Tag Archives: peanut butter

Day 2 of Bakers Dozen: Fudge

Fudge. And that’s all I need to say about this post.

Kidding. Sort of. I love fudge. Really love fudge. But only good fudge. The kind you can get at a really good chocolate store. Rich and creamy and melts in your mouth (not to be confused with that *candy* that melts in your mouth, supposedly). And when it comes to fudge, I am a purist. Just chocolate for me please. Sure, I’ll try the others, with nuts, egg nog, pumpkin, cookies. They are all fine. Even made peanut butter for this post since hubby loves peanut butter. But I just want to savor my chocolate fudge. That’s all I need.

And this was the first time I had made fudge the way it is supposed to be made. No marshmallow fluff. No condensed milk. I’ve made those versions before. They are quick and easy. But not the real thing.  And not nearly as tasty. I did the old fashioned way of cooking the chocolate mixture to 235F and then waiting. And waiting. And waiting for the full 24 hours for the chocolate to completely set so you can then start nibbling. One piece here, just one more there. Oh fudge.

My hubby also loves fudge as much as I do, but his love is split between chocolate and peanut butter. The peanut butter fudge turned out good, but not amazing. It was a bit dry (but got better as the days went on) and I think that was because I used fresh ground hippy, dippy, and trippy peanut butter instead of those awful brands Skippy, Jif, and whatever other company dares to call their “product” peanut butter. I’ll spare you the ingredient list this time, but those products have  who knows what else added to the peanut butter. The product I used just had peanut butter. It had great peanut butter taste, just was a bit dry.

The perk about this peanut butter fudge is that it is really  easy to make. I actually made the peanut butter fudge while waiting for the chocolate fudge to cook. Yup, that easy. Just melt the butter and peanut butter together, make a mess while adding powdered sugar, and voila! Peanut butter fudge!

Meanwhile, you’ll still be waiting for the chocolate fudge to rise to the proper temperature. It will be worth your wait. Might as well clean your kitchen, since if you are like me, you will have powered sugar everywhere.

And who doesn’t like to receive fudge as a gift, all wrapped up and pretty?  It’s a sweet gift and from the heart.

Both recipes came from Brown Eyed Baker, who subsequently got the recipes from Joy of Cooking, which, sadly, I do not own. It’s a classic and I should have it. Maybe for Christmas. Thanks, Brown Eyed Baker for the fudge inspiration!

Chocolate Fudge

Yield: About 64 1 inch pieces

Difficulty: Easy to Medium

Prep Time: 1 hour | Chill Time: 24 hours

Ingredients

2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup half-and-half
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil that extends over the sides. Butter the foil and set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, half-and-half, heavy cream, light corn syrup and salt. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook, without stirring, for 1 minute. Brush down the sites of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in warm water to remove any sugar crystals that may have formed, and remove from the heat. (Do not do this repeatedly – you will be adding extra water if you do this over and over again. Just once is fine.)

3. Stir in the chocolate until melted and completely smooth. Set the pan over medium heat and place a candy thermometer in the pan. Cook the mixture, without stirring, until it reaches 238 degrees F, the soft-ball stage. Remove from the heat.

4. Add the butter and vanilla but just let float on top – do not stir in (stirring at this point can cause graininess).

5. Cool the candy to 110 degrees F by placing the bottom of the pan in cold water to stop the cooking. This will take awhile, especially since you can’t stir.

6. When it is cool, stir the fudge in the pan with a wooden spoon just until it “snaps” and begins to lose its sheen.You will notice that it will be really shiny, and then almost dull. That’s when you are done. (Alternately, transfer the cooled fudge to the bowl of a heavy duty mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the fudge on low speed until it begins to thicken and lose its sheen, 5 to 10 minutes. Watch the mixture carefully or it may thicken too much and become unworkable.)  I used my handheld KitchenAid mixer and it worked great…but…it has a very low speed 1. If your handheld does not have a low speed 1 (and many of the “bargain” ones don’t) I would not recommend this.

7. Stir in the walnuts if you are using them. Turn the fudge out into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula, moving quickly and keeping the spatula on the chocolate until you are done spreading. This will minimize the mess. Let stand for at least 1 hour.

8. Use a large knife to score the fudge into 1-inch squares (optional – it will still cut nicely when set) Cover and refrigerate at least 24 hours.

9. Remove the fudge from the pan and peel off the foil. Use the knife to finish cutting the fudge into squares. The fudge can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. It can also be stored at room temperature if it won’t last long. And it won’t. Serve at room temperature.

Peanut Butter Fudge

Yield: 64 1 in pieces (1½ pounds)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Difficulty: Easy!

Ingredients

1¼ cups (10 ounces) unsalted butter
1¼ cups smooth peanut butter
Pinch of salt
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
4½ cups powdered sugar, sifted

1. Butter an 8-inch non-stick baking dish (or line with buttered parchment paper) and set aside.

2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the butter and peanut butter until the mixtures comes to a boil. Remove from the heat. (It will all fit in a medium saucepan, but using a large one will help minimize the powdered sugar mess.)

3. Add the salt and vanilla extract, then stir in the powdered sugar until smooth and no lumps remain.

4. Pour the fudge mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the fudge and refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour. Cut into squares and serve. Fudge can be stored at cool room temperature in an airtight container.

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Monster Cookies

The name of these cookies could mean several things. They could be called “monster” because traditionally they are large. Very large. They could be called monster because they have a little bit of everything in them (oats, peanut butter, chocolate chips, just to name a few). Or they could be called monster because of the sheer number of calories, which we will chose to ignore. Whatever the reason, they rock.


I’m from the midwest and these cookies are something I remember from my childhood. They were always obnoxiously large and they were always delicious. My dear hubby, who grew up on both the West and East Coast, had never heard of them before.

*gasp*

So when my BFF  mentioned she was making monster cookies, I had a craving for them and I had to enlighten my hubby to this treat. It had been years since I enjoyed one. And they tasted just like I remembered. Happiness!

They are incredibly easy to make. You might spend a few extra minutes gathering up your entire pantry, but hey, it’s worth it.

And because Halloween is right around the corner, what is more appropriate than monster cookies? They are a nice change from chocolate chip cookies, without feeling that you are cheating on said cookie.

Monster Cookies

Courtesy of my BFF

Full Recipe – Makes several dozen
  • 9 cups oats (old fashioned oats, not quick cooking)
  • 2 TB baking soda
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2.5 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 TB corn syrup
  • 28 oz peanut butter
  • 12 oz M&Ms
  • 12 oz chocolate chips

Half Batch – Still makes quite a bit

  • 4 1/2 cups oats (old fashioned oats, not quick cooking)
  • 1 TB baking soda
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp corn syrup
  • 14 oz peanut butter
  • 6 oz M&Ms
  • 6 oz chocolate chips
*Note: there is no flour in these cookies.
1) Preheat oven to 350F.
2) Mix oats and baking soda in separate bowl. Set aside.
2) Cream butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping bowl after each addition.
3) Add  corn syrup and peanut butter, scraping the bowl.
4) Add oat mixture, mix until blended.
5) Add chocolate chips and M&Ms. You can add them in the mixer, but they might break. Fold them in if you don’t want them to break.
6) Use whatever size scoop works best for you.
7) Bake time will vary depending on the size of the cookie. You want to get these a little more done so they stay together. Bake until golden is a good rule. The larger cookie took about 20 minutes. The slightly smaller ones (3 TB scoop) took about 13 minutes. Do a test batch with just a couple cookies first to check the bake time.
Let cool. Eat.
I baked two at monster size. Only two would fit on a half sheet pan. Yup, two.

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Peanut Butter Blondies with Chocolate and Sea Salt – Football Food!

Today marks the first day of my favorite time of year – football season, which goes until the end of the holidays. I rarely  sit down to actually watch a game, but there is something I love about having it on in the background and my dear hubby enjoying watching his Alma Matter play their hearts out. The weather is starting to cool off, soon the leaves will be turning…it’s the best time of year!

And with football comes football food! I technically made these for a BBQ the day before, but they’d be great for game day. At a BBQ or any similar event you really need a food that is easy to pick up, no utensils needed. Smitten Kitchen saved the day yet again with these fabulous Peanut Butter Blondies with Chocolate Ganache.They are very easy and very addictive. Well, addictive if your favorite combination in the whole wide world is peanut butter and chocolate. And mine is. I hope yours is too.

The batter takes about 10 minutes to make, including gathering up your ingredients (remember, I am slow with this part). It looks just like cookie dough, and I think you could probably actually drop these and make cookies instead.

Then you bake anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes, depending on how you like your edges and how hot your oven is. After it cools completely, make the ganache. If you live in the Oven, aka the South, like me, you might want to put the blondies int he refrigerator to chill, otherwise you’ll be waiting all night. I needed to sleep, so that was not an option.

Pour the ganache on top, sprinkle with sea salt if you so desire. I think it would also be very tasty with some pretzels crushed on top for some added texture and that salty sweet taste. And would also make it more manly than “sea salt”.

And try very hard not to eat them all at once. Thankfully I gave most of mine away and am only left with a few little pieces.  Enjoy, and Go Team!

Peanut Butter Blondies with Chocolate Ganache

Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

Blondies

  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used all natural, fresh ground, honey roasted from Earth Fare)
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (9 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, see note**

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in middle. Butter a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan, then line bottom of pan with parchment paper and butter parchment.

Beat together butter, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until mixture is light and fluffy, about five minutes. Then add peanut butter and beat until incorporated. Beat in whole eggs and egg yolk.

Reduce mixer sped to low, then mix in flour until almost combined. Add in chocolate chips and beat on low until combined. Batter will be very thick!

Bake until blondies are deep golden, puffed on top and a wooden pick inserted in center come out with some crumbs, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 1 1/2 hours. Chill if needed.

Ganache
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (9 ounces)**
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

*1 1/2 tsp of coarse sea salt for topping

Put chocolate chips  in a heatproof bowl.

Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over chocolate chips and let mixture stand for one minute. Mix with a whisk starting slowly in small circles in the center, slowly working your way out as the chocolate and cream combine.

Gently whisk in butter until it is incorporated, chocolate is melted, and a smooth mixture forms.

Spread ganache on cooled brownies. Sprinkle with sea salt (or pretzels, or nothing at all). Let cool until set. This may take a while if it is hot and humid out, possibly overnight. Chill for a short while (30 minutes tops) if you need to speed things up. Ganache is best at room temperature though.

Slice and enjoy!

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Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies (and a glass of milk, please)

Hello dear readers, if you are still there. I’ve had a long absence because I’ve been very busy moving into a new house with little time for anything but moving.  What better way to break the absence than with peanut butter brownies? Sounds good to me.

This recipe is an Ina Garten recipe. She never fails me. I think I add a few pounds just by looking at these brownies (yeah, that’s a whole pound of butter in the recipe) but  that is a small price to pay for these insanely delicious brownies.

This makes an entire half sheet of brownies, but I’m sure the recipe would be just fine cut in half. I made the whole recipe because we had guests in town. The brownies didn’t start to get dry until nearly a week after I made them. I kept them under a cake dome which made them visible every time I was in the kitchen. And therefore every time I was in the kitchen I had “just a nibble”. Don’t forget to pour yourself a glass of milk. You’ll need it.

Enjoy!

Peanut Swirl Brownies by Ina Garten

Ingredients

  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

2. Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

3. In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the prepared sheet pan. Spoon the peanut butter over the top of the chocolate mixture and using a knife, swirl it through the chocolate mixture.

4. Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into large squares.

Note: I cooked mine for about 15 minutes first, then another 10 to 15. It will depend on your oven but brownies should be under baked, not over baked. A “clean” toothpick” means a few crumbs, not sparkling clean.

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Pumpkin Doggie Treats

My dogs love pumpkin, and they love it when I make them treats! However, I often find doggie treats a bit of a pain to roll out and have had trouble baking them to the right texture. I think I finally solved that problem today. I found this recipe from Greenling Local and only modified the baking part. The reason being is I wanted to get extra crispy all over, not just in the middle. Usually in the past when I’ve baked doggie treats at higher temperatures for shorter periods of time I would end up with crispy on the edges and soft in the middle. Not what I want. With this recipe I baked them at 250F for two hours and they turned out perfect. So pleased with them, as are my little furballs. It’s also a very easy recipe to make. Only takes  a few minutes and rolls out quite quickly. Any cookie cutter will do. Hope your little furry kids enjoy these special treats!

 

 

Squash Dog Treats

  • 3/4 cup squash puree (I used pumpkin)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBS all natural, organic peanut butter
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • Additional flour for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 250F.

2. Mix squash, eggs, and peanut butter. Add flour one cup at a time until well blended.

3. Knead until smooth. Roll to 1/4″ inch thin (dowels help tremendously here). Cut into desired shapes. Note if you cut larger shapes, they will most likely have to bake longer.

4. Bake about two hours, or until hard.

Let the kids enjoy!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

Chocolate peanut butter goodness.I don’t know about you, but I’m drooling just from the title. Chocolate and peanut butter in a whoopie pie? Thank you, Martha Stewart! These cookies were easy, yet a little time consuming, and are a wonderful treat, particularly with a scoop of coffee ice cream. Oh yeah, now we’re talking!

The recipe makes about 36 sandwiches, which is why it takes so long. That’s 72 cookies to scoop and bake. However, they bake quickly. I went easy on the peanut butter filling, not because it wasn’t delicious but because I thought the peanut butter overpowered the delicate chocolate cake/cookie. The chocolate insisted on equal representation! But if you are a peanut butter fanatic…load up! I had quite a bit leftover peanut butter, which also goes wonderfully over, you guessed it, coffee ice cream (preferrably Haagen Daz Five).

Thanks again, Martha, for a solid recipe! It was a hit!

Here’s the recipe

For the Cookies:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch-process
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:
2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Coarse salt, optional 

Directions:

Make cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl; set aside.
Put butter, shortening, and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.
Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.
Make filling: Put peanut butter and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add confectioners’ sugar; mix until combined. Raise speed to high, and mix until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Season with salt, if desired.
Assemble cookies: Spread 1 scant tablespoon filling on the bottom of 1 cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Cookies can be refrigerated in single layers in airtight containers up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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