Bootleg Snickers


Bootleg? That’s right, but not illegal. The thing about food is that there isn’t really such thing as piracy. In fact, people (even chefs of famous restaurants) actually share many of their recipes with the world, and you can freely recreate the exact dish provided the resources and skill. Of course, not all recipes are shared, especially branded mass-marketed foods such as Snickers. The recipes for these types of food (and others like it such as Coca Cola) are very closely guarded secrets. That’s where some unscrupulous (and Chinese) bastard such as myself comes into the picture. This isn’t an exact recipe for Snickers per se, but a close approximation that is good and easy to make to boot.

Ingredients

Unfortunately my recipe doesn't include exotic ingredients such as calcium benzoate or xanthene gum or whatever the fuck the real Snickers has. Feel free to add it on your own time though.

Unfortunately my recipe doesn’t include exotic ingredients such as calcium benzoate or xanthene gum or whatever the fuck the real Snickers has. Feel free to add it on your own time though.

Prep and Wait time: 2 hrs
Serves Many

You will also need: two pots, one of them NOT non-stick, a wooden spoon or chopsticks, a sheet pan, parchment paper.

1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 cups (1 12 oz bag) semi-sweet chocolate
1 12 oz can of roasted peanuts
2 tbsp vegetable shortening (not shown in pic)*
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cream
3 tbsp water

*Vegetable shortening only. Do not replace with any other type of oil such as butter or lard or vegetable oil.

Assembly

If you have read any of my other blogs, you’ve probably seen me make caramel a couple of times. Well, here it is again! There’s a new trick this time though, if your sugar is dry and clumped together like mine is. Dump the sugar along with the lumps into your pot, and add just enough water to break up the lumps over medium heat. This will allow you to break all the sugar down into a homogenous mixture.

If you dip your peanuts in now all you'll get is a hot sticky mess. Wait... let's try that one again. Basically, you want to hold off on the peanuts.

If you dip your peanuts in now all you’ll get is a hot sticky mess. Wait… let’s try that one again. Basically, you want to hold off on the peanuts.

Bring the sugar to a boil and boil it down. Eventually it will be come transparent, and then start to brown. As the sugar boils, prepare another small pot and bring your cream to a simmer. You will eventually pour the cream into the sugar, and since the sugar is extremely hot, you want the cream to be hot also to avoid crystallizing the sugar instantly.

That sugar, it just caramelts in the pot. But don't try to taste it, or it will caramelt through your mouth and burn a hole in your tongue.

That sugar, it just caramelts in the pot. But don’t try to taste it, or it will caramelt through your mouth and burn a hole in your tongue.

If your caramel is darkening too quickly, take it off the heat to slow the cooking. Add salt and vanilla to the caramel at this time. Once the caramel has reached a deep amber, take it off the heat. Hold the small pot of cream in one hand and a wooden utensil in the other hand (I used chopsticks). Stir the caramel in a circle vigorously while pouring the cream into the caramel. Be sure to keep your hand to the side as you stir, as the steam rising out of the pot of caramel is VERY hot. You should end with a creamy looking caramel.

Now, dump your entire package of peanuts into the caramel. Mix. Prepare a sheet man lined with parchment paper. Pour the caramel/peanut mixture into the sheet pan. Stick the sheet pan somewhere cool, such as the refrigerator or the freezer, for at least an hour (an hour in the freezer, longer in the refrigerator).

This is actually quite good as is. It's like a Snickers bar if you licked the chocolate and caramel off first.

This is actually quite good as is. It’s like a Snickers bar if you licked the chocolate and caramel off first.

Once the peanuts are cooled, dump the entire thing onto a cutting board and peel off the parchment paper. Reserve the sheet tray and parchment paper, you will need it later. Cut the peanuts into bite-sized pieces, or however large you would like the pieces to be.

Prepare your chocolate by placing 4/5ths of it into a microwave-safe bowl along with the vegetable shortening. Microwave on high at 30 second intervals for about 2 minutes total to melt the chocolate. Stir. The shortening thins the chocolate out a bit, allowing you to get a thinner coating on your peanuts.

If you're one of those poor bastards allergic to peanuts and/or chocolate, read on, there is something for you at the end! But you are still a bastard.

If you’re one of those poor bastards allergic to peanuts and/or chocolate, read on, there is something for you at the end! But you are still a bastard.

When your chocolate is smooth and melted, stir in the remaining, unmelted chocolate. This allows you to “temper” the chocolate a bit so that when it resolidifies it will melt at a much lower temperature than it would otherwise. Ideally, professional candy makers would keep melted chocolate between 88-89F for optimal tempering, but that is extremely difficult to do at home. This substitute method is not as good, but easily executed at home.

Turds.

Turds.

Now, dip your cold candy pieces into the warm chocolate with your fingers, wiping off excess chocolate, This is a bit difficult because the candied peanuts soften in the warm chocolate, but you should be able to persevere. Once all the pieces are coated and on the sheet tray again, cool them for a second time for about half an hour in the freezer, or longer in the refrigerator. Then, store in a container for future consumption.

How do these taste? I actually made them a while ago, so it's all a blur.

How do these taste? I actually made them a while ago, so it’s all a blur.

The End…..?

Extra Stuff: Blueberry Vodka

These blueberries weren't eaten, but they were still in high spirits nonetheless.

These blueberries weren’t eaten, but they were still in high spirits nonetheless.

What? Two recipes for the price of one? Unheard of! Who does this kind of shit? Anywho, blueberries were on sale a few weeks ago, and what better to do with blueberries than to infuse a bottle of vodka? Here’s what you will need:

1 750 ml of decent quality vodka
2 cups blueberries

First, pour about 1/3 of the bottle of vodka out. Use that however you like. Then, make a small cut in each blueberry (yes, it’s tedious, but if you do it while drinking the vodka it’ll all pass quickly. You won’t even remember it in the morning). Deposit all of the nicked blueberries into the bottle, and store somewhere dark for two weeks. Shake the bottle vigorously at the end of the first week.

After two weeks, prepare a few coffee filters and filter the blueberries out of the vodka.

Thanks to the antioxidants in blueberries, it's bad for your liver but prevents cancer. So it's like chemotherapy in a bottle.

Thanks to the antioxidants in blueberries, it’s bad for your liver but prevents cancer. So it’s like chemotherapy in a bottle.

Pour the vodka back into the bottle (or down your gullet) and store in a cool place. Enjoy!

A gift for a friend.

A gift for a friend.

The Result

Here is finally a self-contained food blog: there is something to eat, and something to drink. Why, you could even call it a meal, if you’re still in your teens or are on a destructive path to gastronomic suicide. If the bootleg snickers are too complicated for you, at least try the vodka. It’s worth the wait. Hell, buy two bottles if you can’t wait. Drink one bottle while the other marinates.

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Borscht


Borscht! What an interesting dish, right? Whenever some TV cook pulls an exotic dish out of his or her ass, it usually comes off the tail of a trip to some foreign land where they acquired the taste for such dish, or maybe a recipe was handed down to them by a grandma of a friend who lived in said land for 87 years. Not me. I was sitting on my ass, as usual, browsing Wikipedia, and came across this.

Anyways, it’s not the journey that matters, it’s the result that makes you sit here and read this blog, right? Borscht is a healthy, hearty, easy soup made with red beets. Due to its diverse origins in about a dozen Eastern European countries, the ways to make borscht are near infinite. This is just one such variation that I’ve cobbled together from several recipes.

Ingredients

This is just most of the ingredients. Read the list for all of them. Or if you're feeling plucky, proceed blindly off of this picture alone. What's the matter, chicken?

This is just most of the ingredients. Read the list for all of them. Or if you’re feeling plucky, proceed blindly off of this picture alone. What’s the matter, chicken?

Total time: 1 1/2-4 hours
Serves 4-8

Beef Stock*:
~1 lb raw beef bones, tendons, etc.
1 yellow onion
1 carrot
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp fresh or dried parsley
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Borscht:
4 cups beef stock
5 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 medium head of green cabbage
1 yellow onion
1 large carrot
3 medium beets**
3 medium or 4 small potatoes
salt
pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic
sour cream or fresh yogurt for garnish

*You notice that salt and pepper are not listed. Do not season your stocks so that they may remain a neutral ingredient when it comes to seasoning the actual dish. If you use store bought stock, you will have to take sodium into account. Use vegetable stock for a vegetarian and vegan version.
**With their leaves, if possible.

Cooking

We start with the beef stock. You can either buy the stock, or make it ahead of time. Heat up a tablespoon of oil in a pot and deposit your beef bones. Brown them for about 1-2 minutes on all sides.

The Necromancer from Diablo 2 would make a great soup cook.

The Necromancer from Diablo 2 would make a great soup cook.

Meanwhile, peel your carrot and onion and chop them into chunks. Deposit the chunks into the browned beef and cook until soft. Pour about 5-6 cups of water into the pot. Add thyme, rosemary, garlic, and parsley. Simmer for about two hours, then strain into a container. Either use immediately, refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for long-term storage.

Some of you might be wondering sarcastically if this is a vegetable stock with a bit of beef or a beef stock. Well if you are wondering that, just remember that I'm way Soup Nazier than you are.

Some of you might be wondering sarcastically if this is a vegetable stock with a bit of beef or a beef stock. Well if you are wondering that, just remember that I’m way Soup Nazier than you are.

Now, when you are ready for the borscht, the borscht is ready for you! Chop your onions and carrots into similar sized slices. Saute them in oil until soft in your soup pot.

You can also add meat to your borscht, but I'm only using vegetables here. Beet your meat on your own time.

You can also add meat to your borscht, but I’m only using vegetables here. Beet your meat on your own time.

As the onions and carrots soften, peel and dice your potatoes. When the vegetables in the pot are soft, add your tomato paste. Stir to mix, then add your beef stock, garlic, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and add the potatoes. Simmer for five minutes.

If you make the soup with chicken instead you can call the soup

If you make the soup with chicken instead you can call the soup “the birds and the beets”.

While you were cooking your vegetables and waiting for the potatoes to cook, you should peel and shred your beets. You can shred by knife like I did, but it takes a longer period of time. Also chop your beet leaves into pieces and shred your cabbage.

If you put your beets into a box that's called beet boxing.

If you put your beets into a box that’s called beet boxing.

Dump all of your vegetables into the soup and simmer until tender, about 20-30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and add your vinegar. When the vegetables are as tender as you desire, turn the heat off. Roughly chop 3 tablespoons of parsley and stir them into the soup.

If you eat enough beets it'll turn your piss orange. Romantically speaking, it's like pissing a sunset.

If you eat enough beets it’ll turn your piss orange. Romantically speaking, it’s like pissing a sunset.

Serve the soup hot with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt. Garnish with parsley (or more authentically, dill).

Finished borsch. It looks almost like an aborschion in a pot. Probably how the name came to be.

Finished borsch. It looks almost like an aborschion in a pot. Probably how the name came to be.

 

The Result

Too many beet puns. At this point I'm really beeting a dead borsch.

Too many beet puns. At this point I’m really beeting a dead borsch.

Wow, this soup isn’t bad at all, even without meat. It is slightly sweet, with a rich meaty flavor from the beef stock. Some recipes ask you to add a bit of sugar or honey, but I think that sweetners will definitely push the soup over the edge. Be careful not to spill the soup on your shirt while eating though. That shit’ll never come off. Or, if you do live in an Eastern bloc country, it might feel like you’re being drenched in the blood of revolutionary patriots or something. Wear it outside proudly.