Friday, May 24, 2013

Recipe Swap: Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies

Today's What's Cooking Recipe Swap recipe comes from Coleen at The Redhead Baker.  While I'm familiar with her blog, I'm not sure that I've actually made anything from it before because I make far more savory recipes than sweet.  But, as you'd expect from her blog title, there were more sweet treats than not and so that's where I started with my Blogger's Choice assignment.

Even though it has peanut butter in it, for once IT WASN'T MY HUSBAND THAT PICKED THIS RECIPE!  I did.  What drew me to this particular recipe was the use of pudding in the cookie.  Many many years ago when I was in Girl Scoots (Troop #2180 represent!) I remember one of the mom's brought in a chocolate chip cookie that was the absolute softest and puffiest that I ever had.  She shared that the secret ingredient was pudding but I no longer have this recipe.  Another draw for me was the Reese's Pieces.  Friendly's clown ice cream sundaes, anyone?  And unlike Coleen, I peanut M&Ms are one of my favorites so back into the recipe they went.

The name does not do this recipe justice.  It really should be called something like Peanut Butter Candy Explosion Pudding Cookies or something because every bite is chock full of goodies.  My co-worker asked if I was trying to clear the pantry and I told her nope, just an excuse to BUY all sorts of candy ;).

It was a hit in my house but the peanut butter loving husband said that flavor was not prominent enough.  I suggested to him that next time I could use peanut butter pudding mix instead to help boost that flavor profile.  I brought some to my birthing class and it has the stamp of approval of pregnant mommies and daddies to be.  Everyone loved these so thank you Coleen (and Kate)!

Thank you also to Sarah at A Taste of Home Cooking for hosting.  Check out the blog hop to see what everyone else chose as their assignment!

Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies

Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies

Yields: About 3 dozen cookies (I got closer to 4 when using my 1.5 Tbsp cookie scoop)

  • ¾ cup butter, softened 
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter 
  • ½ cup sugar 
  • ½ cup light brown sugar 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp honey 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • 1 small box (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding 
  • 1 cup chocolate chips 
  • 1 cup Peanut M&Ms 
  • 1 cup Reese’s Pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two sheet pans with parchment paper (I like to use these reusable silicone baking mats). 
  2. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add in the eggs, honey and vanilla extract and beat again until incorporated. 
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and pudding mix. Gradually add to the cookie dough, mixing on low speed just until incorporated. 
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips, peanut M&Ms, and Reese’s Pieces. 
  5. Drop by the tablespoonful two inches apart onto the sheet pans. (Make your life easier and cookies more uniform by investing in one of these medium sized Oxo cookie scoops!) Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the pans for 3 to 4 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Source: Kate's Recipe Box as seen on The Redhead Baker

Monday, May 20, 2013

SRC: Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie

This month's Secret Recipe Club assignment comes from one of my favorite bloggers, Jennifer at Mother Thyme.  Jennifer had guest posted for me last year with her very popular Cream Cheese Coffee Cake.  It's always fun to get to know a new blog through SRC but sometimes, it's also good to get one you know and follow already because you just know it will be filled with great recipes!   I had already bookmarked her Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothies and so it seemed it was destiny that made her my assignment for the month.

What I loved about this recipe was how it tasted just like strawberry cheesecake filling.  With strawberries in season and having bought FOUR POUNDS from Costco, I added twice as much in my smoothies for extra strawberry oomph.  This made mine a bit thick so I had to add a splash of vanilla almond milk to thin it out.  It was awesome and so simple!

Jennifer topped hers with whipped cream and some graham cracker crumbs for the full cheesecake flavor experience.  Looks pretty, too!

Do you have any favorite strawberry recipes?

One Year Ago: Creamed Chard and Spring Onion Pasta and Fresh Strawberry Pie
Two Years Ago: Lemon-Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothies

Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothies

  • 3/4 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt (I used 0% Fage Greek Yogurt and added about 1/2 tsp vanilla)
  • 3 ounces light or fat free cream cheese
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1-2 teaspoons agave nectar (I used about a tablespoon of honey)
  • Vanilla almond milk or regular milk (optional)
  1. Add all ingredients except for the milk into a blender.  Process until smooth and creamy.  If needed, add milk of choice to thin the smoothie out to your desired consistency.  Serve immediately.
Source: Modified from Mother Thyme

Secret Recipe Club

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sriracha Spaghetti and Meatballs

This is LITERALLY one-a-spicy-a-meat-a-ball!  And it's all due to my favorite Asian condiment, Sriracha!

If you read the back label of this hot sauce, it suggests to add it to soups, sauces, pastas, pizzas, noodles or anything that needs a spicy kick to it.  Why I never thought to add it to spaghetti meatballs is beyond me.  My normal solution is to just sprinkle the heck out of my spaghetti meatballs with crushed red pepper flakes.  Using Sriracha makes the flavor more intense and uniform.

Honestly, it's not often that I find a dish to be *too* spicy and with having added 1.5 tablespoons of the hot stuff, I found it to be plenty spicy.  Adjust up or down to suit your personal needs.  The other modifications I made were to use turkey instead of beef and to bake my meatballs in a mini muffin tin (a trick I learned with a previous recipe) instead of pan frying them.

By the way, if you choose not to toss your sauce and meatballs with your spaghetti, the leftovers were great as subs.  Noms!

One Year Ago: Foil-Baked White Fish with Ginger over Wilted Greens
Two Years Ago: Croque Monsieur
Four Years Ago: Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole

Sriracha Spaghetti and Meatballs

Sriracha Spaghetti and Meatballs


For the Meatballs

  • ½ pound ground beef or ground turkey
  • ½ pound ground pork 
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs 
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced 
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning 
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
For the Sauce and Spaghetti
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced 
  • ½ cup red wine 
  • 1 (six-ounce) can of tomato paste 
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans of diced tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar 
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Sriracha, depending on how hot you like it 
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil 
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • ½ teaspoon pepper 
  • ¾ pound spaghetti 
  1. In a bowl combine the ground meats, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, seasoning and 1 teaspoon Sriracha. Mix to combine and form meat into 1-inch round meatballs.
  2. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.  Place a single meatball in each well. Refrigerate for a half hour. 
  3. Preheat oven to 375F.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and slightly browned.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain the excess grease.
  4. In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the onion and sauté until soft, about three minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and scrape up the brown bits in the pan. Add the tomato paste and cook for two minutes more. Add tomatoes, sugar. Sriracha, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Return the meatballs to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes more. 
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the spaghetti per package directions. Drain and if desired, toss the spaghetti with the meatballs and sauce. Alternatively, keep them separated and serve the sauce and meatballs on top of the noodles.

Source: Slightly modified from So Tasty, So Yummy

Friday, May 3, 2013

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Cake

Behold!  Another deliciously sinful dessert baked courtesy of my husband and photography courtesy of me (I had to redo the photo shoot as I was not satisfied with his initial photos...).

Every time we go grocery shopping and he passes the bakery section he drools over the cookie cakes.  He swore to make one at home.  The only problem was that as a family of two (okay..maybe 2.5 right now with Baby Boy on the way!), we really don't need a giant cookie to eat by ourselves.  So, when the opportunity finally arose when we had our Restaurant Copy-Cats themed Dinner Club he jumped on it with this IMPROVED cookie cake.

Why is it improved, you ask?  Just take a deeper look into this picture...

Chocolate-Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Cake Slice

It starts with not just a regular chocolate chip cookie but rather one in which the cookie dough is infused with peanut butter (of course!).  The use of a springform pan results in a thick cookie that is crunchy on the outside and soft and even a bit gooey on the inside.  But it doesn't stop there.  It's enveloped in a layer of fluffy peanut butter frosting and then finished with peanut butter cups held in place by a rich dark chocolate ganache.  Excessive?  Probably.  Delicious?  Yes.

Chris was in a hurry and so he skipped the chilling step of the ganache before piping.  This resulted in a sloppier than desired execution of the peanut butter cup decorations which ended up sliding towards the dip in the center of the cake.  He deemed it "not good enough to serve for dinner club" and considered keeping it hidden away in the refrigerator.  I'm pretty sure had he done that our guests would have revolted.

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

Two Years Ago: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Guacamole, Spicy Lime and Honey Wings, Shrimpo de Gallo, and Tres Leches Cake
Four Years Ago:  Blonde Brownies and Avocado, Tomato and Mango Salsa

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Cake

Chocolate-Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Cake
For the Cake
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (110g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup (220g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
For the Peanut Butter Frosting
  • 1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (150g) powdered sugar (plus up to 1/4 cup more, if needed)
For the Dark Chocolate Ganache
  • 6 oz. (170g) dark chocolate (50% cocoa), roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
For Topping:
  • 12 Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter.
  2. In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer beat together the butter, both sugars, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat untilcombined. 
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients the wet ones and mix on low until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer to the prepared springform pan.
  4. Bake for about 24-26 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool at room temperature.
  5. Make the Peanut Butter Frosting: Using a mixer, beat together the butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar to the bowl and mix in by starting on low and then increasing the mixer speed to high as it gradually becomes incorporated. If needed, add up to another 1/4 cup powdered sugar to bring the frosting to a spreadable consistency. Frost the tops and sides of the cooled cookie cake.
  6. Make the Dark Chocolate Ganache: In a small saucepan over low heat melt the dark chocolate. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the whipping cream.  Put the ganache in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill so that it will be easier to pipe onto the cake.  Transfer ganache to an icing bag fitted with a wide frosting tip (or just use a plastic bag with one corner cut off). Pipe 12 evenly spaced dots of chocolate frosting around the edge of the frosted cake.  Top each dot of ganache with one mini peanut butter cup. 
  7. Serve cake immediately or chill until ready to serve.
Source: Barely modified from Inquiring Chef