An Unconventional Valentine Treat

I’ve been searching for something to make that’s different (and easy) for Valentine’s Day. Yeah, I know we can do brownies from a box mix and add white chocolate and pink M&M’s to the batter, and then maybe put frosting with sprinkles on them after they’re cooled. We can even bake them in a heart shaped pan.

Or the traditional chocolate chip cookie, again possibly with pink M&Ms or white baking chips rather than the traditional chocolate chips, but that’s still a bit too commonplace. Yes, they’re delicious but I kept thinking there had to be something a little more unique. And easy.

I do like to bake, as I think you all know, but that doesn’t really give me much leeway to improvise, since for me, baking has to be sort of precise or I’ll screw the whole thing up.

Now my husband really likes rice krispies treats. You know the ones made with marshmallows and such. But I’m really not a fan. One of his clients actually gives him a couple of the pre-packaged ones each week, because they know how much he likes them. Works for me.

And the other day she surprised him with a bag of heart shaped rice krispies treats that’s she’d dipped in chocolate and added red sprinkles.

Which was good, since I didn’t have to do it!

But still, there had to be something else unconventional I could come up with.

There are always the traditional pretzel sticks drizzled with chocolate or white chocolate tinted pink, but neither of us are really into pretzels.

Then I came across several recipes for Valentine’s Chex mix snacks. Well, I like sweets as much as anyone, but I also like salty as well, so this sounded like a great combination to please everyone.

So why not?? Anyway, I’m sharing the recipe now, and I think I’ll get my husband to make this one with me. With the Super Bowl this weekend, it sounds like a great addition to our junk food snacks that we’re planning, so why not see what happens?

Let me know if you try it as well. It’s always interesting to compare notes!

Valentine Snack Mix

  • 2 cups corn chex cereal
  • 1 cup mini pretzel twists
  • 2 cups rice chex cereal
  • 2 cups Honey Nut Cheerios
  • 1 bag valentine M&M’s
  • 3 cups white baking chips
  • 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
  • Valentine or colored sugar sprinkles.

Prepare large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a very large bowl combine cereals, pretzels, and M&M’s. Stir to combine well.

In medium bowl combine 3 cups baking chips and vegetable oil. Microwave 30 seconds; stir and microwave another 15 seconds. Stir until melted and smooth. If needed, microwave another 15 seconds, stirring for 10 seconds between each time. Pour over snack mix.

Working QUICKLY gently stir until all ingredients are coated and then quickly transfer to prepared baking sheet, spreading into one even layer. Immediately add remaining M&M’s on top and additional sprinkles. Add a bit of additional melted baking bits if desired. Allow chocolate to firm up and harden either on counter or in fridge. Break into pieces and serve.

Please note: I found this recipe online at chelseasmessyapron.com. So it’s not my own creation.

More Snowy Day Treats…with a twist

Last weekend we had 6-8” of snow in Virginia Beach. Yes, a bit unusual for our area. But we were sort of prepared for it. We had food, football to look forward to, and yes, we were planning to make cookie snowmen.

Until my husband announced he wanted to try to make something one of his clients had told him about.

Ben likes to cook. He fixes most of our dinners, and does a great job, by the way. But he’s not a dessert making guy. He usually buys them if we have dessert.

So when he told me he wanted to make a cake pop type treat coated in chocolate, made with his favorite Baileys Irish cream, and he was ready to actually help, well, I figured the snowman cookies could wait for another snowstorm. 

So we assembled all the ingredients, including a large bottle of Baileys, and started the process.

Actually when I think about it, this was the first time he and I had ever actually prepared something together. Meals don’t really count because we’re each making a different dish as part of the meal itself. This was a first.

And a scary one as well. After all, many years ago we’d tried working together in a business, and let’s just say that lasted about a year before he hired other people, and I went to work for a real estate company. We both want to be in charge, you see…I’m sure you understand what I’m saying.

And making a dessert together requires teamwork. Could we really do it? Without arguing?

I actually did most of the first part, which involved mixing up a yellow cake mix using package directions. After looking on-line I decided to use only half the oil called for and instead of all the water, half of that as well, along with a 1/4 cup of Baileys. Yes, I was sort of making it up as we went along.

My husband did grease the cake pans for me, and then we baked the layers, and let them cool. 

Then the true challenge began. Because Ben hadn’t gotten all the recipe details from his client, I had to improvise from recipes on line. I never do that with baking. Never.

There’s always a first.

One recipe called for 3 cups of crumbled cake, which I had him do. That wasn’t bad. But we ended up with about a cup more before we stopped crumbling. No big deal. Then it was time to add the Baileys. 

Ben said his client told him she added half a shot per cake pop, which she said were the size of golf balls. I said that was way too much. So we ended up adding almost a cup of it, and of course having to add extra cake crumbles. In between his taste testing the mixture, of course. Which he enjoyed a bit too much, I think.

Since all the recipes I found called for adding a bit of frosting to the mixture to hold it together, we did that as well. The result? A somewhat sticky mess that I made him roll into balls. Which turned out bigger than I thought they should be, but by that time, who cared?

We put them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and stuck them in the fridge to chill for an hour until it was time for the last step. 

There are several ways to melt chocolate for dipping. A lot of times I’ve used the microwave to melt candy melts for my cookies. Well, this time that was a disaster. They wouldn’t melt properly even when closely following the instructions and we ended up throwing the whole icky chunky mess in the trash can.

Fortunately Ben had bought several milk chocolate candy bars for the project, and I still had a double boiler set of pans in the cabinet. My mother had always used that for melting chocolate for fudge and frosting making, and actually it does a much better job. Of course my husband said he’d never seen one, so either he didn’t pay attention, or it’d been ages since I used one. Probably the latter!

Anyway, since the cake truffles were bigger than I’d wanted, they were a bit harder to dip properly, even with a toothpick chilled in the middle. But that was Ben’s job. The first couple of tries weren’t easy, with chocolate dripping a little too much on the wax paper. So he let them drip a few extra seconds into the double boiler top before putting them on the wax paper, where I quickly removed the toothpick and shook colored sprinkles on top. Actually, they turned out rather pretty.

But taste testing the final product had to wait until we chilled them again to make sure the chocolate hardened.

And surprisingly they weren’t bad. The texture was more truffle-like rather than cake-like because of the overpouring of the Baileys, but for a first try…fairly successful! We even shared some with friends! And they really enjoyed them as well!

And he’s already talking about how he’ll do them the NEXT TIME! 

I think we’re in trouble here….

Do you have a favorite cake pop recipe? Can you share it? I think we’re going to need it

But here’s how we did ours. I think.

  • 1 box yellow cake mix with 3 eggs and vegetable oil
  • A bottle Bailey’s Irish Cream (use to taste).
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • Chocolate bars (no nuts!)

Mix cake mix according to package directions, except use only half the oil and about half the water. We added some Baileys with the half mixture of water. Bake as directed on the box and let cool.

Crumble the cooled layers. We had about 3-4 cups of crumbs at least. Then pour in the Baileys to taste. However, don’t get the mixture too wet, unless you want to add more cake crumbs. Cream the butter and powdered sugar until fluffy and combine with the crumb mix to hold it together. I think we used more than we should, but that’s up to you.

Roll the mixture into balls. I suggest not making them as big as we did, but then again that’s your choice. Golf ball size is a bit too big, I think. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, stick a toothpick in the top of each one to make dipping easier, and chill for at least an hour so they’ll be easier to handle.

When you’re ready to finish your project, melt the chocolate bars in the top of the double boiler, stirring to make sure they’re melted well. Set up your assembly line like we did and dip each ball individually in the chocolate. Let the excess drip off and put on another cookie sheet lined with wax paper, remove the toothpick and shake the sprinkles on the wet chocolate. When you’re finished, put them back in the refrigerator to chill. Store them covered in a plastic container when you’re all done.

I have no idea how long they will last. I know we still have a few in there from last weekend but I don’t expect them to be there by the end of Sunday’s football games.

As I said earlier, how about sharing your recipes with some pictures? We can all learn about this together.