Two Quick Treats

It’s Friday night, and the kids are having a sleepover.  Obviously you’re not going to use your $7 Sweet & Sara marshmallows to let the little brats make S’Mores, but groceries are running low and they. want. treats. NOW.   What to do?  Whip up a batch of one of these quick treats!  Your little kid will be the coolest one on the block.

Corn Flake Clusters

These are nowhere near good for you, but they can be made with ingredients most of us have in the cupboard on any given day.  Mix in whatever you want–sprinkles, mini marshmallows, and so forth.

1/3 cup Karo syrup
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups plain corn flakes
1/3 cup peanut butter chips
melted chocolate for drizzling (optional)

Stir together sugar and syrup and heat over medium until boiling.  Keep an eye on it–as soon as it boils, remove it from the burner and stir in the corn flakes.  Wait a minute for the mixture to cool a little, then mix in the peanut butter chips (be sure to do this before the syrup hardens).  Spoon the mixture into clusters on wax paper and let set (10 minutes will do).  Drizzle melted chocolate over top if desired.

Tip: These are gunky on the teeth, so make sure the little monsters brush their teeth soon after eating.

Potato Candy

Don’t eat these too close to bedtime, since they have more sugar than I care to think about.  This candy’s great, though, so give it a shot–you’d never know it had a potato base!  The key is to boil the potatoes for a long time, so long you think they’re going to fall apart (and they should break into pieces when you stab the potato chunks with a fork).  You want it to be more of a potato paste when it’s done, with as few lumps as you can manage.

2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces (eighths will do)

2lbs high-quality powdered sugar (more or less depending on the size of the potatoes)

1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter

Boil the potatoes, taking note of my advice above.  Drain the potatoes and mash them in a large bowl, and when you think you’ve mashed them enough mash them a little more.  Now start adding powdered sugar, sifting it into the bowl (don’t skip the sifting!).  Mix the sugar in 1/2 cup increments (just eyeball, you don’t need to measure).  At first the mixture will look liquidy, but it will eventually begin to come together.  Over time, it will begin to form a sort of dough.  The good news is, this counts as your strength training for the day.  The bad news is, your arm is going to be sore when you’re done.  The mixing will get tough, but keep at it…just like with the potato, keep going when you think you’re done.  There is no such thing as over-mixing, at least not until you have your dough.

Once the potato-sugar is doughy, flip it out onto a non-stick cutting board or a large piece of wax paper (I prefer the latter) which has been prepared with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.  Pat the dough out into a long rectangle and spread a layer of peanut butter over top.  Roll it jelly-roll style and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill until firm, then slice into coins.

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