Browsing Tag

peanut butter

Fluffer-Nutter Bars

March 10, 2011

It has come to my knowledge that there is something called a fluffernutter sandwich. I had heard of such a sandwich before, but was never quite sure if it really existed or if it was just an urban myth. Most certainly no such sandwich was part of my childhood, but then again, I didn’t eat my first peanut butter and jelly sandwich until I was in 7th grade. I was a strange kid.

So to satisfy my curiosity, I got to digging around on the internet. And, of course, Wikipedia came to the rescue with this answer:

“A fluffernutter sandwich is a sandwich made with peanut butter and marshmallow creme. It’s name comes from the popular Marshmallow Fluff brand of marshmallow creme. It is particularly popular in the Northeastern United States and has been proposed as the state sandwich of Massachusetts.”

Who knew? Personally, marshmallow creme was a phenomenon I knew very little about first-hand. And although I love peanut butter, this sandwich sounded a lot more like a dessert to me than a viable lunch or dinner option.

Fluffernutter sandwiches may have zero appeal to me, but rolling all that sweet goodness into one gooey, caramel bar sounded like a very good idea. I based the bars off a recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars from the most recent issue of Bon Appétit. The base is very similar to a blondie. A blondie that is filled with a marshmallow center, which is surprisingly delicious. I might go so far to say that these are one of the best desserts on the entire site. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Fluffer-Nutter Bars
Adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2011, Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*1/2 teaspoon baking powder
*1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
*3/4 cup packed brown sugar
*1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
*2 large eggs
*1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
*1 cup mini marshmallows
*1/4 cup chopped walnuts

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
*In a medium bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Set aside. In a second bowl, beat together the peanut butter, brown sugar and butter until well-combined. Whisk in the eggs, one by one, followed by the kosher salt.
*Reserve 1/2 cup of the dough. Transfer the remaining dough to the lined baking pan and press into the bottom of the pan and 1-inch up the sides. Sprinkle the marshmallows atop the dough in pan, spreading in an even layer.
*With reserved 1/2 cup of dough, stir in the walnuts. With your fingers, drop the dough mixture atop the marshmallow layer in grape-sized pieces. (This doesn’t have to be a completely even layer. You should still be able to see some of the marshmallows.)
*Bake for 30 minutes, or until top is golden brown and marshmallows are puffed. The bars may not seem done because of the marshmallow layer, but that is no cause to worry.
*Transfer to a wire rack and cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into bars. Makes 9 Bars

Happy Baking!


Candy Pumpkin Peanut Butter Kisses

November 1, 2010

It’s official. The Sunday night blues have set in yet again. Typically I consider myself a happy, positive person, but it’s tough to find the joy in Sunday nights sometimes. After a wonderful weekend with two of my favorite people in the whole world I now find myself cleaning up my apartment and getting ready for the week ahead with my mom traveling home in one direction, and Joey heading home in the opposite direction.

Lately, what Joey and I have been craving more than anything is a sense of place, normalcy and tradition. We marvel at what it would be like to spend a Sunday night together, to have a tradition like eating popcorn and watching movies, or even just being together in the same room preparing for the week ahead. Until then, I’ll take whatever little bits of normal we can get. For now, that comes in the form of me packing him a sandwich for the drive home and baking something sweet for snacking on. Something like these Candy Pumpkin Peanut Butter Kisses.

Last week when I posted about Halloween and Butterfinger candy bars, a number of people commented about their passionate love for candy pumpkins. Can I get an amen? These cookies have been made in your honor, to let you know you’re not alone in your obsession. And just because Halloween is over does not mean we need to retire these little objects of desire just yet.  I, for one, have stocked up on enough candy pumpkins to last for at least a month.

Chances are, you’ve had the more traditional version of these cookies made with Hershey’s Kisses in the center. I’ve never really been a big fan of these cookies, but the addition of candy pumpkins in the center makes all the difference in the world. Peanut butter and chocolate can go ahead and make room for the peanut butter candy pumpkin combo any day in my apartment.

Candy Pumpkin Peanut Butter Kisses
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
(Printable Recipe)

*1/2 cup butter, softened
*1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
*1/2 cup sugar
*1/2 cup brown sugar
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1 tsp. baking powder
*1/4 tsp. baking soda
*1 large egg
*2 Tbsp. milk
*1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
*1/4 cup sugar
*Candy Pumpkins

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
*With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add in the sugars and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until creamy and fluffy. Add in the salt, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, and egg. Beat until well combined.
*Add in the milk and the flour and beat until just combined. Roll rounded teaspoons of the cookie dough in the sugar. Place on baking sheet, about 1 inch apart, and bake for 12 minutes.
*Remove cookies from oven and immediately place a candy pumpkin in the center of each cookie. Cool on baking sheets for about 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.

Happy Baking!


Peanut Butter Spice Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

September 13, 2010

One of these Mondays I’m going to be able to post about my relaxing, leisurely weekend where I got lots of sleep, painted my toenails, caught up on laundry and read all my untouched magazines cover-to-cover. But that day is not today. I’ll spare you the details only to say it was a crazy, whirlwind of a weekend and I’m still scratching my head wondering where Saturday went.

In addition to traveling eight hours in the car on Saturday to see J’s little brother play football, it was a weekend spent celebrating J’s 23rd birthday! He might not have seen the reason to cause a fuss, but I most certainly did. I’m a big believer in the concept of ‘birthday weekends’ and was intent on making the entire three days a celebration of the man I love.

There were birthday cupcakes on Friday night when he arrived and a birthday dinner in Minneapolis with family on Saturday night after the game; there was also a man making balloon animals at the restaurant who catered to my request that he make J an birthday balloon hat to wear during dinner. And when his actual birthday arrived on Sunday, I put candles in both his chocolate chip pancakes and his sandwich at lunch. Like I said, birthdays are a big deal around here. 

Since J isn’t a huge fan of overly-sweet desserts, I passed on most of my original ideas and decided to go with a simple spiced cupcake topped with a small dollop of peanut butter buttercream. Had this been my own birthday celebration there would have been a whole lot more buttercream involved. Thankfully, the birthday boy is generous and let me steal the buttercream off another cupcake to make up the difference.

Happy birthday, J!

Peanut Butter Spice Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream
(Printable Recipe)

*1 stick butter, softened
*1 cup sugar
*1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
*1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*2 large eggs
*3/4 cup self-rising flour
*1/2 cup buttermilk 
*2/3 cup all-purpose flour

*1 stick butter, softened
*1/2 cup peanut butter
*1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
*1-3 Tbsp. milk (start with 1 and add more if you want a thinner consistency)

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
*With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add in the sugar and peanut butter and beat until creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract until combined.
*Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just combined. Reduce speed to low and beat in the self-rising flour until just combined, followed by the milk, then the all-purpose flour, being sure not to over beat and only mixing until ingredients are just combined.
*Spoon batter into prepared cupcake liners, filling 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
*Meanwhile, prepare the buttercream. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter together until creamy. Add in the powdered sugar, a 1/2 cup at a time, followed by the milk, beating until smooth and creamy.
*Pipe or spread buttercream atop the cupcakes. Candles optional. :)

Happy Baking!


PB&J Buckwheat Crepes

August 5, 2010

Every morning I eat the same breakfast, boring but true. Greek yogurt, fresh or frozen berries, and a half a cup of cereal, usually Kashi. It’s a delicious dose of protein and calcium with a serving a fruit. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit where matters of breakfast are concerned. But today I broke out of my breakfast rut because I couldn’t say no to these crepes filled with a thin smear of homemade peanut butter and topped with black raspberry jam.

Before this, I had never made a crepe in my life. Sure, I’d eaten plenty, some of the best while in Europe, and loved every bite, but had always stayed away from making them at home because I thought they were difficult to replicate.

Turns out I was very wrong. If you’ve made pancakes and own a non-stick skillet, you should make crepes. They’re a cinch to prepare, and that’s coming from a girl who struggles mightily to flip pancakes. When reading the recipe for these buckwheat crepes from David Lebovitz, he suggests running a spatula around the edge, then turning the crepes over with your fingers. It worked perfectly for me, though if you feel more comfortable with a spatula, then flip away!

I can only imagine the possibilities for the rest of the crepe batter left in my fridge. Filled with a little goat cheese and spinach, or a hefty spoonful of blueberry preserves and fresh peaches, or the classic Nutella crepe with a dollop of whipped cream. J. comes tomorrow, and besides counting down the hours until he gets here, I’m counting the number of crepe combinations we can eat together.

P.S. – If you don’t have buckwheat flour, don’t stress. Just substitute an equal amount of all-purpose or whole wheat flour.

PB&J Buckwheat Crepes
Adapted from David Lebovitz 
*2 cups whole or 2% milk
*1 tablespoon sugar
*1/4 teaspoon sea salt
*3 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted, melted
*1/2 cup buckwheat flour
*3/4 cup (105 gr) all-purpose flour
*3 large eggs

*1/2 cup black raspberry preserves or other preserves of your choosing
*1 cup peanut butter 


*In a blender, or with a whisk, mix together all the ingredients until smooth. Cover and chill overnight.

*To fry the crêpes, remove the batter from the refrigerator about an hour before frying. Stir it briskly; it should be the consistency of heavy cream. (If not, you can add a tablespoon of milk.)
*Heat a 8- to 9-inch skillet on the stovetop. You can use a real crêpe pan that’s been seasoned, but I use a Tefal non-stick skillet which works great.
*Drop a tiny piece of butter or neutral oil in the hot pan and wipe it around with a paper towel. (I only do this for the first crêpe.)
*Lift the pan and pour 1/4 cup of the batter in the middle of the hot skillet, swirling the pan to distribute the batter quickly and evenly. The pan shouldn’t be too hot or too cold: the batter should start cooking within a few seconds, giving you just enough time to swirl it. It may take a couple of crêpes for you to get your rhythm.
*After about a minute, run a non-stick spatula around the underside of the rim of the crêpe, then flip the crepe over. I grasp the crepe with my fingers, but use the spatula if you wish.
*Let the crêpe cook on the flip side for about 30 seconds, then slide it out onto a dinner plate. Repeat, cooking the crepes with the remaining batter, stirring the batter every so often as you go.
*In two separate microwave-safe dishes, heat the jam and peanut butter in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds, until it spreads easily. Fill the inside of each crepe with a few spoonfuls of peanut butter, fold in half, then in half again. Top with a spoonful of fruit preserves. 
*Crêpes should be served warm. To rewarm the crêpes for serving, fold the crepes and put them in a baking dish covered with foil. Heat them in a moderate oven until warmed through.

Happy Breakfast!


Make-Your-Own Nut Butter

May 4, 2010

 Hi, my name is Madison and I love peanut butter. I also love ketchup, and it’s a well-known fact in my extended family, since every time we eat either turkey or ham, I go searching through the fridge of the aunt and uncle’s house I am at in search of ketchup to bring to the table.

Unfortunately, this is one duo that does not work well together. Though when J. returned from Europe in January, he did bring me back a chocolate bar that incorporated both. Let’s just say I am not going to be trying to sell any of you on that combination any time soon.

But what I really intended to discuss was homemade nut butter. A trip to the peanut butter section of the grocery store will most likely yield some non-peanut butter impostors: soy nut butter, almond butter, mixed-nut butter. They are, of course, impostors in the most wonderful sort of way. Along with the delicious, unusual taste comes an equally unusual and not so delicious price tag. Does anyone really think it’s a good idea to shell out $10 (yes, $10!) for a small jar of nut butter? Not this girl, especially when it’s so easy to make yourself.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been playing with this recipe, using peanuts, almonds, and walnuts (pictured). I love the taste of walnuts, though if you aren’t a walnut-lover to begin with I don’t think walnut-butter is going to change your mind. The process is simple, really. And unlike the labor-of-love homemade pop tarts of last week, this nut butter recipe can be completed and consumed in under 12 minutes. Grind up the nuts in a food processor, add a little oil and salt, process some more, and then a little more until you are left with a creamy nut butter better than anything you might buy on the supermarket shelves, for a whole lot less.

Homemade Nut Butter

*16 oz. (about 4 cups) toasted, unsalted nuts of your choice (I have tried this with almonds, peanuts, pecans, and walnuts and had success with all four, or you could use a combination)
*3 to 4 Tbsp. oil (I used light olive oil)
*1 1/2 tsp. salt (regular, table salt)

*In a food processor, process the nuts for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture resembles fine crumbs and becomes slightly pasty.
*Add in the oil and salt. Continue to process for 3-5 minutes more, scraping down the sides frequently, until creamy and smooth, with just a slight texture remaining.
*Refrigerate until ready to use.

Happy Cooking!


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