Friday, February 25, 2011

The cookie that has it all: Double Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Cookies!

So I'm not sure how many of you know how I feel about peanut butter and chocolate but I might have tossed around words like "God's gift to food" or "the most yummiest thing of all time" in the past.  Long story short, if I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life you can be assured that peanut butter and chocolate would be main ingredients in my choice.  That is why I was so captivated by these cookies I saw posted over on Picky Palate's page.  They have chocolate, peanut butter and pretzels...and they are topped with a tiny bit of sea salt, bringing that whole sweet/salty combo that is out of this world!  What more could you possible ask for in one small baked good?  Nothing I tell you!  Well, almost nothing in my opinion.  I am not really a fan of white chocolate so I substituted semi-sweet chips for the ones added in but either way these truly are the cookies that have it all!

 For this recipe you are going to need some broken pretzels, so I suggest you search your pantry before going out to buy a big bag of unbroken ones.  Our pantry always seems to have a half filled bag of just broken pieces left...maybe yours does too!   Now I finally found a use for them besides substituting them for bread crumbs when we run out...

Go ahead and set up a double broiler by putting a pot on the stove with a decent amount of water on to boil and topping it off with a heat proof bowl.  Add 1 cup of white chocolate chips (that't the first kind in the double chocolate part of my version of this recipe) and 2 Tbsp. of peanut butter.  Cream together the butter and sugars in a mixing bowl while this is warming up on the stove.

 This is what it will look like when it is all melted this point you can add it to the butter/sugar mix along with the rest of the peanut butter.

Here is what all of that looks like...looks yummy doesn't it?  Go ahead, sneak a taste...I did!!

 Add in the eggs and vanilla, then the flour and other dry ingredients and finally the broken pretzels and semi-sweet chocolate chips.  I made a double batch today cause I have so many people here to your's will probably not look as full as mine...

Here it is all mixed in...

Again...sneak a bite...I won't!

 Use a small ice cream scoop and scoop them out a couple of inches or so apart on the cookie sheet, squishing them with your palm till they are about 1/2 inch thick, top with a small bit of sea salt then bake them at 350 for about 10-13 minutes.

Double Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Cookies with Sea Salt
Makes 3 dozen cookies            
adapted from Picky Palate's recipe

1/2 cup softened butter, 1 stick
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup white chocolate chips, to melt
1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter (reserve 2 tablespoons to add to melting white chips)
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup broken pretzel pieces
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Melt white chocolate chips and 2 Tablespoons peanut butter over a double boiler until melted.  Add melted chocolate chips  and remaining peanut butter to beaten butter and sugars.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  
Place flour, baking soda and salt in bowl; mix to combine.  Add to wet ingredients until just combined then pour in pretzels and semi-sweet chocolate chips.  With a cookie scoop, scoop dough onto a non-stick pastry sheet or parchment lined baking sheet.  With the palms of your hand, gently press down each cookie to about 1/2 inch in thickness.  Sprinkle each cookie with a touch of sea salt.   Though it might be tempting to skip this part - don't!  It really makes the cookie great!  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges become golden and slightly crisp.  Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet before removing.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Homemade Strawberry Cream Twinkies

When I made the Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes the other day I got a little over zealous with the frosting and ended up with an extra cup and a half left over.  So I asked myself, what do you do with a cup and half of leftover delicious frosting?  Besides sneak up in the middle of the night and eat it by the spoonful by the light of the fridge that is...not that I would ever do that...I swear... No what you do is make something else that goes with it of course!  Now I have no idea why, but the first thing that popped into my head was Twinkies.  I just felt that this delicious frosting would be great filling for a twinkie!  So I began my there a homemade Twinkie recipe out there?  Turns out there are tons...and seeing as I was lucky enough to get an extra day off this week (Thanks so much President's Day!) I was feeling lazy and decided to use the easiest recipe I found.  It is also by the way the one I found people said tasted the most like Twinkies...just saying.

Many of the recipes I found included instructions for how to make little Twinkie molds so that they would have the rounded tops like Twinkies do.  I found this step to be tedious and unnecessary.  After making 2 molds I decided to say screw it and just bake them in a cake pan and them cut them into rectangles.  If you feel the need to do this, the instructions can be found here.  Mine turned out just fine...

Homemade Twinkies
makes 18

1 package yellow cake mix
4 egg whites, beaten until stiff
2/3 cup water

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Spray a 9"x13" baking pan with non-stick spray and set aside until later.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer on medium high speed until stiff peaks form; set aside.  In a separate bowl, beat together the cake mix and water for about two minutes on medium speed until well mixed.  Gently fold in egg whites until they are fully incorporated, then pour into cake pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool completely before cutting into 18 equal pieces.  

Strawberry Twinkie filling
1 cup leftover frosting, room temperature
1 cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp. sugar

In a medium to large bowl, whip the whipping cream on medium speed until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar and beat another minute or so.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the softened frosting and put into a piping bag to fill the Twinkies.

To fill the Twinkies, poke 3 holes down the length of the Twinkie with a tooth pick or straw like so:

(My daughter and little baked good stalker took this pic by the way!)

Then slowly fill each hole with filling, being careful not to poke the pastry bag out the other side or over fill it as it will crack the Twinkie.  Continue with each Twinkie until finished. 

Enjoy immediately or wrap individually in plastic wrap to eat later!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cupcakes and bubbly!

So this week I feel that I am truly living up to my name as a frustrated baker.  As you all know, this past Monday was Valentine's Day, and in honor of that we have been carrying "cupcakes" at work.  I say "cupcakes" because although they resembled the awesome tiny cakes in looks, they tasted and had the texture of cardboard and terry cloth.  They were rough and dense and flat in taste; overall, horrendous!  They gave a bad name to the title of cupcake.  As such, I felt it my duty as a cupcake fan to make some super yummy cupcakes this week.  After asking for some input from friends on Facebook, I decided to go with Love & Olive Oil's Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes.  After all, what could be better than bubbly and strawberries?  Except maybe putting them in cupcake form, of course!

I altered Lindsay's recipe slightly, as I did not want to spend all day at our Safeway trying to find coconut milk...instead I used regular 2% (it's what we had in the fridge) and an extra 1/4 cup sugar.  (I later realized we had coconut extract I could have substituted into the regular milk, but oh well!)

After cutting up about 2 cups of strawberries, throw them in the blender or food processor until they look like this.

This is what the batter looked like for the first batch.  They came out a little on the brown side, not pink at all, so I added some red icing coloring.

Notice the tiny cupcake creeper in the background...beware, they have been known to take off with unattended cupcakes from time to time!

Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes  adapted from Love & Olive Oil

2 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup milk (whichever you prefer)
2/3 cup champagne/sparkling white wine
2/3 cup strawberry puree (2 cups diced strawberries)
1 3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 tsp. Wilton red icing coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Pour diced strawberries into a food processor or blender and puree evenly.  Measure out 2/3 cup for the cupcakes and set the rest aside for the frosting to be made later.
In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, champagne, strawberry puree, sugar, vanilla, and oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until relatively smooth. Fill cupcake liners with a scant 1/4 cup of batter (cups should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 18-22 minutes or until set, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

You want your frosting to be this type of consistency.

Strawberry Vanilla Butter Cream frosting
1 c softened butter (or margarine)
2-3 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c strawberry puree (leftover from cupcakes)
1-2 Tbsp. cream or milk (if needed)

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat butter until smooth and fluffy.  Pour in the leftover strawberry puree then add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time , mixing well to incorporate between additions, until a good piping consistency is reached.  If the frosting becomes too stiff from too much powdered sugar, just add a little bit of cream or milk so that it can be piped onto cupcakes easily.

Time to enjoy...maybe with a side of leftover champagne and strawberries!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fruity Pebbles Treats

It has been an exhausting day in our house today.  My daughter woke up late last night with the worst cold ever and ended up sleeping in our bed with us all night.  Well, I guess I should say she slept...the hubby and I, not so much.  That being said I was looking for something yummy and quick to make for the family today.  Luckily I had just the thing lined up, Fruity Pebble Treats.

They are super quick and easy and so very yummy!  My husband requested them a couple of weeks ago and seeing as they take 10 minutes max, they seemed just perfect for my blog post today.

Fruit Pebble Treats
12 servings

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 package of regular sized marshmallows
5 cups fruity pebbles

In a deep pan melt the butter/margarine on low heat.  Add the marshmallows, stirring constantly so that it does not burn.  Pour in the fruity pebbles and stir until well mixed.  Pour the mixture out into a greased 9x13 baking dish.  

I chose to drizzle a bit of melted chocolate on top to kind of jazz them up.  Put a handful of chocolate chips in a ziploc baggie.  Pop it into the microwave on 50% power for 30-45 seconds, keeping a close eye so you don't end up with a huge mess.  Remove and cut a small hole into the corner of the baggie, then squeeze the melted chocolate out over top and pop in the fridge until cooled.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sick and tired of plain old Oreos?!

Hey there!  Remember me?  I know, I know...I have no excuse for abandoning you all and leaving you to search for delicious baked goods all on your own.  All I can promise is that it won't happen again, I swear!  I may not post every day, or even every week, but I will do my best to try to post at least once a week...probably on Fridays...they are my only day off.  See, don't you feel special?!  I am going to share my only day off with you!

Okay, enough sucking up and apologizing already.  I am sure you are all dieing to know what wonderful thing I have discovered involving Oreo cookies.  And no, those of you thinking these are my truffles...sorry they are not...this is something way more unusual and oh so very yummy!  Oreo stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies!!!!!!  They are delicious, they are wonderful and as I sit here writing to all of you glorious readers, I am watching my family devour them at an amazing speed and ruining their dinners!  For shame, family, FOR SHAME!!!! 

Here they are, don't they look amazing?  They are quite large though, essentially three cookies in one, so keep them away from your family until after dinner.  Learn from my mistakes me!

 My hubby found these for me when he was looking at one of his sites...he saw a picture, read what they were and then showed me a new blog...Buns In My Oven...great blog!  I am so in love with her recipes, you should hop on over there and check it out, seriously.  She did this recipe a little while ago and she in return got it from yet another amazing blog, Picky Palate...also wonderful and a new fav of mine.  I am making a couple of things from their pages for the Super Bowl this weekend in fact!

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookiesrecipe from Picky Palate
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 package Oreo cookies (I had a bunch leftover)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add to the wet mixture and combine thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Chill the dough for 15 minutes to make it easier to work with and to keep the dough from spreading when baking.  (I didn't do this long enough and mine seemed to spread more than hers.)
Using a cookie scoop, place one scoop of dough on top of an Oreo cookie. Place another single scoop on the bottom of the Oreo to create a cookie sandwich. Squish the scoops of dough together and seal the edges together to completely enclose the Oreo.

Place the balls of cookie dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 9-13 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.
Be sure to enjoy these with a big glass of cold milk!