tastytreats

peanut butter criss cross cookies

Peanut Butter Criss Cross Cookies

Peanut Butter Criss Cross cookies were a staple in my childhood home. Not only are they completely irresistible, but super easy to make.

When I was a little girl, I used to love helping my mom make these cookies by whipping out the fork and imprinting the criss crosses–okay, okay it is still my favorite part! One thing that makes this recipe super delicious is the use of brown sugar, instead of granulated sugar. This helps provide a chewy texture inside.

Also, I choose to chill my dough for a few hours. I have found that chilling the dough results in a better butter taste, a great crispy outside texture with chewy goodness inside, and beautiful coloration/shape. For this batch, I chilled the dough for about 24 hours, because I ran out of time yesterday and couldn’t get to baking them. However, it is not ABSOLUTELY necessary if you are on a time crunch. I get it, when you get a hankering for some cookies, you can’t always wait!

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PEANUT BUTTER CRISS CROSS COOKIES

Yields: About 24 cookies

Total Time: About 3 hours–this includes at least 2 hours for chilling the dough

Bake Temp: 350°

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What you need?

1 stick of unsalted butter (softened)

1 cp brown sugar

½ cp creamy natural salted peanut butter

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

1½ cp unbleached all purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 cp granulated sugar (I use cane sugar–I just like it better)

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To make:

  1. Cream butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter in a large bowl using a hand mixer on medium low.
  2. Beat in egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract until well combined.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients in 2-3 parts until completely combined.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap, or lid if you have it, and place in the fridge for 2 hours–you can totally leave this in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  6. Watch a few shows, or run a couple of miles, take a shower, whatever you need to do to keep your mind off those darn cookies for 2 hours.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  8. Roll dough into little 1 inch balls, roll in granulated sugar, and place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
  9. Take a fork and press down vertically and horizontally to smash them to be about 1½ inches wide–don’t worry no one is going to measure you on this and it won’t mess anything up if you prefer them bigger/smaller. 
  10. Bake for 12 minutes, leave on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move to wire cooling rack.
  11. Pour a glass of milk (or almond milk compliments them nicely) and ENJOY!

You can add some jelly to these bad boys if you so choose. You can either add the jelly before baking by putting a dime size amount on the rolled balls of dough, then press down with a fork to mash the jelly into the dough, or you can just add a dime size amount of jelly after baking–the latter is my preferred method, but my husband enjoys the jelly baked in. I have added pictures of both for you to reference.

peanut butter cookies with jelly

With Jelly After Baking

peanut butter criss cross cookies baked with jelly

Baked with Jelly

peanut butter criss cross cookies baked with jelly

Baked with Jelly

Pink Champagne Cupcakes!

Pink Champagne CupcakesYay 2013!! This is my first New Year’s Eve in Chicago and I am soo extremely excited to celebrate it! I got a bunch of new baking tools for Christmas and was so jazzed to break them in. I had to make something festive, so I of course chose Pink Champagne Cupcakes (AKA princess cupcakes). New Year’s Eve and weddings are the only times I really drink champagne, so why not indulge in this holiday! I was able to use y new 9 speed Kitchenaid mixer (thanks MOM!), and my new decorating gun, and I also adapted the Champagne Buttercream Frosting recipe used by the ladies over at Georgetown Cupcake.

Now, let’s pop some bubbly and get this party started!

 

 

 

 

Here is what you need for the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 cups rosé champagne
  • Pink food coloring

For the delicious Champagne Buttercream Frosting you need:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup rosé champagne

To make them:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium/high speed until light and fluffy.

3. Slowly add egg whites into the mixture and scrape sides as needed.

4. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.

5. Alternate adding dry ingredients and champagne to the butter mixture.

6.  Add as much pink food coloring as desired.

7. Pour into cupcake lined muffin pan about 2/3 way full and bake for 18-22 minutes or until spongey/springy to the touch.

To make the frosting:

1. Put the butter into a medium size bowl and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar and beat on medium until incorporated.

2. Slowly add the rest of the ingredients and then beat on high for 5-7 minutes.

3. Fill into frosting gun or piping bag and set aside.

Once the cupcakes are finished, cool on cooling rack and when they are cool to the touch on top, frost them however you want. Don’t forget to add sprinkles and fancy them up a bit!

 

 

 

 

CHEERS!

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi party people!!

I found mint/dark chocolate chips at the store the other day and had to buy them. I decided to make chocolate mint chocolate chip cookies!! They ended up being soooo good! They almost taste like Andes Mints, and who doesn’t love those?!

The mint chips came in a package by Tollhouse with mint and dark chocolate chips combined. I just used almost an entire package for this recipe.

For these you will need:

  • 2/3 cup of crisco shortening
  • 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups Nestle Tollhouse Mint/Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling on top
  • Red sprinkles for festiveness

To make these delicious after dinner mint cookies:

1. Preheat oven to 375, and lay foil sheets down on the counter to cool the cookies on after they are out of the oven.

2. Cream together the crisco, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

3. Beat in eggs on medium speed until combined.

4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda and mix completely.

5. Combine wet and dry ingredients thoroughly.

6. Gently stir in chocolate chips.

7. Bake for 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then remove and place on foil to continue cooling/baking a little longer.

8. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and sprinkles.

ENJOY!

Delicious Turtle Brownies

Turtle Brownies are my absolute favorite type of brownies (EVER)! I am extremely addicted to pretty much any type of sweet that contains chocolate and caramel. In my mind, the two just compliment each other soo much and they make me (and my TUMMY) super duper happy. These are so easy to make and only contain 6-7 ingredients–depending on if you want to include pecans, which you probably should to make them official ‘turtle brownies.’

I REALLY dislike box cake mixes, unless used to create a dessert other than its intended one. This recipe calls for a box of German Chocolate Cake Mix. I have found that it works better than any of the brownie/cake recipes I normally use. German chocolate is exactly the right chocolate for this recipe.

Here is what you need:

  • 1 box of German Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk (divided)
  • 3/4 cup butter (melted)
  • 1 bag of caramels
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini morsels
  • 1/2 cup pecans (optional)

To make these little turtles:

1. Preheat oven to 325

2. Combine cake mix with 1/4 cup of evaporated milk and butter

3. Spread 1/2 of the batter into a greased 13×9 casserole dish

4. Bake for 15 minutes

5. Cool for 15 minutes-while you it is cooling, unwrap caramels and melt down with remaining 1/4 cup of evaporated milk over medium heat, stirring constantly.

6. After 15 minutes, pour melted caramel sauce over the batter and sprinkle the chocolate chips and pecans evenly on top.

7. Lightly smash individual spoonfuls of remaining batter on top–or use your fingers BUT don’t forget to wash your hands!!

8. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, then allow to cool completely (typically overnight) before attempting to cut into squares.

9. ENJOY! and be careful–it is SOOO easy to eat like an entire tray of these. They are SO good!

-K

Vegan Carmelitas

Since there are a few vegans at my work, it give me plenty of practice on my vegan baking. Whenever I make something now, I typically try to make the vegan version as well. So, when I made Carmelitas, I of course had to also make Vegan Carmelitas. Although I personally did not find these to be as AMAZING as the non-vegan version, they were stil pretty darn good. Also, it was fun for me to experiment with vegan baking. These were approved by both vegans and non vegans at my workplace, so you should give them a shot. For the vegan version, I only made an 8×8 tray of them.

For these you will need:

  • 2 Earth Balance Buttery sticks softened and divided
  • 3/4 cup vegan brown sugar***
  • 1 cup unbleached flour***
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda***
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 oz carob chips
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups white sugar***

To make these:

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease and 8×8 Pyrex dish

2. Combine the white sugar and agave nectar in a small saucepan. ]Stirring constantly, bring to boil, then turn down to low heat and cook for about 10 minutes. Combine 2 tbsp of buttery sticks, salt, and the coconut milk together in a glass measuring cup. Slowly add the mixture into the saucepan. Be carefully, because it wil bubble up. Stir until smooth (about 5 minutes). Set this aside as it will thicken up while it cools down. I stuck mine in the freezer for about 5 minutes to help cool/thicken.

3. Cream together buttery sticks and brown sugar.

4. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.

5.  Add flour mixture to brown sugar mixture and hand stir until combined.

6. Pour half the mixture into the greased 8×8 casserole and bake for 10 minutes.

7. After crust is set, remove from the oven and sprinkle carob chips evenly over the crust.

8. Pour caramel sauce over the top.

9. Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the top and stick back into the oven.

10. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool completely before cutting. I put mine into the freezer for an hour to save time.

ENJOY!

-K

***I find it extremely important to fully commit yourself to vegan baking. If you are going to make something vegan, don’t skimp out. Yes, most vegans do not pay attention to sugar, or baking soda, but you might as well go all out and make sure that every part of your delicious treat is vegan. It is a challenge and it is fun to know that you made something that could be certified ‘Vegan.’ That being said I purchased all the vegan ingredients at Whole Foods as it is the place most likely to have everything you need.

Why is sugar not considered ‘vegan?’ This is because during the filtration process, they sometimes use animal bone to break down and granulate the sugar. Why is baking soda not considered vegan? PETA has listed Arm and Hammer as a company that tests baking soda on animals. So, this being said although these ingredients do not contain any animal by products, they are not cruelty-free. So, know the vegans you are baking for, if they are not concerned with this type of stuff, then use whatever ingredients you wish to use, but if you are making a truly vegan dessert, you might as well go all out and make the real thing. That is my spiel. Thanks!!

 

Carmelitas!!

 

Hiiii guys! Apparently, I was a little late on the carmelitas craze. However, I think it is never too late to enjoy these delicious little things! I also decided to make a vegan version, which I will post separately here. I adapted this recipe from Lulu the Baker’s recipe.

Here is what you need:

  • 64 unwrapped caramel squares
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 sticks butter softened
  • 3 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-12 oz bag of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup pecans (optional)

To make them:

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 13×9 casserole dish.

2. Cream together butter and brown sugar.

3. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

4. Add flour mixture to butter/brown sugar mixture, and mix by hand (or on a low speed) until well combined.

5. Scoop 1/2 the mixture into the 13×9 and spread flat against the bottom of the pan. You can also make edges for a little bit of a crust if you want.

6. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from the oven.

 

7. While that is baking, melt down caramels in the evaporated milk on the stove on med0low heat and stirring constantly. Remove from heat once caramels are completely melted and you have a thick sauce.

8. Once the pan is out of the oven and your crust is set, sprinkle chocolate chips (and pecans if you used pecans) evenly over the crust.

9. Pour the carmel sauce over the chocolate chips/nuts.

10. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over the top and put back into the oven for 15-20 minutes.

11. Remove from oven once the edges are golden brown, and allow to cool completely before cutting. I threw mine into the freezer for about an hour. They cut easily after that. I also stored mine in the freezer because I love frozen treats!!

Enjoy!

-K

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Maple Cream Cheese Icing

pumpkin cupcakes

I absolutely love Fall and fall baking ingredients!! Fall and winter are hands down the BEST seasons for baking! There are so many great shapes of cookies, so many delicious pies, creative (and spooky) desserts this time of year.

For work, I decided to of course use pumpkin because it would be wrong to not bake something  involving pumpkin in October. These turned out so deliciously. You can eat them with or without the icing. So, I guess they could be pumpkin muffins too! However, I recommend not skipping over the icing. The icing was a maple/pumpkin cream cheese icing and it was SOOO good. We used the leftover icing on cinnamon rolls and it was so yummy!

 

 

Here is what you need to make 24 cupcakes:

For Pumpkin Cupcakes:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup softened butter (1 & 1/2 sticks)
  • 2 cups brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 3 eggs
  • 15 oz canned pumpkin (divided)
  • 1 cup milk

For Maple Pumpkin Icing:

  • 1 1/2 blocks cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup softened butter (1 1/2 sticks butter)
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Remaining pumpkin

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with liners and lightly spray with crisco.

2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until well combined.

3. Make sure butter is thoroughly softened. Then cream together butter and brown sugar.

4. Lightly beat eggs and then add to butter/sugar mixture.

5. Next, measure out 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin and add to the wet ingredients.

6. Once well combined, add dry ingredients to wet ingredients alternately with milk.

7. Pour evenly into muffin pan, about 2/3 full. Bake for 17-22 minutes. Test using the toothpick method. Let sit in muffin pan for a few minutes before removing and putting on cooling rack.

For the icing:

8. Cream together the cream cheese and butter.

9. Slowly add the maple syrup, remaining pumpkin (should be around 1/2 cup, but it doesn’t matter it is just to add some of that flavor).

10. Carefully add in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

11. Add a dash of any spices used in the cupcakes, or sprinkle a little on top for decoration. (optional)

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

I was at the store the other day and the blueberries looked SO delicious. I had to buy them and make something with them. The first thing that came to mind was muffins, but I didn’t want to make just plain blueberry muffins, so I thought to add lemon. Most stuff I make is delicious, but full of sugar. This recipe is pretty healthy and makes a GREAT breakfast. It calls for yogurt, oats, and honey as well. This was perfect because my team at work has worked so hard the last days, and this has been a hectic week (TGIF!). These are the tastiest Blueberry Lemon Muffins EVER!

What you need:

  • 1 cup of yogurt (plain or vanilla works best, but feel free to experiment with other flavors)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil (or almond oil)
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp honey(I prefer local…but whatever)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats (ground almost to powder–I use my coffee grinder for just a few seconds)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries

How to make them:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a cupcake/muffin pan with liners, and spray with non stick spray.

2. Juice your lemon-make sure to get as much juice out of it as possible.

3. In the medium bowl, or measuring cup, combine the yogurt, egg, canola oil, vanilla, honey, and lemon juice, until well combined.

4. Grate/use a lemon zester to make lemon zest.

-If you do not have a zester, I use a handheld grater and carefully grate the exterior of the lemon. Try to avoid getting too much of the white underneath in your zest.

5. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until well mixed, then add the lemon zest.

6. Take 2 tbsp of the dry mixture out and toss in a bowl with the blueberries.

7. Slowly fold in the wet ingredients to the dry ingredient mixture with a rubber spatula. DO NOT OVERMIX! Then, gently add the blueberries into the mixture.

8. Fill the muffin cups evenly (about 2-3 ice cream scoops full in each).

9. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until slightly golden on top, and use the toothpick test.

10. Allow to cool in the pan for about 5-10 minutes, then remove and put on a wire cooling rack to finish cooling!

ENJOY!!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies!

For my friend’s birthday, I decided to try making these beautiful brownies. She loves anything sweet, but she REALLY loves red velvet and cheesecake. How could combining the two be bad?! I have seen these brownies all over Pinterest and FoodGawker, so I HAD to try them.

I found a recipe I really liked over at doughmesstic.com, and adapted it.

Here’s what you need to make red velvet cheesecake brownies:

  • 10 tbsp butter
  • 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cp light brown sugar
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Red Food Coloring
  • 3/4 cp flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

For the cheesecake mixture:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cp granulated sugar
  • 1 lg egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp milk or cream (optional)

To make these pretty/yummy brownies:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 square brownie pan with parchment paper.

2. In a small saucepan melt the butter and chocolate until smooth and allow to cool.

3. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, vanilla, sugar. Add red food coloring until it is the red color you desire.  Slowly add the chocolate/butter mixture.

 

4. In a small bowl, sift together cocoa, salt, and flour. Next, stir this into the rest of the batter. Do not overmix. You want this to be slightly lumpy.

5. Pour the batter into the baking pan.

For the Cheesecake Mixture:

6. Beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl until it is smooth.

7. Add 1/2 cp sugar, egg, and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. Add a tbsp of milk/cream for a creamier cheesecake.

8. Pour over the top of the brownie batter and use a knife or sharp object to push down into brownie batter and lift to swirl the two together.

9. Bake for 40 -45 minutes or until  set. Insert a knife into the middle, it should come out clean, and light brown around the edges. You want the top to jiggle a little when you wiggle it. :) Cool completely before serving, or chill in the refrigerator.

Top with strawberries for additional flavor!!

ENJOY!!

 

Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies

One of my favorite recipes, that I didn’t make up or alter too much is for Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies. This recipe came straight off of a Crisco box, but it is SOOO good I had to post about it. This is one of my favorite recipes to make. These are so easy to make, and so amazingly delicious!! I RARELY (very rarely) use Crisco in my recipes. Shortening just grosses me out. However, these cookies are so good that you easily forget about the Crisco. I have attempted this recipe without Crisco, but honestly, this is the BEST way to make them. This recipe is super fast and super easy. I usually have all the ingredients on hand–besides the Crisco…because like I said, I really dislike shortening.

To make these you will need:

  • 2/3 stick of Crisco Shortening
  • 1 1/2 cp brown sugar (packed firmly)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp vanila
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cp flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cp semi-sweet chocolate chips*
  • powder sugar (for dusting)

*You can totally combine different types of chips-1 cup chocolate+1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup chocolate chips+1 cup nuts, etc.

What to do with that stuff:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place foil sheets on the counter for cooling the cookies–they need the foil to keep them baking while they are cooling.

2. Combine Crisco, brown sugar, water, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat at a medium speed until creamy and well blended. Then, beat in the eggs.

3. In a medium size separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt and mix until combined.

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter, and beat on a slow speed until just blended.

5. Stir in chocolate chips.

6. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

7. Bake for 7-9 minutes. Cookies will appear moist, but they will continue to bake on the cookie sheet. Leave them on the cookie sheet for about 4 minutes, then move them to foil. I always wait to take them off until I can scoot them around the cookie sheet without them sticking too much, or bending/breaking.

8. Dust with powder sugar to make them pretty!!

Enjoy!!