Peanut Butter & Chocolate Marbled Cookies

Another month has rolled in and it’s not just any month, it’s December – the month where everywhere you look there is something sweet to eat and it’s almost impossible to say no to all of the deliciousness. One thing synonymous with December is baking, especially baking Christmas cookies. Personally I don’t think Christmas cookies are limited to those decorated with red and green sprinkles, for me it’s any cookie baked  this month – hey, it’s Christmas season, not just the day. So to kick off the baking festivities I would like to share with you a cookie that is right up my alley. I may have mentioned once or twice before that my favorite candy is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, so imagine my delight when I came across a cookie recipe that was a swirl of chocolate and peanut butter flavors. (I should also note that I am a big fan of peanut butter cookies as well!) The recipe is officially called Best of Both Cookies and I came across it in a special edition of Taste of Home magazine highlighting Christmas cookies and candies, but, for the purpose of this post I am going to call them Peanut Butter & Chocolate Marbled Cookies.

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I’ll be honest I was a bit apprehensive about making these cookies for two reasons; they are slice and bake cookies (I prefer making drop and bake cookies) and it involved making two separate doughs and then mixing them together (I thought the doughs would be difficult to meld.) Luckily I was wrong on both fronts. Incorporating the two doughs and forming them into logs to be sliced was super simple.  First up was the peanut butter dough. I creamed together peanut butter, softened butter, granulated sugar and light brown sugar until it was light and fluffy and then added in an egg. In a separate bowl I combined flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt which I then mixed into the peanut butter mixture.

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To make the chocolate dough I creamed together butter, granulated sugar and light brown sugar once again until it was light and fluffy. I then added in an egg and vanilla extract. And finally I added in a mixture a of flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

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I divided each of the doughs in half and kneaded one peanut butter half and one chocolate half a few times until it began to swirl and then formed the combined doughs into a 10-inch log.

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I then wrapped each of the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerated them until they were firm – at least 3 hours.

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Once firm it was easy to slice the dough for the cookies.

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I then placed them on a parchment lined baking sheet and baked them for 7 minutes in a 350 F preheated oven.

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I let them cool on the sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Overall these cookies were amazing… Not one thing negative to say about them. Depending on how the doughs swirl together you may get a cookie that is more peanut butter than chocolate or vice versa, but, either way it’ll be delicious. Neither of the doughs is overpowering with flavor so it’s the perfect marrying of peanut butter and chocolate!

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Peanut Butter & Chocolate Marbled Cookies (Best of Both Cookies)

Ingredients:

Peanut Butter Dough:

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Dough:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup baking cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, cream the peanut butter, butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in egg. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

2. For the chocolate dough, in another large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

3. Divide each portion in half. Knead one peanut butter and one chocolate portion together 5-10 times or until it just begins to swirl. Shape into a 10-inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until firm.

4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Unwrap and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets (or parchment lined baking sheets.) Bake 6-8 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

 

 

Peanut Butter Cupcakes With Chocolate Frosting

While I do have a sweet tooth for desserts I have never been one to eat much candy. I have this idea that eating a cookie is a better sweet fix than a piece of candy, yes, they are both sweet, but, somehow that cookie is the “healthier” option in my mind – this coming from the girl who has never met a glass, bottle or can of Coca-Cola she didn’t like! Don’t get me wrong though, I do love the occasional truffle from Godiva, but, you definitely won’t find me eating a bag of Skittles. I swear I am not a candy snob or anything though… I just don’t particularly care for candies that can change the color of your tongue all shades of the rainbow. There is one candy though that I do have a sweet spot for – Reese’s. That can be a Reese’s Peanut Butter (any size or shape, but especially the Easter egg one’s) or Reese’s pieces. There is something about peanut butter and chocolate together that is oh so delicious! So how could you go wrong with a peanut butter cupcake with chocolate frosting!

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To begin I sifted the together flour, salt and baking powder and set it aside.

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I then creamed together softened butter, light brown sugar and vanilla extract.

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Up next I added in smooth peanut butter to the butter mixture.

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Once the peanut butter was incorporated I added in two eggs, one at a time.

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And the final wet ingredient…milk.

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And then I added in the flour mixture.

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Per the directions I didn’t over-mix the batter and I must say this was one of the smoothest batters I have ever made for any cupcake or cake I have baked. I instantly knew this was going to be a perfectly textured cupcake – light and smooth. And I must admit, I couldn’t help it and I had to try the raw batter and it was the perfect peanut butter flavor.

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After filling the cupcake liners with about 1/4 cup of batter I baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for 25 minutes.

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I let them sit in the pan for a few minutes before removing the cupcakes and letting them cool completely on a wire rack.

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While they cooled I made the frosting, which was super simple. I melted a 12oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in 1 1/3 cups of heavy cream over low heat.

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I then cooled the melted chocolate in the refrigerator for about 40 minutes and then 15 minutes in the freezer so it could chill but not become too firm. I then whipped it until it was creamy and then spread it over each of the cupcakes.

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These were absolutely delicious and I assume would go perfectly with a tall glass of cold milk – I am not much of a milk drinker. I prefer my milk with my daily bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.

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I wish I could reference where I got the recipe from, but unfortunately I ripped it out of a magazine some time ago and have no clue which one.

 

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Makes 12 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For Cupcakes:

1 1/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup light brown sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1/2 cup whole milk

For Frosting:

1 12oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 1/3 cup heavy cream

Directions:

For Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking cups. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In another bowl, beat the light brown sugar, unsalted butter and vanilla extract. Add in the peanut butter and beat until completely blended. Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Add the milk. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until mixture is combined; do not over-mix. Fill each muffin cup with about 1/4 cup of the batter. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when touched lightly. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before icing.

For Frosting:

In a saucepan over low heat stir the chocolate chips and heavy cream until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl; refrigerate 1 hour, or until chilled throughout but now too firm. Beat the mixture until creamy, about 3 minutes. Spread about 1/4 cup of frosting over each cupcake. Garnish with peanut butter chips or peanut butter – filled candies, if desired.

Homemade Ice Cream

Happy New Year! I figure it’s not too late to say that as we are barely halfway through the month. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and that the new year is treating you well thus far. For my first post of 2014 I’d like to share with you some cold and creamy treats I made with my newest kitchen “toy” – an ice cream maker. I absolutely love ice cream and have always wanted an ice cream maker but it never really seemed practical to own one – especially since there are so many delicious flavors on the market thanks to Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s. But, then I got a daily deal email from Williams-Sonoma featuring a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker at an unbelievable price that had decent reviews so I figured why not… Merry Christmas to me!

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I decided to stick with something basic and simple the first time I used it – Vanilla Ice Cream. After refrigerating a mixture of whole milk, sugar, salt, heavy cream and vanilla extract overnight I poured it into the bowl of the machine and let it do all the work.

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Within minutes the ice cream was coming together.

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After about twenty minutes I had homemade Vanilla Ice Cream which went perfectly with a homemade Apple Pie a friend’s mom made.

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For my second batch of homemade ice cream I decided on Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream – an ice cream with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, how could it not be good?

To begin I mixed together peanut butter, sugar, whole milk, heavy cream and vanilla extract and then poured it into a Tupperware container and refrigerated it overnight.

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The next day, before starting on the ice cream, I chopped up fifteen miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to add into it.

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Now I was ready to begin…

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I poured the peanut butter mixture into the machine and let it run for about fifteen minutes before adding in the chopped up peanut butter cups.

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After running for an additional five minutes the ice cream was done and it was even more delicious than the vanilla one!

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Overall I’m loving my new toy… clean-up is a breeze and I always leave the two mixing bowls in the freezer so I never have to worry about them being ready to use. If you’re wondering where I found the recipes for these two ice creams, the machine actually came with a recipe book that I am definitely making good use of. Granted, the machine can be a tad bit noisy, as I did read in some reviews, but, it’s not loud enough to make you not want to use it!

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