Posts Tagged 'peanut butter'

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies

Operation No Social Media was almost a success.  I peeked at twitter on Saturday, but other than that I did pretty well (and I honestly didn’t miss it that much).

Last week included the 8th grade trip to Six Flags in Vallejo, which was a ton of fun.  All day I kept thinking I’m getting paid for this?!

I went on exactly ONE ride, which was a lot of fun.

Now I’m on summer break for one whole week until my summer job starts, and the weather has been PERFECT.  Even in Daly City!  We spent Saturday afternoon celebrating Courtney’s 26th birthday with a picnic in Golden Gate Park…

…and then took Ellie on the swings for the first time on Sunday.  She didn’t really seem that into it, but she didn’t hate it either.  All she really wanted to do was watch the big kids playing.

Umm, not sure how I feel about this...

Sunday night I worked on lesson plans while my sister made these cookies.  We only had brown sugar and whole wheat flour, so that’s what she used, and they were awesome.  You can definitely taste the whole wheat flavor, and it goes really nicely with the peanut butter.  They weren’t too dense, either (which can sometimes happen with whole wheat flour).

And now it’s time to soak up more of this rare but supremely awesome sunny weather!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:83]

(adapted from food.com)

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Peanut Butter Cake

The last few days have been completely taken over by math.  Matrices haunt my dreams, I’m constantly running through proofs and derivations, and I’m sort of accepting the fact that number theory is way over my head.  This stupid test is in two weeks and I can’t wait to have my life back.

When I wasn’t studying this week, I was out with the fam.  We went to a LOT of restaurants, and kept Ellie out past her bedtime more than once.  Oops.

Good thing she inherited my ability to sleep just about anywhere.

Having family around means that desserts don’t last long (and that’s a good thing), so I jumped at the chance to try a cake Mike had been eyeing in Joy the Baker’s cookbook.

I was a tiny bit hesitant about this cake.  The last time I tried to bake with peanut butter (making something other than cookies), it was a big fat fail.  I tried to make a peanut butter banana bread but it was dense and gritty and unpleasant.   That was three years ago.  Ever since then I figured baking with peanut butter should be left to cookies.  I should have known Joy wouldn’t mess it up, though.  This cake has a nice, light crumb with the perfect amount of peanut butter flavor.

I frosted it with a basic peanut butter buttercream, and it was divine.  I think the only thing that might have made it better would be some sliced bananas in between the cake layers.  I’m definitely going to do that next time.  Maybe to celebrate being done with my ridiculous math test!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:70]

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies


I have a complex relationship with Trader Joe’s.

The cheese section makes me swoon, I am slowly working my way through the entire wine section, and their butter is a great deal. I don’t think it’s necessary to discuss the pound plus chocolate bars and how I feel about them.

But I have some issues with their produce and the disgusting amount of packaging it tends to include. Plus, I have a serious problem with the way that products will disappear from the shelves without any warning. Peanut flour, where did you go?

The other day I noticed there was no more organic peanut butter. I figured it had gone the way of peanut flour until my next visit, when it was back, and in GLASS! And then I meandered over to the chocolate section and saw white chocolate chips for the first time in months! I fell in love with Trader Joe’s all over again.

And can you tell I really need to get back to work? I seriously should not consider finding white chocolate chips and deciding which recipe to use them in the most challenging part of my day. I am so excited to use my brain again.

These are particularly good peanut butter cookies. If you bake them for just the right amount of time (before they start to brown on top), they stay nice and soft and just a little bit chewy. I happen to think that white chocolate goes really well with the saltiness of the cookie, but the original recipe called for milk chocolate chunks, so there’s another option.

Recipe:
(adapted from Orangette)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp salt
2 sticks plus 3.5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups natural salted creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two cookie sheets with parchment.

Stir the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugars together in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one.

Add the peanut butter and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Add the flour mixture and mix on low until dough forms and all traces of flour disappear. Stir in the white chocolate chips.

Scoop up 1/4 cup of dough and shape into a ball. Place on the cookie sheet and do not flatten. Leave a few inches between each cookie. Bake for about 13 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to brown. Cool on the cookie sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Peanut Butter – Chocolate Whoopie Pies


I’ve already made peanut butter chocolate whoopie pies, but those were chocolate with peanut butter frosting. This time, thanks to the Whoopie Pie book I got for Christmas, it was time to try those flavors the other way around.

I think my one major mistake was using natural, unsweetened peanut butter. The cookie part ended up being not very sweet and tasting a little too real peanutty, which I usually like… but I think something like Jif would work a little better here, as much as it pains me to admit that.

This weekend started the way it should, with Pizza Friday! It had been a few weeks since we’d had pizza, and Mike and I both missed it. I forgot to make my usual dough the day before so I went for the trusty Quick Pizza Dough and let it rise for about an hour.

I kept it really simple with some sauteed spinach, ricotta, and slices of red onion. It was fabulous!

Straight from the oven…

Saturday morning was absolutely beautiful. I’m sorry to rub it in for those of you that are still under snow, but this is exactly why I pay ridiculously high rent and taxes to live in California.

My parents are in town, and since my dad and I are both training for the Boston marathon, we headed down to the Ferry Building to run up the Embarcadero to the Golden Gate Bridge and back (14 miles). It was a little warm, but I had absolutely no complaints!

I love running over the Golden Gate bridge because the view from the other side is so amazing.

I was having a great run until about mile 11, when my right IT band started giving me problems. We ended up walking the rest of the way back to Fisherman’s Wharf, then caught the streetcar back to the Ferry Building. I’ve been stretching and foam rolling my leg like crazy because I’m determined to get better in time to run Boston!

Saturday night for dinner, we went to one of my favorites, Burma Superstar (which I’ve raved about here. I’m completely in love with that place!

If you’re looking for other whoopie pie ideas, try these!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies
Banana Caramel Whoopie Pies
Apple Cinnamon Whoopie Pies
Boston Cream Whoopie Pies

Recipe:
(adapted from: Whoopie Pies)

makes about 30

cookies
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

frosting
1/2 stick butter (4 tbsp), softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
milk (start with 1/4 cup)

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

In a medium bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together with a wire whisk.

Beat the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one.

Add half the flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Add half the buttermilk. Scrape down the bowl and add the remaining flour mixture, mixing on low until it is combined. Add the remaining buttermilk and mix until smooth.

Using a piping bag with a large plain tip, pipe the batter onto the parchment-lined sheets in 2 1/2″ circles. You can drop batter by the spoonful if you prefer.

Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to brown. Let cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack. Pair up cookies by size and fill with chocolate frosting.

For the frosting:
Mix the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, and milk with a stand mixer. Add additional milk as needed, about 1 tsp at a time, until it has a spreadable consistency.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake


I LOVE baking for other people’s birthdays. Especially when those other people like the same kind of cake as I do AND they invite me to their party.

As you can see, this cake is covered with chopped up peanut butter cups and the most amazing velvety smooth peanut butter frosting I’ve ever had. It’s a little unusual because it starts with an egg yolk beaten with powdered sugar over simmering water, which I’ve never done before, but with the whipped cream beaten in at the end it takes on a light mousse-like texture without the overly sweet you get from the usual butter-powdered sugar-peanut butter-milk frosting.

The secret to the cake itself is right here:

A cup of coffee with 3/4 cup cocoa powder. You don’t taste the coffee, but it definitely makes the chocolate flavor richer and keeps the cake incredibly moist!

So festive with candles…

If I weren’t completely loyal to carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, I would want this for my next birthday. It’s definitely a keeper! And of course there’s no rule that says you need any occasion to make it…

In running-related news, I had a GREAT 10 mile run yesterday morning and I’m getting more excited for Boston every day. I’m keeping my mileage kind of low because I’m still a little nervous about my right knee, but so far everything’s going well! The weather has been completely perfect too. It was in the low 60s for the run and there were TONS of people out running in shorts and T-shirts. I love you, California winters.

Recipe:
(from Sugarlaws)

cake

2 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup brewed coffee
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk

frosting

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used natural creamy and it worked beautifully)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, softened
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
1/2 cup heavy cream
mini peanut butter cups, quartered or roughly chopped

To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch or 9-inch round pans and line the bottoms with parchment.

Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

Stir the cocoa powder in the coffee and mix until smooth, then add to the sugar mixture.

In a medium bowl, stir the baking powder, baking soda, salt and cake flour together with a whisk. Add half the flour mixture to the batter and mix until combined. Add 1/2 cup of the milk and mix on low until smooth, then scrape down the bowl. Add the other half of the dry ingredients, mix well, then add the other 1/2 cup of milk and mix on low until combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the two cake pans, tapping them against the counter to eliminate air bubbles.

Bake the cakes for about 35-45 minutes (depending on which size pans you used), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the layers to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting:
Bring a pot of water to a simmer over medium heat.

Mix together the egg yolk and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar and set over the simmering water. Keep stirring until the mixture is hot to the touch.

Allow to cool for a few minutes, then beat in the peanut butter, and then the butter. It may look a little lumpy at this point, but it will smooth out! Beat in 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream with 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form Add the whipped cream to the rest of the frosting and beat until smooth. Frost the cake and press the peanut butter cup pieces onto the sides. Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Rice Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing

Such a pretty salad.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t quite the presentation we got for dinner. Yes, I’m that ridiculous about my blog – I plated it, took pictures, then dumped the whole thing in tupperware for dinner on the road. And yes, we ate it straight from the container. We’re pretty high class.

I’ve made infinite variations of this salad, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever tried it with rice noodles, and I know for a fact that it’s the first time that I mixed chili garlic sauce in with the dressing.

Mike and I became obsessed with a similar sauce while we were traveling in Southeast Asia, and now we probably go through a jar this size almost every week. That may be a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I love mixing it with tahini as a sandwich spread or dip for crackers or vegetables.

I planned this salad to be our dinner on the road, because we’re going back “home” this weekend. I’m not sure if I can call it home because I only lived there for 8 years, but Mike spent the first 28 years of his life there, so I think he definitely can.

Because our usual stop for food on the drive home is the bulk bagel section at Safeway, I decided it might be smarter to pack a healthy dinner to go so we don’t have to rely on crappy bagels. This looked perfect. And it was!

Our friends back home are having a big Thanksgiving dinner and I offered to make a pecan pie. Because I only had a half day at work I was thinking I’d have plenty of time to stop by the store, go for a run, pack, bake the pie, and make dinner. Ummmm, fail.

I ended up spending way too much time trying to figure out which pie recipe to use, and by the time I finished everything in the kitchen it was clear I’d have to skip the run. Sorry legs, I promise we’ll run tomorrow! And while we’re on the topic of pie, I have two very strong opinions about crust. 1) All butter is the only way to go (shortening is gross) and 2) The pastry blender is magical. Why would you dirty all the pieces of a food processor when you can just use this little baby and get amazing results?

You can fight me on these if you want to, but I’m not easily persuaded.

I think the pie looks moderately burnt but hopefully people will have had enough wine by then that they won’t know the difference. And dim lighting should help, too.

And that, my friends, is the pile of crap we took with us. I carried it all to the car in one trip, in the rain, while balancing a pie in each hand. Why we need that much stuff for a 2-night trip 3 hours away I’m not sure. We’ve clearly completely lost the art of packing that was such a part of our lives when we lived out of backpacks for months on end. But on the upside I get a hot shower every day now, so I think it’s an OK trade.

So back to the salad: it’s filling without being overly heavy, it’s infinitely modifiable, and the recipe makes plenty! I think I’ll whip some up on a Sunday and use it for lunches throughout the week. It’s even better after it sits in the fridge for a few hours.

Recipe:
(adapted from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies via Eats Well With Others)

1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tbsp cup soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup warm water
1-2 tsp chili garlic sauce (optional)

8 ounces rice noodles (linguine shape)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound tofu, drained and pressed
1 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 medium carrot, cut into thin slices
3 tbsp green onions (green parts only, sliced
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and chili garlic sauce in a blender and pulse until smooth. Add the water a few tsp at a time and blend to desired consistency.

Bring a large pan of water to a boil. Cook the rice noodles for about 3 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water. Keep submerged in a bowl of cold water until you’re ready to mix the salad.

Cut the tofu into bite-size slices (1″ x 1″, 1/2″ thick).

Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet over medium high. Add the tofu in a single layer and cook for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown. Add all the vegetables and stir fry a few minutes, until they’re just tender.

Remove the skillet from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Drain the noodles and toss with the tofu and vegetables in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the noodle mixture and mix well. Sprinkle with basil, cilantro, and green onions to serve.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were always my favorite. I happily ate PB & J day in and day out from first grade through high school, and I’d still choose it over most other sandwiches even today. The concept of putting peanut butter and jelly together in dessert form? Absolutely brilliant!

This is an Ina Garten recipe, which means it’s got plenty of butter and sugar. But it’s great because that classic combination always brings back great (ok, and not so great) memories of my elementary school days. I used raspberry jam this time because she called for it, but I think I’ll try strawberry next because that was my childhood favorite.

Recipe:
(Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten)

2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups creamy peanut butter
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups raspberry jam
2/3 cup salted peanuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease and flour a 13 x 9″ pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the peanut butter and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together and a medium bowl and add them gradually to the butter mixture. Mix on low until combined.

Press 2/3 of the peanut butter dough into the prepared pan and top with the jam. Divide the remaining dough into small pieces and drop them evenly over the jam. Sprinkle the whole thing with chopped peanuts, then bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely before cutting into small squares to serve.



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