Dorm cooking 101: Holiday foods made easy

The holidays are a great time of year for food. Everyone has their favorite holiday treat, and somehow, it always tastes better. In my mom’s house, it’s baking and candy season. I’m personally a fan of haystacks, chow mein noodles and peanuts stirred into melted butterscotch chips and spooned out in dollops. But there are some candies which are easy and fun to make, even in a dorm room. You usually don’t need anything more complex than a bowl in which to melt chocolate and a microwave.

Hockey pucks are something we’ve always made around the holidays. Made with chocolate or white chocolate, they’re quite good and easy to make. All you need are buttery crackers (think Ritz-type), peanut butter, and chocolate.

Make a dozen or so peanut-butter-crackers, and then melt the chocolate. Usually, a pound of semi-sweet chocolate or white chocolate is best. To melt it in the microwave, chop it into fine pieces, and put in a bowl. Cook it initially for 40-60 seconds, and then in 10-second increments until you can stir all the lumps out. Stick the tines of a fork between the crackers and dip the sandwich into the chocolate until it is covered. Use another fork to slide it free onto wax paper. Repeat until all of the crackers are covered and allow them to cool.

Tiger butter is a classic, and probably even easier than hockey pucks.

Using the same method as for the hockey pucks, melt white chocolate and smooth peanut butter together in the microwave, stirring until they’re well-blended. Use parchment paper to line a square pan and when the white chocolate/peanut butter mix is smooth, pour it into the pan. Then, melt semi-sweet chocolate, and pour it on top of the mixture, and cut through with a butter knife to make some very pretty marble-like patterns. Chill in the fridge until the chocolate has firmed up, and then cut into squares just like you would fudge.

There are tons of other candy recipes that are easy to make with just the supplies and a microwave, or within a dorm kitchen. A quick Google search for “easy holiday candy” will yield a lot of recipes that, with a little ingenuity, are easily reproducible without a full kitchen at your disposal.

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