After a week of endless dishes, spilling soap suds on my shirt, and pesky crumbs covering the counters, I emerged victorious from my kitchen. With 4 new cookbook recipes completed—3 breakfasts and 1 dessert—I needed some quality time outside of my “office,” so I hopped in the car and drove down to see my parents.
Yup, that’s what I do for fun!
Although I opened their front door with 2 ulterior motives… (1) Steal lemons from their tree in the backyard for next week’s cookbook recipe testing, and (2) sneak huge handfuls of Dad’s “Just the Clusters: Maple Pecan” cereal from Trader Joe’s all afternoon. I know, I know… There’s a TJ’s in my own town, but I’m just so addicted to that granola that I can’t keep it in my house!
When I skulked into the pantry to shake out the cereal, I spotted our old Treat Baskets on the lowest shelf. Throughout all of school, my brother and I stored our sweets in those little plastic containers, and Mom allowed us two pieces a day: one after classes and another after dinner.
Every Halloween, we filled our boxes to the brim, and the excess spilled out into paper grocery bags on the pantry floor. While my brother ate his as quickly as possible, I saved mine for months. (Except that one year Skipper, our golden retriever, gobbled up my entire stash in a single afternoon… We installed a better spring on the pantry doors after that!)
By the time I graduated from high school, I had acquired quite a collection: a 2-year-old milk chocolate Easter bunny, 4-year-old banana Laffy Taffy, and 7-year-old sour skittles (plus many other stale assorted candies). We ceremoniously threw each piece into the trash can, and when I visited home after my first quarter of college, large bags of peanuts and pistachios sat in our bins instead.
So when my guy recently bought an extra box of Milk Duds and said, “Here you go!” I realized I should probably avoid saving those for the next 6 years. But after popping a bunch into my mouth, my not-so-iron-clad stomach started complaining about all of the sugar. (Oh to be young again!) Rather than letting them collect dust on the counter, I pulled out my muffin tin, placed one in each cup, and voila! Milk Dud Mini Muffins! They’re moist, chocolaty, and contain a gooey caramel center. Seriously, what’s not to love about that?