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pbm6Today started as one of those days. No matter what recipe I wanted to try I was missing a key ingredient. Since it’s against the rules to shop in between big grocery trips, I had to do some serious searching on my favorite blogs.

And I am soooo very happy I did. These Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins have been on my to-do list, and I’m happy I was finally forced to make them

Tender, rich, so very tasty and a quick, easy recipe to boot. Yay for my bad day!

Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (or smooth)
2 large eggs
1 cup milk (low fat or skim is fine)
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth. Pour into flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
Divide batter into your paper-lined muffin tin. Each cup should be filled to the top, not just half way up, to ensure you get a nice dome on the muffin.
Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top of the muffin springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 12.

pbm The recipe says “fill cups to the top.” The idea of that freaked me out a little bit. I kept imaging I was going to open the oven door and find a bunch of muffin tops spread out and stuck together. But nope, she said they’d dome, and dome they did. I swear my muffin tin is clean. It’s old. Really, really old. Older than my marriage old.

That’s why it makes such good treats.

pbm1

17 minutes in the oven and these weren’t quite done yet. I didn’t even bother setting the timer for any additional time, I just stood and stared at my oven window. I forced myself to pull them out a minute later. I am a notorious overbaker, so when I think something just “needs another couple minutes,” it’s a sure sign it’s ready.

pbm3Oh. Yes. Now they’re done. A little tip … I’d avoid putting the chocolate chip on each muffin before baking. They, um, well, they look like boobs. I didn’t plan that. Obviously I didn’t visualize the finished product either. So yeah, skip that step.

pbm5 I usually find something to add or omit from a recipe. Not this time. These are perfect just the way they are. Even with the nipples.

cm33

I love, love, love coffee cake. I don’t eat a lot of what I bake, but coffee cake is an exception. Coffee cake muffins are an even bigger exception. These are perfect with a cup of coffee in the morning as I shove all of the children out the door.

I love when school is in.

I even shared these with the kids. Nice Mom that I am.

I divided the muffins into thirds and filled them with either strawberry, raspberry or blackberry jam.

Because I never, ever screw up, I intentionally forgot to mark the pan so I wouldn’t know which row had which flavor. It was like a surprise party in my mouth.

I used a basic coffee cake recipe and stole an awesome streusel from Salt and Chocolate. I made the blackberry muffins from there and have used the streusel tons of times since.

Jam Filled Coffee Crumb Cake

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Jam of choice (I use a fat teaspoonful, so enough for 12 muffins)

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, lightly beat eggs; add buttermilk. Pour into dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Spoon half of the batter into 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Make a well in the center of each; add jam. Spoon remaining batter over jam. Cover generously with streusel. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

Topping (borrowed from Salt and Chocolate)

6-7 tablespoons of butter
1 cup AP flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of salt

Melt butter in a sauce pan and let cool to room temperature. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt together, add in the cooled butter and stir with a fork until blended. When it starts to form crumbs, squeeze it with your hands to form larger lumps and then break them apart. Let sit for 10 -15 minutes before using.

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You know you spend too much time with your food when you convince yourself it’s smiling at you.

brow81

Go ahead, bust me out. I was way too impatient for these to cool before I cut them, so I have messy edges. Now ask me if I care. After one bite I wouldn’t care if these were all mushed togther in a bowl and I was handed a spoon.

I’ve made Lebovitz’s Black Bottom Cupcakes before so I was super excited for the brownie version. And with good reason, these are insanely good.

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Cheesecake Brownies (David Lebovitz)

One 9-inch (23cm) square pan
6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces (115g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (70g) flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (80g) chocolate chips
8 ounces (200g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
5 tablespoons (75g) sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Line a 9-inch (23cm) square pan with foil, making sure it goes up all four sides. Use two sheets if necessary. Mist with non-stick spray or grease lightly.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180C).

3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in the 2/3 cup (130g) sugar, then the eggs.

4. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, then the vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.

5. In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, the yolk, 5 tablespoons (75g) of sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

6. Distribute the cream cheese mixture in eight dollops across the top of the brownie mixture, then take a dull knife or spatula and swirl the cream cheese mixture with the chocolate batter.

7. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the batter in the center of the pan feels just set.

Let cool, then lift out the foil and peel it away. Cut the brownies into squares.

brow41
After plopping down the cream cheese mix I nearly said “Forget it”, and ate the whole pan raw.
brow5I always over-swirl. Always. It’s fun, and sort of Zen-like. Try to not follow my example.
brown1Once the brownies cool they’ll lose the puffy look and the cream cheese will set, turning a nice gooey delicious yellow color.
brow7 Don’t be like me. Let the brownies cool all the way before cutting the. Or better yet, just eat the whole pan, who cares how they look.

tchip11Oh. My. Goodness.

Normally I don’t actually eat much of  what I bake. I sample to make sure I’m not about to poison anyone, but other than that I’m pretty hands off. And then there are the Gigantical chewy chocolate toffee cookies that make me forget how to blink.

Pretend the best brownie ever had an affair with a cookie and they made little toffee studded babies. This cookie is that baby.

They’re even better the next day when the toffee has a chance to make itself known. I can seriously devour these cookies. The trick is to watch them closely in the oven. You want the edges to set but the middle to stay soft. As soon as the cracks appear on top, whip those babies out of the oven. Prepare to party. Keep an ice cold glass of milk near by for the full Nirvana effect.

tchip Chocolate Toffee Chewy Bliss
(adapted from Epicurious)

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened)or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups (packed) brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 bag of Heath toffee bits (12 or 16 ounces)

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; whisk to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool mixture to lukewarm.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, then toffee and nuts. Chill batter until firm, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto sheets, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheets.

tchip3

pbcup2Really? How can chocolate and peanut butter ever go wrong?

I do a lot of shopping in bulk, so I always have peanut butter and chocolate on hand, and every single family member eats the combo so you’ll find a lot of recipes mixing the best of both worlds on here.
These were particularly fun though. I just used a basic chocolate cupcake recipe, and went with an Ina Garten frosting. I had some leftover toffee chips so those went on top. Ta-Da! No muss, no fuss and awesome sweets.

Since I am too cheap to buy specialty items, my frosting was done using a Ziploc bag with a hole cut in the corner. I know, Martha Stewart would have a stroke if she knew that. Whatev. They looked cute enough for my family.

Feel free to ignore the Yeungling in the back. I, uh, used that for Bratwurst. Moving on, nothing to see here, folks.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcakes (allrecipes.com)

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.
  3. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Frost with your favorite frosting when cool.

cupcakespb1

Whipped Peanut Butter Frosting (Ina Garten)

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

cupcakein

All bitten foods courtesy of my 12-year-old. She has the biggest mouth in the house and is forced to bite on demand.

jc7 Chocolate Chip cookies have been the bane of my baking life since the beginning of time. Well, those and pie crust. But finally I have mastered them. Bwahahaha. The pie crust is still winning. Argh. Chocolate chip cookies require a few things in order for me to love them. They must be soft. No crunch, not ever. They have to be rich, which is why I prefer all dark brown sugar. They have to be huge and they have to be easy. After a ridiculously frustrating 14 year hunt, I finally found a recipe that worked for me at Smells Like Dessert. I’ve made a few adjustments to the original recipe (more chocolate, way more chocolate). My husband has officially pronounced these the best chocolate chip cookies ever. Sweet, maybe he’ll buy me shoes. Anyhow.. NANEENANEEBOOBOO I win!!!!

jamiecookies First things first, melt all that fat-free butter (we can pretend, right?) and hand mix it in a bowl with the sugars. At no point during these cookies will you plug in a mixer. Don’t try to cream the butter and sugar either, the melting is where the magic happens, baby. Ignore the chipped nail polish on the sous chef. She’s 11.

jc1Once the butter and sugars start to resemble something my darling children made in their diapers, add the egg yolks, whole eggs and vanilla. Give it a quick stir to make to make it all happy. Ignore the gross white egg stuff, I always do.
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Once the wet ingredients have made nice with each other, dump in the bowl of flour, salt, and baking soda. This recipe is obviously very high-tech and difficult. Hang in there, I know you can do it! jc3Stir until just mixed, we don’t want tough cookies. We have 5 of those in the house already. Prepare yourself for the massive chocolate insertion coming next. jc4Massive, massive amounts of chocolate. I used a mix of chunks and chips, cause I’m making them and I can be a rebel. OK, it’s because that’s all I had in the house. Soldier Boy (aka the husband) likes really, really chocolaty cookies. That’s why I married him. jc5Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 325. Lick the spoon clean. Spend the next 17 minutes trying not to eat the dough. I pretend to put ingredients away while stealing dough. It reduces the guilt.jc6Drop a 1/4 cup of dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Did I mention these cookies are ginormous? Yeah, baby. DO NOT go all health conscious and try to reduce the size. Sometimes in life, size does matter, and this is one of those times. You’ll thank me later. This first batch of dough seems a bit soft so I popped the bowl into the freezer for the next round. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes (I usually call it a draw and go for 16). The cookies will not look done, don’t let them fool you. Chewy is key here, and these are oh so so soft and chewy and beautiful and gooey and … sigh. Hurry up oven.jc9

Remove from oven. Try not to burn tongue as you woof one down that’s way too hot. I mentioned these were huge, right?jc8 Transfer to a cooling rack, dust a little flour on your nose to make it look like you worked really hard and wait for the cheers and gifts. MMMmmmm, cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Smells Like Dessert
Makes 36 cookies.

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups butter, melted
2 egg
2 egg yolk
2 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 cups chocolate chunks (depending on what I have on hand, I prefer the chunks though)

** Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. **

1. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
2. In large bowl, combine sugars. Add butter and stir with wooden spoon for a few seconds until well blended.
3. Stir in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Be sure that all ingredients are incorporated.
4. Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
5. Gently stir in chocolate chips.
6. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 20 minutes.
7. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased baking sheet (9 cookies on the sheet, about half the dough).
8. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until the cookies are just beginning to brown around the edges–don’t even let them set in the middle.
9. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes to allow cookies to firm up.
10. Place cookies on wire rack to cool, and repeat with remaining dough.

dump2 Every now and again a food comes along that I really and truly know I shouldn’t mess with. Pioneer Woman’s Apple Dumplings are a perfect example.

When one recipe manages to create ooey-gooey goodness while still maintaining awesome levels of crunch, chances are it’s going to turn out for very, very badly … for the size of my butt.

The most difficult part of these dumplings is waiting for them to bake. The smell alone has me fighting the urge to lick my oven door. I pretend I make these for the kids. It’s a lie. They’re for me. MINE MINE MINE.

Apple Dumplings

2 Granny Smith apples
2 cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
cinnamon
1 small can Mountain Dew

Peel and core apples. Cut apples into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan. Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

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