Indoor S’Mores

Love s’mores but don’t have a fire handy? Want something a little more…portable?

Behold, the indoor s’more:

These are super easy — albeit a bit messy — to make. It helps to have another pair of hands; setting up an assembly line cuts down on the melty marshmallow you’ll have to clean up later.

The Recipe: Indoor S’Mores

Yield: approximately two dozen
Time: 90 minutes, including cooling

1 bag mini-marshmallows
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
24 graham cracker halves (as close to squares as you get)

Do This
Line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper. Arrange the graham cracker halves on the sheet with about half an inch between each.

Melt the butter in a saucepan on low heat. Add in the mini-marshmallows, a handful at a time, and stir until melted. Mix in the vanilla, and remove from heat.

Carefully spoon marshmallow onto each graham cracker. If you can do this without it spilling over the sides, you’ll have a much easier time. Let the crackers set until the marshmallow has firmed up (this should take about 10-15 minutes).

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler (or the microwave).

Spoon a generous amount of chocolate over each graham cracker, and return to the baking sheet to set. If you’re short on time, slide the finished cookies into the fridge for a few minutes.

They’re not quite real s’mores, but they’re just as tasty, and perfect for bringing to a holiday party!


It’s Nablammo!

Or NaBloPoMo, but Joy and I like to mispronounce on purpose.

This means: I’ll be posting on here EVERY DAY in November. Yep, every day. For those of you who like constant updates? This is going to be your favorite month :)

To kick off November, here’s some tasty spiced cider!

Why yes, that brand of whiskey is called “Feckin” — although any feckin’ Irish will do.

Besides the apple cider and Irish whiskey, I like to spice this tasty cold-weather treat with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and vanilla. I’m terrible about measuring with recipes like this, but if I were to hazard a guess, I’d say 2-3 shots of whiskey, a tsp of cinnamon, half a tsp of nutmeg, 2 tsps of brown sugar, and a half a tsp of vanilla, then cider to fill the rest of the saucepan (a couple of pints). It’s pretty inexact, but I like to go by smell.

Trivia: that is, in fact, my old stove. I’m using photos from the time I made this cider at the old place because (a) we used Feckin’ whiskey instead of the boring kind I have in my kitchen now, and (b) I wanted to remind myself that I really like Joy’s new saucepans.

I simmer the spices in the whiskey first, then add in the apple cider. I’m not sure whether there’s any special benefit to this technique, but it definitely makes the kitchen smell nice!

The cider is best served hot, on a chilly day. It’s totally appropriate for unseasonably warm days, too.

Crying Over Spilt Milk Is Wrong

Crying over spilt vanilla extract? Totally acceptable.

Accident-prone. That would be me.

Very Cordial Berries

I found these filled, chocolate-dipped strawberries over at Parsnip and Pear, and decided that they were a must-make. And now, they’re a must-make-again.

I made a few small changes to the original recipe, mostly because the oranges at Whole Foods were totally unimpressive and the clementines were fabulous. Also, sometimes I can’t read, and I added in an extra half tsp of vanilla. The cream filling is still lick-the-sides-of-the-bowl worthy.

The Recipe: Chocolate-Dipped Stuffed Strawberries
(adapted from Nikki’s recipe posted at Parsnip & Pear)

as many large strawberries as you can find (or a pint)
1 cup chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 package (4 oz) cream cheese
1/2 package (4 oz) neufchatel
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp clementine zest
2 tsp fresh squeezed clementine juice
splash of light rum

Do This

Wash the strawberries, and slice off the tops. Using a paring knive, hollow out each berry until they’re readily stuff-able. Side note: if anyone has a more efficient way to hollow strawberries, I would love to know what that is. I broke a few berries with the knife, and we’re not even going to talk about how poorly the melon baller worked.
Using your mixer, whip together the cheeses, sugar, vanilla, zest, juice, and rum until it’s all smooth and fluffy and looks like clouds with zest floating in them.

Try not to consume the creamy filling just yet. Put at least half of it into a piping bag fitted with a small tip (I used a #7 round), and pipe into the hollowed strawberries. Not your mouth. Yet.
Place the filled strawberries on a tray or foil-covered cutting board (it works really well!) and slide into the freezer until hardened.

Melt chocolate chunks in a metal bowl set over a pot of water on the stove. Using a toothpick (or your hands) to hold each strawberry, dip the bottoms of the strawberry in the chocolate as far as possible and place onto the tray to set.
When each strawberry is dipped, place tray in fridge until chocolate is set. Remove toothpicks, and serve.

Alternately (and especially if you still have lots of creamy filling left and you don’t want to waste it), pipe some filling in/on other fruits.

I sliced up a nectarine, and it went very well with the cream. The only other fruit I had on hand was that bag of clementines, so I opted out of using the rest of the cream filling tonight, but I’d love to pair this cream with blackberries, raspberries, peaches, and probably some non-fruit things like pound cake.

Or pipe it directly into my mouth.

More Pretty Poms

Such a beautiful dark red. It’s all over my shirt, too. Oops.

This pom ended up flavoring some cider. We filled a tea ball with pom seeds, and let that float around in the cider while it heated up. The pomegranate flavor is noticeable but not overwhelming.

The Recipe:
Hot Apple Cider With Pomegranate

1 gallon apple cider (unflavored — the ingredient list should just say “apples)
1/4 cup Captain Morgan spiced rum
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 tbsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tea ball filled with fresh pomegranate seeds (about 2 tbsp of seeds)

Do This
Pour the cider into a large stock pot, and bring to a boil. Stir in the rum and spices, and allow the tea ball filled with pomegranate seeds to float in the cider. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for at least an hour (or maybe all day). Serve warm.

It’s a really nice warm drink, and I’m a little bit bummed out that apple cider is considered a “seasonal” beverage. This is definitely a must-enjoy while it’s still cold out!

THE Buckeye Recipe

As promised, buckeyes. This is a family recipe is courtesy of Amberance. It’s slightly modified, for two reasons. (1) I messed up and used more margarine than she uses because I totally did the conversion wrong. (2) The Boyfriend handed me a bottle of anise extract instead of vanilla extract, and by the time I realized this, it was too late. Lucky us, it worked out!

The Recipe:
Buckeye Candies

1 1/2 cups peanut butter
2 sticks margarine, softened
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp anise extract
1 lb confectioner’s sugar
6 oz semisweet chocolate

Do This

Mix together peanut butter, softened margarine, vanilla extract, and anise extract (this part was an accident, but I’m keeping it) in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add in the confectioner’s sugar, and beat on low speed until the mixture is well-blended. It should be light brown in color and fluffy but solid.
Scoop out balls of the peanut butter mixture with a melon baller, and roll until smooth. Place on a foil-lined sheet, and refrigerate while the chocolate melts.
In a double boiler (or stainless steel bowl balanced atop a pot of boiling water), melt the semisweet chocolate. Remove from heat, and allow the chocolate to cool (but not solidify). If the chocolate is too hot, it will melt the peanut butter and cause the buckeyes to be misshapen. Guess who figured this out from experience?
Carefully dip each peanut butter ball in chocolate, leaving a small portion undipped (so they resemble real buckeye nuts!). Return to the baking sheet, and when the entire sheet is filled, place in the fridge to cool the chocolate.

Our boys might not have made it to the Rose Bowl, but they did a great job of crushing the team from That State Up North. It’s definitely okay to celebrate with buckeye candy.

We’re From O-hi-o

These little guys are going to grow up to be Buckeyes!

OSU-Michigan game tomorrow. GO BUCKS!