I can’t believe I’m saying this, but: I think I like February. I mean, sure, here we are, with 49 out of the 50 states having snow somewhere.
And sure, being outside too long still makes my nose run and my ears burn, like it did this weekend, when on Sunday afternoon, every! train! seemed to take five extra freezing-cold minutes to arrive, but listen: it’s not all bad.
To start, LOST is back. If February brought us LOST, February is good. I don’t think I need to say anything more than that.
Then there’s the light. I realized last week that the days have hit that point where the sky is still light when I walk to my car at 5:30 PM every night.
How fantastic is that? No, really.
Dwell on this with me: (almost) DAYLIGHT when I begin driving home, the kind that gradually diminishes and colors the sky and only becomes darkness as I’m parking my car again. This means not needing to turn my desk lamp on at work at all if I don’t want to.
It means being able to see my hands in front of my face when I scrape snow off my car. The first day it was like this, I am not ashamed to tell you, I almost cried, that’s how happy I was.
People. It only gets better from here! The days will keep getting longer! And then warmer! We are close! We are close!
And of course also, it was just Valentine’s Day this last weekend, and while I know every blogger has already said something about how much he or she does or doesn’t love this day all about love, I’ll just throw my two cents in: it’s hard to hate a day filled with chocolate. I mean, right?
So these were my Valentine’s snack. We’ll call them chocolate crunchies.
They’re so fast and easy to make: melt chocolate, add other ingredients, form into little balls, sprinkle with salt and refrigerate. That’s it.
Getting them onto the cookie sheets was a little bit messy, but seriously, so much easier than making truffles and really, just as good in the end.
These babies are sweet and salty, crunchy and soft, small enough for about two or three bites each and, if the way they disappeared at my friend’s house Saturday night was any indication, absolutely delicious.
I didn’t really expect them to be as popular as they were, kind of the way I didn’t expect to be liking February, right in the middle of a pending snowstorm, but what can I say? When something’s good, it’s good.
So make these. Celebrate. Winter may still be here, but not for long — or even if it is, at least you’ll have these to eat.
12 ounces (give or take/I def used way less) dark chocolate chips (or milk if you prefer)
1 1/3 cup puffed millet, rice, kamut (I used rice)
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces (or pecans)
Slowly melt chocolate in a large glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, not allowing the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray or use a Silpat mat.
Remove the chocolate from the heat and gently add in the puffed grain, dried fruit and nuts, and fold everything to combine. Allow the mixture to sit for about five minutes to cool.
Using a spoon and your fingers, dollop hefty tablespoons of the chocolate mix onto the baking sheet. Repeat, washing your fingers every now and then because it will be easier to work with the chocolate.
This step gets messy, but as they cool you can form their shape better. Sprinkle them liberally with sea salt.
Put the tray in the fridge for about 15 minutes for the morsels to set completely.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.