Saturday, January 25, 2014

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Bacon Rice Crispy Treats


So, my family has an obsession with bacon.  Like seriously, an obsession.  I remember once making chili dogs and my daughter looked at me after I placed them in front of her and asked in all seriousness, "What?  No bacon?", as if that was a normal ingredient like salt or pepper.  Now it has become the running joke, that everything I serve must contain bacon.  Most often, I ignore my crazy husband and daughter but occasionally, I give into their wild demand and throw bacon randomly into something that doesn't usually have it.

This recipe came about mostly because my husband was hassling me about making his favorite cookies, peanut butter chocolate chip bacon cookies (I featured them on the blog a while back if you want to go check them out here) and I didn't feel like going through all the effort of making cookies.  I love rice crispy treats, mostly because they are crazy simple and delicious.  This recipe seriously takes 5 , maybe 10 minutes max to prepare.  They are perfect to make, say the night before you have a work potluck and maybe you forgot to make something until 9:30pm.  Not that that has ever happened to me...I always prepare and plan all things ahead of time...right.





Start by melting the butter in a pan large enough to hold everything


Add in the whole package of marshmallows


Melt those down...


Learn from my mistakes and add the peanut butter here before the cereal!


Stir in the cereal and bacon bits at once to make things easier on yourself!











Pour out into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan after it is well mixed


Make sure it is spread evenly!


Pour the melted chocolate chips over top of the treats


Spread evenly again!


YUM!


Allow to cool for several hours on the counter or for an hour in the fridge then cut into desired size pieces.


Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Bacon Rice Crispy Treats
makes 12 decent sized treats

3 Tbsp. butter
1 package regular marshmallows
6 cups of rice krispies cereal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup bacon bits, or crumbled bacon
1 cup chocolate chips

Melt the butter in a large enough pan to hold all of the ingredients.  Once melted, add in the whole package of marshmallows and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat and add in the peanut butter.  I didn't follow that bit of instructions until I made my second batch, trust me it is much easier to mix in before you add the cereal.  Once the peanut butter has melted into the marshmallow, add the cereal and the bacon bits, another lesson learned with the second batch!  Stir until all ingredients are well incorporated.  Pour into a lightly greased 9"x 13" pan and spread evenly.  Melt the cup of chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double boiler.  Spread melted chocolate evenly over the top of the treats and allow to cool at room temperature for several hours or throw into the fridge for about an hour before cutting into 12 good size pieces, or 24 small treats.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Garlic Pretzels and a new kitchen appliance!


Did anyone else get any fun new appliances for Christmas?  We sure did!  Because I love to bake I usually get something new for the kitchen every year, sometimes it is just a new spatula because I broke my favorite one, other years it's a new food processor and sometimes it's just something fun someone saw and thought of me.  This year it was actually my husband (gasp!) that received the fun new appliance, a hot dog toaster!  I know, strange..him...in the kitchen...you'd be surprised how often he ends up there sometimes.

Anywho, it reminded me that last year, he gave me a pretzel maker for Christmas and as with all of my kitchen stuff that doesn't get used on a regular basis, it was shoved into a cabinet and forgotten about until it fell out as I was trying to find  a new home for said hot dog toaster.

We love the big soft pretzels and often stop to get them as treats when we are shopping and need a bite to eat.  The joy of this little appliance is that clean up is pretty easy, no cookie sheets to clean, just gently wash the non-stick surface after it has cooled and all done!  Of course this recipe can be done in the oven as well, at 425 or 450 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  If you bake them, you might want to give them a quick dip in a baking soda bath for 30 seconds to help them crisp up and give you that nice brown color.





Add the flour, sugar, salt, yeast 


and a cup of warm water to your mixing bowl.


Knead dough for 5 minutes using the dough hook or by hand.


Knead until your dough is soft and smooth.


Cover,


and let rise somewhere warm for 30 minutes.


If using a pretzel maker, plug in to preheat. If baking, preheat your oven.


Divide the dough into 6 equal parts on your floured work surface.


Roll each section out into 17-inch long ropes.


Allow to rest uncovered for 5 minutes on your work surface.



Get your cooling area ready or prepare your baking soda bath if baking your pretzels.


Place pretzels in your pretzel maker according to the pattern.


Brush lightly with the baking soda mixture, if baking, place the pretzels in the baking soda wash for about 30 seconds before baking.


As you finish baking all of your pretzels, prepare the garlic butter.








Coat each pretzel liberally with garlic butter.





Enjoy!


Garlic Buttered Pretzels

makes 6 pretzels

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (1/2 cup will be for baking soda wash)
2 Tbsp. baking soda
3 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. garlic salt

Place the flour, salt, sugar, 1 cup of the warm water and yeast into a mixing bowl.  Knead by hand or in a stand mixer for 5 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth.  Set aside and cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes in a warm place.  It is important to make sure the place you choose is warm enough so that the yeast will be active enough to rise.  We actually had to put our dough above the fire place!

Transfer the dough to your work surface, a counter top with a lot of space or your table will work well.  Make sure the surface is lightly covered in flour and divide the dough into 6 equal pieces.  Roll each section of dough into a long, thin rope about 17-inches long.  Allow the dough to rest uncovered for 5 minutes.

While the dough is resting again, get the baking soda wash ready by mixing a 1/2 cup of warm water with the baking soda in a shallow bowl.  If using a pretzel maker like this one, place the ropes of dough into the pretzel molds following the basic pattern.  If you are baking them, then form the ropes into a pretzel pattern.  In the pretzel maker, brush the top of each pretzel with the baking soda mixture and cook for 11-13 minutes by lowering the lid.  Pretzels will be done when they are a deep golden brown color.  If you are baking yours, now would be the time to dip your pretzels into a baking soda wash for 30 seconds and them place them on a baking sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

When all of the pretzels are baked, melt the 3 Tbsp. of butter on the stove top or melt in the microwave.  Add the garlic salt and mix well.  Brush garlic butter liberally over each pretzel and serve.