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. πŸ˜‰ 

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? πŸ˜€

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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

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homemade vanilla ice cream

Hello, friends!

With summer in the air and 11 miles under my belt today, I figured a good way to kick off the regular blogging season (!!!) would be with a recipe for some classic vanilla ice cream. 

Except this is no ordinary vanilla–this is the best dang vanilla ice cream that you will evah have, lemme tell you. Cross my heart and hope to die, I promise–well, cross my heart and hope you enjoy it as much as I do, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it. Oh, you know what I mean. πŸ™‚

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So last year, we gave my dad an ice cream maker for Father’s Day, and this past week we realized that we’d only pulled it out once in the entire time we’d had it (which kind of makes sense, given that no one is really ever in the mood for some Rocky Road when it’s 20 below freezing outside–I digress πŸ˜‰ ) With a weekend promising 80 degree weather and only partly cloudy skies (we’ll take it!), we decided to bust it out. And we’re very glad we did. πŸ˜›

Now, you might be wondering what makes this particular ice cream so much better than regular ol’ Edy’s. It’s all frozen sugar milk in the end, right? But, as always, the fact that it’s homemade just makes all the difference. It tastes much richer and creamier than the tubs you can buy at the store, to start, so the texture’s just off the charts. It’s s-u-p-e-r smooth, almost like soft serve, and it coats your whole mouth with creamy, vanilla-y amazingness. 

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The other major (and I mean major with a capital M) difference is the vanilla flavor itself. After trying this, all of the storebought stuff will pale in comparison–you can tell that the homemade version is made from higher quality, fresher ingredients, and there’s no freezer burn to deal with! That’s always a plus, right? 

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The other thing I love about this is the simplicity of it all. No weird preservatives, no artificial flavoring or “diet” ingredients, just good, wholesome ice cream. Well. 

Never mind ;). 

Back to the ice cream and it’s beautiful simplicity. You take some whole milk, some heavy cream, a dash of sugar (alright, maybe a little more than a dash), and some pure vanilla extract. That’s it. You beat it all together with a handheld mixer, pour it in the freezer bowl, turn on the machine, and let it do what it was made to do. And, because of the ice cream maker we have (a Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2-Qt. Frozen Yogurt-Sorbet Ice Cream Maker, if you’re interested), you don’t need anything other than the machine itself. Simple! You’ll dump in the milk mixture and it will look like this

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…and half an hour later it looks like this <3…

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It’s magic, I tell you! 

The only complicated part of it all is making sure the freezer bowl is completely frozen before you try to make the ice cream. It sounds like it would be an easy thing to remember, but, knowing me, I managed to screw it up. πŸ™‚ You see, I am the queen of on-the-spot baking. I never know what I’m going to make in advance, so I usually have the recipe pulled up on my phone, generally know the ingredients I’ll need, and then I’ll just go. Y’know, instead of “letting the butter sit at room temperature for a couple of hours”, I pop it in the microwave for fifteen seconds. 

That doesn’t work when the freezer bowl has to stay in the freezer for anywhere from six to twenty-two hours before it’s ready to use…

…this post was supposed to be up yesterday…

Oops? 

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And then, once you have this ice cream, you can do anything you want with it. Top your favorite pie (when I made it the first time, I served it with this peach cobbler), make some ice cream Oreos , or make it into some sundaes like I did here! Plop a scoop of ice cream down, drizzle on a layer of chocolate syrup, and add another scoop (of course). Top with copious amounts of whipped cream and sprinkles. 

Lots. 

And lots. 

Of sprinkles. 

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Voila!

Let’s get to it, shall we? 

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Apple Pie Burritos

DSCN2518_FotorAren’t Mondays off great? No school, an extra day to do whatever you didn’t over the weekend (*cough* math homework *cough*), and the next weekend comes even faster. 

Plus, tomorrow’s Fat Tuesday. 

It’s going to be a pretty great week if I don’t say so myself. πŸ™‚

Since I had all this extra time this past weekend, I decided it was a good time to get a blog post up. And since my mom had just come back from Costco with enough apples to feed a small army (my family eats a l-o-t of apples), a dessert involving my favorite fruit was bound to happen. And thus, the apple pie burrito was formed. 

 

DSCN2526_FotorBeautiful, aren’t they? 

Unpopular opinion time: my least favorite part of the apple pie is the crust. I can’t get enough of the apples, though, all soft and warm and swimming in syrupy, spicy goodness, and the crust always tastes off. Too buttery and leaning too far towards the savory end of the spectrum to complement the apples for me. Most times I’ll pass on the crust and just eat a big ol’ pile of those baked apples. πŸ˜€

Not with these bad boys. 

To start, the filling is de-li-cious–you can use the canned apple pie filling you can buy at the store, but the homemade kind is always better. πŸ˜‰ And then, instead of a weirdly savory crust, you’ve got a cinnamon-sugar coated crispy-crunchy tortilla encasing the filling. 

And, as if they weren’t irresistible enough, the hardest part about these is folding the tortilla. 

What’s not to like?

DSCN2509_FotorYou’re going to start with 10-14 flour tortillas, depending on how much filling you have. (I’ll include the recipe for the homemade apple pie filling below!). I rolled mine out as thin as they could be with a rolling pin because I felt they were a little thicker than I’d like, but it’s all a personal preference. You do you, bro. πŸ™‚

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 You’ll then spoon about 2 tablespoons of apple pie goodness onto the tortilla, far enough over that it’ll all be encased once you burrito your tortilla. 

Now, I didn’t want any of my filling leaking out of the tortilla while it baked, so I folded it like this: 

DSCN2511_Fotor DIAGRAMSo you basically fold the sides in, then the top over just enough to cover the filling, then the bottom two corners just a bit, and then you roll it alllllllllllll together until it resembles something like this:

DSCN2512_FotorOr you can always just roll it up normally without all the bells and whistles and make yourself some Apple Pie Taquitos. Whatever floats your boat. πŸ˜€

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After you’ve successfully burritoed your tortilla, you’ll either dunk or brush said burrito in melted butter. This not only helps the cinnamon-sugar to adhere to the surface, but it browns the tortilla nicely and adds a richness to the dessert. 

DSCN2514_FotorAnd then, my most favorite part–the cinnamon sugar. Bathe that buttered burrito in the cinnamon-sugar until it’s coated to your heart’s desire. In the above pictures of the finished burritos you can see that the sugar caramelized on top while it baked…h-e-a-v-e-n. 

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Pop your burritos in the oven for five or so minutes until they’re hot and golden. They’re amazeballs fresh out of the oven with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream– Γ  la mode, if you will. Of course, you can store them in an airtight container afterwards and heat one up in the microwave whenever you so please. It’s the best of both worlds: immediate and delayed gratification! πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ™‚

 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? πŸ˜€

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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! πŸ˜‰ 

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! πŸ˜€

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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. πŸ™‚

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 recipeβ€”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!)? πŸ˜‰

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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. πŸ˜‰ 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! πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜‰ 

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 πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜€

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. πŸ˜‰

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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. πŸ˜‰ 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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Juicy Berry Scones

sconeA whole week and a half has gone by since I’ve baked, shot, and blogged a recipe. 

I’ve missed it! 

My vacation was ah-mazing, though–I got to spend time with a lot of family I don’t see very often, I went paddleboarding and horse-back riding, I got to visit a place without cars, and enjoy a five-course meal two nights in a row. Plus more. 

So pretty darn amazing. πŸ˜€

But it’s good to be back, so let’s get to it!

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These scones are pretty much unlike any other scone you’ve ever had. 

They’re not dry (bleh). 

They’re not crumbly

And they are most certainly not bland

The texture of these is sorta like a muffin…just in the shape of a scone. Each bite is also studded with your choice of  juicy, plump blueberries or a pocket of ripe, sweet strawberries. They’re also something you can feel good about eating for breakfast–not only are they bursting with fresh fruit, but there’s also only four *teensy-weensy* tablespoons of sugar in the entire recipe. 

That’s not a lot at all

Maybe you can even have two. πŸ˜‰ 

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These scones were inspired by our two-day stay at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. The whole place is such a throwback (but a very welcome one at that!). One of the things they offered there is afternoon tea (I know, right?). Trust me, it fulfilled every little-girl tea party fantasy inside me–and then some. πŸ˜€ They gave everyone a cup of tea (which I’ve found is delicious with a lemon wedge and a lump o’ sugar), and then these adorable personal plates of snacks, one with sweets and another with heart-shaped cucumber sandwiches and the like (!!!). 

Anywho, they gave you a little scone on one of the plates that turned out to be everyone’s favorite part of the experience. Along with that, they gave you miniature jars of raspberry preserves (the best kind of jelly), and I don’t know if I’ve been living under a rock or something (more likely than not), but the scones became infinitely more delicious when slathered with jam. 

Long story short, because we liked the scones so much, I decided to look up a scone recipe and make some for myself. And they are de-licious! 

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To make them, you start out with a cup of fresh fruit (or frozen, if ya want). I did half a cup of blueberries and a half a cup of strawberries because I’m indecisive like that, but you can choose whichever fruit you’d like. After quartering the strawberries, I topped both cups of fruit with a tablespoon & a half of sugar and set them aside to let it all soak in. πŸ™‚ 

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Then you can go ahead and whisk together the dry ingredients–all-purpose flour, some sugar, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. The yellow lumpy pile is powdered buttermilk, which was oh-so-conveniently in my pantry. If you have normal buttermilk on hand, you’ll wait to stir that in until later. 

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Then you can plop in some cubed butter and work it in with either your fingers or a pastry blender, much like making a pie crust. You will have butter under your fingernails for the next week and a half, but it was all in the name of berry scones. That makes it worth it, right? πŸ˜‰ 

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Once it’s all worked in, it should look a lil’ somethin’ like this. 

At this point, you’ll mix in your buttermilk and fruit. If you’re using two separate kinds of fruit (a la moi), you should wait to add the fruit until you divide the completed batter in half. Then you can dump in the fruit that you set aside…

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and mix it allllllll together. 

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The texture of the batter is very…weird. It’s not like traditional scone batter in the sense that you can plop it out of the bowl and knead it. It’s almost like muffin batter in consistency (very sticky!), which means it lends itself very well to being spooned out onto a well-greased cookie sheet, like you’d do with cookie dough. Bake them for fifteen minutes and you’ve got yourself some scones. 

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Try topping your scones with jelly. Please. 

It’s life-changing. 

Let’s get to it, shall we? 

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 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. πŸ˜‰ 

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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πŸ˜€

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. 

πŸ˜‰ 

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. πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ™‚ 

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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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Juicy Peach Cobbler (and Yearly Recap)

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Has it really been a year?

A whole year since I started this blog? 

That’s insane. 

It’s weirding me out! 

But, unless the calendar is lying (in which case we are all in massive amounts of trouble), a year ago today I posted my first recipe (which happened to be for some de-licious snickerdoodles). πŸ˜‰ 

I didn’t start SGL with the expectation of gaining popularity, or recognitio,n or even for it to be read at all (that would be nice, though!). I love(d) baking, writing, and photography, and this blog gave me this amazing outlet to express all of this random creativeness into a cohesive little corner of the interweb. πŸ˜€

In the year that I’ve been blogging, so-o-o-o many people have supported me in one way or another–be it introducing me to a food (Lizzardbacon); allowing me to photograph treats we’d made together at her house (Anna); setting up an Instagram account because I was clueless on how (my aunt Kate); telling people about my blog (my family, especially!); acting as an inspiration (Sally’s Baking Addiction, Joy the Baker, Bakingdom, just to name a few!); and even reading it (all of you!). 

It’s so surreal to think that people take the time to visit my blog, read my posts, leave a comment, and share it with people. It’s mind-blowing to me! 

All the same, thank you, guys! I hope this next year is as fabulous as the last. πŸ˜€

Shall we do a yearly stat recap? I think so!

  • My most-pinned recipe was the Death-by-Chocolate Zucchini Bread and was pinned over 800 times
  • The most views I’ve gotten in a day was 200 
  • People from 57 different countries around the world have visited SGL
  • There are 37 posts in total on Sweet Grace’s Life
  • 27 of those posts are recipes
  • 6 of them are Sweet Life Bites Weeklies 
  • There was one 6 month hiatus this year (whoops!) 
  • There are 4 social networks connected to SGL (Pinterest, Twitter, Bloglovin, & Google+) 
  • SGL has had 2 domain names over the year
  • And for amazing year I’ve had SGL! πŸ˜€

And now…onto the peach cobbler! πŸ˜€

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In honor of SGL’s 1st birthday (can blogs have birthdays?), I decided to make something birthday-appropriate. But I figured I’d ticked the traditional cake box (in a non-traditional way) with the Birthday Cake Pancakes, so when my mom recommended making a peach cobbler, I jumped right on it!

Juicy, syrupy peaches are spiced with cinnamon and layered with a buttery, crumbly topping and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. This cobbler captures summer perfectly when served warm with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream! 

I feel like we all know those people who don’t like cake. Or they prefer pie over cake. 

I am most definitely not one of those people. 

But I have friends (and my dad *cough cough*) who are like that, and in this cobbler, my friends, cake has met its match. πŸ˜€

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I even stuck a candle in it and everything! 

(Erm, excuse the lighting…and the photo…I took it around 7:30 with some horribly yellow kitchen lighting so…yeah.) πŸ˜‰

If you could put summer into a dessert, this would be it. It’s just brimming with juicy peaches and this cinnamony-syrupy goodness that fills up all the cracks and crevices–not to mention the buttery cake topping. 

Swoon-worthy. Positively, absolutely swoon-worthy! 

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You start off with about eight peaches, all sliced and peeled, and you mix ’em up with some sugar, spices, lemon juice, and cornstarch. You pour them into a greased pan and bake them for 10 minutes, until they look a little something like this. 

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They. Smell. Heavenly. 

While they’re cooling, you’ll whip up the cakey topping, which involved whisking together some all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, as well as working in some cold butter with your fingers.

I am going to have cake batter under my nails for the next week and a half, but it was well worth it! 

You’ll then stir in a 1/4 cup boiling water and spoon the mixture over the baked peaches. After that, you’ll sprinkle the whole shebang with some cinnamon sugar. 

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You’ll pop that in the oven for another half hour or so, until it gets all golden on top. While this is baking, it makes your house smell like a bakery. Oh, goodness. The amount self-control it requires to wait for it to cool once it’s out of the oven is insane. πŸ˜‰ 

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We ate this after dinner served warm with vanilla ice cream. Oh, goodness. The peaches are fresh and juicy and drowning in this syrupy, rich, cinnamony concoction, and then it’s topped with this layer of crumbly cake that’s positively coated with cinnamon sugar. 

Perfection. 

Why don’t we just get to the recipe? πŸ˜‰ 

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Lemon Flower Tarts

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Happy Friday, everybody!

I know, I know, I’ve been lazy this week. My last post was last week’s SLBW, and I’m putting up the next one tomorrow… :O Now, I don’t really have an excuse…but maybe these adorable little tarts will change your mind?

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These sunny little tarts are bursting with lemony goodness encased in a buttery, flaky pastry. They’re pretty darn simple to make, especially if you use store-bought lemon curd and pastry, and the presentation is unbeatable! Bring these to any summer get-togetherΒ and they are sure to be a hit. πŸ™‚

I also made them with one of my best buddies (Anna :D), which is why the set up is a little different–she wasn’t even fazed when I complimented her pretty (and photogenic!) countertop. I mean, have youΒ seenΒ mine? All black and green and grey granite. πŸ˜‰

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Moving on.Β 

Like I said, you use store bought pastry and lemon curd, and these take no time at all. My friend and I went half way and bought premade pie crusts and made the curd ourselves. I’ll include how to make the curd in the recipe (because believe me when I say you will want to eat itΒ allΒ with a spoon, even if it is a little labor-intensive). πŸ˜€ And making the little flower pastry cups was simpler than simple–you stamp out your flower shapes with a cookie cutter in the pie crusts, fit ’em in a muffin tin, and bake ’em til they’re golden. πŸ˜‰ Perfection.

lemonflower2I feel like these are the kind of things you would have at a tea party with little finger sandwiches and the like. They’re so…I don’t know, sophisticated-looking! They make me feel fancy. πŸ™‚

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Enough rambling from me–let’s get to it!

What you’ll need…

For the pastry:

  • 1 box of premade pie crusts
  • 1 flower-shaped cookie cutter

For the lemon curd***:

  • 3 lemons
  • 1 & 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Grease a muffin pan and set aside.
  2. Take the lemons and zest all of them, being careful to avoid the white pith.
  3. Roll out the premade pie crust. Stamp out flower shapes in the dough and place inside the muffin tin so that the petals form a little cup-like shape.
  4. Place the pan in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Set aside to cool.
  5. Taking the lemon zest and sugar, pulse together in a food processor until the zest and sugar are well-combined.
  6. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy and then add in the lemon-sugar mixture, beating until combined.
  7. Add in the eggs one at a time, followed by the lemon juice and salt. Beat until everything is smooth.
  8. Pour the mixture in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until mixture is translucent and thick, stirring constantly.
  9. Once the lemon curd reaches the desired texture, remove from heat and allow to cool. Spoon about a tablespoonΒ into the center of each pastry cup. Top with powdered sugar.
  10. Enjoy! πŸ˜€

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***Feel free to use store-bought lemon curd in place of what’s listed. If you choose to, skip steps 5-8.Β 

Original lemon curd recipe here.Β 

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