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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Chocolate Stout and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cupcakes

I’ve got your dessert for Father’s Day.  Chocolate Stout and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cupcakes.  Also known as, the manliest of manly cupcakes in the history of mankind.  Ok, at least that’s MY take on them.  And I think my husband would agree also.  And any other man that has the extreme pleasure of tasting one of these amazing cupcakes.  They combine what I understand to be essential manly ingredients such as peanuts, pretzels and beer and turn a cupcake into something a REAL man is not ashamed to eat.  ‘Cause really…cupcakes are cute!  And what man eats something cute??  I know of none.

I will be honest–you could just stop with the chocolate stout cake.  The cake recipe makes a little more batter than is needed for the cupcakes so I ended up having five cupcakes that were only chocolate cake and uuummmm, yeah…AH-mazing.  I topped one with some simple homemade whipped cream and it was out of this world.  Just an idea if you don’t want to bother with the peanut butter cheesecake.  But may I suggest you bother??  Because it really is worth it.  The combination of the whipped chocolate ganache buttercream, chocolate stout cake and creamy peanut butter cheesecake is just out of this world.

Really, truly the PERFECT treat for any dad on Father’s Day.  Make them.  You will automatically become his favorite child.  Promise.

Chocolate Stout Cake recipe adapted from Epicurious 

Chocolate Stout and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cupcakes
 
Ingredients
Chocolate Stout Cake
  • ¾ c. Guinness Extra Stout
  • 1 T. Instant Coffee Granules dissolved in ¼ c. Warm Water
  • 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
  • ¾ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 c. White Sugar
  • 1½ t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ t. Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c., plus 2 T. Sour Cream
Peanut Butter Cheesecake
  • 1 lb. (2, 8 oz. pkgs) Cream Cheese, softened
  • ¾ c. Firmly Packed, Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • ¼ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1½ T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Large Eggs, room temperature
Whipped Chocolate Ganache Buttercream
  • 1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1½ c. Bittersweet/Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Sticks Unsalted Butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, softened
  • ½ c. Crushed Pretzels
  • ½ c. Chopped, Dry-Roasted Peanuts
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 35 regular size muffin tins with cupcake liners.
For the Chocolate Stout Cake
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring stout, coffee and butter to a simmer. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In an electric mixer, beat eggs, vanilla and sour cream just until blended.
  3. Add stout-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat until just combined, taking care the stout mixture is cool enough that it will not cook the eggs. Gradually add flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
For the Peanut Butter Cheesecake
  1. Beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the brown sugar, peanut butter, heavy whipping cream and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined.
  2. Place a scant 2 T. peanut butter cheesecake in the bottom of 30 of the muffin tins. Top with 2 T. of the chocolate stout cake. Bake for 20 minute or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Whipped Chocolate Ganache Buttercream
  1. Place the chocolate chips in the bowl of an electric mixer. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy whipping cream to a boil over medium heat. Pour over the chocolate chips and let set for one minute before stirring from the center until chocolate is smooth and melted completely. Stir in vanilla. Beat the chocolate mixture on low until the bowl feels cool to the touch. Add butter and increase speed to medium-high until mixture is well combined, thickened and slightly whipped, about 2 minutes.
  2. Frost each cupcake with a VERY generous amount of frosting (I did a very thick layer of frosting) and top with crushed pretzels and chopped peanuts. Refrigerate overnight and let set out at least 5 minutes before eating.
Notes
Makes 30 chocolate stout and peanut butter cheesecake cupcakes and 5 chocolate stout cupcakes. Note: I made the chocolate stout mixture first, then the cheesecake and then finished the cake, just so the chocolate stout mixture had time to cool adequately.

 

 

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Butterscotch Jumbles

This recipe is perfect for holiday parties, super simple and one that I cannot stop eating!!  I mean seriously, these things are soooo dangerous…I found myself just having one little *nibble* and then another and another and….yeah.  They are kind of an updated version of a candy my mom always made with butterscotch chips, peanut butter and chow mein noodles.  I pretty much threw whatever I had on hand into these and the results were quite amazing.  So if you don’t have the exact ingredients, feel free to get creative although I highly encourage using the potato chips and graham crackers.  And some kind of nut, even if you don’t like peanuts. Just use what ya like!

Butterscotch Jumbles
 
Ingredients
  • 11 oz. Butterscotch Chips
  • ½ c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 1 c. Dry Roasted Peanuts
  • 1 c. Graham Cracker Pieces (about ½-inch)
  • 1 c. Pretzel Chip Pieces (about ½-inch)
  • 1 c. Wavy Potato Chip Pieces (about ½-inch)
Instructions
  1. Line a large cookie sheet with foil.
  2. In a large bowl, melt the butterscotch chips in a microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each until completely melted and smooth. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to coat completely. Drop by spoonfuls onto the foil lined cookie sheet and place in the freezer or refrigerator for a couple of minutes to let firm up completely. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 18-20.

 

 

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Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Popcorn

I’m not a huge popcorn fan but every now and then I do love to munch on some caramel or cheese popcorn and it’s usually around Christmas when some member of my family sees fit to lug a HUGE tin of the stuff to our family holiday dinner.  Ya know, cause there’s not enough food at those family dinners.

So the other day I remembered how my mom used to make caramel corn in the microwave.  I mean, really, really good caramel corn.  From the microwave!  She sent me the recipe and I made it for the first time ever and I have to say it’s even better than I remember as a kid.  Maybe I can appreciate it more now?  Who knows.  But for whatever reason I love the stuff and it’s very addictive.

I added my own little touch with some sea salt and then through in some homemade dark chocolate and peanut popcorn.  The recipes for both are below and they are super simple but if you only choose to do one, make the caramel corn!

Enjoy!

Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Popcorn
 
Ingredients
Salted Caramel Popcorn
  • 8 c. Popped Plain Popcorn (NO salt or butter)
  • 1 c. Packed Brown Sugar
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks
  • ¼ c. Light Corn Syrup
  • ½ t. Regular Salt
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • ½-1 t. Fine Sea Salt (depending on how salty you want it to be)
Dark Chocolate Peanut Popcorn
  • 4 c. Popped Popcorn (NO butter or salt)
  • 1½ c. High Quality Dark Chocolate Candy Coating (NOT chocolate bark)
  • ½ c. Dry-Roasted Peanuts
Instructions
For the Salted Caramel Corn:
  1. Line a large cookie sheet pan with foil. Place Popped corn in a large brown paper bag. Set aside.
  2. Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and regular salt in a large bowl. Microwave on high setting 3-4 minutes, stirring after each minute, until mixture comes to a boil (it only took 3 minutes for mine to boil). Microwave 2 minutes longer (without stirring) and then stir in baking soda. Pour syrup mixture over popped corn in bag. Close bag and shake well. Microwave for 1½ more minutes. Shake bag well. Microwave 1-1½ minutes more (I stopped at 1 minute because it smelled slightly burned and 3 or 4 pieces did burn--no biggie, just watch it). Add the sea salt and shake bag well. Pour onto the large cookie pan. Cool and stir to separate.
For the Chocolate Peanut Popcorn
  1. Line a large cookie pan with foil. Place popped popcorn and peanuts in large brown paper bag. Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl at 20 second intervals, stirring between each, until completely melted and smooth. Pour chocolate into the bag over the popcorn and peanuts and shake well. Pour onto the cookie pan. Cool and stir to separate.
Notes
Serves...well, it depends on how well you share. :)

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Elvis Sundae

Ok, I am VERY excited about this post for a couple of reasons. First, I have not one, but TWO recipes to share.  Two!  And one of those recipes could be potentially healthy.  Yes, healthy.  Of course, I would never allow that to happen, this being a full-on sugary delicious dessert blog and all.  But I’m giving you options here.  Nice, right?

Second reason for my excitement…I bought some uber cute mini dessert glasses for these special Elvis Sundaes!  I LOVE them.  I only needed two but they came in sets of 12.  I agonized over whether or not I should get them, but the cuteness won out in the end and I just resolved to have more people over  for dinner more often and get good use out of them.  At least that was part of my justification.

Ok!  On to the sundaes…my inspiration for these came from a fabulous frozen coffee drink called The Elvis.  It combines coffee, chocolate, banana and peanut butter.  Delish.  And it just so happens my sister-in-law Rachel, of Foodierachel.com, has this recipe for banana ice cream I’d been dying to try forever.  All it takes to make it is….bananas!  That’s it!  Super easy.  I topped it with a divine Mocha Hot Fudge Sauce from Joythebaker.com and chopped, dry-roasted peanuts.  And voila! Elvis Sundae.

Enjoy!

Banana Ice Cream

4 Medium-Large Ripe Bananas, sliced

2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract (This was my addition.  And I like vanilla, so feel free to use less if you’d like.)

Directions

Line a baking sheet with foil.  Place the banana slices on the baking sheet and let them chill in the fridge for an hour.  After they’re nice and frozen, throw them in a food processor for five minutes, turning it off every minute or so to scrape down the sides and kind of push everything around.  It will seem like it’s not going to blend, but it will happen, be patient.  When it’s completely smooth, whirl in the vanilla and then pour it into an air-tight container and freeze for several hours or overnight.

And here’s the part where you make this delicious, healthy banana ice cream not so healthy….

Mocha Hot Fudge Sauce

1/4 c. Cocoa Powder

1/3 c. Packed Dark Brown Sugar

1/2 c. Light Corn Syrup

2/3 c. Heavy Whipping Cream

1/4 t. Salt

6 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped

2 T. Unsalted Butter, cut into 1/2 Tablespoons

2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 t. Instant Espresso Powder

1 1/2 t. Hot Water

Directions

Stir together cocoa powder, brown sugar, corn syrup, cream, salt and half of the chopped chocolate in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and cook over low-medium heat, stirring until chocolate is melted.  Cook mixture at a low boil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, dissolve the espresso powder into the 1 1/2 teaspoons hot water.

Remove sauce from heat, add remaining chocolate, butter, espresso misture and vanilla.  Stir until smooth.  Cool slightly.  (I would recommend cooling it and refrigerating it overnight.  The espresso flavor seemed to be more noticeable after doing that and then reheating it over low heat the next day.)  Scoop ice cream into small bowls, spoon sauce over the ice cream and chop with dry-roasted peanuts.

Makes 2 cups sauce.

Note:  For the banana ice cream, Rachel suggests adding things such as peanut butter, honey, etc. to make different variations of the ice cream.  So feel free to be creative and experiment!  I’m definitely going to try a mango ice cream next week–can’t wait!

 

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Soft, Chewy, Peanutbutter-y

Lately I have been dying for a good peanut butter cookie but, of course, it had to be homemade.   I feel like the perfect peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie are elusive to me for some weird reason…they’re always too flat or crisp or cakey.  I’ve done plenty of research and tried tons of recipes and never found the one that is the perfect combination of  mostly chewy and a little soft.  I mean, I know baking is a science but c’mon!  How hard can it be?!?  So for Superbowl Sunday I thought I’d try yet again to make the perfect cookie and I might have got pretty darn close.

I think those peanut butter chips deserve a close-up.

Batter and PB Chips

On PansIn Oven

These cookies turned out soft and chewy and just all around delicious.  Of course the true test was if they were the same way the next day as they were pretty much right out of the oven and miracle of all miracles, they were!  Quite frankly, I’m suprised any of them even made it to the Superbowl party–I couldn’t keep Jeremy out of them!

Oh, and… I guess I might have had a couple too.

Cooling

Now I couldn’t just stop at plain ‘ole peanut butter cookies (although with these you definitely could).  I wanted a peanut butter cookie sandwich!  I used a peanut butter and chocolate filling.  Both were good and I personally liked the peanut butter filling but everyone seemed to prefer the chocolate a little more.

Filling

If you make these, be sure you have milk on hand.  You will need it!

Finished Cookies

Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

1 1/4 c. All-Purpose Flour
3/4 t. Baking Soda
1/2 t. Baking Powder
1/4 t. Salt
1/2 c. Unsalted Butter, softened
1 c. Smooth Peanut Butter
3/4 c. White Sugar
1/2 c. Light Brown Sugar, lightly packed
1 Large Egg at room temperature
1 T. Milk
1 t. Vanilla Extract
1 c. Peanut Butter Chips

Directions

In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and butter together until fluffy.  Add the sugars and continue beating until fully combined.  Add the egg, milk and vanilla extract and beat well.  Add half the flour mixture fold in, then the rest of the flour and beat until no white pockets remain.  By hand, fold in the peanut butter chips.

Using a small ice cream scoop, drop dough a couple inches apart, onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Dip a fork in oil (I used peanut oil), tap off excess and gently indent cookie with a criss-cross pattern, being careful not to smash the cookie flat.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to cooling racks.

Makes 40 small cookies.

Peanut Butter Filling

3 T. Unsalted Butter, softened
1 c. Powdered Sugar, sifted
1/2 c. Smooth Peanut Butter
2 1/2 T. Heavy Whipping Cream or Milk
1 t. Vanilla Extract

Cream the butter with the powdered sugar, peanut butter, milk and vanilla until smooth.  Spread filling onto half of the cooled cookies, then top with the other half to form sandwiches. Makes enough to fill 25 cookies.

For the chocolate, I used the Satiny Chocolate Glaze recipe which you can find in an earlier post here.

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