Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

BLOG_July 29, 2014

Two of my favorite things in one decadent dessert, alright alright alright. These are BIG brownies, so they are meant to be cut into small squares, but if you want to eat the whole pan I won’t judge you.

The peanut butter top is made with cream cheese (I used reduced fat – in case you’re also inclined) so it’s actually not overwhelmingly sweet, but a mild creamy peanut flavor that pairs perfectly with chocolate. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Brownies
Author: Q&DK
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 box Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate brownie mix
  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 and 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (I used 1/2 of a 4 oz. Ghirardelli baking bar)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Bake the brownies according to the box instructions in an 8×8 pan. Let cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and peanut butter until combined. Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Using a spatula, spread the mixture over the brownies and smooth evenly.
  3. In a heat-proof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Add the whipping cream and stir until smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and let cool. Drizzle the cooled melted chocolate over the peanut butter layer. Place in the refrigerator and let chill until firm. Cut into bars and serve.

 

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Cake Batter Cookies

BLOG_May 18, 2014-2

Cake batter cookies – everything great about cake, now in cookie form.

Mind. Blown.

These are super easy to make – basically making some additions to a box of cake batter. I played with chocolate and vanilla cake mix with funfetti-inspired sprinkles, but I can imagine some other fun flavor combinations.

You can make these with any flavor cake mix, so feel free to get creative. Rainbow-themed cookies, lemon, red velvet … the ideas go on and on. Enjoy!

~~ Cake Batter Cookies ~~
Author: PureWow Recipes
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 16 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 box cake mix (any flavor)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup sprinkles (optional)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the cake mix with the baking powder and sprinkles to combine (be sure to break up any lumps).
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the oil with the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla to combine. Add the oil mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
  4. Scoop out the cookie dough and place tbsp. sized mounds of dough onto each prepared baking sheet. Leave about 3/4 inch between each cookie – they spread as they bake. Bake until the surface is crackly and the cookies are slightly golden around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Place extra batter in the fridge as you wait for cookie sheets to cool between batches.
 BLOG_May 18, 2014

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Saltine Toffee

toffee

Can you believe it’s February already? Seriously, I feel like this year is already flying by! It’s been a really good start to the year, but I wouldn’t mind a little Slowing Down. That’s what I love most about food – a good, slow meal makes you really focus on the present and all that is good. Or, maybe just sitting down and eating a beautiful, crunchy piece of chocolate goodness. Slow down and enjoy it. Yesterday I posted a chocolatey-Valentine’s inspired recipe and I’m keeping the theme going today.

I found this recipe during the holiday season on one of my favorite blogs and was instantly intrigued. Apparently it’s a pretty common form of holiday treat, but I had never tried it. I just know I love anything with a mix of textures and sweet/salty components. It has been a big hit each time I’ve made it and it lends itself well to Valentine’s inspired celebrations because you can go crazy decorating with all sorts of cute red and pink Valentine’s themed sprinkles. Enjoy and try not to eat it all in one sitting! 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Saltine Toffee
 
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Pinch of Yum
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 sleeve Saltine crackers
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • About 2 cups chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles to decorate, optional
Instructions
  1. Cover a 9×13 baking dish with foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the saltines in one layer in the pan, leaving a little bit of room between each cracker and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and let boil without stirring for three minutes. Pour the hot mixture over the crackers and bake for 5 minutes.
  3. Drop the peanut butter onto the hot cracker and toffee mixture, bake for another 1 minute to melt. Spread the peanut butter. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips and bake another minute just to melt. Spread the chocolate evenly and top with sprinkles.
  4. Freeze or chill for 1 hours or until set. Break into pieces for serving.
 

toffee2

 

 

Chocolate Peanut-Butter Hedgehog Truffles

chocolate truffles

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and in my opinion, Valentine’s Day calls for hugs and kisses and love and hearts and all things cute. But, it especially calls for chocolate!! These cute little chocolate covered peanut-butter bites are called “hedgehog truffles” because they are meant to resemble baby hedgehogs all rolled up. This is a Martha Stewart recipe (seriously, who else would think of chocolate truffles that resemble hedgehogs?) and she used cacao nibs rather than the mini chocolate chips – the resemblance is even more apparent with the nibs, but I decided against the nibs when the only ones I could find were over $20 for a small jar. Either way, they taste delicious. 🙂

(Image source here)

chocolate truffles2

Chocolate Peanut-Butter Hedgehog Truffles
 
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Martha Stewart
Active time about 1 hour plus cooling time of 2 hrs 30 minutes. Makes several dozen truffles (at least 40 depending on the size ball you make).
Ingredients
  • 2 and 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 and 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cocoa nibs (also called cacao nibs) or mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Place sugar in a large bowl; set aside. Combine butter, cream, peanut butter, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until butter and peanut butter are melted and mixture just starts to boil. Pour over sugar in bowl and whisk until smooth.
  2. Transfer to an 8×8 baking dish, or a loaf pan, and smooth surface. Place parchment or plastic wrap directly on surface of mixture and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
  3. Roll heaping teaspoons of peanut-butter mixture into 1-inch balls. (I found this easiest to do with a spoon and my hands, rather than a cookie scoop. But try to use your hands as little as possible because the mixture will start to soften.)
  4. Melt chocolate, stirring until smooth, in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water; remove from heat. Working with 1 ball at a time, dip into chocolate and remove with a fork, letting excess chocolate drip off. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and immediately sprinkle with the nibs or chips. (I made the mistake of using wire racks set over parchment and the bottoms stuck to the rack – so just set on parchment or grease whatever you use!) Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. Truffles can be stored up to a week in a single layer in the refrigerator. They will begin to soften and melt if left outside the refrigerator for an extended period of time.
 

 

How to: Roast a Whole Chicken

roast chicken

I was recently reading this article about the 25 foods you must eat before you die and was reminded of a post I’ve been wanting to write because it was #3 on the list – roast chicken you make at home. It really is the best chicken you will eat. And it’s ridiculously simple, you just need the time at home to let it roast in the oven.

I’ve tried several recipes, but my favorite by far is Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Roast Chicken recipe. Seriously delicious. If you decide you want something more on the simple side, you can still follow this recipe – omit the bacon aspect and you have a basic roast chicken. Something about that bacon and orange though … the whole house smells edible.

This recipe calls for a large chicken; if you buy a smaller one, simply reduce cooking time.

How to: Roast a Whole Chicken
 
Author: Tyler Florence
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1 hour 25 mins
Total time: 1 hour 40 mins
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 (5 1/2 pound) whole chicken
  • 1/2 bunch each fresh oregano, thyme, and parsley
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 1/2 head garlic
  • 2 medium onions, both halved
  • 6 strips smoked bacon
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the chicken with cool water, inside and out. Pat it dry with paper towels. Divide the herbs, keeping 1/2 of them whole. Finely chop the other half. Mash the softened butter with the chopped herbs, until combined. Rub the herbed butter under the skin, as well as all over the outside of the chicken. Season the bird all over with salt and pepper.
  3. Stuff the cavity with the orange, garlic, 1 onion, and the remaining herbs. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine to help hold its shape. Place the chicken, breast-side up, in a roasting pan. Put the remaining onion into the pan, which will help color and flavor the sauce. Lay the strips of bacon across the breast of the chicken and roast for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove the bacon and baste the chicken with the drippings and cook for another 45 minutes to an hour to fully cook and brown skin. If skin becomes too brown before chicken is fully cooked, cover lightly with foil. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. (The legs of the chicken should wiggle easily from the sockets too. I usually remove around 155 degrees because it will continue to cook while resting). Remove the chicken to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes, so the juices settle back into the meat before carving.
  5. Meanwhile, remove the softened onion from the roasting pan. Tilt the pan so the drippings collect in 1 corner, skimming off as much fat as possible, and leaving the drippings. Place the roasting pan on top of the stove (alternatively, ladle drippings into a saucepan) over medium heat and take a wooden spoon to scrape up the flavor from the bottom of the pan. Stir the flour into the drippings to make a roux-like paste. Pour in the chicken broth in stages; continue to stir to dissolve the flour evenly to prevent lumps. Stir in the sherry and season with salt and pepper.
  6. To serve, carve the chicken tableside and squeeze the oranges from the cavity over the meat.