Steve came home from work last week and says, “I’m really sorry, but…” Long pause. “There’s a holiday bake-off and I didn’t sign up for it because I don’t bake, but then someone dropped out so they needed me to fill in – I tried getting out of it, but they said you could help me, we need to make something tomorrow night.” He then sported the best puppy dog eyes ever.

Of course I wasn’t going to leave him hanging. We started to brainstorm some different treats. We came up with a great idea, a little labor intensive but it would be awesome. After we finalized the idea he adds, “It might be a better idea to go with something good, but not great, because if we win, we stay in the competition.” Heaven knows I didn’t want to be involved in Steve’s company bake-off, so we came up with a new idea.

Thursday night rolled around and it was chaotic. Our floors were being worked on so we could barely here ourselves think. Bennett was long past due for bedtime even though it was only 6:30 and Hallie had a school project she was working on. The idea we had settled on was surely not going to be completed. Back-up plan – search through the cupboard and see what we could throw together. Lucky for us we had all the ingredients for Muddy Buddies. Not exactly a holiday treat but we were scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas.

I decided to swap out the peanut butter and add more chocolate chips and added some peppermint extract. Fail. I thought perhaps I got the chocolate chips too hot so I tried it again. That was clearly not the problem. Fail. I realized I removed all the oil when I eliminated the peanut butter so I added it back in with butter. This almost worked. But the chocolate was still too think. So my persistance paid off when on my fourth try I finally created a product that was worth eating! For how much time these ended up taking we would’ve been better off making the first idea we came up with! We made these again for a family gathering this weekend and they were gone in no time – fantastic holiday treat!

REINDEER CRUNCH

9 cups Chex cereal (I use rice)

2 cups chocolate chips

1/3 cup butter

1 tsp peppermint extract

Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking bits

Powdered Sugar

Melt chocolate chips and butter over medium heat, if you’re chocolate is too thick, add more butter. Add 1 tsp of peppermint extract. Pour chocolate mixture over chex in a ziploc bag and toss with peppermint baking bits. (Or you can add the baking bits to the chocolate, just make sure the chocolate isn’t too hot or it will melt the bits) Pour powered sugar into ziploc bag and toss to coat. I start with a cup and a half and add more as it soaks into the chocolate.

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