Flourless Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Flourless Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

When I have a favorite anything, I kind of dig my heels into it. New fave shoes? I wear them every day. New fave outfit? I wear it every day. Ok, not every day but I have been known to rock the same outfit twice in a row. (If you’re going to two different places with different people, it’s technically a new outfit. Senseless logic brought to you by me.) Fave nail polish? OMG I CAN’T STOP WEARING MINT GREEN AND CORAL!! Ahem, you get the point. I mean, why would anyone want to mess with elusive perfection once it’s found?! So when I find a cookie recipe that actually works in my finicky oven, I kind of can’t stop making it. And then I make them all the time… for everything.

Then the inevitable happens: I get into a rut and yell on my blog and whiiiiine because if I change anything about said perfection, it won’t be perfect anymore. What I sometimes fail to realize, is that change can help it become something even BETTER!! Say it with me people, change is good!!

Especially when it involves cookies. And chocolate. And peanut butter. And chocolate peanut butter. Baby steps…

So embrace the change with me, people! Let’s make a tiny adjustment to a cookie recipe and yell on the internet about how awesome it is (whining optional).

For these cookies, I took my go-to peanut butter cookie recipe and simply changed the peanut butter to one of my all time PB obsessions: Dark Chocolate Dreams. And the end result is simply amazing. I can’t wait to try this with the White Chocolate Wonderful!! And almond butter.

Flourless Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

*Note: Since the peanut butter I used is all natural, the texture was a bit different from the original cookies. They are a tad less chewy and a tiny bit more crumbly. But still completely delicious!

Flourless Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter (or your favorite chocolate nut butter)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg (lightly beaten)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (or chunks! or nuts! or…)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° , with a rack positioned in the middle of your oven (I don’t have the capacity to have two sheets going at once, I forget to flip/switch them.). Line a jelly roll pan or your standard cookie sheet with a silicone mat, foil or parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl with a wooden spoon, stir together peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

With a cookie scoop (mine is 1 1/2 TBSP in size) scoop, level and plop equal portioned dough balls onto your prepared cookie sheet. Alternatively: with moistened hands, roll dough, about 1 heaping tablespoon at a time, into balls. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. (These are not huge spreaders! So if you want a slightly thinner cookie, gently press down on the top of the cookie to flatten it a bit.)

Bake until cookies are golden and puffed, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on sheets; transfer cookies to racks to cool completely. Promise me that you’ll have one warm from the oven?

Flourless Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

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Crazytown Peanut Butter Banana Bread

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Let me clarify a point: when I say ‘crazytown’ I mean ‘holy cow, there is so much good stuff in this bread and my impatience doesn’t allow me to list it all.’ I DO NOT mean Crazytown the band that sang that maddeningly catchy song ‘Butterfly’ way back in the day.

But I won’t lie, I liked them. I thought Shifty was cute (for like a week HA!) I know every word to the entire song.

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I used to have problems. Don’t verify that with my hubby, he’ll tell you I still have problems. He calls it issues, I call it awesome!!

There is a whole lot of awesome going on in this bread: peanut butter banana bread studded with mini peanut butter cups, snickers, chocolate chips AND caramel. I added some whole wheat pastry flour, you know… to make it “healthy.” I told you, crazytown!!

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And I just couldn’t help myself, I never can leave well enough alone, I drizzled the top with melted bittersweet chocolate. Crazytown.

Come my lady, come come my lady. You’re my butterfly, sugar baby. Oh gosh…

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Crazytown Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Yields one 8×4″ loaf

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or more AP flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil (you can also use canola)
1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 oz mini peanut butter cups (I used these)
8 mini snickers, chopped
2 oz milk chocolate chips
8 caramels, chopped

Note: I used an 8×4″ pan but you can use a standard 9×5″ you loaf will be slightly thinner and will bake faster, so keep an eye on it! Also, go nuts with the mix-ins: add toffee bits, different candy bars, nuts, toasted coconut, etc.

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Generously grease your loaf pan  with butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined, set aside.

In a large bowl stir together your bananas, peanut butter, oil, egg, sugars and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously for about 30 seconds to ensure that everything is thoroughly combined. The batter will be a bit lumpy because of the bananas, that’s ok!

Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and, with a rubber spatula, fold everything together until just combined (the flour JUST disappears.)

Fold in your mini peanut butter cups, snickers and chocolate chips. Spread half of the batter into your prepared pan. Sprinkle the chopped caramels over the batter and give them a light press with your hand. Top with the rest of your batter and smooth the top with your spatula.

Bake for approx 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached (always check your baked goods early, every oven is different and there’s nothing worse than a rock-solid loaf).

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges of the pan with a plastic knife and remove from loaf pan, transferring bread to a cooling rack. Cool completely, or don’t, just don’t burn your tongue. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Cookies & Cups

Cocoa Rice Krispies Football Treats

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A few days ago, I made mention that I’m a football fan. A pretty hardcore one at that. I am a hometown gal, Go Houston Texans!! Tony and I try to go to as many home games as we can, we live for the atmosphere. While we are there, we usually pick up a souvenir cup and a snack/lunch. It’s kind of a tradition.

When we watch the games at home snacks aren’t usually a MUST, we aren’t big TV snackers.

But since we were going to the in-laws’ house to watch the game, I found it fitting to bring a little football snack. Literally: little football snacks.

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These adorable little footballs are basically chocolate rice krispie treats with a bit of peanut butter and some melted white chocolate for the stitching. They are super simple to make, just a few more steps than traditional rice krispie treats. But totally worth it for the adorableness, WOW factor and most importantly… the taste!

I must confess that for not being a TV snacker, I ate way too any of these. As did everyone else. These were a big hit. Tony came back into the bedroom at 7am (before leaving for work) just to tell me that they looked pretty awesome!

And before you ask: yes, I have Texans tupperware!

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Cocoa Rice Krispies Football Treats
Makes 16 footballs

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 package (10 oz) regular marshmallows – OR – 4 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter
6 cups chocolate flavored crisped rice cereal (such as Cocoa Rice Krispies®)
white chocolate, for decorating

Stove top Instructions:

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter until melted.
Add cereal. Stir until well coated.
Cool slightly. Using buttered hands shape mixture into sixteen 3-inch footballs.
Melt white chocolate, pour into a piping bag (or Ziplock baggie) and snip off a tiny hole at the tip and pipe on the stitches. Best if served the same day.

Microwave Instructions:

In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth.
Add peanut butter, stirring until melted.
Follow steps 2 and 3 above. Microwave cooking times may vary.

Notes:
For best results, use fresh marshmallows.

Store at room temperature in airtight container. To freeze, place in single layer on wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

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Let’s Go Texaaaaaaaaans!!!!

Thick, Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I’m a thick and chewy cookie kinda gal. I’ve tried crispy and crunchy, thin and chewy, thick and cakey, undercooked, overcooked… any which way you can try a cookie, I’ve tried them that way.

Definitely a thick and chewy girl. Wait, I’m not saying that I’M thick and chewy. And although that’s debatable, I was talking about the cookies.

So when I saw these gems on Jessica’s blog I had stars in my eyes.

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Stars in my eyes people. I’m talking serious cookies here.

These are super easy to whip up and you’re likely to have all the ingredients on hand. There’s no pesky refrigeration time for the cookie dough and no bringing the butter to room temperature. The cookies come out thick, chewy, melty and delicious and…

Like I said, STARS.

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Thick, Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from here
makes about 18 cookies

Ingredients:

8 tablespoons of butter, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or sub for more AP flour)
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 heaping teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 heaping cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.

Add butter and peanut butter to a large microwave safe bowl, and heat in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Give the mixture a good whisk until combined and smooth. Let cool completely (pop into the fridge if you’re as impatient as me. Ps: I couldn’t wait for it to cool COMPLETELY, I proceeded with a slightly warm mixture and still yielded great cookies).

In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, baking soda and salt until combined and set aside.

In the bowl of the cooled butter/peanut butter mix, add sugars and whisk vigorously until they are combined and no lumps remain. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until combined. Gradually add flour and mix until a dough forms (I used a rubber spatula and folded in the flour mixture in three parts until just combined). Fold in chocolate chips.

Shape the dough into a ball the size of a golfball (I weighed my dough and divided by 18 to ensure equal sized pieces; mine were about 54 grams each). Place on prepared baking sheet two inches apart and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. The centers should be soft and puffy. Do not over bake. Let cool. Or not, your choice. 😉

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Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Caramel Buttercream

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And now, a haiku dedicated to my black bananas:

Unloved and hiding.
Begging for a second life,
In batter they go.

That’s my attempt at something cute at 10:30pm after a tough run, a tortilla for dinner, a headache, and a fitful night of sleep. Leave me be.

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I saw these on Tracey’s blog a while ago and I was overwhelmed by the cuteness of them and promptly remembered two black straggling bananas that needed a new home as their stay in my fridge was coming to an end. You see, they party loudly late at night and it keeps me awake. So they had to go.

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Chocolate and nanners are a great match. Nanners? I don’t think I’ll be saying that again. Next time I’ll toss in some peanut butter chips and drizzle with melty peanut butter just to mix things up. The cake portion was very soft and moist, chocolatey and banana-y, perfectly balanced. Topped off with this super easy peanut butter caramel frosting, a drizzle of chocolate or caramel (or both ;P) and you’re good to go! Add a chocolate covered espresso bean, if you’re fancy.

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Chocolate Banana Cupcakes
adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

1/2 cup heavy cream (recipe states coconut milk but this is what I had on hand)
1/2 cup ripe banana, mashed (about 1 banana, although I used 2 bananas)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (recipe states canola oil, again use what you have)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (I subbed black cocoa for 2 TBSP of the regular cocoa)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

(A semi-helpful tip to quickly mash your bananas: break up bananas into a mixer bowl and whiz them around on med-high speed until they resemble barely chunky baby food. You can achieve this with a bowl and a hand mixer, but this creates more dishes ;P)

In a medium bowl, whisk the mashed banana, heavy cream, sugar, oil and vanilla until well combined. The mixture won’t be completely smooth, but mix vigorously to get out as many of the large lumps as possible. In a second medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. (Sift your cocoa into this mixture if it appears clumpy). Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and gently whisk (or fold with a rubber spatula) until flour just disappears.

Distribute the batter evenly among the liners, filling each about 1/2 – 2/3 full (an ice cream scoop works great for this). Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the muffin pan to a wire rack. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer them to the wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 12 cupcakes

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Peanut Butter Caramel Buttercream
from Cook’s Illustrated

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (not natural)
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
pinch table salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon caramel sauce

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (I used the paddle because I’m a rebel. Or I don’t read the recipe well enough), beat butter and peanut butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about a minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt to the bowl and beat at low speed just until the sugar is moistened, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat the mixture on med-high until fully combined. You’ll notice it taking on a lighter color and a more uniform texture, this is perfect. Finally, mix in the vanilla and caramel sauce and beat on med-high to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again then beat on medium speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and garnish with caramel drizzle, melted chocolate or anything your heart desires.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups (enough to frost 10-12 cupcakes)

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Day 14: Muddy Buddies

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Are you heading out to a Christmas party? I bet you are! I see you wearing your pretty red party dress with your dangly earrings.

Are you bringing something to that party? No time, you say? Well I can fix that. Give me 5 minutes (seriously) and I’ll give you a party treat that will be a hit.

You with me? Let’s get to it!

It’s day 14 and today I am offering up a quintessential Christmas party food. Chex dipped on chocolate, peanut butter and clouded with an insane amount of powdered sugar.

Chex party mix has come a loooong way.

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Muddy Buddies
Yields 9 cups of mix

Ingredients:
1 cup chocolate chips (you can go fancy and chop up expensive chocolate, but come on! This is party food)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 cups of your favorite Chex Mix cereal
roughly half a bag of powdered sugar

Instructions:
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips, peanut butter, butter in the microwave in 30 second spurts (took me 3-30 sec intervals, be sure to stir with a rubber spatula after each interval). Stir until smooth then add the vanilla and mix until combined.

Now you can go about this next step in 2 ways: 1) Pour the cereal on top of your melted chocolate mixture and carefully fold it together, or 2) Place chex in a big bowl and pour the melted chocolate mixture on top and fold it together. Once your chex mix is ‘muddy’ put it in 2 separate zippy bags and pour about a generous amount of powdered sugar over your mix. Shake, shake, shake until each piece of chex is covered in powdered sugar, adding more if necessary.

Yep, that’s it. Melt, mix, shake, serve.

If you’d like, you can pep this up a bit and add some crushed candy cane pieces in while you’re tossing the chex together. Heck, add crushed oreo’s for all I care. Less is NOT more in this case. Go nuts!!

You can put this in a beautiful, big party bowl and take it with you or place it in a decorative tin and give it as a gift. Either way, you’ll look like a rockstar!

Life is sweet!

Day 6: Oh Baby Bars

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When it comes to chocolate, I prefer mine fussy. No, not in a ‘throwing a tantrum because I didn’t buy her a new barbie doll’ kind of way. But more in a ‘I don’t prefer my chocolate plain’ kind of way.

To me (and I’m sure a LOT of you will disagree) chocolate pairs well with SO many things: nuts, orange, mint, raspberries, banana, caramel and most importantly peanut butter.

Chocolate + peanut butter is the new black. Just don’t tell Jelly, she’s not taking the news very well.

It’s Day 6 of my Christmas craziness Extravaganza. I’m baking my way into Christmas with loads of inspiration and goodies for you.

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These were a bit of a flop for me. A sweet, perfect, indulgent delicious flop. Otherwise, whyyy would I share this recipe with you? Silly people. But by flop I mean that these didn’t go as planned. Mistake #1: I halved the recipe and decided to make it in a 9×9 pan. If you halve it, make it in a 8×8 pan. Heck, do yourself a favor and make the whole pan. Mistake #2: I didn’t measure out the chocolate. Then I didn’t keep an eye on my chocolate when melting it. Therefore it seized, I think. I forced it to spread with my spatula but it wasn’t pretty. TASTY, but not pretty. Mistake #3: my peanut butter ‘paste’ wasn’t pasty at all! It was hard and doughy. A bit tough to spread but that could most definitely be baker-error! All in all, not really a big deal because these taste like a wonderful easy-peasy peanut butter cup.

And, a holiday rush bonus: no baking required!! Amazing.

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Oh Baby Bars
Adapted from Eat, Live, Run as seen on Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
1-⅓ cup Powdered Sugar
¼ cups Butter, Softened, Plus 1 Tablespoon, Divided
¾ cups Creamy Peanut Butter
7 ounces, weight Semi-sweet Chocolate
4 ounces, weight bittersweet Chocolate

Instructions:
Blend together the brown sugar, powdered sugar, 1/4 cup butter and peanut butter until it reaches a smooth paste-like consistency.

Press into the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan.

Melt the chocolate with the remaining tablespoon of butter over very low heat (or in a microwave). Pour melted chocolate over the peanut butter crust and stick in the fridge for an hour to harden.
Cut into squares and serve!

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Shipping Safe: YES. I’d suggest either keeping one solid layer of these or if you’re going to stack them, separate them with pieces of wax paper.
Make Ahead and Freeze: YES. Make and freeze, place in tightly sealed tupperware until ready to ship, eat, nibble mercilessly.