Monday, February 13, 2012

Sweet Valentine's Day Treats: Puppy {Love} Chow, Red Velvet Popcorn, and Red Velvet Cookies and Cream Milkshakes

There’s a Valentine’s Day commercial currently playing in my part of the country that talks about how guys have it easy on Valentine’s Day. They only have to buy a gift for their wives. Women, however? They get gifts for their husbands, their kids, their kids’ teachers, their kids’ classmates, etc. I can’t remember exactly how the commercial phrases it, but it calls women Valentine’s Day super heroes, or something like that.

After all the work I did yesterday to prepare for the boys’ Valentine’s Day parties at daycare, I definitely felt like something akin to a super hero. I filled out Valentine’s Day cards (which were store-bought, lest you believe I went to another level of effort), made another batch of sugar cookie bars, made fruit salsa and cinnamon chips, and put together a couple of different types of sweet snacks. After all that, I rewarded myself with the most decadent milkshake in the entire world. I felt like I totally deserved it.

The first thing I made and packaged for the boys’ daycare friends was a sweet treat I’m calling puppy {love} chow. It’s a Valentine’s Day take on the puppy chow/muddy buddies snack we all know and love. I added pretzels to cut all the sweetness, and I think this is even more addictive than its more traditional counterpart. The amount in the picture is what I had left after portioning it into treat bags, and I must admit that it was completely gone by the end of the day.

Here’s the recipe:

Puppy {Love} Chow
adapted from Betty Crocker

5 cups rice Chex cereal
2 cups pretzels
1 cup white chocolate baking chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup Valentine M&Ms
1/4 cup Valentine sprinkles

1. Place cereal and pretzels in medium bowl.

2. In small microwavable bowl, microwave white chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on high 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth. Pour peanut butter mixture over cereal and pretzels, stirring until evenly coated.

3. Place mixture in 1-gallon food-storage plastic bag. Add powdered sugar and M&Ms. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper or foil; cool about 15 minutes.

4. Return to a serving bowl and stir in sprinkles. Store covered.

As soon as I saw this red velvet popcorn, I knew I’d be making it. What a clever idea – to sprinkle popcorn that’s been coated in white chocolate with cake crumbs. I added some milk chocolate drizzle, just to make this snack even more decadent. I’d love to experiment with red velvet cake mix, pre-baking; I’m sure it would work just as well coated on the popcorn. Although this snack is supposed to be for the daycare kids, it’s going to be really difficult for me to part with it, because it is so incredibly delicious and addictive.

Red Velvet Popcorn
adapted from Cookies and Cups

8 cups popped popcorn, 1/2 cup unpopped kernels (or 2 bags of “natural” microwave popcorn)
3 cups red velvet cake crumbs
12 ounces white chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

1. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler.

2. Pour the melted chocolate over the popcorn and stir to coat completely.

3. Pour the popcorn onto a waxed paper lined counter and sprinkle with red velvet crumbs.

4. Melt the milk chocolate chips in the microwave or a double boiler. Using a fork, drizzle over the popcorn.

5. Let the popcorn set completely before eating.

After making the popcorn, I was left with quite a bit of red velvet cake that I had no immediate use for. In a stroke of brilliance, I recalled the cookies and cream ice cream in the freezer…and I decided to make myself and the boys a little afternoon treat.

I mixed some red velvet cake directly into the ice cream and milk mixture, and it blended in perfectly and added that distinctive red velvet flavor to every drink of the shake. This would be such a delicious, fun dessert for a Valentine’s Day feast!

Red Velvet Cookies and Cream Milkshakes

Cookies and cream ice cream
Red velvet cake
Whipped cream
Crushed Oreo cookies and red velvet cake crumbs for garnish, if desired

Combine desired amounts of ice cream, cake, and milk to desired consistency. Top with whipped cream and garnish with Oreo cookies and cake crumbs, if desired.


Cooksploratrice said...

Hi Cassie, I adore the idea of red velvet popcorn. I will add this to my to do list.

Cooksploratrice (

Cheese with Noodles said...

Just found your blog, Cassie! Love it! All the recipes in this post are so creative. I will need to find an excuse to make the Puppy Love Chow very soon and that milkshake looks SO good. Can't wait to see more of your recipes!