Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

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If there is one truth in the universe that everyone can agree on, it’s that chocolate and peanut butter is a holy combination. A divine duo, if you will. Any dessert utilizing this decadent pairing will be an inevitable hit. It’s science!

Unless, of course, you happen to be allergic to peanuts, in which case I offer my most sincere condolences. It truly is that good

Which is why today I have yet another PB/chocolate recipe for you all today (see chocolate party bark, no-bake pb & chocolate cereal bars,  classic puppy chow, peanut butter chocolate chip banana bread,  peanut butter cup cheesecake bars, baked peanut butter cup s’mores dip) Chocolate-stuffed peanut butter cookie cups!

That’s right. 

Chocolate-stuffed peanut butter cookie cups. 

Chocolate stuffed peanut butter cookie cups

A chewy, rich, peanut-buttery cookie, cooked until golden and soft, filled with creamy milk chocolate and garnished with a drizzle, should you so desire. Goes well with a tall glass of milk and a smile. 😉 

As if that weren’t good enough, these bad boys get even better–there’s only six ingredients. That’s it! Right now, you are five ingredients away from your own chocolate-stuffed peanut butter cookie cups. All they take are a cup of peanut butter, a splash of vanilla, a cup of sugar(s), one egg, your milk chocolate of choice, and a tablespoon or so of coconut oil. 

You probably have all of those ingredients in your pantry, too. Simple and delicious. That’s how I like ’em!

To make these, you combine the peanut butter, sugars, and egg in a medium bowl, mixing until fully combined. The dough for these is rather sticky, so I recommend either chilling the dough for an hour or two before baking, or rolling the dough after running your hands under water so they’re slightly wet. It helps the dough to not stick so much!

You then put about a tablespoon of dough into each mini muffin pan divot, pressing it into the sides to leave room for the chocolate. Once that’s complete, you melt your chocolate and combine it with the coconut oil, which gives the chocolate a smoother, creamier texture without affecting the taste. You then add in your desired amount of chocolate into each cookie cup, leaving some for garnish. 

With the remaining dough, you seal the tops of the cookie cups, stamp with a fork to make the signature peanut butter cookie crosshatch, and then bake for fifteen-twenty minutes until the edges are golden and the middles are set. 

Now comes the tough part. 

You have to let them cool  c o m p l e t e l y  before taking them out of the tin, or the melted chocolate will cause the cookie cups to fall apart. Once you do get them out of the pan, however, you can drizzle with the remaining chocolate and enjoy with a tall, cold glass of milk. 

I can practically taste it now. 

Let’s get to it, shall we? 😀

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Chocolate Party Bark

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Hello, lovelies! I come to you on a bright Saturday morning with an equally bright, colorful recipe (and a fun name to boot!)–chocolate party bark.

That’s right, folks. 

A smooth combination of some good ol’ Ghiradelli semi-sweet and dark chocolate over crunchy, salty pretzels, and topped with a motherload of all things sweet and salty–popcorn, peanut m’n’m’s (not advised if you have a peanut allergy :P), sprinkles, and, of course, some peanut butter (which, as I found out, does not freeze. It kinda just stays peanut-buttery). 

Par-tay, amiright? 😉

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So I call this party bark for two reasons: 

1. Because of all of the texture and flavor and craziness that’s going on in one little snippet of this bark, it’s like a party in your mouth *cue party emojis*.

2. This kinda combines all of the snacks you’d find at a social gathering–a.k.a. a party–in one go–you’ve got your salty snacks covered with the pretzels, the quintessential popcorn, and your sweet treats (the m’n’m’s and the chocolate). It’s kinda mindblowing if you think about it–so much crammed into something so simple. 🙂

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Random tangent, but on the topic of things that are mindblowing, I found this website that puts everything in perspective, if you know what I mean. Not in the moral way where you realize how you literally have no real problems because there are kids going hungry in the world while you’re sittin’ here with a bowl of party bark at your fingertips–

Ahem. There’s a time for all of that, but that time is not now. Back to perspective. 🙂

It’s in the physical aspect, meaning that this website takes very smallest piece of matter known to man (the proton nucleus of a hydrogen atom, if you were interested) and the largest thing we know of (the observable universe, naturally) and puts both of these on a sliding scale with everything in between, from the Statue of Liberty to the Virgo Supercluster to a blue whale. It’s mind-boggling to me just how huge everything is and, at the same time, how there’s practically a separate universe underneath our fingertips that’s microscopically, almost inconceivably small. I love this kind of stuff, and thought I’d share it.

If you want to check it out, you can find that website here, and a video from Buzzfeed with a similar mind-boggling theme here. I recommend both! 

Now. 

If you’re anything like me, after watching these, your mind is utterly melted and you’re stumped by the complexity of it all. So, to give our fried brains a break, let’s get back to something a bit simpler–party bark! 

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Like I said, these are pretty darn simple to make–you’re looking at all of the ingredients you’ll need right here (minus the peanut butter. I added that later. Oh, and the sprinkles, too!). To make these, you need a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, a bowl filled with 3 cups of your favorite chocolate chips (I used a combination of semi-sweet and 60% dark), some popcorn, a bag of pretzels, a handful of m’n’m’s, and some colorful sprinkles to make it look pretty. All you gotta do is melt the chocolate, line the parchment paper with a couple of pretzels, pour the chocolate over the pretzels, making sure it’s smooth, even, and not too thick, and then top with whatever you please until your heart’s content. You then pop it in the freezer for oh, half an hour or so, and bam. Chocolate party bark. 

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I mean. 

Can we just. 

Glorious. Simply glorious. 

Before we get into the recipe, I’d like to say something about the PB. I don’t recommend using it, because it doesn’t freeze right, and though it tastes delicious, it feels kinda greasy when you’re holding a piece. I’d recommend using white chocolate or something instead. That’s all. 😀

So. Let’s get into it, shall we? 

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Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough Truffles

CDTcoverGood morning, lovelies! Today is a wonderful day. The sun is shining, I got my run in for the day, and I have these bad boys to keep me company. 

The ‘bad boys’ I reference are, of course, an inanimate combination of flour, sugar, and butter, amongst other things (and chocolate, duh). They are everyone’s favorite part of baking cookies (licking the spoon 😉 ) without any of the worry that you might get salmonella from raw eggs (has anyone really? From cookie dough?) all in a bite-sized, chocolate-coated, crushed-graham-cracker-sprinkled bite. 

Delectably adorable, no? 😛

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I don’t know if y’all would notice (ha! I’m not Southern :P), but I did try and switch up the background a bit. Those red and blue checked cloths are nice, but a bit repetitive, dontcha think? I think this green and white paisley is kinda sophisticated–I digress. 

They’re pretty easy to make, too! I mean, it’s not exactly rocket science to whip up some chocolate chip cookies, and these take all of the complicated stuff out of an already pretty average task–no worrying about baking-soda-to-baking-powder ratios, or preheating the oven to exactly the right temperature, or having burnt edges and wobbly middles because your dang oven just can’t cook evenly–

I’m rambling, aren’t I? 

Whoops? 😉 

Anywhoo, if you’ve got a stand mixer (heck, even if ya don’t), you can make these bad boys. All it takes is a bit of butter, some sugar, flour, salt, vanilla, and some good ol’ chocolate chips. 

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P.S. The chocolate’s not fuzzy, it’s just the condensation from being in the freezer–I photographed them right after they came out because they’re best served cold (more on that later)–moving on!

Alrighty, so. To make these, you’ll take your somewhat softened (or slightly microwaved) stick of butter and some light brown sugar and beat it all together until it’s fluffy. You’ll then add in your flour, vanilla, and salt, mixing it together until it looks something like this. 

DSCN2778You’ll then take your preferred form of chocolate chunk–chocolate chips, m’n’m’s (how many apostrophes are there??), candy bars, or a giant bar of chocolate hacked into squares with a big knife (what I did because we didn’t have any chocolate chips and I didn’t feel like going to the store 😉 )–and stir it in. Taste test. Add whatever needs adding–like milk, for texture purposes, or a splash more of vanilla–and move along. At this point you may want to stick the dough in the fridge for a bit so that it sets more and isn’t as sticky–easier to roll into balls later. 😀

DSCN2780After you’re good and happy with your dough (and if you can stop eating it enough to actually roll it into the truffles–will power!) you will do just that. You can use a spoon, or an ice cream scooper, or a fancy cookie dough scooper with an automatic release, or your hands (a la moi) to roll the dough into bite-sized spheres…nuggets…lumps…you get the picture. I recommend doing this on wax paper as opposed to tin foil or parchment paper because the dough will come off much easier and won’t freeze to the material (it’s a problem, I tell you). 

DSCN2788To make them look as good as they taste, all you have to do is melt two chocolate bars (who has time for fancy melting wafers or tempered chocolate?), and get some graham cracker crumbs. You’ll take the frozen nugget of dough, dunk it in the melted chocolate, and stick it in the graham cracker crumbs. Optionally, you can then try to be all artsy like that and drizzle them in some more chocolate. These will then go back into the freezer for at least half an hour (so that chocolate can set), and then are ready to be served. 

DSCN2798As far as storing them goes, I suggest keeping them in the freezer until you are ready to eat them–the cookie dough is still cookie dough, meaning that it’s still a bunch of uncooked butter, flour, and sugar that will get all melty and sticky if left out too long. The cold plays great with the texture of them, though, because the chocolate topping is hard, but then the dough is soft and thick, and the chunks of chocolate melding both perfectly. I would suggest using semi-sweet chocolate, because milk would be too sweet and bland, and dark chocolate would add a bitter edge to the truffle. I mean, who wants bitter cookie dough? 😛

DSCN2804Now that you have an upclose look at the glory of these truffles (they’re absolutely delicious–my siblings were fighting over them, I kid you not)…

Let’s get to it, shall we? 

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No Bake Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cereal Bars

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These, my friends, are a classic. Growing up, no Christmas Eve party, or visit to Grandma’s, was complete without a heaping plate piled with dozens of these bad boys. In my family, we call them Nana Bars, after my great-grandma. They’re chewy, peanut-buttery base is slathered with a rich chocolate-butterscotch layer that keeps you coming back for more (and more!). Make ’em once, and soon you’ll find yourself making them at every possible occasion. 😉

Like I said, they’re a classic! 

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The real reason I made these was because my younger sister wanted to bring them to school as her birthday treat (happy birthday, Annie!) , but I made a couple extra as a little treat to myself for getting through finals week. 

It was a lo-o-o-o-ng week, but I now have absolutely no homework, so I guess it’s kind of nice. 🙂

 It is because of this fact (and a four-day-long weekend!) that I am able to bring this blog post to you, folks. Thank the school system that puts finals after (?) Christmas break. 

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One of the (many!) things I love about these bars is the little twists hidden in the simplicity of them. The main flavors are chocolate and peanut butter, but underneath that you’ve got a swirl of butterscotch and the syrupy shift the peanut butter has thanks to the Karo syrup. When you bite into one, the chocolate layer is smooth and creamy, and the rice crispie part is crunchy and chewy and all things delicious! All of the flavors and textures meld together into a bite size square that arranges just so nicely on a plate. Perfect for a party! 

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As the name says, they’re no-bake (you won’t need your oven), adding to their simplistic charm even more–although me, being me, managed to make them as complicated as I could (I may have set an oven mitt on fire. Shhhh). But seriously, you can make a pretty good sized batch in less than an hour with only 6 ingredients, a microwave, and a fridge. I’d call that impressive, no? 😀

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You’ll start with a cup of light-colored Karo syrup and a cup of granulated sugar. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but these are kind of a dentist’s worst nightmare–they’re exquisitely cavity-inducing. Cut ’em small, and you’ll be fine, right? Everything in moderation!

Anywhoo, mix those two together in a large bowl and microwave them until they’re melted together. You’ll then stir in a cup of peanut butter until it’s all melted together in a sugary concoction of deliciousness. It smells (and tastes) like the inside of a Reese’s peanut butter cup…

Go ahead. 

Try it. Lick the spoon or something (but please don’t put it back in!). 

No judgment here! 😉 

In a v-e-r-y large bowl, you’ll measure out 5 cups of plain rice crispies, and mix in the peanut butter mixture until all of the cereal is evenly coated. After that, press the rice crispies into a parchment-paper lined 9″x13″ dish. It should look a lil’ something like this. 

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The rice crispies on the edges might be a little crumblier than the ones more towards the center of the dish, but that’s all right. The chocolate layer on top will smooth out those rough edges!

The above-said chocolate layer is so simple that I managed to catch an oven mitt on fire while making it. To make it, you literally need to take a bag of butterscotch chips and a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and melt them together in the microwave. Bibbidy-bobbidy-done

Instead of using the microwave, the little voice inside me that thinks its a culinary expert of some sort made the decision to melt them over the stove top, y’know, using a glass bowl on top of a pot of boiling water? Uh-huh. In trying to hold the hot glass bowl still with an oven mitt so I could stir, the oven mitt got tangled up in the fire and…well…

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Long story short, just use the microwave. Your poor oven mitts will thank you!

After you’ve got your butterscotch-chocolate mixture evenly stirred together, you’ll pour the chocolate over the rice crispies and smooth it over with a rubber spatula until all of the cereal is coated in a thick, glossy layer. 

Voila.

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Be still my beating heart. ❤

Then you’ll take this bad boy and pop it in the fridge for, oh, half an hour or so, until the chocolate layer is set. Watch an episode of Criminal Minds, get some laundry done, maybe finish up that English project you’ve had over a month to do–or do all three, like me! 😀

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Once they’re chilled and set, you can slice them into 1″x 1″ squares, so cute and perfectly bite-sized that they’re (almost!) guilt-free. 🙂

Alright, not really, but a girl can dream, right? 

Shall we get into it? 

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Special thanks to my grandma for giving me the recipe—they’re such a classic in my family, and I’m glad I can make them whenever I want now! Love you, Grandma!

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Fudgy Brownie Cookies

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Hello again, lovely peoples! 

I’m back for another post!

I feel like I’m behind on greetings…my last post was on the first of November (oh, goodness), so…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Merry Christmas!

And a very happy New Year! Oh my good Lord, it’s 2015.

Do you guys have any resolutions for the new year? Planned diets, exercise plans, stepping outside your comfort zone (even if it’s something as simple as swapping your nude lippie for a bright fuschia? No? Just me? ‘Kay.) As for me, I’m hoping to be a brighter, more optimistic person, and to try to live in the moment a bit more–I tend to focus on tomorrow instead of enjoying today. I need to do a better job of stopping and smelling the roses, y’know? 

That’ll be enough preaching from me. Shall I introduce la recette (ooh, French!)? 😉

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I bring you fudgy brownie cookies today. Decadent, soft & chewy chocolate cookies are bursting with gooey chocolate chips. These cookies and milk are a match made in heaven, let me tell you. I told myself I had to stop after my fourth. 😉 Fresh out of the oven, or heated in the microwave for a couple of seconds…there’s no other way. Not with this many chocolate chips involved!

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The ingredients are fairly simple, which is always a plus. Your basic cookie ingredients–all-purpose flour; an egg; a stick o’ buttah; some light brown sugar; it’s plain cousin, granulated sugar; pure vanilla extract; and baking soda–combine with some chunky sea salt, a bit of milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, and a cup of chocolate chips (the best part). You could use regular salt, but I prefer sea salt, just because I love the contrast between a sweet, gooey, chocolatey cookie and the chunky sea salt–it also provides a bit of texture, so between the thick base, the melted chocolate chips, and the sea salt, it’ll be like a cookie palooza in your mouth! 😀 Now who doesn’t want that? 

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Along with already-in-your-pantry ingredients, it won’t take rocket science to make these. You whisk together your dry ingredients, beat the butter, add in the sugars, the vanilla, the eggs, and the milk, pour in your dry ingredients, measure out a generous cup of chocolate chippies, and then chill it in the fridge for at least an hour. While you’re waiting, feel free to have a dance party in your kitchen, watch a couple of episodes of Criminal Minds (great show), or catch up in the book you’re reading (a la moi–I’m reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, because I want to see the movie, and oh my goodness gracious…cookies are necessary when reading a book this intense. Take my word for it.)

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After an hour is up, roll out about a tablespoon and a half of dough into little balls, 9 per cookie sheet. The dough is much easier to work with once chilled! They’ll cook in the oven (which as been heated to 350 degrees, of course) for about 10 minutes. They’ll look puffy, and slightly underdone–that’s a good thing! As they cool, they’ll settle, and if they’re still too puffy for your liking, you can press down on them with the back of a spoon. Take advantage of this cooling time to stick in a couple (or a lot) more chocolate chips. They’ll melt and make the cookies even more irresistible (is that possible?). 

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These bad boys are fresh outta the oven. Yes, please!

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I wish I’d made these for Christmas Eve–I bet good ol’ Saint Nick would’ve left a couple extra gifts underneath the tree if he’d had some fudgy brownie cookies! When I was younger, that’s what boggled my little mind about Santa–not the whole flying-around-the-world overnight business, or making gifts for billions of people and then fitting them all on one lil’ sleigh, or the tags on the gifts that were written in handwriting suspiciously similar to my dad’s…no; how on earth did he eat so many cookies? 

The world may never know. 😉 

Let’s get into it, shall we? 

 

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I just wanted to apologize for the weird square-2015-Sweet-Gra at the bottom of my pictures. I was trying out a new watermark and obviously…it didn’t translate well! Thanks 🙂

Original recipe here.

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Halloween Candy Cookie Bars

 

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Hello, friends. 

I can guess what you’re all thinking: 

Oh my goodness! She’s back from the dead!

In the spirit of a belated-Halloween…muahahahaha. 

Just kidding! I actually had a day to myself…as well as a bucket of leftover Halloween candy, which is why this post is coming to you today. Surprise!

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Onto the very colorful subject of this post (literally)…

Halloween Candy Cookie Bars! Yay! 😀

A complex, chewy, buttery cookie base is dotted with a plethora of chocolatey Halloween candy that makes for an irresistible treat. Plus, it comes in bar form, which I seem to have developed an affinity towards…

And why not?

With cookies, you have to worry about them spreading in the oven and them being too flat and cookie sheets being too hot between batches and chilling the dough and spacing them 2-inches apart, blah, blah, blah (not saying that I don’t love a good cookie). With cookie bars, you plop le batter into le pan, pop it in le oven, and BOOM–le cookie bars. 

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For today’s bars, you’ll start out with an armful of Halloween candy, preferably of the chocolate variety–I mean, if Nerds and Sour Patch float your boat, by all means, go ahead, but if I found a Skittle in my bars, I think I’d be kinda grossed out. Just sayin’.

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You’ll then roughly chop the candy into small chunks. Make sure to grab a couple packets of m’n’m’s (which I’m almost positive you have laying around somewhere) and dump ’em in. They’re what give the bars their colorful pop! Plus, unlike the other chocolates that melt all over the place while they’re baking, the candy coating keeps m’n’m’s shape pretty well. By the end, you should have cut up about two cups worth of candy. 

 

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After doing so, you’ll want to gather your other ingredients–flour, sugar, baking soda & powder, some salt, some vanilla, some honey, two eggs, a cup of melted unsalted butter, and a pinch of instant coffee. Now, you may be thinking, instant coffee? Whaaaa? but it helps to cut the sweetness of these bars. The original recipe I was following called for molasses (which I conveniently didn’t have), so I substituted honey for texture and consistency purposes, and a teaspoon of instant coffee to give it a deeper, more complex flavor–which it totally did! It adds a subtle espresso note when you first take a bite, but before you can even place your finger on what that might be, the buttery, salty notes of the honest-to-goodness cookie base take over. That, or you hit an m’n’m, and are absorbed in candy-coated-chocolatey goodness. 😉

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As per usual, the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt (of which I used coarse), and instant coffee are whisked together. Piece of cake (or cookie bar). 

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Next comes a slightly more hands-on (literally) part. You’re going to take the honey, vanilla, and sugar, and work it all together with your fingers so that there’s not any sugary-honey clumps. The sugar will be lightly tinted yellow. It smells a little strange, but bear with me. Baking is an art! 

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After that, you’ll stir together the melted butter and the eggs until it’s even. You’ll then mix the butter mixture and the sugar mixture into the dry ingredients. The batter will be thick, wet, and kinda sticky. Measure out a rough cup of the chopped candy and stir it into the batter before plopping it in a 9×13″ pan and topping it with the remaining candy. 

DSCN2389_FotorMmmmm….

Yes. So much yes. 

Can you see the thickness of the batter? The dark dots of coffee? The chunks of nougat and caramel and peanut and deliciousness

As far as baking times go, the recipe I was following said to bake it for up to half an hour, but mine took at least 40 minutes to set enough that it wasn’t gooey in the middle. Then again, our oven’s sorta messed up (the door doesn’t close all the way), so baking times may vary. Watch it while it bakes, and after the 25-minute mark, poke it in the middle with a toothpick to test for consistency. 

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Once it’s done baking, you get this glorious hodgepodge of melted candy and cookie. See the rivers of gooey chocolate, the splotches of multicolored candy coating. Gorgeous. 

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These bars, due to all of the melted candy–and the chewy nature of the cookie base–are thick and they’ll stick to your teeth. They taste AH-MAZING paired with a tall glass of cold milk (as most cookies do). The taste is pretty complex, what with the espresso and the caramel and the nougat and the chocolate and the peanut and the cookie base all melding together into this amazing combination that just rocks your world! 

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Seriously, though. It’s hands-down the best way to eat up leftover Halloween candy. 😉 Let’s get to it, shall we? 

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***I’d like to dedicate this post to my great-grandma, who passed away this morning. She led a wonderful, long life and had a very big heart–and a sweet tooth to match. We love you, Nana.*** ❤ 

Adapted from this recipe here

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Loaded S’Mores Cheesecake Bars

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Let’s talk about graham crackers. 

Graham crackers are good, y’know? They’re sweet, they’re crackery, they’re crumbly and make fantastically easy crusts when mixed with a lil’ bit of butter. 

They’re just good. 

How about marshmallows? They’re so squishy and sugary and pretty darn delicious when toasted, and–let’s be real, here–they taste significantly better in miniature form. 😉 

They’re good, too. 

And then there’s chocolate, which quite possibly is the only food that can match my (slightly ridiculous) love of peanut butter. Chocolate is better than good. 

Somehow, if you put all of these solidly good things together, they create magic! 

Something that is better than good, better than great, something that tastes like summer and bonfires and long, hot days spent at the beach or by the pool. 

Can you tell yet? 

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😀

So, to sum it all up, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to l-o-v-e today’s recipe. It combines the already magical s’more with something equally delicious–

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A crispy graham cracker crust is layered with creamy cheesecake that is studded with chocolate chips and then piled with a mountain of marshmallows, melted chocolate, and crumbled graham crackers . 

All in one easy to make, easy to serve, and easy to devour bar. 

😉 

It’s possible that I may like these more than it’s peanut butter cup counterpart…

Shhh! 

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To add to their deliciousness (is that possible?), these bars are so full of texture. The crust is crumbly and crackery, the cheesecake is creamy and smooth, the marshmallows are gooey and sticky, and the toppings add a boatload of crunch. 😀 And it’s not so much that it’s overwhelming, just enough to accentuate all of the deliciousness you already got goin’ on with these bad boys. 

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On a different note, I don’t think I’ll ever make cheesecake in the traditional way–not when making cheesecake in bar-form is so much better! There’s no special pans or cooling times, and it’s easier to serve–plus, you don’t have to worry about cracks in your cheesecake; you can just pile on the toppings! 

These bars are no exception. You make your graham cracker crust and somehow find the willpower not to eat it all with a spoon (I have faith in you!), spread it in an 8×8″ pan, and bake it for ten minutes while enjoying how delicious it makes your house smell. 

Then, while that’s baking, you whip up your cheesecake filling. Cream cheese, a bit of flour, sugar, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla all come together in a creamy concoction that will be the cheesecake layer. 2/3 cup of chocolate chips added to the batter make things even more delicious! 

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You then pour the cheesecake batter over the graham cracker crust and smooth it out with a rubber spatula. This’ll come out after around 25 minutes, when it still needs to cook for a little longer, and this is when you’ll pile on the mini marshmallows–feel free to cover the surface completely! The more, the merrier, right? After that, it’ll go back into the oven for another 8-10 minutes. 

While this is finishing baking, you can assemble the toppings. I went ahead and melted some chocolate chips so the chocolate would harden as the cheesecake cooled (yes, please!), but you can use hot fudge or chocolate syrup if you’d like. I also crumbled some graham crackers with my fingers to sprinkle over the top like fairy dust. 🙂 

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Once those 8-10 minutes are up, out comes the cheesecake, all warm and topped with very puffy marshmallows! Here, you’ll add the finishing touches–some drizzled chocolate and a sprinkling of graham cracker crumbs should do the trick! They’ll then have to cool in the fridge for at least 4 hours–but boy, is it worth it when they’re done! 

Enough rambling from me. Let’s get to it, shall we? 

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Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars

 

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A sweet graham cracker crust is piled with a generous layer of tangy cheesecake filling studded with peanut butter cups and then topped with a rich, smooth river of chocolate ganache–with yet another peanut butter cup on top!

This recipe makes me weak in the knees. 

Let’s analyze the title to figure out why:

One, I mean, peanut butter cup–that much is a given. Chocolate + peanut butter = *magic*

Two…cheesecake. Please. Just…cheesecake. Of course. 😉

And three–it’s in bar-form. This may not seem like much, but putting cheesecake into bar form is like taking a shortcut. No spring-form pan, no having to worry about cracks in your precious cheesecake, yada yada yada. The beauty is in the simplicity.

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And then there’s the parts not mentioned in the title that make these bars so deadly…

Ahem? Did I hear graham cracker crust? Yes, please! Nothing really beats the crumbly, crackery texture and sweet, buttery flavor this adds to the bars.

And then–chocolate ganache? Goodness. I feel so posh saying that I made chocolate ganache. Look at me, I made chocolate ganache. Like that’s the next level up in baking. 😀 Plus, I licked that spatula clean. Chocolate chips…and butter…and cream…and more…how have I not made this before? 😉

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This is my new favorite picture, by the way. 😀

Making these bars was a two-day process, so those who struggle with patience may find it a tad bit hard to wait a whole entire night for these to chill. They took a relatively short amount of time to put together with nothing more extravagant than heavy cream, so, you know, you win some, you lose some. 🙂

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These are pretty darn simple to make for the wow result you get. First, you have to take a packet of graham crackers and pulverize it into little crumbs. I did this with a plastic baggie and the heel of my hand, but that hurt, so I wouldn’t recommend it! You could use a bag and a rolling pin, or a food processor. Whichever’s easiest for you!

You’ll then combine it with some melted butter and some granulated sugar. It took all of the willpower in me not to eat it all with a spoon. It just smells divine. 😉

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After you press that mixture into a greased 8×8″ pan, you’ll pop it in the oven for oh, ten minutes or so. While that’s baking, you can cut up the peanut butter cups that will be mixed into the cheesecake batter. Again, it took immense amounts of willpower to not eat all of them (although quite a few went missing…funny, huh? 😉 )

Once the graham cracker crust is done baking, you’ll want to let it cool, so once it’s set aside, it’s time to mix up the cheesecake batter! 😀

Cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, flour, vanilla, and eggs are beat together (at different times) using a stand mixer. The sliced peanut butter cups are folded in last (ever heard the expression about “saving the best for last”?).

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You will then proceed to spread the beautiful cheesecake batter all over the now-cooled graham cracker crust. Once again, this will go in the oven, but this time for the agonizingly long time of 40 minutes. While these are baking, you’ll want to use the time to clean up any messes, wipe down countertops, make random stop-motion videos on your phone…etcetera, etcetera. 😀 The possibilities are endless.

A note: Don’t overbake the cheesecake (hey, it rhymes!). If you do, it will start to get some funky-lookin’ cracks while it cools and won’t be nice. A cheesecake is done when the edges are set and the middle is firm but wobbly.

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Once your cheesecake is done, set it aside to cool–and then you can start making your ganache. Heavy cream and butter are melted in a saucepan and poured over chocolate chips just before the cream & butter start to boil. Once that’s all nice and smooth, two tablespoons of powdered sugar and added into the mix.

And voilapure deliciousness. 

The chocolate melts in your mouth. ❤

Once you’ve finished that, you can slice ten more peanut butter cups in half. 😀

Once the cheesecake is cooled c o m p l e t e l y, you’ll pour this beautifulness all over the top, and then arrange the sliced peanut butter cups in rows. With the cut side down, it looks cool if you alternate which way each is facing (i.e. up or down).

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And then you’ll stick it in the fridge…

And wait. 

Let it chill for a good twelve hours (overnight) before slicing & serving. 😦 I know, I know… 😉

Let’s get to it, shall we?

What you’ll need…

For the crust:

  • 1 packet (8 sheets) graham crackers
  • 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp. salted butter

For the cheesecake:

  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg & 1 yolk
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 24 peanut butter cups, chopped

For the ganache:

  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 10 peanut butter cups, sliced in half
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease an 8×8″ pan and set aside.
  2. Take the graham crackers and break them into small crumbs using a plastic bag and rolling pin or a food processor. Combine with the sugar.
  3. In a medium bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the graham cracker mixture until even and press into greased pan. Pat down using your hands or the bottom of a measuring cup until flat.
  4. Bake the graham cracker crust for 10 minutes.
  5. While the crust is baking, begin the filling. Using a stand mixer and paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and flour on medium-high speed until smooth.
  6. On a lower speed, add in the egg and egg yolk and mix until combined. Next, add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until even. Slowly fold in the peanut butter cup pieces.
  7. Once the crust has cooled, pour the cream cheese filling on top and smooth out with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until edges are set and the middle is wobbly but firm.
  8. While the cheesecake is cooling, put together the chocolate ganache. Measure out the chocolate chips in a medium-sized heat-proof bowl. Set aside.
  9. In a small saucepan, heat the butter and cream until just boiling. Pour over the chocolate chips and wait a moment before stirring until the mixture is smooth.
  10. Once the cheesecake is completely cooled, pour on the ganache, smoothing with a rubber spatula. Press on the sliced peanut butter cups, cut-side down, in rows.
  11. Place the cheesecake in the fridge and cool for at least 12 hours (overnight) before slicing & serving.
  12. Enjoy!

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Original recipe here.

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Homemade Ice Cream Oreos

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Creamy, homemade vanilla ice cream is sandwiched between chewy, fudgy chocolate cookies that are like regular ol’ Oreos more fabulous cousin.

Could you ask for anything better? 😉

Each bite is chewy

it’s chocolaty

it’s creamy and sweet and oh-so-satisfying.

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These pictures don’t do these decadent little morels justice! For one, the ice cream decided it didn’t want to be helpful and photogenic and it melted allllll over the place. Secondly, my camera decided it didn’t want to focus. Frustration really set in once I uploaded the photos to my computer and found almost half unusable! What a world, what a world. 😀

Oh, but do they make up for it in taste.

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Let’s start off with the filling. Unlike traditional Oreos, these have a vanilla ice cream filling. I thought that these would be a little more summery using ice cream instead of the traditional cream filling (which actually has no cream in it…) but feel free to stuff these with your favorite frosting. Delicious! Or swap out the vanilla for chocolate, or mint chip, or coffee…mmm…. 😉

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Onto the cookies themselves!

Above you see a picture of what looks like regular ol’ cocoa powder.

Operative words: looks like

It still is cocoa powder, but a special type. For these cookies, you’ll want to use dutch-processed cocoa powder (or Hershey’s Special Dark) which will give it that richer, Oreo-like taste. It turns the dough super-dark and makes it extra delicious. Trust me, that dough is dangerous. 😀

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With the cookies, chilling time is mandatory. Only a half-hour or so, so don’t get too worried. Once you put them in the fridge, that’s when you’ll preheat your oven, clean up whatever mess you’ve made so far, etcetera, etcetera. 🙂

On a greased cookie sheet, you’ll roll them into balls using a teaspoon or so of dough each. You could use more, of course, for larger cookies. I like mine to be snack-sized. 😀

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Here you can sort of see the size comparison.

Other than that, they’re super easy to make and pretty stinkin’ delicious!

C’mon now, go ahead and make yourself some ice cream Oreos. You know you want to!

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What you’ll need…

For the cookies:

  • 1 & 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • your favorite vanilla ice cream or your favorite frosting
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Using a stand or hand-held mixer, beat the softened butter until light and creamy.
  3. Add in the sugars, beating well until combined.
  4. Beating on low speed, add in the egg and vanilla and continue mixing until even.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet, keeping the mixer going on low speed until everything is combined. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  6. Cover the dough and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Chilling time is mandatory!
  7. Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line some cookie sheets. Set aside.
  8. Once the cookies are ready to be baked, roll into small balls and bake for 6-8 minutes. Do not overdo these cookies! They may look slightly underdone fresh out of the oven but will firm as they cool.
  9. While the cookies are cooling, prepare whatever filling you choose. Be sure the cookies are cooled completely before adding in your filling, or else it will become a runny (albeit delicious) mess.
  10. Enjoy!

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Original recipe here

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I also put together a little video while I was making these. It’s not the highest quality, but I thought it was cute! 🙂 Enjoy!

 

(Healthy!) Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

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What if I told that this bowl of delectable ice cream was healthy enough to eat for breakfast? 😉

Probably one of three things:

“No way!” you say, “You toy with my emotions!” or…

“Ick. It’s probably made with pureed avocados and gritty flax meal and other nasty junk. No way, Jose!” or…

“Tell me more. I need to know the secret of such bewitching deliciousness.”

I sincerely hope you’re thinking the latter! 😀

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Here’s your answer–

bananas!

Who knew, right? 😉

Overripe bananas that are frozen and blended up turns into ice cream!

Sorcery, I tell you. Sorcery is the only answer . 😀

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Oh, just look at that!

How can that be healthy enough for breakfast? So what if it’s made of bananas?

Well, lemme tell ya why.

No added sugar.

No cream.

No butter.

But there is plenty of good stuff in there!

Bananas – chock full of vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, as well as fiber

Unsweetened cocoa powder – boasts the benefits of low calories, iron, manganese, and zinc, all of which work wonders for your body

Vanilla – helps reduce anxiety & stress

Honey – prevents cancer & heart disease, as well as helping with ulcers and being anti-bacterial and anti-fungal

In other words

You should be eating this for breakfast! 😉

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Now that we know why we should eat, let’s talk about it. 🙂

First off, if you don’t like bananas, you probably won’t like this. I thought that was a given, but in case you were wondering. 😉 The banana taste isn’t prevalent by any means, but it is there–you were warned! 😉

Secondly, the texture is nice and smooth, very much like a cross between a custard and a pudding. It’s creamy without having cream!

Thirdly, it’s quite simple to make. You slice up some overripe bananas and freeze them for at least six hours. You pop ’em in a blender with all of the goodies to make whatever flavor you like. BAM! Ice cream! 😀

Yay!

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You probably want to eat this bowl. Just like I did. 😉

Let’s get to it, shall we?

What you’ll need…

  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 2 tbsp. + 1  tsp. (to taste) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. milk of choice
  • 1/2 tsp. sweetener (I used honey)
  1. Slice both bananas and place them in a bowl. Cover the bowl and freeze the banana slices for at least six hours.
  2. In a blender, add in the frozen banana slices, the cocoa powder, the vanilla, the milk, and the sweetener. Blend until smooth and even in texture. You may have to scrape down the sides in between blending.
  3. Once all smooth and creamy, scoop out into a bowl. Taste and add more sweetener or cocoa if desired.
  4. Enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkles! Store in the freezer.

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