Thursday, October 27, 2011

Carla Hall's Chew Chew Clusters 10.27.11

Happy Halloween!

I am writing this up on Sunday morning after a LOOOONG Friday and Saturday of pretty much wall to wall cooking.  I have a cousin, almost as big a foodie as myself.  This weekend I had a pretty big back yard BBQ planned (last day temps in the 70's for a long time... great excuse to smoke some ribs and pork shoulder).

So, with just a tiny bit of pleading, Cousin David, ... his wife and daughter and my wife started a few days of cooking, cooking, cooking!

First up was a dessert.  Handy to have around throughout the weekend to snack on and I know from experience, no one wants a heavy dessert after a huge BBQ meal (more on that at the bottom, I was able to feature a couple of The Chew recipes from the past.

But first... The candy!

If you check the video highlight on The Chew website for this recipe (Click HERE for the video highlight). you will see Carla loving describes making these as a home made version of a beloved southern candy treat.  She does mention that you can use whatever candy fillings you might like for these.  Think designer Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!

Now, her version (the copy of the childhood memory) features peanuts, caramel and marshmallow fluff.  I had everything except the fluff.  I was already into an expensive weekend, so i substituted mini marshmallows.  The recipe was so good, I am sure at some point I will happily revisit this recipe.  When I do, I promise to hunt down the fluff.  But, for the day, the mini marshs worked fine.

The recipe actually could not possibly be easier.

Bag of chocolate chips to start.  I prefer the double boiler method of melting the chocolate.  It is possible to melt in the microwave, but this is just easier and works better for me.  If you do the microwave thing, just be sure to do it in stages, 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between each stage.

And, while the chocolate is melting...

Have a package of those tiny cupcake cups handy.  and a mini muffin baking pan.

one cup in each of the spaces in the tin and fill with 1 tsp of melted chocolate.  be careful not to put too much in there.  You are going to be making a sandwich, with a layer of chocolate, layer of candy and another layer of chocolate.

And now time for filling...

And a layer of Caramel Sauce (I did make Carla's recipe and it came out GREAT!  Hope that makes up for me using mini mashs instead of the fluff).

And finally, top with another tsp of the HOT melted chocolate.

It will seep into the fillings and seal itself on the bottom layer.

take a few seconds and push some around all the edges and you have a very simple designer candy cup.

But wait... There's more!  I only made 1/3rd of my candy with the peanut cluster.  I also had a candy corn/cashew nut snack mix handy (easiest thing in the world, 1 part CC to 1 part cashews... tastes like a Payday Candy bar).

Make this, same way as above, add a little caramel and you have a chocolate-caramel payday candy bar.  Really Really GOOD!

And I made 1/3rd of my candy with the seasonal candy mix.

And that leaves 1/3rd more to be made...

HMMMMMM... wonder what I should use....

I know, something for Michael Symon...


I am so proud of my guests... Equal numbers of all the treats were made... Chew Chew Clusters, Chocolate Paydays and BACON Cups... All were eaten by the end of the parties, but by far, most popular were the BACON Cups!  Think a salty sweet treat!

A wonderful winner from The Chew!

And speaking of the weekend parties...

On Friday night when it was just 5 of us (Cousin David, wife Becky, daughter Breann, shown above snacking on the BACON Cup) and my wife, we were planning to watch the final game of the World Series (Whoo Hoo, what a great Series this year!).  So I made a batch of  Clinton Kelly’s Texas Nachos 10.19.11

These were a great way to start the weekend, Nachos and friends!

And here's the table ready for our BBQ Blast, well represented with a few of The Chew's past hits...  Look close, if you toss aside the Cole Slaw, Robs, Pulled Pork and the BEST smoked beans you will ever have in your life, you will see...

Mario Batali's  Potato Salad 10.12.11

Don't you just love the Texas serving plate for the Italian warm potato salad?

And Monday I have a leftover dish planned... Pulled pork shepherd's pie with this potato salad mashed up to make the mashed potato topping!

And if you look close, inside the pulled pork sandwiches, shove aside the red, white and blue cole slaw and you will see some of Michael Symon's pickled Red Onions (well pink).

A good day was had by all!

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