Bacon, Bourbon and Peanut Puppy Chow

Bacon, Bourbon, Peanut Puppy Chow

I know it may sound silly, but I love puppy chow (also known as muddy buddies to some).  And just like 7-Layer Bars, I had never made it before!  Crazy, right?  Puppy chow is such a holiday thing to me and I always knew someone else would be bringing it to whatever function I’d be attending so I’ve never bothered to make it.  However, I have always thought that puppy chow needed revamping.  It’s totally yummy but am I the only one that would look for the little nuggets of two or more Chex squares stuck together with an excess of the chocolate and peanut butter mixture??  Know what I’m talking about?  Yes, I’d pick through the puppy chow mix to find those little scrumptious morsels–I’m not ashamed!  I’ve just always thought it needs MORE chocolate and peanut butter goodness.  So I decided to do something about it!

Bacon, Bourbon & Peanut Puppy Chow

I started off doubling the chocolate and peanut butter mixture but then I thought it needed something more.  And that something was alcohol!  Can’t go wrong adding booze to a dessert, right?!  But then my evil mind went even further and thought it needed something even more…like bacon….and peanuts.  Yes, bourbon, bacon and peanuts…in puppy chow.  Things got crazy up in my kitchen people.  Crazy in a VERY GOOD way.  What resulted was the yummiest puppy chow I’ve ever had.  No more digging for the little morsels of Chex Squares stuck together–there were plenty of those!  Now if you don’t want to add all the additional ingredients and stick closer to the classic, that’s totally ok…but the bourbon, bacon and peanuts add such another dimension of yumminess to it.  I highly recommend!  Fabulous sweet/salty snack for a Superbowl party!

Enjoy!

Bacon, Bourbon and Peanut Puppy Chow
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Smooth Peanut Butter (I prefer Peter Pan)
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter (I'm sure salted would work fine too)
  • 2 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ⅓ c. Bourbon
  • 1 lb. Bacon, cooked and chopped (I tore the fatty pieces off of mine)
  • 2 c. Dry-Roasted Peanuts
  • 9 c. Chex Rice Cereal
  • 3 c. Powdered Sugar
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cereal, bacon and peanuts.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the peanut butter, butter and chocolate chips at 30-second intervals in the microwave, stirring between each until completely melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla and bourbon.
  3. Pour the chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the cereal mixture and toss gently until all the cereal is evenly coated.
  4. Place the powdered sugar in a large bag. (You could use a large Ziploc type bag but it will probably not be big enough. I used a large paper bag and I recommend doing that.) Add the chocolate/peanut butter and cereal mixture to the bag. Shake the bag vigorously to evenly coat each piece of the puppy chow with powdered sugar.
  5. Once the mixture is fully coated, store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes 15, 1-cup servings.

 

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New Year’s Eve Cupcakes

Yes, cupcakes. Again.  People love them, there’s absolutely no denying that.  When I first started researching for this post, I wanted to do cupcakes that were themed and decorated for New Year’s Eve but man, the selection and variety was abysmal!  So instead of coming up with (and making) something cute and clever myself, I opted for Plan B:  Boozy Cupcakes.

Are cupcakes and liquor a match made in heaven? Most certainly.  I love any chance I get to throw alcohol into my desserts and these cupcakes are an absolutely legitimate excuse to do just that.  So, for the guests at your New Year’s Eve party that love cupcakes and would rather eat their alcohol than drink it (or do both), whip up one or two of the cupcakes below…maybe create a cupcake “bar”??  I think that’s one bar-tending job I could handle!

 

White Chocolate Champagne Cupcakes

Stout Cupcakes

Cherry Amaretto Cupcakes

 

Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes

Mudslide Cupcakes

 

Jack and Coke Cupcakes

 

Margarita Cupcakes

Red Wine Cupcakes

 

Chambord Cupcakes

Cupcake “Shots”

 

 

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Festive Holiday Punch Recipes

Here are some great punch recipes that would be appropriate for either Christmas OR New Year’s.  Any of these would be a nice change from the same old mug of cider or glass of champagne you’d normally serve.  The coffee punch is soooo good…I will never forget the first time I had it at a bridal shower and thought “what IS this?!”  I immediately obtained the recipe (as I’m sure everyone else at the shower did) and occasionally get the urge to make it for myself.  Yes, just for me, no special occasion or party or whatever.  But I haven’t done that…yet.

Hope you find one you love!

Ultimate Eggnog Punch

Coffee Punch

Christmas Cinnamon Punch

Peppermint Eggnog Punch

Milk Punch

Citrus Champagne Punch

Mocha Nog Punch

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My Favorite Season

I know everyone is getting really excited about the colder temps and winter-like weather that is happening right now, but we have PLENTY of fall left and I’m going to savor every last minute of it.  Here are a few things I love at this time of the year (and some ah-mazing pumpkin recipes).

Fall Leaves.  Can’t get enough of the beautiful colors.  And it’s even better this year since this is the first fall in our new house and we have two gorgeous trees in our front yard. (and no, these are not our trees!  I wish!)

Photo courtesy of pixdaus.com

Pumpkin Monkey Bread.  I do believe I could eat this EVERY SINGLE morning for breakfast.  I won’t!  But I could.

Fall-Scented Candles.   According to this blog, Bath and Body Works has a Bakeshop candle collection.  Sad to say I haven’t been to the mall in so long, I have no idea if this is true or not!  Shopping trip!

Andy’s Frozen Custard Pumpkin Pie Concrete.  I think this is my favorite concrete concoction from Andy’s (besides my husband’s brilliant combination of cherry juice, Oreos and brownie mmmmm).  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a good photo which I suppose means one thing:  I’ll have to go get a Pumpkin Pie Concrete and take my own photo.  The things I do…

Lovely Fall Dessert Tables.  I so wish I had been invited to this party.

Grown-Up Pumpkin Pie Milkshake.  Bourbon. Pumpkin Pie. Milkshake. ‘Nuff said.

Comfy Cupcake Sweatshirts.  This is going on my Christmas list.

Pumpkin S’mores.  Oh my.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!  Think I might spend my Saturday raking up all those beautiful fall leaves!  😉

 

 

 

 

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The Butterfinger Bites Disaster

Homemade Butterfingers by Plain Chicken

My friend Joelle had been raving on her blog about how amazing these things were called Butterfinger Bites.  My favorite candy bar of all time is Butterfinger, so naturally I just HAD to make these.  The only ingredients are candy corn, peanut butter and chocolate.  And not only that, you make them in the microwave.  Awesome!

Supposedly these little chocolatey gems taste EXACTLY like a Butterfinger.  But I, for one, will never know.  Because I totally and completely screwed up this recipe.  How you ask?  That’s what I’m trying to figure out.  I followed the recipe and warmed the candy corn in the microwave for one minute.  They melted a little.  So I continued at 15 second intervals, stirring between each.  The candy kind of was kind of melting but it was also EXTREMELY hot and kind of starting to clump.  Uh oh.  I eventually got it into some sort of semi-melted blob and thought, ok, I’ll just throw in the peanut butter and see if it comes together.

No, it did not come together.  I could barely stir the mixture for all the clumps of candy corn in the peanut butter.  So I stuck it in the microwaved for a few seconds…and that kind of helped.  The clumps were turning into itty bitty candy corn bits.  So then I had the thought that I would throw it in my mixer and beat the crap out of it!  That didn’t help.  The tiny little candy corn pieces basically got distributed more evenly.  So I poured it into a pan and just stared at it for awhile.  There was no way this was solidifying or even tasting good.  So I threw it away.  Sigh.  So depressing.

I felt like a total failure, like I couldn’t bake at all!!  I mean, candy from a microwave?!  C’mon!  I went to the blog where the original recipe was posted to see if anyone else had issues with it…no, not one person.  Just me. So, I had to console myself by going back and looking at pictures of things I’ve made but never blogged about.  Yes, I was that depressed.  It actually cheered me up a little and reminded me that I’m not a total screw up.  Here’s my trip down memory lane…

Tons of homemade candy for the holidays…that was fun.  And I didn’t screw anything up!

14-Layer Cake with my baking buddy, Betsy.  We were pretty proud of that one.

A 1st birthday cake for a special little nephew.

Neapolitan Cheesecake Cake for a friend’s husband’s birthday.  Yum.

Maple Pecan and Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons, again with Betsy.  We got those right on the first try!  Woo hoo! Lots of high-fiving going on in the kitchen that day!

Buttered Pecan Cake with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting for my sister-in-law Rachel’s birthday.  I think I need to make this one again…

Oreo and Cherry Birthday Cake for my friend Sarah Carter.  That was a fun one.

Ahh, I feel better.  Time to get back in the saddle!  Err, kitchen. Oh and YES, I most definitely will try to make the homemade Butterfingers again!

 

 

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GiGi’s Cupcakes

Last Friday night Jeremy and I visited one of the two new cupcakes places (yes TWO) that opened up this week in Springfield, MO.  GiGi’s is a franchise based out of Nashville, TN and I had heard good things about them so I was pretty excited to visit.  The place is cute, simple and clean inside.  No frills.  And quite frankly they don’t need frills because the cupcakes are gorgeous!  At three dollars apiece, they are good-sized and well worth the money.  And the frosting…OMG don’t even get me started on the frosting on top of these cupcakes.  The minute we stepped inside the doors and my eyes fell upon the mountain of frosting piped on top of the cupcakes, I was mesmerized and drooling.  I’m a frosting girl all the way!

Since it was their opening night and they had been giving away free cupcakes all day to all their fans on Facebook, they were down to some basic flavors but still a good variety.   I would have LOVED to have tried the Tiramisu or Red Velvet but they were out of those so we went with Wedding Cake (my choice), Midnight Magic (Jeremy’s choice) and Chocolate Salted Caramel.

The Chocolate Salted Caramel consisted of a yummy super dark chocolate cake with caramel buttercream topped with chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of sea salt.  It was very good and I loved the salt and chocolate combination but the caramel buttercream was just a tad too sweet for both of us.  Somehow we still managed to eat most of it though…how did that happen?!

My choice, the Wedding Cake, was vanilla cake topped with vanilla buttercream.   The cake was on the denser side and not so light and fluffy and the buttercream was very thick, creamy and smooth, not greasy at all and had a wonderful vanilla flavor.  I really enjoyed it, especially the frosting.

Jeremy’s choice, the Midnight Magic, was our favorite.  It was a rich chocolate cake topped with an absolutely delicious cream cheese frosting and mini chocolate chips.  We ate the whole thing and loved every bite.

I’m really looking forward to going back and trying more cupcakes.  And I will go back!  I can’t stop thinking about the frosting…and the Tiramisu cupcake…and the Miss Princess (strawberry) cupcake…and the Red Velvet cupcake..and the frosting..and the Kentucky Bourbon Pie cupcake…and the…

P.S. Check out all GiGi’s offerings here!

P.S.S.  After linking to her page, I read her story of how she started and it is totally inspiring!  Check it out!

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