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Category Archives: crunchy

Cheez-it Extra Toasty, extra good!

IMG_5975When I saw a friend post a photo of these on Facebook last week, my heart skipped a beat, and I made a special trip to the store to get a box.

As a huge Cheez-it fan, I was obsessed with the browned ones that would occasionally show up in the box. I actually knew people who would return to the store when they discovered a box with toasted ones. They would buy more from the same shelf space in hopes the batch was all toasted.

Now we can buy them toasted and they are good! They have a deeper flavor and these toasted versions┬áseem to be a bit puffier and crispier. Beware, and don’t eat them straight from the box, because you will eat WAY more than you realize…

I don’t know who “requested” this flavor, but I need to find them and thank them…

 

 

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Are you a corner or center?

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Brownie Perfection

I’m not asking where you line-up in football formation.

This is an all-important question about brownies.

Last night a friend brought a wonderful batch of brownies to dinner and I took a corner piece and she look incredulous and said “you actually like the corner?” She said she preferred the center of the brownie pan, to which I say NAY! The center is always to rich and gooey for me, much the reason why I don’t like fudge. It’s just too much of everything.

I do like fudgey brownies with a bit of crunch on the top and on the edges. It’s the best of both worlds.

I googled the subject and came across this funny discussion on reddit.com

There’s also the Brownie Corner Pan, something that is sheer brilliance!

Brownie corner pan

I hadn’t realized that there were people who disliked the crunchy/chewy sensation of a good corner of the brownie pan, but they are out there. So as always, I say we can all get along and this just leaves more for me!

Haagen-Dazs coconut macaroon ice cream

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Ritter’s neopolitan wafer bar

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Have I mentioned that Neopolitan wafer cookies are a guilty pleasure of mine? Those crunchy thin cookies with creamy filling between wafers which resemble communion wafers more than any cookie should.
Ritter Sport’s Neopolitan wafer bar has the wafer sandwiched inside milk chocolate. It’s a good candy bar with a European chocolate flavor, meaning that it tastes a little of hazelnuts.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.

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Microwave popcorn in a brown paper bag

Does anyone remember making popcorn on the stove as a kid? I would always burn it, and ruin my mom’s pots. Then came along the hot air popper, which was much better. Then came microwave popcorn that I thought was the best…I ate it all of the time until I discovered┬áthat the ingredients in the flavoring were not too good for me. So, after years without popcorn, I am happy to report that you can pop your own in the microwave!

This might not be news to you, but it was to me when I saw my co-worker pull a small brown paper bag out of the microwave, and pour out perfectly popped popcorn.
This is much better for you and a heck of a lot cheaper than the microwave packs. Please note: some microwave manufacturers say that brown paper bags are a fire hazard, so use your judgement, and don’t leave the microwave unattended.

Here’s all you need:
Brown paper lunch sack
Popcorn
Butter
Salt

Pour about half an inch of popcorn into the bag. Fold the top over 2 or 3 times. Place in the microwave and cook on the popcorn setting. Listen for when the pops become less frequent and avoid burning. It took my bag about 25 seconds less than the popcorn setting.
Open the bag to release the steam. (Open the bag away from your face.)
Pour into a bowl and top with melted butter, and sprinkle with a salt of your choosing. Or you can just eat it plain from the bag.

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Coffee Toffee Talk

coffee toffee

There is something so satisfying about making a fast batch of candy from stuff you have in the cupboard. I love coffee and I really love toffee, so this looks as if it was made just for me!

This recipe comes to us from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. This is my latest cookbook obsession, and every recipe is inspired and written with easy to follow instructions, plus great photos. I reccomend it to give as a gift to yourself.

Back to the Coffe Toffee…I checked all of the ingredients and came up short on semi sweet chocolate chips due to my kids eating them like candy, so I used some left over Hershey Kisses from Valentines Day. They worked perfectly. I thought I’d try toasted coconut on half of the toffee since I really don’t love nuts, and the coconut worked, too! The coffee flavor is subtle, and gives a nice variation to sweet toffee.

Here’s what I learned: The candy mixture cooks quickly, so don’t leave it unattended. Start stirring it constantly the minute it reaches 250 degrees, it will zoom to 300 degrees in a matter of minutes.

When pouring the cooked mix into the pan, take care not to pour any scorched sugar from the side of the sauce pan into toffee.

Have the chocolate chips ready to go onto the hot candy as soon as it is poured into the pan. If you use Hershey Kisses, it takes about 2 dozen, and have them unwrapped before you start the recipe.

Cool the pan in the refrigerator for about an hour. Store candy covered in the refrigerator to keep chcolate from getting soft.

The recipe makes about 3/4 of a 9″x13″ pan. Try not to eat it all in one day…

Next day update…even better flavor after sitting overnight in the fridge!

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Just a few ingredients, and away we go

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Hershey Kisses melting on top of molten toffee mix

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Half coconut and half slivered, chopped almonds. Note how the toffee didn’t fill the whole pan, which made for easier clean-up.

Soft Peanut Brittle courtesy of the Davenport Hotel

Tonight I checked into the Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Washington (more on this fabulous place, a little later). I hadn’t eaten since before noon and my stomach was growling loudly. Now I’m too shy to go downstairs and eat by myself at a lonely table for one…so what do I do? I eat the complimentary peanut brittle, that’s what I do.

If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I have to be pretty hungry to eat peanut anything. I have never cared for nuts of any kind. I force myself to eat almonds because they are supposed to be good for you, but with all the salted, roasted crust on them, I think I’ve canceled the positive health effects out….anyway, back to the brittle….
It’s really good!
It’s a soft variety of peanut brittle and the hotel supplies 2 small bags on the side table. One bag is plain, and the other is chocolate coated. Of course I started with the chocolate, and wow, so smooth, next I tried the plain and it was salty and sweet, and perfect. My only complaint is that the bags are really hard to get into. i resorted to poking them with the hotel pen.
Much like the pusher says in those ’70’s movies “the first one’s free”, and now I’m hooked. They sell boxes of the stuff at the front desk, and you can bet some is going home with me. I’m not sure that it will make it home, though. I better put it in the trunk…even better, they are running a special through Valentine’s day, buy a pound, and get a half pound free!
According to the Davenport’s guide, there are 6 people who create this confection for the hotel, as well as shipping it world-wide. They make over 150,000 bags of it a year, or about 22,500 pounds.

Now about the hotel…
I have been fortunate to stay at the Davenport Hotel at least a dozen times in the past 5 years, and I have to say it is my favorite hotel of any place that I can remember staying. The beds are so comfy, the service and the food in the restaurants is excellent, and the cocktails are superb. The lobby is as grand as any great hotel, and their ballrooms have been restored to absolute splendor.
It has a wonderful story of being the jewel of Spokane before falling into neglect. After years on the market and facing demolition, Walter and Karen Worthy stepped up with their own money and remodeled the hotel down to the studs. They brought it back to it’s original glory, plus built a sister hotel across the street. The hotel has spurred a downtown rebirth of Spokane. It really is a great story of a dream and success. In spite of it’s glamour, it’s dog friendly, too.
If I were Eloise, I’d live here for sure!

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Note the pen…

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The hotel celebrated its 10th anniversary last year.