Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

PBchocolatechipAfter a large dinner last weekend, I made everyone in my family sit down for a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie taste test. And even though we had just eaten a big meal, there weren’t many protests when I said cookies. So, I have been working on finding a good recipe for a while now, and I wanted to make sure I found the best one. After testing a few different recipes, there were two clear favorites. So I am going to give you both recipes…and you can do your own taste test to decide which one you like better.

The Showdown

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip with Sea Salt

adopted by ambitious kitchen

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and sat. Set Aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, combine butter and peanut butter on high speed until smooth. Add both sugar and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Next, bring the speed down to medium and add egg, honey, vanilla, and yogurt until combined.
  5. Put the mixer on the lowest speed and add the dry ingredients slowly just until combined.
  6. Take the dough off the mixer and stir in chocolate chips with a spatula.
  7. Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes-1 hour (ideally the dough should sit over night – but I know it can get annoying to wait too long. But let them sit for at least an hour.)
  8. Once ready to bake, roll dough into 1-inch balls and place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 9-12 minutes (depends on size of your cookie/your oven) or until cookies begin to turn slightly golden around the edges. Once you take them out, immediately sprinkle them with extra sea salt.
  9. It is VERY important not to overbake these. They will look slightly underdone when you take them out, but let them cool on the cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, on a high speed, combine butter and peanut butter until combined.
  4. Add both sugars and mix until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Lower the mixer’s speed to medium and add vanilla and eggs.
  6. Once the eggs and vanilla are combined, lower the speed and slowly add the flour mixture until just combined.
  7. Add oats and chocolate chips.
  8. Using a cookie scoop, drop the dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment about 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake for 8-11 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges.

 

and after much deliberation, the winner in my family was…

winner

although there were some pretty convincing arguments for the oatmeal. (My family takes food very seriously). But test them both and see what you think.

ENJOY!

take me home

Vanilla Maple Granola

Granola-TitleGranola is my favorite way to start the day. Sometimes I pair it with yogurt or oatmeal, and sometimes I just eat it with milk. But over the years I have found granola can be used for so much more than breakfast. It really pairs well with a lot of things. I sprinkle it over a mid-day snack of apples and honey. I use it as a topping for my frozen yogurt. And sometimes I just grab a handful and eat it plain. It’s really an awesome thing to have lying around.Maple-Vanilla-Granola

And the great thing about making your own granola is that you get to pick and choose what goes into it. Always pick the raisins out of granola? Skip ‘em! Never enough almonds? Add some extra! It’s really great. You know where the ingredients are coming from (none of those preserving chemicals that are often found in the store bought stuff) and you get to dress it up any way you want!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oatsMaple-Syrup
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup cranberries or raisins

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Put cranberries or raisins aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine rolled oats, almonds, pecans, coconut, brown sugar and salt. Make sure the brown sugar is evenly distributed and there are no big chunks.
  4. Add maple syrup and vegetable oil and mix until the dry ingredients are evenly coated.
  5. Evenly spread the mixture on the prepared sheet.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the oats become a golden brown color. Every 15 minutes, take the pan out and stir the granola around.
  7. Once the granola is done, let cool for 5 minutes and then add cranberries and/or raisins to the mix.
  8. Let cool and enjoy! In a airtight container, the granola is good up to two weeks.Maple-Granola

take me home

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Balls

What a lovely treat In the past I have always called February 14th Valentine’s Day. It was simple, universal, and to be honest I had never really thought of calling it anything different. But this year, my friend introduced me to a new name, and I think it is so much better than the original. It really captures the true essence of the holiday, and the vast impact it has on our culture. So from now on, February 14th will be known as Men Panicking Day. Pretty great right?

I don’t know why, but for some reason this holiday seems to put a lot of pressure on men. If you don’t believe me, go into any candy/cupcake/bake shop on February 14th and just watch. I guarantee there will be more than one man running in for a last minute gift looking very stressed.

So in honor of this new name, I decided to make something simple for this special holiday. I took an old recipe and changed it up a little, and it turned out to be pretty great. So weather you are a man or a woman, panicked or calm, these White Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls are a great (and easy!) way to impress someone you love. WCPBB

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups thin pretzels crushed
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 4 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups good white chocolate

WCPBB3Directions

  1. Put pretzels in a plastic bag and crush into small bits.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and salt. Stir until all ingredients are completely blended and smooth.
  3. Add pretzel bits to peanut butter mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add powdered sugar and, again, mix thoroughly.
  5. Now take a spoonful of the mixture and form into a ball. (If the peanut butter starts sticking to your fingers, run your fingers under cold water, and begin rolling again).
  6. Place balls onto a plate or cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Put into the refrigerator to chill for at least 20 minutes.White Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
  7. After the peanut butter balls have chilled, prepare your chocolate. (I would recommend using a nice white chocolate. That means no Nestle white chocolate chips – use something like Ghirardelli. Nestle does not melt very well and you will end up with a mess of burnt white chocolate.) Put the white chocolate into a small microwaveable bowl. Microwave the for 30 seconds and then stir. Then continue this microwave/stir routine at 10 second intervals until the chocolate is completely melted.
  8. Place one peanut butter ball into the melted chocolate and gently roll it around with a fork until completely coated. Remove from the bowl with the fork and place onto a sheet of wax or parchment paper. Repeat for all other balls.
  9. Once they are all coated, place them back in the refrigerator for another 20-30 minutes.

Decorating

After they are coated in the white chocolate, you can be done with them. But if you want to make them look extra special…here are two ways you can decorate.

1. Colored Splatter

Once you are done coating all the balls, use food coloring to dye the white chocolate the desired color. Only add a little bit of food coloring at a time. If you add too much it can turn the chocolate hard. Put the colored chocolate back in the microwave for 10 seconds so it is easier to splatter. Dip a spoon into the chocolate and then hold the spoon two inches over the balls and move your hand back and forth. Repeat until you cover all the balls. Place in the refrigerator for another 10-15 minutes. WCPBB5

2. Drawing with White Chocolate

When white chocolate is runny it is very easy to draw with, and once it is dry it can be used as decorations. You can put the chocolate into a piping bag with a tip or just draw with the edge of a fork or spoon. Draw whatever you want on a sheet of parchment. Once it is dry you can just peel it off the parchment and attach it to the balls with a little dab of melted white chocolate. But remember if you are doing letters – draw them backwards. You will want to use the back side of your drawing as the decoration because it will be nice and smooth. WCPBB4And here is the result! Enjoy!Happy-Men-Panicking-Day

take me home

Campfire Bars

Itty Bitty Campfire Bars So as we’ve established…I really like s’mores. I think they are really great in every form. But this post is dedicated to my friend Abbi. As much as I like the chocolaty graham treat…this girl basically lives for a s’more. She is a pretty  healthy eater…so she is not going to waste her sugar intake on just anything. But you say s’mores and she is always game. For example…one summer, Abbi and her family decided to stock up on the Edy’s Limited Edition Summer S’mores Ice Cream so they could have the delicious treat all year around. They filled an entire freezer with just S’mores Ice Cream. Nothing else. They had over 60 quarts of ice cream…and it didn’t even last that long.
S'mores Ice Cream
But more importantly than Abbi’s love for s’mores…this recipe is dedicated to her because it is easily the most simple and delicious recipe I have ever made. Abbi likes to call herself a “baker in training”. She likes to bake…but she sticks with the slice and bake cookies and box cake. This recipe is about to change all of that. This recipe is totally made for a baker in training, and can all be done in one bowl. No real mess, and no real way to mess it up. So no matter how good or bad your kitchen skills are…you are going to be happy with how these come out.
Itty Bitty Bites
Itty Bitty Campfire Bars
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 10 full-size graham crackers, roughly chopped
  • 2 heaping cups of mini marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with non stick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
    3. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter about 1 minute on high power.
    4. Add brown sugar and mix until just incorporated.
    5. Add eggs, vanilla and whisk until smooth.
    6. Add flour and stir until just combined. DO NOT over mix.
    7. Give the graham crackers a good rough chop and add them to the mix. Make sure you get all the bits left over on the board. (Or you can do what I do and just crush them in the package they come in and dump the whole thing in.)
    8. Fold in marshmallows and chocolate chips. Make sure all of the marshmallows are covered with batter.
    9. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges have turned a golden brown.
    10. Allow bars to cool before cutting.Itty Bitty Bites

take me home

S’mores Bars

S'mores LoveI decided to start 2014 with one of my favorite flavor combinations of all times – marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker. The s’more. A seemingly simple campfire creation has turned into a cultural phenomenon – and for good reason. It’s amazing. Buzzfeed has given us 19 s’mores recipes that will change your life, while others have created beauty products inspired by the delicious gooey treat.

S'mores Perfume S'mores Chapstick

 

 

 

 

 

Long Winter Soap Co S’mores Perfume                             Suzy Scent Shop S’mores Chapstick

See what I mean…it is a big deal. And even though I love a traditional campfire s’more…these bars are easier to make, nicer to serve at a party, and don’t require a roaring campfire. (In my years I have made plenty of s’mores over the gas stove – it is just not the same as the real deal campfire.) So give these a try and see why everyone is going crazy over this ooey gooey goodness. S'mores Bars

S’mores Bars

  •   1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 bag of mini marshmallows
  • 3 Hershey bars
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9×13″ baking pan.
  2. In a electric mixer fixed with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  4.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.
  6. Press the dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edged become golden brown.
  7. Once you pull it out of the oven, place the Chocolate Layerchocolate chips over the cooked layer and let them sit for one minute. Then spread the chips into a complete chocolate layer.
  8. Once the chocolate is melted, spread 3/4 of the bag of marshmallows over the chocolate. Place it back in the oven until the tops of the marshmallows are golden brown.
  9.  Cool completely before cutting into bars.
  10. Once you cut them into to squares you can decorate with the Hershey’s bar.s'mores bars

take me home

Chocolate Chip Toffee Blondies

Chocolate Chip Toffee BlondiesI found this recipe 8 years ago…and even though I have made a lot of bloodies since then, I have yet to find a chocolate chip blondie that is better than this one. It has all the right elements of a perfect blondie, and then a little something extra. The soft and chewy chocolate chip base is filled with chocolate chips and then topped with a sweet toffee glaze and crunchy toffee bits. It is really something special.Chocolate Chip Toffee Blondies

Ingredients

Chocolate Chip Toffee Blondies

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Topping Toffee Bits

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup toffee pieces

Directions

Blondies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or PAM the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking pan.
  2. In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix until fully incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Once mixed, add to butter and sugar mixture on low speed until just combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips with a rubber spatula and spread batter evenly in the pan.
  6. Bake the blondies 25 to 30 minutes, or until the center is no longer runny when tested with a wooden skewer.

Chocolate Chip Toffee Blondies

Topping

  1. While the blondies are baking, make the topping.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the butter and milk over medium heat until the butter is melted.
  3. Once melted, stir in powdered sugar and brown sugar. Mix until the sugars are melted.
  4. Increase heat to medium-high and let simmer until it thickens. (About 5 minutes)
  5. Once the blodnies are out of the oven, use a wooden skewer or fork to poke holes in the blondies.
  6. Pour mixture over the blondies and then sprinkle toffee pieces on top.

take me home

Happy 1st Birthday Sprinkles for Breakfast

TutorialOne year ago I started this blog as a final project for my photography class. The assignment was to do something that expresses a part of who you are. This is what I came up with. My roommate convinced me I should continue the blog even after the class was over.  When I made it live, I was overwhelmed with the positive response I got.

For this cake I used my Birthday Cake recipe with buttercream filling. But instead of using buttercream for the outside, I used fondant. I traditionally like to stick with buttercream, but when painting, fondant is the way to go. So pick a color and work it into the fondant until you get the desired color. (I suggest using gloves because it can get a little messy.) Once you are happy with the color, you need to cover the cake with fondant. Here is a video to show you how

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vecmy4nKT-A]

After you have your cake covered, you can now begin theGold Paint Cake Tutorial

Have fun!

DIYsteps

and that’s it! Super simple. And then if you want to top it off with a golden animal candle…find out how to do it here.

take me home

Bourbon Pecan and Gelt Pie

Bourbon Pecan and Gelt PieWe were so happy when the Nosher asked us to come up with a special Hanukkah/Thanksgiving dessert. So we took our Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie, did a little tweaking, and created the ultimate Thanksgivukkah dessert!

Bourbon Pecan and Gelt Pie

For the crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

  • 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-2 Tbsp bourbon
  • 20-25 pieces of gelt—enough to cover the bottom of the crust.
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup halved pecans

Directions

To make the crust:

  1. Combine flour, salt and sugar with a light whisk.
  2. Add the shortening (you can mix with a dough blender or you can use your hands). Just work the shortening in until particles are size of small peas.
  3. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoons at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 tsp can be added if needed).
  4. Gather pastry into a ball and then shape it into a flattened round on a floured surface. Wrap pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm, cold and pliable (about 45 minutes).
  5. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out (on a floured surface) until it is about 2 inches larger than the upside down pie plate. Once it is big enough, flip the pie plate back over and lay the dough in the plate lightly pushing it to the bottom and the sides.
  6. With a fork, poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust and push the sides of the crust into the side of the plate. Then, to make the lip of the pie look fancy, use the fork to make marks in the dough on the lip of the plate (picture shown) and rip off any excess dough. Set aside for filling.Crust

Note: You can also use the extra dough to make decorations. Roll out the extra dough and cut out any shape you want – here I used a turkey. With a fork, mix 1 egg and 1 Tbsp of water. Lightly brush a small amount of the eff mixture over the cut out and then sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 until golden brown (about 2-5 minutes depending on how big your cut out is).

To make the filling and assemble pie:

  1. Mix melted butter or margarine and corn syrup together until it has a glossy look. Add salt and sugar and mix until it is completely integrated into the mixture. Mix in eggs and bourbon until the entire mixture is a pale yellow color (no darker yellow egg streaks). Set aside.
  2. Start filling the crust by placing the unwrapped gelt at the bottom of the pie crust. Add both chopped and halved pecans. Then add filling mixture.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. The edges of the crust should be a golden brown and the filling should be completely congealed.Gelt Pietake me home
Posted in Pie

Sugar Cookie Truffles

Sugar Cookie TrufflesPerfect for the upcoming holidays! These sugar cookie truffles are cute, delicious, and totally customizable. But for this post…we went with a yellow, blue and white Hanukkah theme. Enjoy!

truffs

Sugar Cookie Truffles

  • 1 recipe of my super soft sugar cookies
  • 3-4 tbs. cream cheese
  • 3 oz. baker’s white chocolate
  • colored sprinkles

Directions

  1. Make sugar cookies as directed and let cool.
  2. Once cookies are cool, place them into a food processor until they resemble a fine crumb mixture.
  3. Add cream cheese one tablespoon at a time until the mixture resembles a dough.
  4. Roll dough into small 1 inch balls and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Right before you remove the truffle balls, melt chocolate in a small bowl, and place a nice pile of sprinkles on a small plate.
  6. Once the chocolate is melted, take the balls out of the refrigerator. Dip the top 1/3 of each ball in the chocolate and then in the sprinkles.tutorial
  7. Once decorated all of the balls are decorated, cover them with saran and put in the fridge until about 10 minutes before you are ready to serve.trufflestake me home

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

Butterscotch Bliss

The only thing better than having friends who like to eat your baked goods is having friends who share delicious recipes with you to make those baked goods. This recipe comes from one of my oldest friends who just happens to share my love for baking. We loved baking so much we even came up with a plan to quit our real lives and start a bakery called Lsquared. (Her name is Layne and mine is Lindsay…get it?) But we decided finishing high school and then going on to college was probably a better idea. So even though there is no Lsquared….we have collected some pretty great recipes. These cookies are both soft and crispy, and sweet and salty at the same time. Really really amazing!Butterscotch Cookies

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbs. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbs. baking powder
  • 1 tbs. baking soda
  • ½ tbs. salt
  • 2 cups instant oatmeal
  • 1 pkg of butterscotch chipsButterscotch chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and two sugars.
  3. Add vanilla and eggs until combined.
  4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined.
  5. Add instant oatmeal and mix until combined.
  6. Fold in butterscotch chips with a spatula.
  7. Place inch balls onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

and last but not least…here is a picture of Layne and I in high school.Lsquared

take me home