Spicy Ranch Snack Mix

October 11, 2013 at 10:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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ranch snack mix

When I was a kid, a neighborhood mom made “ranch oyster crackers” – they were amazing!! When I asked for the recipe, I was surprised to learn that they contained only 4 ingredients – the crackers, dry ranch dressing mix, oil, and dill. You just combined all the ingredients and baked them at low heat – and they were a totally addictive snack!

This grown-up version is just as good, but with a little more kick. The lemon pepper is almost as tangy as the cayenne, so taste and add seasonings according to your preference. I often increase the lemon pepper. And if you really want to make these special, use the butter-flavored popcorn oil!

  • 1/4 cup oil – any kind will do but if you want to make it REALLY good, use butter-flavored popcorn oil
  • 1 1-ounce package of dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups pretzels
  • 1 6-ounce package of cheddar goldfish

Preheat your oven to 250.

Combine the oil and seasonings. Add the pretzels and goldfish and stir to fully coat. Spread the mixture out onto a rimmed cookie sheet and toast for about 20 minutes, stirring at the halfway mark.

Allow to cool and you’re done!

Salted Toffee Chocolate Grahams

October 9, 2013 at 10:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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This bark is the result of a happy experiment, and it offers a combination of some of my absolute favorite flavors.

In the last few weeks, multiple people have recommended that I make “cracker candy” – a concoction of toffee soaked into saltine crackers and topped with chocolate.  I’ve made it before, and it’s good, but I don’t love it.

But I started thinking about those chocolate covered graham crackers at Starbucks – maybe graham crackers would make the perfect base for a variation of cracker candy.  But what is it that makes cracker candy so popular?  Is it that salty hint that comes from those salted cracker tops?  So I decided to add a topping of coarse salt to the chocolate layer.  And it was exactly right.

These didn’t turn out very beautiful, but they were delicious, and that’s what really matters.  Most of the time.

You’ll need:

  • 12-13 graham crackers (full rectangle sheets)
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

Preheat your oven to 350.  Line a rimmed 11×15 baking sheet with foil and place the graham crackers in a single layer, closely touching.

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In a saucepan, combine the butter and sugar over medium heat and stir until the butter has melted.  Once the butter has melted, let the mixture bubble for 4 minutes.  Pour the mixture over the top of the graham crackers, spreading to cover completely.

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Bake for 10 minutes.

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Sprinkle the chocolate chips over top immediately.

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Once the chips have melted, spread them with a spoon to cover all the toffee.  Sprinkle liberally with sea salt.

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Allow to cool until chocolate has hardened.  This treat didn’t cut very nicely, so it was better to break them against the counter, creating a bark.  Delish – eat your heart out Starbucks!

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Cake Batter Bites

October 6, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I still remember when the first Marble Slab Creamery opened in Knoxville, Tennessee – where your ice cream was “mixed” on a cold marble slab and your favorite toppings were smashed throughout your ice cream flavor of choice.  One of my favorite combinations was fresh strawberries mixed into cake batter ice cream.  Yes, it was a novel idea – cake batter flavor!!  Now we’ve seen everything in cake batter flavor – from ice cream to vodka.  This trend is here to stay, and I’m not complaining.

So this brings us to these cake batter bites – we love cookie dough truffles, we love cake batter dip – what could be better than this colorful, sweet combination of those two treats?  Plus, it was my friend’s sweet son’s first birthday – and these seemed like the perfect, cheery sweet to bring to share.  Beware – they are delicious – and possibly even more delicious before they are dipped in their coating.

For the truffle bites, you need:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 cup yellow cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles (jimmies)

For dipping, you need:

  • 16 ounces white almond bark
  • 2 tablespoons cake mix
  • 1 tablespoon rainbow nonpareils

Combine all the truffle ingredients with a hand or stand mixer, saving the milk for last and adding just enough to create a dough consistency.

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I used my small scoop to create the balls.  It probably levels out at 1 tablespoon per scoop.

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Next, melt the white bark, and add in the cake mix once it is totally smooth and hot.  The cake mix changes the consistency a bit, but it still dips fine.  Dip each truffle into the bark and place on wax paper to cool and harden.

Once you start dipping into the white bark, be sure to occasionally top with your sprinkles so they will be stuck to the truffle before it cools.

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