Monthly Archives: May 2013

5 Quick and Easy Treats

These desserts are easy and quick;  A collection of 5 quick and easy desserts, perfect for summer entertaining.

dessertsWe went on our first camping trip of the summer last week.  It was so nice to get out of the city for a couple days, and go where the only noise is the chirping birds.

And my stupid barking dog.  Sometimes that dog just will not shut up.

I think we need a muzzle for the next trip.

Anyhoo, Robb and I are firm believers that the food makes the trip.  If the food is not good, or if it takes too much time and effort to prepare and clean up, the trip just isn’t fun.  And we had some pretty good meals this trip.

It all made me think about treats that can be made and cleaned up quickly and easily.  I mean, you don’t have to be camping to want THAT, do you?

I compiled a few of my favorites.  These are treats that can actually be made very quickly.  And when I say actually, I mean, first step in the kitchen to first bite taken should be 30 minutes or less.

Emphasis on the “or less.”

buckeyesBuckeyes More Party Popcorn Party Popcorn
lemon cookieStrawberry Lemonade Cookies no bake dessertsNo-Bake PB Bars
homemade orange juliusOrange Juice Smoothie

 

These Buckeyes take just a few minutes to put together.  They are basically sweet balls of peanut butter coated in chocolate.  And there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

The party popcorn is coated in white chocolate, and made any color you want.  A couple minutes of melting white chocolate, and a few minutes of chilling in the fridge are all you need to have this treat ready for any impromptu party or get together.

These Strawberry Lemonade Cookies come the closest to taking the entire 30 minutes.  The cookies are a simple lemon cake mix cookie, while the frosting is made with a fresh strawberry puree.

The No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars are one of my most popular posts ever!  These crazy delicious treats require just a little mixing and a few minutes of chilling to be ready to eat.  If you are a chocolate-peanut-butter fan, these will be an instant classic in your home.

This Orange Juice Smoothie can literally be made in 5 minutes or less.  If you need a quick and cool treat, and you have some frozen orange juice concentrate in your freezer, you can find success with this Orange Julius knock-off.

What are your favorite quick and easy treats?  Leave me a comment below!

no bakeNo-Bake Desserts caramelized onion dip and potato chipsGame Day Dips St. Patricks DaySt. Pats Day Recipes

White Chocolate Cookies

Recipe for white chocolate cookies;  These white chocolate chip cookies are delicate and delicious, with just a hint of nutmeg.
White-chocolate-cookies

Do you ever wonder what white chocolate is?  I mean, we know what it’s not… and by that, I mean it’s NOT chocolate.  It doesn’t come from a cacao bean.

And have you noticed that you can buy cocoa powder, but you can’t buy white cocoa powder?  Doesn’t exist.

That’s because white chocolate is not chocolate at all.  It’s basically just candy.  It’s only called chocolate because it has cocoa butter in it.  Unless you buy the *ahem* less expensive variety, and then there’s little or no cocoa butter in it at all.

Not that it matters.  All I know is I like it.  White chocolate is yummy.   The puppy and I agree on this point.

I dropped a couple white chocolate chips on the floor, and he snarfed them right up.

White Chocolate Cookies | Jen's Favorite Cookies

Please allow me to throw in a few words of advice here, because these cookies are a little delicate, and my first dozen looked quite awful and un-photograph-able.

Key point number one: chill the dough a good long time.  These will absolutely not work at all without several hours of chilling.  The dough should be firm before you bake, and during baking, put the rest of the dough back in the fridge.

Key point number two:  make the cookies small-ish.  Mine were probably just less than a tablespoon.  They will turn out much better that way.  The larger cookies spread too much and the edges turned brown and ugly before the middle was done.

I hate that.

White-chocolate-chip-cookies

And last but not least, key point number three:  let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before you move them to a cooling rack.  They just need to set up for a couple minutes or they turn to mush when you try to slide them off.

If you take a little care, you’ll end up with a really delicious, white-chocolatey cookie.

And maybe a few extra white chocolate chips to share with the dog.

sconesCoconut White Choc
Buttermilk Scones
Coconut cream cookie recipeCoconut Cream
Cookies
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Horseradish Dill Dip

Recipe for dill dip;  This veggie dip is made with dill weed and horseradish.  It’s a quick and easy dill veggie dip.

veggie dipI love horseradish.  I know it’s not for everyone, I get that, but Oh. My. Gosh. the stuff is soooo good.

There’s a local steak house that will give you freshly grated horseradish mixed in sour cream if you ask for it.  I could eat it with a spoon, I seriously could.

Am I alienating people here?  Or does everyone else like horsey sauce on their roast beef sandwich, too?

I started thinking about dill dip, and when I got the idea to add horseradish… well, I just couldn’t resist.

I’ll be honest.  I didn’t put that much in, just enough to give it a little kick, and if you’re not into horseradish you could totally just leave it out.  The dill is the main thing anyway.

Horseradish Dill Dip | Jen's Favorite Cookies #vegetable

Oh, I love dill too.

I’m such a glutton, I love everything.

My great grandfather used to live next door to us, and he grew fresh dill in a pot on his back porch.  He also grew pickling cucumbers in his garden, and made his own dill pickles.  They were some serious dill pickles.  The kind that bring a tear to the eye.  The kind that give you memories.  The kind you will never find in any grocery store on earth.

I did actually have mixed feelings about the pickles, but oh, I love dill.

dill dip

Okay, you’re all sick of me ooh-ing and aah-ing over foods, I get it.

I made this with greek yogurt and mayonnaise, but I totally won’t hold it against you if you use sour cream instead of yogurt.

Because, as everyone knows, raw vegetables cancel out any calories consumed in vegetable dip.

key lime dip thumbKey Lime Fruit Dip fruit dipBrown Butter Dip taco dipChunky Taco Dip

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One Bowl Brownies

These easy to make brownies can be made with just one bowl! Delicious, fudgy brownies au nutella.

One Bowl Brownies from JensFavoriteCookies.com   Easy and delicious brownies from scratch!I am in a bad mood today.  I went to bed in a bad mood, I woke up in a bad mood, AND it’s raining.

Sometimes I wish that when I’m in a bad mood I would think something other than, “I need chocolate,” but I don’t.  I think about chocolate every stinking time.

And, given the mood I’m in, I have no resistance at all to those urges.

I also have no patience for complicated recipes and doing dishes and stuff like that.  Give me something I can whip together in 5 minutes in one bowl and satisfy my cravings.

Otherwise, I’m left to raiding the cupboards, searching for leftover Easter candy.

Like an addict.

One Bowl Brownies from JensFavoriteCookies.com   It's so easy to make delicious homemade fudgy brownies from scratch!

I should tell you right now that I am not one of those people who never uses box mixes.  In fact, the brownies that come in the red box are kind of my favorite thing ever.  And let’s face it, cake mixes make the softest, easiest, tastiest cookies.

Remember these?

But there are times when you just want to make them from scratch.  Which is what I did today.

One Bowl Brownies from JensFavoriteCookies.com

I could have left well enough alone, and just put the plain brownies in the oven, but it was a double-chocolate, triple-chocolate, quadruple-chocolate day.

So I softened some Nutella in the microwave, and swirled it into the batter.  Frankly, I think it would be equally good with peanut butter or caramel.

These turned out super fudgy and delicious, just the way I like them.  They’re not overly chocolatey, but had enough chocolate to quell my cravings for one afternoon.

And then the sun came out, and all was well.

Want more?  Try these fudgy brownies!

samoas-brownies-5fudge-brownies-cookies-recipebrownies-with-marshmallows

 

Recipe adapted slightly from Picky Palate.

4.8 from 4 reviews
One Bowl Brownies
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Easy and fudgy chocolate brownies made in one bowl.
Author:
Recipe type: Brownies
Serves: 9
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter
  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons Nutella (optional)
Instructions
  1. Chop chocolate, and place chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until mixture is mostly smooth and melted.
  2. Add vanilla and sugar and mix well.
  3. Add eggs and stir well. (Be sure chocolate mixture is not too hot when adding eggs, or the eggs will cook when they are stirred in.)
  4. Add flour and oil, and stir until combined.
  5. Pour mixture into a foil-lined 8x8 or 9x9 pan.
  6. OPTIONAL: Melt Nutella for 10-30 seconds in the microwave, and drizzle over brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl into batter.
  7. Bake brownies at 350F for 30-35 minutes, until edges are dry and pull away from the pan slightly. Let cool before cutting into squares.

If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Triple Chocolate Nutella Cookies from The Sweet Chick
3 Minute Chocolate Nutella Mug Cake from Life Scoops
Dark Chocolate Nutella Brownies from DoughMesstic

Chocolate Mint Cookie Bars

Recipe for chocolate mint cookies;  These chocolate cookie bars use chocolate mint candies to give them a great flavor!

Chocolate-MintYou guys?  I have a little weakness for this one.  You know I’m a confessed chocoholic, right?

And what is the best thing to pair with chocolate?  Well, yes, it might be peanut butter.  But besides that… it’s mint.  {You might remember my discussion about my love for peppermint and hot fudge here.}

Glorious, delicious, refreshing mint.

In my “other” life, I am a piano teacher.  And, to encourage kids to think I’m cool to motivate kids to practice, I keep a jar of candy next to the piano.  For some reason, many of them fish past the Tootsie Rolls and go straight for the mint patties.  They’re almost always the first thing to go.

That, and the blue Jolly Ranchers.

It was nothing short of a miracle that I found a handful of mint patties left to bake with.

Sorry, piano students.  They went to a good cause, I promise.

Chocolate Mint Cookie Bars | Jen's Favorite Cookies

I decided to throw together some last minute cookie bars, and I seriously considered a repeat of these fun Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars.  They were memorable, to say the least.

But my chocolate cravings got the best of me, and with the presence of cocoa powder, mint chocolate chips, AND mint patties in my pantry, the decision became a verrry easy one.

A little too easy, maybe.

Chocolate mint cookies

With a bar like this, you really need to let it cool all the way before cutting into it.  Not that I would blame you for scooping it piping hot out of the pan with a spoon and throwing it on top of a scoop of mint ice cream.  It’s probably what I would have done, had I any mint ice cream in my house at all.

Fortunately for me, I was able to find a good excuse to leave the house directly after pulling them out of the oven.  My kids know there is no eating before photographing, but it doesn’t stop them from circling like vultures.

Or devouring like vultures.

Or squawking like vultures.

chocolate mintPeppermint
Popcorn Bark
fudge with candy canesEasy Peppermint
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Grilled Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich

This sandwich recipe uses peanut butter and Nutella; Recipe for a grilled sandwich with bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate hazelnut spread, a delicious after school snack.

grilled-sandwichI have this pet peeve.  Every time I tell my kids I’m running a quick errand and I will be home in 10 minutes, they call me.

Hippie Chick is notorious for this.  She will literally ignore me for hours, and the minute I leave the house, she has some pressing urgent issue to discuss with me that cannot wait 5 more minutes.

The minute I see the word “HOME” on my phone screen, I answer the phone this way:

Me: You better be bleeding out your eyes.
Hippie Chick: Uhhh….  Mom?  I’m hungry.  Can I have an apple?
Me: This can’t wait 2 and a half minutes until I get home?

These calls are basically always because they are hungry.

But I got the jump on them this time.  THIS time, I made the snacks BEFORE they got home from school.  Take that, kids.

Grilled Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich | Jen's Favorite Cookies

I can’t really claim this sandwich idea as my own.  This baby is the brainchild of my talented cousin.  I have these awesome cousins who live all over the country.  It’s lucky we have facebook, or I would have a tough time connecting with them.

She told me in a Facebook post about her delicious grilled PB&J sandwiches, with bananas and chocolate chips.  I mean, let’s face it, the idea is brilliant.  I did make some changes, mostly because I’m lazy.

First, I eighty-sixed the jam, partly because I wasn’t into that part of the idea, but mostly because I didn’t have any in the pantry.  Second, I traded out the chocolate chips for Nutella.

sandwich recipe

In retrospect, that part may not have been such a good idea, because I basically gain weight every time there’s Nutella in the house.  The stuff is SO deliciously evil.

But, on the bright side, I earned myself 10 minutes of uninterrupted errand running.  (i.e. going to the gas station for Diet Coke.)  I hope.

Eat your sandwich, children.  And don’t call me.

no bake dessertsNo-Bake PB Bars peanut butter pretzelPB Pretzel Bites Granola Bar RecipePB Granola Bars

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Blackberry Cobbler

Delicious blackberry cobbler;  This cobbler recipe uses nuts and oats for the crust, and blackberries and sugar for the filling.  Top your blackberry cobbler with a spoonful of whipped cream!

blackberry-cobblerWhen I first started blogging seriously, one of the hardest things to get used to was that I had no one to talk to.  None of my “real life” friends cared much about blogging, and none of the cool bloggers out there were my friends.  Then, as I began making blog friends, it felt weird that I didn’t know any of them in “real life” and so we have digital relationships and do things like share pictures of food we ate alone by ourselves.

It could be a sign of mental illness, I’ve been told.

At any rate, I was grateful for those digital friendships, those body-less faces in profile pictures that would talk to me all day about page layouts and posting schedules, and recipe attribution and plugins.  Oh!  The plugins!  {I’m a confessed addict.  I’m trying to quit.}

My very first blogging buddy was Carla at Chocolate Moosey.  Carla and I connected on Twitter, and she has become on of my best friends.  As time has worn on, and I’ve made a few more blogging friends, Carla and I remain close.  I can’t imagine going more than a day or two without connecting with her in one of about 15 ways.  {We bloggers tend to be social media addicts, too.}

chocolatemoosey

Turns out, I’m not the only one who thinks Carla is awesome.  She has made lots of friends through social media and blogging.  Friends who can’t be there in person to wish her a Happy Birthday today.

Happy Birthday Carla!

And since Carla and I have never met, and in fact live 2000 miles apart, we have something of a non-traditional friendship, I guess.  So it’s fitting that I’m sharing a non-traditional birthday dessert, i.e. not cake.

Blackberry Cobbler | Jen's Favorite Cookies

You should know that it doesn’t bother me ONE BIT to have cobbler instead of cake.  In fact, I have had peach cobbler as my birthday cake many, many times, and it continues to be my favorite birthday cake.  My mom makes a mean peach cobbler, and my birthday is in the fall, right when peaches are in season.

However, this is May, and peaches just don’t exist today.  But blackberries do.  Lovely, luscious, gorgeous blackberries!  I bought the biggest Costco-sized box I could find, and made this cobbler twice.

cobbler recipe

I suggest checking out some of the other things Carla’s friends made for her virtual birthday party.  You won’t regret it!

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Brown Butter Pecan Cookies

These pecan cookies are made with brown butter; A delicious recipe for Brown Butter Pecan Cookies, perfect for dunking in milk.

butter pecanGosh, I love brown butter. It’s a close second to chocolate on the list of tastiest things God ever put on this Earth.

The mere existence of brown butter in my life is proof that God is good. Very, very good.

In fact, the brown butter and pecan combination was amazing enough all by itself that I didn’t even add chocolate chips to this cookie, which is it’s own kind of miracle, frankly. Because basically everything is better with chocolate chips.

Cookies? Check.
Cakes? Check.
Peanut butter sandwiches? CHECK.

{Don’t believe me? Stay tuned. Because that’s coming.}

pecan cookies

There’s something about pecans that reminds me of my grandfather. This man lived 5 minutes away practically my whole life, was the hardest working person I know, always warm and fun to be around, the kind of guy who can handle anything.

And this man loovvves butter pecan. We always had butter pecan ice cream at birthday parties, because Grandpa loved it so much.

And Grandma always had pecan sandies in the house. We knew they were for Grandpa, but she fed them to us kids.

brown butter pecan cookies

If you’ve never browned butter before, the process is pretty simple. If you’re happier having a tutorial behind you, I suggest checking out this post by Country Cleaver, called How to Brown Butter. That should give you the confidence boost you need to get this done.

Once you smell the brown butter and the toasted pecans, try not to swan dive into the mixing bowl.

But do taste the dough before you make the all-important chocolate chip decision. Either way you decide, I’ll understand!

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Pear Blackberry Salsa

This salsa recipe uses berries and pears; A recipe for fruit salsa with blackberries, pears, and fresh mint.

fruit salsaMy husband is incredibly honest.  He doesn’t pull any punches, and he speaks his mind, which means I know when I ask him his opinion, I will get the real thing.  It’s one of my favorite things about him.

It’s also one of my least favorite things about him.

Especially when the opinion he voices is that I’m a messy cook and terrible at keeping the kitchen clean.  Not that I didn’t know that already, but still.  He followed it up with some advice to go with what I’m good at… being carefree and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants.

Out of respect for that advice, I have created one of the most unusual and unplanned (and, by the way, not that messy) recipes I have ever done.  Even the recipe card below is full of estimates and no measurements whatsoever.

And Robb was right, it suited me just fine.

salsa recipe

Originally, I had intended to make a salsa with nectarines and blackberries, cilantro and jalapenos, but what was I thinking?  It’s nowhere near nectarine season.  They were not to be found.  So I walked around the produce department with my little 6-oz package of blackberries, looking for potential salsa ingredients.

I settled on pears.  Delicate, delicious, Barlett pears.

I knew I couldn’t use a jalapeno with a pear, because I didn’t want the pepper to be too overpowering.  I went with the milder Anaheim pepper.  And, I thought cilantro would be weird with pears, so I used mint.

fruit salsa

I was a little worried about this whole flavor combination, but I shouldn’t have been.  It’s unusual, for sure, but delicious.  The mint is a surprise, and a great compliment to the pear.

I’m not sure if I’ve told you this, but blackberries are my all-time favorite berry.  If I have to eat nothing but fruit, give me peaches and blackberries, and I will be just fine.

I’ll probably find a way to make a mess of the kitchen with them, but I’ll be just fine.

Salsa with mangoes and avocadosMango Salsa Guacamole ThumbChunky Guacamole Chocolate Blackberry CookieChoc Blackberry Cookies

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Toasted Coconut Milkshake

Toasted Coconut is the key ingredient in this milkshake recipe; This is one of the best coconut dessert recipes I’ve tasted!

Toasted Coconut MilkshakeTrue story: My brother asked me to drive him to the airport, and I totally forgot about it.  In my defense, I was a little preoccupied with my own very serious issue, namely, that my car broke down.  I’ll spare you the details, but sufficeth to say, I spent a whole day without a car, and getting the car home involved a lot of smoke and embarrassment.

The whole day was a mess, to tell you the truth.  Between my afternoon responsibilities and the kids evening events, we had just 15 minutes to cook and eat dinner.

We had Cheerios.  Yeah, yeah, you’ve done it too, admit it.

Later that night, after the embarrassing car situation, and the worst-dinner-ever situation, and some kind of painful plain-talk with Robb about my life’s goals, I was feeling pretty nervous and uptight and overwhelmed.  And hungry.

Robb, always the sweetheart, loaded everyone in his car to take us out for a late meal.  Robb drives a small pickup truck, that really only holds two, so cramming all 5 of us in there was something of a joke.  We looked like a clown car.  It’s lucky my kids are skinny, and the doors have locks, that’s all I’ll say.  We laughed through our discomfort, all the way to the very nearby restaurant.

toasted-coconut-milkshake

I have never been in this particular fast food establishment when I wasn’t the only person there.  I don’t really get it, either, because the food is good.  Nevertheless, it has a bit of a low-end reputation.  We ordered our food, and choose a large booth to balance out the feelings of togetherness we had during the drive there.

And that was the moment at which my brother sent me a text to be sure I was still okay to drive him to the airport.

I am SUCH a loser sometimes.  I told my brother he had to provide the car AND pick me up at the fast food joint.  We he got there, I made Robb promise to bring the rest of my sandwich home, and I walked out of the trashy restaurant in an oversized sweatshirt and wild hair, carrying a paper cup full of Diet Pepsi.

I made myself feel better by explaining to my brother that I had spared him the burden of having to envy me.

It’s one of the 7 deadly sins, yo.

At least I had a coconut milkshake and episodes of Arrested Development to end my day with.

toasted coconut milkshake

I may have told you of our family’s love of coconut a few {dozen} times.  {In fact, my last post was a coconut recipe, too.}  Not too long ago, we went to this fancy donut place in town, and Robb got a toasted coconut donut, which is one of the best things in the entire world.  To die for.

I wanted to capture that same flavor in this milkshake.  It’s crazy how much tastier coconut is when it is toasted.  Don’t skip the toasting, folks.  Trust me on this one.  I knew I hit a home run when I heard Robb shout from the other room, “Are you kidding me?!”  {That means it’s really good.}

By the way, I never did get to eat the rest of my sandwich.  Turns out The Fruitarian spilled his root beer all over everything, and my sandwich went in the trash.

Stupid Wednesday.

coconut dessert recipesCoconut Lime
Poke Cake
ice creamOrange Ice
Cream Freeze
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Sugar Cookies

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Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars

Recipe for chocolate chip cookie bars;  These coconut chocolate chip cookies are filled with coconut and Mounds bars, baked in a sheet pan, then cut into bars.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie BarsWatching how differently my kids handle situations is one of the great joys of my life. For instance, as I’m writing this, two of my three kids are at a karate exam. It the first of its kind for the Hippie Chick but it’s old hat for the Lizard.

The Lizard always thinks he has everything under control, even when he doesn’t, but I think the Hippie Chick is nervous. She’s a little too timid to really excel at karate.

Let me rephrase. She’s totally capable of martial arts excellence, but she’s too scared of hurting someone to actually hit them with any fury.

Everyone but the Lizard, that is.  He’s the only one that can really antagonize her until she hits her breaking point.  Which is great at karate, but not so fun at home.

chocolate chip cookie bars

Some parents tell their kids to stop fighting, but not us. WE yell things like, “Hit him!” or “Harder! Leave a bruise!” My go-to motivational phrase for her is, “Make them remember you.”

I had a moment of realization when I heard myself tell someone (tongue in cheek) that I had threatened the Hippie Chick with bodily harm if she didn’t cause some bodily harm during her test.

This is my life.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies (bars)

We all have our little struggles and our little preferences, I guess. I love a good chocolate chip cookie and Robb loves anything coconut. It’s the kind of love that makes the world go round.

Put them together and you have heaven on earth.

I remember Lindsay at Pinch of Yum saying she was out of brown sugar, so she just went for it with white sugar only in the cookies. I took a page out of her book and made these sans brown sugar. The lighter cookie flavor was great with the mild coconut and the totally awesome-sauce dark chocolate.

Did you know Mounds was made with dark chocolate? Let me just give a big shout out to the Mounds people for that.  If you’re not a dark chocolate person, I feel really, really bad for you.  I once was not a dark chocolate person, too.  I guess you could use those totally amazing Hershey’s Coconut Kisses, but can I just beg you to give dark chocolate another chance?

chocolate chip cookie bars

I put about 2/3 of my cookie dough in a quarter sheet pan, but feel free to use whatever pan you want. A regular old 9×13 would work great. I sprinkled on the coconut and chopped up Mounds bars, the dropped on the remaining cookie dough in little globs.

Refer to the photos to see exactly what a glob looks like.

And if you feel the need to express your unique personality with some well-controlled violence, I’ll understand!

 

More fantastic coconut recipes!

Coconut cream cookie recipeCoconut Cream
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sconesCoconut White
Chocolate Scones
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(with Corn Flakes)

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Recipe for chocolate peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting;  This peanut butter chocolate cake is layered with peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache.

peanut butter chocolate cakeThe Lizard is turning 16.

He’s incredibly anxious to start driving.  We probably talk about it every day.  I’m trying to see the upside of this situation, but I’m really not sure it’s worth the downside.

One of The Lizard’s finer qualities is that he is NOT a picky eater.  Hallelujah.  There had to be one in the family.  So when I asked him what kind of birthday cake he wanted, he had a hard time deciding.

Because he likes them all.

He finally settled on Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake, which is just fine with me.  My family’s love of chocolate and peanut butter is practically legend.

After days of considering exactly how to make this cake (I wanted the cake to have peanut butter in it, and not just the frosting), I realized I had a new problem…  how to photograph it.

chocolate peanut butter cake

Here’s the thing.  You can’t photograph a cake without slicing it and looking at the inside.  And putting candles on a cake with a slice missing seems really uncool.

I stewed and stewed about this for days.  I asked The Lizard his opinion, and surprise, surprise, he had none.  Robb, on the other hand, had a brilliant idea.

Well, HE thought it was brilliant.

He suggested I slice the cake, take the pictures, then replace the slice and frost over it.  He thinks like such a man, doesn’t he?  I mean, how to you re-frost ganache topping?  And what happens when you’re ready to serve the cake and you need to find where it’s already been sliced?  And doesn’t he know how hard it is to frost over the crumbs that inevitably get all over everything when you slice it?

And, most importantly, how will I taste it?  I can’t very well serve and blog about a cake that is experimental and never been tasted, can I?  What if it tastes like soap?  Not that I think it would.  There is literally no way to combine chocolate and peanut butter that doesn’t taste good.

chocolate peanut butter cake recipe

But fate stepped in.

I had enough batter to bake three layers.  Only, the third layer turned out a little… not right.  Who can say why?  When I tried to pick it up and put it on the cake stand, it fell apart and broke into several pieces.

So there I was, standing in the kitchen with two beautiful layers of a three-layer cake, and one absolutely unusable one.

Aaaaand I had just a little more frosting than I needed.  I’m guessing you know what happened next.

peanut butter chocolate cake

So, I can honestly tell you that this cake is absolutely delicious.  Robb was crazy impressed, which doesn’t happen much.  It has an almost brownie-like texture.

And, as if chocolate peanut butter cake and peanut butter frosting weren’t enough, (and also because I might be the worst cake decorator the world has ever known) I covered the top with chocolate ganache and threw some chopped peanut butter cups on top.  I will tell my family that’s because it’s double delicious.  That way they will never know that it’s because I don’t want anyone to laugh at the dessert blogger who can’t frost a cake to save her soul.

Oh, about that missing slice of cake… Do you think anyone will notice?

 

 

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4.9 from 16 reviews
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
 
Cook time
Total time
 
A chocolate peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache, topped with chopped peanut butter cups.
Author:
Recipe type: cake
Serves: 12
Ingredients
CAKE:
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
FROSTING:
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 6 T. milk
  • about 2½ cups powdered sugar
GANACHE:
  • about 4 oz. chopped dark or bittersweet chocolate
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and peanut butter, and mix well.
  2. Add salt and soda, and cocoa, and mix well.
  3. Add milk alternately with flour, mixing just until combined.
  4. Prepare round pans by lining with wax paper or parchment paper, and coating with a non-stick spray.
  5. Separate batter evenly into three layer pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let layers cool before frosting.
  6. FROSTING: Combine all ingredients, mixing until smooth.
  7. GANACHE: Chop chocolate and place chocolate and cream in a double boiler. *(see notes) Stir until melted and smooth.
  8. ASSEMBLE: Place layer on cake stand and frost the top. Place second layer on top and frost. Place third layer on top and frost top and sides.
  9. Pour hot ganache over frosted cake, letting it spread across the top.
  10. Garnish with chopped peanut butter cups, if desired.
Notes
If you don't have a double boiler, place chocolate and cream in a heat-safe bowl. Place bowl over a pot of boiling water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water.

 If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake from Smitten Kitchen
Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake from Hungry Couple NYC
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Can Cake from Host the Toast

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Molasses Cookies with Caramel Cinnamon Glaze

Recipe for crisp molasses cookies with caramel cinnamon glaze; This molasses cookie is similar to a gingersnap, and the glaze is made with cinnamon chips and caramels.

molasses cookieA friend and I decided to join a diet challenge recently.  And then this happened… crunchy molasses cookies with creamy cinnamon caramel glaze.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to diet AND be a dessert blogger?  It practically impossible.

Me: How am I supposed to diet with THESE in the house?
Friend: What. Are. THOSE?!!

I knew she would approve, because she kind of has a thing for caramel lattes.  I’m partial to dark chocolate cocoa with those tiny little dehydrated marshmallows.  I just loved this cookie when it took the form of gingerbread last winter.  It was excellent with the dark chocolate cocoa I had for breakfast.

Which probably explains why I’m dieting now.

This time around, I left out all the spices except the cinnamon.  I wanted something less spicy, still crunchy and with that yummy rich molasses flavor.  The glaze just really took it over the top.

recipe for molasses cookies

And I’m well aware that spring isn’t really the traditional time for molasses cookies.  But I’m bucking the system, fighting the MAN, getting wild and crazy and eating molasses cookies any time I darn well want to.

I make no apologies.

I could start drinking eggnog any minute now.

And can we just talk about the creamy-dreamy evil genius that is cinnamon chips?  They make everything better.  Adding cinnamon chips to melted caramel is so deliciously tempting and diet-busting.

how to make molasses cookies

I will admit that this glaze turned out a touch thinner and stickier than I anticipated.  The cookies that were glazed and then stored for a day got a little soft on the glazed parts.

I recommend glazing right before serving.

Any non-glazed cookies will store for quite a long time in an air-tight container, but the glazed cookies will definitely need wax paper to sit on, and a life span of not more than a day or two.

Which is only a problem if you’re on a diet!

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