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Healthier Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies

May 8, 2013

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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.

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Healthier Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies
Makes 18 cookies

Ingredients
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

Directions
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!
Madison

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
Ingredients
*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)

Instructions
*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!

Madison

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
Ingredients
*3 cups lightly salted peanuts
*2 cups unsalted walnut halves
*1/4 cup olive oil
*1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions
*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!

Madison

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream

August 22, 2011
  

This weekend, something so amazing came out of my ice cream maker that I can hardly believe it was me who made it. Chocolate and peanut butter are a killer combination in every form, but chocolate and peanut butter together in cheesecake ice cream form? Absolutely killer.

I could keep rambling about how the subtle chocolate flavor compliments the creamy peanut butter perfectly. Or comment on how the cream cheese adds a perfect bit of tang and makes for the creamiest ice cream I’ve ever eaten.

Or I could just encourage you to make some for yourself and actually taste what I’m talking about.

Yeah, that sounds about right. Go forth and make ice cream! What are you waiting for?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream
Inspired by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home

Ingredients
*2 cups 2% chocolate milk
*1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon corn starch
*2/3 cups granulated sugar
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1 1/4 cups heavy cream
*4 oz. cream cheese, softened
*1/2 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter (not natural peanut butter)

Instructions
*In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the chocolate milk and the corn starch until smooth. Set aside.
*In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining chocolate milk, sugar and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil and continue to cook for four minutes, stirring frequently. (I had issues with the mixture boiling over a bit, so watch carefully and remove from the heat for a second or two, if necessary)
*After four minutes, remove from the heat and whisk in the corn starch mixture. Return to heat, bring to a boil and continue to boil for one to two minutes or until mixture is thickened slightly. (A good test: it’s ready when it thinly coats the back of a wooden spoon.)
*Remove from heat and whisk in the cream cheese and peanut butter. Whisk until smooth and well combined. Whisk in the heavy cream. Pour mixture through a mesh sieve and into a bowl.
*Place mixture in the refrigerator and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours or until mixture is completely chilled.
*Transfer chilled mixture to the bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Store mixture in an airtight container in the freezer.

Happy Cooking!

Madison

Peanut Butter Spread

August 17, 2011

Wow! Thank you all so much for your enthusiastic response to the giveaway. I wish I could give every one of you an ice cream maker. Alas, I have to choose just one person, and that person is….

Congrats, Ashley! E-mail me (madisonjanemayberry@gmail.com) with your name, address and your selection of which type of ice cream maker you would like and I will get it to you asap!

Last weekend I found myself making waffles for the first time with our new waffle iron, only to realize halfway through that we were out of maple syrup. Typically, when I’m trying to keep sugar and calories down, I opt for the artificially sweetened bottled light pancake syrup or sugar-free pancake syrup. But on Saturday I didn’t have anything remotely close to syrup and was too lazy to make my way to the store.

Instead, I whipped up this creamy peanut butter spread. While it’s not quite as drippy as syrup, its thicker consistency does prevent it from making pancakes, waffles and other breakfast goodies from becoming soggy underneath and it helps to stretch the peanut butter across a larger surface. Major bonus in my book. Because although I would like to eat tablespoon after tablespoon of peanut butter, my hips and thighs beg me not to.

After I made this spread, I imagined that it would make a delicious dip for pretzels or fruit, or a great spread atop toast. And if you sprinkled a little granola and chocolate atop it, I can only imagine it would be perfect on its own, too.

Peanut Butter Spread
Ingredients
*4 oz. plain, 2% Greek yogurt
*1 tablespoon natural, creamy peanut butter
*1/2 to 1 teaspoon stevia or brown sugar
*1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1 to 2 tablespoons milk (depending on how thick you want it)

Instructions
*In a small bowl, combine all the above ingredients. Stir until well combine. Start with 1 tablespoon of the milk, then add additional if you want a thinner consistency. Spoon over waffles, pancakes or atop toast.

Happy Cooking!

Madison