For some reason, the dining hall at Amherst decided to serve a full Thanksgiving dinner last Thursday. There is some rationale for the choice, given that our Thanksgiving break will begin this Friday, and many students will have left campus by Thursday this week. But why didn't the school push the celebration forward to this Wednesday. Is there a cardinal rule that a turkey dinner with cranberry sauce and stuffing can only be consumed on a Thursday? Regardless of the rationale, last Thursday  (a full two weeks before Thanksgiving) we were treated to the full spread of traditional Thanksgiving fare: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, butternut squash puree, green beans, apple pie, mixed fruit pie, and pumpkin cheesecake. 
We have made cheesecake previously on Dorm Room Delights, and still have pumpkin puree left over from our Pumpkin Pie Truffles, so we decided to make our own pumpkin cheesecake. This recipe turned out to be a massive success; the cheesecake  is wonderfully spiced and remarkably light. In addition, we discovered that a baby mason jar is the perfect size to hold an appropriate ratio of graham cracker crust, cheesecake filling, and whipped cream. If you don't have a mini mason jar, you could easily assemble this treat in a coffee mug. Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch ginger
DIRECTIONS:
  • Crush graham crackers and place in bottom of small mason jar
  • Whip 1/2 cup of cream, set aside
  • Whisk together cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, and spices until smooth
  • Fold in half of the whipped cream to the pumpkin mixture
  • Pour over graham crackers
  • Spoon remaining whipped cream on top of cheesecake layer
  • Refrigerate 1 hour
 
 
Our first recipe here on Dorm Room Delights was peppermint bark, and it is still one of our favorites. Chocolate barks are ridiculously easy to make using an electric kettle, and can be customized with infinite combinations of toppings. For this thanksgiving season, we decided to make a fall themed recipe for chocolate bark. This is a combination of Reeses pieces, pretzels, white chocolate, and cranberries held together with a layer of semisweet chocolate. Could it get any better?
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INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • handful pretzels
  • handful Reeses pieces
  • handful of dried cranberries
  • handful white chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:
  • Form an open rectangular box out of aluminum foil (should be similar in size to a standard chocolate bar)
  • Melt semisweet chips in a double boiler
  • Pour melted chocolate into foil and spread evenly
  • Layer toppings on bark
  • Place in refrigerator and cool until chocolate has hardened
 
 
What is puppy chow? No, it is not dog food. It is a delicious sugary treat that happens to have a striking resemblance to the brown processed squares dumped in the food bowls of canines around the world. Although it is unclear why anyone would want to associate animal food with this sweet snack, the alternative is no better; Chex cereal brand makes this treat and sells it under the name "Muddy Buddies". 
Despite the unfortunate names, puppy chow or Muddy Buiddies are a super easy and delicious treat that can be made in many varieties. Classic puppy chow is Chex cereal that is first coated with mixture of melted chocolate and peanut budder, and then tossed in powdered sugar. Variations of puppy chow can be created by coating the cereal in anything that melts well, like white chocolate or Nutella, and tossing in various powders: red velvet cake mix, or a cinnamon powdered sugar, for example.
This is a recipe for classic puppy chow, but feel free to experiment in your dorm room and come up with your own flavor combination.
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INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 Cups rice Chex cereal
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/4  cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/8 cups powdered sugar
DIRECTIONS:
  • In double boiler, melt chocolate and peanut butter
  • Pour over Chex cereal, and stir until cereal is completely coated
  • Move chocolate covered cereal into a tupperware container
  • Add powdered sugar, and toss until sugar is evenly distributed

 
 
Pumpkin is everywhere. Pumpkin pancakes are the go to brunch special, bakeries are putting pumpkin in their baked goods, our dining hall served a pumpkin kale salad not too long ago, and every coffee shop has a pumpkin spiced latte on the menu. Pancakes and bread are out of the realm of possibility for our dorm room experiments, but it turns out that it is relatively easy to make your own pumpkin spiced coffee using just your electric kettle! Here's how:
 INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup coffee
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • ½ tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • pinch cinnamon
  • small pinch nutmeg
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DIRECTIONS:
  • Brew a fresh cup of coffee using our coffee method
  • Heat half and half in double boiler
  • When half and half is warm, whisk in pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  • Pour spiced milk mixture into coffee and enjoy

 
 
There are some things that should not be as easy as they are. Using disposable plates at parties, cutting a corner by walking through  a neighbor's yard, casually listening to the intense conversation happening at the table next to you, and making Rice Krispie treats. 
The magical squares that are both crunchy and chewy honestly take almost no effort to make. This particular recipe takes 1 cup of Rice Krispies cereal, 1 cup of marshmallows, and about 6 minutes. We're sorry.
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Ingredients (makes 4 squares)
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies (f)
Directions:
  • Melt half of marshmallows in double boiler
  • Add remaining marshmallows, and stir until smooth
  • Mix melted marshmallows into Rice Krispies
  • Spoon into square tupperware (lined with aluminum foil)
  • Let sit 10 mins, until cool
  • Remove from foil and cut into squares

 
 
Summer has officially ended, and fall is here to stay. This season of brisk mornings and changing leaves comes with the warm, comforting flavors of pumpkin and cinnamon. Pumpkin spice lattes are back on the menu, and canned pumpkin is back in stores. Naturally, we decided to make our first fall post a pumpkin recipe. 
These pumpkin pie truffles are the perfect way to usher in the season. Imagine taking the pumpkin pie off of your thanksgiving table, mashing the crust into the filling, balling it up, and dunking each ball in chocolate. These truffles are the realization of that fantasy. The filling of each truffle contains pumpkin, spices (pumpkin turns into an edible hug with a bit of ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon), cream cheese, melted chocolate, and graham cracker crumbs. How could it be any better?
These truffles are truly the perfect way to usher in the season. Enjoy!
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INGREDIENTS: (makes 8 truffles) 
  • 3 Graham crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup melted white chocolate (for filling)
  • 1/2 cup melted white chocolate and 1/2 cup melted semisweet chocolate (dipping)

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DIRECTIONS:
  • Mix graham crackers, spices, and powdered sugar in a bowl
  • Add pumpkin, cream cheese, and melted chocolate
  • Stir until well combined
  • Refrigerate filling for 4 hours (or overnight)
  • Form filling into 7 or 8 balls
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours
  • Melt dipping chocolate
  • Dip truffles 
  • Wait for chocolate coating to harden (or not) and dig in!

 
 
The great thing about having a double boiler with a maximum capacity of one cup is that all our recipes must be made in small quantities. These quantities are sometimes perfect for a single serving ( the recipe for our S'mores Bar produces exactly one bar), but in most cases we choose to make many mini portions. Why? Cute food is fun! Not only are tiny desserts visually pleasing, but all of the flavors and textures are guaranteed to combine in a perfect bite! 
Today, we created a tiny dessert based on the classic mixture of peanut butter and apples.  Our bites have a peanut butter oatmeal base that is covered with spiced apple sauce, and topped with freshly sliced apples.  Each bite is basically a miniature peanut butter apple sandwich...except better. Enjoy!
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INGREDIENTS (makes 6 bites):
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Base:
  • 1 packet instant oatmeal (f)
  • 1 tbsp almond flour 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon granola
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (f)
  • 1/2 tbsp (1 pat) butter (f)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar (f)
  • 1 tbsp apple sauce (f)

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Spiced Apple Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • pinch cinnamon

Topping:
  • 1/2 small apple, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • Cinnamon granola (to sprinkle over tops)

DIRECTIONS: 
  • Mix oatmeal, almond flour, cinnamon, and granola together
  • In double boiler, melt peanut butter and butter 
  • Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar and apple sauce
  • Add to dry ingredients and mix until combined
  • Divide mixture into 6 cupcake liners (doubled for integrity)
  • Press liners and bases into small dixie cups (to support sides)
  • Stir together apple sauce and cinnamon, and spoon on top of base
  • Toss apple slices with cinnamon and sugar
  • Layer apple slices over apple sauce
  • Sprinkle with granola
  • Let set in refrigerator for 1 hour
  • Remove from dixie cups, and enjoy!
 
 
It has been more than a year since we last updated Dorm Room Delights. In that time, we were busy sophomores who were too pressed for time to come up with new recipes for the site.  Now, as mature Juniors who have completely mastered our classwork and extracurriculars, we are ready to come back to the blogging world. 
When we took a look at the old site, we realized that it needed some serious sprucing up.  To start, we've changed the overall design and layout, with a more image based recipe page and simpler navigation. In addition, we have decided to go through the old recipes and save the best ones, re-make the slightly less successful recipes, and come up with exciting new creations. Here goes!  

INDOOR S'MORES BARS

There are a million recipes for s'mores bars floating around the internet. Obviously, the combination of chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows is delicious. But, the truly irresistible feature of good, old fashioned s'mores that you make by the campfire is the contrasting textures. Melted chocolate with crunchy graham crackers and gooey marshmallows combine magically in your mouth.  
The challenge of creating an indoor s'mores dessert is capturing these varied textures. I have seen s'mores brownies where chefs add marshmallows to brownie batter and bake it over a graham cracker crust, but in that case the texture of crust and brownie is too similar....and where is the melted chocolate?
Here at Dorm Room Delights, we have made a s'more (using just our electric kettle) that has all of the textures and flavors of an honest to goodness campfire s'more. How did we do it? Simple, we kept a graham cracker in its purest, crunchiest state, layered it with a mixture of marshmallows and melted chocolate (to prevent the chocolate from hardening completely), covered that layer with plain melted marshmallows, poured chocolate over the top, and sprinkled with marshmallows and crushed graham crackers. The crunchy graham cracker base and hard chocolate layer top form a sandwich around the chewy inner layers in the same way graham crackers sandwich a real s'more. 
If we haven't convinced you that this is almost as good as any s'more out there, all you'll have to do is give it a shot. Here's the fantastically simple recipe:
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 Graham cracker
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup marshmallows

DIRECTIONS:
  • Wrap single graham cracker with aluminum foil
  • Melt 1/4 cup marshmallows and 1/4 chocolate together in double boiler
  • Spread over graham cracker base
  • Melt remaining 1/2 cup marshmallows
  • Spread over cooled chocolate layer
  • Melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • Pour over top
  • Sprinkle with marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs
  • Cool in refrigerator for 30 mins and enjoy!
 
 
We know that it has been quite a while since our last post. But, we have a good excuse: we’ve been preparing for and Iron Chef competition! Our hard work paid off and we earned second place out of 6 teams!
This is the fifth year that Amherst has hosted a student iron chef battle, and at this phase the prizes are great and the competition is steep. 6 teams of four were chosen randomly with a raffle, and we were not given any details until the day before the contest. 
As it turns out, the format of this challenge was more like Chopped than Iron Chef (for all of you Food Network Aficionados out there.) We were given a basket with 6 ingredients that had to be used in some way to create a 3 course meal (appetizer, entrée, and desert.) All team had complete access to the food in the Dining Hall servery, and we were also given a few extra ingredients: flour, sugar, butter, whipping cream, eggs, and fresh herbs. We were only given one Bunsen burner, 2 pans, one chopping board, two knives, and access to 2 microwaves (for all 6 teams.) Cooking time was one hour, and every team was required to serve two plates of each dish when time was called.
So, now that you know the details- lets give a run down of the ingredients and the spectacular ways in which we used them. 
The 6 mystery ingredients were: 
  • upland cress
  • fiddleheads
  • raw artichokes
  • wild green onions
  • fresh mozzarella
  •  and black tomatoes. 
Although the ingredients suggested an Italian themed meal, we chose to incorporate the items in unexpected ways; we made Thai-style lettuce wraps, a pulled chicken sliders with two side salads, and an apple crisp for desert. 
Thai lettuce wraps:
Lettuce cup filled with diced artichoke hearts, chopped celery, shredded carrots, sliced upland cress, and crispy wantons tossed with our peanut sauce. We skewered some steak from the dining hall’s entrée of the evening, and used the meat skewer to hold the lettuce wrap together. The plate was garnished with a swirl of the peanut sauce (perfect for dipping the steak!)
Pulled Chicken Sliders:
We toasted dinner rolls and topped them with pulled chicken and a slice of the black tomato. To make the pulled chicken, we shredded chicken breasts (the grilled entrée available every day for a lighter meal option) and tossed the meat in an augmented barbeque sauce (we added catsup, mustard, brown sugar, and chicken broth to the standard barbeque sauce available at the sandwich bar.)
Our desert was the only dish which did not incorporate the secret ingredients. We made an apple crisp in a microwave, and served it in a hollowed out apple.  The crisp was made by covering chopped apples with a mixture of cinnamon, brown sugar, and crushed ice-cream cones. (Yes- we used ice cream cones to replace the traditional oatmeal/granola topping.) The crisp was microwaved for 2 minutes, and then drizzled with melted butter and microwaved for a final minute. We spooned the crisp into the apple bowls, and topped it with freshly made cinnamon whipped cream. 
Our sliders were served with two cold salads. The first was a rosemary garlic potato salad, created by simply adding mayonnaise and mustard to diced potatoes (potatoes were served as an accompaniment to the steak at dinner.) We topped the potato salad with the fiddleheads, which had been seared in butter and fresh garlic, and garnished with the wild onion stalks. The second salad was a celery, apple, and raisin salad served over flash seared mozzarella and drizzled in a balsamic reduction. 
Ultimately, this was a fantastic experience. We think that our ample experience foraging for Dorm Room Delights gave us a competitive edge, and hope to find a way to re-create some of these recipes with our kettle. Check back soon, we’ll keep you posted (no pun intended.)
 
 
Even though we are avid coffee drinkers (check out our method for making the perfect dorm room coffee), we also love high tea! It is a lovely british tradition filled with pastries, adorable savory dishes, and of course- fantastic tea. 
Although we cannot possibly compete with the glorious high teas that we've seen on Downton Abbey, we found a way to host our very own dorm-scale high tea- complete with traditional sides: a personal sized Ham and Spinach Quiche, Cranberry-Walnut Scones, and cucumber tea sandwiches!
The Quiche and Scones are fairly complicated recipes, and detailed instructions can be found on other posts. However, the cucumber sandwiches are not only adorable, but are ridiculously easy to make. We combined cucumbers, butter, and white bread (all foraged from our dining hall) and cut them into triangles. Served up with our other treats, we had a perfectly respectable high tea! 



Cucumber sandwiches:
Ingredients:
2 pieces white bread, trimmed into a square (f)
1 tsp (1 pat) butter (f)
1/2 cup sliced cucumber (f)


Directions:
1. Spread butter on both pieces of bread
2. Slice cucumber into thin, rectangular pieces
3. Layer cucumber slices between buttered bread, and cut into triangles
Serve with tea, and enjoy!