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!

tahini milkshakes

We have a dog chicken. You know, like a dog cat, a cat that behaves like a dog, but a chicken. It started last month when we noticed that one of our chickens was looking blue and had a little blood on her head from getting her feathers picked out by the other chickens, it was so sad! We separated her so she could heal in peace, and gave her special treatment, like extra cucumbers and apples. Eventually we let her roam around the yard, freely outside of the run, and she became so personable! Not like the other chickens who run away if you try to come near them. This chicken comes up to you when you’re in the yard and lets you pet her. Occasionally she visits Eggboy in the workshop. On Mother’s Day when we presented Eggmom with her gift (a wagon to hook on to her lawn mower), Eggboy had all of us stand in one part of the yard to watch the big reveal, and as all of the Eggs and I assembled in a little group as the audience, Chicken also gathered with us and stood attentively waiting for the show. It was the best. She’s the best. I love her. I know you’re not supposed to pick favorite chicken children, but she’s my fave. 

Anyway, over the weekend we had a scare. We heard a flopping noise, ran outside, and couldn’t find her anywhere. All we could see was white feathers scattered about in two different parts of the yard, and we searched everywhere but couldn’t find her. It was the worst. A fox, a hawk, or a coyote had come to eat her, we figured :( But then!! Two very sad long hours later, she reappeared!!!!! A little shaken but still her happy self. She must have been hiding from whatever monster tried to get her. We sliced up celebratory cucumber, danced around, and then put her to bed and then went inside and ate celebratory Chana Masala and watched celebratory Breaking Bad.

This morning as I left for the gym, I saw her keeping Eggboy company while he weedwacked and it made me so happy. I am a little bummed that we’re going to have to move her back into the coop with the other chickens soon but at least she’s safe.

This is a pic of her I took when I was using up the rest of my shots on my Paris cameras:

So that’s what’s happening around the farm.

In tahini news, it occurred to me last month that it has been over a year since I had the earth shatteringly amazing tahini shake at Goldie, in Philadelphia. I decided that it was time to start making my own. But did you know that if you do a Google for tahini shake recipe, the internet automatically assumes that you also want dates?? And, worst case scenario, bananas????? Like I realize that tahini is classified as a health food in some brains and fits snuggly in with this practice of sweetening shakes with dates and creamifying them with bananas, but I just really wanted… sugar. And no date flavor. And real ice cream. Bananas can gtfo forever and ever. ❌🚫🙅🏻‍♀️

I wanted an old school milkshake, like the chocolate peanut butter ones we got at Steak 'n Shake in high school to have with their crispy shoestring fries, only instead of peanut butter I wanted tahini.  And I wanted a smaller milkshake too because one problem I have with the world of milkshakes is that they are always too darn big. They tempt me into bellyache sugar crash territory and these days I just never order them because of this and resort to stealing sips of my dad’s or Eggboy’s during our annual In-N-Out trips. If there was a universally understood kiddie cone equivalent option, or like a shot of milkshake option, that would be ideal. That’s what my future imaginary restaurant will have, shots of milkshakes. And then the cute as a button juice glasses in these pics will be the jumbo size.

My last opinion about milkshakes is that I appreciate when they have something in them to chew on, like cookies or a whole piece of chocolate cake, a la Portillo’s or the Oreo Dairy Queen Blizzard. So I’ve thrown in handfuls of crushed chocolate cookies here. They get so good and soft as they soak up the shake. The rest of the shake is as perfect as you’d imagine: nutty and extra creamy, thanks to the tahini, and perfect with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. A pinch of cinnamon enhances the tahini flavor, and an optional drizzle of chocolate syrup will do no harm. And rainbow sprinkles, doyyy.

Tahini Milkshakes

Makes 6-8 mini shakes or 4 medium (pictured)

ingredients

2 c (400g) vanilla ice cream

3/4 c (180g) whole milk

1/2 c (100g) tahini

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

a pinch of cinnamon

a drizzle of chocolate syrup, optional

a handful of crushed chocolate cookies (homemade or store-bought), optional but highly recommended

fresh whipped cream

rainbow sprinkles

clues

In a blender, combine the ice cream, milk, tahini, vanilla, and cinnamon, and blend to combine. Pour into glasses and top with a drizzle of chocolate syrup and crushed cookies (if using), whipped cream, and sprinkles and enjoy.


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett! dress from gap!

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!

watermelon mini cakes

macaroni and tofu turn one this week!!!!!! 

i can't believe it. *they grow up so fast* look at them a year ago (!!):

and now they are beautiful colorful egg-layin ladies and tofu is a handsome young man and they bring us so much joy (and lots of shakshuka). happy birthday, macaroni and tofu! we love you! 

obviously we made little cakes for them with all of their favorite things: watermelon, yogurt, mint, and "sprinkles" (sunflower seeds and stuff). we sang the birthday song and thought about making little party hats... but i don't think chickens really like hats. sweaters, maybe. but hats? do you have any intel on this?

yogurt, i recently learned, is really good for chickies since it helps their digestion, and mint keeps them cool and helps repel any pests. and of course watermelon hydrates them, oh boy they are big watermelon fans.

i didn't sweeten the yogurt in these since chickens don't really have a sweet tooth, but if you're looking to make a human version of these, it might be tastier to use whipped cream or sweetened yogurt between the watermelon layers. or! you could take the old sweet/savory route and use slices of feta. these are easy little cakes to make and perfect for a hot summer day!


watermelon mini cakes

1. slice thin layers of watermelon and use a biscuit cutter to cut out your cake layers

2. stack up your layers with a layer of yogurt/whipped cream/feta (see note above) and a few mint leaves in between

3. top with mint leaves and sprinkles and enjoy!


-yeh!