Reader, I have no intention of boring you with words here. Let’s just say that hopefully we will have some snow days this winter and you might want something sweet to munch on. By keeping just a short list of ingredients on hand, you can be ready for an easy dessert when getting to the store is a no-can-do.
Chocolate Peanut Clusters
Ingredients needed: one bag of semi-sweet morsels, one bag of butterscotch morsels, one can of peanuts
Instructions: In a microwave-safe bowl, empty both bags of morsels. Melt at 30 second intervals, stirring between each. Once the deliciousness is melted, add the can of peanuts (it can be Spanish, dry-roasted, or whatever you like) and stir to combine. Drop by the spoonful onto cookie sheets lined with wax paper and pop them into the fridge or freezer to harden. They’ll be ready in minutes. (Tip: In the winter months I put them on the patio table out back, which works as good as any freezer!)
Ingredients needed: one 13-ounce jar of Nutella, one 16-ounce container of Cool Whip, one bag of any kind of cookie or biscotti
Instructions: Remove the lid and the foil lining from the jar of Nutella (unless you really want to see sparks fly!) and microwave the Nutella for 20 seconds. Dump the refrigerated (NOT frozen!) Cool Whip into a serving bowl and add the warmed Nutella. Methodically fold the Nutella into the Cool Whip. I like to leave some streaks for character. Serve into individual bowls and top with crumbled cookies. If you really want to make friends, put in a whole cookie for dipping. I use Chips Ahoys or Milanos for the kids, but if I want it fancier I’ll stick in a biscotti. (Recipe modified from Southern Living Christmas Cookbook)
Wilda’s Popcorn Crunch
Ingredients needed: two bags of white-chocolate morsels, two cups peanuts, three cups Rice Krispies, three tablespoons of creamy peanut butter, 14 cups of popped popcorn
Grease your cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. Melt the white-chocolate morsels and peanut butter together in the microwave on high, stirring after each minute. Combine the popcorn, Rice Krispies, and peanuts in a large bowl and slowly pour the melted white-chocolate mixture over the popcorn goodness. Stir until it’s all coated, then dump the mixture out onto the greased/lined cookie sheet. Let cool completely, then break apart and store in an airtight container.
Ingredients needed: 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, three tablespoons butter (room temperature), one cup sifted powdered sugar, one bag of semi-sweet morsels
In a large bowl combine the peanut butter and butter with a fork. Sift the powdered sugar into the peanut-butter mixture, stirring carefully to combine. Using your hands, shape the resulting mixture into balls that are one-inch or smaller and put them on cookie sheets lined with wax paper. Allow to dry for about half an hour.
Next, melt the semi-sweet morsels either in the microwave or by double-boiling over the stove. Dip the peanut-butter balls into the melted chocolate and scoop out with a fork, allowing the extra chocolate to drip through the tines or scrape off down the side of the bowl. Place back on the wax paper and put them into the fridge until the chocolate is hard. See the winter tip for chocolate peanut clusters if you lack fridge space! (Recipe modified from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)