For those who don’t know, I am a full on holiday geek. I love this time of year. Christmas music? All about it. Twinkle lights on everything? Yes please. Two Christmas trees? Not yet…..but that’s the dream. If it wasn’t obvious, I fully embrace the holiday season. Especially the baking part. It’s the perfect excuse to go a little overboard and make a ridiculous amount of treats. And while I’m all for decadent cakes and cookies and breads, every once in a while it’s nice to make a treat that’s on the healthier side. That’s where these Dark Chocolate Honey Truffles come in.
Can we all agree that Costco has the best/most unnecessary stuff ever? I mean, yes, there are tons of necessary things like screaming deals on bulk butter, nuts, and even lobster. But they also have things that you don’t really need, but REALLY want once you see them. Take for example the 3 lb tub of Reese’s Pieces I recently bought. Did I technically need 3 lbs worth of peanut butter goodness?? Probably not. Did buying it totally make my day and maybe even life infinitely better?? That’s debatable, but I’m leaning towards yes.
So now you’re probably wondering, “What do you do with 3 lbs worth of Reese’s?” Well, I’m glad you asked. First, you eat it….like a lot of it. Then you hide it from your husband cause he’s eating it faster than you and you’ll be damned if he gets to eat more of it than you (I have candy sharing issues). Then you realize you still have an insane amount of Reese’s Pieces left and should probably figure out a way to use it up. That’s where this recipe comes in.
Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Bars
- Yield: 16 bars
½ cup milk (any percentage will work)
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
½ cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoons non-fat dry milk powder
¼ cup dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon kosher salt (if using regular salt – cut back to ½ teaspoon)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chunky peanut butter
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats, lightly toasted
Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper or foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
In a large heavy saucepan, place the milk, sugar, cocoa powder, non-fat milk powder, and butter. Over medium heat, stir the mixture together until the butter is melted and sugar is completely dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Once it is at a boil, stop stirring and let boil for a full 90 seconds.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the dark chocolate chips. When the chocolate is completely melted, stir in the kosher salt and vanilla. Then add in the peanut butter and mix until it is completely incorporated. Finally, fold in the oats.
Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and spread into a relatively even layer. Let the bars cool and set up for at least one hour. You can do this either on your counter top or in the fridge. Once the bars have set, cut into 16 pieces. If you want to add a little extra flair, drizzle the bars with some melted dark chocolate and top with coarsely chopped salted peanuts!
Sometimes when you’re developing a recipe, you have a very specific image in your head of how you want the finished product to look. This was the case five years ago when I came up with my original Salted Caramel Brownie recipe. I had the most insanely, frustratingly specific idea of how I wanted them to look. I wanted two fudgy, dark chocolate brownie layers with a layer of thick salted caramel in the middle. It couldn’t be pockets of caramel or a faint ribbon of caramel – it had to be a distinct, gorgeous, continuous copper layer of caramel.
No joke, I drove myself crazy trying to accomplish this. Every time I pulled the brownies out of the oven, I’d get my hopes up thinking maybe this adjustment fixed it. But, more often than not, the caramel layer would bake into the brownies and all I’d be left with is the faintest caramel remnant. I was just about to give up, when a seemingly crazy idea popped into my head. What if I created a frozen layer of salted caramel??? This would give the brownies enough time to bake and because the caramel was frozen it wouldn’t immediately dissolve into the brownie layers.
Sharing is caring or at least that’s what they say. In most cases, I’m all about sharing – especially when it comes to food I’ve made. However, there are a couple areas in my life where sharing is a little harder. The first is french fries (there’s never enough!)…..and the second is recipes. Let’s be honest here, every baker or chef has at least one recipe they don’t want to share. That one recipe they’ll protect fiercely and keep to themselves. The recipe they’re most proud of and the thought of sharing it physically pains them. This one is mine……..
Because it’s Halloween weekend…..and because I’m obsessed with Take 5 candy bars, I decided to share the recipe for these awesome Take 5 inspired Scotcheroos! These bars have a Peanut Butter Rice Krispie / Pretzel base, a Salted Peanut Caramel middle, and are topped with a Dark Milk Chocolate Glaze. They’re salty-sweet perfection and everything I dreamed of when developing the recipe. Hope you guys love them as much as I do!
Over the past few years, beer has slowly become my go-to drink of choice. It’s something that kind of crept up quietly on me. I’ve always loved beer, but when given the choice I would usually go for wine or something stronger like a Manhattan. These days though, beer always wins. There’s a very good reason for this gradual change in my beverage habits. Over the past decade or so, beer has experienced a sort of renaissance. People all over the States are going out of their way to create good quality, unique craft beers and this is a trend I am most definitely enjoying.
The anticipation has been steadily building over the past two weeks and this weekend it’s finally here……the Mother of all Sundays, especially if you’re a fan of football or commercials. That’s right folks, you know what I’m talking about – it’s Super Bowl Sunday! Part of me feels like I should be unbiased when writing a post about the Super Bowl. That I should go the politician route and say something like, “Well, it will be a great match-up. Both of these teams had a good season and I’m excited to see the Broncos top ranked offense go up against the Seahawks top ranked defense.” But, here’s the thing, I can’t say that and it’s not because I have anything against the Seahawks – it’s because I am a huge Broncos fan. I’m talking crazy, semi-obnoxious, “sorry I can’t hang out with you on Sunday – the Broncos are playing,” wish I could rename my dog Peyton Knowshon Von Miller…….fan. Continue reading “Peanut Butter Pretzel Blondies”
Today is Valentine’s Day. A holiday that, if I’m being honest, I’m not too keen on. I have a hard time getting behind a holiday that puts pressure on couples to be super romantic and makes single people feel bad about their lack of a relationship. I do, however, really enjoy the whole eating tons of chocolate part of the holiday. That part I can get behind. My boyfriend and I don’t exchange gifts or really do anything out of the ordinary for Valentine’s Day. Although, maybe I could get him to watch the new episode of The Vampire Diaries with me tonight by playing the Valentine’s Day card……….interesting. Anyways…..in the spirit of eating chocolate, I decided to be a good girlfriend and surprise my boyfriend with his favorite cookies, Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies.
These aren’t exactly the sexiest or fanciest cookies, but my boyfriend loves them. I’d actually never had one before dating him and my first experiences with the cookie left a lot to be desired. Most of the recipes I found were way too sweet (and that’s saying a lot coming from me) and the chocolate and peanut butter flavors got lost in the overabundance of sugar. Since these are Boyfriend’s favorite cookies, I knew I’d have to figure out a way to create a No-Bake Cookie I could love. I wanted something that downplayed the crazy sugar overload and let the other flavors shine through.
I found a great recipe in the book Baked Explorations that was almost exactly what I was looking for. It contained chunky peanut butter, which added a nice texture to the cookie, and used dark cocoa powder. The recipe was still a little sweet for my taste, so I dialed back on the sugar, added a little salt, and threw in some semi-sweet chocolate to up the chocolate quotient. The end result was perfect. It was a No-Bake cookie I could get on board with and, more importantly, my boyfriend loved them.
If you haven’t tried a No-Bake Cookie before or have had some bad experiences with them, I highly recommend giving this recipe a shot. It made me a believer in them. And if you need help justifying eating this cookie – I’m kind of a pro at that, so here you go……….oats have lots of fiber and are considered a “superfood,” whole milk has calcium which some say helps burn belly fat, and peanut butter has protein. I mean when you really think about, these cookies are pretty darn healthy. Like I said, I can justify just about any dessert. Hope you enjoy these cookies and Happy Chocolate Eating Day!!