gets really crispy and crunchy, while the inside stays fluffy from the quinoa. You can use whichever pizza topping you prefer for the inside; Matt and I love roasted red peppers on our pizza so that’s what I used. I was also trying to keep them healthier where I could, but if you weren’t concerned about keeping it healthy, cooked crumbled sausage or mini pepperonis would be really good in these as well.

Quinoa Pizza Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

It’s nice to have some crowd-pleasing go-to appetizers around the holidays whether you’re hosting, asked to bring an appetizer or have a holiday potluck to attend. Or, as I mentioned in the Leftover Turkey Pull-apart Sliders with a Maple Mayo and Cranberry Barbecue Sauce post, if you just want a Friday night snack. I have a few more tasty holiday appetizers to share with you this month, but in the meantime below are some of my favorites! Okay, now I’m off to go eat!

Best Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs

Best Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto

Cheesy Pesto Bread with Crispy Prosciutto

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings

Sweet & Sticky Honey Baked Wings

Apple, Bacon and Brie Bread

Apple, Bacon and Brie Bread

Aunt Jen's Chicken Ginger Dumplings

Aunt Jen’s Chicken Ginger Dumplings

Honey Walnut Baked Brie

Honey Walnut Baked Brie

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip

Cheesy Corn & Chorizo Dip

Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls

Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls

Quinoa Pizza Bites
 
Yield: About 20
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup cooked quinoa, see note
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup chopped roasted red peppers, or other preferred topping
  • ¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • Marinara, for serving
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cavities. You will fill about 20. Make sure you press down to compact the mixture in each cavity.
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan before eating. Gently use a spoon to help remove them from the pan if necessary.
Notes
If you don’t already have cooked quinoa, bring ½ cup uncooked quinoa to a boil with 1 cup water, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender.

Recipe from Live Well Bake Often.

World’s Smoothest Peanut Butter Fudge

World's Smoothest Peanut Butter Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

I have some more fudge for you today and you will not want to miss this one! This is the first non-chocolate fudge variation I’ve posted, but that’s okay because we have peanut butter. If you are someone that likes to eat peanut butter off a spoon and lives for the center of a Reese’s then you will love this creamy peanut butter fudge.

World's Smoothest Peanut Butter Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

It has the same smooth texture of the original fudge that you get from using sweetened condensed milk instead of granulated or powdered sugar. The fudge has just the right amount of sweetness and a hint of vanilla letting the peanut butter flavor really shine through.

World's Smoothest Peanut Butter Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

You can thank my former boss, Darcy, for this creation! Two years ago I set out to attempt to convert my fudge recipe into a peanut butter version after Darcy said that was her favorite flavor. I swapped the bag of chocolate chips for peanut butter chips and used a white chocolate baking square instead of the unsweetened chocolate one so there wouldn’t be any cocoa flavor in the fudge. Finally, I got rid of the butter and added in peanut butter. Normally just peanut butter on its own isn’t a great swap for butter in baking, but since we’re making candy and only using two tablespoons I figured I would give it a shot.

World's Smoothest Peanut Butter Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

The end result was peanut butter perfection and I’ve been making it this way ever since! I was so excited it worked out since not all my variation attempts have been successful. One of the versions I was hoping to post this year did not set up quite right, but that just prompted me to come up with an even better flavor idea that I will be sharing next Friday!

World's Smoothest Peanut Butter Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Now back to this addicting peanut butter version. I make a note about it in the recipe, but I’ve only ever made this with creamy “regular” peanut butter, like Jif, so I can’t guarantee you will get the same results if you use the type of peanut butter that you have to stir because the oil separates. Usually that type of peanut butter doesn’t work as well in baked goods and treats. Also, as I say with all the fudge, I think this tastes best eaten cold straight from the fridge. Yum!

World's Smoothest Peanut Butter Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Peanut Butter Fudge
 
Yield: 36-64 pieces depending on how big you cut them
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce Baker's white chocolate baking squares
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, like Jif
  • One 12-ounce bag peanut butter chips
  • 1 14-ounce can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Line an 8" x 8" pan with wax paper and set aside.
  2. Melt peanut butter and the Baker’s chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour in half the bag of peanut butter chips and stir with a heatproof rubber spatula to help melt. Once partially melted add the rest of the bag of peanut butter chips and stir until fully melted.
  4. Carefully stir in the condensed milk to combine and remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula.
  6. Refrigerate until the fudge is set then cut into bite size pieces. Best eaten straight from the fridge.
Notes
I have only made this with creamy Jif-type peanut butter. I can not guarantee the same results with a natural peanut butter (the type you have to stir because the oil separates). Also, a peanut butter with less sugar might not taste sweet enough.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral if you purchase something. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge

Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

It’s not even December, but I can’t help diving into holiday season content. I just have too many recipes I’m excited to share! Normally I don’t start listening to Christmas music until December, or at the very least I wait until Thanksgiving is over, but I’ve been seriously in a holiday mood this year. I think it was all the baking I was doing the week before Thanksgiving and the early snow we got here in New England, but I have to confess that I had Christmas music playing in my kitchen two weeks ago. Oops!

Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

If there’s one dessert that is guaranteed to get me in the Christmas spirit it has to be Diane’s fudge. I love my stepmom’s classic fudge recipe (and you all do too – it’s the most popular recipe on Lemon & Mocha!), but I love all the fun variations I’ve made over the years even more. I’ve shared S’mores Fudge – crazy good – and Chocolate Peppermint Fudge – so Christmasty!

Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Today, we’re all about the Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge. In case you aren’t familiar, chocolate turtles are chocolate covered pecans with caramel inside and they kind of look like little turtles. I wanted to take those flavors and bring them into this classic semi-sweet chocolate fudge. The end result was messy, but so good!

Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

The chopped pecans are folded into the fudge so you get a little crunch in each bite. The caramel is drizzled on the fudge then swirled in before the fudge sets.

Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

I used Smucker’s salted caramel sauce since I love how quick it is to whip together a batch of fudge so I didn’t want to over-complicate it with homemade caramel. Do you think you will try this twist?

Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge  |  Lemon & Mocha

Turtle Caramel Pecan Fudge
 
Yield: 36-64 pieces depending on how big you cut them
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce Baker's unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • One 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 14-ounce can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ⅓ cup caramel, see note
Directions
  1. Line an 8" x 8" pan with wax paper and set aside.
  2. Melt butter and the Baker’s chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour in half the bag of chocolate chips and stir with a heatproof rubber spatula to help melt. Once partially melted add the rest of the bag of chocolate chips and stir until fully melted.
  4. Carefully stir in the condensed milk to combine and remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract and the pecans.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top of the fudge and use a knife to swirl into the fudge.
  6. Refrigerate until the fudge is set then cut into bite size pieces. Best eaten straight from the fridge.
Notes
Your caramel should be soft enough to drizzle off a spoon. If it’s too firm from being in the fridge, heat it slightly.

 

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto  |  Lemon & Mocha

Welcome back, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and hopefully some relaxing time off! I’m diving right into this recipe because I can’t wait any longer. This is one of those recipes that didn’t really start as a recipe. It was just something I threw together for Matt and I for dinner and it was so outrageously delicious that I decided it needed to be shared on Lemon & Mocha as soon as possible. And by as soon as possible I mean a couple months later because I’m working with a schedule here! This is my Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto. We also have some seared asparagus, sweet peas and sautéed shallots tossed in there.

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto  |  Lemon & Mocha

Before we go much further though, we need to discuss the product this whole dish centers around – Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi. Have you tried this yet? They are frozen gnocchi that have cauliflower as the bulk ingredient and have only 140 calories per serving! They are high in sodium since they are a frozen food after all, but the low calories and fat are pretty hard to beat. When I first saw people posting these gnocchi on Instagram, a lot of people were complaining about them being mushy when cooked according to the stove-top instructions on the back of the bag. The ultimate question seemed to be how to cook Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi.

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto  |  Lemon & Mocha

I thought about how much I love roasted cauliflower and how there’s no way they could get mushy if baked so I thought I would give it a shot. It worked! The gnocchi came out tender and perfectly crispy! Now, if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you there’s plenty of different cauliflower gnocchi recipes posted online if you search and you should be able to bake homemade gnocchi. I will probably test some of the recipes out in the coming months since I like making gnocchi, but in the meantime I’m sticking with these time-saver frozen ones.

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto  |  Lemon & Mocha

Anyways, back to this dish. The gnocchi are great on their own or with marinara sauce, but then you would miss out on these crispy shrimp coated in garlic, shallot and pesto. There are not a ton of gnocchi in the bag so I made sure to add in lots of green veggies so the dish would be plenty for the two of us for dinner. I highly recommend the asparagus and peas, but feel free to substitute in whichever vegetables you have on hand that would pair well with the shrimp and pesto. Maybe some spinach and pan-seared cherry tomatoes? Yum! Okay, I hope you all enjoyed this post because on Wednesday we’re going full-blown Christmas dishes and treats!

Baked Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crispy Shrimp and Pesto
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
  • ½ shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ to ¾ pound asparagus, trimmed then cut into thirds
  • ⅔ cup frozen peas
  • 10 raw shrimp
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Spread the gnocchi out on a baking sheet. Lightly spray them with cooking spray then bake for 40 minutes, or until they are crispy and golden, tossing/flipping 1 or 2 times during cooking.
  3. When the gnocchi are almost done, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the frozen peas.
  4. Push the veggies to the edges of the skillet and add a very little bit more olive oil. Add the shrimp so they are each directly touching the pan and sauté for 3 minutes on each side, or until pink and curled. Lightly season the shrimp with salt and pepper when you put them in the pan. Reduce heat to low. Add in the cooked crispy gnocchi and the pesto. Toss to combine and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Add more pesto or olive oil as needed. Top with grated Parmesan if desired.