Tag Archives: peanut butter

Helping Out the Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny is really slammed this time of year.  His to-do list goes on for pages, his calendar is jam-packed, the battery on his smartphone won’t stay charged, he’s bitten his nails down to nubs, and the poor little fellow has circles under his eyes from lack of sleep.

I figured he could use a hand…or is it paw?  Anyway…I knew I could help, at least when it came to supplying the Easter baskets of some of my friends and family.  I was also pretty sure I could do better than the bagged candy I see in the store.

Now, my husband loves peanut butter and chocolate and really scarfs up the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, so I know the Easter Bunny was planning to give him some again this year.  But, what if I made them instead…And, what if I made them more suitable for adult palates and used dark chocolate? And how could I forgot the bourbon?  Hmmm…what if?

Peanut Butter Cups for Grown-Ups
Makes about 2 dozen miniature cups

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp bourbon
3 – 4 cups dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (premium is best)

I used a miniature muffin tin lined with paper cups as my molds.  Prepare this in advance so it is ready to go when your ingredients are.

In a bowl, combine peanut butter and powdered sugar.  When you have a smooth, uniform mixture, add the vanilla extract and bourbon.  Stir to blend well – it should be a pretty thick mixture that is firm enough to form into balls.  You may need to add just a tiny bit more powdered sugar, if it is too soft.

Take about 2 to 3 teaspoons worth of peanut butter and using your hands roll into a ball.  Then, lightly press into a patty/saucer shape.  Place the formed balls onto a wax paper surface, and repeat until you have about 24 balls.  You may need to adjust the patties so they are all about the same size.

Now to melt the chocolate.  If you don’t have a double boiler, then set a heat-proof bowl over a pot of boiling water.  Turn down the heat to low and add the chocolate to the bowl.

Stir gently as it melts.  It should only take a few minutes to completely melt.  Turn off the heat and now the chocolate is ready to turn into candy.

Take a muffin liner paper, and add a spoonful of chocolate.  Then, using back of your spoon, spread the chocolate around so that it completely coats the inside of the paper cup.  Once it is coated, set it back into the muffin tin.  Repeat until all the cups are completely lined with chocolate.  You need to move very quickly before the chocolate firms up again.

Now, drop in the peanut butter patties, and press down very gently.  You don’t want them to push through the chocolate, but just be flattened a little bit.

Still working briskly, add another spoonful or more of chocolate to each cup in order to cover the peanut butter filling.  Use the spoon again to spread the chocolate around the top and completely cover the peanut butter.

Set the finished cups back into the muffin tin and let firm up at room temperature for about four hours.

Store up to two weeks (as if they will last that long) in an airtight container.  Don’t refrigerate.

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Start Your Day with PB&J

Regular readers of this blog know that breakfast is important to me.  It is really better for everyone if I have some coffee and a bite to eat….just ask my husband.  But, morning hours don’t find me feeling really motivated to work in the kitchen, so I like to have already-made items on hand.  Muffins are perfect for this.

I know, I know, muffins are kinda boring…yeah, I guess, but they are still a fallback plan for me.   I certainly have a number of go-to muffin recipes, but I’m often on the lookout for inspiration.   I thank Annie’s Dish for the inspiration for this batch of muffins…

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
Makes 8 to 10 muffins

1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
peanut butter (creamy or crunchy; natural okay, too)
jelly or jam (any flavor)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In small mixing bowl, blend buttermilk, egg, and oil.

In separate mixing bowl, combine flours, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and add buttermilk mixture.  Stir in oats.

Spray regular-sized (12-cup) muffin tin with cooking spray or use paper liners.  Pour batter into cups about one-third full.  (Remember that it only makes 8 to 10 muffins, so don’t fill all 12 cups.)

Add about a teaspoonful of peanut butter on top of the batter.

Then, add about a teaspoonful of jelly or jam.  I used some of our homemade cherry jam.

Finally, pour remaining batter on top of peanut butter and jelly filling so cups are about two-thirds full.

Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

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Peanut Butter, Banana, and Chocolate Chip Muffins

These easy and tasty muffins are a great way to start any day.  You can’t beat combining the flavors of banana, peanut butter, and chocolate.

My mom sent me a recipe for peanut butter banana bread which served as my inspiration.  I modified it to add a few more ingredients and turned it into muffins.  Enjoy!

Peanut Butter, Banana, and Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

2 ripe bananas
1/3 cup plain yogurt (fat-free is okay)
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (natural is okay)
3 Tbsp butter, melted
2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp flaxseed
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add first five ingredients to mixing bowl and beat at medium speed.

Add sugars and beat until blended.

Combine flour, flaxseed, baking soda, and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Add flour mixture to banana mixture and beat until just blended.

Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.

Pour batter into greased muffin tin, filling each cup about 3/4 full.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool about 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack.

Remove from pan and finish cooling on rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature.  They will keep for about three days in an airtight container, and the muffins also freeze well.

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Sensing a Theme Yet?

Surprise, surprise…yet another chocolate and peanut butter recipe coming your way.  This time I made some cookies for my husband to take into his office here in Fort Worth.  His colleagues have been so kind to us, and even read this blog!  They definitely deserve some cookies!

You are right, he’s already been in the office for more than 2 weeks now, but we were without a working oven.  No oven = no cookies.  I was on the verge of DTs and jonesin’ for bakin’, but sweet relief came last night.  The oven is fixed and I can start to bake my way to happiness again.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Made 2 to 2 1/2 dozen cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  
Cream butter and sugars.  Add peanut butter, egg, and vanilla.  Blend well.
Stir in baking soda and baking powder.  Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, in between blending well.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded spoonful onto an ungreased baking sheet.  
Bake for 9 or 10 minutes until edges are set, but centers are still a bit soft.  Once you remove from the oven, let the cookies cool slightly for 4 or 5 minutes on the baking sheets so they can firm up a bit.  Let them finish cooling on a wire rack.

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Chocolate Butterfinger Cookies

I made some cookies for my husband to take to the office when he decided to take the temporary position in Fort Worth.  We thought his colleagues in DC would appreciate something special before he left.

It took me a while to decide what kind of cookies to make.  I’d read a few online posts about folks making Butterfinger cookies based on a recipe from Food and Wine.  They looked good, but that wasn’t enough chocolate for my taste, though.  So, more chocolate…my standard chocolate cookie is a recipe modified from Hershey’s.  Add crushed Butterfinger and we’ve got a deal.
These cookies are soft and chewy.  It is a great texture paired with the crunchy candy pieces.
Chocolate Butterfinger Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla 
2 Butterfinger bars, crushed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
Beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  
Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.  
Gradually add cocoa mixture, beating well. 
Gently stir in crushed Butterfinger pieces.  
Drop by rounded spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 9 minutes.  Cookies will be soft.  They will puff while baking and deflate or flatten while cooling.  Let them cool slightly on the pan, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
His new co-workers in Fort Worth can expect some cookies, too, once we have a working oven.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Birthday

My husband’s favorite flavor combination is chocolate and peanut butter so it was pretty easy to figure out what cake to make for his birthday.  He appeared to have enjoyed it as he helped himself to three slices that evening and ate it again for breakfast the next morning.  Just as well – it doesn’t keep well past about three days.

This is a really easy cake to make, and it transports well, so you can take it to a party or into the office.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
¼ cup cocoa
1 cup water
½ cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups creamy peanut butter (I prefer natural)
Cocoa Frosting
½ cup butter or margarine
¼ cup cocoa
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 (16 oz) package powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine first 3 ingredients; set aside.  Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat; whisk in cocoa and next 3 ingredients.  Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.  Stir in flour mixture until smooth.  
Pour batter into a greased and floured 13×9-inch pan.  Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.  
While the cake is cooling, start on the cocoa frosting.  Bring first 3 frosting ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Stir in powdered sugar until smooth.  Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.  
Once the cake is cool, spread the top with peanut butter.  (I softened the peanut butter in the microwave so that spread more easily.)  Cool completely.  
Spread cocoa frosting over peanut butter.

Slice and enjoy.  You will feel like it is your birthday no matter when you eat it.

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Smoothielicious

Readers of this blog know that I’m not the biggest fan of bananas.  I buy them because my husband likes them for his lunch, but I don’t just pick one up, unpeel it, and start eating.  They are good for you, so I do try to include them in my diet.

I can handle the fruit as an ingredient, just not the main attraction.  Banana bread is a favorite, and you can find two good recipes in earlier postings (Mom’s Banana Bread and Orangette’s Banana Bread).  One cannot live on banana bread alone, however.  There are other ways to deal with bananas that are starting to turn brown on your kitchen counter.

First, let me say to those of you who don’t feel you have the time to deal with your browning bananas and are tempted to just throw them out…don’t.  Put them in your freezer instead before they get overripe.  You can put them in peel and all, as I do.  The peel will turn even browner, but the inside will be just fine.  You can also peel the banana, cut into slices, and put the slices in freezer bags.  The frozen banana can then be used for baking or smoothies, which is another way I like to use my ripening bananas.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
Makes 1 generously sized smoothie

1 ripe banana (frozen or chilled is what I prefer, but not required)
2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 Tbsp chocolate syrup
1/4 cup milk

Put all ingredients in blender and blitz away until desired consistency.

The amounts in my recipe are just rough suggestions.  You should make adjustments to make your smoothie thicker or thinner, and emphasize your preferred flavors.  Also, I used non-fat dairy (cow’s milk) products, but you can use full-fat or soy based products.

SMOOTHIE VARIATIONS: I think bananas are key to creating the best smoothie texture, so they are almost always included in mine at home, but I mix them up with other ingredients.  I like them with strawberries and orange juice, cantaloupe and pineapple juice.  Be creative in using fruit you have at home, combine them with different juices, flavored yogurts, etc…You the proportions that make it the most tasty for you.  One more note.  I don’t add crushed ice to my smoothies cause I like them a bit thick, but my husband likes it that way.  You may too, so give it a try.

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