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Archive for the ‘Peanut Butter’ Category

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Can I set the record straight on something please? Just because I’m from Canada does not mean that I am used to cold weather. Vancouver is, on most occasions, a very mild city. It rarely snows and when it does the snow doesn’t stay around for more than a few days. Celsius temperatures dropping past zero? That’s also fairly uncommon. Think Seattle. Think even Portland. But please don’t think igloos, the North Pole or sled dogs.

All of this to say that I’m freezing my butt off in Chicago these days. Snow constantly on the ground coupled with wind from the lake and temperatures around -15C are not my idea of fun.

How am I coping with this ridiculous weather?

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– drinking copious amounts of Bailey’s and hot chocolate

– Christmas movie marathons consisting of Elf, Home Alone 1 and 2, and Love Actually

– never leaving the house (this might be an exaggeration)

– reading “City of Thieves” by David Benioff

– Baking. A lot.

– Eating. A lot. (see above)

So it should come as no surprise that when a half batch of these peanut butter pretzel bites were made and disappeared on Saturday that a full batch was made on Sunday. Embarrassing. But seriously these are knock your socks off delicious and only eating one at a time is the funniest joke/most difficult challenge I’ve ever heard of.

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Christmas baking at its finest.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

Recipe from Two Tiny Kitchens

1 cup creamy peanut butter     2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup icing sugar                  3/4 cup brown sugar

Pretzels                                   Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine the peanut butter and softened butter in a large bowl with a stand mixer.

Add the icing sugar and brown sugar. Mix to combine.

If the filling will not roll easily into balls without sticking to your hands add more icing sugar until the right consistency is reached.

Use a teaspoon to scoop the filling.  Roll each portion into a small ball, then sandwich between two whole pretzels and place on an aluminum foil lined pan.  Place the completed pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat at 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally until completely melted.  Remove the pretzel sandwiches from the freezer and quickly dip each half-way into the melted chocolate.

When all are dipped, return the tray to the freezer to set up completely.  Store the sandwiches in the refrigerator until serving time.

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Christmas cookies are serious business and a little bit overwhelming. There’s so much to choose from, so many new and amazing recipes to try while at the same time there’s always the old faithfuls that get made yearly. But why do those annual treats get made? And are they really as good as I think? Or is it the nostalgia that keeps us baking them year after year?

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I love the fact that come Christmastime my father makes his yearly appearance in the kitchen and proceeds to go on a baking spree. Traditional Christmas puddings, brown fruit cake, white fruit cake, and crepes make up his repertoire, all recipes handed down to him by his parents. But let’s be honest for a minute. No one really likes the traditional Christmas pudding that gets doused in scotch and set ablaze. And the fruit cakes? It’s my favorite when they get pulled out of the freezer in June because we still haven’t finished eating them, because who even wanted to eat them in the first place?

Call me crazy, but I would be perfectly content with a refillable glass of egg nog and an endless tray of Nanaimo Bars for the entire holiday season. No other cookies or treats are necessary or required for me. That being said, I’m glad that there are always so many other options.

Like these for instance. I made these yesterday for a pot luck and they were a hit. Peanut butter cookies that are stuffed with mini Reese’s. And not only are they cookies, but they are baked in mini muffin tins, so it feels way more satisfying to bite into compared to a thin cookie.

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My dad tried to convince me to put some of the dough into the jumbo muffin tins and then put a regular Reese’s into the center of each “cookie.” Jumbo size. I think he might be onto something. I think I might know where my sweet tooth comes from.

I like these and am mentally adding them to my Christmas baking list for future years. Now pass me the egg nog.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

1 3/4 cup flour           1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda       1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup white sugar   1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup brown sugar  1 egg

1 tsp vanilla               2 tbsp milk

Mini Reese’s peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy.

Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk.

Add the flour, salt and baking soda and mix well.

Shape into 35-40 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan.

Bake for 8 minutes.

Remove from the oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball.

Cool and carefully remove from the pan.

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It’s been a while since I’ve been on here. Travels around Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and the Philippines have ended, another school year has begun, Thanksgiving has already passed and before I know it, it will be Christmas.

I feel like time isn’t my friend. I feel like I’m constantly looking ahead to the next exciting thing, or looking back to some other time that was more exciting than now. Maybe this is because a number of my favourite people don’t live where I live. Is it really too much to ask that all of my favourite people become my neighbours so that I can see them whenever I want? And maybe we could all live in Vancouver? Because you know, it’s kind of beautiful here.

 

Maybe this is why I love reunions so much. What’s even better than a reunion with some of my favourite people is a potluck reunion. Yes I call dibs on bringing dessert, why do people even bother asking?

 

So I made these for our mini education reunion. And they were delicious. And everyone loved them. Some people definitely had seconds, while others mentally ate at least 5 I’m sure. Soft and chewy brownie cookies that had the most amazing peanut butter icing sandwiched in-between them.

Make these. Because amazing people deserve amazing dessert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brownie Cookies with Peanut Butter Frosting

Adapted from Bakers Royale

Brownie Cookies

5 oz. cocoa powder

3 oz. chocolate, chopped

3 tbsp butter      2 eggs

⅔ cup sugar       1 tsp vanilla

¼ cup flour        ¼ tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place 5 oz. cocoa powder, 1 oz. chocolate and the butter in a saucepan over low heat and gently stir until melted and smooth. Set aside.

Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until pale and creamy.

Add in flour, baking powder, melted chocolate mixture, remaining 2 oz. of chocolate and mix to combine.

Set aside for 10 minutes.

Spoon tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto parchment lined bake sheet.

Bake for about 8–10 minutes or until puffed and cracked.

Allow to cool completely on trays.

Make the Peanut Butter Frosting

Once cookies are cooled, spread the icing onto the cookies and assemble.

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Amongst other things, the men in my life have been blessed/cursed with a sweet tooth. Fortunately this works out very well for me, who enjoys baking things, and them, who enjoy consuming copious amounts of sugar.

What to do for Father’s Day and the boyfriend’s birthday? Easy. Chocolate. And peanut butter. Aka the way to any (especially my) man’s heart.

So remember the Sex in a Pan? Believe it or not this is even better. I know, who would have thought that something could be better than Sex in a Pan…but it is.

Rather than a plain crust, brownies were used as the base. Then a peanut butter cream cheese layer, followed by chocolate pudding and whipping cream. Did I mention that this is two layers so now repeat all of those layers? Yes this is big, yes this is delicious, yes this is going to take us a week to eat through, no I am not complaining.

Happy belated Father’s Day to all of the father’s out there. Sorry to inform you that I have the best one ever and I love him a lot. Be jealous. Seriously.

 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Trifle

Adapted from The Enchanted Mommy

Brownies layer. . . I used this

Bake your brownies the day before and let them cool completely.

Cut the brownies into cubes and put half of them along the bottom of a trifle dish or large bowl.

Chocolate Pudding Layer

1 large package chocolate pudding    2 cups milk

Combine the ingredients and beat for 2 minutes. Allow the pudding to thicken in the fridge.

Whipping Cream Layer

2 cups Heavy Cream
3-4 tbsp sugar     1 tbsp vanilla

Beat cream on high speed until soft peaks form.

Add the sugar and vanilla. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Stick the bowl in the fridge until needed.

Peanut Butter Layer

1 cup creamy peanut butter       1 cup cream cheese
1 cup icing sugar                        2 tbsp milk

Beat peanut butter and cream cheese together until creamy.

Add icing sugar and mix well.  Add 2 tbsp milk and combine.

Take 1 cup of the whipping cream mixture from the fridge and fold it into the peanut butter mixture until just combined.

Layering

Once everything has been prepared you are ready for layering. This can be done in any order. I went with brownies, peanut butter cream cheese, chocolate pudding, whipping cream and repeat. Then top with sliced Mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.

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Please tell me that you have hopped onto the Pinterest bandwagon. Ever need to waste a few hours of time? Pinterest is the place to do it. I’ve been slightly obsessed for roughly a year now and can definitely say that I’m a better person because of it (okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration). But for real, hop onto the wagon, it’s a good place to be.

Justification as to why Pinterest rules my life…I’ve since become more crafty. As in I did one craft. Aka I boosted my craftiness 10 fold at least. But seriously, I made this, and I’m so obsessed and in love with it. So simple to do as well, so get on it.

I’ve also discovered a million new places that I want to travel to, have been witness to countless good outfits that I will never be able to afford, house decorating tips that force me to remember that I am a mid-20 year old without my own place, oh and I also have a board for all of my wedding wants. Not that I’m planning a wedding…or am engaged…or am anywhere near being engaged. And now I’m feeling slightly embarrassed and self-conscious…

All of those reasons aside, my most favourite thing of all is the access that I have gained to millions and millions of amazing recipes that I never would have known about before. Good thing I am basically a wannabe 45 year old housewife. For example, this avocado chicken? Delicious. Homemade granola bars? Genius.

A few days ago I decided that I had gotten lazy, complacent if you will. Rather than always “pinning” recipes I needed to get to work and start making the things on my food board. This recipe is where I started.

Knock off Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Basically these are equally as delicious as the real thing, are probably the easiest dessert that I have ever made, and they also keep well for days in the fridge…as if that will be necessary though.

So get pinning, but more importantly don’t just pin, make the crafts, bake the food, travel to the amazing places. Don’t get complacent.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs       3 1/4 cups icing sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut butter                      1 cup melted butter
1/2 bag chocolate chips                         1-2 tbsp butter
Combine the graham cracker crumbs and the icing sugar. Add the peanut butter and the melted butter and mix well.
Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 pan and stick it in the freezer for 20 minutes.
While the peanut butter mixture is cooling, melt the chocolate chips and 1-2 tablespoons of butter.
Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter mixture and spread evenly. Put the bars in the fridge and allow the chocolate to set.

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What happens when you allow your father to try something that you bake? He asks that you transform the same cupcake recipe into a massive birthday cake. And not just any birthday cake, HIS birthday cake.

Let’s be honest though, this recipe is amazing so why not have my cake and eat it too?

I ended up using two 8″ cake pans for this dessert and strategically placed a handful of mini Reese’s peanut butter cups into both tiers. In between the two layers, and all over the cake, was the greatest peanut butter icing ever created. Crushed peanut butter cups topped everything off. Note: cooking time for these babies was 38 minutes, otherwise follow the recipe for the cupcakes.

This was delicious but felt like a bit of a work out to get through. Stick to the cupcakes if you’re after a “lighter” treat, otherwise eat your heart out, just like my dad did.

Happy Birthday to the greatest Dad!

Link to the recipe

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I’ve never been a cupcake person. I don’t understand what all of the fuss is about. They are mini cakes, but unlike cake you don’t get to put ice cream on them. That doesn’t make any sense. The ice cream is what tops off the cake, what brings it to perfection, what makes me happy…

Then these happened and I began to understand the obsession.

Back to work means back to Friday treats. Naturally, I opted to bring treats the first week, try to set the bar high, let people know that this isn’t something that we take lightly, you know how it is. It was also a co-workers birthday so hello cupcakes!

Seriously I work at the best school. Have you ever heard of a place where 3 teachers take all of their students into another teachers class to sing happy birthday to her? Have you seen teachers celebrate a birthday at recess with banners and Disney princess party hats? Welcome to my daily life, it’s amazing.

Back to the cupcakes. These were incredible. The chocolate cupcakes are surprisingly light and inside of them you will find hidden mini Reese’s peanut butter cups. The icing is a peanut butter frosting that is to die for, unless you don’t like peanut butter, in which case you might not like these, in which case you are crazy. Sorry. To top it all off, cut up pieces of peanut butter cups are sprinkled onto the icing. Decadent.

Eat these, die and go to heaven…or maybe just eat another cupcake?

You don’t believe me that these were that good? Have a talk with one of our male co-workers who couldn’t stop talking about the cupcakes hours later. Maybe he’ll convince you…

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

Adapted from My Baking Addiction

Cupcakes

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream        1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs                        2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water (I used Starbucks Vanilla)
Reese’s Miniatures

Freeze Reese’s Miniatures for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and espresso water mixture. Beat on medium speed until well combined (about 2 minutes).

Pour the batter into the muffin wells (I ended up getting 21 cupcakes).

Depending on the size of your Reese’s Miniature press 1 peanut butter cup into the center of each cupcake (my mini’s were very mini so I used 2 for each cupcake). Using a spatula, cover the imprint with cake batter.

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched.

Once cooled, remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack.

Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting.

Peanut Butter Buttercream frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened     2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla                           2 1/4 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup milk

In a large bowl, cream butter and peanut butter on medium speed until fluffy.

Turn the mixer down to low speed and slowly add the icing sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.

Add vanilla and milk. Blend on low speed until moistened.

Add an additional 1 to 4 tablespoons of milk, if necessary, until you reach the desired consistency. Beat on high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy

Pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes and finish with chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Be sure to refrigerate the cupcakes until ready to serve.

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