Dark Chocolate Popcorn with Sea Salt and Peanuts

Dark Chocolate Popcorn with Sea Salt and Peanuts - A Stack of Dishes

In anticipation of next weekend’s big game I decided to get my groove on and make some dark chocolate popcorn with sea salt and peanuts. As you can imagine, watching the game is more of a social event than a die hard fan thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch football. In fact, I was Captain of my cheerleading squad in high school- so I’m pretty sure I have the rules down. I’m just not much of a sports chick- I’m interested, just not involved.

So my “game on” is what ends up on the cocktail table in front of the TV. So why not some jazzed up popcorn? All that game day food is usually pretty cheesey, greasy and heavy on the gut. Who doesn’t love it- I just want some fresh ideas out there. 

Making popcorn certainly is not the same as when I was a kid. There was real reverence and hard core focus when it came to making popcorn. It was a bit of right of passage for us kids. We had a certain pot we used only for popcorn making. We knew just how much oil to put in, how high the flame, and a capful of kernels was the perfect amount for the pot. Standing on a chair it was sacred duty to shake the pan relentlessly during the furious popping stage, and then came the fine art of knowing when to remove the pan from the heat to get all the kernels popped without scorching the pan. Ain’t nothing worse than burnt popcorn. Not Pleasant.

Dark Chocolate Popcorn- A Stack of Dishes [Read more…]

Moon Pie! {someone hand me an RC cola!}


Along with gumbo making, Moon Pies are pretty much on the Southern cook’s list. When I was a kid my father’s favorite cookie was called Mallomar. It’s similar in that there is a cookie base, a puff of marshmallow all covered in dark chocolate. Some like to equate it to a S’more- but I say without the burnt sugar and ash on the marshmallow, it doesn’t compare a bit.

Because of their delicateness and tendency to melt, Mallomars were only distributed in the cooler months. This was largely due to the fact that in 1913 New Jersey, when the cookie was created, delivery trucks were not kept cool. Nowadays that’s not a problem, but the marketing geniuses have kept to the schedule to create a demand.

 undimmed moon pie~ A stack of dishes

The Moon Pie has been around for about as long  as the Mallomar and originated out of Chattanooga. It was created as a one hand dessert to be enjoyed by the “working man”.  In fact, my wife’s grandfather was a farmer here in Northern Louisiana. Back in his day he would go down to the general store each day to buy his men their lunch. When asked what they would like, invariably the answer would be “A Potato Po’Boy, a Moon Pie and an RC cola”. It was NRBQ’s song “An RC Cola and a Moon Pie” that make the combination popular with the rest of the world, but in the South they had long been at it.

Another claim to fame for the moon pie is it’s place during Mardis Gras. Along with the mountains of beads that are tossed from floats, you can also catch a flying Moon Pie if you’re lucky. Catching beads during a parade is tremendous fun, but I wish you could have seen my face when a cello wrapped Moon Pie landed at my feet. What a wonderful world it is where they toss delicious baked goods at you!!


Moon Pies are a little fiddly to make, but such the crowd pleaser. As you can see I did a little “cheat” with my dipping. This chevron dipping allowed me to keep my fingers clean while making a pretty presentation. I also cheated by using marshmallow cream in the middle. I will admit that I regret that decision. Though it was super delish- the cream was too soft and made the cookies a little weepy. If you’re going to eat them right away you can get away with this trick, otherwise I recommend taking the time to make some marshmallow.

Moon Pies
The cookies are made in steps, which you can mete out over time. Bake the cookies one day, fill and dip the next.
241 calories
33 g
22 g
12 g
2 g
6 g
58 g
66 g
20 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 241
Calories from Fat 106
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g
Saturated Fat 6g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 22mg
Sodium 66mg
Total Carbohydrates 33g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 20g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  3. 1 large egg
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 2 1/4 cup flour
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. 2 egg whites
  2. pinch of cream of tarter
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 2/3 cup caro syrup
  5. 2 teaspoon vanilla
  6. 1 cup powdered sugar
  7. {marshmallow cream}* see notes
Chocolate coating
  1. 12 oz semi sweet chocolate
  2. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and incorporate. Add the flour and salt until it binds. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Roll out the dough into 1/4" thickness and cut 60- 2" rounds with a biscuit cutter and space evenly on the baking sheets.
  4. Bake for 13-16 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown around the edges.
  5. When the cookies are cool prepare the marshmallow.
  6. Warm the caro syrup in a small clean pan until it reaches 230 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.
  7. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a spotlessly clean mixing bowl with the whip attachment. Beat until foamy and add the salt. Continue beating until you get soft peaks.
  8. Carefully drizzle the syrup over the whites as you beat them and add the vanilla. Beat for 1 minute, then carefully add the powdered sugar. Beat for 4 minutes until slightly cooled.
  9. Using a pastry bag with a large round tip- or alternatively using a large plastic bag with the corner snipped (snip smaller than you think, you can always enlarge), fill the bag with marshmallow and immediately pipe onto half of the cookies.
  10. {any remaining cream can be piped out onto parchment and saved as eating marshmallows- dust with powdered sugar}
  11. Top with the second cookie.
For the chocolate
  1. In a medium heat proof bowl, carefully melt the chocolate and oil over low heat. When smooth you may dip your cookies. To fully dip, use two forks to lower the cookie in and out of the chocolate. Set onto clean parchment paper to allow the chocolate to set.
  1. I used marshmallow cream to save time. I made and served the cookies right away so I was able to get away with this. However, if you need the cookies to sit for any length of time I recommend taking the time to make marshmallow.
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Chocolate Oat Cookies: and a visit to NYC

Chocolate Oat Cookies~A stack of dishes.comI needed me a fix. I needed some grit and grime and short attention spans. I needed to walk briskly down sidewalks that required stealth navigation, and I needed the outrageous roar of the subway. I needed a dose of NYC.

Not desiring or requiring anything particular as a gift for my upcoming birthday, I requested a ticket to take me back to the concrete canyons, so that I could spend a long weekend hanging with my kids, and getting my fix on.

My beautiful wife joyfully indulged me.

A Stack of Dishes.com

I love both of these sentiments!

We spent our time walking the streets like tourists, an act I never fully enjoyed as a full time citizen. We wandered flea markets, perused specialty stores, nibbled and drank. My “kids” are all in their 20’s now- beautiful grown adults. It was a marvel simply to move with them, observe them taking in the world as whole people. We laughed and told stories, walked with arms linked or around waists, and took it all in together. Of course I still felt like mother duck parading along with my littles in tow, and what a delicious feeling that is. [Read more…]