Friday, December 4, 2009

Cooking with Kisses

This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Hershey's


When we pulled into the driveway we noticed a package on the front porch steps.

No one was expecting anything.

“What could that be,” K asked.

It was addressed to me and the return address was an unrecognizable one in Pennsylvania.

Puzzled, I took the package to my office and opened it.

Inside, there were six bags of Hershey’s kisses and nothing else -- no note, nothing, just the kisses.

A wide grin spread across my face.

I felt as though I had won some sort of secretly wonderful (and slightly evil) lottery.

[Slightly evil because lately I’ve been feeling like Madame Fatty McFatSoMuch.]

I was about to skip gleefully to my husband’s side, present the bounty and suggest we eat chocolate for dinner (Fatty McWho?) when I vaguely remembered Blogher asking me if I would try out a few recipes that called for Hershey’s kisses.

[All I heard was, "Would you... CHOCOLATE?" and I accepted!]

Later that night, the details came by e-mail.

I was to visit the Hershey’s KISSES baking website, pick three recipes and try them.

[I am much better at eating chocolate than I am at baking, but I did agree to try.]

At first I reviewed the recipe choices with my children and husband in mind, wondering what they might like.

After a few moments of this familial altruism, I settled on a few recipes that sounded good to ME.

K is usually the holiday baker in The House of Joy and I'll admit that he makes fabulous apple pie.

The thing is, apple pies are good but they are not chocolate -- and as my late Grandfather often said, "If it ain't chocolate, it ain't dessert!"

I chose to make KISSES HUGS & KISSES Crescents, KISSES Macaroon Cookies and KISSES Candy Twists.

I should warn you in advance that I am one of those cooks who knows better than any recipe.

My cooking motto is:

“I Don’t Have to Follow ALL the Directions if I Don’t Want To.”

[It doesn’t always work in my favor, but it makes me feel IN CHARGE OF THINGS -- and that's what is important.]

As my first feat of KISSES Baking, I made the KISSES Candy Twists because I was thinking of last Christmas when I made an enormous batch of chocolate covered pretzels to give as gifts.

[You know I ate all of those pretzels, right?]

[Did I mention about Madame Fatty McFatSoMuch?]

Back to the Kisses.

Hershey’s sent me three kinds of Kisses chocolate.

There were two bags each of the regular milk chocolate kind; the chocolate meltaways; and the candy cane kind.

I had never seen the meltaway kisses before and I was wary of them because the bag says “velvety smooth chocolate center” and I assumed that meant that the center would be GOOEY which I generally don’t like.

Madame Fatty McFatSoMuch convinced me to try one anyway and... Oh. My. Word.

Meltaway KISSES are not gooey. No, no, no.

The are the bourgeois of the KISSES genotype.

They are the elite KISSES, the Hollywood red carpet walkin' KISSES.

They are the KISSES all the other KISSES want to be.

[And they must be removed from my house at once! Someone come get them now. Help me, please!!!]

The candy cane ones are minty with a white chocolate-ish base and because I am not a fan of white chocolate, I feel it is unfair for me to judge these KISSES.

You will have to try them for yourselves.

ANYWAY...

I laid the pretzels on a cookie sheet, melted one KISS on the top of each, decorated them and let them cool.

People, what’s not to like?

Pretzels + chocolate = home run.

I made some of these using the Candy Cane KISSES and they were DELICIOUS.

(You should know that the candy cane kisses melt faster than the chocolate ones, so cut the melting time in half if you do this.)

Next I tackled the KISSES Macaroon Cookies.

The recipe called for almond extract, but I didn’t have any so I used vanilla extract instead because... well because the rules of baking do not apply to ME.


[And also it made sense to me because I don't like hazelnut flavored coffee.]

[And if that line of thinking doesn’t make perfect sense to YOU, then you might want to take an Ibuprofen before reading on.]

It was only after I finished the actual baking that the macaroon recipe was supposed to yield four dozen cookies.

I made seventeen.

[No wonder my jeans are getting tight.]

I turned my attention to the KISSES HUGS & KISSES Crescents.

My husband did the grocery shopping and when I pulled out the tube-o-dough I discovered that he bought crescent ROUNDS rather than crescent rolls.

I stared at the coiled "rounds" noodling about how something shaped like a cinnamon bun could be retooled to approximate a French, chocolate-filled croissant.

I unrolled the crescent rounds into long strips and wrapped them around and around the KISSES.

I ended up with a cookie sheet full of what looked like little doughy Volkswagen Beetles.

[Nothing can stop this intrepid baker when she brings out the Fahrvergnügen!]

The HUGS & KISSES Volkswagen Beetles came out of the oven as perfectly lovely little brown rolls filled with chocolaty goodness.

Faced with 17 macaroon cookies, eight chocolate filled rolls and a pile of chocolate covered pretzels, I was thankful we had been invited to dinner at a friend's house -- five adults and five children put a mighty respectable dent in that chocolaty stash.

Whether or not these KISSES recipes become a permanent part of our holiday tradition, I can tell you one thing for certain - locating me will be easy this holiday season - just follow the trail of festive foil wrappers leading away from the bag of KISSES.

... And now for a contest...

You are invited to participate in the Hershey's Holiday Traditions contest.

You can win a $100 Visa gift card!

To enter, leave me a comment below about your favorite holiday traditions or holiday recipes.

Make sure to leave me an e-mail address where you can be contacted.

Contest Rules:

  • No duplicate comments.
  • You may receive an additional entry by linking on twitter and leaving a link in the comments. You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments.
  • This giveaway is open to Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail. You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
Please see the official rules here: Hershey's Holiday website.

You have eight chances to win!

Visit the BlogHer.com special offers page and check out / comment on the other reviews.

The contest will be open from December 4th to December 31st.

Finally, I leave you with a bonafide Holiday Tradition Recipe from the House of Joy... my Granny's Chocolate Pie recipe.

Enjoy!


GRANNY’S CHOCOLATE PIE

Pie crust
(This makes enough for 4 single pie crusts.)

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 1/2 teas. salt
  • 1cup of shortening (I use Crisco)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teas. vinegar

    Beat 1 egg and add 1 teas. vinegar.

    Combine with 1/2 cup ICE water.

    Cut shortening into flour until the consistency is like coarse cornmeal.

    Add the rest and mix until the dough holds it's shape.

    Granny usually covered it with a damp cloth and put it in refrigerator overnight, making it much easier to work with.

    Chocolate Pie Filling
    • 3 tablespoons of cocoa
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 2 eggs (beat before adding)
    • 1/4 cup of flour
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 1/4 cup of melted butter
    • 1 teas. vanilla
    Mix and beat all ingredients except the butter.

    Add that last.

    Bake 10 min. at 400 degrees and then 20 min. at 350 or until pie is almost set.

    Do NOT bake until firm.