Here we go, Brownies, here we go!

You know, I thought about sharing a different recipe. You know, something like chili or chowder. Or even whoopie pies. Heck, I could even write up that pie crust comparison post that’s been on my to-do list for days weeks months. But we just happen to be smack-dab-in-the-middle of football season. And since I’m all about sharing seasonal recipes whenever possible (which means I missed the boat on stuffed tomatoes this year), I’m moving this recipe to the top of the list.

Not only that, but this girl is coming off of a victory weekend, with the Ws and Ls in the right places. Which means there’s no time like the present for Dawg Pound Puppy Chow. 😀

I’d like to tell you that I made this for another party, but that would be a lie. I’d even like to tell you that I took it to work or mailed some to my friend in Iowa after her Packers beat my Browns a few weeks ago, but that would be a lie too. (I meant to, Jackie, really! It’s just that after Andy got his hands on it, all we had left were some powdered sugar crumbs. Not something I’m scooping into an envelope and sending via USPS. Just saying.)

So, to recap… it’s easy to make and easy to eat. It has one of my all-time favorite candies. It would probably mail well too… if it lasted long enough. 😀

Dawg Pound Puppy Chow

7 cups corn or rice Chex cereal
2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups brown and orange Reese’s Pieces

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips, butter and peanut butter. Stir until smooth.

Gently fold in the cereal, stirring until well-coated. Line two cookie sheets with waxed paper and evenly divide the cereal mixture between the two pans. Let cool in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Place 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Put half of the coated cereal in the bag, seal the bag and shake until the cereal is well coated. Place the coated cereal in a large bowl and repeat with the remaining powdered sugar and cereal.

Once the mixture is all coated, stir in the Reese’s Pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Adapted from Chex 

Click here for a printable version.


A Season for Everything

I’m a big fan of seasonal food. Tomatoes and corn are best in July and August, ripe and warm from the summer sun. Apples and September were just made for each other, and I become practically giddy with excitement when the first squash comes in from our CSA.

Seasonal is good. After all, there is a time for everything, right?

I am, however, NOT a fan of seasonal candy. Especially when said candy is only available for a few weeks out of the year. I try to stock up on our favorite flavors, but that’s not always successful. (Especially when the baking stash gets raided in search of dessert… not that I’d ever do that…)


This recipe was on the back of the bag of Hershey’s Mint Truffle Kisses. If you haven’t tried these before, make a note to grab some next December. They’re what you’d get if an Andes mint and a Hershey kiss got together. If you’re lucky enough to have some hanging out in your baking stash, give these a try. (After all, you have to make room for the peanut butter eggs you’ll be buying soon.) 😀

My biggest mistake with this recipe? I only made half a batch (which I’ve reflected below). I figured, 24 brownie bites is plenty for two people, right? Wrong. Let’s just say that someone made sure they disappeared in record time. And now we’re out of mint truffle kisses till December. Boo.

Mint Brownie Bites

Mint Truffle Brownie Bites

24 Hershey’s Mint Truffle Kisses
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350. Line a mini muffin pan with paper liners, and set aside. Remove wrappers from kisses, and set kisses aside in a small bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the water, egg and vanilla and mix well.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until just combined.

Using a cookie scoop, make 24 1″ balls of cookie dough and place one in each well in the muffin pan. Bake until the surface of the cookie is set, about 8-10 minutes. (The original recipe said 11-13 minutes; I was convinced they’d be overdone by that point. Check yours at the 8 minute mark and go from there.) When the cookies are set (they will still seem soft and moist), remove them from the oven and place the sheet on a wire rack to cool. Immediately press one of the kisses in the center of each cookie. Let cool for 5 minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

From Hershey’s

Click here for a printable version.

Nutter Butter Love

If you know me, you know that store-bought cookies aren’t really my thing. That’s not to say that I won’t snag one from the kitchen at work, or use them to make Oreo truffles or turkeys, but you’re not going to find me going up and down the cookie aisle, tossing packages into my cart.

At least, not until Christmas time comes around. Then, I go on a hunt for Nutter Butters. Why, you ask? Because one of Andy’s most-requested Christmas cookies is a Nutter Butter Santa. (And if we’re going to get technical, he would actually prefer Nutter Butter snowmen, simply because they have more white chocolate.) 

I have mixed feelings about how “easy” these guys are. On one hand, they’re no-bake cookies, so you never have to turn on the oven (unless you’re like me and can’t melt white chocolate any other way). On the other hand though, they can be a little time-consuming and messy. (Melted white chocolate everywhere? Check. Red sprinkles all over the kitchen? Check. Red hots scattered across the counter? Mini chocolate chips going on cross-eyed? Check and double check.) In spite of this, these are always on my Christmas goodie list.

This is one of the few times I practice mise en place!
Hundreds of white chocolate chips, ready to go!
AHH! My eyes! I can’t see!!! (Haha….)

Nutter Butter Santas

1 package Nutter Butter cookies
12 ounces white chocolate, chopped
Red sanding sugar
White baking chips
Mini chocolate chips
Red-hot candies

Preheat the oven to its lowest setting, and place the white chocolate in an oven-proof bowl. Place the bowl in the oven to melt the chocolate, stirring every few minutes until smooth and melted. (Alternately, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds or so.) 

Dip each end of the Nutter Butter cookies into the white chocolate, shaking off the excess. Dip the top end of the cookie into the red sanding sugar, covering the white chocolate completely. Place Nutter Butter on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and press a white baking chip onto the lower corner of the red sprinkles. (This is the pom-pom of Santa’s “hat.”) Place the Nutter Butter on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and allow the chocolate to set.

Using the remaining melted white chocolate as glue, place two mini chocolate chips on the front of the cookie for eyes, and place one red-hot candy for a nose, right above the start of Santa’s beard. Return cookie to the wire rack and allow everything to harden.

Store in an air-tight container.

From Taste of Home

In other cookie news, I’ve received two of my boxes from the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! It’s SO much fun. I wasn’t feeling the whole Christmas thing at all, until my first box came. Now I’ve added some Christmas stations to my Pandora account, and I’m ready to decorate the tree! Woohoo! My boxes are just about ready to ship out as well… can’t wait to send them on their way across the country! 

Turkey Time!

Why, hello, November. Seems like you’ve arrived much quicker than last year… maybe that’s because I was having so much fun with my summer produce that I didn’t notice the months flying by. But since you’re here, you might as well make yourself at home. After all, we have exciting things planned this month. Things like THE GAME (watching with some of my favorite people and, of course, excellent snacks), Thanksgiving (I’m making my first pumpkin roll this year!), and participating my first-ever, food blogger cookie exchange!

Yes, you read that right. Three lucky individuals are going to received goodies straight from my kitchen! I’m pretty excited about it, as you could probably guess. I spent some time wandering through Michael’s, looking at different packaging options, and I have been brainstorming cookie ideas already! I’ve already warned Andy that he’s not to open my cookie packages when they arrive – he’ll just have to wait until I get home from work to see what goodness is inside!

But anyway, we’re not here to talk about cookies, at least, not today. Maybe sometime next week. Today, I have the solution to your extra-Halloween candy problems. And if you don’t have a stash of Halloween candy to use up, then get yourself to the store. (I’m pretty sure they’re selling candy corn until Thanksgiving.) 

Look at how cute! They’re the perfect addition to a Thanksgiving table. 🙂 And yes, my turkeys were blind. It was late; I was tired; there weren’t any appropriate sprinkles in my kitchen… you get the idea. Still cute though. 🙂

Tom Turkeys

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (11-ounce) package candy corn
52 fudge stripe cookies (I bought mine, but you could get ambitious and make them with Annie’s recipe.)
4 cups mini marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (feel free to go off-brand!)

Heat oven to 170 degrees. While the oven is heating, place the chocolate chips in an oven-proof bowl, then place the bowl in the oven to melt the chips. Check the chips every 5-10 minutes, stirring until melted. Remove melted chips from oven.*

Prepare the tails: Using a spoon, spread melted chocolate on the top half of the back of a cookie. Lay the candy corn in a fan shape on the cookie and press into the chocolate. Let the chocolate harden (the fridge is a great help in speeding up this process!) Repeat with 25 more cookies.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the marshmallows and stir until melted. Stir in the cereal. Allow mixture to cool for a few minutes (but not too long – you have to form it into balls). With greased hands, shape the cereal mixture into balls about 1-1/2″ in diameter.

Remelt the chocolate, if necessary. Dip the bottom of the cereal ball into the chocolate and position it on an upside-down cookie. Using chocolate as “glue,” attach the tails to the back of each ball, at a 90 degree angle from the base. Let chocolate cool and harden.

Use chocolate to attach one candy corn piece to the front of the top of the ball – this serves as the turkey’s “head.” Let everything set/harden, then store in an airtight container. Makes 26 turkeys.

*This is my preferred method of melting chocolate. I have problems with a double boiler AND with the microwave. Thankfully, a friend gave me this tip, so no more seized, unusable chocolate! If you’re more talented than I am not afraid of the microwave or the double boiler, by all means, go that route.  

From Taste of Home

Oreo Goodness

Friends make everything more fun. Even when you’re doing something that’s already awesome. So when my friend Lacey asked if I wanted to spend an evening making Oreo truffles with her, I jumped at the chance. (I may or may not have sent an all-caps email back to her that read, “I WOULD LOVE TO,” but that’s besides the point.)

These truffles are a great no-bake dessert idea. We’re talking three ingredients here, people. Cream cheese, Oreo cookies and either almond bark or white chocolate. The worst part is waiting for the truffles to freeze up before you can dip them, and then waiting for them to harden before you can eat them. (Not that waiting slowed me down… I made the ultimate sacrifice and took care of the one that I accidentally crushed with my clumsy fingers. Whoops.)

Even if your dipping skills are less than stellar, odds are that they'll be eaten before anyone notices!

Oreo Truffles

1 package Oreo cookies, finely crushed
1 8 oz. block of cream cheese
16 oz. of white chocolate or almond bark

Preheat oven to 200. (Don’t panic; this really is a no-bake recipe. This is just my favorite way to melt chocolate, since I’ve had terrible luck with both the microwave and the double-boiler methods.) Roughly chop the chocolate and place in an oven-safe bowl. Place the bowl in the warm oven, stirring every 10 minutes until the chocolate is smooth and melted.

While the chocolate is melting, combine the oreos* and the cream cheese in a large bowl. Mix together. (I used my hands, as a spoon didn’t seem to work well.) When the mixture is smooth and mostly uniform, form into 1″ balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.

Using a toothpick, or a slotted spoon, or your fingers (do whatever works – we used a slotted spoon), dip the frozen truffles into the melted chocolate. Place on a second cookie sheet lined with wax paper (learn from my mistake here – do not put them on a cooling rack to dry. They will fuse to the cooling rack, which will result in ripped bottoms. Trust me.) Garnish with reserved cookie crumbs, if desired. (Colored sprinkles would also be cute here, and then you could coordinate it for any occasion!)

*Reserve about two tablespoons of crushed oreos for decorating, if you’d like.

From Chef in Training

Happy Easter!

Yes, I realize that Easter was last Sunday. But these little guys are so cute that they get a pass for being a little late to the party. 😉

Peep Nests

As soon as my friend, Karen, and I saw these nests in the newest issue of Taste of Home magazine, we knew we HAD to make them. (Yes, it was that necessary. If we hadn’t put them together, our Easter celebrations would have been just a little less sunny.) In our excitement, we forgot to buy candy eggs for the nests, but I don’t think anyone else noticed.

Peep Nests

20 oz. white baking chips
10 oz. stick pretzels (the small size)
Assorted Peeps
Candy eggs or jelly beans for decorating

In a saucepan on the lowest heat, melt the white baking chips. Reserve about 1/2 cup for “glue.” Pour chips over pretzels in a large bowl and toss to coat thoroughly. (We got the best – if not the messiest – results by using our hands.) Form triangular nests out of a small handful of pretzels and set on waxed paper. Dip the bottom of each Peep into the reserved chips and place one Peep on each nest. Dip candy eggs into the melted chips and place a few on each nest. Let cool until set.

Yield: about 2 dozen nests, depending on the size.

From: Taste of Home