Even though my husband cringed every time I dug out my camera in a restaurant or store, there were some things in Mont Tremblant that I could not let pass me by without a digital reminder. I think anyone who loves chocolate and sugar will agree. Forget the miles of snowy ski trails, the beautiful frozen lake, the twinkling lights along the pedestrian village streets; what really impressed me was the chocolate and other sugary treats. And there were a lot of them, so this is a lengthy post. I’ll break it down into three sections: Chocolate, Animal Parts and Organic Fun. Something for everyone.
A store that has vats of melted chocolate (dark and milk) ready for dipping is every child’s (and this adult’s) fantasy. I was quick with the camera before the shopkeeper told me no photographs were allowed. Oh, well. We indulged in two types of fudge and a chocolate-covered brownie. Chocolate-covered marshmallows with M&Ms and chocolate-covered Twizzlers with sprinkles? We had to draw the line somewhere.
The Animal Parts
Elsewhere in town, we happened upon the famous Beaver Tails walk-up window. The little foodies were nervous about ordering an animal’s (or is a beaver a glorified rodent?) extremity, but after they saw the menu and smelled the fried aroma, all fear vanished. This fried dough can be slathered with any number of toppings: apples and caramel, oreo, Nutella, cinnamon sugar, or chocolate with M&Ms. We tried the oreo and the cinnamon sugar. Luckily, I had my trusty point-and-shoot tucked in my pocket to capture this gourmet experience.
The Organic Fun
For all you nature lovers out there, this one’s for you! I have to say this was probably our favorite and most unexpected treat: maple syrup taffy. We walked by this Sugar Shack (whose website photos were last updated in 1982 it seems) by accident after skiing one day and wondered what they were doing. It didn’t take long to figure out that we needed to get some of what everyone around us was eating off tongue depressors. We decided to try this at home, but after arriving back in CT, there isn’t enough snow. We’re hoping for one more big snowfall so we can try this ourselves. As you can see from the photos, the kids didn’t waste any time rolling their taffy. Only G had the patience to wait for the camera.
Anytime you mix chocolate, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk, you are pretty much guaranteed delight (and a couple of pounds). I knew from the ingredients that these bars were incredibly rich and ultimately naughty; however, I didn’t count on the wonderful texture. The whole pecans were glazed with the condensed milk so that they were slightly sticky but with a crunchy roasted flavor. And the layer of coconut was soft and almost creamy. Those elements combined with the buttery brownie crust and soft chocolate chunks made these bars absolutely irresistible.
Seven Layer Bars
adapted from Ghirardelli
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (I like salted butter in this recipe)
- 1, 20 oz package or 1 pouch Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chunks
- 1 cup butterscotch chips (optional-we left these out)
- 1 1/2 cups whole pecans
- 1 1/4 cups (14 oz can) sweetened condensed milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Put stick of butter in a 13x9x2-inch pan and melt in the oven (3-5 minutes) then remove from oven.
- Sprinkle brownie mix evenly over melted butter.
- Top with coconut, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and pecans.
- Drizzle with sweetened condensed milk, stopping 1/4 inch from edge of pan.
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until edges are bubbly. Cool thoroughly before cutting.
- Makes 24 2-inch bars.
I adored Reese’s when I was younger. Remember these commercials?
That I recalled this commercial in detail and could sing along with the jingle is a clear sign that I watched entirely too much television.
Anyway, now that I’m all grown up (how terrible), I wanted a tasty treat that would satisfy my peanut butter-chocolate cravings. The answer: Passion Bars. I thought that was a weird name – until I ate one.
This recipe is quick, easy to make with children, and best of all you can eat the dough because there are no eggs (that really doesn’t stop me anyway).
You’ll still find Reese’s wrappers in my car or lost in the depths of my purse, but these cookie bars are a close second.
- 2 cups quick cooking oats
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup (we use more) semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan. [Note: We like them a little thicker, so we use a 9x9 pan and bake a few minutes longer.]
- In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda. Cut in the butter to form a crumbly mixture. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the crumbs, and pat the rest evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. In a medium bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter. Spread evenly over the oatmeal layer. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the peanut butter layer, then crumble the reserved crust over the top.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
Every couple of months, K (second-born foodie) picks a themed bag at school and brings it home. Each bag contains a journal and whatever materials are needed for the project. After a few weeks, the students bring in their projects and share what they’ve learned. It’s an optional, fun way for the fourth graders to learn a little extra on their own…theoretically. In reality, it’s another assignment to be completed with or without tears.
Recently, our themes have been airplanes, juggling (not a fan, many tears), and art. This time, it’s baking. Specifically, The Best 1001 Short Easy Recipes. Instead of choosing a recipe out of the provided easy recipe book, my little baker chose the not-so-Quick Tunnel of Fudge Cake. I love that K thinks outside the box and wanted to seek out her own recipe; however, I am also a fan of using what is already in the pantry. But K wanted that cake. So I went to the store, and we set out on our chocolate adventure. And there were no tears.
Quick Tunnel of Fudge Cake
from Chocolate from the Cake Mix Doctor
1 ½ cups milk
1 package (3.4 ounces) chocolate fudge pudding and pie filling mix (NOT instant)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter
Vegetable oil spray for misting the pan
Flour for dusting the pan
1 package (18.25 ounces) devil’s food cake mix with pudding
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup sour cream
½ cup water
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups finely chopped walnuts [we didn’t use these]
Martha’s Chocolate Icing (see below)
- Place the milk in a medium-size saucepan and whisk in the pudding mix. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips and butter. Stir until the pudding is smooth and thickened and the chocolate has melted. Set the pan aside.
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the pan aside.
- Place the cake mix, oil, sour cream, water, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping the sides down again if needed. The batter should look thick and well combined. Fold in the walnuts, making sure they are well distributed throughout the batter.
- Reserve 2 cups of the batter. Pour the remaining batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the pudding filling in a ring on top of the batter, making sure it does not touch the sides of the pan. Spoon the reserved batter over the filling, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula. Place the pan in the oven.
- Bake the cake until it springs back when lightly pressed with your finger and is just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a rack to cool completely, 20 minutes more. Make icing while the cake is cooling.
- Place cake on a serving platter and pour warm icing over it. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Martha’s Chocolate Icing
1 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Place the sugar, butter, and milk in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the mixture comes to a boil, 3 to 4 minutes. Still stirring, let the mixture boil until the sugar dissolves, 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Stir in the chocolate chips, and continue to stir until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate has melted.