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John’s Cookbook – Page 4 – Chocolate PB Crescent Rolls

12 Mar

For this week’s page out of John’s Cookbook, he picked something simple (which I appreciate), that also managed to incorporate Chocolate and Peanut Butter (which EVERYONE appreciates!)

Chocolate PB Crescent Rolls
(Recipe Courtesy of Stockpiling Moms)

Ingredients
1 pkg of Crescent Rolls
8 Tbsp. Peanut Butter
¼ cup Mini Chocolate Chips

Instructions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Roll out Crescent Rolls to form 8 triangles.
-Spread 1 Tbsp. of Peanut Butter on each triangle.
-Sprinkle Mini Chocolate Chips amongst triangles.
-Roll up Crescent Rolls and press ends together.
-Place on 13X9 baking sheet and cook for 10 mins.
-Let cool and enjoy.

Prep work (with some help from Dad and Auntie)

Before and After oven glamour shots

John loved them so much he ate 2! 

Crescent Rolls are such a great base for a lot of things – like the Crescent Roll Cinnamon Rolls John helped make a few weeks ago, and of course Crescent dogs (crescent roll/hot dog/cheese) are a favorite at our house, and now these dessert rolls, and of course they are great by themselves alongside Thanksgiving Dinner, too!

While there was nothing special about these taste-wise (they tasted exactly like you would think – a crescent roll stuffed with Peanut butter and chocolate), they were really easy for him to do basically by himself, and they can really be customized with add-ins too – jelly, mini marshmallows, nuts, other flavors of chocolate chips, raisins/craisins – you can use whatever you have on hand to whip these up – and they are pretty tasty (especially warm out of the oven!)

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John’s Cookbook – Page 3 – Reese’s Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies

7 Mar

I have been LOVING having my little sous chef in the kitchen with me – he has been helping me bake since he was a wee little 1 year old, and I am really enjoying having him help pick and “reading” the recipes with me.

This week, he picked cookies – because who doesn’t love cookies? I think he saw that there were Reese’s involved and that had him hooked, and I don’t blame him – there’s a reason I had saved this recipe for Reese’s Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies, and I couldn’t WAIT to try them:

Reese’s Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies
(Recipe Courtesy of Inside BruCrew Life)

Ingredients
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 – 3.4 box instant vanilla pudding
1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups halved Reese’s mini peanut butter cups, divided
1 cup mini Reese’s Pieces, divided

Instructions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Beat the butter until creamy. Add the peanut butter and sugars and beat again.
-Add the eggs, honey, and vanilla and beat until mixed in.
-Stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, and pudding mix. Slowly add to the butter mixture until everything is mixed in.
-Stir in the chocolate chips, 1 cup peanut butter cups, and 3/4 cup Reese’s Pieces gently.
-Use a 2 Tablespoon cookie scoop to make 36 dough balls. Press the remaining candy into the tops of the dough balls.
-Place the dough balls on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Let rest on the hot cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then gently move to a piece of parchment paper.
-Let the cookies cool completely before storing in a tightly sealed container.

He’s ready to bake!

Loves doing the mixer all by himself – and he has gotten pretty good at it, too

Wet and dry ingredients – ready to be mixed together

These got the John seal of approval for sure!

These are some serious cookies – they remind me a bit of these other pudding cookies I made – the best soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies, which are also large, dense & intense!

They were easy to make, and the only change I made to the recipe was I didn’t save some of the candy to put on the top before baking – I just mixed it all in – and they turned out plenty pretty (at least – I think so!)

I actually am not a big fan of peanut butter based cookies, but these didn’t overpower with the PB flavor (I think the pudding helped offset it!) and the chunks of chocolate chips/Reese’s in every bite were awesome. Would make again, for sure – these are perfect for all you peanut butter lovers out there!

Last Minute Crock Pot Christmas “Crack”

27 Dec

Honestly – I don’t know who comes up with these names. “Christmas Crack?” I mean, I know it’s just supposed to be funny like “Oh it’s as addicting as crack!” but it’s not the most descriptive name is it? Like – what’s IN IT? Well, I guess it doesn’t matter what’s in it or what it’s called, as long as it’s delicious, right? Well – this one certainly delivers on being tasty!

Crock Pot Christmas Crack
(Recipe Courtesy of Just A Pinch)

Ingredients
1 jar(s) unsalted peanuts, 16 oz
1 jar(s) salted peanuts, 16 oz.
1 bag(s) semi-sweet chocolate chips, 12 oz
1 bag(s) milk chocolate chips, 12 oz
2 bag(s) peanut butter chips, 10 oz each
2 pkg white almond bark or vanilla candy coating, 1 lb each
Directions
1. Layer all ingredients in a large Crock Pot (starting with peanuts).
2. Break apart the bark into chunks and place into the Crock Pot as the last layer.
3. Turn the pot on low, cover with lid, and leave sitting for 1 hour.
4. Then, remove the lid and stir to combine.
5. Replace lid and leave sitting for another 30 minutes keeping an eye to make sure it doesn’t burn.
6. Stir again. Then spoon mixture onto wax paper or non-stick aluminum foil.
7. Allow candy to harden for at least 1 hour. Enjoy!

Christmas may be over, but the need for quick and easy to make homemade gifts NEVER ends – and this “crack” makes the perfect gift for any occasion!

Sometimes The Best Recipes Are Right In Front Of You (Or, In This Case – On The Peanut Butter Chips Package!)

30 Oct

A friend of ours has a birthday coming up, and as adults, most of us are at the point where we have most things we want/need, so shopping for gifts for such occasions is harder than ever! Instead of buying him something, I decided BAKING would be a better gift – as who doesn’t love to receive something handmade and delicious on their birthday?

I asked our friend’s wife what he might like, and when she said “the cookie recipe on the back of the peanut butter chips bag” – I was like WOW why have I never made that before? I have bought countless bags of those chips over the years, but never even thought to make what was right in front of me! And since I had everything on hand (minus the chips, and a quick trip to the store easily fixed that issue!), I got to work:

REESE’S Chewy Chocolate Cookies
INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-2/3 cups REESE’S Peanut Butter Chips (10-oz. pkg.)
1-1/4 cups butter or margarine (2-1/2 sticks) , softened
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
DIRECTIONS
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside.
2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in peanut butter chips. Drop by
rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake 8 to 9 minutes. (Do not over bake; cookies will be soft. They will puff while baking and flatten while cooling.) Cool slightly

Wet meets dry, plus peanut butter chips (minus the ones I ate – oops)

Luckily I have a strong husband to help with the dough mixing – it gets hard to mix once everything is in there!

These were so easy to make – and it made a LOT! The recipe says it makes 4.5 dozen, but I got a bit more than that out of it, like 5 dozen total. And they tasted SO GOOD too – I will be making them again FOR SURE – probably tomorrow ha

Snickers Brownies – Unbelievably Amazingly Ridiculous

18 Sep

I realized the other day that it has been a WHILE since I baked anything new – like – over a MONTH! It’s been a busy summer, and I haven’t had much time to focus on my one true love – BAKED GOODS. Well, I decided then and there that that was unacceptable – I needed to get on it like yesterday. So, since I am a nice wife, I asked my husband what he might want – and he said “something with caramel and brownie” – well – it didn’t take me long to land on these Snickers Brownies

Snickers has been a long time favorite candy of mine – and when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it – as it fulfilled both my husband’s desire for caramel and brownie, as well as my desire to turn an amazing candy bar into dessert!

SnickersBrownie1

Ingredients and Tiny Baking Assistant? Check!

Snickers Brownies
(Recipe Courtesy of My Litter)

Layer #1: Brownie
1 box of brownie mix
Ingredients called for on box
1/4 cup hot fudge topping

Layer #2: Nougat 
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
2 (7 oz.) jars marshmallow creme (@1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup peanut butter ( I used Trader Joes Cookie Butter)
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla

Layer #3: Caramel
1 (17 oz.) jar of caramel, preferably Mrs. Richardson’s Butterscotch Caramel

Layer #4 Candy Bar Topping
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter

Directions:
First Layer: The Brownie
Take a mix, make it according to directions. Add the 1/4 cup hot fudge sauce, directly from the hot fudge jar. Stir it in. Bake according to box. DO NOT OVERBAKE. In fact, I pulled mine out and was just a little worried about the center, but it finished baking after it was out.

Layer 2: The Nougat
Melt the butter, with the sugar and the milk. Bring to a boil and add the marshmallow. Add the peanut butter and vanilla. Then stir in peanuts. Pour over cooled brownies.

Layer 3: Caramel
Scoop the caramel into a pan, heat it up just a little so it is liquid-y and not all cold and hard to spread. Then pour over nougat layer that is solid because you had it in the fridge!

Layer #4: The Chocolate Topping
Take the PB and add it to a bag of chocolate chips in a pan, add about 1T oil. Melt the chips slowly, do NOT burn. When it is smooth, pour it over the caramel layer. Stick that back in the fridge, and when the top layer is set, you are ready to eat!

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Nougat assembly

snickersbrownie4

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The layers of the finished product

When it comes to baking, I tend to gravitate towards “ridiculous” desserts – like adding frosting to these already insane Oreo Blondies, or making Slutty Pumpkin Bars and Slutty Brownies – and these Snickers Brownies DEFINITELY fall into the ridiculous category – they are SUPER RICH – and super sweet, too. The saltyness of the nuts helps, but it’s still overall a LOT OF SUGAR to handle all at once. I cut it into like a LOT of smaller squares – almost fudge sized – because really anything more than that is TOO much

That all being said, they are SUPER DELICIOUS – I love how it tastes just like a Snickers – but BETTER! If you’re a big Snickers fan like me you gotta try this recipe

An Ice Cream Cake For My Long Distance BFF

31 May

Friendships have always been something that is super important to me – and as I get older (and in theory – wiser?), I am reminded just how much a good friend is worth. Sometimes it’s a lot of effort to maintain/cultivate friendships, and it can be even tougher when the friends don’t live near each other. Long distance relationships – whether they be romantic or just platonic friends – are HARD. For those of you who haven’t experienced it – you’re lucky – TRUST me!

IceCreamCake5.jpg

A few snapshots of me and my Long Distance Bestie over the years

My best friend from college lives in Virginia with her husband and two kids, and I miss her every day. We are lucky enough to get to text, email, call, and FaceTime pretty often (thank GOD for Iphones, right?), and we also take turns traveling to see each other several times a year.

In fact, we just returned from a long weekend at their house – full of fun and crazy kids and laughter – and I wouldn’t have it any other way! We celebrated hers and her husbands birthdays while we were there – and when I was thinking about how to celebrate, I KNEW some kind of baking had to be involved – I just wasn’t sure what. Her favorite (and probably my LEAST favorite) birthday dessert is Ice Cream Cake. I hate it because it’s not even really cake – which means no frosting (a BIG no no for me – as what’s the point of cake with no frosting?), and she loves it because ice cream is awesome and it reminds her of her childhood as they always got them growing up. So – I can see where she’s coming from – and decided to make one for her – cuz I love her THAT much

Finding a recipe was not too hard – scrolling through Pinterest and This one caught my eye – using store bought brownie mix and ice cream – easy enough!

Peanut Butter Brownie Ice Cream Cake
(Recipe Courtesy of Suburbia Unwrapped)

Ingredients
1 box brownie mix for 9 x 9 inch pan
1 container Blue Bunny PB N’ Cones ice cream
FOR THE CHOCOLATE SAUCE
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
FOR THE TOPPING
peanut butter chips or chopped peanut butter cups

Instructions
-Make the package of brownies according to package directions EXCEPT bake in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan for 20 to 25 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Let brownies cool completely
-When you are ready to assemble: Let the ice cream sit at room temperature for 20 minutes until slightly softened. Spread over cooled brownies and place in freezer.
-MAKE THE SAUCE: In a double boiler, combine the heavy cream, chocolate chips and peanut butter. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly. (SAVE 1/4 CUP FOR SERVING!)
-Remove the brownie/ice cream layer from the freezer and pour the chocolate sauce over the top. (don’t forget to save some!) Smooth it out and return to the freezer.
-MAKE THE WHIPPED CREAM: In a mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
-Remove the brownie/ice cream/ sauce from the freezer and spread the whipped cream over the top.
-Sprinkle the peanut butter chips or chopped peanut butter cups on top and freeze for THREE HOURS before serving.
-Right before you serve, drizzle with remaining chocolate sauce that you have heated slightly.

I was lucky enough to have TWO tiny adorable kitchen helpers this time – my son and my BFF’s daughter helped with all the prep:

IceCreamCake1

Brownie baking and Ice cream testing (both very important)

Icecreamcake2

Whipping the cream and assembling the layers

Icecreamcake3

“Decorating” the cake with Mini Reese’s Cups

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The delicious finished product

I used Moose Tracks Ice Cream for this – which is basically vanilla with PB swirl, fudge and PB cups – but you can really use any kind you want for it – anything with peanut butter would work great! I also substituted the PB chips for the mini PB cups – I figured they would be more delicious

This was really easy to put together, and the kids had a blast helping! My BFF and her husband loved it so much that they didn’t even want to share it with their friends when we had them over for a Memorial Day BBQ the next day! And I can’t blame them – this was REALLY tasty – the chewy brownie, the ganache – YUM. While it in no way constituted a cake in my mind (what with it’s lack of frosting) – it was still a really delicious dessert, and I was glad to make it and get to enjoy it with my BFF (who I won’t get to see until July now – boo – but luckily, there’s FaceTime to get us through!)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

2 May

Peanut Butter and chocolate is one of those magical combinations – from peanut butter cups, to cakes, to brownies and cookies – it is a union that will forever be amazing and delicious. These Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars are no exception – and they were so easy to make, too!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
(Recipe Courtesy of Averie Cooks)

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1/3 heaping cup peanut butter (I use Jif, Skippy or similar; natural PB can separate and/or be too oily)
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips + 2 tablespoons, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS:
-Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
-In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
-Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the peanut butter, egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
-Add the flour and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.
-Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.
-Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
-Sprinkle evenly with 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, smoothly the top lightly with a spatula.
-Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until done. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

PB bars 1

This is one of those doughs I had to restrain myself from inhaling raw – it was just so perfect looking (and tasting!)

PB Bars 2

Before and after baking

PB Bars 3

That cross section says it all – melty chocolate and gooey bar – yum!

Had all ingredients on hand? Check
Easy to make? Check
Delicious? CHECK!

These were a winner – definitely great for beginner bakers – and anyone else who cherishes the marriage of Peanut Butter and Chocolate as much as I do!