Peanut Butter Change Ups

15 Nov

peanut-butter-change-ups

Ahhh…peanut butter…a staple of my youth, a staple of my children’s youths. And, I love peanut butter cookies. (Hmmm…upon reviewing my last post, perhaps I simply love cookies?) Honestly, my mother made, what I believed, was the best peanut butter cookie ever and I’ve never been able to recreate it (even using her recipe!). But, I’m about to reassess – this is may be the best peanut butter cookie, ever!

My complaint about peanut butter cookies has always been they weren’t “peanutty”enough. These are! I think the addition of the chopped peanuts really helped. (And, while Dorie’s peanut butter of choice is Skippy’s, mine is Jif, extra crunchy – I think it’s a regional thing!)

Now to the texture – it is heavenly. If I have a complaint it is that the sandy texture makes me want another…and another…and another…well, you get the idea.

Oh, and how much fun was it to see this recipe featured last week in our local newspaper. Dorie wrote about her #cookiesandkindness project.

“Faux”-reos…

1 Nov

I love Oreos – I mean I really LOVE Oreos. I once ate nearly a pound of them only to hear my husband ask, “Where are the Oreos?” “I ate them!” “All of them?” “Yeah…is there a problem?” We rarely have Oreos in the house, anymore. (True confession: my new weakness is Oreo thins that, mercifully, may be bought at Costco in individual, four cookie packets. And, I limit myself to one packet a day.)

Anyway, these Chocolate Creme Sandwiches are pretty darn close to Oreos! I managed to cut out enough cookies for 25-sandwiches. (I did increase the filling recipe by using 1-stick of butter and 200 g of confectioner’s sugar.) Using a #60 scoop left me just short of filling, but next time I’ll use a #100 scoop – there will be less filling, but for me, it’s all about the cookie rather than the filling. And, these cookies are delicious! Nice, dark, bitter chocolate; not too sweet; and delightfully crunchy! (I baked the leftover scraps to eat on their own! Heaven!)

Tonight is Game 3 of the World Series and I’ll be taking some to share and cheer on the Chicago Cubs. Go, Cubbies!

Dorie’s Cookie Book arrived!

26 Oct

I am so excited: I got Dorie’s Cookies yesterday! I’ve looked at every gorgeous picture and decided that I would definitely participate in the next online baking parties. But, I’m also going to work through it on my own – it’s my birthday today, so the first bake is coming today! Happy birthday to me and let’s bake some cookies!

Hot Chocolate Panna Cotta & Soft-Centered Chocolate Teacup Cakes

23 Feb

Yep, you read it right – it’s a two-fer posting! It seems that I’ve been out of town for the bulk of February (nothing like the shortest month to fly like the wind). A week in Las Vegas (for those of you unfamiliar – Vegas has more superbly fine dining in a three-square-mile area than anywhere else on earth) and then Disneyland! (OK, the whole superb dining thing from Vegas had to carry me over to Disneyland, but even their food has improved, somewhat.)

And because of that, I’m preparing both desserts for this Sunday dinner’s dessert(s)! (I only hope no one experiences a chocolate coma!)

Hot Choc panna cotta molten cakeThe panna cotta was delightfully easy to prepare – the toughest part was the clumping of the unsweetened cocoa powder – but that explains the two strainings. The teacup cakes was equally as easy in preparation. I made the cake in the morning and so, it had cooled and fallen (hence the dip in the center). Just before serving, however, I put it back in a hot oven for two minutes – and the center was just as ooey-gooey as I had expected – it merely lacked the puffiness it had freshly baked.

And, the taste? They both were extremely scrumptious! Chocolatey beyond definition! The panna cotta was particularly enjoyed by my eldest son, while the teacup cake was the favorite of my husband and our best friend. As for me? I think I liked the cake the best, but they were/are so rich, it’s hard to eat very much of either one of them.

Now, the big question…will I make either of them again? Oh, yeah, I will – both of them!

 

Lemon Bars – French Style

26 Jan

I’ve never met a lemon bar I didn’t love (well, maybe once, but it was commercially made and not very good, but that’s for another post). These were de-lish-us! And, since I forgot to take a photo, I guess that means I’ll have to make them again!

My observations:

  • Large eggs – next time I make this recipe, I’ll either increase the eggs to five, or at the very least, add one egg yolk. Why is it that whole chickens you buy for roasting have become the size of small turkeys (ever tried to find a 3-lb. chicken lately?) and large eggs run a gamut of sizes? I complained to a friend about this and she agreed, “They look kind of small, don’t they?!?” Anyway, as they apply to this recipe, the lemon curd was very loose. It did, indeed, firm up with refrigeration. With the exception of ice cream, I really like desserts at room temperature and these seemed really jiggly at room temp. But, again, I think this is the fault of my egg’s size, not the recipe.
  • Almonds – OK, I broke my own rule and increased the amount of chopped almonds to a little more than 1/2-cup. Two beliefs I have – if some vanilla or some almonds are good, more is always better! (Oh, yeah, I increased the amount of vanilla, also!)
  • Shortbread base – I’m liking this shortbread enough to want to try it as a stand alone shortbread. (Oh, and full disclosure – I also have a hard time finding a shortbread I don’t like.)

Overall – a terrific cookie – more than worth the slightly extra work for a lemon bar.

Addendum: I made these again – this time adding an extra egg yolk. Curd still seems a little loose for me. Way too soft to cut into bars unless they’ve been thoroughly chilled. So, yes, I will make them again, but I will chill them after taking them from the pan. Oh, and this time, I remembered to take photos!

 

 

Fluted Carrot-Tangerine Cake

12 Jan

OK, so I’ve been away awhile. But, I’m back! (Christmas knitting pretty much ate up all my time – baking had to wait.)

quiche pan
This recipe excited me – a lot! First, it seemed relatively easy and quick to assemble (I’m notorious for not planning ahead!). Secondly, it gave me the chance to use a pan I’ve had for over 30-years (well, I’ve had it only about 25-years, but my mother had it for many years before), that to my knowledge, has never before been used. My sister-in-law made this quiche pan for my mother long ago and mama never used it. She gave it to me, and I always thought it too pretty to use. Dorie’s recipe seemed the exact right one to christen it!

I was right – relatively easy to assemble. If I have a bug-a-boo with this recipe it’s the “one medium carrot”. I hate that measurement – what does medium mean? Medium to a rabbit? Medium to a dieter? (Trust me, a medium carrot to a dieter is very large, indeed!) I would have preferred to have read “1/2-cup finely shredded carrot” – but I digress.

Fluted Carrot CakeAs always, Dorie’s description was spot on, “…an inch high.” I’ll let it rest over night and serve it tomorrow as dessert – won’t my family be surprised to find that Sunday dinner’s dessert has returned?!?

By the way – it is delicious! I passed on the glaze and opted for a relatively heavy dusting of powdered sugar instead. I’m not a real dessert fan – and this was spot on – not too sweet and delicately moist.

Tiger Cakes

13 Oct

Tiger Cakes

Decided that I needed a quick, easy dessert for this evening’s dinner – and this recipe filled the bill.

An easy mix-up. An easy bake! And boy, are they tasty! (Oh, and an added bonus: they look just like Dorie’s photo!)