Browsing Tag

peanut butter


Gluten-Free Healthy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

June 26, 2014

Gluten Free Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies 1 | Espresso and Cream

Lately I’ve really become captivated by the idea of simplicity and minimalism. It started with building a capsule wardrobe (more on that soon) and after I finished, I looked at my closet, so empty and uncluttered and scaled down to what I truly loved to wear and something started to click. In the past few weeks I’ve been digging and sorting through the junk drawer in our kitchen (does everyone have one of those?) and our pantry filled with kitchen appliances. It spilled over into the giant collection of magazines that I’ve kept for years; I tossed all but my favorite old issues of Gourmet and a few items of my own published work. I’ve been selling unused kitchen appliances and giving away cookbooks that I’ve collected over the years and just don’t have room to store. My house is starting to feel like a clean-running machine rather than a car loaded down with stuff.

A little voice in my head kept saying, “I need less.” “I want less!” You see, if I’m not careful I find myself getting caught up in the fallacy that I need more and more. I finish a much-needed living room remodel and start to fixate on other rooms in our house. Rooms that don’t really need to be updated, but something inside me whispers that if I just changed that one little thing, I would be happier.

So lately, when I start to think that I need more than I really do, I remind myself that I would rather spend my life living rather than managing my stuff and trying to keep up with the latest and greatest.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies 2 | Espresso and CreamI guess some of that simplicity-seeking has translated into my cooking at home, too. I’ve been baking with less sugar, imagining that’s probably the way that my grandma baked living on the farm all those years ago. It’s been nice, in this era of hyper-sweetened desserts, to sit down and enjoy a really simple, lightly sweet cookie that tastes like something you could eat every day rather than something you can only enjoy on a birthday or special occasion. And, I suppose, with each of these cookies only having 135 calories per cookie, you certainly could have one every day.

Gluten-Free Healthy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies
Serves: 15
  • 1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • ¼ to ½ cup brown sugar (I used ¼ for lightly sweet cookies, use ½ C if you want sweeter cookies)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup Chex gluten-free instant oats or other instant gluten-free oats of choice
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients until well combined. Roll dough into 15 balls, a little more than 1-inch in diameter. Use a fork sprayed with cooking spray to press a criss-cross pattern into the tops of the cookies.
  3. Bake on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray 8 minutes or until edges are set and just golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack, about 10 minutes.



Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies

July 2, 2013


I told you all last week about the new blog I’m contributing to at work, Tasteseekers Kitchen. Well, if you hopped on over there, you probably saw the ultra-decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownie Pops. They super cute and much easier than cake pops, which drive me crazy! I can’t never get them to look as pretty as I would like.

When my friend, Laura, invited us over to dinner a couple weeks ago, I decided to make a version of that same recipe, with a few less steps. Instead of making the brownies into individual brownie bites in pop form, I layered cookie dough on top of brownies in a 13×9-inch pan and topped it with the cream cheese cookie dough mixture. On top of that, I spread a thin layer of melted semi-sweet chocolate to help with cutting the bars into clean pieces.

I think it’s safe to say the bars were a big hit! I cut them into fairly large pieces, but since they are so rich, I think I could have gotten away with making them smaller. I took the leftovers and stored them in the freezer, then thawed them slightly before serving a couple nights later. They were still totally delicious and worth every calorie.


Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies
Recipe just slightly adapted from Tasteseekers Kitchen
1 box Betty Crocker fudge brownies, prepared according to package directions for a 13×9-inch pan
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural peanut butter)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

In large bowl with an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, peanut butter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar until creamy. Stir in mini chocolate chips by hand. Spread mixture atop baked brownie mixture in pan.

Spread melted chocolate atop cookie dough mixture until you can no longer see any of the cookie dough. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, at least 30 minutes. Cut into bars to serve.

Happy Baking!


Healthier Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies

May 8, 2013


Once upon a time I used to be someone who said that they only wanted to enjoy baked goods in their real, sugary, buttery form. If I was going to have a piece of cake, then gosh darn make it a real decadent piece. Just not too often and only as a special treat. However, Joe and I have found our taste buds changing lately. Joe has never been the one with a sweet tooth (that would be me) but lately I’ve found my sweet tooth fading and my ability to enjoy a super sugary dessert is long gone.

I didn’t talk all that favorably about our cleanse, and I’m afraid that I only highlighted the things that I didn’t enjoy about the experience. However, one of the best things about the cleanse was the removal of all sugar (other that natural sources) from our daily routine. At first I really missed my nightly dark chocolate, but after a couple weeks, I found that healthier treats, like tofu pudding or a little whipped coconut milk with fresh berries was more than enough to satisfy my craving. In fact, after the cleanse ended I went out to buy dark chocolate. But the dark chocolate has sat unopened since I bought it. I just don’t crave it like I once did.

These cookies fall squarely into the “less sweet” dessert classification. I’m not sure they can relaly be called healthy since they do contain their fair share of butter and some regular old sugar, too. But they are not nearly as sweet as a traditional cookie and contain a whole host of good-for-you ingredients like banana, almond meal, oat bran and whole wheat flour. They have a soft, cake-like texture that Joe and I loved and they stay soft and moist for days after baking, similar to banana bread.

I’ve been putting one of these cookies in Joe’s lunch as a treat each day this week and enjoying one after dinner now and again. They also taste great crumbled atop yogurt if you’re looking for a little something special at breakast.


Healthier Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies
Makes 18 cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter (I used creamy natural from Trader Joe’s)
1 egg
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon banking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup oat bran
1 cup whole wheat flour

Heat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, peanut butter, egg, banana, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla. Stir until well combined and smooth. Stir in the almond meal, oat bran and whole wheat flour until well combined.

Spoon dough by heaping tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheet. Press down in a criss-cross pattern with a fork. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and puffed up. Cool 10 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Happy Baking!

Peanut Butter Toffee Cookies

November 3, 2011

Is it just me, or has it been too long since I posted a new cookie recipe? Truth be told, most baking and elaborate cooking endeavors have taken a back seat to other, more pressing maters. Between filming and traveling for “Hey, Can You Cook?! All-Stars”, keeping up with work responsibilities, traveling to catch football games and meeting our new little nephew, and spending a little bit of time Joe, too, time has been short.

But I know that despite the craziness that has been the last month, there are a lot of wonderful things going on right now. I feel blessed to be where I am, surrounded by my amazing support system, and energized by the new experiences that are pushing me way out of my comfort zone.

As we enter into November, the month of thanks, I hope you will all consider taking time out of every day to reflect on something you are thankful for. If you’re on Twitter, take a cue from Tina’s post over at Carrots ‘N’ Cake and take part in Tweeting what you are thankful for with the hash tag #bethankfulchallenge. It’s a great way to see what others are thankful for and get you in the right frame of mind amid the craziness of the day-to-day.

Right now, I’m thankful to be home. And for these cookies. Because they are super tasty, chewy and perfect for keeping warm as the weather gets cooler.

Peanut Butter Toffee Cookies
*1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
*1/2 cup sugar
*1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
*1 large egg
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/2 cup peanut butter chips
*1/2 cup toffee bits (Heath Bar bits)

*Place racks in the middle and lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

*Sift together the flour and baking soda and set aside. 
*In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. 
*Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sugar, brown sugar, salt and creamy peanut butter. Continue creaming the mixture on medium speed until it is smooth and lump-free, about 1 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.
*Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed for 15 seconds, or until the egg is fully incorporated. Do not overbeat. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
*On low speed, add the sifted flour mixture. Beat slowly until all of the flour is incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the peanut butter chips and toffee bits and stir in.
*Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, 2-inches apart. Flatten slightly with your hand. Bake, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking, for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and slide the parchment off the baking sheets onto a work surface. Cool the baking sheets between batches. Allow the cookies to cool for at least five minutes before serving.
Happy Baking!


Peanut-Walnut Butter

August 31, 2011

Since we have been married, Joey has been shocked at the amount of peanut butter I consume each week. When, like me, you eat a couple tablespoons of the stuff each day, it doesn’t last long. Instead of picking up another jar of Smuckers Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, I decided last week that it would be fun to start making my own nut butter again.

It’s an amazingly simple process to whirl together your own nut butter, and I love how easy it is to customize the blend based on your specific tastes or allergy restrictions. I’ve made pure walnut butter before, but felt that it was lacking something without the extra zing of salty peanuts or another more flavorful nut. So this time, I used a combination of walnuts and peanuts for a smooth, creamy and slightly salty spread that is perfect atop toast or served with sliced apples.

If you’re interested in some of the other combinations I’ve put together, you can see them here:
*Make Your Own Nut Butter
*Cashew Butter

Also, just a reminder that our Fund for Jennie Auction is open until 10 pm tonight! The bid for our baked goods gift basket is now up to $225. Let’s keep the bidding going! If you’re interested, you can find the auction HERE. And thank you all so much for your kindness and generosity. 

Peanut-Walnut Butter
*3 cups lightly salted peanuts
*2 cups unsalted walnut halves
*1/4 cup olive oil
*1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Blend for two to three minutes, scraping own the sides occasionally, until mixture is smooth and creamy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Happy Cooking!


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