It’s officially my favorite time of the year–FALL! It’s time the for holidays (here’s looking at you, Halloween and Thanksgiving) and comfort food, so you can bet I’ll be spending the next two months cooking up a storm. Well, four months. Let’s throw winter in there, too, seeing as how fall and winter are a pair.
I’m still on a peanut butter high (yup) and since I really liked the way those peanut butter cups turned out, I decided to make peanut butter cookies. I’ve never been a huge fan of pb cookies, but I thought that adding a bit of powdered sugar–the thing that makes peanut butter cups so delicious–might help with that, and I think I had the right idea. Top these cookies with sugar and chocolate, and all is well.
I think I’ll add orange frosting to the next batch and make them Halloween-themed :)!
Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1/4 cup bread flour
- 2 tsps sugar, for rolling
- Cream butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl on low speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract.
- Add flours, baking powder, baking salt, and salt to butter/sugar mixture. Beat on low speed until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.
- Shape dough into balls and roll into sugar.
- Place dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake on 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until cookies are a light, golden color. If adding Hershey’s kisses, press kiss into the center of the cookie immediately after removing the cookie from the oven.
I’ve been craving peanut butter lately–and I’m always in the mood for chocolate–so I thought I’d play around with my peanut butter cup recipe. I have to say that I like this combination the best so far, and I believe it’s because of the milk chocolate/dark chocolate combination.
Peanut Butter Cups
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tbsp(s) melted butter
- 4 ozs of milk chocolate, crushed
- 4 ozs of dark chocolate, crushed
- Sea salt, optional
- Place butter in a small bowl and melt butter in microwave (about 15 – 20 seconds).
- Add powdered sugar, peanut butter, and salt to melted butter and stir until well combined.
- Line a baking sheet with 12-13 mini muffin wrappers (the number of wrappers you fill will vary, depending on how much chocolate you eat beforehand).
- Add crushed milk chocolate and crushed dark chocolate to a small saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring constantly until most of the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat immediately, and continue to stir until remaining chocolate has melted.
- Add a small amount of chocolate to each muffin wrapper (about 1-1 1/2 tsp of chocolate).
- Drop a small amount of the peanut butter mixture onto the chocolate in wrappers.
- Top peanut butter with another 1 – 1 1/2 tsp of chocolate.
- If desired, sprinkle a dash of sea salt onto peanut butter cups.
- Refrigerate for at least 30- 45 minutes or until chocolate has hardened.
I finally got around to using the Target brand butter and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The butter has a good taste to it, albeit it does have a greasier texture than the Land O Lakes butter I’m used to. The greasiness isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it does produce a smooth, creamy truffle just as my go-to butter does.
While I’m not convinced that it’s the best butter out there (I’m stubborn), I’d definitely buy again based on the outcome of these truffles. Still, that’s not going to stop me from running more tests, just to be sure.
Buttered cheese grits, anyone?
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
adapted from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook
- 1 1/2 cup AP flour
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsps + 1 tsp milk
- 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
- 14 ounces Baker’s Dipping Chocolate Cups
- 2 wax paper-lined cooking sheets!
- Crushed M&M, crushed peanuts, or sea salt sprinkled over chocolate coating
- Combine sugars and butter in a bowl and beat on low-medium speed for 3-5 minutes or until very smooth and creamy.
- Add vanilla extract and milk and beat until well combined, about 1 minute.
- Add flour and salt and mix together until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Wrap cookie dough in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 10-20 minutes.
- Remove cookie dough from plastic wrap. Scrap out 18-22 balls of dough using a 1 tbsp measuring spoon.
- Place cookie dough bites on wax paper-lined cookie sheet and freeze for 30-45 minutes.
- Heat Baker’s Dipping Chocolate according to directions on label (or over very low heat on stovetop, stirring constantly. Dipping the dough will be easier if you use a very small boiler.)
- Remove roughly half of the cookie dough bites from the freezer.
- Place one cookie dough bite on a spoon and submerge in chocolate. Cover the top of the cookie dough bite with chocolate using another spoon (I recommend a coffee spoon). Gently slide dough off spoon and place on another wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate.
- Repeat process until all of the cookie dough balls are covered (don’t forget to remove the ones from the freezer after you’ve coated the ones that are already out).
- You’re welcome to melt a chocolate bar or chocolate chips to use for the chocolate coating. Just be mindful that chocolate bars/chocolate chips don’t tend to harden as well as baking chocolate.
- You might insert a toothpick or lollipop stick into the dough before you freeze it to use as a dipping handle. Use the method that works well for you.
Happy birthday, Usagi!
That’s right, it’s Sailor Moon’s birthday today! To celebrate–and to cap off our month of Sailor Moon-themed meals–I’ve cooked a chocolate-vanilla birthday cake for the lover of all things sweet.
I dare not attempt to make frosting without my stand mixer, so I went with two pre-made jars of vanilla frosting instead (I recommend buying/making at least 38 ounces).
Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting
- 12″ x 2″ heart-shaped cake pan
- 14″ cake board for frosting
- Round cereal bowl
- Pizza cutter
- Moist Chocolate Cake *
- 32-38 ounces of vanilla frosting
- 2 ounces of white fondant
- 4-5 ounces of black fondant
- Bright pink food gel
*It will not taste like coffee, I promise.
- Assemble cake as per directions. Bake between 30-35 minutes.
- Let the cake cool completely before adding a thin layer of crumb coating. To make the crumb coating, mix about 2-3 tablespoons of frosting with enough water to form a light glaze. Spread the glaze over the top and sides of the cake and allow to harden.
- Once the crumb coating has hardened, apply the frosting.
- Add pink food gel to the remaining white frosting and stir. Using a piping bag (or a ziplock bag), ice the perimeter of the cake (I had a 131 and a 21 tip, so I did this step twice. A larger tip will definitely work.)
- For the rabbit: knead white fondant until it softens. Mold it into the shape of the ears and head. Have fun with it! It’s like using Play-Doh (only, you know, it’s okay to eat it). Piece the ears and head together, and use your fingertips to rub out any of the crease marks. To make the pink accents, add a drop of pink food gel to some of the remaining white fondant and knead the fondant until the gel is evenly distributed. Mold the inner ear shape and press it to the outer ear. Use the bottom or top of a straw to make symmetrical eyes and press them onto the head.
- For the black centerpiece: knead black fondant until malleable. Roll the fondant onto countertop. Using a pizza cutter, cut the fondant into a circle by tracing the rim of a cereal bowl.
- For the lettering: Use (up to) a size 3 piping tip to pipe the message onto the fondant. Clearly Makoto wrote the birthday wishes on the original cake because the lettering is perfect. Unless you, too, are gifted with extremely steady hands, I suggest practicing before you pipe the fondant (the lettering on my cake isn’t bad because I can’t write/read hiragana–I can–but because I have terribly unsteady hands. Do better than me!)
- Assemble, sing “Happy Birthday to You,” and eat!
And there we have it! The end of a month of delicious Sailor Moon-themed dishes!
In many ways, the 20th anniversary of Sailor Moon’s release couldn’t have come at a better time. I grew up watching the anime and reading the manga and, as my own special brand of twenty-something approaches (25th birthday, that is), I feel an extra-special connection with Sailor Moon. Usagi and the gang have seen me through a lot of milestones, and I’m glad they’ve made it to see me through another.
I remember being so in love with this series as a child. I waited eagerly for the latest manga release (I had Books-A-Million’s shipping schedule memorized. New books were shelved every Thursday, and I could be found among the stacks.) and rushed home from school to see the latest episode of the anime. Now that I’m older and creating young adult and literary stories of my own, I can only hope to one day do for readers what Naoko Takeuchi’s story did for me.
When I go to Sonic it’s for one thing and one thing only: the M&M SONIC Blast (no whipped topping, please. I want to get right to the good stuff). So what do I do when a Sonic ice cream craving hits at
12 am 3 am? I whip up the next best thing.
This specific ice cream/M&M combo is amazingly similar in taste to the Sonic Blast original. All you need is a tub of Breyers Extra Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream* and a package of M&Ms (plain)*. That’s it! Now combine and go to bed happy.
*Do not substitute for one of the thirty other versions of Breyers’s vanilla ice cream. Go with extra creamy.
**Don glasses, a hat, whatever you have to, and buy the large bag from the convenience store. No judgment here
P.S. It tastes even better if you combine and freeze at least one hour before eating.
So remember when we made those Red Velvet Brownie Bars and we had all those delicious “crumbles” left? Here’s what we can do with them:
Red Velvet Truffles
Yields between 13-16 truffles, depending on the size
- Red velvet brownies, crumbled
- 2/3-1 cup vanilla icing
- 12 ounces of white chocolate, melted
- 12 ounces of milk chocolate, melted
- Mix red velvet brownies with vanilla icing until well combined (should be moist).
- Roll mixture into balls and place onto cookie sheet. Freeze for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Melt white chocolate in sauce pan over low-medium heat, stirring constantly until all but a few chunks of chocolate are melted.
- Remove from heat and continue to stir until final chunks have melted.
- Using a toothpick (or two spoons), dip red velvet mixture into the chocolate. Place chocolate-dipped truffles into the freezer for 30 minutes or until chocolate has set.
- Repeat steps 3-5 using milk chocolate.
This week’s Moon Madness dessert is a little bit Sailor Mars, a little bit Sailor Moon. We’ve got the purple-red motif that Mars wears coupled with the sweet taste that Usagi lives for. Mars and Moon are the best of pairs, so I think it’s a good choice!
Every once in a while, I like to cheat when I bake, especially when I’m baking two desserts back to back (stay tuned for the second posting). Today’s red velvet brownies (cut in the shape of Mar’s brooch) are made easy with red velvet cake mix. Don’t worry; they still taste delicious!
Sailor Mars Red Velvet Brownies
- Red velvet cake mix
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Butter, for pan
- Plain vanilla frosting
- Red and blue food coloring gel
- Frosting tips
- Frosting bag
- Heart-shaped cookie cutters
- Aluminum foil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8×8 light metal pan with aluminum foil. Grease the inside of the pan with butter and set aside.
- Combine melted butter, water, vanilla extract, and egg in a large mixing bowl and mix for 2-3 minutes on low speed.
- Add red velvet cake mix to wet ingredients. Combine using baking spatula. DO NOT OVERMIX.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
- Let the brownies cool for at least 1 hour. Watch the “Food Fetish” episode of Sailor Moon while you wait.
- Add red and blue food coloring to frosting. Spoon frosting into frosting bag and set aside.
- Use the ends of the aluminum foil to lift the brownies from the pan. Cut brownies into heart shapes using heart-shaped cookie cutters. Save the scraps! We’ll use them for something else.
- Frost, serve, and enjoy!
Question: Who’s your favorite sailor scout?
Save the scraps! Usagi will eat them. Or we’ll make cake pops.