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!

Passover Chocolate Chip Cookies

Frozen cookie dough is an essential part of baby meal prep!!!! And just because Passover is around the corner doesn’t make this any different. Well, it actually kind of makes it easier because these cookies are, like, stupidly simple to make. One-bowl, three-minute simple. Remember this Passover cookie cake from a few years ago? Magic, right?! So chewy, delicious, and satisfying, and easy enough that some people asked if there was a typo and if there should have been more steps (no typo!). So these chocolate chip cookies are just hand-held versions of that cake that kind of take on a new life of their own because when they’re in this smaller shape and rolled in sugar, they get a crisp crunchy shell but stay so amazingly chewy inside. And also, you can keep this dough in the freezer and bake off only one or two cookies at a time as needed, so the convenience is real. And the flavor is awesome too, thanks to a tasty nut flour base. If you’d like to change things up and add dried fruit or M&M’s or other candy or chopped nuts, you can totally do that with these. Happy almost Passover! 


Passover Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 12

ingredients 

1 c (112g) almond flour

1 c (112g) hazelnut flour, or 1 more cup almond flour

1/2 c (100g) lightly packed light brown sugar 

1/2 c (100g) sugar 

3/4 tsp kosher salt 

1 large egg 

1 tb vanilla extract 

1/2 tsp almond extract 

3 oz chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (any kind!)

Coarse sanding sugar or turbinado sugar

Clues

If baking immediately, preheat the oven to 350ºf. If preparing for the freezer, see below for directions. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set it aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugars, and salt. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond and stir to combine and then stir in the chocolate. The whole mixture might seem dry at first, but keep on stirring and it will come together. Roll balls that are slightly larger than golf balls and roll them in sanding sugar. Flatten them slightly and then place them on the baking sheet, 1” apart.

If baking immediately, bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom. Let cool slightly and enjoy! They will be super gooey when they come out of the oven but they will get chewy as they cool.

If preparing to freeze, stick the baking sheet in the freezer until the dough is frozen, about an hour or so, and then transfer to a ziploc bag. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake cookies 1” apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment at 350ºf for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom. Let cool slightly and enjoy! They will be super gooey when they come out of the oven but they will get chewy as they cool.


pistachio nutter butters + a giveaway!

Hello to my birthday month, the month where I get to chill a little more, eat a little more, and spend a little more, at least at Sephora, so I can get my free birthday lip gloss. Every day feels like pizza friday during birthday month! And this month I’m going to Stars on Ice so like, wow, if you thought I freaked out at the Olympics, just wait until Meryl and Charlie take the ice. I cannot wait.

Here are some photos from over the weekend when I met Nile’s Beethoven dog puppy, Frida, and then went to the Empire gala! We danced our butts off, wore big dresses, sang, it was the perfect eve to birthday month. 

Now I’m kicking off May with two recent objects of my obsession: pistachio nutter butters and jewelry that reminds me of rainbow sprinkles. Pistachio nutter butters felt like such an obvious thing to do, given my love of pistachio butter (see: pistachio buttercream and pistachio pudding pops). So I replaced the peanut butter in my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe for pistachio butter and they came out chewy and amazing. And then when sandwiched with creamy pistachio frosting, they just got better. They are thick nutty wonders of the cookie world. And, yes, they deserve to be rolled in sprinkles.

Speaking of sprinkles, I have the most fun giveaway happening over on Instagram for the colorful ring that I’m wearing in these photos! I have been a fan of Elisa Solomon’s jewelry for years, ever since finding her rings at Catbird. (I sometimes just go onto the Catbird site just to look at this ring). Her jewelry is right up my alley, it’s colorful and whimsical and dainty and every time I look at my ring I think of rainbow sprinkles!! So I could not be more excited to partner with her on this giveaway. To enter, head over to Instagram (but if you don’t have Instagram, you can leave a comment here)! And be sure to check out her other jewelry, like this Sven cat ring!!! 
 


Pistachio Nutter Butters

Makes 8 large cookies

Ingredients

Cookies

1 1/4 c (160g) raw pistachios
1 1/4 c (160g) raw almonds
1/4 tsp kosher salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 c (200g) sugar, plus a couple more tablespoons for rolling
1 large egg

Filling

6 tb (85g) unsalted butter, softened
1 c (120g) powdered sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
a pinch of lemon zest
Optional: splash of rosewater

Sprinkles
 

Clues

Preheat oven to 350ºf. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

To make the cookies, in a high powered food processor, blend the pistachios and almonds for 10-15 minutes until spreadable. Remove 1/4 c (or 64g) of the mixture and set aside for the filling. To the food processor, add the salt, lemon zest, almond extract, and sugar to the food processor and blend together. Add the egg and blend to combine. Scoop out 16 tablespoon sized balls and roll in sugar. Place on baking sheets 1 inch apart and flatten with two presses of a fork to get a crisscross pattern. Bake for 12 minutes (they’ll still be very soft but they’ll firm up as they cool). Let cool on the pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the filling, in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend together the butter and reserved pistachio butter. Add the powdered sugar and blend to combine. Add the salt, vanilla, almond, lemon zest, and rosewater, if using. 

Fill a piping bag with the filling and pipe in the centers of half of the cooled cookies, sandwich them with the other half of the cookies and then roll in sprinkles. Enjoy!


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen!

apron from enrich and endure, cookie plate from le creuset

shawarma stuffed peppers with tahini and herbs

Happiest Tuesday to you! I’ve just returned from a weekend of celebrating Mia’s 12th birthday! It was exactly what you’d expect out of a 12th birthday weekend: we played with slime, got locked in a room with a zombie, and ate unicorn cake that was dangerously close to looking like a penis cake. It was my first time, ok? How was I supposed to know that rolling marzipan around a log of rice krispies treat and then adding grooves all around and painting it with edible shimmery dust would make it look like an almond flavored wiener of gold? 🤷🏻‍♀️ It’s not my fault. But thank you, Instagram friends, for setting me straight and encouraging it to be more conical and pointy at the top. See? It got better:

The next time I make a unicorn cake I’m going to make two ropes of marzipan and twist them together so that the grooves are plumper and smoother, like the one here. Does anyone in Grand Forks need a unicorn cake?? I want to practice my unicorn cake now. Or maybe even a narwhal cake? Mia’s into narwhals too, I hope this lasts so I can make her a narwhal cake next year.

The whole time I was making this cake I was also watching the World Figure Skating Championships free dance, which was a treat!!! It was a bummer that the Shib Sibs weren’t there but (!!!) Kaitlyn Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker went in their place and my heart just melts when I watch them. They have this young, old-fashioned, first-time-in-love vibe that’s almost as Disney as Meryl and Charlie and it just makes you love them soo much. And then I was running terribly behind on my unicorn horn de-wienering but had to stop everything and give Papadakis and Cizeron my full undivided attention because that was the last time we’ll see *that* program and, sigh, I still can’t get over it’s beauty. Of course they broke the record again. Of course! 

I’m really sad that the skating season is over but now Eggboy gets to have his sports time fun since cycling is about to start. 

Oh but not before our last ski trip hurrah! We’re heading to Whistler at the end of this week for Passover and I’ve been looking forward to this for forever. Whistler seems like the most adorable winter wonderland and you know I love a good mountain!! I’ll be giving Passover cooking demos when I’m not skiing, at Pesach on the Mountain, so I’ve been working up a bunch of new Kosher for Passover recipes including these shawarma stuffed peppers. These peppers are super easy to make. Easier than they are to eat. (Are Eggboy and I the only people who have always struggled with the mechanics of eating a stuffed pepper? Or do you also find this dish slightly flawed in execution?) Maybe we should just eliminate all shame from the equation and use our hands to eat these like an apple. Eh. They are worth the little mess though because they have warm delicious shawarma spice all up in it and when you cover them in a pool of creamy tahini sauce, mmmmm, they are good.

I’ve made these a couple of different ways: one with rice and one with cauliflower rice. Rice absorbs the juices and binds the filling together nicely while the filling in the cauliflower version stays a bit loose and juicy. Juicy lucy. I personally prefer the texture of the rice version but the cauliflower version is still super tasty and a great Passover dinner if you’re not going to be eating rice. 

For shawarma seasoning, I love NY Shuk’s, but here is a great easy homemade version too. And here is a great k for p tahini!


shawarma stuffed peppers with tahini and herbs

serves 4

ingredients

2 tb olive oil or canola oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

Kosher salt

2 tsp shawarma seasoning

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 lb ground turkey

black pepper

1 c (6 oz) cauliflower rice or 1 c cooked basmati rice (from 60g dry rice)

1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes

4 large or 6 small bell peppers

1/4 c (50g) tahini

3 tb cold water

1 lemon

fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, mint), for topping

 

 

clues

Preheat the oven to 400ºf. 

In a large skillet or pot, heat the oil over medium high heat and add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add the shawarma seasoning and turmeric and cook for another minute. Add the ground turkey and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few turns of pepper. Brown the turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula. When it’s all cooked through and no longer pink, reduce the heat to low. If you’re using cauliflower rice, microwave it (covered in a bowl or in the bag it came in if the package says that it’s ok) for 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower rice or basmati rice to the skillet and stir in the diced tomatoes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Cut off the tops of the bell peppers, core them, and place them in a casserole dish. Fill the peppers with the turkey mixture and then bake for 35 minutes. 

To make the tahini sauce, stir together the tahini, water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste until smooth. When the peppers are done cooking, squeeze them with additional lemon juice, top with a nice big blob of tahini sauce, and a pile of fresh herbs. Enjoy!