Southern Cookin' Makes You Good Lookin'

Random Rantings about Food and Such

Little Wait/Little Weight Cake in a Mug


A couple days ago, Ashley asked if i were saving any of the cake mixes for any reason.  Nah, just got them while they were on sale, so have at it.  Less than 10 minutes later, she shows up with a steaming mug.  How sweet!  She brought a cup of tea!  Ha!  Guess again.  She brought CAKE!  Ooooooh!  Cake!

Now you’ve probably seen the mug cake/cake-in-a-mug things before as i have.  This is even better because it is a lighter version.  Some brilliant person got the idea of mixing a box of cake mix (any flavor, any brand) with a box of angel food cake mix so that you only have to add water.  Genius!  Of course, you could add other liquids in place of water.  Use a chocolate cake mix and add coffee–mocha cake!  Or a lemon cake mix and add pineapple juice–sunshine cake!  Carrot cake mix with V-8–super carrot cake!  And Jackie Chan smiles and doesn’t have to karate chop you.  Okay, got carried away there.

Only drawback with these…really hot when they first come out (so blow, blow, blow!) and…doggone, you just want to keep eating them!

Thank you, Ashley, you little muggins you!  ;0)

Cake in a Mug

1 box of cake mix (any flavor or brand)

1 box of angel food cake

Mix cake mixes together in a container that can be sealed.

Single serving:  1/3 cup of cake mix with 3 tablespoons of water.  Mix thoroughly in a larger mug.  Microwave for one minute.  Can spray with cooking oil spray before adding mixture but cleans up fairly easily without it.

 

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So Like Sonic’s Cherry Limeade


Hello,Children!  Hope this finds all well and having a wonderful start to 2012!  Sorry for my absenteeism of late.  Life has been…interesting!  Nuff said.

This past Friday we had the privilege of hosting a surprise birthday luncheon for a very special lady who just happened to be turning eighty-years-young.  Our beloved Jewel (or Lee-J, as her old Air Force and nursing buddies call her) didn’t know what hit her.  She knew she was coming over for lunch, but not that some of her favorite friends would be there as well.  We enjoyed ourselves and enjoyed her enjoying herself! :0)

Queen for the Day, Lee Jewel Lockard

Tried out a new recipe to serve along with iced tea and coffee and it made a big splash.  Literally.  For some reason it “exploded” on poor Ashley when she tried stirring it in the glass dispenser (you know, those cool ones with a spigot.  Love it!  Gift from Stephanie.  World’s s-l-o-w-e-s-t spigot, but no biggee.)  She and dear Donna had to wipe up the tidal wave, but most of it was still present and accounted for.

 

This recipe is so, so easy and only 3 ingredients!  Life is good!

 

So Like Sonic’s Cherry Limade

1 can frozen limeade

1 jar maraschino cherries

1 bottle of lemon-lime carbonated soda  (i double batched this recipe  and one of these sodas was Cherry 7-up)

Allow frozen limeade to defrost a bit before mixing.  Add in cherries with juice and soda.  Mix and serve.

* Can freeze some of the cherries in the cherry juice in little shaped containers ahead of time if serving in a punch bowl/glass container.

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Peanut Butter and Snickers cookies


So, here’s the Reader’s Digest/Campbell’s Soup version…you know, condensed.  Saturday, i was introduced to a cookie that was a “Holy Cow!” experience.  It made up for some disappointment in the situation (which is another story) but sometimes things happen for multiple reasons and i figure this cookie was one of them.  Thank you to a very sweet lady  named Joyce who made them and a very funny and sweet lady named Geri who insisted i try them.

Now, this is what you need to know.  If you can make peanut butter cookies (whether from scratch, a mix or know how to open up a roll of the refrigerated stuff), you’re good to go.  You also need to be able to not only open up mini Snickers bars, but also not succumb to eating all of them.  The latter is the most difficult part of the process.

 

 

 

 

Because i’d had enough cooking to do for Christmas, i cheated and bought a bag of the dry Betty Crocker Peanut Butter cookie mix.  It is scrumptious!  No  matter how you arrive at your cookie dough, basically all you need to do is get a good-sized spoonful of it and “wrap” it around a mini Snickers bar.  Bake them at 350 degrees for about 8–12 minutes on a parchment lined or greased cookie sheet.  My first sheet’s worth i overbaked, really–you want them to look a little underdone. Not mushy, falling apart but not browned and with crisped tops, if you know what i mean.

Not a lot of info for you, i suppose, but i winged it and it worked great!  Wonderful little cookies!  I had 5 out of 5 thumbs up on my taste testers.

These cookies are just like my two youngest nephews, Corey and Hank, who have just celebrated their birthdays.  Sweet and nutty!  Happy Birthday, guys!  Aunt April loves you!!!

 

Happy Birthday, Hank!

Happy Birthday, Corey!

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Buffalo Chicken Bites


Hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  We certainly did!  God is just too good and we were surrounded by love.

We were blessed to have our “extended family” for dinner yesterday.  For some reason, i just wasn’t feeling the whole turkey and ham thing and, after consulting with Michael and Ashley (Stef wasn’t around to vote–worked WAY too many hours lately), decided on Mexican food.  We had Sour Cream Enchiladas (from a previous post), Chicken Enchiladas, Tamale Pie, homemade refried beans, rice, Cilantro-Lime sauce (will have to post this one–very good), fried ice cream, and sopapillas.  We ate too much, laughed a lot, and just enjoyed the day.

Later on last night, we had chill time and watched Miracle on 34th Street.  Isn’t that a wonderful movie?  Everything about it is spot on–the actors as the characters, the writing, the story line.  Lots of fun.  We had kind of a meatfest/snack supper—maybe not healthy, but after all the sweets lately, it was pretty good.  Little Smokies, Sausage Balls (the new and improved version with cream cheese!) and a new recipe, Buffalo Chicken Bites.  They’re very tasty!  Just serve them with Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing and you’ve got a winner.  I tried the Cilantro-Lime sauce with them but it just wasn’t quite the right thing.  That’s okay.  I can detect a taco or fajita in the very near future.

If you need a snacketizer for New Year’s Eve, i really do recommend these little babies.  Oh, and thanks to Christina at http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/ for posting them!  Ya done good!

Buffalo Chicken Bites

Buffalo Chicken Bites

3 cups shredded, cooked chicken

1/4 to 1/2 cup hot sauce, to taste

3 1/2 oz. cream cheese, softened  (or do like i did and just cut the 8 oz block in half!)

1 3/4 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

1/4 cup green onions, chopped (i skipped this due to some family members and it was fine)

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 eggs, lightly beaten

3–4 cups Corn Flake crumbs, crushed

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine chicken, cream cheese, hot sauce, cheddar cheese, and green onions.

Scoop out a large tablespoon of filling, forming into about a 1 1/2″ ball, and place onto a plate or separate baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining filling.

You will need 3 shallow dishes: one for flour, one for the eggs, and one for the Corn Flake crumbs.

Dredge your chicken ball in the flour to coat it.  Next, dip it in the eggs to coat, followed by the crumbs.  Place on the lined baking sheet and bake for 20–25 minutes.  Serve with Ranch or Blue cheese dressing.

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Recipe for Precious Children


Twenty-two years ago, we experienced a really strange Christmas.  I’d have to say it probably ranks as the most unusual Christmas i’ve ever experienced.  No Christmas tree–real or artificial.  No family around, which for us is NOT unusual but at least we can talk with them on the phone and we’re both experiencing either daytime or nighttime.  No big Christmas dinner.  No stockings were hung by the chimney with care…yeah, no chimney either.  You see, less than a month prior, we had been sent to Michael’s one and only overseas duty station, Sasebo, Japan.  We were in temporary quarters that consisted of a living area, bedroom, and bathroom (kitchen was down the hall for all to share.)  We had arrived around the same time as some other families but they had gotten their homes already, so it was pretty doggone quiet around there.  But i’ll tell you what we did have–we had each other (fortunately the ship was back in port) and we had two very, very, very special Christmas gifts that year.  One was a seven-month-old little bundle of joy named Ashley and the other was a “bun in the oven” being referred to as “Peanut” but would come to be known as Stephanie.

For the next three years, these two precious Christmas gifts would pretty much be the entire focus of my world.  Daddy would be gone a lot with the ship making its way from port to port and we were thousands of miles away from the places we called home.  If you’ve ever been the poor victim of my hours and hours of video tapes made during that time, you’ll see that these two little sprites and i were very constant companions.  And, boy, did they light up my world!

i look at the two grown women before me now and wonder who they are.  :0)  Nah, all i have to do is look in the mirror and it’s obvious i’m old enough to have grown children.  It’s the beautiful women they’ve become that blows my mind.  Old crybaby here can’t even type properly from the tears running down my face and blurring my eyes.  The blessings they were twenty years ago was just a beginning of the blessings they have continued to be.  We have been so…well, blessed!  i can’t think of a better word.  Okay, maybe they aren’t perfect.  Maybe i mutter under my breath (or out loud) about little things here and there, but in the grand scheme of things, Holy Granoly!  These girls are awesome!  Recently, Stephanie’s district manager was gushing about how wonderful she is and what a fantastic job we had done with her.  i had to admit that i’m not so sure we deserve that much credit, that she is just an amazing person because that’s who she really is deep down inside.  The things she’s accomplished, especially this year, just astound me.  And Ashley, my little pied piper.  People flock to her like minivans to a yard sale.  Just dip her in honey and watch them swarm.

So, anyway, girls.  If you’re reading this blog (which for Stephanie may be some time, oh, next fall considering how busy you are and will be for some time), know how extremely proud i am of you.  Not proud as in, “Look what i’ve done” but proud as in “Look at the beautiful creatures God created and look how they’ve blossomed into magnificent human beings.”  You are the most precious gifts God could have given your Dad and me.  You are the epitome of everything good between us.  Your mama loves you oh! so very much.  Thank you for the privilege of calling you my daughters.  You have helped me understand even more deeply the love that God has for us and what a sacrifice He gave by sending Jesus to this earth two thousand years ago, knowing that He was coming here just to die for us.

Merry Christmas, Ashley and Stephanie!

Ashley and Stephanie

Recipe for Precious Children

Two fallible human beings who are willing to learn and love

One or more little creatures who need to learn and be loved

God

This recipe cannot be measured in precise terms because each child is different.  However, each child must have  a generous coating of praise, respect, sharing, teaching, and loving.  Hugs, kisses, and laps are an absolute necessity if the child is to fully blossom.  Although not the most enjoyable part of the process, discipline and correction are necessary in order to help in the maturation process, but only when done in love and in the right way and amount.

Room must be given in order for the child to grow to their greatest potential.  Too much room causes awkward growth and can actually warp the process.  Too little room can stunt natural maturity and cause damage in adulthood.  Therefore, do not overcook or undercook but constantly test for correct temperature.

Child must be encouraged to be the best they can be but a little rest and a little fun is always needed.

Continue to baste in smiles, laughter, and “attaboys”/”attagirls” for the rest of their lives.

As with all things, give thanks to God for such wonderful gifts.

Mama and her girls

Daddy and his girls

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Recipe for a Successful Marriage


If more people looked at marriage as a reflection of God and His love for us, i think there would be a lot more success stories.  If you tried to be God’s part in the relationship, you would love unconditionally; forgive freely; think of your beloved foremost; speak well to and of your dearest one; sacrifice your wants, needs, and desires for the sake of your most precious.  Now, just think if BOTH halves of that whole had the same attitude and mindset/heartset.  How wonderful would that relationship be?

i wish i could say that i’ve always lived up to that in my marriage, but, unfortunately, too often  i tweak the recipe my way.  i try to make it a chocolate dessert when i know that Michael loves vanilla.  So the chunky chick needs to stick to the recipe for success and quit trying to put her take on it.

A wonderful lady we were privileged to know and love left this world yesterday.  She lived a long and fulfilling life here and was ready to go.  She had been a widow for quite some time.  It makes you stop and realize that you’re blessed with only so many years on this planet and that you may not have the privilege of ending your run with the person you chose as your “running partner.”  That alone should make us cherish every moment–the not knowing how many of those moments we have.

i thank God for a husband who i honestly believe loves me (if not, the guy should go to Hollywood because he’d be an Academy Award winner!)  We certainly aren’t perfect people or the perfect couple…but we’re perfect for one another.  That, and nobody else would want us, right, baby? ;0)

To my husband of 24 1/2 years, i dedicate this recipe for marriage.  It has been my privilege to be the sous-chef to his chef-de-cuisine.  I hope we get the chance to stir things up a while longer and feed off each other’s craziness.  You really are the cacao of my life.

Recipe for a Successful Marriage

Two equal partners who are willing to be silent partners and put the other first

God–the leavening agent that “lightens and softens the finished product”

Heaping spoonfuls of love, time, sacrificial giving, patience, understanding, forgiveness, laughter, and faithfulness

Pinch of wit, soberness, and spontaneity

Preheat home with prayer, sincerity, and long discussions about the future.

Daily add in more ingredients than the day before.  If relationship seems to sticky, add more love, forgiveness, patience, and concern.  If relationship is too dry, add in unexpected get-aways, walks in your favorite place, candlelit dinners, and head rubs.

Check for overheating and allow to cool to correct temperature.

Be sure to stir continuously.  Failure to do so can lead to scorching words, a burned-out partner, a curdled relationship, and/or a pulling away from the mixture.

Always add more than you think is needed.  You can always add  more but don’t expect a rise out of dough that’s been shortchanged on yeast.

Keep a constant watch.  It may seem like a lot of work but the product is always worth it.

Merry Christmas, Love!

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Recipe for Parents


i suppose i’d be on Santa’s naughty list right now because i haven’t done laundry, cleaned, or gotten back to work on goodies for giving away like i should be doing.  But, ya know what?  i’m okay with that because right now i’d rather be spending time with you.

This year, our church is taking this week especially to try to do things for others as a way of saying “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” Now, i’m not going to tell you everything i’m doing because that would make it less fun for me (the element of surprise and all that…plus, it’s none of your business.  Sorry, but it ain’t.  Do your own acts of love.)  But…i will let you in on one of them.  One of the suggestions we gave was to write a letter/make a phone call to someone who has made a difference in your life.  Anyone who knows me very well knows that i’m much more comfortable when i write.  Therefore, this is my method of choice.

Today, i’d like to combine my “letter” to someone(s) who has made a difference with a recipe.  Not to go all Forrest Gump-y on you, but life is like a recipe.  Or, better yet, it’s the development of a recipe.  You can look at other people’s methods of doing things and see the merit in some of it.  You can see that some ingredients honestly should have been left out…or, conversely, shouldn’t have been neglected.  Thyme/Time is always a necessity.  Sage is important too.  Don’t share your love too (s)parsley.  If you care, let them know that you Mint it.  And…if your name is April, there will always be an overabundance of corn.  ;0)

If i had been half the mother that my Mama is or half the parent that my Bear is,…my girls would have appreciated it!  I mean, what can you say?  It’s easy to look back on your mistakes and wish you’d done differently.  Unfortunately, it’s VERY easy to criticize others’ parenting skills rather than try  to be supportive.  Easiest of all, though, is to look at your parents through the eyes of maturity (and the eyes of maternity!) and see just how very blessed you are/were!

So, to my daughters…although you’re grown, i promise you that i will still work on my parenting skills and try to be the kind of mother you deserve.  I wish you had had the mother that i do.  You’d be the most blessed girls in the world (right after me, of course.)  I promise that i will love you unconditionally and be your biggest fan, just like my father is.  And, thanks to their example, i offer you this recipe of parenthood…because i’ve been observing it from the best.

 

Recipe for Parenthood

2 people who love God and each other

1 or more children who need to be trained, nurtured and adored

Stable environment

God’s Word

Combine the love of Mr. and Mrs. Full-of-Potential and create or adopt a child.

Spend the rest of the child’s growing years loving; hugging;  teaching;, bleaching; correcting; affecting; praising; appraising; training; explaining; sharing; bearing; being constant; being consistent; being true; helping construe; saying “yes”; saying “no”; explaining why; or because you said so, that’s why! (you know that they know that they already know and they need to know that YOU are in charge, not them.)

Expect mistakes, disappointments, trials, triumphs, happiness, tears, laughter, and periods of contempt–but don’t ever give up on them.  Pray for them.  Praise them.  Love  them.  Discipline them.  When they’re wrong, tell them with love.  When they’re right, tell them with joy.  When you’re wrong,…be adult enough to admit it.

If they stray, pray.  They’ll come back some day.

And always, always be thankful.  They’ll learn that from you, too.

Merry Christmas to the best parents on earth, Steve and Ruth Scott!  Beyond blessed to call you Daddy and Mama!

50th Anniversary Party--December 2006

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Samoa Bark


We were blessed with some beautiful, fat snowflakes at church today.  I say blessed because 1) they really were pretty and 2) they didn’t all pile up on the ground and make a mess.  My kind of snow!  Chunky Chick here just doesn’t love having to clean the driveway (but usually does have to) or drive in it, so this was just right.  I actually prefer my white stuff to be right next to the Gulf of Mexico in Pensacola, FL–ya know what i mean?  But this was really cool, especially since it’s one week till Christmas.

Some day i may actually spend Christmas in Samoa.  At least, that’s one of the places Ashley has talked about moving to.  We know the people are fantastic, if my brother Russ’s bunch of Samoan buddies are any indication.  And Samoans make great cookies. ;0)

Speaking of which, Shelly, the inspiring writer of the blog Cookies and Cream (http://cookiesandcups.com/samoa-bark/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+cookiesandcups+%28cookies+and+cups%29), posted a recipe for Samoa Bark.  HELLO!  Yep, you’ve got my attention!  Chocolate.  Coconut.  Caramel.  Cookies.  What’s not to love?!?!  And it’s also quite simple to make.  One of several goodies that we’ve given away (and taste tested) lately.

Speaking of lovely ingredients, i cleaned the crock pot and have a batch of Hot Chocolate melting away…with the addition of coconut oil and almond extract.  A dark chocolate/Almond Joy Hot Chocolate!  Whee!  I’ll be lookin’ for ya!

Samoa Bark

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate plus 2 oz for drizzle (i used half semi and half Special Dark)

35–40 shortbread cookies

14 oz. bag of caramels

3 cups sweetened coconut

2 Tbs. water

Line a baking sheet with foil/parchment paper.

Melt 12 oz. of chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.  Spread on the lined baking sheet.

Top chocolate evenly with the cookies.  Place in the freezer while you are working on the next step.

In a non-stick skillet on medium-low heat, toast the coconut, stirring occassionally.  Will take about ten minutes.  OR place coconut on a cookie sheet and bake in a 225 degree oven, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.

Unwrap caramels and place in a medium saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water.  Melt over medium-low heat, stirring continuously, until just melted.  Remove from heat and add coconut, mixing well.

Remove chocolate from freezer and spread the caramel/coconut mixture on top.  Drizzle with melted chocolate.

Return to the freezer for 5 more minutes.  Cut into squares or break into pieces.

 

 

 

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Pumpkin-Ginger Trifle


Today’s church service was wonderful.  The sermon was great, the Christmas program was well done by all, and, naturally, we had potluck afterwards.  You knew we would eat, didn’t you?

Usually i have no problems deciding what to bring to church for “eatin’ meetin’s” but for some weird reason i just couldn’t hit on “IT” this time until late in the game.  Maybe it’s because of all the goody-making or being more concerned about the Christmas program.  Whatever the cause, the crock pot full of shredded pork with Zesty Peach BBQ Sauce was a late decision.  The dessert…well, there’s a bit of a story there.

Remember a certain Pumpkin-Ginger Pound Cake named in honor of a certain feline who was ill at the time?  Well, i made quite a LOT of it and ended up freezing some.  I also had a frozen pumpkin pie in the same chest freezer.  Cue the fridge and a container of leftover pumpkin puree.  Add in a few things and what do you get?  Pumpkin-Ginger Trifle.

Okay, so i was taking a chance that it would actually work well together and not trying one BEFORE taking it to church.  As usual, God is good and it was well received.  So, if you happened to be there and want to make your own, OR if you’re curious and want to do the same, here’s the low down.

One:  Go to the previous post for Persi’s Pumpkin Ginger Pound Cake and make one.  Or you could buy a ready-made pound cake.  Won’t be as flavorful but would do in a pinch.  Crumble it into pieces.

Two:  Get a small can of pumpkin puree and a small container of whipping cream.  Whip up the cream (or get a large container of ready-made.)  Put half of the cream aside and mix in the pumpkin with the other half.  I added just a couple drops of almond flavoring to the whipped cream, by the by.

Three:  Make or buy a small pumpkin pie.  Cut it into little pieces.

Four:  Buy a can of sweetened condensed milk and see the previous post on how to turn it into caramel.

Assembly:  In a trifle bowl, small punch bowl, or other suitable container, pour a layer (about half) of pound cake crumbs on bottom.  Next, add a layer (half) of the whipped cream/pumpkin mixture.  Follow with a layer of pumpkin pie pieces.  Dollop caramel on top of that.  Repeat the steps and finish off with the remaining whipped cream that was set aside.

I wasn’t smart enough (and was also in a rush this morning) to take a photo before it was “trifled” with, but here’s a picture of what was left over. ;0)

Beautiful trifle bowl painted by the fabulous Tammy Parker

The cute little gingerbread sprinkles on top don't look so cute now

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Oh, Fudge!–White Chocolate Peppermint and Cookies and Cream


My dear friend Jewel has a following for her fudge.  You know, the good, old-fashioned kind that you have to stir for hours until your arm falls off?  Yeah, that kind.  Wonderful stuff, but you need the stamina and time to make it.  Her health is such that she’s not so sure she can do that this year but  she MUST make fudge.  Told her there are some cheating ways to make fudge now that make life a little easier and sweeter.  Not the same as the original but still good.

For your tasting pleasure i offer two newbies (at least, to us) that i’ve made in the last week.  To be honest, i’m probably their least favorite fan because i’m such a chocoholic and really don’t care for the stuff they call “white chocolate.”  Sorry, all you vanilla fans.  But, hey, that just means there’s more for you and, if that did it for me, i would LOVE these two fudges.

I’m way behind on posting goodies, so hope to make up for it today.  Hope you’ll find something that tickles your fancy (or your sweet tooth) and will make you want to whip up a batch to enjoy and share with family and others.  It’s always good to have something around the house for visitors this time of year.   Or, as Grandaddy’s cousin’s wife was known to say, “If I’d known you was comin’, I would’ve set in the floor and stirred up a cake.”  You won’t even have to “set” down for these two recipes–easy peasy!

White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge  

12 oz. pkg. white chocolate chips or bark

16 oz. container vanilla frosting

1/2 tsp peppermint extract or a few drops of peppermint oil

8 drops red food coloring

2 Tbs. crushed peppermint candy

Line an 8 x 8″ pan with waxed paper.

Melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler or melt in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval.

Add the  frosting to the melted chips.  Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Add peppermint extract/oil.

Drop red food coloring, spaced apart, on surface of fudge.  Using a toothpick or knife, swirl the color into the fudge.

Sprinkle peppermint candy on top and press lightly into the fudge.

Refrigerate for at least one hour.  Cut into small squares before serving.  Keep refrigerated.

Cookies and Cream Fudge 

3 cups sugar

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine

2/3 cup evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed)

1–(12-oz. pkg white chocolate chips

1–7 oz. jar  marshmallow crème

1/2 cup finely crushed Oreos

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup crumbled Oreos

Line a 9″ square pan with waxed paper.

Combine sugar, butter and evaporated milk in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in chips, marshmallow crème, finely crushed cookies and vanilla extract. Pour into pan. Sprinkle crumbled cookies on top. Press down slightly to embed cookie crumbs. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Cut into small squares.  Keep refrigerated.

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