Tag Archives: peanut butter

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.

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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!)

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Not so here. Oho, SO not so!

In the short month since I have ‘discovered’ dates–yes, since I picked up my very first dateful box from the store in February–I have gone through SIX batches of this recipe by myself. SIX. Need I tell you it’s love? These bars are so nutty, flavor-packed without added sugar, simple (three ingredients, two minutes!), and perfectly salty-sweet like a giant peanut butter cookie. I generally avoid pubs since I don’t drink, but if I had any dates-at-pubs experience, I would still have to say that these are probably the best dates I have ever (or never) met in a bar. 

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Hoho. See what I did there? Punny, right?

I’m going to spend the rest of this post talking about other date stuff with a lot of text, so if you feel like skipping to the bottom of this post and printing/sharing/Pinning the recipe right now, I won’t be offended. Pinkies!

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This brings me to that second thing I was talking about: dating. Random (and randomly personal) as this topic is, I’ve always wanted to write a post about it, and I thought this entry would be the perfect opportunity because a) it’s pun-derful (hooray for dates!), and b) because as I was writing my epic “100 Things I Want to Do Now That I’ve Earned My Master’s Degree” list last week, I realized that it’s been a really long time since I’ve been on a really fun dateI mean, I’ve been on dates. Maybe not much since I started studying for exams, and maybe typing out the sentence “I’ve been on dates” on my public food blog has just confirmed for an entire segment of the happy internet world that I have never really been on a date in my life…but I have. I swear. Okay, I’ll stop.

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Well, now that I’m officially done with exams and have regained some semblance of a social life, “go on a fun date” finally made it back onto my list as Item #18 of things to do! I was so excited…..for all of about 0.839273 seconds. And then I remembered why it’s been such a long time since I’ve ‘gone on a fun date.’

Because here’s the thing: probably like a handful of you out there, I am just really, really terrible at dating. I mean, I’m not the food-dropping, frumpy-hair type of date you’d be embarrassed to bring to a fancy restaurant (usually). But 95% of the time I am ‘on a date,’ I am apparently and blissfully unaware of the fact until waaaay afterwards. Which has, as you can probably imagine, its drawbacks and stuff. And I’m sure I’m not the only one, right?

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Have you ever been told after a fun dinner with someone you swear was just a friend five minutes ago that they had a really–stress really–good time tonight? Wink wink nudge nudge elbows? If so, how did/do you respond? I will be completely honest: I am so, so awkward about these moments when they happen, and while I know it’s something everyone experiences at some point or another, somebody out there needs to write a new dating language. And it’s not me. I enjoy being chipper and making sure other people have a good time, all the time. At the end of one ‘date’ about a year ago now, I remembering being completely floored when Dude a) told me that he was usually pretty good at ‘reading’ girls but couldn’t quite tell with me, and b) asked me how I felt about us now that we were maybe dating. As gorgeous and nice as he was, I could only stare at him and wonder if I could get one of those old-school VHS tape rewinder thingies, because what?

This doesn’t mean I’m not interested in dating, and this certainly doesn’t mean I like whoever I happen to be with any less, because that would be silly. But as unfair as this sounds–because I’m not saying it’s easy for others to read my intentions, either–I’d really just like to go on dates that I’m, you know, aware that I’m going on. ‘Friendly’ is a good word for defining my personality in general, and since college/grad school, my friends have picked a nickname for me whenever we discuss our social lives: The Friendzoner.  

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Of course, I felt much better about the name after I read this comic about friend-zoning that just about sums up my view of dating priorities. It’s funny how, knowing me as a complete extrovert, people often expect me to meet a bunch of new people and instantly be interested in them. Not how it works, folks. Extrovertedness does not = Instant RomCom! I am not a Disney princess, yo. The last time I went on a date that I think I knew I was going on was probably two years ago or something, and I had a blast just roaming the streets of downtown. At the same time, simply waiting around and having a blast with my friends in between dating cycles is virtually a non-issue for me, too. And while I will admit that hitting the Publish button on this post feels weird, because it’s not meant to be a deterrent or anything for anyone’s future dating prospects, I am totally in love with my prerogative to shout to the world, “Hey y’all, still having a ball in here!”

Anyway, I hope that by writing this post out with no real agenda, some of you will be willing to share some of your own thoughts or funny stories on awkward dating experiences, no? ;) This is a post I’ve always wanted to write just because #MYBLOG, and I’m still super stoked to get this 100 Things to Do List kicked into gear! Until then, I’m settling down with some more dates with my favorite dates to date, a cup of hot tea, and a cozy book on game theory in linguistics of nonsense literature plenty of “Let It Go” covers on repeat tonight.

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Don’t forget to share the love!

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Dates–any thoughts, folks?

Ala

PS–pstttt, Wallflour Girl just hit the 100,000 views mark this week–thank you, readers!!

Peanut Butter ‘Cookie’ Lovers’ Larabars

If you’ve always dreamed of a perfect date that doesn’t require you to change out of your tacky leopard-print purple pajamas, these simple date–the fruit, that is–based larabars are your match made in heaven! With three simple ingredients, 2 minutes of prep time, and virtually endless possibilities, these bars are a favorite in the household (of one) and a heavenly snack, whether you’re at home jamming in those jammies or on the go for a long run.

For the super-easy directions to this recipe, skip to the very bottom of this recipe box. Two steps. I’m serious.

Ingredients:

  • 25 pitted dates, any variety (I used pitted deglet noor dates)
  • 1 cup almonds (or your preferred nut)
  • 1/4 cup peanut (or your preferred nut) butter
  • Other mix-ins (see notes below)

Directions Version 1 (Skip below for Super-Easy Directions Version below):

  1. Throw it all in a food processor. In the words of the famous meme, “ALL THE THINGS!!!!”
  2. Select your favorite finger on your favorite hand.
  3. Using the finger you selected in Step 2, press the ‘chop’ or ‘grind’ button on your processor at 30-second intervals until the dough comes together and sticks when squeezed lightly. If your selected finger gets tired while pressing the processor button, try switching to another finger.
  4. Pour the dough out onto a square of aluminum foil and smush the slightly sticky dough until it achieves your desired thickness and dimensions. Really, go wild.
  5. Chill in your fridge for 2 hours before cutting into clean rectangles or squares.* Keep leftovers stored in foil in the fridge.

* As the author of this recipe, I am going to totally disregard my own advice and tell you that these larabars taste amazing as they are–a bit crumbly, a bit warm, and a bit sticky–right after you make them and before you stick ‘em in the fridge.

Super-Easy Directions Version:

  1. Throw everything in the food processor and pulse until dough comes together.
  2. Pour dough into aluminum foil, smushing dough until it forms a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Chill in fridge until ready to cut into bars.

**Note: This recipe is SO forgiving–WAY more forgiving than your mom or your ex or your last roommate. For fun twists, try the following substitutes:

  • Dates: raisins, any dried fruit
  • Almonds: any nut
  • Peanut Butter: any nut butter
  • Other add-ins (add to food processor): seeds (flax, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.), oats, cinnamon
  • Other add-ins (stir into dough by hand): chocolate chips, white chocolate
© Wallflour Girl. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use without prior permission. If you would like to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

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Filed under Bars, Snacks

My Favorite Puffy, Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

You know what’s crazy?

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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!).

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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…

And thank goodness I can share the pithy grad student wages wealth with so many awesome friends–otherwise, as they never fail to point out after I’ve fed them five variations of my latest peanut butter cookie recipe, expanding jean sizes would definitely be a big problem. Er, bigger than it already is, anyway. (Sorry, guys!)

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So when a few of my friends so graciously ‘volunteered’ to be my taste subjects a few weeks back, of course I had to take full advantage of the opportunity! They call peanut butter their ‘easy win’ dessert ingredient, so I started experimenting with all things peanut buttery and, after many tasty but textually wrong or kind of blah batches, I finally emerged with the victor: these, their and my favorite peanut butter (chocolate chip) cookie recipe. It’s puffy, tall, soft, chewy, not a bit cakey, and–well, everything you see in these photographs, really. 

Aren’t they gorgeous? They’re chock full of peanut butter flavor; I threw in a huge handful of chocolate chips for that great PB-CC pairing, and then….and then….

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Yeah. I did. You obviously don’t have to go the PB&J route if you don’t have these bars on hand or just don’t like PB&J we won’t talk about that, but it’s kind of an awesome surprise addition to your PB cookie recipe if you do.

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Since my first time making these, flocks of friends have come back to ‘volunteer’ themselves for the rigor of taste-testing in the Wallflour Kitchen. Plus, they’re so easy to whip together (you won’t need even a speck of cornstarch in these, although cornstarch really works wonders in My Favorite Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe) and are possibly the prettiest cookies I’ve ever had the pleasure of giving away…although at some point I’m really going to need to start putting out a donation tin, because the term grad school is really a euphemism for state-funded and endorsed poverty.

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Speaking of grad school–ah, grad school. If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that I just passed a major milestone on Friday and am, one week later, still in full recovery mode. Well, on Tuesday morning at, oh, say, 3:30 AM, I checked my school email (thinking naively that I wouldn’t really need to check it until at least March–ha!) and found an unread message squatting in my inbox with the subject heading: “MEETING SCHEDULED FOR 2/18 WITH ALA S.”

Um. What?

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I won’t bore you with the details of all that happened at that surprise meeting 12 hours later, but basically a) it was a pretty good morale booster–we discussed my exam, next steps for my prospectus, and my promising professional future, and b) I came out of it with a pile of books. Like, enough to last me a month. And I currently have them sitting next to me. Because if my professors used hashtags, they would say that #RelaxationisfortheDeluded, and I sadly wiped away a tear as my 72-hour, short-lived Vacation Time drifted into a distant memory.

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Well, not that distant. I’m clutching pretty hard onto that Vacation Time right now, blogging and whatnot. I have most definitely spent the week eating sweets and ice cream like, well, like the soulfully-undernourished English grad student I am. Ha!

Yesterday, my friend and I paid a dutiful visit to Disneyland, complete with crazy Space Mountain photos and a World of Color showing to top off the night. I’ve also spent the week eating (which is a good thing), cooking dinner for friends, hosting Disney movie nights, eating more (still a good thing), and, of course, baking & blogging. I’ve climbed into at least 5 cars filled with my friends this past week where I was deafened by a roar of congratulations that nearly toppled me out the door. And oh, the fun of enjoying fun again–at one point, the really sweet guys next door even came over at midnight and invited us over for warm homemade banana bread, and we ended up chilling for two hours finally getting acquainted! It’s like a scene out of a Friends episode. I can’t even explain how amazing it feels to be able to ‘do crazy’ without feeling insanely guilty about not burying your nose in a book for enough hours in a day.

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So of course, this week, to thank all of my gorgeous, wonderful very best friends for their support, undying enthusiasm, and taste-testing boldness, I made plenty more batches of my official new favorite soft-baked peanut butter cookie recipe. You’ll want to Pin/Share/print the recipe right this minute, because it’s the best of the very best. Just like my lucky taste-testing pals. <3

And now, if you’ll just excuse me for a moment…

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Make sure you print this recipe!

Ala

My Favorite Puffy, Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Averie Cooks

You’ll never need another peanut butter cookie recipe after you’ve met–and inhaled–this one! Puffy, soft, and perfectly chewy without a hint of cakiness about them, these mounds of peanut butter goodness are my personal favorite. But don’t take my word for it: my friends have been raving about this recipe as the be-all PB cookie, and I can hardly make them fast enough!

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup heaping cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened to the point of melting
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream the heck out of your egg, brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla. The mixture should turn so fluffy you’ll want to die. When this has happened (about five minutes of vigorous beating), scream “It’s so FLUFFY!” and move on to the next step.
  2. Add flour, baking soda, and salt–mix in until just incorporated.
  3. Fold in your chocolate chips like you would fold a baby’s laundry–gently, quietly, and gracefully.
  4. Cover your mixing bowl with cling-wrap and stick it in the fridge for at least two hours prior to baking. Tip: If you are like me and don’t wait for anything longer than it takes to watch an episode of Chopped, you can also stick the bowl in the freezer for 45 minutes prior to baking, watch Chopped, and come back.
  5. After your dough is chillier than a December penguin, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.
  6. Remove your dough from the fridge and use an ice cream scoop to create 2.5-inch mounds of gorgeous dough. You will want to mound these higher rather than wide in order to create that tall, droolworthy puffiness you desire. Place dough mounds 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet.
  7. Bake cookies in oven for 8-10 minutes, until edges and top of cookies are set but the centers appear slightly underbaked. Remove sheet from oven–allow cookies to cool for an additional 10 minutes on stovetop to create that awesome soft chewiness you’re looking for.
  8. Eat. Eat. Share. Eat some more.
© Wallflour Girl. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use without prior permission. If you would like to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

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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):

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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And it contains protein. Or something like that.

~*~*~*~*~*~

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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And what more proof do you need than that?

Print this recipe!

Ala

What makes you go NUTS over peanut butter?

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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

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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!)

PB_Cookie_Butter_Fudge_Truffle_Brownies_gif_3

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.

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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

Cookie Butter and PB Cookie-wiches

Let’s talk about Commercialized Holiday Mania.

Funflour Fact #1: Did you know that according to some studies, the number one fear in the world is not death, but public speaking? (I totally empathize!)

It’s catching. It’s contagious. And it’s extremely, rampantly…

Annoying.

You can probably guess who’s been receiving copious amounts of unseasonable (literally) emails as of late.

The great big Disney corporation has been sending me notices about its Halloween Bash since July. July, as in, the month of summer sunshine and the-only-place-that-sees-anything-remotely-autumn-like-is-Australia-where-it-SNOWS. And snow is considered winter, folks, not autumn. Don’t get me wrong: I love Disney. If I had to get a tattoo in an unnamed place, it would probably pay tribute to the cartoon version of the 100 Acre Woods inhabitants (sorry, A.A. Milne!). But when I get emails with a royal fanfare that trumpet at me, “Get your Halloween Bash tickets now, before time runs out!” while I still have my air conditioner blasting and sweat is dripping off the edge of my nose…

I don’t know what it is. Sometimes the holiday season cheer just feels sort of, you know–lacking.

Flour Power: I just signed up for a 1.5k open water swim to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness this weekend. What have you done lately to help your community?

I say this as I drink out of my Disney-sponsored mug with a great ol’ picture of Grumpy on it and the caption: “BENEATH THIS GRUMPY EXTERIOR BEATS THE HEART OF A DASHING HERO.” I stole this mug from my dad…to whom I had given the mug as a birthday present earlier this year.

Did I mention that my life ambition is to become either the world’ greatest pirate who only steals gifts she’s already given to other people, or else a bigger grump than everyone else around me? So far I’m pretty well on track on both counts, thanks for asking!

It’s actually a bit like baking cookies. I’m really good at stealing back the things that I make and hand out to other people. You know that moment when the cookies just come out of the oven and you think to yourself, Oh god, those smell delicious–I can’t believe I’m giving all of these away! I’ll just try one and see how it tastes?

And then you try one, it melts in your mouth like a grand pile of epic gooey-ness, and that little cookie fiend in the corner of your mind screams for you to grab the cookies and run like all the furies of hell are on your tale.

Yeah. Think about that moment carefully, because you’re on track to become a pirate, too. We can even be ship-mateys, if you like. Arrr.

And the best part is, pirates and grumps (or grumpy pirates) don’t have to worry about getting a zillion and one emails in big glittery font telling them about how Christmas is “right around the corner.” Because it’s not. And unless you’re going to send me a present for every single day leading up to “almost-Christmas,” it’s not Christmas until I say it is. Until then, though, enjoy these! Ahoy, mateys!

What treat have you made for other people and ended up keeping because it was too good to give away?

and…

What’s your favorite/least favorite part about the holidays?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe adapted from Allrecipes Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips or white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
Filling Ingredients:
  • For cookie butter filling: 1 cup cookie butter
  • For peanut butter filling: 2/3 cup peanut butter, 1/3 cup softened butter, 1 to 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Combine all ingredients and spread as a filling.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Roll into small cookie balls (about 1″-diameter) onto ungreased pans.
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.
  4. Using desired filling (or one of your own creation!), spread onto a cooled cookie and sandwich on top with another cookie. Serve your cookie-wiches and prepare to delight your guests!

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies, Dips/Spreads