12.15.09: My Day of Cooking Madness

Turns out that I COULD sleep until time to make the Chocolate Yummies. And here's the best part - I figured out why I thought I had had them before - I was thinking they would taste like a Take 5 bar...and that my dear friends is my favorite candy bar of all times. So here's the deal - I'm going to make one batch according to their recipe for Chocolate Yummies. Then I'm going to try and make a Take 5 batch. This should be interesting cause I never follow recipes, so lets get started!!

Chocolate Yummies

7  Graham crackers
2 1/2 cups  miniature marshmallows
1 package (12 oz., 2 cups)  semi-sweet chocolate morsels
2/3 cup  light corn syrup
3 tablespoons  butter or margarine
1/2 cup  crunchy peanut butter
3 cups Rice Krispies

Coat 13 x 9 x 2-inch microwave-safe dish with cooking spray. Arrange graham crackers in single layer in dish, breaking crackers as needed to fit. Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over crackers.

Microwave crackers and marshmallows on HIGH 1 minute or until marshmallows are puffy*. Remove from microwave. Cool completely. This step is very important...you'll see why.
*Ok, I have not one clue who owns a microwave large enough to accommodate a 13 x 9 pan, but more power to ya. I turned the oven on 350 degrees and kept watch till they were nice and puffy.

In a microwave-safe mixing bowl combine chocolate morsels, corn syrup and butter. Microwave on HIGH about 30 seconds, stir. Microwave in 30 second increments until the chocolate is melted. Stir in peanut butter. Add rice krispies cereal, mixing until combined. 

Spread evenly over marshmallows. Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour or until firm. Cut and store in airtight container in refrigerator. 

Ok, back to why the "cool completely" instructions are so important. What's missing in this completed version of Chocolate Yummies? Anyone? 

Marshmallows, that's right! Ok WHY are the marshmallows missing? Cause I thought the chocolate mixture would meld in an artistic sense WITH the puffy, ooey, gooey marshmallows. Turns out it was like water off a ducks back when I added the two together - all the marshmallow goodness seeped out from under the mixture and out the sides. 

Know what else is important...listen now, believe me later...don't try to substitute the graham crackers with "being creative and making your own graham cracker crust" when you seriously don't know what the hell you're doing. Sorry to be graphic, but here's Exhibit 2. 

See...the crust is not a crust at all. It's butter flavored graham cracker dust that only sticking to the non-marshmallow goo because I patted some of the crumbs on there to PROVE I had indeed used graham crackers.

Move along, move along...nothing to see here...


So what about my Take 5 batch? Not bad, similar recipe, similar mistake. Should have learned how to make a pretzle crust first. It's like my ever failing recipes for mac and cheese - I THINK I know what to do, I THINK I've read and understood the directions, I THINK I'm savvy enough to improvise but it almost always ends in disaster and never looks like the picture. So PAY ATTENTION, I stole this pretzel crust recipe AFTER I made my batch so it's sure to work, unlike mine.

Take 5 Bars

2 c crushed pretzel sticks
3/4 c melted butter
3 tbsp sugar
Marshmallows to cover - 1 to 2 cups
Caramel or butterscotch to cover 
1 c dark chocolate chips
1/3 c light corn syrup
1/2 c chunky peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 c. Rice Krispies

Coat a microwave safe dish with cooking spray - generously. DO NOT LINE WITH ALUMINUM FOIL. REPEAT DO NOT LINE WITH ALUMNINUM FOIL (like I did). Who knows why? Cause marshmallows and no amount of cooking spray will EVER make that sugary goodness come off that foil. Trust me. I tried it thinking that it would make removing the bars easier if I put foil down...lift the foil out, peel it back and cut the bars. Not so much...

Run the pretzles through a food processor but leave some small bits in there. 

Add the butter and sugar and toss to incorporate. Press the mixture firmly into the dish and pop in the 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or so.

Remove from the oven and cover the crust with marshmallows. Pop that back in the oven till the marshmallows are puffy. Remove it then place on a cooling rack to let them cool completely. COMPLETELY, you hear me? Did you learn NOTHING from my first fiasco?? When they have cooled, go to the next step.

In a microwave-safe mixing bowl combine chocolate morsels, corn syrup and butter. Microwave on HIGH about 30 seconds, stir. Continue to microwave in 30 second increments until the chocolate is melted. Stir in peanut butter then add the rice krispies cereal, mixing until combined. Leave that for a moment and go to the next step.

Drizzle the caramel or butterscotch over the marshmallow goodness and spread to cover every inch. I know it looks like baked beans, but it's not. 

Then top with the chocolate mixture and spread evenly. Let the goodness rest about an hour in the fridge, then cut into squares and store in an airtight container...if they last that long.


I also made Date's Wrapped in Bacon. Oh if only that visual were to come true, George Clooney arriving at my door all wrapped in bacon. What? You didn't just have that visual...I'm so sorry...for you. 

In short, these were tres simple!! I was going for a French flair there. Promise, won't do it again. It's just that I'm sitting here eating the Pioneer Woman's Chicken Salad on biscuits and I'm all giddy and high on chicken salad. We'll get to that recipe in a second. 

SO, this recipe only calls for 2 things!

George Clooney in Bacon
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

1 8 oz box of pitted dates 
1 16 oz pkg bacon sliced into 1/3’s (not thick sliced, just regular old bacon)

Wrap the date with bacon & place on a broil pan* with the seam facing down and give it a quick press. Here's my 2 cents - I've seen the recipe call for you to use a cookie sheet. I prefer to cook these on a broiler pan instead. It allows the bacon to cook evenly, drain off the fat, and not have the dates soaking up that grease. Trust me. I do it all wrong at least once, so use the broiler pan. Please ignore the photo. I forgot to use the broiler pan till they were well on their way to being done.

Cook for 15 - 25 min - until the bacon is cooked/crisp. 

Move these sweet n salty combos over to some paper towels to soak up any grease and allow them to completely cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator - again, if they last that long.


But wait, there's more!! I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here. Ree has introduced me to my new favorite Chicken Salad The Way I Like It by Ree. Check out her visual library to make this - you won't be sorry. It's entertaining and delicious!

This is a "whole fryer cut up" thingy I talked about earlier. The first time I read the recipe all I heard was Charlie Brown's teacher saying "wah wah wah wah". Not one clue what it would look like. I'm not scared anymore. It was such an easy process I can say earnestly in my best Vivian Lee (Scarlett O'Hara) voice "I shall neveaaaa use rotisssssirrrrrreeee chicken ah-gain!" The flavor and tenderness that it produces is well worth the heebie-jeebies it gave me to buy it like this. 

Mmmm...raw chicken goodness.

What kind of surprised me about the flavor was the sweet taste I got from the brown sugar. I did mine with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. This recipe is ALL ABOUT YOU, so knock yourself out with more or less, but I like this ratio just fine. I also used all black seedless grapes (my favorites) and cut them into 1/4's. I'm the person who would choke on a 1/2 a grape in a heartbeat. Dying home alone because of a grape caught in my throat is not what I want my legend to be. I really do think about these things...don't judge. 

I used day old biscuits to make this sandwich and was simply in heaven. Highly recommend it!


You're not going to believe this. I made a quiche too! 

Even I was amazed...and exhausted. This recipe is not a quick meal - it's the caramalized onions that take a bit of time. Start by making the original recipe for Spinach, Feta & Caramalized Onion Quiche. As of 9 p.m. tonight I haven't tried my version yet, but it's a bit more involved: bacon, mushrooms, fresh spinach. I will say this: it LOOKS fabulous but I've been fooled by that before so I'll stop my commenting right there.

And did I say I wanted to make this to have on hand for breakfast? Caramelized onions at 5 a.m.?? 

NOW that that's all done, go pay someone mucho dinero to go clean up the gargantuan mess you just made in your kitchen. 

Martha Stewart...you had better watch your back girl...I'm on a roll. Next up, the ultimate Disney Christmas tree.

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