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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

I recently did a test of several bar cookie recipes for a group of coworkers at work. Being the engineer that I am I had them rank the taste and appearance and then rank them against the other bars in the test. This bar cookie was overwhelming the winner. In fact one of the testers didn't even get to taste this cookie, because it was so good that the other coworker "borrowed" his from his desk.

I have since been ask to remake them for them, so that they can do a test on variation to see if they are as good the second time around. If I didn't know their tricks than I think that I would think they doubted my cooking, but that is not the case... they were just so good they want REPEATS and a lot of them.

I really should remake them for them, because they are super easy. The only hard part is waiting the 30 minutes for them to set.


½ cup unsalted butter
1¾ cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter (smooth was recommend, but it could be great with crunchy)
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup milk chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)

You will need an 8X8 or 9X9 pan for this recipe. Line it with foil, and then butter it.

Like any no bake recipe I like to be prepared and have everything handy for the critical moments when everything has to be put into the pan. So measure out 1 cup of peanut butter. When measuring peanut butter or anything "sticky" I always spray some butter shortening in the bottom of the cup so that it won't stick as much when it comes out.

Next step is to prepare the graham crackers. I did mine in the food processor, but I'm sure you could also put them in a ziploc bag and break them up that way as well.

In a medium size pan melt 1/2 cup of butter completely over the low heat, stirring constantly as it melts. Once melted move off the stove and stir in the powdered sugar until it is smooth. Then mix in the peanut butter and the graham cracker and mix until smooth. Put this peanut butter goodness into the prepared pan with foil, and smooth it out till it sits evenly in the pan.

In another small pan melt the remaining 1/4 cup of butter and then add in the chocolate. Stir on low heat until the chips are almost completed melt, then take it off the heat and keep stirring until the mixture is smooth.
Poor the chocolatey goodness on to the peanut butter layer. Even it out the best that you can.

Let cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and then cut into 12-16 pieces.

I originally saw this recipe on the brown eyed baker website.

Thanks for spending peanut butter and chocolate week with me. Next week we will be heading to the grill with International Hotdogs!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies

As I mention in my about me page a few years ago I did 50 cookies in one year. So I have lots and lots of awesome cookie recipes, but I saw this one on the web a few months ago and I had to try it. It was well worth it, because it is absolutetly awesome. Its one of those recipes you see and dream of making and it fully meets your expectations. Ok maybe dreaming about making recipes isn't completely normal, but for me it is. The only downfall of this recipe is the dough does have to chill for 2 hours. This may seem minor if you know ahead of time, but I often get the urge to make cookies at 7:30 at night, so a 2 hour chill time does not bode well for me, my husband, or getting up for work the next day.

So you start out by making the chocolate and the peanut butter dough separately.  This is the full recipe, I cut it in a half when I made it, since I tend to like to make lots of recipes and its hard for Jim and I to keep up if I make full batches. I use to be afraid to split recipes that called for one egg, but have since been ok with it. Just get one egg... whisk it a little, measure its total size with a tablespoon.. guessing its going to be about 3 tablespoons.. and then put half in the baking mixture.

Chocolate Dough

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature or 10 sec in microwave
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar (or dark brown)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons milk
1 cup dark chocolate chips 

Mix together the butter and the sugars with your stand or hand mixer. I got my stand mixer three years ago for valentine's day and I could not live without it. I have even nicknamed her "Molly". Make sure and push down any that gets on the sides to make sure it gets mixed in well. Add in the egg and vanilla. In a seperate bowl mix together the dry ingredients flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. This is one of my best recommendations to new bakers... always do the dry ingredients seperate if a recipe calls for it. It helps get them combined well before adding them to the wet ingredients. Add in the dry mixture to the dry ingredients. Then add the milk. Lastly mix in the chocolate chips by hand. Put in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Peanut Butter Dough
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature or microwaved for 10 sec
1/2 cup light brown sugar (or dark brown)
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (spray non stick spray in measuring cup before adding pb to make it easier to get out)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips 

 Mix together the butter and the sugars with your stand or hand mixer. Then add the  peanut butter egg, and vanilla extract. Pre mix the baking soda, flour, salt in a small bowl and slowly add to the other ingredients. Lastly add in the chocolate chips by hand. Chill this dough for 1-2 hours. The peanut butter dough is not as sticky and does not need to be chilled as long as the chocolate dough.
When the doughs are chilled take them out of the fridge and make two Tablespoon balls of each type. I did all of the chocolate dough first.. so you get about 2 dozen chocolate balls that are 2 Tbsps each. Then I did all the peanut butter dough, so you 2 dozen peanut butter balls that are 2 Tbsps each. 
Once you have all the seperate chocolate and peanut butter balls made then you combine one of each together to make the whole cookie. To do this you basically just have to squish them together so that there is only the littlest bit of over lap. Line the cookie sheet with 12 cookies. 
Bake at 350 for 11-12 minutes.
These cookies come out HUGE and GREAT, and will make you look like a super star.
This recipe was originally posted on Sally's Baking Addiction

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch Bonbons

So here it is my first blog post... I have been talking about doing this for a long time, and even attempted to start one earlier this year. Work and a little nervousness got in the way, but now I am ready to get started.

I have been seriously baking/experiment cooking for the last 3 years so I have lots of recipes to share with everyone. As I remake them and share them with you I decided to pick a different theme each week. The theme for my first week is peanut butter and chocolate... oh yes.. this is basically reese's peanut butter cups three ways.

I'm starting out with one of the easiest and BEST recipes ever. This recipe is so great and easy that my husband Jim will actually make it from time to time. This recipe comes from the The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory--More Than 150 Magical Recipes for Muggles and Wizards . It is actually the last recipe in the cookbook, and its definitely fits in the best for last category.

Straight from Honeydukes:


3/4 cup confectioners sugar
3/4 creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup rice cereal
5 oz. milk chocolate, melted, for coating (I used semisweet chocolate chips,any chocolate you have handy will work)

Combine the confectioners sugar, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and rice cereal in your stand mixer. Beat the mixture together on low speed until it starts coming together, scraping the sides as needed. Then beat at a higher speed, still only 2 or 3 on your stand mixer until the mixture becomes dough like.

Form the peanut butter mixture into balls about the size of a large walnut (1 1/2 inches) and line them on parchment paper. I get a few of my small plates and line them, because that way it is easier to stash them in the fridge later.

Now take a small bowl (like a cereal bowl) and melt the chocolate in the microwave. Depending on the size of your chocolate chunks it will take about 2 minutes. Make sure and stop every 30 seconds and stir the chocolately mixture. I was using mini chips for this batch so it only took 1 minute and 30 seconds, and not the whole time.

I got this awesome scale that is perfect for measuring stuff like this chocolate American Weigh Black Blade Digital Pocket Scale, 1000 by 0.1 G.  
It has saved me more than once... and helped avoid a repeat of a time when I didn't use enough marshmallows in a rice krispie recipe.

The next step is kind of messy, but is also kind of fun. Pick up the peanut butter balls with two spoons and coat them with the chocolately mixture. Once coated, put them back on the parchment covered plates. Once all the balls are coated with chocolate store them in the fridge for 30 minutes.

This is a half recipe, and makes 10 bonbons. This is plenty for the two of us, because they are ADDICTING.

This recipe is adapted from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory--More Than 150 Magical Recipes for Muggles and Wizards