Chocolate Walk perfect <br>cure for holiday sweet tooth

S’More Clusters

Four Paws Emporium

Four Paws Emporium is a non-profit organization that benefits the Animal Aid Network. Started two and a half years ago by Debbie Engle, president, and two other women, they offer a low-cost spay and neuter program to all residents of the Verde Valley. They also have a Save-Fund to help with emergency veterinarian costs for those in need.

The store accepts donations of and sells antiques, collectibles and clothing and is operated by an all-volunteer staff. They have been located on Main Street in Old Town Cottonwood since April.

These S’more Clusters are a tradition in Debbie’s family and remind her of camping.

6 milk chocolate candy bars, broken into pieces

1-1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 cups miniature marshmallows

8 whole graham crackers, broken into bite-size pieces

In a large microwave-safe bowl, toss chocolate and oil. Microwave, uncovered, at 50-percent power for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until chocolate is melted, stirring once. Stir in marshmallows and graham crackers. Spoon into paper-lined muffin cups (about 1/3 cup each). Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

This recipe was done in an 850-watt microwave. Yield: 1 dozen.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Bitts & Pieces

Bitts & Pieces Arty Boutique, 913 N. Main St., in Old Town Cottonwood, is more than a gallery. It’s dedicated to artists. Owner Gayle Zalena is a designer of jewelry, wood and many other things that she co-creates with various artists.

She started her business 18 years ago in Chicago and moved it to Cottonwood six years ago.

Gayle created these cookies with a chocolate moon on top. She also makes holiday teddy bear cookies with sprinkles of edible glitter. She believes edible glitter is the "new thing" and will be very popular for the holidays.

1/2 cup margarine (Gayle uses Canola Harvest brand.)

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream margarine and peanut butter together. Add sugars and cream again. Stir in egg and vanilla. Sift salt, soda and flour together and add to creamed mixture. Mix well.

Drop from teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheet. Place about two inches apart, as they spread in baking. Press flat. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool 1 or 2 minutes before removing from the pan. Yield: 5 dozen. Approximately 50 calories per cookie.

Gayle has added the following special touch to the recipe:

Within 2 minutes after removing cookies from the oven, press one slice of a chocolate orange on top of the cookie so it will melt slightly and stick.

The chocolate orange is made by Terry’s and comes in orange milk chocolate, orange dark chocolate, raspberry milk and dark chocolate. (Gayle found these at Walgreen’s. She has also used chocolate teddy bears.)

There are 20 slices that fall from the ball when whacked on a counter top.

This is Evelyn Bacon’s recipe from Time to Operate in the Kitchen — A collection of favorite recipes from the members and friends of Regina Memorial Hospital Auxiliary in Hastings, Minn.

Chocolate Turtles

Main Street Gallery

Robert Siracusa and Robin Strom opened the Main Street Gallery in Old Town Cottonwood three years ago on the day of the Chocolate Walk. They have 30 local and national artists of fine art who show their work at the abstract contemporary art gallery.

Their anniversary show opens with the Chocolate Walk this year. Here are the two recipes that won first place in the contest two years ago and they’ll be making them again this year.

Melted butter for brushing

100 pecan halves (about 8 ounces)

25 caramel candy squares

6 ounces semisweet chocolate

4 teaspoons vegetable shortening (not butter, margarine or oil)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with waxed paper and brush well with melted butter. For each turtle, arrange 4 pecan halves end-to-end to form a cross. Place a caramel in the center of the nuts. Repeat with remaining nuts and caramels. Place in oven for 5 minutes, or until caramel is just beginning to melt. Remove turtles from oven. Gently press the caramel down to smooth out sharp edges and press caramel into nuts. Set aside to cool completely, about 1 hour.

In a small glass or metal bowl placed over a saucepan of hot water (or in a double boiler), melt chocolate and shortening, stirring. Spoon a small amount over cooled nuts and caramels. Refrigerate briefly until chocolate has set. Remove from waxed paper with a spatula and put in an airtight container, placing waxed paper between layers to keep candies from sticking together. Turtles will stay fresh in a cool place for 5 days. Makes 25 turtles. Calories: 100 per turtle Fat: 6 grams per turtle

Chocolate Truffle Squares

Main Street Gallery

12 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate bits

1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons cognac or dark rum

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder for coating truffles

Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil. In a heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat, combine all ingredients except cocoa powder. Heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted and ingredients are combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan and freeze for 1 to 2 hours, until firm.

Sift 1/2 cup of cocoa powder onto a large plate. Remove truffle mixture from freezer. Using both hands, lift the aluminum foil to remove truffle mixture from the pan. Warm the blade of a sharp knife under hot running water and wipe dry. Cut truffle mixture into 1-inch squares, wiping the blade of the knife between cuts and rewarming the knife blade if necessary. Transfer truffle squares onto the plate of cocoa powder. Sift more cocoa on top. Gently pick up each truffle and dip sides in cocoa.

Transfer cocoa-coated truffles to an airtight container, placing waxed paper between layers. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Truffles will keep for two weeks, refrigerated. Makes about 60 truffles.

Barbara’s English Toffee

Art Institute Glitter, Inc.

Barbara Trombley is an artist who has been designing, creating and selling greeting cards with glitter since 1984 when she started her own business.

The Art Institute Glitter, Inc., is now open 720 N. Balboa St., in Old Town Cottonwood, with classes in glittering with art rubber stamps. She also sells card-making kits, industrial strength calligraphy adhesives, edible gelatin glitter and glitter for glasswork and other art projects.

She has over 270 colors of ultra- and micro-fine glitter — probably one of the largest lines in the United States.

Barbara will be featured on HGTV’s Carol Duvall show Jan. 10 and 17 at noon. She and her staff will do demonstrations of glittering with art rubber stamps at the Chocolate Walk. Visit her web site at artglitter.com.

This is a favorite recipe that Barbara has used for many years. She is making it without the nuts for Friday night, due to some people’s allergies.

2 cups sugar

2 cups butter

6 tablespoons water

Mix all ingredients in a medium size pot. Heat on or slightly less than medium heat, stirring consistently with wire whisk, for approximately 10-plus minutes. Toffee is finished cooking when temperature has reached 390 degrees on a candy thermometer or when it is the color of almonds or a brown paper bag.

Pour on greased cookie sheet that has 1/2-inch sides. (Almonds or pecans may be placed first on the cookie sheet.) Brush with pre-melted semi-sweet chocolate chips. Decorate with chopped nuts, edible glitter or cake sprinkles.

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