Hayden went to a game night party with the kids in his Worldview class last night, and everyone was asked to bring a snack to share. I don't know what it is about October first, but it's the same thing EVERY year. I just want to camp out in the kitchen and bake, bake, bake and cook, cook, cook. I love food prep in fall!! I've spent the better part of the last few weeks prowling around blogs and pinterest copying recipes to add to my "must try" file.
Both of these little snacks are incredibly simple to make. The Ritz cracker one was new to me, and I was crazy about them. The pretzel one is fun to make because you can use any color of M&M to make them extra festive.
The first treat uses one box of Ritz crackers and a package of Rolo candy.
The second treat calls for square pretzels, Hershey's hugs, and a bag of M&Ms.
Both of these require a LOT of unwrapping, so I found it handy to enlist a helper. One who wasn't quite so enthusiastic about sampling the ingredients may have yielded a greater number of finished products though. :-)
But what's the fun in cooking with THREE whole bags of candy if you can't sneak just a few??
Unwrapping is great fine motor skill practice, and there is something pretty adorable about watching little hands work.
I'm sure most people are familiar with the pretzel recipe. You place one Hershey Hug on top of each pretzel, then warm them in a 200 degree oven for about four or five minutes. You need them to be melty, but not too liquid. When they get all shiny, they are ready.
You pull them from the oven and immediately squish an M&M into the center of each one. I put the "M" side down because I didn't want that to show. I also only used the harvest colors of the M&M's to make it look like a fall snack. :-) Emma and I practiced our sorting skills, and all those left over green and blue M&Ms were a wonderful problem to have!! (Munch, munch, yum, YUM!)
I will say that these take hours (many, many!) to set up at room temperature. I ended up sticking my tray in the refrigerator for a few minutes, which isn't ideal with chocolate, but I didn't have time to wait for them to completely harden. I wouldn't leave them in the fridge for too long....you don't want them to get too cold and then sweat when you bring them back to room temperature. Mine were in the fridge about ten or fifteen minutes, which was just right.
The second snack was my personal favorite. Then again, I never met a salted caramel I didn't LOVE.
For this treat, you line a baking sheet with Ritz crackers, salted side down. Then you place a Rolo candy in the center of each cracker, and again soften in a 200 degree oven until nice and soft. When you pull them from the oven, you make a little sandwich by squishing a second cracker on top, this time salted side up.
Oh my stars were these tasty. They were BEST when they were nearly set, but still just a teensy bit gooey. So simple, but sooooo good!
I got a big kick out of the fact that Hayden asked if I would "fix up the snacks to look really pretty like I normally do". Ha! He notices??? How wonderful! I thought that was really sweet. I wished I had enough time at that point to run to the dollar store for a cute divided fall platter, but I had to settle for colored tissue paper in a cookie tin instead. He was real proud of the fact that he brought home an empty tin. He liked having popular snacks. :-)
I also baked a new kind of pumpkin bread to send. It was so-so. My Mom makes the world's BEST pumpkin bread, so my family gave me a really hard time about trying a new recipe when the one we already have is so fantastic. Well, the new recipe was super simple - started with a cake mix - and was something Emma could really help me with, which was the goal of spending the afternoon in the kitchen together. The new bread couldn't hold a candle to Oma's tried and true.
I hate it when my family is so RIGHT! Grrrrr.....
In other weekend news, Papa is hard at work fully restoring a '57 Chevy truck. He finally started on the paint, and I am super excited. I have a bit of a hard time relating to engine and speedometer issues, but pretty paint colors I can completely relate to! :-)
This has been an ongoing project; one that is back on the front burner lately, and I am glad. This is a blast for his five grandsons, who marvel that their Papa knows how to build a truck, and who love to hang out in the barn and work on it with him.
Let's hear it for that paint job. LOVE the color, Papa!!!!