Comforting Snacks for Days You're Stuck Inside

Opening imagery courtesy of the Food Network.

We are officially weeks into a stay-at-home order. There is uncertainty, there is boredom, there is a relentless desire to snack. I've been constantly hungry and I hope I am not the only one. But I didn't just want any snacks or treats. I wanted something fun and special. So I did what I think most of us would do, and I called my mother and asked her to share with me some of the things I loved for her to make for me and my siblings. 

And, here we are, with an addition or two from friends.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

I love these. I pretend they are healthy because peanut butter has protein, and because I use dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet. But they're not healthy. They are, however, delicious, pending you do not have a nut allergy.

Ingredients:

1 Cup Crunchy Peanut Butter (Can be replaced with creamy peanut butter and 1 1/2 cups of rice puff cereal)

1 Cup Powdered Sugar

12 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate chips

*I prefer not to use the recipes that ask for butter or salt or vanilla (sorry, mom!).

Steps:

Simply mix the peanut butter with the powdered sugar until it appears firm enough to roll into a ball. You may not need the whole cup of powdered sugar. Once rolled, chill. 

Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler, or if you're lazy like me, in the microwave. Use a spoon to roll the peanut butter balls in the chocolate. Set them on parchment and chill in the refrigerator or freezer. And that's it! Once they're done, store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator and enjoy!

Tip: No-stir peanut butter is going to work the best. Yes, that does mean it's processed. Yes, that is ok.

Banana Ice Cream

When I was a child, my mom would sometimes make frozen chocolate covered banana bites for us. It was a great treat because it incorporates two things I very much enjoy: fruit and chocolate. I also love ice cream, and for the last few years I've been operating on a reduced dairy intake. So, here we are -- mixing a childhood hit with an alteration on something I love. The best of both worlds.

Ingredients: 

3-4 Bananas (I like to make a lot)

1 1/2 Tablespoon Cacao Nibs

Steps:

Cut the bananas into blender friendly sizes (for me that's about a 1 inch piece) and freeze. Once they're solid, I blend them up. Once partially smooth, add in the cacao nibs and blend until fully smooth. 

I usually top this with a little bit of melted chocolate. Sometimes, I add strongly brewed coffee to the blender (again, about 1-2 tablespoons). This is such an easy recipe, and allows you to customize it however you see fit. And for being so simple, it's incredibly delicious.

Fluffy Pancakes

Whether you want something delicious (but a little different) for breakfast or a sugary snack, these fluffy, Japanese-style pancakes are the perfect treat. I got the recipe from a friend and was instantly intimidated by the requirement for a meringue, but it's actually quite simple. Think pancake ingredients with a soufflé texture and the flavor of French Toast.

Ingredients:

4 Eggs, separated (2 yolks and 4 whites)

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Tablespoon Whole Milk

1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar 

1/3 Cup Sugar (you can use less if desired)

 

Spray/Butter/Oil for your pan

A pan with a lid

Steps:

Start by mixing 2 egg yolks with the milk and the vanilla. Once mixed, sift in the flour, baking powder, and a tiny pinch of salt. Mix that thoroughly.

You're going to want to really go crazy when it comes to the egg whites. You can add cream of tartar to the whites before whipping to make a true meringue, but mine turned out well even without it. Use a mixer or work quickly with a whisk to beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Add your 1/3 cup of sugar slowly along the way, and a pinch of salt toward the end. 

Fold the meringue slowly into your yolk/flour mixture. Add the meringue little by little. Be gentle! A light but thorough fold will result in the fluffy look.

Gently spoon (or dispense from a pastry bag if you're fancy) onto a lightly greased pan on low to medium heat. The more vertical your piles, the better. We use coconut oil spray in my household but you can use a bit of vegetable oil. Be sure to cover your pan to let the steam do some of the work. Let this sit for 5 minutes before carefully flipping. Place the lid back on and let them cook for about 4-5 more minutes.

Top with syrup, butter, or fruit compote.

These recipes are delicious, and definitely will take up some of the free time we now have in our days. If you have children, I definitely encourage you to get them involved. That was always a special activity for my siblings and I to do with our parents and grandparents, and these times remain among my fondest memories. Plus, it's a fun way to keep busy and satiated during this time at home.

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