Chocolate Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Cookies

Quick Post:¬†It’s that time of year when if my husband asks for cookies, he’ll get them. I’m much less enthusiastic about making sweets during any other time of year. These are really good, and how can you go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter – a match made in heaven, right? ūüėČ Well, the hubbs wanted some white chocolate, so he got that too. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies – adapted from King Arthur Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa or Dutch process cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 cups¬†mini peanut butter cups¬†(*I used half Reese’s chips and half white chocolate chips*)

Directions –

1) Preheat the oven to 375¬įF. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

2) In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

3) In another bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy.

4) Beat in the vanilla, egg, and water, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.

5) Stir in the chips.

6) Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets.¬†Flatten each cookie to about 1/2″ thick.

7) Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they’re set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I needed to find a recipe that was easy to double and didn’t use a ton of butter. Butter is expensive! The kids both needed cookies for school – one for a cookie exchange, and the other for after their Christmas program. You can make this dough up to a full day in advance and they’ll taste even better than if you just bake them off right away. I baked off about half the dough last night, so I will get to test that theory! ūüôā I don’t really like using shortening at all, but I had it on hand. The flavor of the cookies is definitely different than all butter, which I prefer. The good thing about shortening is that the cookies remain soft even after sitting out for several hours.

Verdict: I’m happy to report that the cookies taste so much better once the dough has chilled for at least 24 hours. It’s like a completely different cookie. The flavors had a chance to meld overnight and completely changed my opinion of this recipe once baked. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookies – adapted from King Arthur Flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375¬įF. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

1) In a large bowl, combine the sugars, butter, shortening, salt, vanilla and almond extracts, vinegar, and baking soda, beating until smooth and creamy.

2) Beat in the egg, again beating till smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.

3) Mix in the flour, then the chips.

4) Use a spoon (or a tablespoon cookie scoop) to scoop 1 1/4″ balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2″ between them on all sides; they’ll spread.

5) Bake the cookies for 11 to 12 minutes, till their edges are chestnut brown and their tops are light golden brown, almost blonde. Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pan till they’ve set enough to move without breaking. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Finally: Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

“Finally” because I saw this recipe on Tastespotting back in March! ūüôā December is a great excuse to make all the decadent goodies that don’t really need a “special” occasion to be made. I have eaten way too many cookies this month – too many carbs, period! Top that off with no gym time this month…this is why it’s so popular to have that “lose weight” New Year resolution! ¬†ūüėČ

While this was baking, it smelled wonderful as you may imagine! Who doesn’t love the warm yeast bread/cinnamon smell? It looks like it wants to climb out of the pan…(and into my belly) while it’s baking. It’s not as pretty as it was before the proofing, but looks don’t matter all that much because it tastes so amazing! Be sure to let it cool for at least 20 minutes (your patience will be rewarded, and your mouth will thank you). I used a piece of buttered parchment paper to make for easier removal of the loaf. This 9×5 pan is notoriously sticky and I’m looking forward to buying a couple of new USA Pans in this size to replace my old, junky ones. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread – adapted from Annie’s Eats via ¬†Joy the Baker

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 ounces unsalted butter

1/3 cup whole milk

1/4 cup water

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned

In a large mixing bowl (I used just the bowl of my stand mixer) whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted.  Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract.  Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.  Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together.  Keep stirring.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes.  The mixture will be sticky.  That’s just right.

Place the dough is a large,  greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  *The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning.  If you’re using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.

While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch  loaf pan.  Set that aside too.

Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out.  The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long.  If you can’t get the dough to 20-inches long… that’s okay.  Just roll it as large as the dough will go.  Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough.  Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  It might seem like a lot of sugar.  Seriously?  Just go for it.

Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips.  Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again.  You’ll have six stacks of six squares.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book.  Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw.  A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.   Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto  a clean board.

New England Clam Chowder

Quick Post:¬†Yesterday I had a brilliant idea – clam chowder in a bread bowl. I have never eaten clam chowder this way, but I knew that it would be worth making. This was rich, flavorful and a definite keeper! We enjoyed eating the bread bowl after because it soaked up so much of the broth, which also made the bread easier to eat (it’s pretty chewy – but perfect for this kind of soup). December is the best excuse for making this kind of meal ūüėČ So are all the other cookies and carb heavy recipes I have shamelessly eaten lately! Thanks for reading, enjoy!
New England Clam Chowder – adapted from Food Network
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks (reserve tender leaves) trimmed, quartered lengthwise, then sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons AP flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 (10-ounce) cans chopped clams in juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sprigs of thyme
  • 1 pound Idaho potatoes, cut into 1/2 – inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions –

Heat the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery and saute until softened, mixing often. Stir in the flour to distribute evenly. Add the stock, juice from 2 cans of chopped clams (reserve clams), cream, bay leaves, and potatoes and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, stirring consistently (the mixture will thicken), then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 20 minutes, stirring often, until the potatoes are nice and tender. Then add clams and season to taste with salt and pepper, cook until clams are just firm, another 2 minutes.