Monday, December 15, 2014

10 Days of Holiday Baking - Day 1

Every year at Christmas, my baking list seems to expand. I have my staples, the cookies I want have to bake. For the next 10 days, you can find me in the kitchen, whisk in hand, covered in flour and chocolate and probably in a sugar coma as I wear the motor out of my trusty stand mixer. But it's not Christmas until there are Chocolate Chip cookies, Peanut Butter Blossoms, and Sugar Cookies in the shape of candy canes covered in Royal Icing. And every year I try to add something new. Mind you, I don't delete anything from the previous see where this is going, don't you? I'll have to open a bakery before too much longer just to make sure I get all my Christmas baking done! But then again, maybe that's what a lot of people are hoping for. But what's the next best thing to opening a bakery? This year I've decided to share all of my Christmas baking adventures with you! I want to get back into this blogging thing in 2015 and what better way to start?! 

Last year I added Snickerdoodle Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Chex Mix Bites to my repertoire. Say that five times fast! They're time consuming, yes. And they're messy. I never claimed to be a tidy baker, but I do try to clean up as I go...these little bites required every clean dish in the kitchen before all was said and done and by the end, I was asking Zach to clean the kitchen for me, haha! And these bites, they're not to be gracefully eaten. Seriously, attack these not-so bite sized treats any way you like. Let the chocolate melt on your hands and give you a chocolate mustache. And I dare you to eat only one. They're sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy, and I would have never imagined cinnamon, peanut butter and chocolate to meld the way they do here, but trust me, it works! I'd already bought all of the ingredients for these (seriously, I watch the Publix ad for BOGO Chex cereal around Christmas!) when I found out at the last minute about our work Christmas goody tables. And since I won't be working next week, I decided to go ahead and make these to bring and share. 

So, are you looking for something new to sit at home and eat all by yourself carry off to a Christmas party this year? Look no further! I have the answer here with my 1st day of holiday baking recipe! 

Snickerdoodle Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Chex Mix Bites
(adapted from Half Baked Harvest


2 cups Corn Chex
1 cup Rice Chex
1 cup whole wheat Chex (I always just use the Cinnamon chex)
1 1/2 cups bite size pretzels
1 cup air popped popcorn
1 cup mixed nuts (I usually just use peanuts)
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup karo syrup
1 cup light brown sugar
2-3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


1.  In a large bowl (with a lid), combine the corn Chex, rice Chex, whole wheat (or cinnamon) Chex, pretzels, popcorn, and mixed nuts. Toss well.
2.  In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, cinnamon, and vanilla. Pour the butter mixture over the chex mix and toss well. This is wear that lid comes in handy. Snap it on and toss until all of the chex mix is well coated. Side note: This is a good job for boyfriends who wander into the kitchen at the perfect moment ;)
3.  Using cooking spray, thoroughly grease 48 mini cupcake molds 
4.  Add the Karo syrup, peanut butter and brown sugar together in medium saucepan. Heat almost to a boil but be careful not to burn. Stir to combine the ingredients. Once the mixture begins to bubble around the edges, stir for 1 minute and then remove from the heat. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the chex mix and toss well with a spatula. This step has to be done quickly because as soon as the peanut butter mixture cools, this stuff becomes very hard to work with!
5.  Spoon the mixture evenly among 48 cupcake molds and lightly press the mixture together. I've found it easier to just get messy and use my hands for this part. 
6.  Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double broiler. To microwave, heat on full power for 20 seconds, stir, heat 30 seconds again, and stir until melted. If still not melted enough, heat again for 10 seconds. Be careful not to overheat it because once you do, there's no turning back! Spoon a tablespoon or so of melted chocolate over each bar. Place the trays in the fridge for 45 minutes until the chocolate hardens. Once ready to serve use a butter knife to pop the bars up and out of their molds (also a good job for boyfriends)
7.  Serve right away or store in an air-tight container. I've also found that these freeze really well. If you know you're going to be short for time, make them ahead and then take them out the night before you need them. 

So there you have it, my 1st day of Christmas baking is complete! Come back tomorrow for round two! 

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