Friday, March 23, 2012

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Apple Slices

Welcome to my newest favorite obsession, um, I mean energy snack.  First let me write out a disclaimer:
 If you are allergic to peanuts, chocolate, apples or messy things, don't bother with this recipe.

If you are not actually ALLERGIC to messy things - but simply don't like them - get over it.  Come'll be the safety of your own kitchen.  There is a sink in there, right?  This won't be anything that a little soap and water (okay, maybe a lot of water) can't get off.  Trust me, the results are worth the "ewwww."

First gather your ingredients.  Use whatever peanut butter brand you like.  The chocolate is up to you as well, but if you want to pretend (I mean, feel confident) that these are super healthy, stick with DARK chocolate.  I prefer Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate but the store was out.  :(
As for the apples, again, you are free to use what you like but I have to caution you.  Red Delicious isn't going to hold up well.  You want a crisp apple.  I first made this recipe with Braeburn - but a friend suggested that I try Fugi and OHMYGOSH that's even better.  Rome and Gala apples would probably be a good fit as well.

Now, melt the chocolate.  If you have a double boiler, great!  Pour the chips in the top, heat your water and stir.  If you do not have a double boiler, you can use a microwave.  According to the rules of chocolate melting, you are supposed to it run the microwave at 50% power for one minute per one ounce of chocolate.  If you are like me, you just froze and said to yourself "that's MATH!!!" but calm down.  It's really easy.  Pour the chips in a microwave safe bowl and turn the microwave on. Even if you can't figure out how to run your microwave at 50% it's okay.  :::note - I'm not saying that I can't figure that out.  If I ever actually read the manual, I'm quite sure that I could manage to make that contraption run at 50%.  I just choose to use full power because I'm a rebel.  Yeah.  That's it.:::  Just stop it every 30 second and stir.  You'll see when it's getting to that just right, smooth consistency.   It's not rocket science.  It's chocolate.  Chocolate is much better than rocket science anyway.  Who needs rockets when we have chocolate? 

Oh -if you are a novice at melting chocolate, you need to learn the golden rule: do not allow water anywhere near your chocolate.  If even a drop gets in, all that yummy, smooth chocolate can "seize."  Trust me, you don't want that.  It's not pretty.  If you love chocolate as much as I do and it seizes, you may cry.  Crying is watery - which is bad for melting chocolate.  See... it's a vicious cycle.

 Next, slice the apple to a thickness of approximately a 1/4 inch.  If you have an apple corer, then keeping the slices round might be fun because then they'll sort of look like cookies.  Cookies are good.   My kitchen is lacking a proper apple corer :::sigh::: so I compensate by cutting the round slices in half and then using a teaspoon to cut out the core.   Once your apple slices are ready, it's time to get a little messy.  Coat half of each slice in chocolate and place the slices on a piece of wax or parchment paper.  When they are all nicely coated (remember, just one side for now) put them in the freezer.  Then go do something else - something that can be done very quickly, because you don't want the slices to actually freeze.  You just want the chocolate to set.  That should only take a few minutes.  Fold some towels.  Wipe the counter down.  Whatever you do, don't even THINK about checking Facebook - or worse, Pintrest.  Those sites will suck you in and the next thing you know, your apples will be frozen solid.
Okay, so the chocolate has set.  Take the apples out and flip them over.  Now get ready for some real mess!  Spread each slice with peanut butter.  If you have a decent icing tip that can handle peanut butter, use that.  Otherwise just spread it on with a butter knife.  Or a spatula.  Or whatever.  It doesn't really matter how the peanut butter gets on the apples.  Just get it on there!  Once the apples are all slathered with peanut butter, they get another chocolate dunk.  Didn't I warn you about this getting messy?
No...don't lick your fingers!  Unless you know that you will be eating all of these apple slices yourself, it's just rude.  And unsanitary.  Stop it!!!

Put the chocolate coated apple slices back into the freezer if you want them to set quickly (and really, at this point, you will want them to set quickly so that you can hurry up and eat them) or in the refrigerator if you aren't in a rush (oh please - who has that kind of will power???)

Once the chocolate sets, you are ready for the last step - which is - take a bite.  Uh huh.  Good, right?  You don't have to thank me.  Just enjoy!  :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Slasher Story

Don't be afraid.

The ferocious creature in the picture above is our Ke-Kat. My daughter named him Cookies and Cream, but I don't dare call him that. Seriously, would YOU call that beast Cookies???

To his face???

Let me tell you a bit about how merciless our feline can be. Frogs fear him. I have lost count of the number of headless and nearly headless rodents that Ke-kat has left at our doorstep. Lizards who are brave enough to show their faces here usually leave tail-less, assuming they are fast enough to leave at all. Earlier this afternoon, while I was weeding, a cricket jumped out to scold me for disturbing the grass. That was the last mistake that silly insect ever made.

Ke-kat's fury isn't limited to things that move. Sometimes, he takes pleasure in destroying perfectly innocent items. For example......this used to be our door seal.

I was less than amused when I discovered it slashed. My middle daughter (the future vet) claimed that she could stop him from attacking our door seal by spraying it with vinegar. That seems to work fairly well, but of course the vinegar wears away after a while so we usually keep a spray bottle of it in the cabinet near the door.

Not long ago, we heard Ke-kat ripping at the door seal again. My youngest jumped up and said that she would spray it. Later that afternoon, he was at it again...and once again my youngest said that she'd take care of it. The third time I heard him attacking the door, I reached for the bottle myself wondering whether my little girl was spraying in the right spot.


It was slimy.

At that moment, she walked into the kitchen. I held out the bottle and asked, "What happened to this?"

She shrugged her little shoulders and explained, "We ran out of vinegar so I used cooking oil instead."

:::sigh::: I guess we can count this one as a science lesson right? After all, we discovered that cooking oil isn't a very good cat repellant.