Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


Or squares. Whatever you want to call them. These are SOOOO good. Obviously. Peanut butter and chocolate is the best and is my husbands favorite. Every time I ask him what he wants me to bake next, his response is “something with peanut butter.” Ok, honey. You have spoken and I delivered.

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I had to do SOMETHING for him. We just celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary and he had flowers delivered to me (pictured in the background). So romantic! He doesn’t do that too often so when he does, I get so surprised. Good job, babe, good job ❤

I feel like this is a great bake for fall and even for Christmas. If you do a cookie exchange, definitely bake up a batch of these and add them to your dish! Yes, I’m already talking about Christmas and it’s not even Halloween yet, but us bakers like to plan, am I right?!

So… here we go. Your go to bake/dessert for the next 2.5 months 😉

What you will need:

13 x 9 pan, greased

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl, beat butter and both sugars until smooth and creamy. Add in peanut butter and beat until combined and creamy. Add in vanilla and egg and beat until combined. Beat in flour mixture slowly until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour into your prepared pan and even out the top and edges. Bake for about 20 minutes. Cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!

Store covered at room temp or in the fridge.

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Simple Shortbread Cookies

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I can’t believe I don’t have a shortbread recipe on this blog yet! I seriously thought I did because I’ve made these a few times and they are so good! These are so simple to make and a great cookie to be creative with! Get the kids involved! Make different shapes! Use different toppings!

I have another shortbread cookie recipe that I will post another time. They have a more “Christmas” flavor if you know what I mean. Also, with this recipe, feel free to substitute a tablespoon of milk for lemon juice for a more lemony flavor. Or orange zest! Oh man! Now I want to make these again…. But that’s what I love about simple recipes like this one. You can add whatever you want to make it your own and change it up.

For now, this is the recipe I used. Have fun!

What you will need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt
1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
Different toppings or sprinkles. I used Wilton candy melts in chocolate (brown) and red.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, beat together sugar and butter until creamy and smooth. Add in vanilla and milk until just combined. Slowly beat in flour mixture until dough is formed. Separate dough into 2 equal rounds and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take out one ball of dough and roll it out on a floured surface until just over an 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut out desired shapes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until just browned on the edges. Continue until you use up all the dough. Allow to cool on a wire rack before decorating.

Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Maple Scones

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Happy summer! I mean… fall! Seriously, this 90 degree September weather in Chicago is really weird. I want the cool nights and brisk mornings! Not hot and muggy, need the air conditioning on! But, I’ll take it. Leaves have started to change and fall off trees and Halloween stuff is out in all the stores, and of course, pumpkin everything!

I love baking with pumpkin. The result is always delicious and it’s just so warm and inviting. I found a similar recipe on Pinterest for pumpkin scones but I changed it up a little. Also, pouring out 10 teaspoons of milk seems like a lot. I tried to convert to tablespoons but it was getting too complicated. So, here we go! Our first recipe of the fall season…

What you will need:

Baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with a non-stick spray

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons (+1 teaspoon) maple syrup
10 teaspoons (+ 1 teaspoon) milk

For the glaze:

1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter in until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in pumpkin, 3 tablespoons maple syrup and 10 teaspoons milk until just incorporated.

Divide the dough into 8 equal balls and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together the 1 teaspoon of maple syrup and milk and brush over the tops. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Cool on a wire rack.

Once cooled, combine all ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl. Stir until you get desired consistency. Drizzle over the cooled scones. Enjoy!

Store in an airtight container at room temp. Serve warm.


Icebox Cake

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Or Zebra Cake as my son and I call it. I got a recipe card for this in our last Hello Fresh delivery and of course I had to try it. Only 2 ingredients?! Come on! So easy, and a no bake dessert at that. Awesome!

Oh and Hello Fresh is a food delivery service just like Blue Apron (which we also use). They send you pre-portioned ingredients for 3 meals for you + 1 or 3 depending on family size. It’s great! Definitely check them out 🙂

Back to this cake… it really is so delicious and so easy to make but also very filling! I made my own whipped cream which is way better than Cool Whip in my opinion. And that’s also so easy. I will share the recipe in this blog post. So, before going in there are 2 things you need to know: first is that it needs to be refrigerated for at least 8 hours or overnight before serving. A great dessert to make the day before. Second is that you need a springform pan. So before attempting this recipe, make sure you have time and the correct pan.

Let’s get to it…

What you will need:

8 or 9 inch springform pan

3 cups cold heavy cream
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
(2) 9 oz packages of chocolate wafter cookies

I used these

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To make your own whipped cream, in a cold metal (or glass) bowl, whisk all first 3 ingredients until stiff peaks form. It took me literally 5 or 6 minutes, my arm was hurting! It takes a while but it’s so worth it.

Once your whipped cream is made, evenly spread 1/2 cup on the bottom of the pan. Next, evenly place the wafer cookies on top of the whipped cream layer. Continue making layers like this making sure you end with whipped cream. I did 4 layers of cookies but could have probably done another one. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Tip: Feel free to break cookies the fill in any gaps.

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When ready to serve, carefully remove sides of pan. Use a warm knife to cut and rinse off after every slice for smooth edges. Enjoy!

Store covered, in the fridge.

Fresh Cherry Cobbler

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Summer is the season for farmers markets here in Chicago and my oh my! I’m in love! I was surprisingly a market virgin (gasp!) until this year. Can you believe it? There are literally 3 walking distance from my house so now I’m obsessed! Yes, the items/products are more expensive, but you get it straight from the source and meet some really cool people all at the same time. When the farmers tell you their crops were picked just 2 hours ago, how can you say no? So, here I am with my market cherry popped with a fantastic cherry recipe 😉

I made a tiny cherry cobbler because I only had 2 cups of cherries. If you have more, you can easily double the recipe. The recipe I have given here is double what I actually made. So, this is for an 8 x 8 inch pan but you can double it to make a  9 x 13.

Oh and just a quick tip; investing in a cherry pitter would be a smart thing to do. I do not have one and holy mess! Just look below…

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I felt like I was committing murder, Dexter style. But, all is good, cherry juice is delicious and doesn’t stain. So…

Let’s get this cherry party started!

What you will need:

8 x 8 inch square bake dish

For the filling:

3 cups fresh cherries, washed and pitted
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1/8 cup cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 TBSP butter, cold and sliced
1/4 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. In a pot, stir all the ingredients for the filling. Over medium-high heat on the stove, stir until it simmers. Once simmering, stir for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and pour into bake dish.

Start the topping. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, both sugars, baking powder and cinnamon until combined. Cut the butter into the mixture either using your fingers, or with a pastry cutter until it resembles wet sand. Add the boiling water and mix with a spoon until well combined.

Drop the topping over the cherry filling until it is completely covered. Bake for about 15-22 minutes, depending on pan size. Topping will be lightly browned and filling hot and bubbly.

Allow to cool for 20 minutes before digging in! Enjoy 🙂 Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Store covered in the fridge.

Banana Bread Muffins with Crumb Topping


I love me some crumb topping and I always have bananas in my freezer so… the perfect recipe is here! These are SO good! The perfect breakfast or snack packed with flavor, carbs and sugar! 

I needed a recipe not only to use up the bananas in my freezer, but one that I could use a jumbo size egg. Why they even sell those at the store RIGHT NEXT to the large ones is beyond me. But yes, I accidentally bought jumbo eggs. They are perfect for scrambling eggs for breakfast. Baking with them is another story. 2 jumbo eggs is more like 3 large ones. I used 1 jumbo in this recipe and it was perfect! Now that doesn’t mean you have to run to the store and get jumbo eggs. You might just need to use the whites of an additional egg for this recipe.

Ok… enough about jumbo eggs, let’s get to baking!

What you will need:

Cupcake tin lined with liners

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Egg
3 bananas, mashed

For the Crumb Topping:

2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside. In another bowl, beat melted butter and sugar. Beat in egg until combined. Beat in mashed bananas until everything is nice and smooth and blended. Slowly beat in flour mixture until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan, just above halfway full. Then, make the topping. In a bowl, mix all ingredients with your fingers until it resembles sand or coarse crumbs, pinching the butter with your fingertips. Evenly distribute on the tops of the cupcakes. Bake for 14-15 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack before digging in.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Makes 10 muffins

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Blue Cupcakes

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When we’re bored, we bake! And of course Liam wanted something blue so he got EVERYTHING blue 🙂 He actually did most of the preparing for these blue cupcakes besides pouring the batter into the pan and piping the frosting. I know, I know… it looks like a 4 year old did it but I don’t have anymore piping bags and the ziplock bag I was using sprung a leak!

It did not take long to make these little guys. They are mini cupcakes (not sure if you can tell by the pictures) and I used a box of Pillsbury cake mix. Half a box of cake mix actually. I needed to use it up and you know I LOVE cake so here we are! Super BLUE cupcakes. I will give the recipe I used below, but you can also just use an entire cake mix and add food coloring. Same with the frosting.

So… here we go! Start those ovens…

What you will need: 

Cupcake tin lined with cupcake liners

Half a box of Pillsbury Yellow Cake Mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 egg
Food coloring
Note: White cake mix would be better, obviously. Ours came out a little on the green side since the batter was yellow.

For the frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food coloring

Sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, beat all ingredients for the cake until well blended. Pour into prepared cups about halfway full. Bake for about 12-13 minutes for mini cupcakes, longer for regular size.

Allow to cool on a wire rack before removing the cupcakes from the pan. Cool completely out of the pan while you make the frosting.

For the frosting, beat butter and 1 cup of sugar until smooth. Add in milk and vanilla and beat until combined. Add in food coloring and more powdered sugar until you reach desired consistency.

Frost cupcakes, decorate and enjoy! Store covered at room temperature.