Yesterday my niece and I made Puppy Chow for a special Valentine’s Day treat using the “Muddy Buddies” recipe on the Rice Chex box. We never called them Muddy Buddies growing up, but looking through these photos, I can see the muddiness right before the powdered sugar comes in to absorb the moisture and soften the texture. I think the powdered sugar makes the crunchy chocolate peanut butter treat irresistible. My niece especially likes that step in the recipe, because she says it looks like a bunch of tiny snowflakes coming from the sky. The recipe is straightforward and simple (I don’t turn the mixture out on wax paper to separate, but I do put the mix in the refrigerator to set). For a finishing heart-like touch and added flavor layer, we studded the tops with white chocolate peppermint M&M’s: another sweet avalanche!
Chocolate & peanut butter: one of the great &s of all time. Earlier this week I whipped up a variation on two decadent (gluten free) dessert recipes. These recipes are suspicious alone but wonderfully dangerous when combined. I took a couple of the dense treats over to a neighbor who shares my affinity for peanut butter. He later told me, judging by the weight of the 2 “cookies” I knew it was serious business! So there you have it, this recipe mash-up is not for the faint of heart. Can you handle it?
Flourless Double Chocolate Peanut Cookies Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Recipe
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate chunks
1 1/2 cups chopped peanuts
4 large egg whites at room temperature
Preheat oven to 325-degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa, and salt (I like to use a mesh colander to sift the dry ingredients). Stir in chocolate and peanuts (I pulverized half of the nuts in my blender). Add egg whites and stir just until incorporated (looks like thick brownie batter).
Drop dough balls (cookie scoop works wonders) onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until tops are dry to the touch, about 23 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer sheets to wire racks and let cookies cool completely. (To store, keep in an airtight container, up to 3 days.)
Peanut Butter Cream Adapted from Kathleen’s Peanut Butter Icing Recipe
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth. Stores well in the fridge but spreads best at room temperature.
Recently I noticed a new addition to the freeze dried foods selection at my local market: tangerines. While I enjoy fresh tangerines, they are rarely available where I live, and the texture of canned tangerines is a little slimy for my liking. Imagine my delight for this new storable tangerine option! Crisp and filled with air like a cheese puff, though incredibly light and flavorful, I immediately thought of making bittersweet and bright, dark chocolate snacks with these freeze dried fruits. Simple to do; the small tiger-striped bites melt in your mouth without the dense chewiness of dried fruit or over the saturated syrupy taste of a jelly. Fun for a party! Next I ground the remaining freeze dried tangerines in my coffee grinder to add an unexpected citrus twist atop dark chocolate chunk brownies. Make your favorite brownie recipe, bake, sprinkle with powdered sugar, then let the tangerine dust work it’s magic at the very last minute. The tangerine and dark chocolate air is an added bonus.
Begin with a pillowy marshmallow meringue bowl, fill it with fluffy peanut butter mousse, then top it off with a classic chocolate Hershey’s kiss; it’s a bite-sized recipe mash-up to remember, and I call it the fluffernutter kiss.
Make it yourself by combining these recipes:
Stephen Collucci’s Peanut Butter Mousse Consider yourself forewarned on this PB mousse: the stuff is simple spoon-able heaven. This recipe is my standby for filling up killer parfaits and chocolate cookie tart shells.
Martha Stewart’s Meringues I did not pipe them in heart shapes the way Martha does, rather I scooped the meringue into cupcake papers and made a little well in the center using a tablespoon. They baked for a total of 1.5 hours, and cleanup was a breeze.
And if I may, I will tack on a final sentiment to Robin Leach’s signature line:
“Champagne wishes, caviar dreams, and fluffernutter kisses.” Goodnight!
You know the peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses in the middle? The slightly salty peanut butter cookie is soft and chewy, and then hello! a sweet solid chocolate enters the center creating a perfect flavor marriage. I love those treats. Here’s my late summer wedding inspired version made with homey molasses cookies and dark chocolate cordials.
I originally posted my Great Aunt Velma’s molasses cookie recipe* when I made molasses cookies with black cherry gelato earlier this year. For this test run, I rolled the spicy dough in pink sugar (~32 cookies when you make the dough balls tablespoon size) and placed dark chocolate cherry cordials and blackberry brandy cordials in the middles as soon as they were done baking (~8 minutes in the oven). The cherry cordials have a definite ooze effect, so it may be appropriate to take a generous bite to save the spiked juices from flowing down your shirt as you crack the chocolate shell. But who said a messy surprise is such a bad thing?
*The first go ’round I failed to follow one of Aunt Velma’s footnotes: place a drop of water on the center of the dough balls before baking. They taste the same, but they seem to crackle evenly with the water droplet.
I love the idea of eating a waffle on the street. Earlier this year when my sister got an eggette pan from her husband, I learned that egg waffles are traditionally served on the street in Hong Kong! We like to enjoy them around the dinner table here, pulling the little circles apart and piecing at the sweet custardy bread with friends and family. My niece calls them Octopus Waffles and likes them with powdered sugar; I call them Bubble Wrap Waffles and like them with cinnamon sugar; my sister usually makes the waffles and likes hers with whipped cream and berries. This day we three got in the kitchen and made a rich cannoli and falltime inspired egg waffle. The recipe is from the egg waffle pan, and the pumpkin spice cream filling recipe below is adapted from a JELL-O advertisement I once tore out of a magazine. Sprinkled with chocolate chips and wrapped up, it’s a breakfast dessert that’s good on the go!
Pumpkin Spice Cream Filling
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
1/3 cup cold milk
1 t. pumpkin spice
3 cups whipped cream (homemade or Cool Whip)
If you don’t have an icing bag, just dollop it on with a spoon. It also works wonderfully in donut holes or spread between cake layers.
I have been making a concerted effort lately of packing magnesium-rich foods into my daily eating habits. Halibut and cooked spinach makes a tasty meal, but I cannot eat that every day. Also, munching on a variety of seeds can get boring pretty quickly. Then I realized, it doesn’t have to be that way: cocoa beans are a natural source of magnesium too!
Inspired by the Domestic Goddess herself, I modified this tasty crunchy snack. Goal: make in-taking more magnesium most enjoyable. Like Nigella says, the most difficult part of making granola is actually assembling the pantry ingredients (her granola recipes also appear in one of my favorite cookbooks, Feast). Almost every ingredient in my modified recipe is high in magnesium, and bonus points when added to yogurt, whole or soy milk. P.S. Also easily Vegan-friendly
1/4 cup natural cocoa
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon instant espresso
1/3 cup clover honey
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses*
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups cocktail peanuts (nut allergies – replace with more seeds)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 300-degrees.
Mix everything together very well in a large mixing bowl (sometimes clean hands are the best and easiest tools for thorough mixing here). Half the mixture and spread in two baking tins (I had cookie sheets and lined them with parchment) and bake for 40 minutes, turning over half-way through baking. Allow to cool, break apart, and store in an airtight container.
*if you care for less of a molasses tang, use light molasses or substitute brown rice syrup/rice malt syrup like Nigella uses. I used blackstrap due to magnesium content and also because I happen to enjoy the molasses tang.
You know surprise cupcakes; the ones where you bite down and find there’s more than just cake in there? I actually never make them myself (my sister does them so nicely with the chocolate cake, cream cheese, and chocolate chips), but I have been tasting out different popcorn ball recipes, and I thought, “these balls could stand a surprise inside.” Chocolate was my initial instict, but chocolate alone seemed much too boring. Something with extra gooeyness and more flavor dynamics… a Snickers, YES. If you eat one of these surprise balls within an hour of assembly, the chocolate is still melty. It’s like you have this great ballgame or movie snack compacted into one efficient junk food treat: mallow, popcorn, peanuts, nougat and caramel, all in the palm of your hand.
I made the less-traditional version of popcorn balls with marshmallows and butter. They are much simpler to make, softer, and there is extra “molding” time in which you can properly stow and hide the Snickers surprise.
Chop or unwrap surprise middles.
Melt 3 T unsalted butter over medium heat.
Stir in 1 C mini marshmallows until melted.
Add 4 C popped corn.
Mix until evenly coated with stickiness.
Scoop out popcorn mix into greased muffin tins or small bowl forms. Press popcorn down into the form and place candy bar bit in center. Cover with remaining popcorn mix and mold into a ball (leave no Snickers trace!). It may be necessary to coat your hands in oil or butter to keep excessive sticking away. Wrap balls in wax paper and store in airtight container until munchie time. Makes 3 baseball-sized treats or 6 mini-balls.
After having record-high temps this week back home, we got the most wonderful rain all day today that made the redbuds pop against the wheat fields. Today was my day off, so I took a quick drive this afternoon to Peru (Indiana, Sillies). While I was there I stopped in at Day’s Sweets (I love that they have three OPEN signs) and could not resist bringing home some of their chocolate peanut butter bars for the sweet sixteen ballgames tonight. I partially blame the pervasive Reese’s commercials during March Madness, but chocolate, peanut butter, March, and basketball just seem to go together in my head.
Upon closer inspection of the baked goods I brought back to my hotel room, I realized they were appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day. Cupcakes: Dreamsicle | Pistachio. Whoopie Pies: Choco-Mint Chip | Bananas Foster. All from Flying Monkey. Wishing you the luck of the Irish and a reason to shout, “whoopie!”