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. ūüėÄ

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. ūüėÄ

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.


Game Day “Buckeye” Chow

My friend Lacey comes up with the best ideas.Seriously. Our Sunday school class has class socials each month, and we’re always looking for something new to do. We’ve had progressive dinners, costume parties, game nights, movie nights… the list goes on. Which means that a new idea is always welcome.

Especially an idea like a puppy chow party.

Let that one sink in for a minute. A party where the entire point is to sample various kinds of puppy chow. (And visit with each other, but let’s not get bogged down in the details.) We had cake batter, snicker doodle, s’mores and peanut butter brownie puppy chows. I kept things simple and whipped up a riff on the traditional puppy chow. And since the party was the same day as the Ohio State / Wisconsin football game, I knew I had to represent my team. The solution was simple: Add red M&Ms.

And while I see it as Buckeye puppy chow all the way (even the flavors scream GO BUCKS to me), a few of my friends said that it could just as easily be Badger food. Whatever. It’s clearly scarlet and gray, not red and white.

It did get¬†my creative juices flowing (must be all that sugar!) though.¬†I’m already scheming up a way to make Dawg Pound Puppy Chow for the weekend that my Browns play the Packers. ūüėÄ

OSU Puppy Chow

Ohio State Puppy Chow

5 cups corn or rice chex (I used a combination.)
2 cups pretzel sticks, broken in half
12 ounces (2 cups) milk chocolate chips
2 cups red M&Ms
1 cup powdered sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips. Stir until smooth. Gently stir the cereal and pretzels into the chocolate mixture and toss until well-coated.

Line two baking sheets with waxed paper. Evenly divide the cereal mixture between the two pans and spread in an even layer. Place pans in the refrigerator and allow to chill for 20 minutes.

Pour half of the powdered sugar into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. When the cereal mixture has cooled, pour the cereal mixture from one cookie sheet into the bag. Seal the bag and shake until the cereal is fully coated. Pour the coated cereal into a large bowl, and then repeat the process with the remaining powdered sugar and cereal mixture. When the cereal is all coated, stir in the M&Ms. Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy! And GO BUCKS! ūüôā

From Chex 

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!¬†

Ranch Chex Mix

It never fails. If we’re going camping, I’m making chex mix. It’s great for munching around the fire or refueling after a long hike. I love the fact that it’s low-maintenance (i.e., no-baking), which is just¬†what I need right before a big trip. Even Andy likes this, in spite of the fact that he won’t go anywhere near a bottle of ranch dressing.

The only downside is the fact that this stuff is highly addicting. As in, someone take the bowl away from me because I’m practically double-fisting this into my mouth. So make it for a big group – or don’t say that I didn’t warn you if you eat the entire batch.

Ranch Chex Mix

2 cups mini pretzel twists
5 cups chex or Crispix cereal
5 cups cheese crackers (Cheez-Its, Cheese Nips, or your favorite off-brand)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons ranch dressing mix (or one 1 oz. packet)

In a large bowl, toss the cereal, pretzels and crackers together. Drizzle the oil over the cereal mixture and stir gently to coat. Sprinkle the dry dressing mix over the cereal mixture and toss gently to coat. Store in an airtight container.

From: My Grandma

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 Рwe 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 Рdo 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