Browsing Tag

peanut butter

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!


Peanut Butter-White Chocolate Chip Cookies

March 17, 2010

When I first started baking, chocolate chip cookies were my greatest source of frustration. It seemed that everyone except me had their own trademark recipe. And while I could properly duplicate a batch from the back of the Toll House bag, it wasn’t enough. After two years and many trials, it finally happened. It was love at first bite and after that moment, there was no looking back.

At this point you might be wondering where the chocolate chips are. The short answer is there aren’t any. People, just as much as recipes and the food itself, influence me in the kitchen. And so when a high school friend told me he didn’t like chocolate chips, a substitution of white chocolate and peanut butter chips seemed appropriate. But the adaptations and add-ins don’t stop there.

When I first made these cookies, I was cooking with Mexican vanilla I had lugged home in my suitcase after a recent vacation. If you’re not familiar with Mexican vanilla, it has a hint of cinnamon flavor, and when my bottle ran out, I started adding cinnamon into the cookies to compensate. The drizzle of molasses builds on the rich cinnamon flavor, giving the cookies a slightly deeper flavor and an extra bit of chewiness. Add in some peanut butter and a whole lot of peanut butter and white chocolate chips and you have yourself one heck of a cookie, though I think calling it a chocolate chip cookie at this point would be a bit misleading.

Peanut Butter-White Chocolate Chip Cookies
*3/4 cup butter
*3/4 cup sugar
*3/4 cup brown sugar
*2 large eggs
*1/4 cup peanut butter
*1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*2 tsp. vanilla extract
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1/2 Tbsp. full-flavored molasses
*1 tsp. baking soda
*2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
*3/4 cup peanut butter chips
*3/4 cup white chocolate chips

*Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease or line with parchment paper two baking sheets. Set aside.
*With an electric mixer, beat the butter until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add in the sugar and brown sugar, and beat on medium speed for 4 minutes. (Trust me on this one, the mixture will become pale and fluffy and allow the sugar to blend with the butter. Just time it out – 4 minutes.)
*Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Beat in the peanut butter, cinnamon, salt, and molasses.
*Mix together the flour and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in two additions, beating just until flour is combined.
*Beat in the peanut butter chips and white chocolate chips by hand. Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the greased or lined baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes. (I find 13 minutes to be perfect) Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Place on wire racks and cool completely.
*Side note: Prior to this post, I swore I would never give up this recipe. But after some consideration, I feel that it would be cruel not to share it. Bake, eat, and enjoy!
Happy Baking!

Homemade Peanut Butter Patties

February 18, 2010

I’m going away for the weekend and will not be taking my computer, so instead of leaving you hanging until Sunday, I wanted to give you a little something to occupy your time and taste buds this weekend.

What, you ask, is enough to make me unveil these cookies earlier than planned? I’ll be visiting my best friend and boyfriend, but more importantly, I’ll be meeting the bf’s best friends. When meeting new people, I find bringing along a little something sweet is both a nice gesture and a sneaky act of bribery, and as far as bribery goes, I’m pretty sure peanut butter and chocolate have a nearly perfect success rate. Just in case these little peanut butter patties fail, I’m bringing along reinforcements for support: a batch of those chocolate chip banana mini-muffins from my previous post, and chocolate truffles (recipe to come).

So off I go, goodie basket in hand, leaving you with the recipe for Homemade Peanut Butter Patties. They’re incredibly easy, despite having three components, and fairly hard to mess up. The biggest mistake I made while baking them was making the cookies themselves too big. Start with a heaping teaspoon, roll it into a ball, and slightly flatten with your fingers into a disc. Get that down, and it’s practically foolproof. I cannot claim this recipe as my own, I found it via another blog, Love and Olive Oil, who adapted it from another recipe from the site Baking Bites. And here I am, passing it along once again. If that’s not enough to convince you, I don’t know what is.

Peanut Butter Patties

Makes about 3 dozen. Recipe adapted from Baking Bites.

1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (natural or regular)
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
generous pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

about 8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
2 oz cocoa butter OR 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, followed by the vanilla and milk. The dough should come together into a soft ball.

Take a tablespoon full of dough and flatten it into a disc about 1/4-inch thick. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough. Cookies will not spread too much, so you can arrange them fairly closely together.

Bake cookies for 11-13 minutes, until bottoms and the edges are lightly browned and cookies are set.

Immediately after removing cookies from the oven, use your thumb or a small spoon to make a depression in the center of each cookie. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make filling, whisk together peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, salt and vanilla in a small microwave-safe bowl. When the mixture has come together, heat it in the microwave (in short intervals, stirring frequently), until it is soft. Working carefully with the warm filling, transfer it to a pastry bag (or plastic bag with the tip cut off) and pipe a generous dome of the filling into each cookie’s “thumbprint”.

Chill filled cookies for 20-30 minutes, or until the peanut butter is firm.

Melt the chocolate and cocoa butter in a small, heat-resistant bowl placed over a small saucepan filled with simmering (not boiling) water.

Dip chilled cookies into chocolate, let excess drip off, and place on a sheet of parchment paper to set.

Happy Baking!


New Take On: Scotcheroos

February 7, 2010

If you’re from the Midwest, or have spent any prolonged amount of time in the area, you may want to stop reading right now. I mean it, this post may offend you, but if you ignore my warning and keep reading, please don’t say I didn’t warn you. Because I’m about to take issue with one of the most beloved desserts that exist in the Midwest. Heck, Scotcheroos may have cult status in other areas of the country, too, though I have yet to eat a Scotcheroo in the South.

It’s not that I have anything against Scotcheroos. In fact, they play right into my weakness for all things peanut butter and chocolate, and the gooey-meets-crunchy texture is spot on. My real issue is that they aren’t reaching their full potential. If you want to make something great in the kitchen, the best place to start is with great ingredients, so you can see why I might have a problem with the base of Scotcheroos being Rice Krispies. Yes, Rice Krispies – also known as the most borning and flavorless cereal known to man. Sure, they have great texture and were a cereal revelation in 1928 when they were invented, but today there are so many delicious, crunchy, flavorful cereals to choose from that I am at a loss as to why anyone would choose to use Rice Krispies when making one of the most beloved desserts on earth, or at least on of our favorites out here on the prairie.

Ranting against Rice Krispies aside, you could still make these scotcheroos with Rice Krispies, but starting with something a little more exciting can only make them better. Except if you use Fruity Pebbles….. don’t use Fruity Pebbles.

These scotcheroo ‘cupcakes’ will be my contribution to the Superbowl party I’m going to. A bar pan would work too, but the colors of these cupcake liners were just too darn appropriate to pass up, and makes for one less pan that needs to be washed afterwards.

*1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
*1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
*1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
*6 cups Honey Bunches of Oats cereal (or any other cereal of choice)
*6 oz. milk chocolate chips
*6 oz. buterscotch chips
*1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

*In saucepan, bring corn syrup and sugar to boil, stirring constantly, and remove form heat. Add peanut butter and stir until smooth. Stir in cereal until well combined. Scoop heaping tablespoons into cupcake liners. Set aside.
*In saucepan, melt chocolate chips and butterscotch chips over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Spoon mixture on top of each scotcheroo ‘cupcake.’

Happy Baking!


Open-faced Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

February 4, 2010

 My two absolute favorite ingredients are peanut butter and pumpkin. Impressive, exclusive, gourmet? No. Delicious and versatile? Most certainly. Because they are both so versatile, and can star in dishes both sweet and savory, I never run out of ways to use them, and if at all possible, together.

If you take a seat at my breakfast table during the winter months, which here in Iowa the term ‘winter months’ can mean any time between October and April, you will probably be served a slice of whole wheat bread from Great Harvest, spread with a bit of creamy peanut butter and topped with a mixture of canned pumpkin, cinnamon, and a bit of brown sugar.

But I’m not here to talk about ways to use peanut butter and pumpkin at breakfast. No, I’m posting to share my newly discovered way to combine the two – in a cake-like cookie topped with fluffy peanut butter cream. I’ve been showing a lot of healthy, veggie-centric dishes lately, so to balance it out, I give you Open-faced Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies.

Open-Faced Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies 
*1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

*1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

*2 large eggs
*1/2 c. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

*2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

*1 tsp. baking soda

*2 1/2 cups flour

*3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
*1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
*1/3 cup milk
*4-5 cups powdered sugar

*Preheat oven to 350*F. With electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add in the sugar; beat 1-2 minutes, until creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined. Add in pumpkin, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Beat until well-combined. Slowly add in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until well combined.
*Scoop dough by heaping teaspoons onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until cookies are browned on the bottom, puffed up, and the cookie springs back when lightly touched with your finger. Cool on wire racks. Yields about 32 cookies.
*For the icing, with an electric mixer (preferably fitted with a whisk attachment), combine peanut butter and butter, beating until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add in milk. Slowly add in powdered sugar, a cup at a time, until the cream is fluffy. (I will be honest, I didn’t really measure the amount of powdered sugar I added. I just kept adding until it was creamy, slightly firm, but still spreadable. I think it was around 4-5 cups, but by adding it in a cup at a time you can control the consistency as you go. If you add too much powdered sugar, just add in a bit more milk until you reach your desired consistency.)
*Pipe or spread the icing onto each cooled cookie. Don’t be shy. Spread it on thick. It’s truly the best part of this cookie.

Happy Baking!


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