Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Peanut Butter Candy Bars - YUM!

Here's one you're going to like -- I promise. I made this for some good friends and it got great reviews. A few of them are antsy for the recipe, so here you go:

I think you could probably come up with all kinds of variations of this just by changing up the type of candy used. But the peanut theme going on in this recipe makes for a pretty great finished product.

Maybe bookmark this one and see what chocolate combination you can come up with when you've got all of that Halloween candy laying around in a few months!

Peanut Butter Candy Bars
adapted from Oxmoor House

  • 1 16-ounce package Nutter Butter cookies, crushed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 7 & 1/2 ounces peanut butter cups (about 25 miniature cups), coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces Butterfinger candy bars (about 7 small candy bars), coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup honey-roasted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 13″x 9″pan with aluminum foil, allowing it to extend over edges of pan. Grease/spray foil.

Combine crushed cookies and butter. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 6-8 minutes.

Combine condensed milk, peanut butter, and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Set aside.

Sprinkle chopped candy bars, chocolate morsels, and peanuts over crust. Drizzle condensed milk mixture over toppings.

Bake for 25-27 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan on wire rack. Using foil, lift out of pan. Peel foil away, and cut into bars.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Chipster Topped Brownies

There's a BIG group of baking bloggers out there who are part of a group called 'Tuesdays with Dorie'. One of them chooses a recipe and every Tuesday they post their own version of the recipe by well-known and very talented baker Dorie Greenspan. Maybe one day I'll be a Dorie devotee, but committing to doing it every week is tricky these days. But, I have definitely gotten some great recipes from these Tuesday postings. This one is no exception.
Do you like chocolate chip cookies? Do you like brownies? Perfect. Not only can we be friends, you'll love this because it's BOTH. A rich chocolatey brownie topped with cookie dough and then baked to perfection. Rich and delicious. Yum...Chipster-Topped Brownies
Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From my Home to Yours

For the Brownie Layer:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 2/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

For the Cookie Layer:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 cup store bought chocolate chip

Getting Ready
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x13 inch baking pan, line it with wax paper or parchment paper and butter the paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

To Make the Brownie Batter:
Put both chocolates and the butter in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stirring occasionally, heat just until the ingredients are melted, shiny and smooth. If the mixture get too hot, the butter will separate from the chocolates. Remove the bowl from the heat.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until pale, thick and creamy. Beat in the salt and vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate and butter, mixing only until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then, still on low speed, add flour, mixing only until it disappears into the batter. Using the spatula, fold in the walnuts, and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Set aside.

To Make the Cookie Dough:
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

Working with the stand mixer in the cleaned bowl or with the hand mixer in another large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. One at a time, add the egg and the yolk, beating for 1 minutes after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Still on low, mix in the chopped chocolate. Drop the cookie dough by spoonfuls over the brownie batter and, using a spatula and a light touch, spread it evenly over the batter.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the cookie top is deep gold brown and firm and a thin knife inserted into the brownie layer comes out with only faint streaks of moist chocolate. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.

When the brownies are completely cook, carefully run a knife between the sides of the pan and the brownies, then invert them onto another rack, remove the paper and turn the right side up onto a cutting board. Cut into bars about 2 inches x 1 inch. (You can cut larger bars if you're serving cookie lovers with Texas-size appetites.)

Makes 24 servings.

Serving: Ice cream, whipped cream and creme fraiche are all great accompaniments, as is a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Storing: Wrapped well or packed in an airtight container, the bars can be kept at room temperature for 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Playing Around: The cookie top can be varied easily be swapping peanut butter, butterscotch or white chocolate chips for the chopped chocolate. You could even use all of them.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

If you're looking for a quick bread, something that doesn't take a lot of time and is so reminiscent of coffee cake, and a little bit of cinnamon roll too, give this a try. I love to make it in little loaves. They make such great gifts for friends!

* 1/3 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 cup sugar
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 egg
* 1 cup milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/3 cup cooking oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 loaf pan (or little loaf pans -- my favorite!) Combine 1/3 cup of sugar, pecans, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Combine 1 cup of sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat egg. Then, stir in milk, vanilla and oil. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the egg mixture. Stir just until mixed. Do not over mix.

Pour half of the batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon mixture. Repeat. With a wide rubber scraper or spatula, swirl mixtures together with a down and up circular motion.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until done, less time if you have little loaves. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Then, cool completely on a wire rack.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Strawberry Buttermilk Sherbet

A kitchen confession: Our ice cream maker is not being used to it's potential. Every time I use it I think, "Why don't I do this more often?" The answer usually has something do with lack of planning because I haven't frozen the inner canister ahead of time. But I'm hoping to change that. That silly canister is in the freezer right now, because next time I want to be ready. In fact, did you know you can use your ice cream maker just to make Slurpee-type drinks? Just pour in some soda or juice or whatever you'd like and get it spinning. Who doesn't love a cool little something (that's EASY to make) in the hot summer? Get out your ice cream maker. I know you don't use it as much as you should.

I'm sticking with strawberries for another post or two and sharing a truly yummy one with you.

This recipe is very similar to one I did last year with blackberries. It's good, really good, and a lot lighter than ice cream, which usually uses cream and whole milk. Give it a try. And, let me know if you've got any other suggestions for my ice cream maker!Strawberry Buttermilk Sherbet
adapted from Southern Living Magazine

2 cups fresh strawberries*
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (or more!) chopped strawberries (optional)

Process strawberries in a food processor or blender 30 seconds or until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Pour strawberry puree through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large bowl, pressing with back of a spoon. Discard solids.

Add buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla to puree; stir until well blended. Cover and chill 1 hour.

Pour strawberry mixture into freezer container of a 1 1/2-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. (Instructions and times may vary.) Fold in the half cup of strawberries if desired.

*You could also use 1 (16-oz.) package frozen strawberries, thawed if you can't get to some fresh picked, local berries.