Tag-Archive for ◊ Halloween ◊

24 Mar 2017 Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

 

chocolate-peanut-butter-chip-cookies

This recipe is from the back of the bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips (see picture below).  The cookie is fabulous.  It’s like a peanut butter cup in cookie form.

My daughter made these cookies for a “Back of the Box” themed Cookbook Club meeting.  She loves peanut butter.  She saw the chips.  She read the recipe on the back of the bag.  She made the cookies. Everyone swooned. End of story.

Well, not quite the end of the story because now I’m posting the recipe, as is, lifted right off the back of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Chip bag. You’ve just read the recipe and my swooning review. You are going to go out to get a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips. You are going to make the cookie. You and yours will swoon. You’ll go down as one of the best cookie bakers EVER!

End of story.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (natural baking powder-like Hershey’s, NOT Dutch processed cocoa powder)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 10 oz. pkg REESE’S Peanut Butter Chips – divided use
  • 1 1/4 cups butter (2-1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

  1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
  5. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well.
  6.  Stir in most of the  peanut butter chips. Hold out some peanut butter chips to decorate the tops of the cookies before baking.
  7. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased, preferably parchment lined, unrimmed cookie sheet. If desired, press 2, 3, or 4 peanut butter chips onto the top of each cookie.
  8. Bake 8 to 9 minutes. (Do not over bake; cookies will be soft. They will puff while baking and flatten while cooling.)
  9. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
  10. Makes about 4 dozen cookies, but depends on the size of your cookie.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

reese-s-peanut-butter-chips

29 Sep 2016 Pumpkin-Chocolate Cake

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This is the BEST cake to serve at this time of year (or any other time of the year, actually)!  It’s a good chocolate cake – a very, very good chocolate cake; it’s moist, and nicely chocolate-y, and made richer with some pumpkin puree added.  The cake doesn’t taste of pumpkin, it just tastes well-rounded and delicious and the frosting tastes like Fall! There is a touch of cinnamon in the frosting, then the ganache topping is smoothed over the top and dripped down the sides which sends this cake into the realm of ‘One of the Best Cakes EVER’! My daughter, Abby, has been making this cake since she was in high school.  Her friends would ask for it for their birthdays (even for Summer birthdays)!

It goes without saying that this cake takes a bit of time to make and decorate, but if you are thinking of making this cake then you are thinking of making it for a special occasion, right?  The time and effort are worth it and there’s nothing complex or confusing about making this cake, it’s pretty straightforward. And you won’t be serving up a box mix and a can of chemicals to your friends and family, either 🙂

Now, your cake is going to look a bit different than the one above, since this cake was decorated for my witch themed Halloween party. Abby used candy, cupcake toppers, and Pinterest inspiration [to decorate the cake in the picture below] for my Halloween party last year.  Isn’t it cute?

Witches 2013 dessert abby's witch cake

The original recipe came from a Good Housekeeping magazine about, oh, 20 years ago?  I still see pictures from that recipe dancing around.  Don’t believe them!  For some reason in the picture the frosting under the ganache is orange.  I tried to do that and there is no way that I know of to turn a cocoa powder frosting bright orange.  I tried. Many times. It. Can’t.Be.Done. Sigh…

Not all recipes in magazines, cookbooks, newspapers and the Internet will work.  Mine will.  I only post recipes that I’ve tested and have been verified “Delicious!” by a multitude of family members and friends.  Many of my treasured recipes, like this Pumpkin-Chocolate Cake, I have made time and time again. You can do it, too! Make it once for Halloween, and I KNOW you’ll want to make it again for your Thanksgiving potlucks!

PUMPKIN-CHOCOLATE CAKE

For Cake

1 1/2 c. flour
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark is good)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 c. sugar
3 eggs plus one egg yolk
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line the bottoms of 2 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and lightly butter (or spray with Pam for Baking).
  • Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
  • In another bowl stir together the pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and then the egg yolk.
  • Reduce speed to low and beat in 1/3 flour mixture, and then 1/3 pumpkin mixture.
  • Repeat until all ingredients are used.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake until cake passes the toothpick test, about 35 minutes.
  • Cool, frost and glaze as directed below.

For Frosting

6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons butter (3/4 stick), softened
1 (16-oz.) box powdered sugar
3 T. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
2 – 3 T. cream (or milk)
  • Beat cream cheese and butter together until well blended.
  • Stir in powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and enough cream to make a stiff spreading consistency.
  • Spread 1 cup frosting between the two layers, and use the remaining frosting for the tops and sides.
  • Chill cake for a minimum of 30 minutes before glazing.

For Chocolate Glaze

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 T. butter
3 T. corn syrup
1/2 c. heavy cream
  • Place chopped chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in a small bowl.
  • Heat heavy cream until boiling.
  • Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture in bowl.
  • Let sit for 3 minutes then blend with whisk until smooth.
  • Let glaze sit for  FOR AT LEAST 5 minutes to thicken slightly (it might be 15-20 minutes–better the glaze be on the thick side rather than the thin side)
  • Pour the glaze on top of the chilled and frosted cake. Smooth out glaze to edges, and then let drip down the sides.
  • Refrigerate to set glaze.
07 Dec 2012 Peanut Brittle

Three years ago, maybe four, I made some peanut brittle for some end-of-the-year gifts for my children’s teachers and coaches.  No problem.  Two months ago I made some peanut brittle as samples for a craft fair.  No problem.  Two days before the craft fair I made two batches of peanut brittle.  LOTS of problems. Both batches were big flops.   Crisis!  I needed some peanut brittle to sell, I needed it fast, and I needed it to be fabulous.

Thank goodness for the Internet!  I spent a few hours reading everything I could about making peanut brittle.  I took notes.  I highlighted.  I found sites that swore microwaved peanut brittle was the way to go.  I was all for it, but as (my) luck would have it, my microwave died the same day as the peanut brittle flopped.  (Where is my guardian angel!?)   I abandoned my old recipe, and went with a recipe that seemed to have the best chance of success (and that I could cook the “old fashioned” way, on the top of the stove), a twenty year old recipe from Bon Apetite, found on Epicurious.com.

I got out my heaviest pans. I hooked up my candy thermometer.   I also hooked up my instant read thermometer.   I put on my lucky apron.  I banished the grandchildren from the kitchen. I put on Christmas music. I was going to be double extra careful.  This was do or die day. I had to get two batches of really good peanut brittle into the cute boxes with the cute bows and the cute tags ASAP.

It worked.  PHEW.  I am glad to share with you the winning recipe, with all the hints and tips.  Good Luck!  As long as you don’t make this on an especially wet/humid day–and follow these direction and all my hints and tips–you should be OK.  But please note, this is important, the times are approximate.  I have a very powerful gas range, and I am an aggressive cook, so the times noted are the ones that worked for me.  If  you have an electric stove and/or are a cautious cook, your times might be twice as long.  Trust your candy thermometer (and your back up thermometer)  and pay attention to color.

One batch of this will make about 3 ½ lbs of peanut brittle.  That’s a lot of peanut brittle. I made two batches and was able to put 7 lbs of peanut brittle up for sale, to benefit my favorite organization, Dining For Women, YAY!

Totally Nuts Peanut Brittle

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ¾ cup light corn syrup
  • ¾ cup dark corn syrup
  • 3-4 cups salted cocktail peanuts (whole or coarsely chopped–I left mine whole)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Stir the sugar, water, light and dark corn syrup, and salt together in a large saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  (TIPS:  Use a really large, heavy pan (mixture will foam up, a lot, in the last step).  I used a five quart stock pot.  The dark corn syrup is for color.  You can use all light corn syrup if you want. The sugar isn’t be dissolved until you can see the bottom of the pan.)
  2. Take your spoon out of the mixture and leave it out for this entire step.  Clip your candy thermometer to the edge of the pan.  Be sure the tip of the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat to high, and BOIL the mixture, without stirring, until the candy thermometer registers 280 degrees F, about 40 minutes. (TIPS:  The mixture will stay at 220 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, don’t worry about it, your thermometer is not broken.  The temperature will go up a bit faster after passing the 220 degree F. mark.  To reassure yourself, use a second thermometer, if you have one.)
  3. Preheat your oven to 225 degrees.  Put two (or three) large rimmed cookie trays into the oven to warm.  Just before your mixture reaches the 295 degree mark (next step) take the pans out of the oven and lightly grease with a bit of butter.
  4. Pour the nuts and the butter into the boiling mixture (this will cause a temperature drop).  Use your spoon now, and keep your eye on the thermometer/s.  Stir the mixture constantly until it reaches 295 degrees F., about 15 minutes.  (TIPS:  I prefer to use 3 cups of nuts, because I like more brittle than nuts, 4 cups of nuts makes a very nutty brittle.  Watch the color, you want that deep rich amber color.  One or two degrees over 295 will be fine–if you work quickly in the next step, but don’t go much higher than that.  The temperature will move fast now, and you could easily burn a batch! On the other hand, under no circumstances should you stop cooking before reaching 295 degrees–or you’ll have “Peanut Bendy and Sticky” instead of “Peanut Brittle”.)
  5. Yell for help. A child should not answer this call.
  6. Remove the pan from heat.  Stir in baking soda and vanilla and stir briskly.  Mixture will foam up.  Keep stirring. (TIPS: This is why you used a large pan. If you didn’t use a large pan your mixture might bubble out of the pan and onto the counter.  This is not a good thing. Under no circumstances should you touch the hot, Hot HOT mixture.)
  7. Being very careful and using your best hot mitts to protect your hands and arms, immediately pour mixture onto the warm and greased cookie trays.  If anyone answered your call for help have them spread the peanut brittle as thinly as possible across the trays. (TIPS: Do not get burned.  Do not burn your helper.  Banish all pets and children from the area. Do not touch the pan. Do not touch the peanut brittle.)
  8. Put the pans of peanut brittle in the warm oven for 2-3 minutes. This should help the peanut brittle spread evenly over the bottom of the pans.
  9. Remove pans from oven and let sit until cold and hard.
  10. Break brittle into pieces and store in airtight containers at room temperature for a month or more.
  11. Pat yourself on your back for a job well done.
That’s IT!  I hope this recipe helps you make the most delicious Peanut Brittle ever!
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

14 Sep 2012 Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

ChocPB cookies good Stack

I have been meaning to post this recipe forever, I just never had a good picture of the cookie.  The recipe only makes 32 cookies, and around here 32 cookies lasts approx 32 seconds.  My friend Josee made these for a Christmas Cookie Exchange two years ago (that’s how long I have wanted to post this recipe). I gave a dozen of these to a friend, Becky,  for a “Craft it Forward” exchange and I promised the recipe to her ONE year ago. (Bad Polly, bad, bad, bad, bad.)  But finally, I  made a batch that didn’t get scarfed immediately.  I made them for my Yoga Group, and they are too polite to eat a half dozen each at one sitting (but it could have been that I had them so busy bagging stuff for an upcoming fundraiser and they didn’t have any hands free to eat cookies!)  They did sing praises for the cookies they did eat though and encouraged me to post the recipe ASAP.

Now getting back to the first time I encountered this cookie.  It was my favorite cookie that year, maybe my favorite cookie in all the years of our exchange (of which there have only been three).  Oddly enough, I made my cookie that year from same cookie magazine Josee used, and I never even considered making these!  Even now, if I just looked at the recipe, I would not be inclined to make it. This is one cookie that tastes much, much better than it’s list of ingredients.  It tastes much, much better than it looks, too and, no matter how good the picture looks above  (do you like it?  I got a new camera!), it still doesn’t do the cookie justice.  Take a bite!  There’s a layer of peanut butter inside!  As one of my friends said, who shall remain nameless, “So how did you get the peanut butter IN there?”

So here it is, at long last, the recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies (originally published as “Peanut Butter Munchies” in the Better Homes and Gardens “100 Best Cookies”, 2009).

One more note,  I often loose track of how many balls I have, so now I line up a chocolate ball with a peanut butter ball before I start rolling.  One time I ran out of peanut butter balls! I have no idea how that happened.  So I just cracked open another bottle of wine and made another half batch of the peanut butter batter, and all was fine. Hic.  (Just kidding.  I don’t drink.  Ever.  Really!! No, REALLY, I don’t!!!)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

For Chocolate Cookie

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup butter (one stick, 4 oz), softened
  • ¼ cup peanut butter (I always use creamy)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar (I use light brown sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For Peanut Butter Filling

  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

For Sparkle

  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl of an electric mixer combine butter and peanut butter.  Beat for a minute or so. Add in both sugars and beat for another minute or so.  Beat in egg and milk.
  4. Slowly add the flour-cocoa powder mixture to the butter-peanut butter mixture and beat just until combined.  Roll ball into a snake shape and refrigerate for a short while (to make it easier to handle) while you mix up the peanut butter filling.
  5. Beat peanut butter and powdered sugar together until well combined.  Roll dough into 32 equal balls.
  6. Divide cookie dough into 32 equal portions.
  7. For each cookie, flatten a piece of chocolate dough and top with a peanut butter filling ball.  Wrap Chocolate cookie dough around the peanut butter filling, making a ball in the process.  Place balls on a cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart.
  8. Rub a bit of leftover dough or a very slight bit of butter onto the bottom of a glass.  Dip glass in sugar.  Press cookies flat with sugar coated glass. (redip glass in sugar before pressing down on each ball).
  9. Bake cookies in preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, until the sides are just slightly cracked.  Cool on cookie sheet for a minute or so and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Becky, I hope you are reading this…, I’m sorry that I took so long.  Josee, thanks for introducing me to this excellent cookie! Everyone else, ENJOY!  This is one great cookie!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today, come back again soon!  Now that I am learning how to master an SLR camera, I will probably be posting more frequently 🙂  I have a terrific parchment wrapped salmon recipe and a long time favorite gazpacho recipe just waiting in the wings!

14 Jun 2011 Chocolate-Peanut Butter Popcorn

My friends tell me I have more than my share of cooking gadgets.  I don’t disagree with them.  But I don’t have everything.  For example, I don’t have one of those quick freeze Popsicle makers, and until today I didn’t have a popcorn machine. The Popsicle maker is on my “Wish List”, but the popcorn machine has been on my kitchen counter churning out popcorn for the last few hours.

I needed a popcorn machine today.  My daughter Abby is manager of our neighborhood pool this Summer and tonight is the first Kid Movie Night.  The pool’s popcorn machine is broken, and she can’t have her first movie night without popcorn, now can she?  So we went out and got a popcorn machine.  It wasn’t expensive.  It was on super-duper clearance at Target.  I KNEW that lucky penny I found on the driveway this morning was going to mean something!

My daughter, being sensible and well organized (like her mother), thought she should practice with the popcorn machine before taking it down to the pool and expecting it to perform perfectly.  So she practiced, and managed to churn out a lot of popcorn.  The machine worked like a charm!  But there was about twenty-four cups of practice popcorn on our counter.  I ate a cup.  My grandson ate about four pieces, and then spilled a cup.  My son refused a cup. Only twenty-two cups to go!

I thought about making Caramel Corn with the popcorn.  I have a terrific Caramel Corn recipe posted, and while my Caramel Corn is one of my favorite foods on the planet, it is a bit of a bother to make.  Time was running out, so I turned to foodgawker, searched on Popcorn, and found this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn.  On closer inspection I found the recipe had been posted by one of my favorite bloggers, Brown Eyed Baker.  The recipe had to be good!  I just knew it!  It was my lucky day.  That was one powerful penny.

This recipe is the same recipe as for Muddy Buddies, but using popcorn instead of Rice Chex.  It’s a cinch to pull together, and it’s good for you:  popcorn, whole grain; peanut butter, plant based protein; chocolate, dairy!  And it’s melt-in-your mouth delicious.  Seriously addictive. I am pretty sure you have all the ingredients in your cabinet, too.

And it’s Summer.  Don’t we all need a movie night?  How about movie night with one of the best popcorn snacks EVAH?!

Umm….there’s just one more thing.  This popcorn doesn’t keep well; it starts to get soft after a few hours.  So eat fast!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

9 cups plain popped popcorn (top of stove, air popped, popcorn machine, microwaved…)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or milk chocolate, or half bittersweet and half milk, or whatever chopped chocolate you have on hand)
½ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups powdered sugar

  1. Place the popped popcorn in a very large bowl.
  2. In a microwave  melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter for about 1 minute.  Stir well. Chocolate and peanut butter should be melted and very smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. Pour the chocolate mixture over the popcorn. Using a large spoon or spatula, stir until all of the popcorn is evenly coated with the chocolate/peanut butter mixture.
  4. Sprinkle the powdered sugar over the chocolate-covered popcorn and stir until evenly coated.
  5. Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate is set.
  6. Serve! Leftovers don’t keep well.  Eat everything as soon as it’s made!

Thank you for stopping by my kitchen today.  If you like what you see, please consider subscribing to my blog.  If you subscribe you will get a quick e-mail to alert you each time I post a new recipe (which I try to do a few times a week).  Great seeing you!

Polly

13 Feb 2011 French Hot Chocolate

Just in time for Valentine’s Day: French Hot Chocolate!

This is soooo good, made with real cream and real chocolate–bearing no resemblance at all to that powdery mix in a paper packet. The serving ritual makes this really special. Pass a bowl of the chocolate cream mixture, then pass a pot of steaming hot milk (I like to put the milk in a teapot).  Let each person scoop a desired amount of the chocolate cream into their cup.  Pass the hot milk so the person can fill the cup up the rest of the way.  Make sure everyone has a spoon.  Stirring the hot chocolate is the fun part.  So is the sipping to taste.  Then maybe adding a bit more chocolate cream.  Then stirring some more and sipping some more.  Ahhhh.   So civilized.  So social.  So calming.  So special.

I was going with ¼ chocolate cream to ¾ hot milk, when one of my taste testers announced that half chocolate cream and half milk was just about right!  Serve this in small cups. This is rich. To cut the fat, I put non-fat milk in the teapot 🙂

I found this recipe at MakeAndTakes.

The chocolate cream mixture can be kept for a few days in the refrigerator, but you need to put the cream in a sieve, and then cover with plastic. This is, truly, the best hot chocolate you’ll ever make.

French Hot Chocolate

To make the chocolate cream:

1 cup chopped chocolate (your choice–milk, semisweet, bittersweet, or combination. You can also use chocolate chips!)
1 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup water
2 cups cold whipping cream

To serve:

2 quarts (8 cups) hot milk (go ahead and use non-fat or low-fat, it will make you feel better!)

To make chocolate cream: Heat chopped chocolate, corn syrup, and water in a small saucepan, stirring until chocolate has melted.  Set mixture aside to cool. Beat the cream in a large mixing bowl until peaks form.  Slowly add the chocolate sauce to the whipped cream in a steady stream while beating.  After all the sauce has been added to the cream, beat for a few more seconds until the cream is thick.  Place in chocolate cream refrigerator until ready to use.  To keep chocolate cream for longer than an hour or two, place the chocolate cream in a sieve over a slightly larger bowl and cover with plastic warp.

To serve: Heat the desired quantity of milk (2 qts if using the whole batch of chocolate cream, and serving 10-12 people) until steaming (I heat the milk in the MW).  Pour hot milk into serving pitcher (I use a teapot).  Pass the chocolate cream, and spoon a bit of the into the bottom of cup or mug.  Add enough hot milk to fill cup.  Stir to combine.

One batch makes enough to serve 10-12 people (depending on size of cups or mugs).

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today! Take the time to make an occasion of serving this hot chocolate.  You’ll be glad you did!