Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine's Puppy Chow

This week we will all celebrate that most romantic of holidays...Valentine's Day!  Actually, come to think of it my husband and I have been married for over a decade so we usually don't do a whole lot for Valentine's Day...actually we do nothing...we are boring and old I guess.  The only one that really celebrates Valentine's Day on any level in our house is my daughter - who is 8.  Anyone out there who has a school aged child knows that it where the true Valentine's pressure the hearts and stomachs of 5-10 year olds!  Of course this week the kiddo came home with her traditional Valentine's note containing details about the party and the all important list of students for whom we are now obligated to provide a suitable character card.  Goodness knows the world will end if she can't find a box of puppy cards for the girls and Minecraft for the boys (I feel I should specify my kid has not played Minecraft...doesn't even know anything about it but it is cool so we must buy).

Every year I swear I will be good - I will buy the cool stuff right away before it is gone and every year we are swinging by Walmart on Monday night the week of Valentine's Day after Girl Scouts because if we don't - I will forget and the world will END!  No worries this year though!  It doesn't even matter if we end up with a box of last year's reject cards because I made this stuff!  What's not to love?! Chex cereal? Check. (See what I did there?)  Chocolate chips melted with peanut butter drizzled over said cereal?  Double check!  Top that off will powdered sugar?!  Super sugary check! And THEN I added M&M's...yup, I know, I rock!   There you go folks - screwed up the "must have" Valentine's again?  No worries!  Send this to school and all is forgiven - after all who really needs the 15 step home made from all natural doilies card that Beth's mom saw on pinterest when you have puppy chow with Valentine's M&M's?!

Measure out 9 cups of Chex cereal.

Put the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a microwave safe bowl.

Microwave 1 minute and then stir until everything is all melted together.

Add in the vanilla and stir up, then pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal.

Stir until all the cereal is well coated.

Place into a ziploc bag large enough to hold everything comfortably.

Add in the powdered sugar.  

Seal the bag and shake until everything is evenly coated with sugar.

Toss in some seasonal M&M"s and give it another good shake!

Enjoy!  Yum!

Valentine's Puppy Chow
Original recipe found here

9 cups Chex cereal
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups seasonal M&M's
1-2 gallon ziploc bags.

Measure out the cereal in a large bowl and set aside.  Place the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute.  Remove and stir until completely melted.  Stir in the vanilla and then pour over the cereal.  Stir gently but thoroughly until all the cereal is evenly coated with chocolate.  Pour the cereal into a ziploc bag - either use a 2 gallon one or two one gallon ones as you need to leave enough room to be able to shake up the mixture with the sugar.  Add in the powdered sugar and shake until everything is evenly coated.  Pour in the M&M's and give the mixture another quick shake to mix them in.  Eat right away or store in the refrigerator until you are ready for them.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Samoas Toffee and a Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest!

Good morning!  Today, we are going to learn to make toffee...real toffee...with a candy thermometer and everything!  Now wait, before you all run and hide - I swear, this will be easy and delicious!  It is even more worth it because we are going to be using the best ingredient EVER - Girl Scout cookies...Samoas to be more precise!

It is that time of know the one.  The one where girls begin to knock on your doors asking you in that adorable voice if you'd like to buy some Girl Scout cookies.  I was one of those girls once and I remember just how great it felt to set goals and meet them; to gain confidence that I could get over my shyness and gather my courage to ask someone I didn't know to support Girl Scouts.  It is still one of my favorite times of year but now I am the one behind the girl on the door step watching her grow in confidence and salesmanship.  Plus I'm the cookie mom...I get to play with all the cookies!  Good thing I love inventorying...

Anyway, back to the Samoas...and the celebration of Girl Scout cookie season Girl Scouts of Western Washington is once again holding a Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest.  You may remember my entry last year, Trefoil Raspberry Streusel Bars.  Last year I was selected as a finalist but sadly did not place.  Let's hope I can go further this year!  Details about the contest can be found here and don't forget to support Girl Scouts by buying cookies once booth sales kick off in our area February 27th through March 15th!  You can find locations near you by using the cookie locator, which is also available as an app in case you need to find cookies on the go!

Start by setting up your pan, candy thermometer

and parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Add your butter, sugar and water to your saucepan

Cook at medium heat,

stirring constantly,

until the mixture looks like this and 

it reaches 300F.

Remove from heat and pour onto the parchment paper.  Spread until 1/4" thick or so.

Immediately sprinkle on Samoas crumbs.

Allow to cool at room temperature for about an hour.

Once the toffee is completely cool, insert a knife to break it into bite size pieces.

Ummm....yum...enough said!

Samoas Toffee

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 box Samoas, broken into small pieces 

Start by placing a 3 qt. saucepan over medium heat and lining a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Clip your candy thermometer to the side of the pan, careful not to let it touch the bottom but placed low enough that the end will be fully submerged in the toffee.  There are ways to make candy without a thermometer but honestly they make it much easier and for just a few dollars at any grocery or discount department store it is worth taking the guessing out!  Add your butter, sugar and water to the saucepan and heat until 300 F, stirring constantly so that it does not burn.  Be careful not to stir too aggressively because you don't want it to splatter on you.  Once the mixture reaches 300 F, remove it from heat and pour the toffee on to our prepared parchment paper.  Spread if necessary with an offset spatula or by carefully tilting the pan until it is 1/4" thick or so.  Top immediately with the crushed up Samoas and allow to cool at room temperature until completely cool - about an hour.  Using the tip of a knife, break up the toffee into bite size pieces.  Now, try not to eat the whole thing - or at least make sure you have extra Girl Scout cookies on hand to serve more to your friends!