Tag Archives: homemade

Homemade Nutter Butters – Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

3 Jun

Our family keeps peanut butter in business.  The first time I heard peanut butter was banned in preschool years ago, I panicked.  Stood there and racked my brain for alternative lunch box ideas my then-three-year-old would eat without cajoling.  Since then, we’ve settled into many nut-free lunch options.  But at home, we do peanut butter.  Lots of it.

Homemade Nutter Butters

From Peanut Butter Muffins for breakfast to Peanut Butter Brownie Cups for dessert, we’ve got it covered.  Peanut butter cookies are a hands-down winner around here.  Especially if they resemble the nostalgic Nutter Butters my mom used to bring home, back in the day.

Homemade Nutter Butters 2

These Homemade Nutter Butters are unquestionably the ace of sandwich cookies.  They are the boss of all peanut butter cookies.  The cookie part is addictive all on its own, but when that famous nutter butter filling gets slathered on, these become out of this world.

Homemade Nutter Butters 3

Homemade Nutter Butters taste just like the packaged ones, except these are softer, with an deliciously toothsome bite.  The peanutty filling is fluffy, soft, and reminds me exactly of the store-bought cookie filling.  Without any tongue-twisting ingredients.  You just have to make these cookies yourself to grasp how tasty they are.

Homemade Nutter Butters 4

The cookie shape is all up to you.  Make it a nut, make it round, make them big, make ’em small.  My later batches went towards bite-size sandwich cookies, and they were my favorite.  Sorry, my camera was out of the picture by then 😉  The bite-size cookies were super cute, easier to fill, and less likely to break apart when smashing the little sandwich together.

Any shape or size, these Homemade Nutter Butters are a hit.  Enjoy!

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HOMEMADE NUTTER BUTTERS (PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH COOKIES)
(makes roughly 30 larger cookies or 60 smaller ones)

INGREDIENTS
For the Cookies:
1 cup salted butter, room temp (just slightly soft, not melty at all)
1 cup creamy peanut butter, room temp
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Granulated sugar for sprinkling

For the Filling:
1 cup salted butter, room temp
1 cup creamy peanut butter, room temp
3 and 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2-3 TB whole milk

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.  Set aside.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium-high.  At medium-low speed, add eggs one at a time and vanilla, mixing until well incorporated.  At low speed, slowly mix in the dry flour mixture.  When dough is combined, wrap tightly in cling wrap, and place in fridge to chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375F.  To make peanut shape, form cookie dough into 1 inch balls and flatten into a long oval shape (1″ x 2″) about 2 inches apart.   Use a fork to make criss cross pattern, and pinch center gently to create peanut shape.  Keep rest of dough cold while you make one batch at a time.  (To make round cookies, flatten 1 inch dough balls into circles about 1/2 inch thick, and use a fork to press pattern on them.)

Bake 8-9 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.  Pinch cookie centers again, if needed, to keep peanut shape.  Sprinkle hot cookies with granulated sugar.  Cool a few minutes on baking sheet and finish cooling on wire rack.  Once cookies are completely cooled, they can be filled.

To make the filling:  In a large bowl, beat together the butter and peanut butter until smooth and fluffy.  Gradually add in powdered sugar and beat until filling is smooth.  Add 1 TB milk at a time, until desired consistency.  Fill to your heart’s content!

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from cookiesandcups.com

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Luscious Key Lime Bars

22 Apr

Spring envy is sooo rampant around here as everyone awaits completion of our final (please, let it be the last one) dump of snow.  In case you didn’t see the post date, it’s April 22.  Our ridiculously late spring is supposed to make an entrance this weekend, and the entire state will suddenly bust out walking, biking, playing, and dancing.  Or just standing.  Outdoors.

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I recently posted one of my favorite spring treats here.  It’s time to break out my other favorite spring treat.  Key lime bars.  Luscious, because they are unbelievably and unforgettably amazing.

Luscious Lime Bars 6

Limes tempt your senses with their freshness and springy-ness.  You already know of their cocktail virtues, but did you know the Lime stars in its own to-die-for dessert?

Luscious Lime Bars Cooks Illustrated

I was truly surprised at how fabulous these Lime Bars are.  The batch I brought to a gathering left me nothing but crumbs to bring home.  My kiddos and hubby inhaled every small bit they could get their hands on.

Luscious Lime Bars 5

These Lime Bars are sweet and lightly tangy, rich and creamy, light and smooth… all at the same time.  That decadent filling sits on top of a crisp textured, perfectly sweetened crust.

You will l-o-v-e this.  Enjoy!

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RECIPE: KEY LIME BARS (one 13×9 pan)

INGREDIENTS

For the Filling:
4 oz cream cheese, room temp
2 TB grated lime zest
1 cup fresh lime juice, from 6-8 limes
1/8 tsp salt
2 (14 oz each) cans sweetened condensed milk
2 large egg yolks
powdered sugar, for dusting

For the Crust:
10 oz animal crackers (i.e., Stauffer’s Original)
6 TB packed brown sugar
8 TB salted butter, melted and slightly cooled

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325F, with rack on middle position.  Press a long sheet of heavy-duty foil into the corners and up sides of 13×9 pan, with enough foil hanging over edges of pan, for super easy removal later.  Grease foil.

Pulse animal crackers in food processor until evenly fine.  Add brown sugar and salt and process to combine.  Drizzle butter over crumbs and pulse until crumbs are moistened with butter evenly.  Press crumbs firmly and evenly into bottom of prepared pan.  Bake until golden brown, 18-20 minutes.  Cool while making the filling.  Leave oven on.

In medium bowl, stir cream cheese, zest, and salt with a rubber spatula until soft and creamy and fully incorporated.  Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk vigorously until combined and no lumps of cream cheese remain.  Whisk in egg yolk.  Add lime juice and gently whisk until fully combined.  Mixture will thicken slightly.

Pour filing into crust.  Spread to corners and smooth the surface.  Bake until set and edges begin to pull slightly away from sides, 23-25 minutes.  Center will still be a bit jiggly.  Cool on wire rack to room temp.  Cover with foil and refrigerate until fully chilled.  Remove bars from pan using foil.  Cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar right before serving.  Keeps for days in fridge.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Cooks Illustrated cookbook

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce

6 Apr

If  the “Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce” label wasn’t tempting enough, perhaps a little illustration will help…

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce 5

I’m not typically a sauce-and-sprinkles kind of gal; I’m more of a plain-jane when it comes to ice cream.  One of my favorite indulgences is purely a great vanilla bean ice cream.  I like it simple .   But it’s my sweet boy’s 9th birthday this weekend, and I wanted to make an extra special ice-cream cake in honor of his precious 9 years in our lives. (More to come on how that cake turned out.)  For now, we’ll focus on this decadent hot chocolate fudge sauce.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce

In search of the “best” hot fudge sauce, we padded around the kitchen and tinkered with variations of popular recipes, culminating in the gruesome task of taste-testing each chocolatey creation.  Many recipes for hot fudge sauce include corn syrup, but the hands-down favorite ended up being a recipe with no added corn syrup.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce 2

This super chocolatey hot fudge sauce is well balanced with just the right amount of sweetness, buttery-ness, and fudge-y goodness.  It’s smooth and rich, and thickens nicely as it cools.  Lukewarm sauce is perfect for drizzling over ice cream, allowing the fudge to gain that soft chewy texture – the sure sign of a successful hot fudge sauce.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce 4

This hot chocolate fudge sauce keeps well and reheats beautifully.  It is delish over fresh fruit, over pancakes or waffles, over cake… let those creative juices flow.  You can’t go wrong with this.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce 3

My boys will probably beg to make their own chocolate milk with this.  Let the fun begin!

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RECIPE: HOT CHOCOLATE FUDGE SAUCE (approx. 1 cup)

INGREDIENTS

3 oz semi sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 TB brown sugar
2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
1 TB regular salted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
small pinch kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in small, heavy saucepan set over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.  Once it reaches a boil, immediately reduce to simmer.  Simmer and whisk for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool to warm or lukewarm before serving.  Keeps well in sealed container in fridge.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from iowagirleats

Chewy Mint Chocolate Brownies

10 Mar

We’re getting into that silly time of year.  Did anyone else miss that all-important hour of lost sleep for daylight savings like I did?  March equals rain and slush around here, with some days stuck in winter and other days hinting at the upcoming spring.  Warmer, cooler, sunshine, snowstorm… March cannot make up its mind, and it’s all wishy-washy this time of season.

Thank goodness we can depend on the yumminess of brownies when we need something consistently satisfying!

Chewy Mint Chocolate Brownies 3

These sweeties aren’t just any brownies, either.  They are Mint Chocolate Brownies, adapted from my all time favorite chewy brownie recipe.

Chewy Mint Chocolate Brownies

St. Patty’s Day is March 17, which is only a week away.  These deliciously chewy, rich Mint Chocolate Brownies are perfect if you’re looking for something with a little bit of green.

Chewy Mint Chocolate Brownies 2

These mint chocolate brownies are chewy, fudgy, and refreshingly minty.  I used a bit of peppermint extract to enhance the minty flavor, and it turned out nicely subtle, which I like.  If you want to up your minty-ness, just add more peppermint extract to your batter.

Enjoy!

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RECIPE (one 9×13 pan)

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup (1 oz) Dutch processed cocoa, unsweetened
1/2 cup + 2 TB boiling water
2 oz unsweetened, good quality solid chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup + 2 TB olive oil
4 TB regular butter, melted
2 large eggs + 2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose, sifted flour
3/4 tsp table salt
1 1o-oz bag mint-chocolate morsels, or dark chocolate/mint chocolate combo

DIRECTIONS

Bring kettle of water to boil.  Adjust oven rack to second-to-lowest position and preheat to 350F.

Insert 2 long sheets of foil perpendicular to one another in baking pan, long enough to hang over edges.  Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil against pan.  Grease foil sling and set aside.

Whisk cocoa and boiling water (measure out correct amount from kettle of boiling water) together in large bowl until smooth.  Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted.  Whisk in oil and melted butter.  Whisk in eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and peppermint extracts.  Continue to whisk until smooth.  Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated.  Sprinkle salt and sifted flour into batter and mix with rubber spatula until just combined.  Fold in 1 cup of the mint/chocolate morsels.

Transfer batter into prepared pan, spreading into corners and smoothing the surface.  Sprinkle with remaining chocolate/mint morsels.  Bake about 30-33 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.  It’s done when toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached; should not come out completely clean.  It may seem underdone, but it will set upon cooling.  Do not over bake, or brownies will be dry.

Transfer pan to wire rack and cool for 1 1/2 hours.  Remove brownies from pan using foil sling.  Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely.  Cut brownies into squares and serve.  Can be stored in airtight container at room temp for a couple of days.

By:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by Cooks Illustrated

Deep Dish Pizza – Chicago Style

15 Feb

I know we’re in good company when I say our family is comprised of pizza lovers.  My kids literally jump for joy on occasions when I declare that it’s “pizza night.”  Thin crust, regular crust, stuffed crust… we love ’em all.  From Pepperoni to a yummy BBQ Chicken Pizza, the pies don’t last long here.  But nothing – nothing – beats a truly great Deep Dish Pizza.

Deep Dish Pizza 3

The last time we were in Chicago, we made a point of visiting well-known joints popular for their deep dish pizzas.  Perhaps it was the huge crowds of people waiting and maxing out the kitchen… or maybe we needed to manage our expectations, but we were left a bit in wanting.

Deep Dish Pizza

Of course, there have been moments we’ve experienced pizza heaven at certain little pizza joints, and those memories always made me wish I could make my own deep dish pizza at home so we could have it anytime the craving hit.

Deep Dish Pizza 4

Rolling up the dough, starting from the short side

One day I noticed this deep dish pizza recipe resting in my humungous Cook’s Illustrated cookbook.  Nothing I’ve ever made in that beloved cookbook has ever turned out wrong, so I had a feeling this deep dish pizza would not disappoint.  We have never looked back.

Deep Dish Pizza 5

Slice rolled dough in half

This Chicago-style deep dish pizza turns out deeply flavorful and delish, so much so that the guys proclaimed it “way better at home.”  Deep dish victory!  The crust is appropriately crusty and deep, chewy yet tender, and not greasy at all.  The filling is a-ma-zing.  Awesome.  Mouthwatering.  Enviable.  Because other pies get jealous of this one.

Deep Dish Pizza 6

Roll both dough halves into balls. Two pizza crusts, ready to press into pan!

If you decide to make this, definitely follow original order for placing of the toppings.  The cheese goes first, then toppings, followed by sauce.  The cheese on the bottom is what prevents the crust from getting soggy…genius!  Wish I came up with that on my own.  The cooked pizza will yield a beautiful deep dish with cheese that stays melty underneath all the toppings your tummy desires.

Deep Dish Pizza 2

This recipe is for an awesome cheese/sausage combo, which is what we were craving the day I made this.  What’s your tummy craving?

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RECIPE (two 9-inch round pizzas)

INGREDIENTS

For the Dough:
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 1/4 tsp instant (rapid rise) yeast
2 tsp white sugar
1 1/2 tsp table salt
1 1/4 cups room temp water
3 TB melted butter
4 TB  softened butter
olive oil

For the Sauce:
3 TB olive oil
1 small onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes with juices
1/2 tsp white sugar
2 TB dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Toppings:
1 lb (4 cups) freshly shredded mozzarella
1 lb bulk Italian sausage, browned and crumbled
4 TB freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

For the dough:  Using stand mixer and dough hook, mix flour, cornmeal, yeast, sugar, and salt on low until combined.  Add water and 3 TB melted butter and mix 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.  Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth, 4-5 minutes.  Pliable dough should pull away from sides of bowl.

Coat large bowl with olive oil and place dough ball in bowl.  Turn dough around in the bowl to ensure all sides of dough are protected by oil.  Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temp until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

For the sauce:  Saute minced onion and garlic in 3 TB olive oil over medium heat until soft.  Add rest of sauce ingredients, except for salt/pepper.  Bring sauce to simmer and cook until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 25-30 min.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

Heat oven to 425F with rack on lowest position.  Turn dough out onto large surface.  Roll into 15×12 inch rectangle.  Spread 4 TB softened butter evenly over top of dough, leaving 1/2 in border along edges.  At the short end, roll dough into a tight cylinder (see photo.)  With seam side down, flatten cylinder to 18×4 in. rectangle.  Slice rectangle in half crosswise.  Working with one half at a time, fold dough into thirds and pinch seams together into a dough ball.  Return dough balls to oiled bowl, ensure all sides of the dough are protected with oil, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Let rise in fridge until doubled, 40-50 min.

Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 TB olive oil each.  Transfer one dough ball to large surface and roll into disk, 1/4 in. thick.  Transfer to cake pan and gently press into pan, working into corners and up sides.  Repeat with other dough ball.  (If dough resists stretching, let it sit for 5 min covered and try again.)

Divide the 4 cups mozzarella in half and sprinkle on top of each pizza dough.  Follow by browned sausage (plus any other toppings desired.)  Next, spread 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce per pizza.  Last, sprinkle 2 TB Parmesan cheese per pizza.  Bake until crust is golden brown about 20-25 min.  Remove and let sit for 10 min. before serving.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

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