Slow-Cooker Bourbon Cocktail Sausages

I wasn’t going to post these slow-cooker bourbon cocktail sausages when I first made them. I didn’t think that the world needed another cocktail sausage recipe. But after making them, and watching them disappear at a family get-together, I decided I just had to share.

Slow-cooker bourbon cocktail sausages are very, very simple, yet very, very delicious. I actually left out the bourbon and was still left with a (just slightly) spicy sauce that was wonderful with the smoked sausage slices.
Slow-Cooker Bourbon Cocktail SausagesI used sliced smoked sausage when I made these slow cooker bourbon cocktail sausages, but you could just as easily add Lit’l Smokies cocktail links. Make sure you let everything get happy in the slow cooker for the full 3 hours. The sauce will flavor the sausages over time, so give them time.

Also try my sweet-and-sassy slow cooker appetizer meatballs.

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Slow-Cooker Bourbon Cocktail Sausages

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 5 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound smoked sausage cut diagonally into 1/2" slices
  • 1 12 ounce bottle chili sauce
  • 1/3 cup bourbon optional
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated white onion
  • Red pepper flake or hot sauce to taste (optional)

Instructions

  • Brown the sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain well.
  • Combine the chili sauce, bourbon, brown sugar, onion and red pepper flake or hot sauce in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  • Add the sausage and stir.
  • Cook on low for 3 hours.

Slow Cooker White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Candy

This slow cooker white chocolate peppermint pretzel candy was divine. I don’t know why I didn’t think of melting chocolate in a slow cooker. I’ve always been somewhat challenged at melting chocolate, be it in the microwave or in a double boiler.

The slow cooker made it as easy as it could be, turning out the perfectly creamy smooth chocolate for these white chocolate peppermint pretzel candies. They are nice and crunchy and packed with peppermint flavor. These were an instant holiday success in our household (and at Anita’s office!).
Slow Cooker White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel CandyThe chocolate mixture in this slow cooker white chocolate peppermint pretzel candy was very easy to work with. I didn’t have to rush to get the mix onto the baking sheets before it began to set. I had plenty of time to do it right.

This candy was easy to make in part because of the shortening. I think that the low-and-slow melting of the chocolate in the slow cooker also helped. I plan on using this same approach with any future chocolate goodies that I make.

Also try my chocolate-dipped peanut butter Bugles.

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Slow Cooker White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Candy

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 5 mins

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons butter flavored shortening
  • 26 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 15 ounce bag pretzel twists, crushed
  • 1/2 cup peppermint candies finely crushed, plus more for topping
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Place the shortening into your slow cooker set to low.
  • Add the white chocolate chips. Cover and let melt at least 20 minutes, until creamy smooth, stirring often. Meanwhile, line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Stir in the peppermint extract.
  • Slowly stir in the pretzel pieces and 1/2 cup of the crushed candies. Make sure they are all well combined.
  • Spoon the mixture out onto the baking sheets. Sprinkle with the remaining crushed peppermint candies. Let sit at least 30 minutes until firm.
  • Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips per the package instructions. Drizzle or pipe over the pretzel candies. Let cool before serving or packaging.

Ting-A-Lings

We’re always on the hunt for something to make for Anita to take to work to share with her co-workers. Usually that means snacks. And although we like to keep it simple, that doesn’t mean we’d ever sacrifice flavor. When I came across this recipe for Ting-A-Lings I quickly put it on our to-make list. They’re crunchy, chocolatey, and butterscotchy and fun! Oh yes, they disappeared in no time.
Ting-A-LingsYou can make all sorts of different variations on Ting-A-Lings. Use white chocolate instead of semi-sweet. Try different nuts. Substitute fried Ramen noodles (a dash of oil in a skillet, add crushed Ramen, and fry until golden. Also great on salads or on soups!). You name it, you can’t go wrong.

For a nice twist, substitute your favorite chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts would be great!) for the salted peanuts. Toast them for a few minutes in a small skillet first, letting them cool completely before adding to the chocolate and butterscotch mix.

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Ting-A-Lings

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Servings: 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 2 cup chow mein noodles
  • 1 cup salted peanuts

Instructions

  • Lay out a good sized piece of wax paper.
  • Melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips in a double-boiler.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the noodles and peanuts.
  • Drop mixture by the tablespoon onto the wax paper.
  • Let cool and set. If your room is hot (like our kitchen was) you'll want to transfer the candy to the fridge to set.

Sugar Cookie Dum-Dum Pops

Finding uses for leftover Halloween candy is my new obsession. Ok, it’s ONE of my new obsessions. We ended up with a good amount of leftover candy this year, mostly Dum-Dums. That’s despite using them in my classic self-serve pumpkin, which is always a huge hit at Halloween. So, I made sugar cookie Dum-Dum pops. Fantastic baked sugar cookies with that light crunch, surrounding lightly melted Dum-Dums, perfect for licking after finishing off the cookie.
Sugar Cookie Dum-Dum PopsThe key to making these sugar cookie Dum-Dum pops is to very, very gently press the pops into the dough as it softens while it bakes. If you push too hard the dough will crack and you’ll end up with sad (but still good) pops. After doing a few I got the technique down.

These pops were a big hit at Anita’s office.

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Sugar Cookie Dum-Dum Pops

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Treat
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 cookies
Author: Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 tube refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 16 Dum-Dums unwrapped

Instructions

  • Preheat oven per cookie dough package instructions.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (even though the dough package may say you don't need to).
  • Cut the dough per the package instructions. Lay out onto the parchment paper.
  • Place pops in the center of the dough circles. VERY lightly press into the dough. Do not press hard.
  • Bake for 5 minutes then VERY lightly press the pops into the dough some more.
  • Bake another 5 minutes and check if you can press the pops even further into the dough.
  • Finish baking until golden brown, per the package instructions.
  • Let cool before removing from the parchment paper.

Pineapple Donuts

Wow. My mind was telling me “Hey, look! A donut!”. But my taste buds were telling me “Those aren’t donuts! Those look really different and cool!”. Pineapple donuts! Woo hoo!

Pineapple rings coated in a simple batter that cooks up golden brown delicious (GBD), reminiscent of ‘normal’ donuts, are fantastic. Next they get drizzled with maple syrup and sprinkled with confectioners sugar.
Pineapple DonutsThese little slices of heaven make for an outstandingly good dessert.

I bought this really cool pineapple corer from Amazon the other day that I’ve been just waiting to use so I picked up a pineapple on sale, got the corer out of the box, and in about a minute I had perfect fresh pineapple rings for these pineapple donuts.

The corer can also be used to make a pineapple ‘bowl’, great for serving things like fried rice and grilled shrimp with pineapple. Click on the picture below if you want to learn more about it on Amazon. It’s a fun little gadget.

Also try my glazed baked mini-donuts.

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Pineapple Donuts

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 pineapple rings
  • 1 cup Bisquick mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Vegetable or canola oil
  • Powdered sugar and pure maple syrup for serving

Instructions

  • Heat 2" of oil in a Dutch oven or deep fryer to 365 F.
  • Whisk together the Bisquick, egg and milk.
  • Dip pineapple rings into the batter and coat completely.
  • Fry the rings until golden brown, turning once.
  • Serve immediately sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with maple syrup.

Tater Tot Potato Skins

Anita declared these as “the only way we will cook tater tots from now on”. And I am in total agreement with her too. Just like potato skins they have a crunchy side and a soft side and taste, well, potato-y. Topped with our favorite potato skin toppings, cheese, green onion and sour cream, these tater tot potato skins can be served as appetizers at your next party or as a side at your next grill-out. Make sure you make lots of them, though, because they are crazy addicting.
Tater Tot Potato SkinsYou can actually skip the thawing of the tater tots and squash the tots after they have been in the oven for 10 minutes. I found this works fine, but not quite as well as when you fully thaw the tater tots first. They don’t squash out quite as flat, but they still get super duper crispy crunchy, which is the goal.

I spoon sour cream into a squirt bottle to top these tater tot potato skins nice and evenly. You can of course spoon the sour cream directly on top, but I usually end up with a little too much in one spot and not enough in another. The squirt bottle solves that problem.

Also try my tater tot nachos.

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Tater Tot Potato Skins

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 2 pound bag Ore-Ida Crispy Tater Tots, thawed completely
  • 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 green onions sliced
  • 8 slices cooked bacon crumbled

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 F..
  • Spray two large baking sheets with non-stick spray (I found that a Silpat mat works best)
  • Use the back of a large spoon to flatten the tots. Don't press too hard if they don't flatten immediately.
  • Place into the oven for 10 minutes. Check if any of the tots need a bit more flattening.
  • Continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the tots are turning golden brown.
  • Sprinkle with cheese and continue baking until crispy.
  • Remove from the oven.
  • Transfer to a platter and drizzle with the sour cream and sprinkle with the green onions and bacon.

Cauliflower Popcorn

I loved the flavor of this cauliflower ‘popcorn’. The cumin and chili powder add a nice southwestern, earthly flavor. The nutritional yeast (which I’d never used before) made me think of cheddar cheese flavoring. I was pleasantly surprised by it.

Now, let’s talk ‘popcorn’. That makes you think crunchy, and if you eat this cauliflower raw that’s just what you’ll get. You can also pop (sorry) them into a dehydrator for 12 or so hours. Right out of the dehydrator they have a nice crunch to them, but I found that that crunch doesn’t last. The seems get a bit soft…. and not popcorny. But the flavor was still great!
Cauliflower PopcornI’m looking forward to other ways to use nutritional yeast. For us, I’d recommend this cauliflower popcorn, but honestly I’d enjoy them more raw and save the dehydrator time. That’s up to you. I’m a big texture guy, and for me, the texture of the raw cauliflower was better.

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Cauliflower Popcorn

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time12 hrs
Total Time12 hrs 5 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower florets removed (try to remove as much stem as possible if dehydrating)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Kosher salt to taste

Instructions

  • Place the cauliflower into a large bowl.
  • Add the olive oil, yeast, cumin, chili powder and salt and toss to coat.
  • Serve raw, or if desired, place into a dehydrator and dry for 12 hours. Serve immediately.

Glazed Baked Mini-Donuts

Every few weeks Anita and I like to make something new and fun for her to take into work to share with her co-workers. This time we definitely tried something new for us, making glazed baked mini-donuts. They turned out to be incredibly easy to make. We glazed some with a vanilla glaze and some with a chocolate glaze. Some got covered in sprinkles. Some didn’t. They were great and everyone enjoyed them!
Glazed Baked Mini-DonutsWe actually ended up make three dozen glazed baked mini-donuts because making three is actually just as easy as making one. Both glazes are simple to make. You can’t mess around once you start glazing the donuts, though. As soon as the glaze is ready start dipping those donuts! If you wait too long the glaze will set up and you’ll get nothing but donut sadness.

I used the 12-cavity mini donut pan made by Wilton.

Also try my pineapple donuts.

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Glazed Baked Mini-Donuts

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 1 dozen

Ingredients

For the baked mini-donuts

  • 1 cup cake flour sifted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted
  • Non-stick spray
  • Mini donut baking pan

For the vanilla glaze (makes enough for 12 mini-donuts)

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 small pinch Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk or half-and-half

For the chocolate glaze (makes enough for 12 mini-donuts)

  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons unstaled butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup you might need a bit more
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

For the baked mini-donuts

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • Spray the donut pan with non-stick spray.
  • In large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
  • Stir in the the buttermilk, egg and butter until just combined. The dough will be slightly sticky and thick.
  • Place a slightly heaping tablespoon of dough into each donut cavity. Spread it out evenly with your finger to fill the circle.
  • Bake 6-7 minutes or until donut tops are spongy. Cool in pan for 3 minutes then transfer to cooling racks. Apply glaze only after donuts have cooled completely.

For the vanilla glaze (makes enough for 12 mini-donuts)

  • Place all ingredients into a small shallow bowl and whisk until smooth.
  • Dip cooled donut bottoms (the smooth side) into the glaze and transfer to a cooling rack to set.

For the chocolate glaze (makes enough for 12 mini-donuts)

  • Place all ingredients into the top of a double-boiler over low heat with 1" of water in the bottom pan.
  • Stir and melt completely. The mix should look shiny. If not, add a bit more corn syrup and stir.
  • Dip cooled donut bottoms (the smooth side) into the glaze and transfer to a cooling rack to set.