Resurrecting My Childhood – Dunkaroos

I’m almost 30 years old (as of this post), so I grew up in the 90s.  There were a lot of pretty great supermarket snack foods during my childhood.  We had Lunchables, Gushers, Doritos, Fruit By The Foot, Goldfish, Go-Gurt, Squeezits, and the cult favorite… Dunkaroos!  If you weren’t around in the 90s or aren’t familiar with Dunkaroos, they came in a small plastic package with little cookies in one compartment and frosting in another.  I believe they came in a few different flavors, but the most memorable were the vanilla cookies with the rainbow sprinkle frosting.  You could dip the cookies in the frosting, make little sandwiches, or just eat them totally separately.  They had the power to transform a sub-par lunchbox into a brag-worthy one, and were certainly the crown jewel of any lunchtime trade proposals.

Unfortunately, Dunkaroos were discontinued in the United States by 2012.  They did continue to be sold in Canada until 2018.  So for now, sadly, there is no way to get your hands on a fresh package of Dunkaroos.  Not being satisfied with that fact, I decided to go about making a homemade version.  I scoured the internet to see what recipes had already been created to replicate this memorable snack.  Many of them seemed to include shortcut ingredients, like yogurt, Cool Whip, and funfetti cake mix.  This would certainly be an easy workaround, but I couldn’t imagine it tasted very much like the original.  Also, the vast majority of recipes just called for using graham crackers, Teddy Grahams, or Nilla Wafers for dipping.  They probably would have made for a good substitute, but if I was gonna do this, I was gonna do it right.

So I kept searching and found what looked to be a promising version of the Dunkaroos frosting AND cookies.  The recipes are pretty straightforward, but they result in a combination that comes eerily close to the real thing (at least, as I remember it).  If you grew up loving Dunkaroos like me, do yourself a favor and try this recipe!  Let me know in the comments below how well it measures up to the original.  Thanks for reading!

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Copycat ''Dunkaroos'' Cookies & Frosting

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup room-temperature butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles

Directions:

  1. For the cookies, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.  Add the egg, vanilla, and mix together.
  3. Add the flour mixture and combine until a dough forms.  Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  4. While the cookies are chilling, make the frosting by mixing the butter and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the salt, vanilla, and beat until smooth.  Add the milk a bit at a time until the frosting is the proper consistency.  Then stir in the rainbow sprinkles.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. After the dough has chilled, lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness.  Use a bottle-cap or a small round cutter to punch out cookies and transfer them to the baking sheet.  Gather up the leftover dough and repeat this step until you use it all.
  7. Bake the cookies for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies start to turn golden brown.
  8. Serve the cookies with the frosting and start dipping!

Notes:

  • I added some mini chocolate chips to the cookies for a little extra flavor!
  • It’s important to chill the dough for at least a short amount of time, in order to prevent them from spreading too much in the oven.
  • This recipe has been adapted from Tasting Table.

https://hungrytraveldude.com

(VIDEO) Summertime in NOLA

The summer season has me reminiscing about some of the past trips I’ve taken during this time of year.  Just last year, we decided to visit New Orleans, Louisiana for a long weekend.  You probably think I’m crazy for going down south in the middle of the summer!  No, the weather wasn’t ideal… but we made the most of it and had an amazing time.  There really is so much to see and do there that we were busy the entire time.  We took a haunted history tour through the French Quarter, an air-boat tour through the swamps, and even got to see some of the beautiful floats and props used during the Mardi Gras season.  I haven’t even mentioned the po’ boys, gumbo, and all the other delicious food that this part of the country is known for.  There definitely isn’t any other place in the world that is quite like New Orleans.

With my GoPro in hand, I tried my best to document all the great things we saw and did.  Oh, and keep watching until the end!  I included footage of some of the incredible live musicians we came across on our trip.

Check out the video above and let me know what you think in the comments.  What are your favorite things to do in New Orleans?  Thanks for reading (and watching)!

What I Do (And Don’t) on Vacation

There are a lot of different types of trips you can take.  Some are super laid-back and relaxing, while others are filled with non-stop activities.  Everyone has their own idea of what a “vacation” means and how they like to spend it.  It also very much depends on where you’re going that determines the kind of things you’ll be doing there.  For example, if you take a trip to an all-inclusive resort, you won’t likely be venturing off the premises to explore local restaurants and bars (since you’ve already paid for food and drinks there).  While there are numerous ways I like to spend my trips, there are also ways that I definitely don’t like to spend them.  So without further ado, here is a list of my favorite and least favorite things to do on vacation…

THINGS I DO:

Exploring local flavor – Obviously, I love visiting the great restaurants and bars located wherever I’m visiting.  Since food is basically one of my favorite things, this is usually what I look forward to most when going somewhere new.  Before we’ve even left, I’ll do a bunch of research about where to go and make a comprehensive list of locations that look good.  However, it’s important not to get too hung up on planning everything ahead (which I sometimes have to remind myself).  If you’re having too much fun at the pool ahead of your dinner reservation, go ahead and skip it!  Flexibility and spontaneity are crucial on vacation because you should do what you want in the moment.  You deserve it!

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Maple bacon doughnuts from Great Maple in San Diego, California

Outdoor activities/sports – One of the very best things about going on vacation (to me, at least) is being outside and enjoying the scenery or available activities.  If you’re at a resort on a tropical island, take advantage of the water sports that may be offered.  Usually they will have snorkeling, kayaks, catamarans, and paddle-boards.  If you’re out in a national park, go hiking.  Go horseback riding.  Explore the beauty and uniqueness of some place you may not have the opportunity to visit again.  Maybe you’re somewhere that has zip-lining or ATV rentals or even those little electric scooters.  Take advantage of it and try something new.

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Kayaking on the Mississippi River during a trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota

Guided tours – Guided tours are a really fun and active way to learn about wherever you’re visiting.  Each destination is different and will typically offer tours that are specific to that place.  For example, we did a boat tour along the Chicago River that explained the architecture of the buildings there.  In New Orleans, we did a haunted history tour and a swamp tour.  And since the city of Atlanta is often used to film movies and television shows, they have tours designed to show you those on-screen locations.  No matter what your interests are, there is a certainly a guided tour for you.

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Holding a baby crocodile on our swamp tour in New Orleans, Louisiana

THINGS I DON’T:

Museums – Visiting a museum is probably one of my least favorite things to do on vacation…  They are usually pretty boring, require a lot of reading, and take up a lot of time.  Not to mention they will also typically have a not-so-modest entrance fee.  I will make an exception if the museum is more interactive or is a historically significant location in that city.  Two examples are Graceland in Memphis and Independence Hall in Philadelphia.  Otherwise, if it’s just an ordinary building giving me a history lesson, I’m not into it.

Sleeping in – When I’m on vacation, I like to get the most out of every day.  I don’t want it to fly by in the blink of an eye.  One easy way to kill half a day is to sleep late.  This might be hotly debated, but I don’t like sleeping in during a trip.  You might say that this is the perfect time to catch up on some sleep, which you’re away from work or school.  While that is true, you can also do that during an ordinary weekend…  On vacation, my goal is to pack as much into each day as possible.  Whether that’s as much relaxing by the pool, sight-seeing, hiking, or whatever, it will all add up to amazing memories that you’ll be able to bring back home with you.

Anything you can do at home – For the life of me, I don’t know how Hard Rock Cafe is still in business.  I don’t have anything against it.  I’ve been there before and it’s a very cool concept.  However, there is one of those restaurants in just about every major city.  Why on earth would you take a trip somewhere and choose to eat at a chain restaurant that you can probably find close to home?  This isn’t only about Hard Rock Cafe, but more so for doing anything that you can do at home.  Going bowling.  To the movies.  Eating at chain restaurants.  Why take a trip at all if you’re gonna do the same stuff you normally do?  There are certainly exceptions to this one too.  Maybe there’s a cool, retro drive-in movie theater or a regional fast food chain that you’ve never tried before.  That stuff is great, but I think you catch my drift here.

What are some of your favorite and least favorite activities to do on vacation?  Let me know in the comments below.  Thanks for reading!

Eating Through New York City

As I’ve mentioned before, I live fairly close to New York, so I’ve visited a handful of times recently to visit friends and such.  Since everything revolves around food and eating (obviously), these trips usually consist of scouting out a bunch of great spots in the city to get food.  It really is incredible how many unbelievably delicious and unique restaurants are in Manhattan.  I have never been the biggest fan of New York City; primarily because of just how huge, crowded, and overwhelming it is.  However, even I cannot deny that there is likely not a better city for food in the world.  You can literally find anything you could ever want to eat.

Barbecue?  Burgers?  Cookie dough?  Dim sum?  German?  Ice cream?  Polish?  Rice pudding?  Spanish?  Vietnamese?  Everything.  It’s there.  Try to name something you can’t find in New York City.  I dare you.

Anyway… we’ve tried a good number of places around town, but I just wanted to write a post highlighting some of best ones.  I think it makes sense to start the list with breakfast; and there’s nothing better than starting the day with some doughnuts!  The Doughnut Project is a tiny little spot in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan.  All their stuff is great, but they have one doughnut that is unexpectedly delicious.  The Everything doughnut is covered in a cream cheese glaze and topped with the everything seasoning you would normally get on a bagel.  It sounds completely bizarre, and it is, but the sweet and savory components work really well together.  It’s also a quintessential New York flavor, so why not?img_1056

There are endless options for great food in Chelsea Market, but my favorite thing to get there is tacos.  Los Tacos No. 1 is exactly what they claim to be.  The best tacos around.  They have four options: carne asada (steak), pollo asado (chicken), adobada (pork), and nopal (cactus).  I haven’t tried them all yet, mostly because I always end up getting the adobada.  It is prepared on a giant rotating spit that gets caramelized on the outside and sliced off for each tasty taco.  You can choose between corn or flour tortillas, and cilantro and onions to top it off.  They also have a few different salsas you can use to customize your tacos even further.  However, the meat is so well-seasoned and flavorful that the salsa isn’t really necessary, at least for me.  The simpler the better.  And these tacos definitely live by that rule.img_1062

The next spot is a super trendy bakeshop that seems to be tailor-made for social media.  I can attest, though, that their pastries taste even better than they look on Instagram.  And that is pretty tough because each and every one of them looks like a work of art.  Supermoon Bakehouse is unlike any bakery you’ve seen before.  It is ultra modern and minimalistic, with their desserts displayed on a long table, in favor of the traditional enclosed case.  They have shiny holographic boxes for go-to orders and a small seating area for their eat-in customers.  The menu consists of croissants, doughnuts, soft-serve ice cream, and something called a cruffin (cross between a croissant and a muffin).  We ordered the cruffin special at the time, which tasted like a piña colada.  It was coated in sugar, with a pineapple filling, coconut cream, and topped with a piece of dried pineapple.  This thing tasted amazing!  The combination of flavors worked perfectly and it was a creative departure from the usual chocolate and vanilla.  I highly recommend a visit to Supermoon for both the food and the experience.img_1531

Finally, I think I’d be in trouble if I wrote about New York food and didn’t mention pizza.  HOWEVER.  I’m not gonna talk about NY-style pizza.  Instead, I will be discussing Detroit-style pizza.  Prince Street Pizza is a little take-out pizza joint in Nolita.  They do serve traditional thin-crust pies, but their thick, square slices are really where they shine.  I think pepperoni is their most popular option, so that’s what I got.  These slices are covered with tons of tiny pepperonis, which start to curl up and blister under the heat of the oven.  It’s a really awesome combination of both flavor and texture.  Just don’t order this pizza if you’re afraid of grease…img_1517

Those are just a few of my favorite places to eat in New York City.  I’m sure there will be more posts about other great spots in the city.  In fact, I could post every day and still not run out of awesome places to mention.  What are some of your favorite places to eat in New York?  Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of these delicious destinations.  Thanks for reading!

Food Fest – Pizzadelphia

I have to admit that pizza is probably my favorite food.  So as you can imagine, when I heard that there was an entire festival dedicated to this perfect creation, I decided that I would be attending at all costs.  Luckily, the cost wasn’t too steep, and it included  unlimited samples from some of Philadelphia’s top pizza makers (over 20 of them!).

img_1665You may be thinking, pizza is pizza… but that is not the case at all.  There is such an incredible variety of techniques, styles, toppings, and flavors that can be applied to pizza making.  Even just the crust has tons of different possibilities!  Thin and crispy, soft and chewy, deep dish, Detroit-style, Sicilian, Neapolitan, and so on.  Philadelphia even has its own take on pizza with the “tomato pie.”  This is essentially a thick (focaccia-like) crust, covered with tomato sauce, and served in square slices.  It is quite delicious, even if it is missing one of the best ingredients on a pizza… the cheese.

img_1660-1Now to the pizza samples!  Since there were too many for me to recount here, I will just talk about a few of the more unique options.  The first one did not seem unique at first glance.  It was simply a really good slice of pizza with mushrooms, garlic, truffle oil, and cheese.  But later on, we realized that this slice actually didn’t have any cheese at all.  In fact, it was a totally vegan pizza from Blackbird Pizzeria!  We were absolutely blown away because it was one of our favorites.  Another really tasty slice was from Brigantessa.  This one was a really thin crust with fresh mozzarella, sausage, and a ricotta cheese stuffed crust.  It looked really beautiful too, as the whole pie resembled the shape of a star (it’s called the Stella).  The last pizza I’ll mention was definitely not a traditional “slice”.  Nope.  It was a cone!  Except this cone was made of pizza dough and stuffed with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni.  You’d think maybe the popularity of this item is mainly due to its novelty, but it was actually really tasty.  And Chank’s Pizza Cones even has a food truck, to deliver their portable pizzas all over the Philly area.

img_1655The festival even had other pizza-themed entertainment.  There were stilt walkers dressed in full pizza wardrobe, fun photo ops, pizza making classes, and an incredible dough tossing team.  We basically spent all day there since the weather was so beautiful.  Although each vendor had a pretty long line to try their pizza, we didn’t even mind since we needed time to digest the previous sample.  It really was an absolute blast!

What are your favorite styles and toppings for pizza?  Let me know in the comments below.  Thanks for reading!

Oven “Smoked” BBQ Ribs

Now that we are approaching the official start of the summer season, I thought it might be fun to share one of my favorite BBQ recipes.  Ribs!  I absolutely love making (and eating) these on a warm, summer weekend.  And I have to say, they are probably better than most ribs you can get in a restaurant…  The best part about this recipe is its simplicity.  In fact, it is really more of a methodology than a recipe.

Since the majority of home cooks don’t have a big fancy smoker in their backyard, these ribs are made in the oven.  You can either make them entirely in the oven or finish them off on the grill.  It does take a little bit of advanced planning, but it’s totally worth it.  And hey, everyone knows that good barbecue takes time!

The first thing you’re going to do is mix up the spice rub.  This is what gives the meat its “smokey” flavor without actually smoking them.  Ideally, the ribs should be rubbed down in the spice mixture the night before you plan to cook them.  It acts almost like a marinade that helps to give an even bigger flavor boost to your finished product.  If you’re in a pinch for time, you can rub the ribs a couple hours before you cook them and they’ll still come out great.  The rub ingredients are the following:

  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tsp onion powder
  • 4 tsp dried thyme

img_0735Simply mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.  This recipe will make enough rub for two racks of ribs.  It will also keep really well in the pantry for future barbecue cravings!  Just seal it up in a plastic baggie or container and keep it in a cool, dark place.

Now you can prepare your ribs.  I always use baby back ribs because they typically have more meat on them than spareribs, but also include some good fat.  So all you’re gonna do is rub the spice mixture all over the top, bottom, and sides of the ribs.  Be generous.  You want to put on a good amount and really rub it into the meat.  I like to do this on a sheet pan.  Once the rub has been applied, cover the sheet pan in a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator overnight (or until you’re ready to cook them).

img_0740Fast forward to the next day, and you’re ready to cook your ribs.  First, preheat your oven to 300°F.  These ribs are gonna cook lowww and slowww.  Take the ribs out of the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature.  Now you can uncover the ribs, use the aluminum foil to tightly wrap each rack, and put them back on the sheet pan.  You may need to use two pieces of foil for each one, depending on their size.  Then, stick them in the oven and let them cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

After the time is up, take the ribs out and unwrap them from the foil.  Before you finish them, you can slather them up with your favorite BBQ sauce or just leave them bare.  The rub gives the ribs such a great flavor that you really don’t even need sauce.  Now at this point, you have two options…

  1. If you don’t have a grill, you can set your oven to broil and put the ribs back in for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Just until they start getting a nice dark color.  Be sure to watch them so they don’t burn!
  2. Fire up the backyard grill and finish them there.  Use high heat and, just like the previous step, grill the ribs until they get nicely caramelized.

They will come out super tender and gorgeous like this!img_0747My mouth is watering just looking at these photos… I could probably eat barbecue every day.  I hope you enjoy these ribs as much as I do!  If you do try them out, let me know what you think in the comments below.  Thanks for reading!

Oven ''Smoked'' BBQ Ribs

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 racks baby back ribs
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tsp onion powder
  • 4 tsp dried thyme

Directions:

  1. Mix together all spices in a small bowl or plastic bag.
  2. Rub the spice mixture all over the exterior of the ribs.  Refrigerate the ribs for at least two hours, preferably overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300°F.  Wrap each rack individually in aluminum foil and place in the oven on a sheet pan.  Cook the ribs for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until they are tender, but not completely falling off the bone.
  4. At this point, you can brush on your favorite homemade or store-bought BBQ sauce (optional).
  5. Finish the ribs under the broiler or on a hot grill, until nicely browned.

https://hungrytraveldude.com

(VIDEO) Shredding in Utah – Ski Trip

It’s becoming that time of year… when there’s a chill in the air and the white stuff starts falling from the sky.  Although I haven’t been skiing yet this season, the colder weather has me starting to think about it and planning my next trip.  Last winter, we took a trip to Utah and tried out some of the great resorts they have to offer.  More specifically, we went to Brighton and Solitude for three days of great powder!

Of course, I had to bring my GoPro along to document the whole thing.  It was really fun to use all of the various mounts to get some cool and different shots.  Just as a note, my girlfriend and her brother are the really good snowboarders; I am the mediocre skier (and yes, that’s me doing all the falling…).

Check out the video above and let me know what you think in the comments.  What are some of your favorite places to ski and snowboard?  Thanks for reading (and watching)!