We'd travel to Germany with an extra suitcase crammed with peanut butter, Tollhouse chocolate chips and Spam (I know. Don't ask).
We returned to the States with a suitcase brimming with Niederegger marzipan, Haribo gummi bears, Maoam and Choco Crossies. And Nürnberger Bratwurst but those were smuggled illegally and went into carry-on in a special compartment. Have I said too much? What's the statute of limitations on pork product smuggling? Why is it perfectly legal to bring Spam into Germany but a misdemeanor to transport tasty little sausages into the U.S.?
Meat products and potential arrest aside, our childhood was a time before the internet, before reality programming and before international culinary access. Can you remember a time when gummi bears weren't available in America? Probably not. But I can. It was a dark age.
But there's something I still can't get access to without special assistance. Choco Crossies. If you know them, you love them. If you don't and discover what's in them, you'll be supremely unimpressed (chocolate, cornflakes and almonds) but remember you haven't had one yet so reserve your judgement.
I was reminiscing about inaccessible food products yesterday and imagined a world where those products might mingle in culinary harmony for all to enjoy (kind of like my own genetic make-up minus the harmony and full public access). I said to myself, "Self, what if Choco Crossies met peanut butter?"
And I made it so. It was love at first sight.
I began with a batch of shortbread dough that I gently pressed to evenly cover a half sheetpan lined with parchment paper. I baked until the shortbread turned golden at the edges and then while still warm, I cut it into small 2" squares.
Once the shortbread cooled, I spaced them out and placed a tablespoon sized dollop of smooth peanut butter on the middle of each square.
I toasted 1 1/2 cups of almond slices and allowed to cool completely and then tossed with 4 cups of regular old cornflakes.
I carefully smooshed a tiny handful of the cornflake mixture atop the peanut butter and mounded it a bit.
I combined a pound of bittersweet chocolate with 1/4 cup of cream and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter over a bain marie until melted and then spooned over the shortbread squares. Once the chocolate cooled a bit, I sprinkled with kosher salt.
Now if you want just plain old Choko Crossies, you'd leave out the shortbread and peanut butter and simply stir the cornflakes and almond slices into the chocolate until covered. You then grab small handfuls of the mixture and arrange the clumps on a piece of parchment and allow to cool completely.