Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies

Who's ready for their peanut butter fix??
These cookies are reminiscent of peanut butter cups, but better. Much better.
When I made these, (for a superbowl party), I was looking for a recipe that I had most of the ingredients  already. I got lucky and found these on the Picky Palate. I had everything I needed but I didn't have enough solid chocolate bars to make the chunks so I used half chunks, half chips. I think that had I used all large chunks, I would have achieved the gooey chocolate inside like the blog I got the recipe from did. Nevertheless they were delicious! My batch of cookies made around 50 cookies.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 sticks softened butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups good quality chocolate chunks
1 cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place peanut butter into freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars.
Add eggs and vanilla, beating until well combined.
Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
Add to wet ingredients along with cocoa powder and chocolate chunks, slowly mixing until just combined.
Drop dollops of frozen peanut butter into dough and turn mixer a few times, to get swirls of peanut butter in the dough.
Scoop balls onto the cookie sheet 1 inch apart.
Bake 14-16 minutes.
Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Strawberry Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Valentines Day!
Now I know you're thinking that you don't have time to make anything.
However, these simple delicious cookies only have 4 ingredients and take less than an hour to make so don't you fret!
Kirbie's Cravings  made these cookies with chocolate chips, but I made them even more decadent with dark chocolate chips. Healthier too! I used olive oil so you don't have to feel as bad for indulging. If you're feeling experimental you could make these with white chocolate too.
Now these cookies are quite yummy, but I would change one thing, I had fresh strawberries at home and i really wish I would have chopped them up and added them to the batter for extra strawberry goodness. Next time.
I know that using a box cake mix is technically cheating, but that's what the recipe called for and really how could I resist trying these?! Its like a chocolate dipped strawberry in a cookie! I used Pillsbury box mix and Hershey's special dark chips.

Strawberry Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies 
yields about 2 dozen cookies

1 box strawberry cake mix
halfway between 1/3 and 1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup dark chocolate chip cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Mix cake mix, oil, and egg in a large bowl until smooth and without pieces of dry cake mix remains.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Scoop about 2 tbs of dough and roll into a ball.
Place on cookie sheet and make sure dough balls are about 2 inches apart.
Bake about 12 minutes until cookies are set and edges are turning a light brown.
Let cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes before removing.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Valentines Day is right around the corner! Less than a week as of today! Do you have special plans with the one you love? Valentines Day is always either my favorite holiday, or my second favorite holiday; depending on my relationship status. Once again I'm single for Valentines Day so it's my second favorite, coming after Halloween but I never let that stop me from celebrating! I know most of my peers think that Valentines Day is cheesy and pointless but being a hopeless romantic I love it! My favorite colors are red and pink and you can find those colors everywhere this time of year, best time to find decor for your house. If you have someone special in your life, you can go all out and be a cheesy as it pleases you, after all that's what February 14th is all about!
The best part of Valentines Day is baking. The only limit you have is your imagination! You can play with flavors like strawberry, raspberry, red velvet, chocolates milk, dark and white, the list goes on!
Check out my Recipe Index for so many more ideas to make for Valentines Day.
I've tried my fair share of different brownies, and these by far are my favorite. They are absolutely addicting. Soft, moist, full of flavor and not too rich. No matter who you make these for you will impress all, no question about it. I found this recipe at Confections from the Cody Kitchen.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

For the Brownies:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
2/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Cream Cheese Top:
8 oz cream cheese, (softened)
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare 8 inch square pan by greasing it and lining with parchment paper.
In small heat proof bowl, microwave butter and chocolate until melted.
Stir and set aside.
In separate bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla, and food coloring.
Add chocolate mixture and stir until smooth.
Add flour and salt and stir until fully incorporated.
Pour into prepared pan.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla together until smooth
Drop large dollops of cream cheese mixture over brownie mixture.
Use knife to make swirl pattern.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool completely before removing from pan.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mini Pretzel Dogs

Happy Superbowl Sunday!

In honor of today I'm posting two recipes this week. WHAT? I know.
I wasn't sure of where I was going to be watching the game until Friday night so I didn't have a whole lot of time to plan what I was going to make. However, while I was searching the web for something amazing, (I like to wow on occasions like these. I.e. the buffalo bites or Bears cookies I made for the first game of the season.) my Grandmother reminded me that we had mini hotdogs in the freezer. I remembered that I had a recipe for pretzel dogs in my bookmarks and was so excited because I've been wanting to make pretzels ever since I got my Kitchen Aid mixer for my birthday. And really, wrapping mini hotdogs in croissants is so predictable. Delicious, but predictable.
The original recipe on Joy The Baker used normal sized hotdogs, cut in half but I already had the mini ones and I think that they work better for parties anyway.
After making the dough for the buffalo bites from scratch, I assumed that the pretzel dough would take forever but surprisingly you only have to let it rise for an hour and five minutes all together. Not too bad.
Using the mini hotdogs, I made 30 pretzel dogs, but really you could make a few more, maybe 35.
Not to mention they are delicious with mustard or just as is. But I mean, really, how could they not be? Its a pretzel hotdog.
Don't think it's too late to make these, you still can!

Mini Pretzel Dogs

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, (melted and cooled)
14 cups of water
1 cup baking soda
8 hotdogs
1 large egg, (beaten with a splash of water)
salt & pepper for topping

In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a dough hooks, combine warm water and sugar.
Sprinkle yeast on top.
Set aside for 5 minutes.
Mixture will begin to foam and froth. If it doesn't, dump out the mixture and make a new one.
Add the flour, salt, and butter.
Mix on low speed until well combined.
Increase speed to medium and knead dough until smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl in a ball, about 4 minutes.
Remove dough.
Scrape bowl of any residue.
Coat bowl with vegetable oil.
Return dough to bowl.
Sprinkle flour on top of the dough.
Cover and let sit for about one hour in a warm place to rise double its size.
Place oven racks to the middle and upper 1/3 of the oven.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush paper with oil.
Combine water and baking soda in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
While the water comes to a boil, turn the dough onto a clean, slightly oiled work surface.
Divide dough into 8 or 16 pieces, depending on how large you'd like your pretzel dogs. (8 for a whole hot dog and 16 for half hotdogs.)
Start to roll each piece of dough in the middle with both hands, moving your hands outward as you go to make a rope.
Roll the dough until the dough is about twice the size of the hotdog you will be using.
Wrap dough around hotdog, sealing the ends.
When the water has come to a boil, gently lower each hotdog in the saucepan.
Boil each pretzel dog for 30 seconds and remove with a flat, slotted spatula.
Place on prepared baking sheet.
Brush pretzel dogs with the beaten egg.
Top with sprinkles of salt and pepper.
Bake until deeply golden brown, about 12-20 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling rack for a few minutes before serving warm.
If you're not going to serve all of them, double wrap in plastic wrap and store in freezer.
When ready to serve, take them out of plastic and wrap in foil.
Bake in 350 degreed for 12 minutes.