Tag Archives: peanut butter

Healthy Tropical Bars (Raw, GF, Vegan) for #gradstudentbloggers

Your grad/undergrad student bloggers are back this week! Our mission: creating awesome recipes for the On-the-Go Student!

Grad Undergrad Student Bloggers Icon Small

Joining us this week: Bec from Daisy and the Fox, Nicole from PicNic, Shelley from Bacon Egg Cheese(cake), and Uru from Go Bake Yourself! (Zainab from Blahnik Baker is off doing crazy epic grad student things this week, but we’ve included her interview anyway.) Don’t forget to check out these lovely ladies’ blogs. (Want to learn more about these fabulous bloggers? Read Week 1′s interview here!)

But first, we asked our super multi-talented bloggers a few fun questions about how they deal with full-time school AND blogging! Here’s what they said:


Week 2 Interview Round-up

1. Describe your grad/undergrad student blogger life in three words:

Ala: You’re kidding…right?

Bec: Busy, fun, inspired

Nicole: Crazy, Chaotic, Fulfilling

Shelley: Procrastinating, fun, UGHHH

Uru: Party. Study. Sleepless.

Zainab: Need. More. Hours.

2. Tell us a fun, unique fact that not many people may know about you!

Ala: I just ran my first half-marathon at Disneyland at the end of last month in 2 hours and 9 minutes! I quite literally ate dessert every day (including a buttload of ice cream) in lieu of “training”: I would run about once every other week and did 13.1 miles cold turkey each time. Dumb luck, but I guess it worked!

Bec: I am completely and totally smitten for kittens dogs! The moment I see one on the street I literally pounce and smother them in sweet nothings and pats. I have a pinterest animal bored, and it is 100% bombarded with dog pictures, cause ya know… damn they’re so cute.

Nicole: People tell me that I should enter a cooking competition on TV – like MasterChef, but I am TERRIFED of ever being on TV for even 30 seconds!

Shelley: I’m super obsessed with Apartment Therapy, and it’s kinda unhealthy/weird because I a) cannot afford the nice stuff because I’m a broke grad student and b) I’m way too lazy for cool DIY projects, which pretty much make up like half of their content…

Uru: Aaah, I always feel affronted by this question, it catches me off guard! But ok, if I had to say I have a ‘secret’-ish talent, it would be that I actually have an awesome voice! I just never sing because I am super shy but I am a graded singer and in the shower, I feel a bit like Beyonce ;)

Zainab: Hmmm, I don’t really like sweets. I love baking- the process, taking pictures and sharing recipes with my family but most times I don’t eat what I make beyond the taste bite. I’m a savory girl.


There is something undeniably primal, rough, and RAW about grad student life…I bet you can see where this is headed, eh? #punderful!

 

Healthy No-Bake Tropical Coconut Applesauce Bars 2--090314

Last time for the #gradstudentbloggers series, I shared one of my very favorite raw recipes–and now I’m back to haunt y’all with a second round of it! Thankfully, raw desserts and snacks are pretty much my raison d’etre, which is just a sophistimacated grad student way of saying they are freakingamaziballsdelish.

Healthy No-Bake Tropical Coconut Applesauce Bars 6--090314

Healthy No-Bake Tropical Coconut Applesauce Bars gif

Going no-bake is also the best way to save time when it comes to making addicting, time-and-time-again snacks for this crazy lifestyle we call Grad Student Blogger Insanity.

Also, the option of going utensil-free and getting my hands right there in the pan is appealing. Probably because I can’t afford real utensils anymore.

Healthy No-Bake Tropical Coconut Applesauce Bars 9--090314

Healthy No-Bake Tropical Coconut Applesauce Bars 12--090314

 

I love the ease and flexibility with which this recipe comes together, because you can use pretty much anything sitting in your impoverished student pantry to make these bars.

Can’t afford almond butter? Not a problem: go for peanut butter. Want to buy your applesauce in bulk at Costco so you can eat these for a month straight? Go for it, you earned it.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the star ingredients I used:Healthy No-Bake Tropical Coconut Applesauce Bars 15--090314

Healthy No-Bake Tropical Coconut Applesauce Bars 19--090314

 

 

These are so quick to whip together and easy to snatch up as a post-workout/pre-hell snack, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate being an on-the-go grad student. They taste like tiny morsels of apple pie rolled into one delicious, slightly gooey snack. If you’re looking for a great time-saving vegan/raw/GF recipe, look no further!

Healthy No-Bake Tropical Coconut Applesauce Bars 21--090314

Note: As I’m typing this post, I’m sitting in the Dr. Seuss special collections/archives reading the original handwritten memo by Dr. Seuss himself for his first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. I almost got up and did a Seussian jig when I realized I was in the presence of his handwriting. Also, he signs his name in blue crayon. Just saying.

HOW AWESOME IS MY JOB.

Ala

Healthy No-Bake Tropical Coconut Applesauce Bars (Raw, Gluten-Free, Vegan-Friendly)

If you love coconut and the taste of the tropics with a healthy twist, you're going to love the fresh flavors in this no-bake bar! Absolutely guilt-free with a smattering of dates, coconut, and applesauce. Great for on-the-go!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dates, pitted (any variety--I used Deglet Noir)
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (or use melted coconut oil to keep it vegan)
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Instructions

  1. Line a 9x5-inch baking pan with foil and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, blend dates until they begin to form a pasta, scraping down sides as necessary. Add coconut milk, applesauce, nuts, peanut butter and yogurt (or coconut oil) and blend until completely smooth.
  3. Add oats and shredded coconut, and pulse processor 4-5 times, so that oats become incorporated into the mixture. Add more oats as needed if your mixture is still too wet.
  4. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pan. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours before cutting into bars and enjoying! These will be fairly sticky/crumbly, so they are best served in small pieces.
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/09/12/healthy-tropical-bars/

 Show our #gradstudentbloggers and #undergradstudentbloggers your support! Check out the whole list of featured Starving Student recipes now:

Blackberry Slice via PicNic

Salted Caramel Popcorn Trail Mix Bars via Daisy and the Fox

Lemon Bars via Go Bake Yourself

Healthy Tropical Bars (Raw, Vegan) via Wallflour Girl

Omelette Sandwich via Bacon Egg Cheese(cake)

Want to join, or know a university food blogger who would? We would love to have you: email Ala at wallflourgirl@gmail.com to sign up! 

The #gradstudentblogger and #undergradstudentblogger series showcases the lives and talent of insanely busy food bloggers from across all stages of their higher education pathway. Thank you for joining us, and we hope to see you again in two weeks!

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Blogger Series, Snacks

Chocolate Sea Salt Date “Caramel” Bars (GF, Vegan, Raw) for #gradstudentbloggers #undergradstudentbloggers

Boy, do I have a fun blogger series for you all today: it’s the #gradstudentbloggers and #undergradstudentbloggers round-up!

Grad Undergrad Student Bloggers Icon Small

Recently I teamed up with a fabulous, wacky, idiosyncratic (in a good way) group of university-level bloggers who wanted to showcase their student-blogging lives. As a grad student myself, I love meeting other grad student bloggers who can totally empathize with what I’m going through: juggling meetings, going to class, prepping syllabi, writing research papers, and all that other crazy hodge-podge you graduated folks have since left behind! I soon discovered just how difficult it is to find other university food bloggers out there, but with a little bit of poking and snooping, I scrounged up the wonderful, talented group of student bloggers here with us today and asked them all some fun questions. Read on for the interview, and don’t forget to check out all their awesome recipes at the bottom of this post!

Know someone who would like to join our group? If you know other university student food bloggers who might be interested, please email me at wallflourgirl@gmail.com.

This week’s recipe roundup theme: THE STARVING STUDENT. When you’re waist-deep in debt and every cheap meal comes from a dehydrated packet, it’s nice to know that you can whip up a wholesome meal or snack without hurting your wallet. Find all the recipes at the bottom of this post!


But first, let’s start with our blogger interviews…

QUESTION 1: Introduce yourself!

Ala: Hi folks! I’m Ala here at Wallflour Girl, and I’m a fourth-year English PhD student who loves children’s literature. When I’m not working on fun research such as Dr. Seuss or Alice in Wonderland, I write and develop recipes for my baking blog. I also love books, swimming/running/biking, and all things digital media.

Bec: Hellllo! My name is Bec, and I am the writer of the blog Daisy and the Fox!

Choc Chip Uru: Hello! I’m a food obsessed teenager from down under, sunny Sydney and in the blogosphere, I go by Choc Chip Uru! I am more than in love with baking, be it brownies or croissants, just hand me a whisk already! More than eating it myself (I know, weird right?!) I love sharing my treats with my mates and family! Besides baking, I am also a restaurant reviewer and love to talk about the newest products hitting the shelves for everyone to enjoy! Mix in a few uni-life anecdotes and you have a crazy write up every time J

Nicole: I’m Nicole from PicNic, a New Zealand based food blog creating family-friendly recipes for main meals, desserts, and baking.

Shelley: Hi! I’m Shelley, a first year PhD student in political science. I’ve been described as both ditzy and incredibly serious on several different occasions, so I guess I’m a bit all over the place! I love coffee, heaps of junk food, and wasting lots of time.

Zainab: Hello! My name is Zainab and I’m a 6th year neuroscience PhD student who needed a break in the evenings from all the failed experiments of the day, so I took to baking. Only problem was I didn’t know how to bake ANYTHING but with the help of Pinterest, food blogs and Wilton courses, I taught myself how to bake and discovered how much I loved it. It is now my favorite way to destress after a long day in the lab.  I started my blog to document my baking adventures and it has been the best adventure in itself. I’ve met so many great people and so amazed by the wonderful food blogging community.


QUESTION 2: When people in your department find out you’re a blogger, they…

Ala: Fall into three camps. Camp A is delighted and wholeheartedly supports my efforts as a busy, burgeoning grad student blogger. Camp B is a tad patronizing and comes for the food (though who can blame them? We’re all starving here). Camp C doesn’t know I blog. Camp C is also comprised primarily of my advisors and people who operate on a need-to-know, research-heavy basis.

Bec: Think it’s pretty cool! (mostly due to the fact that food is involved :P )

Choc Chip Uru: Think it is really cool! Despite it becoming a more and more mainstream hobby, a lot of people still think being a consistent blogger is fantastic. Since my blog involves food, it also gives them an excuse to say ‘for research and writing purposes’ I should bake for them :P

Nicole: Ask how on earth I have time to create all my recipes and look at me like I’m a crazy person!

Shelley: Oh they don’t know, and I’m going to try my best to make sure they never find out…

Zainab: Ahem…only my labmates know and I am going to keep it that way! I need those recommendations this year for that post-doc!


QUESTION 3: School + blogging = high-stress lifestyle. The saying goes: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” You say: “Keep Calm and _________.”

Ala: Immediately proceed to have a minor meltdown. But only a really minor one, because you still need to stay sane enough to finish that research proposal your advisor wanted by noon tomorrow. Or eat ice cream straight from the tub.

Bec: Keep calm and smash your face into a cake.

Choc Chip Uru: Nap. Keep Calm and Nap. Nothing will ever be stressful again, I assure you.

Nicole: Bake something!

Shelley: Knead some dough? power through? increase caffeine dose?


This week’s recipe: Chocolate Sea Salt Date “Caramel” Bars (GF, Vegan, Raw…and Budget-Friendly!)

Chocolate Salted Date Caramel Bars (Raw, V, GF) 5--090114

In the spirit of this week’s fun-tastic theme, The Starving Student, I decided to feature a recipe I actually make all the time for myself as a snack. With an excellent salted caramel taste and none of the expensive ingredients, this no-bake healthy recipe definitely fits the grad student bill!

Chocolate Salted Date Caramel Bars (Raw, V, GF) 2--090114

This recipe features my Peanut Butter Larabar recipe: a raw vegan crust with a nut of your choice, nut butter of your choice, and dates–you guessed it–of your choice! The idea is that you can use up anything you happen to have sitting in your pantry, without worrying about buying new expensive ingredients you’ll probably never touch again.

Chocolate Salted Date Caramel Bars (Raw, V, GF) 8--090114

 

I love the salted caramel filling because a) it’s good for you, and b) it’s cheap/easy, with all the caramel taste! This layer showcases blended dates, milk of your choice, and some coarse sea salt, which I get from the dollar store (my BFFL and saving grace for the past seven years).

Chocolate Salted Date Caramel Bars gif 2

Finally, you get a nice whopping layer of chocolate kick–melt up some chocolate chips and you’re in business! No fuss, no pain, and certainly enough penny-pinching that you can feel less guilty next time you decide to eat at a restaurant with your friends like the normal human being that you aren’t are.

Chocolate Salted Date Caramel Bars (Raw, V, GF) 11--090114

Enjoy, and don’t forget to check out my awesome fellow student bloggers below!

Ala

Chocolate Sea Salt Date “Caramel” Bars (GF, Vegan, Raw) for #gradstudentbloggers #undergradstudentbloggers

Ingredients

    For the nut base:
  • 25 pitted dates, variety of your choice
  • 1 cup almonds or nut of your choice
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter or nut butter of your choice
  • For the salted date caramel filling:
  • 25 pitted dates, variety of your choice
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk of your choice (I used coconut), as needed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • For the chocolate topping:
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

    For the nut base:
  1. In a food processor, grind all ingredients until the dates break down into a paste and everything forms a cohesive ball of dough, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides in between as necessary and press evenly into the bottom of a 9x5-inch pan.
  2. For the caramel filling:
  3. In the same food processor (no need to clean), blend the dates until they form a thick paste. Add milk one tablespoon at a time, as needed, blending in between, until the mixture reaches a thick caramel consistency. Add sea salt and blend in for another 10 seconds.
  4. Pour caramel over the nut base.
  5. For the chocolate topping:
  6. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is completely melted. Pour over caramel.
  7. Refrigerate bars for at least 4-6 hours before cutting into squares. Keep refrigerated.
http://www.wallflourgirl.com/2014/09/01/chocolate-sea-salt-date-caramel-bars-gf-vegan-raw-gradstudentbloggers-undergradstudentbloggers/

 Show our #gradstudentbloggers and #undergradstudentbloggers your support! Check out the whole list of featured Starving Student recipes now:

Brussel Sprouts and Sausage Pizza via Bacon Egg Cheese(cake)

Chicken and Jalapeno Quesadillas via PicNic

Chocolate Sea Salt Date “Caramel” Bars (GF, V, Raw) via Wallflour Girl

Homemade Spaghetti with Garlic, Chili, and Herbs via Daisy and the Fox

Orange Zucchini Bread via Blahnik Baker

Strawberry Greens Salad via Go Bake Yourself

Want to join, or know a university food blogger who would? We would love to have you: email Ala at wallflourgirl@gmail.com to sign up! 

The #gradstudentblogger and #undergradstudentblogger series showcases the lives and talent of insanely busy food bloggers from across all stages of their higher education pathway. Thank you for joining us, and we hope to see you again in two weeks!

 

 

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Blogger Series

Healthy Peanut Butter-Stuffed Chocolate Date Balls (Vegan; GF and Raw Option)

Don’t forget to enter the Cuppow giveaway via our Eat Clean Challenge at the end of this post!

Dreams do come true.

I know because yesterday I shook hands with a Disneyland Imagineer for the first time. A real, living, breathing, down-to-earth Imagineer!

Okay, so maybe the “real living breathing” part isn’t that impressive–even I’m capable of those–but an Imagineer. Ohmygosh. Somebody get me my paper bag because I take back what I just said and I suck at breathing right now.

Healthy Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Balls (Vegan, Optional Raw) 2--050214

My brain gets crazy addled every time I talk to someone for whom I have the highest respect. Same thing happened when I ate popsicles once with Gail Carson Levine at my literary agent’s annual party, i.e. I died from sheer joy and shredded through about ten paper bags in a two-hour period.

As it happened, K the Imagineer was incredibly illuminating (hah appropriate, considering he is responsible for designing and producing the fixture lights in all the Disney parks around the world!) and really inspired me to keep pushing towards my dream of show writing or envisioning creative concepts for Disney. It was kind of an amazing and extremely humbling (in the best way) experience.

Healthy Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Balls (Vegan, Optional Raw) 5--050214

Now here’s the problem. Of course, there has to be a problem. Continue reading

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Filed under Healthy/Clean Eating Challenge, Snacks

Healthy No-Bake Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars (Raw, Vegan, GF)

I’ve finally given in and gone to the dark side: Follow me on Instagram. I hear the dark side has some bomb PB&J bars… Life is full of hypotheticals:

My best friend may be the child of alien dodos.

Neil Patrick Harris may be secretly, madly in love with me.

And I may or may not be obsessed with peanut butter & jelly.

 Healthy No-Bake Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars 14--042514

As you can probably tell by the ridiculous amount of food porn in this post, that last hypothetical is so totally up for debate.

I mean, just look at that peanut butter pouring down and through that lusciously gooey raw square like so much suntan lotion slathered all over Chris Evans‘s gorgeous body. Who’d want that?

Healthy No-Bake Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars Gif 4

Not me. No siree. Continue reading

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Healthy/Clean Eating Challenge, Uncategorized

The Best Date You Will Ever Have: Peanut Butter Larabars

Let’s talk dates for a moment here.

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First thing first: dates. Yes, I’m talking about the edible kind–although the strange, single-as-a-one-digit-number part of me is convinced that dating would be a lot more interesting if my dates really were edible. As in, “Have you met my date, Mister Hot Chocolate? Word on the street is that he can get pretty steamy.

Chances are, you have stumbled across copycat larabar recipes before now. I’m not introducing you to them because they’re new. I’m introducing you to them because they are awesomeand if you are like Me One Month Ago–sitting on your butt ogling at these larabar pictures but also totally doubting the sanity of my taste buds, because how in holy heck could anything with three ingredients actually taste awesomethis is why I’m introducing you to them. Because if you are reading this post and not making these bars pronto, you need to be converted. NOW.

Peanut Butter 'Cookie' Lovers' Larabars 2--030214

It’s a running joke among all my friends that I am the most horrendous baker/blogger in existence–75 chocolate chip cookies later, and I’ve eaten what: one cookie? Half of one cookie? Who does that? In my field (that’s English grad school, for those of you who are new to WG) and in my defense, you don’t get by without self-discipline. And I am pretty much a discipline Beast when I want to be, so unless I am on a total emotional spree that afternoon, whatever comes out of my kitchen usually escapes unscathed. (Note: This does not account for the generous portions of batter, ‘crumbs,’ or last-spoonfuls-of-nut-butter-in-a-jar that fill my tummy during each baking session. This is why I totally prefer to bake alone: I’ll pass on the spoon-licking judgment!) Continue reading

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Filed under Bars, Snacks

My Favorite Puffy, Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

You know what’s crazy?

My Favorite Puffy, Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie 12--022114

This week has been. Absolutely. Nuts. <3 Kind of in an awesome way though.

Oh, and these cookies are pretty cuh-raay-zee as well, so let me start with these because I know that’s what really you came here for  (and okay, can I just say that I honestly love the photos you’re about to see: these are such puffy, tall, photogenic cookiesTry and tell me you’re not drooling/pinning/sharing right now as you ogle!).

My Favorite Puffy, Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie 2--022114

My very best friends are also my very best taste-testers. I am particularly lucky in this respect because I happen to have quite a few very best friends–you know, the ones who, when you ask them if they want to try a cookie for your blog, immediately raise their hands and shout with all the bravado of a District 2 citizen, “I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!” I’ve gotten at least seven texts this week from friends who, after seeing this post, wanted to know if I had any cookies left on my counter to share, and I can’t blame them… Continue reading

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies

Peanut Butter Lovers’/Converts’ Chocolate Oat Squares

Today, I want to introduce to you a new, critical, and really important new photoseries called:

TEN REASONS TO GET JIGGY WITH PEANUT BUTTER RIGHT NOW (MAYBE EVEN WHILE YOU READ THIS):

Peanut Butter Lovers' Chocolate Oat Squares 19--101313

We all have that friend (or two, or ten) who, for some godforsaken reason, does not like peanut butter. Hopefully, you are not that friend (and if you are, I would recommend paying close attention to Reason #9 in this photostory–ahem).  I personally LOVE PEANUT BUTTER.

If you are adverse to this creamy concoction of the nut butter gods, however, or you have that friend and want to be an exceptionally nice friend and convert them into the ways of Peanut Buttery Enlightenment, I would recommend sharing any or all of the banners I have created for this sole purpose below. Here in Peanut Butter Kingdom, we do not judge–except, of course, if you don’t like PB. Then we treat you like the lost cause you are and send straight to Peanut-less Purgatory.

SO, without FURTHER ADO:

Peanut Butter Lovers' Chocolate Oat Squares 5--101313

TEN REASONS TO GET JIGGY WITH PEANUT BUTTER RIGHT NOW (MAYBE EVEN WHILE YOU READ THIS):

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #10:  It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single person in possession of a good palate must be in want of a Peanut Butter jar.

Peanut Butter Lovers' Chocolate Oat Squares 21--101313

At least we all know that’s what Jane Austen should have written, bless her soul.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #9: Peanut Butter serves as a great way to test–or seriously question–your friendship choices.

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How the Peanut Butter Friend Test works:

SCENARIO A: “Do you like Peanut Butter?” “Yes.” “Then I think we can be friends.” <3

SCENARIO B: Conversely, “Do you like Peanut Butter?”

“No.”

“…….I have never said this before, but I hope this means you are deathly allergic to it.”

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #8: When it comes to eating Peanut Butter from the jar, spoons are always optional. In case of emergencies, however, fingers will also do.

Peanut Butter Lovers' Chocolate Oat Squares 2--101313

And nobody here will judge you for it.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #7: Peanut Butter is GOOD for you. If G.O.O.D. = Goddamn Overly, Obnoxiously Delicious.

Peanut Butter Lovers' Chocolate Oat Squares 10--101313

And it contains protein. Or something like that.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #6: Peanut Butter fans are particularly good finders.

Peanut Butter Lovers' Chocolate Oat Squares 13--101313

I hope somebody out there got the A Very Potter Musical reference that just went fo shizzle up there, because I am not doing that again.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #5: Peanut Butter pairs well with basically everything.

Peanut Butter Lovers' Chocolate Oat Squares 4--101313

Apples, jelly, chocolate, bosses, emotional turmoil–existential crises…

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #4: Most of us grew up eating Peanut Butter–and even if you didn’t, it’s never too late to start.

 Peanut Butter Lovers' Chocolate Oat Squares 23--101313

According to the National Peanut Board (yes, that’s a thing), the average child will eat 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before he/she graduates high school. Also, the amount of peanut butter eaten in a year could wrap the earth in a ribbon of 18-ounce peanut butter jars one and one-third times.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #3: Peanut Butter has such a nutty sense of humor.

Peanut Butter Lovers' Chocolate Oat Squares 16--101313

You can go NUTS over peanut butter.

You can polish off a jar of peanut butter in a Jiffy.

You can beg me to stop making peanut butter jokes by saying, “Pretty, pretty, PB please?”

~*~*~*~*~*~

Reason #2: “Peanut Butter” means love in every language. (It is even the official phrase for “I Love You” in one language.

Peanut Butter Lovers' Chocolate Oat Squares 18--101313

That language is Baker-ese, most commonly spoken in…well, I’ll let you guess.

~*~*~*~*~*~

And finally……..

Reason #1: Peanut Butter is what makes these chocolatey, oat-filled squares so goddamn delicious. Pardon our language. But they’re that f*-in’ good.

Peanut Butter Lovers' Chocolate Oat Squares 25--101313

And what more proof do you need than that?

Print this recipe!

Ala

What makes you go NUTS over peanut butter?

Will Cook For Smiles
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Peanut Butter Lovers’/Converts’ Chocolate Oat Squares
Possibly the most insanely peanut butter-packed, chewy, satisfying squares I have ever invented, filled with plenty of brown sugar, peanut butter, oats, and chocolate. Perfect for an afternoon snack or a surprise dessert!
Yield: 9×13-inch baking pan
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used smooth)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided in half
  • Assorted chopped candies or nuts, optional (but a great way to use up those Halloween leftovers!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and brown sugar. Add peanut butter and mix in well, until smooth.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until mixture is no longer clumpy.
  4. Add remaining dry ingredients (flour, oats, baking powder, and salt) and stir in until just incorporated. Be sure not to overmix–overmixing will result in tough batter and bars!
  5. Gently fold half of the chocolate chips (3/4 cup) into the oats batter.
  6. Place remaining 3/4 cup chocolate chips in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt chocolate in microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring vigorously between each interval to prevent chocolate from scorching. (Note: You will want to stop microwaving at the point when your chocolate is just melted–at this point, stir it vigorously some more until all of the chocolate is smooth and melted.)
  7. Scoop half of the peanut butter oat mixture into your prepared baking pan and pat into an even layer. Pour melted chocolate over this layer, then scoop the remaining peanut butter mixture over the chocolate layer. Pat down peanut butter oats as well as you can–it’s okay if some chocolate peeks through! (It’s actually cuter this way.)
  8. Bake bars in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until bars begin to set but are still soft and slightly underbaked in appearance. Remove bars immediately from oven and allow to cool on stovetop for an addition 15-20 minutes. During this time, your bars will continue baking for a nice chewy texture, and you will continue salivating while you stick your spoon into the peanut butter jar for yet another consoling bite.
  9. After your bars have completely cooled, cut into squares and enjoy the bliss!

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Cookies

Peanut Butter & Cookie Butter Fudge Truffle Brownies

PB Cookie Butter Fudge Truffle Brownies 12--091213

Think this recipe name is a mouthful?

Wait until you actually EAT one of these. Talk about one mouthful after another…and another…

So here’s a gif, since gifs need no words. (Note: I’ve noticed that the gif takes some time to load, so it may appear slow the first time you watch it–but just wait for the second loop, it should play just fine after that!)

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Please. Don’t speak. Just print and share this recipe, pronto, kay?

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These are insanely fudgy brownies. So. Fudgin’. Good.

Dump in peanut butter buckeye-style truffles, melted cookie butter swirls, a whole load of chocolate chips, annnnd…

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Seriously, do I need to come over to your kitchen with a spatula and tell you to pin these, print these, share these with all of your friends and enemies?

Because I will.

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You have been warned.

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So FUDGIN’ good. Gifs do not lie, and neither do my taste buds. Go shove one (or two, or an entire pan of these) into your mouth right now.

Don’t forget to print, pin, and share away!

Ala

Tuesday Talent Show Link Party at Chef in Training! It is held weekly and has some amazing link ups!

Peanut Butter & Cookie Butter Fudge Truffle Cookies
Adapted from Bakergirl
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (you may substitute cookie butter)
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine
  •  2 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon water (or you may substitute an equal amount of coffee or Kahlua)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/2 cup cookie butter

Directions:

  1. Start by making your delicious peanut butter (OR cookie butter) truffles: Combine 1/2 cup peanut butter or cookie butter and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into 1/2-inch-sized balls and place them separately on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Place in freezer for at least half an hour before baking, or until firm.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl. (Alternatively, you may brown the butter by placing it in a saucepan over medium-low heat and allowing it to cook until it turns an amber brown, goldenish color. Just be careful to remove it from the heat when it reaches this stage–otherwise it will burn! Browning butter adds a wonderful nutty aromatic flavor to baked goods, and I highly recommend it.
  4. Pour cooled butter into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and cocoa powder; beat well until completely smooth. (The mixture should not be gritty at all.) Add salt, water (or coffee, or Kahlua–YUM), and vanilla, and mix until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add flour and mix in until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Press in frozen peanut butter (or cookie butter) truffle balls.
  6. Place 1/2 cup cookie butter into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for about 15 seconds, or until melted. Drop by dollops into brownie batter and swirl a knife through to create a marble pattern.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out pretty much clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan before cutting brownies into squares.
  8. Serve, and fudgin’ enjoy!

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

Choco-Peanut Butter Ying Yang Cookies

NOTE: I was writing the following blog post when I learned the news about the Boston Marathon explosion. To those of you in Boston or with loved ones in Boston, you’re all in our hearts, thoughts, and sympathies. If you’d like to share your thoughts and condolences, please feel free to do so here. Boston, take care.

Instead of writing an alternate entry to commemorate the victims and their families, I have decided to go ahead and post my original entry. On a day of tragedy, there is that small hope of reminder that tells us to cling tightly to those we love–to live and laugh with them. My hope is that this post will bring a smile to your faces in the midst of all the conflicting, image-laden media accounts and that you can cherish Boston by sharing your smiles with those you love during these difficult times.

In a way, it’s appropriate that this post features ying yang, or two-sided cookies. Everything in life has two sides to it–you just have to figure out how to make the best of both. With terrible tragedy, also comes the stunning realization that there are heroes out there from every stripe of life waiting to help, and that the heroes we can appreciate most are often standing right beside us. Appreciate the heroes in your life today–tell them how much they mean to you.

****

There are some people in this world who are good at lots of things. We all have that friend who was high school ASB president, child actor/actress, swim team captain, math-lete extraordinaire, five-time winner of the MTV Best Smile Award, and a kick-ass poker tournament champion to boot. I often roar in their general direction from my underachieving, lazy day couch.

Some days I function just enough that I can overboil myself a bowl of instant ramen (yes, this is actually possible) before flopping with all the grace of an elephant seal into bed. This week, for instance, I’ve been a slobby mess scrambling to figure out my summer plans and still trying to stay on top of my own work, along with all of my students’ work. I sit here in my tattered Pooh pajamas thinking to myself, “Geez, you’re hopeless!”

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It’s on the mopiest, Eeyore-iest of afternoons that I force myself to think of some things I’m actually pretty good at.

One thing I love is storytelling. I wrote some–okay, a lot of–erm, fanfiction in my day, and had a modest following that I’ve always been pretty proud of. Cue embarrassing romantic escapades in which Usagi (that’s Serena from the dubbed version of the anime, Sailor Moon) stares deeply into Mamoru’s (that’s Darien’s) piercing blue eyes and runs a trembling hand through his soft ebony hair before he sweeps her up into her arms and leans down to kiss her.

Yeah. Hai there, fanfic alter-ego. Let me wipe my hard drive and go skulk in a dank cobwebbed corner now before anybody recognizes me.

I’m never telling any of you my pen name. Ever. So don’t ask.

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I’ve always considered myself more of a storyteller than a baker or a cook or a foodie. Do any of you writers out there feel the same way? I do, 25 hours, every single day.

Writing always came pretty naturally to me. I never really had problems drumming up an audience for my stories, online or otherwise. I once wrote a 250,000 word story for a fanfic/original story Valentine’s Day contest in 2 weeks and ended up winning a nice shiny virtual badge. To this day, it’s the highlight of my online writing career–and imagine how proud my parents and friends were that I had eked out all of one other contestant for the shiny virtual gold.

Oh, yeah. Did I not mention that only one other person entered? Derp.

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To be completely fair, she’s about the biggest name in the fandom. Like, a really, really big name. And now she’s a published author and I’m an underpaid graduate student with a shiny virtual badge. I should probably put this on my CV…along with all of my other great voluntary and unpaid escapades.

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One thing I am not–naturally, at least–is a good chef. Cheese curdles at the mere mention of my name, and the milk in my fridge trembles so badly it turns into one big milkshake.

Milkshakes. Yum.

Ask my friends. Anyone who knew me before or even during college can attest to the fact that I was not born with a spatula for a hand. When asked whether I had cumin in my pantry, I once answered, “Bless you. Did you sneeze? Here’s a tissue.”

It wasn’t until junior year of college that I even learned how to boil vegetables. For some reason, I always thought you dumped the chopped vegetables into the water first and then turned the heat off right before it started boiling. My dad was a total saint on this score. Case in point: after I strutted around like a rooster and served him the totally raw vegetables over a plate of oversteamed rice, he simply said, “Well, more nutrients.”

Raw vegetables = nutrients. Bless him.

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As you can see, I’ve come quite a ways since then. These days, I’m baking at the speed of light and having a fantastic time sharing all of my oven adventures, but I still have WAY more baking failures than anyone ever believes. One of these days, I’m going to compile a collage of all the epic failures I’ve had in the kitchen (not just cracked cheesecakes, but charcoal-burnt pans over unattended stovetops and an oil fire that I nearly tried putting out with water which you should never do!!).

These ying-yang, perfectly chewy chocolaty and peanut butter-packed cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction are a godsend that you will not mess up. Trust me on this one. My oven has the temper of a hormonal teenager and this is one of the few batches of cookies that came out chewy, fluffy, and packed with chocolate-and-PB goodness.

I HIGHLY recommend these for those of you who love chocolate and PB, and want a fancy-looking addition to your cookie tray that won’t throw you into fits of agony about whether they will “turn out.” All you need is to give yourself some extra time for dough chilling while you chill as well and make these scrumptious, simple, sassy cookies!

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And now, excuse me while I go off to determine whether Draco and Hermione are canon.

Er. I mean, while I go nab another one of these scrumptious cookies. (Because no lie, I will do it.)

Ala

Don’t wait–print this!

Choco-Peanut Butter Ying Yang Cookies
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
Original recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction
 
For the chocolate cookies
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 large egg (carefully separate it in half and reserve other half for the PB cookie recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet (or dark or milk)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and stir in until just combined. Carefully mix in the milk, then fold in chocolate chips. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight. (See baking instructions below.)

For the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 6 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 large egg (reserved from chocolate cookie recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet (or dark or milk)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in peanut butter, then add egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add flour, baking soda, and salt to wet ingredients and stir in until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight. (See baking instructions below.)

Baking instructions for choco-peanut butter ying yang cookies:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Removing chilled dough from fridge, roll a medium-sized ball (about 3/4th the size of a golf ball) of chocolate dough, then roll a ball of the same size of peanut butter dough. Carefully smoosh the two together side by side, then roll that into a perfect round ball. Set on baking sheet and continue rolling ying-yang dough balls until you’ve finished with all the dough. (If you used too much of one and not enough of the other, you can always bake the cookies in just one flavor!)
  3. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 10-12 minutes, and no more than 12-13 minutes. The cookies will seem slightly underdone when you remove them from the oven, but they’ll firm up if you leave them on the sheet on top of the oven for about another 10-15 minutes. Don’t overbake–otherwise your cookies won’t be chewy and fluffy!

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates, Cookies

Cookie Butter PB&J Bars

You know how Mom (or at least the proverbial “mom”) always tells us not to tinker with “well enough” or “tried and true”?

Mom clearly never added cookie butter to her PB&J.

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But I did. Oh, did I ever.

Let’s not leave any room for misconception: I am THE girl when it comes to PB&J fanaticism. If you’ve ever fantasized in class about the Smuckers Uncrustables PB&J sandwiches to the point where you actually start to drool (true story–medieval lit class, junior year), we should talk. If you’ve done the same while pondering over Mr. Darcy or Richard Armitage (a.k.a. Mr. Thornton from North and South–my most recent obsession), we should also talk.

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Disney. Children’s lit. Useless personality quizzes. Going out of my way to step on particularly crunchy-looking leaves the day after it rains.

Basically, if you ever come across a fangirl or obsessive moment in one of my posts that really just screams to you, “YOU KNOW YOU (not-so) SECRETLY LOVE THIS TOO,” you really need to tell me. I don’t have nearly enough outlets for my quirky and eccentric passions as it is, and sometimes I hesitate to spill the beans about my crazy love for Neopets when it comes to people I have to work with for the next who-knows-how-long.

Bottom line: There are lots of things we should talk about, ‘kay?

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While I’m waiting for you to come to the decision to message me about our obviously shared my latest fanaticism over period films, though, let me buy you more time by talking about these delectably creamy, firm, and downright flavor-bursting CBPB&J bars.

I’ve been making my own homemade cookie butter for a while now. It’s been the best thing in my life since they announced the 2013 release of a NEW season of Sailor Moon (***let me make this simple for you–fangirl moment??***). But recently I stumbled across Averie’s really fantastic and genius recipe for homemade cookie butter peanut butter–which, by the way, I still need to post photos for. (It just never lasts long enough in this apartment for me to take a decent snapshot of!)

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At any rate, I tried making this CBPB and–holy moly! Talk about packing in the sweet, slightly salty flavors of two amazing “nut” butter worlds into one flavor-packed dip.

I decided to I wanted to make a double-decker blondie out of it, so when I found this wonderful recipe for Biscoff butter cake, my taste buds were definitely a-tingle. I decided to adapt the cookie butter layer to accommodate the CBPB, added my own favorite blondie recipe, toss in a few swirls of jam for a nice classic twist, and voila! CBPB&J. Can I totally recommend this combo on the next sandwich you pack for lunch, too?

Yes, I think I will. You should do it. Your kids will also thank you for it.

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You’re welcome, Mumsicles.

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I hope I’ve given you enough time to think about what you’d like to gush to me about. If not…well, there’s always these CBPB&J bars, no? Go whip up a batch in your kitchen tonight. I promise I won’t ask you to wipe the drool off your chin before you come back and we gush over this recipe together. Chances are, I’ll be eyeing your slice and drooling, too.

Good to see you here!

Ala

What have YOU been obsessing over (secretly or not) lately? (Whatever it is–remember, we should talk!)

Sweet 2 Eat BakingTuesday Talent Show Link Party at Chef in Training! It is held weekly and has some amazing link ups!

Cookie Butter Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
Cookie Butter layer adapted from Butterbaking
Yield: 9×9-inch baking pan
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup homemade cookie butter peanut butter (or you can also combine 1/4 cup store-bought Biscoff spread with 1/4 cup peanut butter)
  • 1/2 cup raspberry or strawberry jelly

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×9-inch baking pan.
  2. For blondie layer: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate large bowl, combine melted butter and brown sugar. Mix in 1 egg and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated. Fold in white chocolate chips. Pour batter into pre-greased pan.
  3. For cookie butter peanut butter layer: In a medium bowl, beat softened cream cheese until smooth. Add egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup homemade cookie butter peanut butter. Spread evenly over blondie batter.
  4. Place jelly in microwave-safe bowl and heat in microwave for 15 seconds. Drop by spoonfuls on top of the cookie butter peanut butter layer; swirl lightly by running a knife through the blobs.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick in blondie layer comes out clean (the cookie butter layer will still be pretty gooey–this is perfect! You’ll have a nice creamy layer texture on top). Cool bars and cut into 16 medium or 25 smaller squares.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars