Friday, September 17, 2010

Mini Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

  1. I love the peanut butter chocolate combination!  As my hubby noticed I seem to be on a peanut butter chocolate kick, especially when I need to take goodies to a pot luck!  Ever since I got these mini peanut butter cups from Trader Joe's I have been itching to throw them into some peanut butter cookies.  I finally did and I can't believe I waited so long!  I love the extra surprise of peanut butter when you bite into one of the peanut butter cups, I think that these might be my favorite cookies!  

Mini Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Recipe Adapted from Jif 

  1. 3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  2. 1/2 cup Shortening 
  3. 1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  4. 3 tablespoons milk
  5. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  6. 1 large egg
  7. 1 3/4 cups Flour
  8. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 3/4 teaspoon salt

  10. HEAT oven to 375°F. Combine peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add egg. Beat just until blended.

  11. COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2-inches apart onto greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly in a crisscross pattern with tines of fork.

BAKE one baking sheet at a time 7 to 8 minutes, or until set and just beginning to brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to cooling racks to cool completely

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Peach Shortbread

I happened to see a recipe for these Peach Shortbread bars on Smitten Kitchen last week, right when I had two peaches that were getting VERY ripe and knew what I needed to make!  My hubby loves my peach cobbler and I thought that these would have a similar flavor without as much work and I was right!  The shortbread bottom is deliciously rich and crumbly which I loved and the peaches balanced this out wonderfully.  I am always a fan of a crumble topping and this one didn't disappoint!   Overall this was a great recipe and it easier to share than cobbler because you are able to cut them into bars that store and travel nicely.  I do think that next time I will add more peaches as my bottom was a bit thicker than the one that Smitten Kitchen made and I would like more of the sweet peachy goodness!

Peach Shortbread
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon  salt
1 cup softened butter
1 large egg
2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Paste
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375°F

Butter a 9×13 inch pan, or spray it with a nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk. Use a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips, blend butter and egg into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly. Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. In a separate bowl mix the peaches with vanilla paste and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Tile peach slices over crumb base in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Brownie Bottom Coffee Ice Cream Cupcakes

I can't believe it's the end of summer!  This weekend was the perfect opportunity to make these ice cream cupcakes, and they were absolutely fabulous!  All of these ingredients were store bought and so simple to make but everybody was really impressed!

I always use Ghirardelli Brownie mix, in my opinion they make really chocolaty chewy brownies that I personally love.  I used just a teaspoon of batter for these mini cupcakes and topped them with some Haagen-Dazs Coffee ice cream and a topping of chocolate ganache.  The mixture was absolutely divine!  I hope that you go home and make a batch for those that are special in your life!

Brownie Bottom Coffee Ice Cream Cupcakes
Recipe from Joy the Baker

Brownie Batter of your choice
Ice Cream of your choice
Chocolate Ganache - recipe below

Line mini cupcake pan with foil cupcake papers.  Prepare brownie batter as directed by the box and drop one teaspoon of batter into each cupcake paper.  Bake 5 - 6 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely on wire rack.     

Transfer cupcakes to a tupperware container.  Add one scoop of ice cream to each brownie - I used a mini ice cream scoop.  Place all cupcakes in the freezer while you make and cool the ganache.   Once ganache has cooled add a dollop to the top of each cupcake, working quickly.  Once all are topped with the ganache place immediately back in the freezer until you are ready to serve.   Soften about 3 - 5 minutes before serving. 

Chocolate Ganache
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream

Heat up cream to a simmer.  Once hot pour over chocolate chips, let sit 2 minutes and then stir until smooth.  Let cool.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gardening, kind of.....

I am a horrible gardener, it doesn't matter what it is that I'm trying to grow it always seems to die!!!  The lavender plant my good friend gave me that she said was unkillable, it lasted a month. Basil, rosemary, snap dragons all sent to the trash within months of being in my care!  I don't know what it is - sometimes I overwater, sometimes underwater - I just have the WORST luck with plants.

I had all but given up on plants,  until I bought the beautiful Hibiscus below, it has lasted me for two years.  There have been a couple of times when I thought that her time was up, but with a couple of days of tender care she bounced right back!   I get so happy when I walk up and see her wonderful blossoms!

The second plant was left over from work, we made a beautiful centerpiece with sand, river rocks and succulents.  I figured that since a succulent was similar to a cactus that it would be really hard to kill it, and I was right!  These beautiful plants have been thriving for six months and I love the shades of blue green!  I am so proud of my two plants that I just had to share! :)