Friday, February 22, 2013

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting


I was struck on my way home from work the other day with this desire, no this need, to make Rice Krispie treats.  A million years have gone by since I last made these sticky sweet bars of joy.  As a kid, my sister and I used to make them all the time.  They are the perfect kid dessert.  All you need is a microwave and gratification is relatively instant.  Because I am clearly obsessed with peanut butter and chocolate desserts, I chose to dress these treats up with a healthy blanket of peanut butter milk chocolate frosting.  And some cow sprinkles...for whimsy.


Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats adapted from the back of the Rice Krispie Box

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 package large marshmallows
  • 7 cups Rice Krispies cereal
In a microwave safe bowl, dump in butter, peanut butter, and marshmallows.  Microwave on high for about 2 minutes, stopping in the middle to give it a stir.  You want your marshmallow and peanut butter to be melted but not burned, so it may take less time in your microwave.  Stir in Rice Krispies.  Press in to a greased (I cannot stress that word enough) 9x13 inch pan.  I actually lined mine with parchment paper.  You might want to do that.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosting

  • 2-12 ounce packages milk chocolate chips (feel free to use semisweet chocolate here, I just happen to think peanut butter and milk chocolate go best together)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter

In a microwave safe bowl, dump in chocolate chips and peanut butter.  Microwave on high for 30 second intervals stirring between each interval until chocolate chips are melted.  Spread on Rice Krispie treats. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Homemade Granola


One of the most satisfying work day morning breakfasts for me is Greek yogurt with Granola mixed in.  The cool and creamy melding with the crunchy and sweet is so delightful.  Plus, it is a quick and easy breakfast.  The best part of this granola, is that it is fairly adaptable depending on what you have floating around your pantry.


Homemade Granola adapted from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

3 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup almond pieces
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup  raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup safflower oil
1/4 cup orange juice (or juice from 1 orange)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large bowl, stir together rolled oats, steel cut oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, shredded coconut, and brown sugar.  Drizzle oil, maple syrup, orange juice, cinnamon and vanilla over the oat mixture. 

Prepare a large baking sheet (or two smaller sheets) with parchment paper.  Spread the oat mixture on the baking sheet.  Bake at 300 degrees for about an hour.  Stir the mixture around about every 15 minutes or so.  When the oat mixture is dry and crispy, remove from the oven.  Allow to cool. 

Once the oat mixture is cool, stir in dried fruit.  Place in an airtight container and enjoy.



Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chocolate Covered Cherries


Of all the things that I create in the kitchen, making candy is probably my favorite thing.  It's also the thing I do the least often.  Many people are a little nervous about making candy, and understandably so.  Your chocolate can seize at the slightest drop of water, your caramel can go from golden brown to smoking black in an instant.  And don't get me started on grainy ganache!  But these chocolate covered cherries are like an introduction to candy making.  No stove required.  They are fancy, yet quite simple.  The perfect sweet something for your Valentine.




Chocolate Covered Cherries slightly adapted from The Field Guide to Candy

1 jar maraschino cherries with stems
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 stick butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2-2 1/2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
1 bag milk chocolate Wilton Candy Melts

Drain cherries, reserving liquid, and pat dry with a paper towel.  In a large bowl beat together butter, sugar and corn syrup.  Add in cherry juice 1 tablespoon at a time until a smooth dough forms.

Divide dough into the same number of portions as the number of cherries you have.  Wrap the dough around the cherries.

In a large, microwave safe bowl melt the Candy Melts according to package directions.  I found the candy melts an acceptable consistency, however if the candy melts seem to thick for dipping, I sometimes melt a teaspoon of vegetable shortening in with the candy melts to thin it out a bit.  Take the dough wrapped cherries and dip them in the chocolate.  Place on waxed paper to dry.  Once dry, put into a sealed container for about a week.  It takes about a week for the dough to liquify around the cherry.  Enjoy!



Sunday, February 3, 2013

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes



My baby sister calls one day and tells me of this dreamy cupcake a co-worker brought in to work.  She said it was a moist chocolate cupcake with an Oreo baked in the batter and a Cookies and Cream kind of frosting.  "Can you make these?"  she inquired.

"Do you have a recipe?"

"Nope."

Ok then.  So I gave it a shot and these are it.  Are they the same?  She said pretty close, but at any rate they are a moist chocolate cupcake with a mound of creamy white chocolate and cream cheese frosting with a chocolate sandwich cookie baked into the batter and plenty of them chopped and folded into the frosting.

An easy cupcake, no piping because of the larger pieces of cookie in the icing.  You could pulverize the cookies in the frosting, but the big chunks have such a satisfying crunch.



Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Cupcakes

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • 24 double stuff chocolate sandwich cookies (I used store brand because they were waaay cheaper)
Prepare a muffin pan by placing cupcake wrappers into each hole.  Place a chocolate sandwich cookie into each cupcake wrapper.

In a large bowl, mix together chocolate cake mix, Greek yogurt, water, and eggs.   Beat on high speed for about 2 minutes.  The batter will be thick.  Place a tablespoonful of batter into each prepared cupcake wrapper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.  Allow to cool.  I like to remove my cupcakes from the muffin pan and cool them on a cooling rack.  I think that it makes the bottoms a bit soggy when you leave them in the pan to cool.


 White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting-adapted from The Cake Bible

  • 9 ounces white chocolate*
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces (1 cup or 2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 10-12 double stuff chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely chopped 

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval until chocolate is melted.  Set aside to cool for 10ish minutes.  In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Pour in the white chocolate, and beat until smooth.  Add in lemon juice and beat to combine.  With a large spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate sandwich cookies until they are fairly uniformly distributed (like chocolate chips in cookie dough).  Spread frosting on cupcakes. 

*A note on white chocolate: look for a white chocolate that has cocoa butter listed as one of the ingredients.  There are a lot of things that seem like white chocolate, but without the cocoa butter, they are not real white chocolate.  There is a difference in taste.




Friday, February 1, 2013

Love For Our Fur Babies

 

My husband says that I am compelled to show my love by feeding people baked goods.  He's not wrong,  I really do.

 Now these are two of my big fur kids:

and that brown one doesn't like ANY horse cookies I have ever made him.  One would think that I would just quit, but no, it's not in my nature.  I keep trying different recipes, sure that there is something that he will fall in love with.  I decided to tweak this recipe for dog cookies thinking a more savory might satisfy my pet.  Nope.  Not at all.

However, I took them over to my friend's house who has a lab and that dog, my friends, almost devoured my coat trying to get to them.  Then that dog was my best friend.  So, the moral of this story is, these are dog cookies.  So show your canine fur baby some love this Valentine's Day and make them some homemade snacks.




Not Horse Cookies adapted slightly from Dessert First


  • 2/3 c. pumpkin
  • 1 cup finely shredded carrots (about 1 large carrot)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour

Stir together pumpkin, carrots, and peanut butter.  Mix in flour.  Dough will be stiff.  Turn out onto floured work surface.  Roll out dough.  Cut into shapes as desired.  Polk holes in the cookies or else they will blow up fat.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes depending on how crispy you like them.  I baked them long because I was looking for a crunchy cookie.  Store in the fridge, there aren't any preservatives in these babies.

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