All the Rest of the Christmas Cookies.

I had this great idea.

I was going to write three posts featuring the 12 cookies I baked for Christmas this year. They were to feature 4 cookies each. It was a good idea. I even started it. I wrote one post featuring the first four cookies.

Then….life.

I was too busy working, preparing, visiting, baking, shopping, and celebrating. Not that I’m complaining about that. I loved doing all of those things. But now that it’s January 15th, my great idea is no longer relevant. No one is interested in baked goods in January. I made brownies the other day just because. No one wanted to eat them. Not because there was something wrong with them – they were perfectly tasty. They even had extra chocolate and caramel drizzled on top.

brownies

the brownies that nobody ate.

But January is not the time for brownies. Or cookies. Or cakes (unless it’s your birthday). It’s the time of year that the gym is packed, and the over-indulgence of December is weighing heavily on everyone’s mind and/or stomach.

I get it – I’m a huge proponent of eating right and treating your body with respect. I’m also a huge proponent of baked goods. So January, for me, stinks. Did I mention that I don’t like cold weather?

So, for everyone out there, who, like me, still wants to eat brownies, cookies and cakes, here’s a quick glimpse of all the rest of the 12 cookies I made for Christmas. If you just can’t look now, maybe by next December you’ll look at them and feel inspired. I’m certainly giving you plenty of time. ūüôā

#5. Cream Cheese Cookies. (recipe here.)

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#6. Chocolate Cottage Cheese Cookies.

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#7. Marzipan Mice. 

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#8.¬†Jeanine’s Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies. (recipe here.)

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#9. Peanut Butter Hershey Kiss Cookies. 

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#10. Peppermint Bark. (recipe here.)

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#11. Cornflake Christmas Wreaths.

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#12. Honey Whiskey Balls. (recipe here.)

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So there they are. Enjoy them at your leisure, whenever the time is right. You have all year….

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cheerios Treats.

cheerio treats2

So the other day, a co-worker of mine said something along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be awesome to make Rice Krispies Treats with Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cheerios instead of Rice Krispies?” I responded with a resounding “YES!!” and then remembered I had a bag of marshmallows at home just waiting to be used. “I’ll make these tonight!” I declared. So when I got home, I made a beeline for the kitchen and started prepping ingredients. My fiance came home mid-prep, and wanted to go out for a run. So I left the butter in the saucepan (since it had to be melted anyway) and out we went. Upon our return, he noticed the chunk of butter in the pan on the stove, and gave me his classic raised eyebrow “what on earth are you doing now?” look. He was in for a very pleasant surprise.

I started with a box of Chocolate Cheerios and a box of Peanut Butter Cheerios (both of which are delicious on their own, but even better when combined). I mixed them with the marshmallow and melted butter and spread them out into the pan, let them cool, and brought them into work the next day. They were a raging success, and will be made again, I guarantee it.

Cheerios are the new Rice Krispies.

Cheerios are the new Rice Krispies.

We cut them into squares, and found them to be denser then the traditional Rice Krispies version, but the chocolate, peanut butter, and marshmallow combo was magically delicious, fo’ sho’.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter and Marshmallow, oh my.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter and Marshmallow, oh my.

The recipe is very simple. You just sub in Cheerios. But here’s the actual measurements I used, in case you want to give this quick and easy perfect-for-any-party treat a try on the fly.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cheerios Treats.

What you’ll need:

1 bag (10oz) large marshmallows

1/4 cup butter

4 cups Chocolate Cheerios

4 cups Peanut Butter Cheerios

What you’ll do:

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Over low heat, add the bag of marshmallows, and mix until smooth. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Cheerios. Pour the marshmallow mix over top, and stir until all the Cheerios are completely coated. Grease a 13×9 baking pan, and spread the mix into the pan. Let cool. Cut into squares. Eat!

Recipe Wednesday: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies.

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So before I get into the Chocolate Shop Tour of Brussels, I really wanted to share this recipe for the cookies I made last night, not only because they turned out so good, but also because I feel I’ve been neglecting the kitchen lately, having not baked anything for almost 3 weeks, and neglecting the kitchen means neglecting sharing recipes; and as we all know sharing is caring. So because I care, I made Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies.

The only problem was that I couldn’t decide if i should use regular Reese’s cups or the Reese’s hearts. Valentine’s Day is not so far off, so the hearts seemed appropriate, however, I wanted to make sure that upon first glance, one could tell these were peanut butter cup cookies. So, when in doubt, use both and just make more cookies.

When all was said and done, I had about half of them that were the classic “cup”…

the cup we all know and love.

the cup we all know and love.

….and half that were a chocolate and peanut butter homage to love.

melt my heart.

melt my heart.

I started with a recipe from¬†The Hershey’s Cookbook¬†for those peanut butter Hershey’s Kiss Cookies. I made a few minor adjustments, swapped the kiss with the cup (or heart), and created a cookie masterpiece for peanut butter cup lovers everywhere. ¬†Beware: the dough is a little bit TOO good. I believe I may have eaten about 4 cookies worth of dough before I even started baking them. Hopefully, you’ll have a bit more restraint than I. ūüôā

 

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

What you’ll need:

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup shortening

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

48 mini Reese’s cups or Reese’s hearts (or some combo of the two totaling 48)

What you’ll do:

Preheat oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the peanut butter and shortening. Add in the sugar and brown sugar, and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add egg, half and half, and vanilla, and mix well. In a ¬†separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the peanut butter mixture, 1/3 at a time, beating well between each addition. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and using a small ice-cream scoop, scoop and shape the dough into one inch balls. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until they start to brown around the edges. While they are baking unwrap your chocolates, so you have them on hand and ready to go. As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, start pressing the cups/hearts into the cookies (they will crack around the edges – that’s ok). Remove them from the baking sheet, and let them cool completely.

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xoxo

Eat Dessert and Adopt a Pet.

This weekend, I’m participating in a bake sale to benefit Furrever Friends Rescue and Volunteers, Inc, which is a wonderful organization dedicated to saving the lives of homeless pets. This¬†particular cause is very dear to me, as I grew up in a family where all of our pets were shelter animals and I adopted my own pet (Gandalf the Gray) almost 10 years ago from a shelter.

10 years old, and still crazy as a kitten.

Anyway, if you are in the Philly area over the weekend, swing on down to the PetSmart in Deptford, NJ¬†, and sample some delicious baked goods, all for a great cause. And, heck, why not adopt a pet while you’re at it!

And just to further entice you, here’s a glimpse of my donations.

Chocolate Chip Cookies….

the cookie next door.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies….

The exotic.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies…

the party cookie.

and Marzipan Mice.

the cheerleader.

The sale will be going on today from 10am to 9pm, and tomorrow 10am to 5pm. If you love animals and baked goods (and who doesn’t) then come on down!

Random Recipe Saturday Afternoon: Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats.

I was talking with a friend¬†last week¬†about¬†Rice Krispies¬†Treats. She mentioned she made them recently, and I thought, “Well, gee, I haven’t; maybe I should make some Rice Krispies¬†Treats. Maybe I should make some Peanut Butter Rice Krispies¬†Treats. Maybe I should make some Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats!!” And so it was.

Whenever I make Rice Krispies Treats, I think of my mom – not because we made them all the time – but because we made them once, and either used way too many marshmallows or way too small of a saucepan. I don’t remember which is was now, but let’s just suffice it to say that marshmallows were all over the place.¬†We laughed then, and both still laugh to this day when we think about it. I’m even laughing now. ūüôā

Anyway for these, I started off with this recipe, but made a few minor modifications (and used a very large saucepan). My version is below. Enjoy!

don’t you know how sweet and wonderful life can be?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats.

What you’ll need:

3 TBSP unsalted butter

1 bag (10 oz) regular sized marshmallows

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

6 cups¬† Rice Krispies¬ģ cereal

1 bag (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips

What you’ll do:

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the entire bag of marshmallows, and stir until they’re completely melted. Remove from heat, and add the peanut butter, mixing thoroughly. Add the Rice Krispies, and stir until evenly coated. Spray or grease¬†a 9″ x 13″ inch pan, and press the mixture into the pan,¬†with a¬†greased spatula or¬†your¬†(clean) hands.¬†Put it aside.¬†In a medium saucepan, melt the¬†entire bag of chocolate chips. Spread the melted chocolate evenly on top¬†of the treats in the pan.¬†Let cool for about 10 minutes, then¬†refrigerate until the chocolate sets¬†completely –¬†I¬†gave it an hour.¬†Let them warm to room temperature before serving – otherwise the chocolate will be too hard!

Recipe Sunday: Reese’s Pieces Cookie Cake.

I used to eat¬†Reese’s Pieces for lunch. Yep, that’s right – the same girl who now counts every calorie, reads the ingredients on everything, and runs 6 miles every other day, used to sit down at her desk at work for lunch with a bag of Reese’s Pieces and a smoothie/milk shake/other type of frothy fattening drink and eat half the bag. And I wondered why I felt sick all the time.

lunch of champions.

Anyway, I still love these little pieces of chocolate and peanut butter heaven, but I rarely eat them¬†these days,¬†since the major diet overhaul of 2010, which included a huge cutback on candy. But last week, I was out shopping, and there they were, just sitting there, as always, mixed in with all the other candy I never get to enjoy anymore…and before I knew what happened, I grabbed the bag, and threw it in the cart, and headed straight for the checkout before I¬†could change my mind. The problem then became that I was eating them. And because I still count calories, it was torture¬†– 51 Reese’s¬†Pieces sounds like a lot, but it’s really hardly making a dent. I had to do something, quick. It was my friend’s birthday, and he loves cookies, so I was going to make him a cookie cake anyway, and as I assembled the ingredients on the table, there they were again, right in front of me. It was an “Aha!” moment – I’ll make a Reese’s Pieces Cookie Cake and decorate¬†it with¬†Peanut Butter Buttercream! so that’s exactly what I did.

And now, I’ll share the recipe with you.

reese’s make a birthday happier.

Reese’s Pieces Cookie Cake.

What you’ll need:

5 oz. shortening

8 oz.   sugar

.25 oz.  salt

3 oz. (about 2)  eggs

.25 oz.  vanilla

10 oz.  flour

.25 oz.  baking soda

7¬†oz. Reese’s Pieces

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 350¬į¬†F.¬† In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs and vanilla, and add to the shortening/sugar.¬† In another bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Fold that mixture into the other ingredients until evenly mixed. Fold in the Reese’s Pieces. You will be very tempted to eat the dough – do so at your own risk. I have built up a tolerance for raw dough/batter over the years, so I enjoy it freely with no consequences. I’m still not sure if this is a good thing.

just when you thought cookie dough couldn’t get any better.

Spray a 10″ round cake pan. Take¬†2/3 of the dough, and press it evenly into the bottom of the cake pan. It should be about an inch high. Bake for¬†16-18 minutes,¬†or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Note that you still have 1/3 of unbaked dough – do with it what you wish! I’m saving it for another project, which I’ll post later this week!

I decorated it with a complimentary Peanut Butter Buttercream Рthe recipe of which you can find here, under a previous Recipe Sunday for White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes.

Recipe Monday Night: White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes.

I was thinking yesterday that I really wanted to bake something with peanut butter in it, but I really wanted it to be something a little different from the norm. Don’t get me wrong – I love the norm, and by norm I’m talking about peanut butter and chocolate. That really is my all time favorite combination. But I got to thinking….what about peanut butter and vanilla? Yeah! I’ll craft a peanut butter and vanilla cupcake!! But that didn’t sound quite as appetizing as a peanut butter and chocolate cupcake. So I found the perfect compromise: peanut butter and white chocolate cupcakes.

co-ed naked cupcakes.

They’re light, they’re fluffy, they’re peanut butter-y delicious. A perfect addition to any springtime soiree. Top them with some Peanut Butter Buttercream – and you’ll be winning friends and influencing people like nobody’s business.

peanut butter bliss.

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes.

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

3 tsp oil

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

3 tsp baking powder

1 cup AP flour

1/2 cup milk

1 cup white chocolate chips

What you’ll do:

Preheat oven to 350¬į F.¬† Mix sugar, egg, oil and peanut butter. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add to egg mixture alternately with milk. Fold in the¬†white chocolate chips.¬†Line a muffin tin with paper liners, and fill each about 1/2 way. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Makes about a dozen cupcakes.

Peanut Butter Buttercream:

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup cream peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

2 –¬†3 cups confectioner’s sugar

2-3 tbsp milk

What you’ll do:

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add the vanilla. Add two cups of confectioner’s sugar, and 1 tbsp of milk. Mix well. Add the second tbsp of milk, mix. At this point, alternate adding sugar and milk, until the desired consistency is reached, but do not add any more than 3 cups of sugar, or the icing will be too sweet.

Recipe Monday Night: Peanut Butter Chip Cookies/Cookie Cake.

Wanna hear the cutest thing ever? I haven’t blogged in a week, and my mom called because she was worried that something happened to me,¬†due¬†of the lack of posts. It’s nice to be loved. ūüôā

Anyway, she was right – I haven’t posted in a longer than usual amount of time. But now I’m back, from outer space, and ready to share my latest creation with all of you!

What’s great about this recipe is that it’s multi-functional.¬†¬†Last week was¬†my friend’s birthday, and¬†I knew he¬†really likes chocolate chip cookies, and¬†I also knew he likes peanut butter, so¬†I¬†opted for a Peanut Butter Chip¬†Cookie Cake. I didn’t want to make the cake too large – sometimes a giant cookie cake can be a bit overwhelming. So¬†I wound up using half the dough for the cake, and¬†briefly considered just eating the other half raw, but then¬†decided (thankfully)¬†against that, so I put the dough in the fridge and made cookies the next day to share with friends. Sharing is caring, people. So without further adieu,¬†I give you one recipe to rule them all – do with it as you see fit.

have your cake…

…and cookies too!

Peanut Butter Chip Cookies/Cookie Cake.

What you’ll need:

5 oz.   shortening

8 oz.   sugar

.25 oz.  salt

3 oz. (about 2)  eggs

.25 oz.  vanilla

10 oz.  flour

.25 oz.  baking soda

8 oz. peanut butter chips

2 oz. butterscotch chips

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 375¬į F.¬† In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs and vanilla, and add to the shortening/sugar.¬† In another bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Fold that mixture into the other ingredients until evenly mixed. Fold in the chips. Divide the dough in half.

For the cake: spray an 8″ round cake pan.¬†Take 1/2 of the dough, and press it evenly into the bottom of the cake pan. It should be no more than 2″ high. Bake for 10-14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Note: this makes a pretty thick cookie cake, which I prefer. If you want your cake thinner, use less dough, and bake for less time). I decorated with a simple buttercream¬†You can use whatever you like, however I do recommend using an icing that’s not super sweet, and the cake is giant cookie, thus it’s pretty sweet on it’s own.

For the cookies: take the other half of the dough, scoop into tablespoon-sized balls and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet, at least an inch apart. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden-brown. Share them with friends!

Two great tastes.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter.

You might say these two were made for each other. There’s really no better pairing – the sweet, seductiveness of the chocolate compliments the salty, smoothness of the peanut butter perfectly. When someone asks me what my favorite candy is, to this day¬†I still say Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

But in reality, as wonderful as chocolate and peanut butter are together, it’s just not something one can eat all the time. It’s almost too good – and as people, we are taught that we can’t have what’s too good for too long or too often. That’s not the way the world is, baby.¬†

Peanut butter finds a nice relationship with jelly – one that can be enjoyed every day forever. A PB&J sandwich makes perfect sense as a daily lunch choice. Not too overpowering, yet still quite tasty. As for chocolate, it’s a sexy snack all on its own. It pretty much pleases everyone most of the time, and can be fully enjoyed by itself, and often.

But, every so often, the two collide, causing a delicious taste explosion, like no other. We all need chocolate and peanut butter now and then. We all deserve it. Be thankful for the truly great experiences in your lives – they make it all worthwhile, even if they can’t be enjoyed all the time.¬†We always know that it’s there.

I was made for you.

Recipe Sunday: Peanut Butter Apple Cupcakes.

I’ve been thinking about this recipe recently, even though I wrote it almost a year ago. I guess it’s about that time for some PB&A. And life is all about timing. So, in honor of being in the right place at the right time, this Recipe Sunday recipe is for Peanut Butter Apple Cupcakes:¬†two great tastes that taste great together, and just happened to find each other when they least expected it.

love at first bite.

Peanut Butter Apple Cupcakes.

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter

1/4 cup Butter, room temperature

3/4 cup Sugar

2 Eggs

1 1/2 cups Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Salt

3/4 cup Milk

1 large Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored, and chopped

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 350. In a mixing bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter, and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well.In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add alternately with milk to creamed mixture. Fold in 3/4 of the apple pieces.  Line a muffin pan with paper liners, and fill each 1/2 to 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Peanut Butter Frosting:

What you’ll need:

1 stick (about 8 oz) Shortening

2 TBSP Peanut Butter

2 1/2 TBSP water

4 cups Confectioners’ Sugar

What you’ll do:

Cream together the shortening, peanut butter, and water. Add confectioners sugar, 1 cup at a time.

If you like to live dangerously, you can use the remaing 1/4 of the chopped apples to make a topping. Just throw them in a pot with 1/8 cup of sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon, and bring to boil. scoop a little onto each cupcake.