Peanut Butter was on sale a few months ago and I bought alot. I mean, a crazy amount of peanut butter–7 jars for 2 people.  And while the peanut butter wasn’t going to go bad, staring at all that peanut butter on a daily basis was starting to give me the baking itch.

Two weeks ago, I made peanut butter pie for a coworker’s birthday. I made tons of it.  This week, I stared down the rest of that opened jar of smooth peanut butter and just knew–I had to make peanut butter cookies.  I had a WONDERFUL go to recipe–but I couldn’t find it!  It drove me nuts…after about an hour of searching, I gave up and decided to go online to find another recipe.  It didn’t take long before I found David Lebovitz’s recipe and decided it was the one.  For one, he’s David Lebovitz.  And two, the recipe promised a slightly crisp and chewy peanut butter cookie. How could I resist?

Verdict?  I want my old recipe back!  Let me provide a little more feedback–the cookie itself was definitely soft on the inside.  It was moist–but on that note, it was also very dense and fragile.  This is a very peanut buttery cookie.  So if you’re looking for something dense, and almost “flourless” tasting, this is the recipe for you!  While it didn’t blow me away, I sure did enjoy it with a glass of milk.

My search will continue to find that oh-so-perfect recipe I had just a year ago.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes approximately 30 cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more for coating the cookies
1/2 cup packed granulated light brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural-style)
1 large egg, at room temperature

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, granulated and brown sugars, and peanut butter on medium speed just until smooth. Beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture and mix just until the dough comes together. If necessary, knead the dough with your hands until smooth.

Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. (The rest gives the ingredients time to meld so the cookies bake up especially soft and chewy.)

Remove the dough from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Pour some granulated sugar into a small bowl.

Pinch off pieces of dough and roll them into 1-inch balls Roll the balls in the granulated sugar and place them 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. When you’ve filled the baking sheets, flatten and make a crosshatch pattern on each cookie by pressing down on the ball with the back of the tines of a fork.

Bake, rotating the baking sheets midway through baking, until the cookies begin to brown around the edges but the centers still look somewhat uncooked, 9-10 minutes. (Remove them from the oven before they look done so they’ll stay chewy once cooled.)

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until firm enough to handle, then use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack.

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Room for Dessert

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Even though the wedding is two years away, I can’t help myself.  I’m all over Style Me Pretty and Oncewed looking for ideas and hoping to find a way to put together a wedding that speaks to who Mike and I are—without having to financially handicap ourselves.  DIY projects? Yes please.  I wish I could bake up all the cookies and cupcakes needed for such a fête, but I’m sure  I’ll end up being the most stressed out and mean spirited woman on the planet should I be responsible for such a feat.

Vanilla Cupake

Anyhow, as I scour these sights, I’ve noticed that my local bakery—Sweet & Saucy—is quite the hotspot.  Melody’s work is not just scrumptious—it’s breathtaking.  I love that she’s able to create elaborate and unique cakes and I love it 10 times more that she’s also able to make impressive understated cakes.  I love, I love, I love!

So I know exactly where she’s located and I also know that by the time I get off work she’s always closed.  So while her bakery is only 6 minutes away from where I live, I’ve been there only twice in the last 3 years.  I love her shop nonetheless.   Her shop is incredibly chic and all to fun.

Her most popular cupcake?  The Candy Bar cupcake.  Yes, my friend.  Think of your typical candy bar—caramel, peanuts/peanut butter, and chocolate.  Yeah, it’s decadent and yeah, it’s not on my “Get crazy skinny, but keep my boobs wedding diet,” but neither has anything I’ve been eating the last two months.  Yeah, I’m kinda screwed…but I’ll make it work.  I will. :/

Moving on, I’ve only had this cupcake once.  Why? Outside of her hours, it’s simply always sold out by the time I get there.   Boo! But, I do remember how fantastic they were and how great it was to have something so different.

So, after coming across her famous cupcakes at yet another featured wedding, I decided—why the heck not?  I’ll make those suckers.  And I did.  And you know what?  They were pretty darn tootin’ good.  If you have time and you’re looking to impress, I would definitely give these a shot.

How do you accomplish such a feat?  Make a batch of your favorite vanilla cupcakes, some chocolate ganache, peanut butter cream cheese frosting, and some salted caramel syrup.  Yeah, that’s badass alright.  It’s also time consuming. Be forewarned.

I’m still on the hunt for the perfect vanilla cupcake by the way, so pass some recipes my way if you have something awesome.

Candy Bar Cupcake

Part 1: Billy’s Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes

Adapted from Martha Stewart
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (original calls for just 1 tsp.)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
  2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 to 18 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Part 2: Whipped Chocolate Ganache

  • 5 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 5 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. To make the ganache, break chocolate into small pieces and place in a large bowl.
  2. In a sauce pan, heat the heavy cream on medium high until it comes up to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour over the chocolate. Let sit for about 2 minutes to warm up the chocolate. Now stir mixture until completely melted and glossy. Allow ganach to cool completely.
  3. To achieve a lighter texture for whipped ganache, whip mixture on medium low with a hand mixture.  If you like the ganache a bit denser, just let it cool and spoon.

 

Part 3: Peanut Butter Frosting

Adapted from Annie’s Eats
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/2-2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup cool whip
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter and peanut butter until smooth.
  2. Slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth and well blended.  Mix in the whipped topping until smooth and fluffy.

Part 4: Salted Caramel Sauce

Adapted from Chow
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Stir together sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan, place over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Let boil until amber in color, about 3 minutes.
  2. Immediately add butter and stir to incorporate. Remove from heat, add cream and salt, and mix well. Serve immediately or let cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate.
  3. Will keep for 7 days in fridge.

AND–FINALLY…to the last part…yeah, did I mention this is a bit time consuming?

Part 5: Assembly

  1. Once cupcakes have cooled completely, use the cone method to remove cupcake tops.
  2. Pipe or spoon chocolate ganache into the cavity of the cupcake.  Replace cupcake top.  It won’t look perfect, but you’ll be covering the cupcake with frosting anyhow.  You can elect to not replace cupcake top as well, if you want the whole cupcake to be less “cake-ish.”
  3. Pipe frosting onto cupcake.
  4. Top off with some caramel.  Would also taste delicious if have some fleur de sel to sprinkle on top.

It was Boss’s Day–and you got it–I was going to bring in something sweet.  Afterall, I don’t think they’d expect anything else.  But it had been a long week and I wasn’t feeling quite 100%.  So, I opted for a simple One-Bowl recipe and I thought I’d step away from my typical cream cheese frosting.  After looking thru my cabinet and staring at the jars of peanut butter, I couldn’t think of a better combination.  Chocolate and Peanut Butter?  Mmmmnnn…I was officially exited.

Sadly, I’m on a bit of a diet so I didn’t have any.  Yeah, I didn’t think I had it in me either–not because I can’t pass up sweets (okay…that’s just 15% of it), but because I NEVER give out sweets without making sure it passes my taste test.  Could it be?  I’m building more confidence in my baking.  Ehh…on second thought, it’s probably because I knew I was going to have a really unhealthy weekend .  I was going to meet friends up for beer and fried deliciousness that night, meeting another friend for some seafood and fries Saturday for lunch, and it was date night for the me and fiance.  Thank you Groupon for our dinner at Border Grill (which sadly screamed mediocrity).

Either way, judging from everyone’s reaction, these were definitely a hit.  All cupcakes were claimed by the time I was done for the day.  I suppose when it comes down to it–how can  you beat a pb and chocolate combo? Oh–and it probably didn’t hurt that I stuffed bits of milk chocolate in each piece for some extra chocolatey goodness.

Chocolate Cupcake with Peanut Butter frosting

Recipe yields 18-20 cupcakes

Cupcakes

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons safflower oil
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Now take the Hershey bars and break them into smaller pieces.  Stuff each cupcake well with a few pieces.
Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once . Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter, room temperature
3 oz cream cheese, softened
3-4 tablespoons milk (heavy cream if you’re brave), or as needed
1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Place the butter, peanut butter, and cream cheese into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, add milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in.  Frosting will be start to get thick.  Beat for about 4 minutes until all ingredients are well combined and frosting gets fluffy.  While my recipe does say 3-4 tablespoons, I might of lost count.  I added milk 1 tbsp at a time, until I reached a consistency I was happy with.  do quick tastes tests to get the consistence you want.
If you want to use this recipe for brownies, you can certainly have them a bit thicker.  But because these were for cupcakes, I wanted them fairly light. To each their own!

Peanut Butter Pie and Joy Luck Club (the movie) are synonymous to me.  I know, let me explain.  I remember watching that movie in elementary school, so excited to watch a movie that featured Asian women.  That just goes to show you that no matter how old you are, you are well aware of how much, how little, and generally just how people of ethnic origin are depicted in mainstream media.  Let’s do a quick U-turn and get back on track to what I was trying to explain, shall we?

The movie is comprised of interconnecting vignettes, but I’m going to focus on Rose’s story.  A young Chinese American woman who ends up falling for Caucasian classmate.  To woo him she makes his favorite dessert–peanut butter pie.  I remember thinking, “That sounds pretty gross!”  I envisioned dense, thick layers of dry peanut butter topped with whipped cream topped with drizzles of chocolate.

Fast forward 15 years or so, and I’m now a college educated, working professional.  During lunch, my coworkers and I (well, more them than me…) were discussing their favorite desserts and what dessert they’d like me to bring in next.  One of them suggested Peanut Butter Pie–his favorite.  Flashback to Rose watching (not eating) the peanut butter pie she makes for Ted.  I grimace a bit…but he goes on to describe the creamy textures, light peanut butter accents, and the decadent cross between cheesecake and mousse…and I was pretty much sold.

And thank goodness I did.  It’s absolutely delicious!  Creamy, light…I’ve never had anything like it.  Wonderful…and definitely aesthetically pleasing.  Give it a try, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I decided to make single serving sizes.

****If you’re looking to spruce up this dessert, add some bananas!  I like to add a nice slice of banana onto the cookie pie crust before pouring in the batter.  It really gives the dessert a nice twist.

Get in my belly!

Peanut Butter Pie

Pie Filling
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 12-oz container of cool whip
Oreo Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups finely ground Oreos
1/4 cups melted unsalted butter
1 tbsp granulated sugar
Whipped Cream Topping
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1-3 tbsps confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Toppings
1/4 cup finely ground Oreos
Hershey’s chocolate syrup
5-6 Coarsely chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Directions
To make cookie crust: Preheat oven to 350°.  Prepare muffin tin by filling with paper liners.  In a bowl, combine Oreo crumbs, sugar and melted butter.  Mix to combine evenly.  Crust should be moist.  Fill cupcake liners with about 1 tbsp of cookie mixture.  Press down on the crumbs to make firm, flat surface.  Bake in oven for 5-7 minutes, until shell hardens.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Pie filling: In a large bowl fixed to a stand mixer, mix peanut butter with cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar.  Once combined, add Cool Whip and mix until smooth.  Once crust has cooled, gently spoon filling into pie shell.
Whipped Cream: Make sure whipping cream is very cold.  In a metal bowl, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla until cream is fluffy and you see soft peaks.  Do not overbeat or you’ll end up with thick and chunky curds.
Garnish pie with whipped cream and top off with chopped peanut butter cups, chocolate syrup and oreo crumbs–and voila! Nom nom nom…
Adapted from All recipes