Author Archives: Deanna Michaels

Easy & Delicious Brownie Brittle Recipe

Brownie Brittle on a white cloth

Fair warning. This treat is addictive! Chocolate goodness with the perfect crispy texture. This brownie brittle recipe is so good.

Even for those of us that prefer chewy cookies over crispy (that’s me) there is just something about this goodie that keeps pulling you back in.

All 3 kids and my husband also raved about this.

It’s a fast and simple recipe. You can save yourself money by skipping the prepackaged version and making it yourself.

Bonus, make and package it up yourself to use as a gift or part of a gift basket.

Affiliate links are used in these posts. See disclosure page for more details.

Brownie Brittle Recipe Ingredients:

Super simple ingredients. They are all things you most likely already have in your kitchen if you do any type of baking.

  • Egg whites
  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Water
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Cocoa powder
  • Chocolate chips

How to Make Brownie Brittle:

This is so easy to put together. I use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the whisk attachment. You could also use a  hand mixer. (Mine burnt out over year ago and I haven’t gotten around to replacing them – I just use the stand mixer more often)

Beat 2 egg whites until foamy. Add the sugar and beat some more.

egg whipped in mixing bowl

To the egg mixture you will add melted butter (that has cooled off), vanilla extract, and a little water and mix some more.

Into a small bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Fold it into the wet batter.

dry ingredients sifted into a bowl

Next place a silicone baking mat or parchment paper onto a baking sheet. (I used a baking mat.) Spread the batter into a rectangle approximately 9.5 inches by 14 inches. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and then press the chips into the batter.

brownie brittle spread on silicone baking sheet

Last up is baking. You use a lower baking temperature so you can cook this longer to get the great crispy texture without the brownie brittle becoming burnt.

Bake at 300 degrees for 30-40 minutes. (Mine needed the 40 minutes, but every oven is different so start checking at 30 minutes.)

When it’s done, it will not be completely hard, remove from the oven and let cool completely. As it cools the brownie brittle with crisp up perfectly! The kids love to help break it into pieces after it’s hardened up.

baked brownie brittle on a baking mat

Hopefully your family enjoys this recipes as much as mine does.

Are you a brownie brittle fan? Any fun combinations I should try? Or any easy must make treats I need to know about?

Looking for some other chocolate desserts to try?
The Best Homemade Fudge
Dark Chocolate Pretzel Bark
Chocolate Crinkle Peppermint Cookies
Toll House Pie

Easy Brownie Brittle Recipe

Broken pieces of crispy brownie brittle on a white cloth

Easy Brownie Brittle Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20 pieces
 
This brownie brittle recipe is spectacular and so simple to make! The great chocolate flavor of a brownie with a perfect crunch. Everyone will love this and it makes a perfect gift.
Ingredients
  • 2 egg whites
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup melted butter, cooled
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ⅔ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Using a stand mixer (with the whisk attachment) or hand mixer beat the 2 egg whites until very foamy.
  3. Add the sugar and beat again.
  4. Make sure the melted butter isn't hot and add butter, vanilla, and water to the the egg mixer and beat until combined.
  5. Sift the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda into a separate, small bowl. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet.
  6. Line a pan with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Spread the brownie brittle batter into a 9.5 inch x 14 inch rectangle.
  7. Sprinkle with chocolate chips (amount can be up to you) and then press the chips into the batter.
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes, checking after 30 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool completely on the baking sheet. It should crisp up completely when cooled.
  10. Break into pieces. Store in an air tight container.

 

Awesome Stocking Stuffers for Teen Boys

red and white stocking on a white background

Do you have any teenage boys in your house? If so, this post of ideas for stocking stuffers for teen boys is going to make life much easier this Christmas season!

There are teen boy stocking stuffers that will work for everyone on the list. Over 65 ideas and a few bonus categories to get you thinking outside of the box.

I’m going to include the same disclaimer here that I have on the teen girl stocking stuffer ideas post.

You aren’t a bad parent if you skip stockings. Or if you keep them simple.

Don’t let all the posts you come across make you feel like you aren’t doing enough. Know your budget and find what works for you and your family. There’s nothing wrong with that. You can make stockings be only food items. You could stick to a theme (give items you need for an upcoming family vacation). You could just do 4 items: a snack, a small game, something they need, and something fun.

It’s your house, you get to call the shots! So use these ideas of stocking stuffers for teenage boys to inspire you, not to make you feel guilty.

Other Gift Guide Posts to Check Out:
Stocking Stuffers for Teen Girls
Best Gifts for a 2 Year Old
Best Gifts for Preschoolers
Best Gifts for Preschool Boys
Gifts for Kids Under $10
Gift Ideas for Teen Girls
Gift Ideas for Teen Boys
Cheap Gift Ideas for Men
Under $10 Gift Ideas for Women
Homemade Gift Basket Ideas

Affiliate links are used in these posts. See disclosure page for me details.

The Best Stocking Stuffers for Teen Boys

Food
Food always warrants its own section. Yep, it’s that important and I think every person would agree that food is always a hit. Especially when it comes to the perfect stocking stuffers for teenage boys!

You could also shop sales and hopefully fill up the stocking without breaking your budget.

One other reason food is a great option is that it won’t increase clutter in your house!

Here are some suggestions:

Candy
Chocolate
Snacks
Nuts
Trail Mix
Larabars
RX Bars
Protein Bars
Beef Jerky/Beef Sticks
Gum
Dot’s Pretzels (Check your local grocery or hardware store for these!)
Bottled Coffee Drinks
Ground Coffee
Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans

Interests
What interests does your teen boy have? Use that information to help you find small things to put into his stocking. Once you get thinking, the options are endless. Maybe he enjoys:

Sports
Working Out
Drawing
Cars
Music

Buy a few items based off of these hobbies!

Things He Needs
As our kids head into the teen years they are getting close to having a college dorm room or even apartment of their own. Stockings are a great way to start giving them those little things that they will need.

Screwdrivers
Mini Screwdriver set
Allen Wrench Set
Hammer
Measuring Tape
Plyers (Maybe vice grip and needle nosed)
Small Kitchen Items (Kitchen knife, measuring cups, mixing bowls, small whisk etc)

Everything Else
Here’s the list you can grab from as you fill in the rest the stocking stuffers for teen boys! We know each teen is so different, but you will be sure to find at least a few things on this list your son will appreciate.

Graphic T-Shirt
Socks
Beanie
Ball Cap
Gloves
Paracord Bracelet (Could be just a bracelet or a survival tool)
Lanyard
Headphones
USB Cable
Wireless Speaker
Phone Stand (So many options!)
Flash Drive
Compass
Pocket Knife
Survival Tool for wallet
Hand Warmers (Disposable ones or reusable)
Multiuse Pen
Life Straw
Batteries (Because everyone could use more of these!)
Car Detailing Supplies
Essential Oil Air Freshener (Maybe a mini diffuser or something like this car diffuser)
Drawstring Bag
Water Bottle (Insulated stainless steel bottles are my favorite!)
Front Pocket Wallet
Sunglasses
Toiletries
Flashlight
Headlamp
Keychain
Quick Dry Sports Towel
Pens
Sharpies
Duct Tape
Gift Cards
Mini Models (There are wooden ones and metal ones. Check out all of these options from Metal Earth!)
Small Games: Cinco Linko, Yatzee, Farkle, Rubix Cube, Cards, Rook, Geobrix
Fidget Game

teen boy in red hat and shirt

Here are 74+ ideas of creative stocking stuffer ideas! What are your favorite stocking stuffers for teen boys? Share in the comments!

Easy Dark Chocolate Pretzel Bark

Plate with pieces of dark chocolate pretzel barkYou need this dark chocolate pretzel bark as part of your recipe repertoire! A dark chocolate base topped with pretzel pieces and sea salt it’s a combination you are sure to love!

Think a quicker, fancier, and tastier version of dipped pretzels!

So, if you are looking for the easiest treat ever, this is the one and it’s also relatively healthy. With appropriate pretzels, this is even gluten free!

It’s a great dessert to bag up and use for gifts or to include as part of a treat platter you are giving to the neighbors or to bring to a Christmas party.

After you’ve made it once, you’ll come back to it again and again (and again)!

This is a great Christmas treat! It’s a nice contrast to the normal holiday desserts that are very sweet. Using dark chocolate (and that is the only form of sweetener in the recipe) tones down the sugar. The pretzels give it the perfect crunch and the salt that great salty sweet combination.

If you use your freezer to speed up the cooling process, you can have this ready to go in 10 minutes!

Be aware that the chocolate will melt, so you will want to avoid contact with a heat source (or too warm of a house) to keep it from turning into a soupy mess. Depending on the temperature of your home, you might want to store it in the refrigerator. (If you keep your house cold, like I do, room temperature won’t be a problem.)

hardened chocolate with pretzel pieces pressed in

Dark Chocolate Pretzel Bark Ingredients

All you need are 4 simple ingredients!

  • Dark chocolate chips
  • Pretzels (gluten free or regular, twists or sticks – but I think twists look a little better)
  • Sea salt
  • Coconut oil

Technically, you can do without the coconut oil but I prefer the texture with the oil a little more.

Dark Chocolate Pretzel Bark Instructions

Break pretzels into pieces until you have 1/2-2/3 cup.

Take the chocolate chips and put them in a glass bowl. You can use a double boiler or simply put them in the microwave.

chocolate chips melting in a bowl

Microwave the chocolate chips for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave another 30 seconds. Add the coconut oil and stir the chocolate until smooth. If your chocolate chips aren’t yet completely melted, microwave in 10 second increments.

melted chocolate chips

Place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Pour the melted chocolate onto the paper and spread into a 9×12 inch rectangle.

melted chocolate spread onto parchment paper

Sprinkle pretzels over the top of the chocolate. Be sure to press pretzels into the chocolate. (If you don’t push them into the chocolate, they will fall off when you break it into pieces – I always remember this the hard way)

Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.

Let harden in the fridge. After completely hardened, break into pieces and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (It will be fine at room temperature to serve at a party, I’ve done it many times.)

Plate of broken pieces of dark chocolate with pretzels pressed into it.

Other Treats You Will Want to Make:
My Go To Sugar Cookie Recipe
Molasses Cookies
Rich and Creamy Fudge
Dark Chocolate Fudge
Russian Tea Cakes
Peanut Butter Fudge

Dark Chocolate Pretzel Bark Recipe

Dark Chocolate Pretzel Bark
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20 pieces
 
This dark chocolate pretzel bark is such an easy and tasty treat that's not overly sweet! Perfect for gifting too.
Ingredients
  • ½-2/3 cup broken pretzel pieces
  • 12 ounces (2 cups) dark chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon coconut oil
  • pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Set out ½-2/3 cup of broken pretzel pieces. (Amount depends on your desired chocolate to pretzel ratio).
  2. Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil using a double boiler. Or microwave in a glass boil. To microwave cook for 30 seconds, stir, and put in for another 30 seconds. Add coconut oil and stir until smooth. (If not smooth, microwave for 10 second increments stirring each time).
  3. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  4. Spread melted chocolate onto the paper in a 9x12 inch rectangle.
  5. Drop the pretzel pieces over top of the chocolate. Press pretzels down into the chocolate.
  6. Sprinkle chocolate with a pinch of sea salt.
  7. Let harden in the fridge. After completely hardened, break into pieces, Store in the fridge (or cool location) in an airtight container until ready to enjoy!

 

 

Awesome Stocking Stuffers for Teen Girls

Red santa bag filled with wrapped presents

Christmas is coming and that means presents. Today’s post is on stocking stuffers for teen girls!

Digging into their stuffed stockings is one of the things my kids look forward to the most on Christmas morning and I know I always loved seeing what little things my mom found to put in mine growing up.

Sometimes, it is hard to know what exactly to put into those (sometimes large) stockings. This list will help you decide on fun stocking stuffers for the teen girls in your life.

Be sure to check back for more new gift guide posts coming this year
and see the many we already have right here:
Best Gifts for a 2 Year Old
Best Gifts for Preschoolers
Best Gifts for Preschool Boys
Gifts for Kids Under $10
Gift Ideas for Teen Girls
Gift Ideas for Teen Boys
Cheap Gift Ideas for Men
Under $10 Gift Ideas for Women
Homemade Gift Basket Ideas

Disclaimer:
This probably isn’t “kosher” as far as blogging goes, but I’m all about sticking to a budget and finding what works for your family. My kids love digging into their stockings, but guess what?

You don’t have to do Christmas stockings at all if you don’t want to – let me take that pressure off of you right now.

You can also greatly simplify your stocking shopping. Just like families often come up with a theme for their gift giving (something to wear, something to read, something they need, something for fun – is just one example) you could do the same thing with your stockings.

Maybe each year include: a snack, a craft, a book, and an ornament. Or maybe just do all food items. Obviously you can change those however you want, but you get the picture!

Make stockings work for you and your family and your budget. Don’t let any bloggers on the internet, including me, make you feel guilty!

Affiliate links are used in these posts. See the disclosure page for more information.

Stocking Stuffers for Teen Girls

Food
Edibles are always a fun idea for stocking stuffers for teen girls, or anyone really. Think of their favorite candy or snacks. Or maybe some new treats that you think they’d like (seasonal items at Trader Joes would be a fun idea).

  • Chocolate
  • Candy bars
  • Non chocolate candy (jelly beans, gummies etc)
  • Trail mix
  • Nuts
  • Mints or gum
  • Beef jerky
  • Larabars (or similar things)
  • Favorite snack foods
  • Dried fruit

Beverages
Most people have a preferred beverage. I’m a huge water drinker, but I’m also a big fan of herbal and other non caffeinated teas in the colder months. Add some favorite drinks (or new ones your teen girls wouldn’t splurge on to try on their own) to the stocking.

  • Teabags (I love Yogi, Stash, Trader Joe’s and more)
  • Coffee
  • Gourmet hot chocolate
  • A bottle of a fun drink

Interests 
What is your teen daughter interested in? Most hobbies costs money and use supplies. Her Christmas stocking is a great way to restock her stash of any small items she might need.

  • Craft Supplies (Sewing things, yarn, needles, etc)
  • Art Supplies (pencils, sketchbooks, charcoals, paints etc)
  • Fitness Gear
  • Baking Items (This could be specialty ingredients or equipment)
  • Photography Items
  • Outdoor Gear

Home Items
As your teenage girl gets close to moving to her own apartment or college dorm, start giving her those little items she will need to start her own home.

Again, it gets expensive to have to buy all the things at once, so she will appreciate having this head start. In the meantime, they can be put in a small storage container under her bed to use as she wants (and I’m sure she will find many occasions to use them while still at home).

Things like:

The list is endless, but think of small things that will be easy to store until she moves out and they can be put away in her new home.

Accessories/Clothes/Everything Else
Here comes all the other ideas for stocking stuffers for teen girls! There’s quite the assortment, so you are sure to find something your daughter will love.

As you go through these items, Target, Etsy, Hobby Lobby, and local boutiques would all be great places to shop besides Amazon!

  • Hair scrunches (Great example of Target and Etsy being great places to find these)
  • Hair coils
  • Scarves
  • Headbands
  • Earrings (Again, check out Target and Etsy shops)
  • Necklace (Same 😉 )
  • Ball cap
  • Winter hat
  • Winter gloves
  • Socks (Fuzzy socks, wool socks, fun socks)
  • Shirt (maybe a fun graphic t-shirt you know she’d love)
  • Nail polish
  • Make up
  • Make up brushes
  • Lip balm (Maybe Burt’s Bees or look on Etsy and support a small company.)
  • Key chain
  • Gloves
  • Headphones
  • Sunglasses
  • Gift Cards
  • Pens and Pencils (Papermate Flair are fun or else maybe some gel pens)
  • Sharpies (Regular and fine point would be great)
  • Notebook
  • Notepad or Sticky Notes
  • Journal
  • Mug
  • Water bottle (All my kids like their Hydrocells)
  • Candles
  • Essential Oils (Plant Therapy is my favorite!)
  • Bath bombs
  • Lotion
  • Hair Products
  • Silk pillowcase
  • Microfiber hair towel
  • Book (There are so many good books out there – it can be a classic novel, a book you know she loves, a new release)
  • CD (or digital download)
  • DVD
  • Small game (Farkle, Set, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza)
  • Small succulent (placed carefully on top)
  • Phone cord
  • Phone case
  • Mini portable speaker
  • Christmas ornament

Teen girl sitting in front of a Christmas tree

The possibilities are endless! You might just have to think outside of the box a little.

But right here in this post are 85 ideas for stocking stuffers for teen girls to help you out as your buy for your daughters.

Just remember to set a budget and make a plan before you head out shopping (or start browsing the internet).

Did you do stockings when you were a kid?

What are you favorite stocking stuffers for teen girls that I should add to this list?

The Easiest Dark Chocolate Fudge Ever

Cut pieces of dark chocolate fudge on a white cloth

It’s the best time of the year and that means all sorts of yummy Christmas treats. Today’s recipe is for the easiest ever dark chocolate fudge! Though, I would say fudge is one of those goodies that can be enjoyed year round.

Affiliate links are used in these posts. See disclosure page for more info.

There’s no secret that I love fudge.

I have a more traditional fudge recipe on the blog (my absolute favorite) that involves boiling sugar and evaporated milk and beating in butter and chocolate. An amazing rich and creamy recipe, but it does take a bit more time than this dark chocolate fudge recipe.

You can also check out this recipe for chocolate peanut butter fudge – another that we love.

As far as simplicity goes, today’s recipe takes the cake.

Sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips in a pan

2 main ingredients (plus a little salt and vanilla extract) and you can have it poured into the pan to cool in less than 5 minutes. A great easy fudge recipe that would be a little less dangerous to have the kids make than standing over a pot of boiling sugar.

Not only do I love fudge, I also love dark chocolate. The depth of flavor and being able to taste the almost bitterness of the chocolate mixed with a little sweet. It’s just so good.

Dark Chocolate Fudge Ingredients

Check out how simple these are:

Dark Chocolate Chips
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Salt
Vanilla Extract

Use your favorite dark chocolate chips, because they are what you get the chocolate flavor from. You will need 3 cups, which is usually 1 1/2 bags.

All you need is a pinch of salt. You can pinch it out or do what I did and use these fun measuring spoons:

One change you can do is to swap out the vanilla extract for peppermint extract to make a dark chocolate peppermint fudge – yum!

Dark Chocolate Fudge Instructions

These instructions will convince you these is the easiest dark chocolate fudge ever.

Grab a pot and pour in a can of sweetened condensed milk. Add the dark chocolate chips and heat over medium low heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

(If you are feeling fancy, you can stir in a couple tablespoons of butter at this point it’s totally not necessary.)

Stir in the salt and vanilla extract.

Stirring salt, vanilla, and butter into melted chocolate chips

Pour into a 7-8 inch square baking pan (mine is 7.6 inches) that is lined with parchment paper.

square baking pan lined with parchment paper

Let cool on the counter. After completely cool, use the parchment paper to remove fudge from pan and use a sharp knife (run knife under hot water and then dry for the cleanest cut) to cut into squares.

Dark chocolate fudge poured into panTo store fudge: Store fudge in an airtight container in the freezer. Let come to room temperature before serving. (Or if you can’t wait, eat it cold!)

cooled and hardened dark chocolate fudgeFudge add-ins: You can make your fudge even fancier by adding in extra ingredients with the salt and vanilla. Think of things like:

  • Chopped pecans
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Chopped candy bars
  • M&Ms

close up of dark chocolate fudge square on white napkin

Easy Dark Chocolate Fudge Recipe

Easy Dark Chocolate Fudge
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 49 1-in squares
 
This is the easiest dark chocolate fudge ever. A few simple ingredients and in 5 minutes this will be in the pan waiting to cool. Perfect for a rich treat or homemade gift.
Ingredients
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups dark chocolate chips
  • pinch salt
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Line a 7 to 8 inch square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a saucepan. Add the chocolate chips and stir over medium low heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the salt and vanilla extract. (You may also add in any extra ingredients at this point - chopped nuts, chopped candy bars, m&ms etc.)
  4. Pour into the lined pan. Let cool on the counter - can put in the fridge to speed up the process.
  5. After cool, use the parchment paper to remove fudge from pan. Cut into squares.
  6. You can store leftover fudge in an airtight container in the freezer.