Homemade Snickers

We had a very big weekend! Bernie had her first solid food!!! Our apple trees were ready for their first little harvest, so we zipped up in our matching green hoodies, I strapped her in her carrier, and together we walked outside and picked a basket of apples. Then we peeled them, chopped them into pieces, and simmered them with a little cinnamon as we sang that we like to Oat Oat Oat Opples and Banonos. The apples were still a little tart (I’m pretty sure they’re Gala apples but they don’t get that sweet until the first frost) so I added a chopped Honeycrisp to the mix. Once they got very soft, I pureed them with a stick blender and then poured them into her cute baby blocks. Then we fed the apple cores to the chickens!

We also made squash puree! Peeling a butternut squash with a five-month-old takes half a day but we did it and steamed some for Bernie food to stick in the freezer and used the rest for grownup supper.

I’m inspired by Bringing Up Bébé to try to serve Bernie the same foods that Eggboy and I eat, so on Monday night we sat down for supper and all ate apples! Apple squash hotdish for us, applesauce for Bernie. Sitting down to our first real family dinner was a dream come true. And, ok, Bernie’s reaction to the applesauce wasn’t exactly the same excited reaction that she had after slurping up grape flavored Tylenol back when she got her four-month shots, but she went back for a second bite! And almost a third. And then made a face that said you overdid it on the acidity, mommy, you’re chopped. I’m pretty sure the apples were just too tart for her. Oops. I think I’ll add another Honeycrisp next time. Anyway, it’s all just going to get better from here and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before she’s opining on my cake textures and soup seasoning! Wouldn’t it be funny if her first word was “moist.”

We have another very big weekend coming right up: Bernie’s TV debut along with the debut of season four of Girl Meets Farm on Sunday!! Not to give away any spoilers but the season premiere is hella cute. Because Bernie. And also because it features one of my new favorite dessert recipes, homemade Snickers!! Ugh they are so dangerously good and easy to make. Really surprisingly easy. When I think of Snickers bars, I think of nougat and caramel and when I think of nougat and caramel I think of candy thermometers and time-sensitive things and too many pots and then having to scrub too many pots of sticky stuff and it strikes fear! But it turns out that there’s a perfect hack for the nougat, which is marshmallow fluff. Marshmallow fluff + nut butter + sugar = Snickers nougat but better because you can use any nut or seed butter you want and you just mix it up in one bowl, no thermometer needed. And with the caramel thing, I’ve decided I’m probably only using store bought caramel from now until Bernie and any future younger siblings of hers go off to college. Another thing that’s fun with these is that you can change up the nuts, as long as they are salted and roasted since they need to balance out the sweetness of the nougat and caramel. Over the summer, my mom and I made tahini snickers with pistachios, almond butter snickers with macadamia nuts (that’s what’s pictured here), and the classic peanut butter with peanut scenario. It’s truly a Choose Your Own Adventure recipe. You could also theoretically use different types of chocolate with these but I’d recommend sticking with dark because, again, the nougat and caramel are indeed quite sweet. These little guys come together really quickly, they might be my new favorite no-bake dessert, and they keep really well in the fridge. So yeah, I can’t stress enough their element of danger because of how good they are, but if you learned anything from your halva bars, just keep them next to the carrots. Carrot, Snickers, carrot, Snickers, balance. 

Homemade Snickers:

Makes 16 Candy Bars

ingredients

3 c (720g) dark chocolate chips, divided

1 tb refined coconut oil, divided

½  c (128g) unsweetened nut or seed butter

2 c (192g) marshmallow fluff

3 c (360g) powdered sugar

2 tb whole milk or almond milk

3/4 c (84g) roasted salted nuts

11 oz (312g) caramels

2 tb heavy cream or almond milk

Flaky salt, for topping

clues

Spray the bottom and sides of an 8” x 8” square pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper that hangs over the edge of the pan by an inch on two sides.  Add 1 ½ cups of chocolate chips and 1 ½ tsp of coconut oil to a glass bowl and place the bowl over a simmering pot of water. Stir the chocolate until it has melted completely, about 5 minutes.  Pour it into the pan and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly in a thin layer all over the bottom. Place in the freezer to set.

Meanwhile make the filling.  In a large bowl mix together the marshmallow fluff, nut or seed butter,  powdered sugar, and milk. Mix well until it becomes a soft dough-like consistency (this mixture is incredibly sticky and you may need to use your hands).  Remove the pan from the freezer, wet your finger tips and press the fluff filling down over the chocolate in an even layer. Sprinkle the nuts on top and press lightly into the fluff.  

Add the caramel and cream to a small sauce pot and cook over low heat, while stirring.  Cook until the caramels are melted, 5-8 minutes. Spread the caramel over the fluff and place in the refrigerator for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt the remaining chocolate and coconut oil. Spread the chocolate over the top of the caramel and sprinkle with flaky salt. Place back in the refrigerator until chocolate is fully set and hardened, about an hour or up to overnight.

Using the parchment, pull the bars out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Run a sharp knife until warm water and then cut 16 bars. Enjoy! Store in an airtight container in the fridge. These should keep for a week or even longer, if they last that long.


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

P.S. Don’t forget to tune in to Food Network this Sunday at 11a/10c for the season premiere of Girl Meets Farm! Here are some pics from this episode!

brazil nut cookie dough cups (vegan) + a #mollyontherange preorder sprinkle giveaway!

a real live copy of molly on the range arrived late last week and i shrieked so loudly, almost as loud as when a fox tried to take a macaroni in his mouth. it was so wild and unexpected, i thought i was unboxing my new business cards and sprinkle envelopes from chelsey, but nope, it was a book! my book! the thing that's going to classify me as an author and qualify me to wear elbow patches! i carried it around with me, to seattle and eastern washington and back, and then last night we used it to make fried rice even though i didn't really follow the recipe. i was mostly just curious to see if i'd used butter or oil (it was butter, thank goodness) and then let the page sit open next to me while i chopped all of my onions. i tried to get onion juice on it as an inaugural stain. 

i'm getting off track: there are three are exactly three weeks left to preorder and that means three preorder giveaways!

first up, magic sprinkle mix! throughout the life of this book, i've dreamt of a sprinkle mix. something with rainbows, various sprinkley shapes, spices, sesame seeds, and salt. a seasoning mix on its own that's as tasty as it is colorful, and something naturally colored, like the sprinkles i keep in a jar on my open shelf. so working with india tree, who makes my favorite naturally dyed sprinkles, i developed a mix that is exactly that! it's got cardamom, black sesames and white sesames, smoked salt, and a secret mixture of their sprinkles that extends beyond their carnival mix. i am so excited about it and if you see me between now and the end of my tour, there's a chance i might have one of these bad boys for you:

why hand out business cards when you could hand out sprinkle packets?? (all of the credit for this idea goes to one of the cool dudes behind the hare's corner, who i met in ireland and instead of giving me a business card, he gave me a little packet of seeds! it was so cute.) aside from the little packets though, there are also six jars of this magic sesame cardamom limited-edition sprinkle mix up for grabs to those who've preordered molly on the range! details on how to enter are at the bottom of this post. 

first i want to show you how i've used them, on these here cookie dough cups that are vegan and inspired by the brazil nut cookie dough bars in anna jones' new book, a modern way to cook. i had never bought a brazil nut before, but when i did, eggboy flipped out! he loves them! anna's recipe calls for blending the nuts with some sugar and coconut oil and adding chocolate chips, and it tastes just like raw cookie dough, it's dangerous and addictive. in order to let these sprinkles shine through, here i've instead coated this dough in chocolate for a fancier peanut butter cup! 


brazil nut cookie dough cups

makes 12

ingredients

6 oz (or 1 heaping cup) brazil nuts

2 tb sugar

2 tb coconut oil (solid)

2 tb maple syrup

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

12 oz dark chocolate

sprinkles, for topping

 

 

clues

place the nuts, sugar, coconut oil, syrup, salt, and vanilla in a food processor and pulse until the mixture comes together into a dough-like texture. it may still look crumbly but if you squeeze a bit in your hand, it should hold together. dump it out onto a work surface, divide it into 12 equal parts, and then roll them into balls and flatten them. set aside.

line 12 muffin tins with paper liners and set aside. 

melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave until smooth and then spoon about 1 teaspoon chocolate into the bottom of the liners. stick in the freezer for a couple minutes to firm up slightly. place a disk of filling in each muffin liner and then top with the remaining melted chocolate so that it covers the filling completely. top with sprinkles and let harden in the freezer. enjoy!


if you've preordered molly on the range and would like to win one of six jars of limited-edition #mollyontherange sesame cardamom sprinkles, leave a comment here with what you'd use them on first! open to u.s. residents. enter now through pub date (10/4) and have your preorder receipt ready for if you win!

dessert pickles, two ways

just over a year ago, i made my first visit to the town i now call home. there were obviously many many food-centric emotions, most of which were excited in the i-can't-wait-to-try-hot-dish-and-also-only-have-one-asian-restaurant-to-choose-from way but, some were nervous in the what-will-i-do-when-i'm-bored-and-can't-go-on-a-donut-tour? way. 

i will admit that at times i was a little dark because as i rode in on my high pony from brooklyn i had this dumb uninformed idea that i could try all of the foods in grand forks in one week or less. but i soon started discovering all these tasty little secrets! like the most wonderful ribs in the middle of complete nowhere, earth-shattering wings at a dive bar behind this place called the valley dairy (which i think is an equivalent to a corner bodega, but i haven't even been yet!), a kimchi taco, this fantastic gem, and at the most adorable chocolate shop ever in all the land, a chocolate covered pickle.

it was the exact last thing i expected to see at our little town chocolate shop, but look, here's even a vintage instagram of them! for excitement's sake, i had one and got all smiley about it. it was like having the kid-friendly answer to a pickleback, all sweet and soury and pickly. when my mom came to visit, she became obsessed. 

so here i am today with a recipe for chocolate covered pickles, in case you live in like brooklyn, or somewhere else where a place to get a chocolate covered pickle isn't that obvious (hah! see what i did there?), and it's paired up with a candied pickle because how fun would that be? a pickle-centric dessert table? i am a little bit tempted to insert a raunchy joke about dipping a pickle in chocolate but today i am g-rated.


chocolate covered pickles

ingredients

1 jar of farmer's garden by vlasic bread and butter chips

8 oz dark chocolate chips

2 tb coconut oil

sprinkles (optional, but strongly preferred) 

clues

drain your pickles and place them on a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment. (remove the carrots and red peppers... unless you want to dip those in chocolate too!) freeze your pickles until very cold, for a few hours or overnight. 

melt your chocolate with the coconut oil in a double boiler or in a microwave for 30-second increments. remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is no longer hot.

dip the pickles either half way or all the way into the chocolate and place them back on the parchment. sprinkle with sprinkles. serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 

candied pickles

ingredients

a heaping cup of farmer's garden by vlasic bread and butter chips

3/4 c sugar

2 tb water

optional for serving: ice cream and other sundae toppings!

clues

in a large saucepan, combine the pickles, sugar, and water. heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture begins to turn caramel brown, 20-30 minutes. remove the pickles from the sugar mixture and let them cool on parchment paper. 

(any leftover sugar syrup can be poured out onto parchment and left to cool to make pickle infused hard candy!)

serve immediately! over ice cream, perhaps!

-yeh!

this post was sponsored by vlasic's tasty new line of pickles, farmer's garden! all opinions are mine mine mine. these pickles come in super cute farmy jars and there are no artificial flavors in them (yay). they're inspired by pickling pioneer joseph vlasic, who started making pickles 70 years ago! aside from bread and butter chips, they make zesty garlic chips, kosher dill spears, kosher dill halves, and dill chips. to see what other fun things are going on it pickle word, you can follow #farmtojar.

also be sure to enter their sweepstakes: farmer’s garden is celebrating the authentic taste of #farmtojar with the savor simplicity sweepstakes running from 5/7/14 – 7/31/14. enter at www.farmersgardenvlasic.com for a chance to win a weekend cooking adventure or summer entertaining package, each worth $1,500. one winner will be chosen each month. a $1 off coupon will also be given to all entrants immediately following entry!

 

PISTACHIO HAZELNUT NOUGAT

some things you should know about nougat:

1. it is the best treat for a train ride because it will make you feel as if you're on the polar express. never mind that you've just coated your teeth in sugar and won't be able to brush your teeth until the end of your 12 hour ride. cavities don't form on trains.

2. unless you have had it in europe or made it yourself, it's unlikely that you've had nougat at its optimum chewiness. (i know this because every time i see it in a store in the states, i give it the squishy test. not one has passed.) three musketeers bars don't count.

3. eggboy does not eat sugarbut he has snuck little bites of this at least once every hour since i made it.

4. it has been the fuel of our of farmhouse kitchen remodeling efforts. (more on this later...)

5. it is stressful to make because it involves getting two separate mixtures to two separate temperatures within a quick few minutes, while you whip up some egg whites, and it makes you kinda feel like an air traffic controller. i failed the first time and created a big blob of burnt disgusting shit and it happened to be the christening of my kitchen aid, so now i am terrified that my kitchen aid thinks i'm an idiot.

6. it keeps well, so i have sent some around as little thank-yous to kristin for these amazing lip balms, sara for cranberry mead (!!) mustard, and eitan for hot chocolate and for being my surprise cousin. 

pistachio hazelnut nougat

based on this recipe from food & wine

ingredients

1/4 c cornstarch

1/4 c powdered sugar

1 2/3 c + 1 tb white sugar

1 3/4 c water

3/4 c honey

2 large egg whites

a pinch of kosher salt

3 c toasted hazelnuts, unsalted

3/4 c toasted pistachios, unsalted

clues

in a small bowl, combine cornstarch and powdered sugar. line an 8-inch baking pan with parchment, spray it with cooking spray, and dust it with half of the cornstarch mixture. set the pan and the rest of the mixture aside. 

get all of your other mixtures into place: in a large saucepan, combine 1 2/3 c sugar, the water, and 1/4 c honey. in a small saucepan, measure out the remaining 1/2 c honey. in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (have this set up near the stove), place your egg whites and pinch of salt.

heat the sugar mixture on medium-high. once it reaches 245ºf, turn the heat down to medium-low, transfer your candy thermometer to the small saucepan with the honey, and bring your honey to a boil over medium-high heat. immediately begin beating the egg whites until stiff peaks form. beat in the 1 tablespoon of white sugar. (do this while keeping an eye on the honey so you don't burn it...)

when the honey reaches 265ºf, add it to the egg whites in a steady drizzle with the mixer running at medium-high. reduce the speed of your mixer, and keep it going for the next step.

place your candy thermometer back into the sugar mixture, raise the heat to medium-high, and then when it reaches 305ºf, add it to the egg white mixture in a steady stream. beat on high for 3-5 minutes, until the mixture is pale. 

with an oiled wooden spoon, mix in the nuts, and then scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. press it into an even layer, sprinkle on the remaining cornstarch mixture and let cool. (this should take just a few hours, if that.) cut and serve, or store in an air tight container for up to two weeks.

enjoy! and then brush your teeth. 

-yeh!