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The Messy Baker - Day 3

Disclaimer: Yesterday was actually Day 3 but I was cooking all day and didn't feel like blogging when I was done. Hell I didn't even make dinner which is technically my only job at the moment. And don't come for Rob - this is a self-imposed job. As long as I am unemployed, I have taken it to be my responsibility for certain household chores, chief among them having dinner ready for him every night. When I am gainfully employed we will once again jointly shirk our household responsibilities.

The first thing I made was some S'mores Christmas Crack. Using supplies I already had, and inspired by a video I saw on Instagram, I made this:

I started cutting it before I remembered to take a photo. #smorescrack

This was a measure with your heart recipe. First I prepped the pan - in my case it meant a silicon mat but be sure you grease your pan or use parchment paper or something.

First I did a layer of graham crackers - mine had cinnamon sugar on them so I did that side up. Next I melted some marshmallows in the microwave - do this slowly, 30 second increments and stir vigorously each time. You do not want to burn the marshmallows (also I used leftover ghost Peeps I had). Added a few pats of butter and once everything melted I spread this evenly over the crackers.

Pro-tip: spray your spatula with non-stick spray to make your life easier.

Next I broke up Hershey chocolate bars and covered the top. I think this took 6 bars for one layer.

Don't judge me, we have a fire pit and I like to have s'mores supplies on hand at all times.

Note to self - time to restock.

You could just as easily use Hershey's miniatures or chocolate chips.

Next I put this in the oven on broil and just kept an eye on it - maybe 2 minutes?

Look - I said this is not a cooking blog and that this is a measure with your heart recipe. You were warned.

Once I could see the chocolate melting I took the pan out and used my spatula to spread out the chocolate. Then I topped with mini M&Ms and crushed peppermint. Popped it in the fridge for a few hours to harden and voila!

Unlike a traditional Christmas Crack, this one really needed to be cut into pieces rather than cracked because of the gooey marshmallow center.

Next I made my Oatmeal Raisin Cinnamon Chip cookies. This is always a big hit.

It's the #QuakerOats recipe.

Here's the secret - skip the cinnamon and instead add a bag of cinnamon chips! You're welcome.

These can be a challenge to find, but I usually have pretty good luck this time of year. I know HEB and Target have both had them in the past.

This is already my second batch of the season - and Xander was disappointed when they were gone when he came up last week.

I did make this batch using Aldi oatmeal and I don't think they are quite as good as usual so this might be an instance when brand name does matter. Not that they are bad, just a 9 instead of a 10. I'm still eating them for breakfast.

What? It's oatmeal! And raisins so I have fruit too.

Stop judging me!

Next I made fudge. It's so easy and one of Savreet's favorites. I made 2 different kinds.

You will need a can of sweetened condensed milk - I use Aldi brand fat free. So it is healthy fudge!

You can use full fat if you want but as I mentioned before I try to use low fat products when I can and I promise you will not miss it on this recipe.

Next you need 3 cups of chocolate chips. I like to use a cup each of milk, semi sweet, and dark chocolate. Mix those in a microwave safe dish and cook for 1 minute. Stir really well. If not all of the chips have melted, nuke some more in 10-15 second increments. You do not want to overcook the chocolate.

Next I added a teaspoon of peppermint for the first batch. That's because I was making it for people that don't drink. Mix it really well then spread into your pan of choice.

I like to use a loaf pan and I line it with plastic wrap. For this batch I also added crushed peppermint since I had it on hand. Make sure the plastic wrap is covering the top and refrigerate until firm. Then remove from pan and cut into whatever size or shape you want.

You may have noticed I mentioned first batch. My second batch is made with Bailey's Irish Cream.

I added the peppermint as before but this time I also add a 1/4 cup of Bailey's and mix thoroughly. I was in the mood for a smoother fudge this time but I usually like to add another cup of chips and mix it in for texture and an extra bite of chocolate.

I think it is good either way and as I mentioned, this fudge is a family favorite. Literally takes less than 5 minutes to throw together.

PS - Bailey's and peppermint fudge tastes like an Andes Mint.

I've also made this fudge using Almond Extract and Chocolate Cherry cordial - if you try this, mix in the alcohol slowly. The cordial I had was not as thick as Bailey's and the duge never set quite right. It was still delicious though.

For my fourth (fifth if you count the 2 fudges separately) and final recipe of the day (also why do my fingers want to type receipt every time instead of recipe?), I made Churro Bites. At least that's what @emmaclaireskitchen calls them. When I showed Rob the video I believe his exact words were "oh hell yes".

Since I have no idea how to link to her instagram post, here's the recipe:

1 bag of Bugles - I went down the chip aisle at Kroger twice looking for them and had almost given up so look carefully

1.5 sticks of unsalted butter - it's a salty chip so definitely use unsalted

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2.5 tsp ground cinnamon

1/5 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Spread Bugles on top.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and 1 tsp of cinnamon.

Pour mixture over the Bugles and coat as evenly as possible. Bake for 10 minutes.

While baking, whisk granulated sugar and remaining cinnamon until blended. Immediately upon removing the Bugles from the oven, sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top, tossing to coat liberally.

Pro-tip : I made 2 batches because I knew this would be a hit. My first batch I thought I knew better than Emma so I put the Bugles in a large bowl and poured the butter/sugar mixture on top, thinking it would be easier to mix them that way. It really wasn't. I also toyed with doing the bowl thing for the cinnamon sugar mixture but decided to do it her way. Surprisingly her way was better. Do with that what you will.

I can attest these are incredibly delicious.

So yeah, that was a lot of baking yesterday.

Also I have a #christmasconfession to make. As you know, I love Christmas movies...I will watch just about anything (Santa Jaws anyone?). However I had never seen the Jim Carrey How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

I know - you are sitting there reading this in shock. Amiright?

That's always been sacred to me - there is only one Grinch and it is the classic 1966 cartoon by Chuck Jones. I watch it every year.

When Duncan found out I had never seen it, he was speechless. So we watched it Tuesday night.

I can appreciate the set and costume design. Visually it was perfect. Jim Carrey was perfect. But I didn't like it.


Because the Whos in Whoville are assholes. Why? I didn't think it was true to the source material and for that reason it will not be going into my annual Christmas rotation.

Last night we watched The Man Who Invented Christmas. I've seen it before but Rob hadn't. It's the story of how Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol and is essentially responsible for how Christmas is celebrated today. It's a stellar cast with Dan Stevens in the lead. If you haven't seen it I definitely recommend it.

Okay - I have to go bake more cookies now....

PS to any potential employers reading this, I can bring baked goods to work too.... ;)

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