Chex Blox

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I thought the name I had come up with for these was pretty cute but one of my coworkers objected and decided they should be called “Chexicans” instead, because of the tenuous (maybe) connection of almonds to Mexico. Then he came up with Chex Yo Self, Chex-o-Slovakia (because Nutella was invented in the Czech Republic), and Early Chex Out (“like early check out, because if you eat too many you’ll die at a young age”). Then he arrived at “Dirty Chexican” because it made his fingers sticky. So I told him I would let you guys decide on a name because you are way smarter than he is. Annnnnnd GO!

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In any case, these little blocks of whatever-they-are are well-received wherever you want to take them. Aside from a wee bit of butter (that could be replaced with margarine), they’re dairy free, and the rice cereal makes them totally gluten-free as well. For nut-free folks you can easily skip the almonds. I totally made this recipe up as I went along so there’s no reason for you not to play around with it too!

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I started with a big-ass bowl and into it I dumped a whole box (about 5 cups) Chex cereal. It was the honey-flavoured but you could use plain too. Then went in about 1/2 cup sliced almonds (use any nut you like – these were on-hand), 1 cup unsweetened dessicated coconut, and 1 cup chocolate chips. Or about those amounts. I didn’t measure anything. I gave that a good stir.

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Into a small pot on the stove went about 3/4 cup Nutella and 3/4 cup peanut butter. The one picture I didn’t take doubles of is of course the one that turns out blurry.

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I stirred that around until it was fully melted and amazing.

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… okay so this one’s a little blurry too.

In another pot I melted about 2 tablespoons butter.

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Then tipped in a whole package (about 5 cups) marshmallows.

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Stirred that up until it melted. SO GOOEY.

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Then I added the hazelnut peanut butter to the cereal and stirred it for a little while.

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Then went in the marshmallow and that got stirred around.

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I plopped it into a high-sided baking sheet lined with parchment paper and pressed it down into place. You can shove it in the fridge to speed up the hardening process but it will happen on its own on the counter if it’s not too hot outside.

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When it’s hardened you can cut it into blocks.

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Store whatever doesn’t get eaten in an airtight container. Enjoy!

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S’mores Cookie Bars

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We’re having a beautiful fall, where it’s nice and crisp at night but during the day it’s glorious and sunny. So I can still pretend it’s summer with a summery dish. Right? Right. The Crockpot Gourmet has this kid-pleasing concoction that I knew would be a hit at a family potluck, so I gave it a whirl. Or at least, I thought about it. I REALLY want to make this in the crock pot. Because I think it would be the ultimate in awesome. The problem is that my crock pot is very narrow and deep and would not work at all for making cookie bars. So I modified the cooking technique a little bit in order to do this in the oven. And then, because I could, I also modified the recipe by playing around with the proportions and taking out some of the sugar.

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I got very excited because I had to buy Teddy Grahams for this recipe. I haven’t had those little cookies since I was a kid. I couldn’t find the actual brand name ones for this but I found the generic equivalent and I think it was probably passable in any case.

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Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and then butter a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

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In a small bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

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In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar,  and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until it’s super fluffy.

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Then, add in 3 large eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla and beat that up as well. Start adding in your flour mixture, too, a little at a time.

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I ended up adding about 2 tablespoons cream, just to make the whole thing a bit more cakey.

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Smear your dough into the baking dish and smooth it out.

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Now sprinkle about 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips over the surface.

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Add to that about 1 1/2 cups honey Teddy Grahams.

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Then about 30 marshmallows.

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Tent some aluminum foil over top so it covers the container but doesn’t touch the marshmallows. This will keep them from burning.

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Bake the whole thing for about 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out almost clean.

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Remove the foil and set the dish on a wire rack to cool completely.

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I think I might add more marshmallows next time, considering how much they disappeared.

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This Teddy Graham survived. Mostly.

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Slice the whole thing up into pieces and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

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S’meaches: In the Woods

Summer is drawing to a close, but why not give it one last hurrah with this gorgeous take on the traditional s’more treat? I saw this video a few years ago and I’ve been wanting to try it ever since.  Step one is building yourself a good fire and getting a nice consistent flame. I like to grill things in the coals so it’s a good idea to have this going for a while before you’re ready to have dessert. I apologize in advance for the terrible quality of these photos. There’s only so much you can do when your only light source is a campfire. If you want pretty pictures, check out the above video.

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Grab yourself 2-3 fresh peaches. August is peach season in Ontario so these are like fuzzy heaven to eat.

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Remove the pit by halving the peach and then slice the halves horizontally into peach patties.

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Mix together 1 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon cayenne (or more if you’re feeling adventurous). Dredge your peach slices in the brown sugar and cayenne mixture. Grab a package of large marshmallows and jam a marshmallow on your roasting stick, together with a slice of peach.

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Roast until you get it the way you like it. The sugar should be all caramelized on your peach, and the marshmallow should be exactly as you wish.

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Smush the contents of your roasting stick between two graham crackers and shove it in your face.  Repeat as necessary.  And it WILL be necessary.

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Choco-Coco Crisps

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I had pretty much a full package of marshmallows left over from my horrid disaster with s’mores, and a sizable chunk of baking chocolate that needed to be consumed before we left the province.

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So start with a giant pot and your gooey whites, around 40 large marshmallows.  Chuck them in the pot with 3 tablespoons butter and heat that on medium low, stirring frequently.Choco-Coco Crisps 3

While that’s on the go, butter two large baking dishes.

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Chop up about 4oz chocolate (I used milk chocolate) and use your microwave or a double boiler to melt it down.

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When the marshmallows start to melt, you can add in a few tablespoons vanilla extract and a few tablespoons coconut extract.  Be careful, as the alcohol in the extracts will fizz up.  Keep stirring as the marshmallows continue to desolidify.

Pour in the melted chocolate when the marshmallows are nearly entirely melted and remove the pot from the heat.  This will prevent your melted chocolate from seizing.

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Stir quickly until it’s all well combined.

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Pour in about 1 cup sweetened dessicated coconut and stir that up.

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Add in as well 6 cups crisped rice cereal and stir until it’s all evenly coated with chocolate goo.

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Using a buttered spatula or buttered hands, flatten the crispies into the buttered pans, pressing down firmly into the corners.

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Chop up about 8oz chocolate, melt that, and spread it thinly over the top of the crispies in both pans.

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Allow the chocolate to set for a bit, but cut your treats before it’s completely hardened.  Chill to set completely.

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And then, well, you eat them.  Simple as that.

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S’mores, in a cookie – FAILED

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Wow.  This could have gone much better.

I was trying to make a summery treat as a last hurrah for my Sweet Treats Club at work and I thought, what’s more summery than some nice chewy s’mores?  I mean really.  There’s nothing.  Except maybe beer.  But that would be inappropriate for work I think.  At least before noon.

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And I saw a bunch of recipes on the internet that incorporated elements of s’moreishness in their makeup but nothing that really screamed, holy smokes, this is the cookie version of my favourite campfire treat.  I mean there were cookies with graham cookies embedded in them, with mini marshmallows in the matrix … all sorts of stuff.  But the essence of a s’more — to ME — is a graham cookie on either side of a piece of chocolate and a hot roasted marshmallow.  Right?   So I figured, why not make a chocolate chip cookie, but with enough graham incorporated into it so it would be LIKE a graham cookie (but with chocolate), and then have that form a protective shell around a large gooey internal marshmallow.

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What went wrong?  Well, everything.  I guess there’s a reason I didn’t see anything like this in my searching.  The cookie dough recipe I chose was all wrong, for one thing.  I picked the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip package (my first mistake) because I’d packed my Joy of Cooking (my second mistake).  I replaced half the flour with graham crumbs and I probably shouldn’t have done that, and I used butter when I probably should have used shortening.  And before you say it, yes, I chilled the crap out of that dough.  Like it spent more time in the fridge than out of it.

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So what happened?  This.  They just melted.  At first you could see the marshmallows holding out as the cookie melted into a sad puddle all around them, but then they, too, succumbed, turning into little white puddles of goo.  It was very depressing.

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So we thought, okay, if the cookie dough is going to go liquid, why don’t we put it in a muffin tin, and have the marshmallow perch on top?  Right.  Well, the marshmallow came out nice and toasted, which was fine, but the cookie, not so much.  Once I pulled them out of the pan it was a huge rotten mess.

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So there you have it, folks.  For those of you who weren’t around during my floor pizza days (and for those of you who were), I still make a lotta mistakes in the kitchen.  And will continue to do so.  Mostly because I am really bad at following rules.  But that’s what makes it fun, right?

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Tofu Feature Month: Dark Chocolate Mousse

Tofu Chocolate Mousse

Who says that tofu only belongs on the savoury side of life?

This chocolate dessert is quick and easier than doing it the hard way.

The original recipe I had called for carob powder, but I didn’t have any, so I chopped up dark chocolate and melted it instead.  I figured it would make a smoother treat that way.

Tofu Chocolate Mousse

In a blender, combine 1 package soft silken tofu, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 melted dark chocolate, and 1/2 cup soy milk.  Add between 2 and 6 tablespoons of sugar (I did 2, the recipe I had called for 6, and that seemed like a lot).  Blend that until it’s smooth.  It might take some stirring to dislodge pockets of cocoa powder.

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Pour into parfait cups or layer in a tall glass.  I tried to layer with marshmallows, but of course they floated when I tried to pour more chocolate on top. Yes, I am an idiot.

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And the fresh raspberries I put on top sank.

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Chill until firm(er) and serve.

To be honest, I was not a fan of this dessert.  Firstly, it was most decidedly not a mousse — that frothy, floating concoction that I know and love.  This was more like a heavy pudding.  And the smoothness of the tofu did nothing to hide the chalky feeling of undissolved cocoa powder sliding down my gullet.  It tasted fine, but the texture was all wrong.  In this case, I would stick with real dairy and straight chocolate.

Tofu Chocolate Mousse