Peanut Butter Delight

April 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Oh, peanut butter. You’re so bad. But so good.

Here, we’ve got the sweet-crunch of a sugar cookie, and the smooth-osity of Skippy, and the crunch-melt of Reeses, all in one bite. WHAT a foodgasm.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for pan
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
10 regular-sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
1/4 cup peanut butter (you choose: creamy or crunchy?)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with buttered parchment paper, leaving a couple inches of overhang on all sides.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt. Add dry to wet, stirring well. Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top.
  4. Arrange Reeses Cups as you please and gently press down into pan. Between each Reeses, drop dallops of peanut butter.
  5. Bake until top is golden brown for about 40 minutes, or until toothpick just comes out clean.
  6. Cool for 20 minutes before lifting your peanut buttery goodness (with your parchment paper overhang) onto a serving platter and cutting into bars.

adapted from Yumsugar’s original recipe.

Nutella Sandwich Squares

April 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Nutella is the ultimate happiness generator.

Imagine. You’re sitting in a chair at your kitchen table, a large jar before you, a spoon beside it. It’s been a long day. You place your hand over that plastic white top and twist, the cover effortlessly unscrewing and falling to the tabletop. Your head tilts forward and your eyes gaze into the chestnut-colored depths of the Nutella jar. Whiffs of chocolate and hazelnut swirl up, through the air and into your nostrils, overtaking your air streams and electrifying your mind. The spoon goes in, in, in, and around, around, around, happily twirling in viscous goodness. Your spoon comes out, and like a jet, zooms into your open mouth and onto your tongue. Your lips envelop the spoon and your eyes close. Everything else melts away. It’s just you and your ‘tella. What a magic moment.

Nutella was created in the 1940’s by Italian chocolatier Pietro Ferrero (delicious drugstore Ferrero Rocher, anyone?). During World War II, food rationing caused a scarcity in cocoa…which meant a shortage of chocolate. This was not acceptable. What to do? The Big Aha came to Ferrero: Hazelnuts, always in abundance in his native region of Piedmont, would be the perfect ingredient to add to cocoa and thus stretch out cocoa rations. Well, I guess we can trace Nutella back to cocoa shortages. Thanks, food stamps.

Here’s a delicate, crunchy Nutella confection that very much delivers.

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Nutella!

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Spread oats on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; stir in flours and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla extract and stir. Add dry oat mixture; beat until blended.
  4. Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into one gigantic spread, about 1/8 inch thick, over a large sheet of parchment paper. While rolling, dust lightly with flour as needed.
  6. Move parchment paper, with cookie spread on top, to a baking pan.
  7. Bake until cookie dough spread is golden around edges, about 8-10 minutes.
  8. As SOON as you take sheet out of the oven, cut cookie dough length-wise, into strips approx. 1-2 inches thick, with a sharp, non-serrated knife. Next, do this horizontally so squares form. Perform this step as quickly as possible, as cookies harden fast.

Allow to cool (at least 1 hour) before spreading Nutella between two cookie squares and sandwiching. Store in an airtight container for up to three days.

Delish!

inspired by Martha.

ideal oatmeal cookies

April 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Perhaps the perfect oatmeal cookie recipe has been found.

I don’t enjoy raisins in cookies, so I never use them for baking. If YOU like raisins, though, feel free to add them (and any other fixin’s) to your liking. Merrill, thank you for bringing such a magnificent recipe to life.

Although I’ve added a little something here, taken a little out of something there, the recipe remains well intact. Food52 has become a mainstay of my daily gastro-web endeavors. Get ready for some externally crisp yet internally CLOUD-LIKE oatmeal foodgasms. Best eaten warm, in a bowl, with a scoop (or 5) of vanilla ice cream.

1 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups rolled oats
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli is my fave)

  1. Heat your oven to 375º.
  2. Combine flour, salt, soda, and spices in a bowl. In another, cream butter and sugar, and then incorporate eggs and vanilla extract.
  3. A bit at a time, add dry to wet and mix with your hands! Continue until all is evenly distributed within your dough.
  4. Add chocolate chips and oats, and continue to stir until combined.
  5. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and flatten large tablespoon-sized balls onto sheets, about two inches apart.
  6. They’re finished when the cookies are golden brown around the edges, about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Cool before serving, about 10 minutes.

Enjoy with a cup of steamy, freshly brewed tea and ice cream on the side. MAJOR foodgasm.

Homemade Granola Bars

March 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Bite. Crunch. Sweet. Chew. Salty. Swirl. Swallow. Be satisfied. So simple; so satisfying. The beauty of this recipe is that you can add your favorite everythings. These are mine.

Inspired by the fabulous Mr. Bittman. 
Mark, you are too good.

1 cup oats
1 cup rice crispies (I use brown rice)
1/2 cup almonds or your choice nuts
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/2 golden raisins or your choice dried fruit
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup almond butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Canola oil for pan-greasing

  1. Combine almond butter and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until blended, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Pour in honey-almond butter mixture and stir well. Give it some elbow grease. Use those hands.
  3. Lightly grease a shallow baking pan with canola oil and line it with plastic wrap. Spread the granola mixture evenly, over plastic wrap. Pressing down gently, distribute granola mixture evenly throughout pan and cover with another layer of plastic wrap; refrigerate until set, at least one hour.
  4. Once set, remove by lifting the edges of the plastic wrap out of the pan; peel off the plastic and cut into your desired granola bar shape! Deeeeeeelish.

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