Peanut Butter Gooey Bars

Peanut Butter Gooey Bars

Peanut butter and chocolate is one of my favorite combos and it is absolutely delicious in these super easy Peanut Butter Gooey Bars!  I looooove easy these days, let me tell ya.  Don’t be put off by the use of a boxed cake mix–they really come in handy sometimes!  I added Rice Krispies for a little crispy/chewy texture but feel free to leave them out if you wish.  Perfect treat to whip up on a cold winter night (which apparently we are having lots of around here in the Midwest–UGH).

Peanut Butter Gooey Bar

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Gooey Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1, 18.25 oz. Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Rice Krispie Cereal
  • 1½ c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1, 14oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 pan.
  2. Combine peanut butter, butter, eggs, cake mix and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well combined. Gently mix in the Rice Krispies. Press half the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and pour on the sweetened condensed milk. Top with remaining cake mixture.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack and cut into squares.
Notes
Makes 16 bars.

 

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Power Bars

Gluten-Free Chocolate PEanut Butter Protein Power Bars

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that Jeremy has been wanting me to come up with a homemade protein bar similar to a Cliff Bar or Larabar but of course cheaper and healthier.  I tried one that I actually REALLY liked and could hardly keep my hands out of (you CAN get too much of a good thing) but he wasn’t really a fan so I moved onto this recipe from The Balanced Platter shared by my cupcake partner in crime, Robyn over at Gluten Free Crazy.   And I can safely say we have a winner with this one!  Jeremy loves it, I love it and everyone is getting crazy amounts of protein!  It’s very chocolatey, very peanut buttery and soooooo yummy.  They’re very rich so I cut them into small squares and keep them in the freezer, although they’d probably be fine in the refrigerator also.  Great pick me up and healthy dessert option!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Power Bar

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 16 Medjool Dates
  • 1 c. Raw, Organic Almonds
  • 1 c. Sunflower Seeds
  • ½ c. Cooked Quinoa (I had accidentally mixed my dry quinoa and couscous together so it was a mix of both which I really liked!)
  • ½ c. Thick Rolled Oats
  • ¼ c. Chia Seeds
  • 1¼ c. Chunky, Organic Peanut Butter (or smooth)
  • ¾ c. Agave
  • 1½ Scoops Chocolate Protein Powder
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 4 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x9 pan with foil, letting it hang over the edges creating "handles".
  2. In a food processor, chop the dates into very small pieces. Add the almonds and sunflower seeds and process until a meal has formed. Place in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the quinoa, oats and chia seeds to the food processor and process until a meal forms again. Add to the bowl of the electric mixer. Add the peanut butter, agave, protein powder, cocoa and vanilla to the bowl of the electric mixer and beat everything on low speed until it is well-blended and starts to clump together. Form into a ball and press evenly into the bottom of the 9x9 pan. Freeze for 1-2 hours until firm, lift out of the pan and place upside down on a cutting board. Peel away foil, turn bars over and cut into 1½" squares. Store in freezer.
Notes
Makes 20 bars.

 

 

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4-Layer Brownie Bars

Choc Chip Cookie Brownie

So awhile back I made something that consisted of cookie dough, Oreos and brownies and put it in a muffin tin and baked it.  It had no name and still doesn’t!  Little did I realize that someone had already done these brownie/bar thingies (of course) and had named them Slutty Brownies.  Scandalous!  But totally appropriate.  These brownie/bars are amazingly rich, amazingly good and amazingly sinful.  Don’t think about the calories…it’s worth it.  I decided to revamp my original recipe and do them in a pan, which quite frankly makes a lot more sense than doing them individually in a muffin tin.  Duh.

Cookie Oreo Brownie

Now are you ready for the really good part?  I covered them in PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING.  I mean we just went from slutty to total whore (excuse my language).  Who doesn’t love brownies, Oreos, chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter frosting??  And altogether in one dessert?!  Divine.  And rich.  Yes, milk is a must for this one.

Enjoy!

P.S. If you want to save a little time on these bars, you could make both the cookie dough and the frosting ahead of time and just keep it refrigerated until ready to use!  Or you could even use a cookie and brownie MIX.  I highly recommend the Ghirardelli Double Fudge Brownies!

Choc Chip Cookie Oreo Brownie

Cookie Brownie Bars
 
Ingredients
Cookie Layer
  • ½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ½ c. Brown Sugar, packed
  • ⅓ c. Shortening
  • ½ Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 1⅛ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Oreo Layer
  • 35 Oreos (will be slightly more than one package)
Brownie Layer
  • ½ c., plus 2 T. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 T. Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 c. Dark/Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ t. Instant Coffee Granules
  • ¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ c. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 3 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Peanut Butter Frosting
  • 6 T. Unsalted Butter
  • 1 c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 2 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 5 T. Heavy Whipping Cream (or whole milk)
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking pan.
For the Cookie Layer
  1. In a mixer, cream the sugars, butter and shortening until fluffy. Add egg, then vanilla. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and add to wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Press evenly into the pan. Layer with Oreos.
For the Brownie Layer
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  2. Put the chocolate, butter and instant coffee granules into a medium bowl and melt in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring between each time until completely melted and smooth. Add sugars and whisk until completely combined. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Add 2 of the eggs and whisk until combined. Add the remaining egg and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or the brownies will be cakey.
  4. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate. Pour the batter over the Oreos.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack and frost with Peanut Butter Frosting.
For the Peanut Butter Frosting
  1. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in one cup of the powdered sugar. Beat in half of the heavy whipping cream. Beat in the remaining powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream. Beat in vanilla. Spread over cooled brownie bars.
Notes
Makes 24.

 

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Peanut Butter Fudge Granola Bites

Peanut Butter Fudge and Granola Bites

There was a time in my life when if you had told I could blend peanut butter and beans in a blender and get DESSERT out of the concoction, I’d have said you are CRAZY.  But oh my how true it is.  From brownies to cupcakes, beans are an absolute awesome way to make sweet stuff with less fat and tons more fiber!  And you don’t have to compromise taste and texture to get the health benefits, which is nice.

When I came up with this recipe I was amazed how much it tasted like peanut butter fudge!  So addictive and good.  The short list of ingredients and simple instructions make it a win-win for a healthy, quick dessert!  We love these things and I know you will too.  Just trying to help you stick to those New Year’s resolutions!

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Fudge Granola Bites
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c. (14 oz.) Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Organic Peanut Butter (I used one that is only organic peanuts)
  • ⅔ c. Agave (could also use honey)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • ½ c. Low-Sugar Granola (I used one that is sweetened only with organic apple juice. Try to find one that does not use refined sugar.)
Instructions
  1. Lightly spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor, process all ingredients except the granola until completely blended and smooth. Pour into the pan and spread evenly. Cover with foil and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  3. Cut fudge into 1½" squares. Working quickly, shape into balls and roll in granola. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Notes
Makes 20 bites.

 

 

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Bacon, Bourbon and Peanut Puppy Chow

Bacon, Bourbon, Peanut Puppy Chow

I know it may sound silly, but I love puppy chow (also known as muddy buddies to some).  And just like 7-Layer Bars, I had never made it before!  Crazy, right?  Puppy chow is such a holiday thing to me and I always knew someone else would be bringing it to whatever function I’d be attending so I’ve never bothered to make it.  However, I have always thought that puppy chow needed revamping.  It’s totally yummy but am I the only one that would look for the little nuggets of two or more Chex squares stuck together with an excess of the chocolate and peanut butter mixture??  Know what I’m talking about?  Yes, I’d pick through the puppy chow mix to find those little scrumptious morsels–I’m not ashamed!  I’ve just always thought it needs MORE chocolate and peanut butter goodness.  So I decided to do something about it!

Bacon, Bourbon & Peanut Puppy Chow

I started off doubling the chocolate and peanut butter mixture but then I thought it needed something more.  And that something was alcohol!  Can’t go wrong adding booze to a dessert, right?!  But then my evil mind went even further and thought it needed something even more…like bacon….and peanuts.  Yes, bourbon, bacon and peanuts…in puppy chow.  Things got crazy up in my kitchen people.  Crazy in a VERY GOOD way.  What resulted was the yummiest puppy chow I’ve ever had.  No more digging for the little morsels of Chex Squares stuck together–there were plenty of those!  Now if you don’t want to add all the additional ingredients and stick closer to the classic, that’s totally ok…but the bourbon, bacon and peanuts add such another dimension of yumminess to it.  I highly recommend!  Fabulous sweet/salty snack for a Superbowl party!

Enjoy!

Bacon, Bourbon and Peanut Puppy Chow
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Smooth Peanut Butter (I prefer Peter Pan)
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter (I'm sure salted would work fine too)
  • 2 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ⅓ c. Bourbon
  • 1 lb. Bacon, cooked and chopped (I tore the fatty pieces off of mine)
  • 2 c. Dry-Roasted Peanuts
  • 9 c. Chex Rice Cereal
  • 3 c. Powdered Sugar
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cereal, bacon and peanuts.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the peanut butter, butter and chocolate chips at 30-second intervals in the microwave, stirring between each until completely melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla and bourbon.
  3. Pour the chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the cereal mixture and toss gently until all the cereal is evenly coated.
  4. Place the powdered sugar in a large bag. (You could use a large Ziploc type bag but it will probably not be big enough. I used a large paper bag and I recommend doing that.) Add the chocolate/peanut butter and cereal mixture to the bag. Shake the bag vigorously to evenly coat each piece of the puppy chow with powdered sugar.
  5. Once the mixture is fully coated, store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes 15, 1-cup servings.

 

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Peanut Butter and Banana Quinoa Cookies

Peanut Butter and Banana Quinoa Cookies

Woo hoo it’s the first recipe of the new year!!!  I’m so excited.  How about you?  I know you’ve just been waiting on the edge of your seat to see what the first super-indulgent, sugar-laden, fattening recipe would be, right??  Well, the wait is over!  And I really hope you’re not too disappointed because…it’s a HEALTHY recipe!  Yay!!!  Oh, am I the only one saying yay?? Surely not.  I know there had to have been some of you feeling like I was after Christmas…in need of a major refined sugar and fat break.  And I know someone out there made a resolution to eat healthier and drop some weight.  Well, this recipe fits the healthy-yet-incredibly-yummy bill to a “t”!

Peanut Butter and Banana Quinoa Cookies 2

I was soooo pleased with how these came out.  I took great liberty with this recipe and tweaked it to my liking.  It’s got tons of protein from the quinoa, no refined sugar and whole grains.  It’s seriously amazing.  I’ve actually been eating these for breakfast.  They’re quite filling and not too sweet.  Hope you love them as much as I do and they help you stick to that new healthy living resolution!

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter and Banana Quinoa Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Thick-Cut Oats
  • 1 c. White Whole Wheat Flour
  • ¼ t. Baking Powder
  • ¼ t. Sea Salt (I prefer pink himalayan)
  • ¼ c. Sucanant (or just use more honey)
  • ½ c. All-Natural, Organic Peanut Butter (I use one that has no salt, oil, etc)
  • 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 Ripe Banana, mashed
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ⅓ c. Honey
  • 2 c. Cooked Quinoa
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, salt and sucanant. In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter, egg, banana, vanilla and honey until smooth.
  3. Add the peanut butter mixture and quinoa to the dry ingredients. Stir together until everything is thoroughly combined. Drop by large spoonfuls onto the baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool on pans for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 20 cookies.

 

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Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Ina Garten does not disappoint.  I honestly cannot think of one recipe (dessert recipe, of course) that I have ever made of hers that hasn’t turned out absolutely fabulous.  I mean the woman just knows her sweets.

And I’m happy to say that the same can be said for these Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars.  Think of the most amazing peanut butter cookie you have ever had, layered in bar form with sweet, gooey jam in the middle and you get these bars.  They are rich and thick and completely indulgent.  And they definitely require a HUGE glass of milk.  I mean HUGE.  They come together in a snap and bake up fast but it’s important to let them cool completely, otherwise they will not hold their shape when cut.  Just a helpful tip from the first time I ever made them.

I’m thinking these are the perfect school lunch treat for kids!  Or husbands even.  Or…is that the same thing?? 😉

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 c. Creamy Peanut Butter (I like Peter Pan)
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • 1½ t. Salt
  • 2 c. Strawberry Jam (or other kind)
  • ½ c. Salted Peanuts
  • 1 c. Peanut Butter Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed add the eggs, one at a time, thoroughly incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix until just combined.
  4. Spread ⅔ of the dough into the pan. Spread the jam evenly over the dough but not all the way to the edges as the jam will burn slightly if it's touching the pan. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if it doesn't quite cover all the jam; the dough will spread as it bakes. Spinkle with peanuts and peanut butter chips and press down gently into the dough.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely and cut into squares.
Notes
Makes 18 bars.

 

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Grain-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy baking has come a looooong way.  Especially in my kitchen.  I remember back when I did most of my “healthy” baking and it consisted of mass amounts of whole wheat flour, Splenda (God forbid) and tons of egg whites.  Thankfully, I now know what healthy really means….REAL ingredients that are not artificial, preservative laden bombs.  And most of those recipes honestly, well, they weren’t that great. Let’s just leave it at that.

But the healthy recipes I’m finding nowadays are a whole other story.  They are chocked full of nutritious and real ingredients.  And I have yet to come across one I did not LOVE.  Seriously.  Such is the case with these cookies.  I found the original recipe on the Texanerin Baking blog and only tinkered with it a bit.  Ok, that’s a lie.  The first time I made it I messed with the recipe ALOT and while I managed to create what could be considered the most amazingly delicious healthy peanut butter and chocolate chip fudge EVER, they didn’t quite bake up like a cookie.  Not to say they weren’t good..just not very cookie like.  So I tried the recipe again and stuck as close to the original as possible with only a few minor changes.  And they. Were. Awesome.

Don’t let the beans throw you off…it’s amazing how great they work for gluten-free baking and meld seamlessly with the other ingredients. The first time I used beans for these Chocolate Cupcakes with Tart Cherry Frosting, I was highly skeptical, but the recipe turned out awesome and honestly it was one of the best chocolate cakes.  In my opinion at least.  So give beans a try in your baked goods!  They add loads of protein and fiber which our bodies need!

Enjoy!

Grain-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c. (15 oz. can) Chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
  • ½ c., plus 2 T. All-Natural Peanut Butter (no oil, salt, sugar, etc)
  • ¼ c., plus 2 T. Honey
  • 1 t. Baking Powder (I use aluminum-free)
  • ⅛ t. Salt (I use Pink Himalayan Sea Salt)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ⅓ c. Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, blend together all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, until very smooth. Scrape the sides and top to get the small pieces of chickpeas and process again until smooth. Scrape into a medium size bowl and stir in the chocolate chips. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. Drop by large spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Notes
Makes 14, 1½" cookies. Note: They are best to eat on the first day and are the most like a traditional cookie. The next day they are still yummy but the texture changes just a bit and they seem more like cookie dough.

 

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The Best of Brunch for Father’s Day

Photo Credit: Foodbeast.com

Brunch, it’s what every dad wants.  Trust me on this.  Sure, when you ask him what he wants for Father’s Day he’ll throw out the usual grilling/golfing/fishing ideas, but what do men REALLY want??  Food.  Homemade, from scratch, fill-your-belly FOOD.

Now I know that typically the word “brunch” invokes thoughts of girly tea rooms and fine china and quiche and ya know, things that don’t sound too manly.  But throw in a couple meats (bacon, sausage, etc) and some kind of breakfast casserole (one with eggs and hashbrowns and loads of cheese and absolutely NO vegetables…unless it’s jalapenos..those are manly) and brunch is no longer just for the ladies.

And I’m sorry, but it just wouldn’t be brunch without something sweet.  Luckily, I have a few recipes that would fit the bill for any dad’s mid-morning sweet tooth.  Like these Mini Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins.

Or maybe he’s a health nut…this Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola is uber-healthy and most importantly delicious.  Great plain, with milk or over greek yogurt with fresh berries.  Yum.

For the chocoholic, these Triple Chocolate Muffins will totally give him his fix.

Another healthy AND gluten-free option–Blueberry Almond Meal Muffins.

Lastly, Berry Bread Pudding (minus the ice cream..I mean, this IS breakfast after all).  My personal favorite.

Really, you can’t go wrong with any of these options.  Pick one (or two!) and get to baking!

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Chocolate Chip Quinoa Trail Mix Balls

This was my first time making anything sweet with quinoa and can I just say, I am forever changed!  Knowing that I can incorporate something into my desserts that is so nutritious and protein packed, is revolutionary.  Not kidding.  I was definitely skeptical how this would work, but once you mix all these ingredients together, you don’t even know the quinoa is there…all you know is that these balls are DELICIOUS.

I found this recipe on the eat, live, run blog.  I used her original recipe but once I had everything mixed up, it was VERY loose and absolutely not sticking together.  I might have done something wrong…who knows?  But I still thought the mixture tasted AMAZING and decided to just add some more stuff and hope it would come together.  The recipe was originally gluten-free but to get it to stick together I had to throw in some white whole wheat flour (which is the only one I had on hand).  You could use another type of gluten-free flour though if you have issues with gluten.

In the end, the balls stuck together nicely and tasted sooooo yummy.  They seriously remind me of an oatmeal cookie and are definitely my new favorite healthy sweet treat…well, after my No-Bake Almond Butter Rice Krisp Treats.  Those things can’t be beat.

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Trail Mix Balls
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Thick Rolled Oats, dry
  • 1 c. Cooked Quinoa
  • 1 c. White Whole Wheat Flour (or whole wheat pastry, almond flour, etc)
  • ½ c. Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut
  • ⅓ c., plus 2 T. Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • ⅔ c. Dried, Unsweetened Dark Tart Cherries
  • ⅔ c., plus 2 T. Agave
  • ¼ c. Organic, All-Natural Peanut Butter (no added salt, oil)
  • 1 t. Sea Salt (I use pink himalayan)
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the oats and next five ingredients. In a small pot on the stove, bring the agave to a simmer over medium/low. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, salt and vanilla. Pour over oat mixture and mix well until combined. Let cool. Add mini chocolate chips into mixture. Form into 1" balls with your hands. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Notes
Makes 50, 1" balls.

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No-Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites, Take Two

A little over a month ago I posted this recipe for some scrumptious no-bake peanut butter bites.  Since that time I have tinkered with the recipe just a bit and Jeremy and I now have a new favorite healthy sweet treat.  We both agree that these taste just like no-bake cookies except, of course, without the butter, refined sugar and all the other not so good for you stuff.  These are so delicious and so easy, all made in one big bowl.  We love them and think you will too!

No-Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites, Take Two
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. All-Natural, Organic Peanut Butter
  • ⅔ c. Raw Honey
  • 1½ T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ t. Fine Sea Salt (recommend pink himalayan)
  • 2 c. Thick Rolled Oats
  • ¼ c. Wheat Germ
  • ½ c. White Whole Wheat Flour
  • ¼ c. Cocoa
  • ¼ c. All-Natural Chocolate Protein Powder (or just use more cocoa)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl stir together peanut butter, honey, vanilla and salt until smooth. Add oats, wheat germ, white whole wheat flour, cocoa and chocolate protein powder (if using) and stir until thoroughly mixed together. Form into 1" balls and store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 50, 1" balls.

 

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No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Ok, that title is a little misleading…it is kind of a baked pie, at least the crust is baked.  But it stays in the oven for such a short amount of time it hardly counts, hence I christen this pie, no-bake!

I dreamed up this concoction when brainstorming what to make my fabulous sister-in-law Rachel (of foodierachel.com!) for her birthday.  I wanted it to be something that she would LOVE not just something that sounded good to me or a new dessert recipe I wanted to try.  So I thought of peanut butter first…and then banana, caramel and chocolate.  Yes, pretty sure all these ingredients met the “will Rachel love it?”  criteria!

I have to say this pie was AMAZING…just the right amount of peanut butter, chocolate, banana and caramel.  It is, however, very rich so one slice is more than enough!  I made a homemade salted caramel sauce from scratch which I think sent it over the top, but for the sake of simplicity I’d just buy a good-quality caramel sauce if I were you–unless you are feeling very ambitious!

It was a big hit at our family dinner and I’m already looking for an excuse to make this one again!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie
 
Ingredients
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 c. Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1 c. High-Quality Caramel Sauce
  • 1½ Ripe Bananas, sliced into ½" pieces
  • 1, 8 oz. package Cream Cheese
  • 1½ c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1¼ c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • ½ c. Milk
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 16 oz. Whipped Cream Topping
  • 6 T. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, melted
  • 2 T. Dry-Roasted Peanut Halves
Instructions
For the Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Combine melted butter and graham cracker crumbs and press into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes and cool completely on a wire rack (I did pop mine in the freezer for a few minutes to speed things up).
For the Filling
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until completely smooth. Add peanut butter, milk and vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in ¾ of the container of the whipped cream, until there are no white streaks left.
To Assemble
  1. Pour the caramel into the graham cracker crust and spread evenly. Place the banana slices in an even layer over the caramel. Spread the peanut butter filling evenly into the pan. Drizzle with the melted chocolate and sprinkle with the dry-roasted peanuts. Place in the freezer for a couple of minutes to allow the chocolate to harden. Cover with foil and freeze for 4-5 hours until mixture is stiff. Slice and serve immediately.
Notes
Serves 12.

 

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Easter Desserts

Need some Easter inspiration?  I’ve got it!  Get your crafty on with these pretty pastel treats–delicious and cute!

Bird’s Nest Cookies

Photo by creationsbykara.com

Crispy Easter Eggs

Photo by delish.com

Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs

Photo by whatmegansmaking.com

Little Lamb Cupcakes

Photo by foodnetwork.com

Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Photo by delish.com

Easter Candy Basket Cupcakes

Photo by bakerella.com

Easter Brownies

Photo by bettycrocker.com

Rice Krispie Treat Bird’s Nests

Photo by kidscooking.about.com

Floral Cake

Photo by delish.com

 

 

 

 

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No-Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites

The healthy recipes just keep getting better and better!  This week I’ve got a fabulous, super-quick recipe for no-bake energy bites…that taste like a cross between peanut butter cookie dough and no-bake cookies.  Can you say YUM??  They are full of good stuff that won’t send you on a sugar-high but instead provide a source of natural, tasty energy.  All you need is one bowl and handful of ingredients–get busy!

Recipe adapted from fooddoodles.com

No-Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c. All-Natural, Smooth Peanut Butter (or any nut butter you prefer)
  • ⅓ c. Honey
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla
  • ¾ t. Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 c. Rolled Oats
  • ½ c. Wheat Germ
  • ½ c. White Whole Wheat Flour
  • Oats, Peanut Halves, etc for topping
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl stir together peanut butter, honey, vanilla and salt until smooth. Add oats, wheat germ and white whole wheat flour and stir until thoroughly mixed together. Form into 1" balls and roll in oats or top with peanut half. Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 2 dozen.

 

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Bakery Review – TwentyOne Cakes in Nixa, MO

Cupcake places are popping up everywhere!  It’s madness I tell you!  Delicious, sweet (slightly sickening) madness!  Believe it or not, after Jeremy and I stopped at Stacey’s Sweets in Ozark, we hightailed it to Nixa to try ANOTHER new cupcake joint.  I have to be honest…this place was good but after trying several different kinds of cupcakes and a brownie at Stacey’s Sweets, I probably was a little sugared out at this point.  TwentyOne Cakes is in a house turned bakery right on Highway 14.  It’s a very straightforward, unassuming place.  I was surprised to walk in and see the cupcakes were actually mini cupcakes which I was VERY thankful for after gorging ourselves on EIGHT regular size ones not even an hour earlier.  There were also a couple of different kinds of cake pops, a HUGE peanut butter chocolate chip cookie and I believe there was a cake also that you could get by the slice.

My only criticism of this bakery was the lack of just a basic cupcake.  Most of the flavors were somewhat unique and different if not what some might consider “odd” and I really like to try at least a couple basic cupcakes when I go somewhere new.  Then again I might have just come on the wrong day.  I did however think her cakes were nice and moist (which is impressive for minis!) and the buttercreams were quite delicious.  And I wasn’t a fan of the cookie; it wasn’t quite as soft and chewy as I prefer.  But hey, that’s just me.  Overall, a delicious experience!  Here’s what we ended up choosing:

Maple Bacon

German Chocolate

Strawberry

Red Hot

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie

If you are in Nixa, check this place out for a sweet fix!  And if you’ve been there, let me know what you think!

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Bakery Review – Stacey’s Sweets in Ozark

 

This past weekend Jeremy and I went on a cupcake tasting roadtrip to some new bakeries in Ozark and Nixa.  I had been following Stacey’s Sweets on Facebook and every picture she would post looked sooo good and I was so excited to finally get a chance to taste everything!  Her shop is located in the corner of an older building on the square in Ozark and even though it was tiny, it was packed with cuteness.  She even had a couple of small tables and chairs to eat at, which we took full advantage of.

I went ahead and ordered one of each cupcake she had in the case (eight total!) because at $1.75 apiece they were VERY affordable (if not somewhat underpriced!) and also got a brownie because they looked delicious.  I passed on the cake pops, but they were covered in sparkly red, pink and purple sanding sugar and totally adorable…very tempting.  We started tasting with the brownie and wow, it was SO good.  Very fudgy, loaded with chocolate chips and had that nice thin crackle “crust” on the top.  We had a hard time not eating the whole thing.

Cake Pops
Fudge Brownie

Next up, cupcake tasting!  The flavors were Red Velvet, Wedding Cake, Cookie Dough, Pretty Princess Strawberry, Double Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cup, Honeybee and Cherry Bomb (see photo captions for descriptions).  I can honestly say that these cupcakes not only looked pretty but were so yummy!  Her cakes were light and fluffy and the frosting was not overly sweet but somewhat airy and not heavy or greasy, which was nice.  It’s one of the better cupcake tasting experiences I’ve had in a loooong time!  I could definitely see myself making a special trip to Ozark just for these cupcakes (or the brownie!) and would strongly advise you to do the same–you will NOT be disappointed!

Red Velvet--Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting topped with a Heart Gummy Candy
Pretty Princess Strawberry--Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercream
Peanut Butter Cup--Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Mini Peanut Butter Cup
Honeybee--Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting, Honey Drizzle, Chopped Peanuts and Banana Chip
Double Chocolate--Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream and Mini Chocolate Chips
Cookie Dough--Chocolate Chip Cake filled with Cookie Dough, topped with Brown Sugar Buttercream and Mini Chocolate Chips
Cherry Bomb--Cherry Cake with Cherry Filling, Cherry Buttercream, dipped in Ganache and topped with a Cherry
Wedding Cake--White Cake, Vanilla Buttercream, Candy Pearls
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Football Themed Sweets

If you want to add that sporty touch to your Superbowl 2012 dessert offerings, try out one or two of these cute football goodies!  I think my favorite is the double chocolate cupcake with the piped frosting that looks like a football–creative and simple?!  Touchdown!  (sorry, cheesy, I know!!)

Football Brownies

Double Chocolate Football Cupcakes

Football Game Cookies

Football Whoopie Pies

Cocoa Rice Krispie Treats Footballs

Frosted Peanut Butter Football Cookies

Bakerella Football Cupcakes

Sugar Cookie Footballs

 

 

 

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Sweets for Superbowl 2012

Sometimes I make the mistake of doing, ahem, research for my blog when I’m hungry.  And it never ends well.  After looking at numerous varieties of desserts for this post, it was all I could do to not go into my kitchen, get a huge bowl of peanut butter, sprinkle it with dark chocolate chips and crushed graham crackers and call it dinner.  But I didn’t!  Instead, I had a sensible meal of garden lasagna (delicious!) and refrained from eating every bit of sugar in my house.  Just a word of caution!

Any of these desserts would be GREAT for a Superbowl party.  I tried to choose things that were fairly simply and not too labor intensive.  After all, you’ve barely recovered from Christmas baking!  I really don’t think you can go wrong with whatever recipe you choose–they’re all delicious.  And next week I’ll have football themed desserts if you’re feeling a little more crafty with your baking…football shaped sweets are just too darn cute!

Brownies

The Baked Brownie

 

King Arthur Flour Brownie

 

S’mores Brownie

 

Caramel Coconut Pecan Brownies

 

Blondies

Peanut Butter Blondies

 

Fondue

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Fondue, Salted Caramel Pecan Fondue and Apple Cinnamon Fondue

Chocolate Orange Fondue

Mocha Fondue

 

White Chocolate Fondue

Dessert Pizza

Apple Pie Pizza

Sugar Cookie & Fruit Pizza

Banana Split Brownie Pizza

Rocky Road Cookie Pizza

Cookies

NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Oatmeal Cookies

 

Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Peanut Butter Potato Chip Cookies

Monster Cookies

Turtle Cookies

Mudslide Cookies

 

Snack Mixes

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Mix

Gluten-Free Popcorn, Cereal & White Chocolate Mix

Sweet & Spicy Mix

Maple Cinnamon Cereal Mix

Pumpkin Spiced Mix

 

Puppy Chow

 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Popcorn

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New Year’s Eve Party Mini Desserts

I have been in love with mini desserts for years.  They are just so darn cute and the fact that you don’t have to pick just ONE dessert but can in fact try several, due to their tiny size, is just awesome to me.  I love them so much that I actually used to cater desserts and only did miniature sizes.  It was so much fun and sometimes I really miss planning dessert tables for weddings or parties with loads of colorful, bite-size desserts!  Thank goodness for the holidays when I can unleash my creative baking skills (obsession?) on all my family and friends!

So, I thought what would be better for a New Year’s Eve party than mini sweets?!  Finger foods are VERY popular for New Year’s Eve parties and these desserts stay right with that theme.  Some of these are super easy (2-3 ingredients), which is great since you have no doubt been in the kitchen waaaayyyy too much between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Also, another way to make easy miniatures is to bake up a normal 9×13 pan of brownies, blondies, cake, etc. and cut them small with a knife or fun-shaped, small cookie cutters or take any regular ‘ole cookie recipe and just make smaller than normal cookies (be sure to cook them for less time!).  Ok, let’s check out some other awesome tiny goodies from around the blogosphere:

First up, Mini S’mores Cakes.  How cute are these?!  Get a lot more mini ideas from Delish here.

I LOVE baklava.  Love it.  It was the one thing I was looking most forward to indulging in over the Christmas holiday. I’ve actually made Baklava Cups before and they are super good and MUCH less labor intensive than the traditional way.  See more ideas from Women’s Day here.

Mini Oreos.  Yum.

Mini Ice Cream Cookie Pops. How fun!  However, if you’re afraid of the ice cream melting before people can scarf them down, try it with buttercream frosting.

I love these Mini Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats.  Rice Krispie treats are sooo classic and just plain good.

Banana Split Bites.  Delicious and gorgeous.

Vanilla Bean Baby Doughnuts.  Perfect after a night of imbibing.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.  One of my favorites.

Poptarts on a stick.  Totally awesome.  AND easy.

These Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes look soooo rich and decadent.  Pure bliss.

Cut these yummy Red Velvet Brownies super small for bite-size treats.

These Lindt Mini Chocolate Trifles are adorable.  Use some larger shot glasses for the cups and think about switching up ingredients…caramel sauce for the fudge, brownies for the cookies, etc.

I have been making Brownie Tassies forever.  The only thing I do differently is top them with coffee buttercream and toasted, slivered almonds.  People will go nuts over these.

Ummm, excuse me but this Chocolate Covered Bacon Caramel Popcorn is dangerous.  Dangerous I tell you!!  And I am SO going to make it.

These Mini Cherry Pies are just down right pretty.  And begging to be eaten.

I love the playfulness of this Gumdrop Fudge.  Very festive and party appropriate.  Not to mention easy.  We like easy!

Well, hopefully this gives you some inspiration for whatever crazy New Year’s party you may be hosting or attending.  Tomorrow I’ll have my own recipe for Mini Doughnut Muffins!

 

 

 

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Homemade Christmas Candy

This past weekend I made homemade candy, which is probably my favorite thing to make in the kitchen.  I tried a couple of old recipes and a couple of new ones.  One of the new ones was out of a candy book that I have and unfortunately it was a total disaster.  It was supposed to be similar to a 3 Musketeers but was more like chocolate taffy.  The taste was great because I used my super delicious Mexican cocoa powder but the texture was way off.  I was soooo disappointed in the recipe but I’m not going to give up!  I think that is what I like about candy making, it can be a challenge and it’s fun to figure out why recipes went wrong and what to do right or change the next time.

Here is a small collection of candy recipes that I’d love to try this Christmas, from simple to a little bit more complicated.  The homemade Snickers bar and Coffee Toffee are totally calling my name…actually they ALL look good!  Which one would you like to try??

Chubby Hubby Truffles

Gumdrops

Coffee Toffee

Honey Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

Cherry Cordials

Pumpkin Spice Truffles

Peanut Brittle

Eggnog Fudge with White Chocolate and Walnuts

Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

Chocolate Dipped Caramels

Oreo Truffles

Divinity

Homemade Snickers

Peanut Butter Cups

Candy Cane Marshmallows

Salt Water Taffy

Chocolate Covered Coffee Crackle Crunch

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