Homemade Drumsticks #SundaySupper

Homemade Drumsticks - Fun and easy to make, gluten free, and way better than store bought!

When I was a kid, my Granny and sometimes my Papa would come to visit quite often.  They were my mom’s parents and are unfortunately gone.  I try to hold onto the memories I made with them, but they slip from my mind far faster than I would like.

Luckily, I do have some memories and I love when Mom tells me about our times together.

Of course, they loved food as much as I do, if not more.  They were both awesome cooks, though when they came to visit they never cooked.  Mom made dinner – tacos, burgers, meatloaf – and breakfast – bacon, eggs, sausage, but dessert was almost always store bought.

Homemade Drumsticks

There was the time Papa and I fought over the last piece of key lime pie, though I don’t remember who got it.  Plenty of those slice and bake cookies filled the oven.  And there was ice cream.  Lots and lots of ice cream.

Perhaps because they often came to visit in the summer, or maybe just because we all love ice cream, it was frequently the dessert of choice.  We went to Baskin Robbins to get a scoop of our favorites when we wanted to out, but when we were chilling at home, the freezer was always full of Drumsticks.

We all loved them, and what’s not to love?  Crunchy cone, creamy ice cream, the snap of the chocolate, and salt from the nuts.  They are the perfect blend of flavors and textures.  I remember loving the ones with caramel stuffed in the middle of the ice cream.

Homemade Drumsticks

I haven’t had a Drumstick in years since I’m now allergic to chocolate, but really, I hadn’t had one long before that.  I figured it was time to make a batch of my own, and dare I say they are better than the store bought ones.

I love the crispy cone that I coated in homemade magic shell.  Then I stuffed caramel swirled ice cream into the cone and mounded a bit on top before adding more magic shell and those classic peanuts.  I even picked up gluten free cones, so these are gluten free, fun to make, and so perfect for summer.  I really can’t get over how fun and easy these are to make and how incredibly, addictively, awesomely delicious they are.

I can’t wait to enjoy another as I fondly remember the summers of my youth and my grandparents.

Homemade Drumsticks

Homemade Drumsticks #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 22 minutes

Yield: 4 Drumsticks

Ingredients

4 sugar cones, gluten free if necessary

1 cup carob or dark chocolate chips

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 cups caramel swirled ice cream

½ cup lightly salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Instructions

First make the magic shell. In a medium, microwave safe bowl, combine the carob or chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted. Allow to cool slightly.

Once slightly cool, spoon the magic shell into the cones, coating the inside completely and placing extra in the bottom. Allow to harden for about 5 minutes.

Fill cones with ice cream and mound a scoop on top. Place in the freezer on a parchment lined tray or just paper plates and freeze for about 10 minutes.

Once firm, spoon magic shell over the ice cream and dip immediately into peanuts because the magic shell hardens quickly.

Return to freezer for at least one hour before serving. Drumsticks may be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Notes

Additional chilling time is necessary

Recipe is easily multiplied

http://piesandplots.net/homemade-drumsticks-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Beverages

Breakfast

Appetizers

Main Dishes

Side Dishes

Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

 

Gluten Free Peanut Protein Blondies

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StartWithJifPowder #CollectiveBias

Gluten Free Peanut Protein Blondies

We’re not quite two weeks into the New Year and I’m determined to make this year my best yet.  I’m working on several writing projects, clearing the house of clutter, and focusing on eating clean, nutritious foods like Jif Peanut Powder.

Shopping at Walmart

 

I really enjoy good for me foods, so this isn’t a huge deal, but I’m not great at eating protein, so I’m placing emphasis on that for my 2016 eating habits.

Jif Peanut Powder

 

Jif Peanut Powder

Luckily Jif Peanut Powder is here to help me out.  It is made from only fresh roasted peanuts, no added sugar or salt; plus it has 85% less fat than traditional peanut butter while still keeping all the protein.  This makes Jif Peanut Powder the perfect food for diets, cleanses, and keeping new years’ resolutions.

Even better is that Jif Peanut Powder is just as tasty as the peanut butter we all know and love.  And once you taste my Gluten Free Peanut Blondies, you will love Jif Peanut Powder as much as I do.

Making the blondies

Whether you eat these blondies as a quick breakfast on the go, an energy boosting snack, or a not so guilty pleasure dessert, you will love them.  They are full of peanut flavor.  The blondie itself is soft and a little chewy – the perfect blondie texture – and the peanuts add some crunch while the carob chips add just a bit of decadence.

These blondies are naturally gluten free and made from simple ingredients that you can pick up on your next trip to Walmart (like I did) or you may even have in your house right now.

Gluten Free Peanut Protein Blondies

I also want to say a quick Happy Birthday to Dad!  He’s at work, but rest assured he found one of these blondies in his lunch bag 🙂

Be sure to check out Jif Peanut Powder and make these blondies.  We’ll conquer our new years’ resolutions together.

Gluten Free Peanut Protein Blondies

Gluten Free Peanut Protein Blondies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 9 blondies

Ingredients

1 cup Jif Peanut Powder

½ cup honey

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

½ cup carob chips

½ cup peanuts

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment.

In a medium bowl, stir together Jif Peanut Powder, honey, eggs, baking soda, vanilla, carob chips, and peanuts until well combined.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Serve warm or cool completely in the pan.

Blondies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about an hour or in the microwave about 30 seconds.

http://piesandplots.net/gluten-free-peanut-protein-blondies/

 

Easy Easter Solutions with White Chocolate Clusters

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EasterEssentials #CollectiveBias

Easy Easter Solutions with White Chocolate Clusters

The weather has finally broken, which can only mean one thing: Easter is just around the corner. Somehow amid all our other responsibilities we’re supposed to make treats, throw Easter egg hunts, dye eggs, make an elaborate dinner, build an Easter basket, and do it all without breaking a sweat.

I don’t know about you, but I totally need some shortcuts to get me through. When you’re making all the treats and baskets and goodies for kids to take to school, you still have to have dinner every night. You might not always have time to make it, so DIGIORNO® pizzeria!™ Supreme Speciale Pizza is your new best friend.

DiGiorno Pizza

DiGiorno Pizza

It feeds a crowd, so it’s perfect for times when you’re entertaining and want to provide your guests with a satisfying, delicious meal that tastes like it came from your favorite pizzeria, just like the name suggests. The Supreme Speciale Pizza has a crust that’s crispy on the outside and light and airy on the inside. It’s also loaded with fresh ingredients, lots of toppings (pepperoni and sausage – yum!), and has no artificial flavors. I can’t wait for the pizzeria! Thin Crust Pizzas either!

Buying the Pizza

Had to rock my cat sunglasses on my shopping trip!

Nestlé’s products are another amazing Easter solution. When I picked up the pizza on my last trip to Walmart, I was on the hunt for Nestlé’s White Chip Lemon Cookie Dough, but I came empty handed. My eyes are still peeled for it, and yours should be too – it sounds ah-mazing! Instead, I stocked up on Nestlé’s Premiere White Morsels, which I always have in my pantry.

White Chocolate

Melty white morsels!

White Chocolate Clusters

Popping on the jelly beans!

White Chocolate Clusters

Gotta let them cool!

I love whipping up treats to show the people closest to me how much I care about them, and when I can do that in an easy, no bake, gluten free way, I say that’s even better. My easy White Chocolate Clusters are the perfect thing to make with kids.

All they take is some melted Premiere White Morsels, a drop of oil, and your choice of mix ins and toppings. I used jelly beans and peanuts, but any kind of nut will work as would just about any kind of candy or even dried fruit. It’s your creation, so have fun with it! Try to make clusters with a variety of textures and flavors. The peanut ones have crunch and a hint of savory flavor, while the jelly bean ones have a burst of fruity flavor.

It’s easy to take time to enjoy the Easter season while still making homemade treats and not letting the stress get to you. What are your #EasterEssentials?

White Chocolate Clusters

Easy Easter Solutions with White Chocolate Clusters

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Total Time: 11 minutes

Yield: About 24 clusters

Ingredients

1 12 ounce bag Nestlé’s Premiere White Morsels

1 teaspoon olive or canola oil

¼ cup colorful, fruit flavored jelly beans

1 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts

Instructions

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a medium microwave safe bowl, place morsels and oil. Microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring in between until fully melted.

For the jelly bean clusters, place dollops of the melted morsels on the prepared pan. Allow to set for 1-2 minutes before putting jelly beans on top.

For the peanut clusters, stir in the peanuts. Dollop the mixture onto the prepared pan.

Allow all the clusters to set at room temperature about 1 hour. Clusters may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Notes

Additional cooling time is necessary

http://piesandplots.net/easy-easter-solutions-with-white-chocolate-clusters/

Homemade Carob Snickers + Birthday Thoughts

Homemade Carob Snickers

I wrote awhile ago about the things from my youth I’d like back.  But lately, seeing as it’s January, the time of new beginnings, and today in particular, since it’s my 24th birthday, I also realize I am fully prepared and excited to move forward.  Last year on my birthday, I had hopes for a great year full of awesome things.  I’m sad to report I feel in mostly the same place as last year.  No successful writing career, no best friend, no first date.  Just me and my dreams.

But the truth is, maybe I wasn’t ready, really ready, for all those things last year.  Not mentally, emotionally, or even physically prepared to have all my hopes and dreams suddenly turn into reality being thrust at me.

Homemade Carob Snickers

This year, though, I know I am ready.  I am open to great things heading my way.  I know for certain I actually do want to move away from the place that’s been my home for my entire life to a new, warmer place where the possibilities are endless.  I want to meet new people, visit new places, create a new home.  I just have to figure out how to do it . . . but I will.

I know the writing projects I’m working on are the best of my life.  I needed to write and read and make mistakes to learn and become a better writer.  It is only a matter of time now until someone in a position of far more power than me takes notice.  It is going to happen.  Dreams are about to come true!

Homemade Carob Snickers

If I needed proof other than my own feelings, my horoscope provided it.  I pretty much never read my horoscope, always afraid it will say something bad.  But in the latest issue of Elle, it was calling my name.  So I read it, and I am thrilled I did.  It said all kinds of love, career, and social opportunities are headed my way.  Neiman Marcus shared a similar one on their blog that said I’d have a “magical year.”  Oh, yeah!  Bring it on, because I am ready!!!

You know what else I’m ready for more of?  These Homemade Carob Snickers.  I crave candy bars all the time, but since I’m allergic to chocolate, I can’t eat them.  So for my birthday, I treated myself to homemade candy.  I’m not gonna lie to you, these are kind of complicated and time consuming to make.  But Ashley from Not Without Salt’s recipe is amazing.  It’s easy to follow and the results are better than I ever imagined.  This caramel is by far the best I’ve ever made.  Plus, if you want to spend a few hours in the kitchen, having fun, these are a great thing to make and worth every single second they take. 

Homemade Carob Snickers

If you aren’t allergic to chocolate, you can, of course, use milk or dark chocolate to coat them.  I covered half in carob and half in white chocolate.  I can’t pick which I like better.  With the soft peanut butter nougat, gooey caramel, crunchy peanuts, and crispy coating, these are pure heaven!  So here’s to hoping my 24th year is as great as these Snickers!

Homemade Carob Snickers

 

Homemade Carob Snickers + Birthday Thoughts

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: About 40 candy bars

Ingredients

Peanut Butter Nougat

¾ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

2 tablespoons honey

¼ cup water

1 large egg white

½ cup creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural)

Caramel

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

¼ cup water

¾ cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted depending on your preference – I used unsalted)

½ teaspoon Maldon sea salt, for sprinkling

For assembly

2-3 cups carob chips (I used Chatfield’s)

2-3 cups white chocolate chips

3-4 tablespoons vegetable shortening divided

Instructions

Make the nougat. Butter a 9 by 13 inch pan and line it with parchment, leaving overhang for easy removal later. Lightly butter the parchment.

In a small to medium saucepan, gently stir together sugar, corn syrup, honey, and water, being careful not to get sugar on the sides of the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, insert a candy thermometer, and continue cooking until the temperature reaches 275 degrees F.

While the syrup cooks, whip the egg white to stiff peaks. Because it is only 1 egg white it is difficult to do in the stand mixer, but it can be done. I did it in a large bowl with the hand mixer, which worked well. Take caution when adding the syrup and then beating the finished mixture. It becomes very stiff, so it is difficult to control the mixer. My egg white never quite got to stiff peaks and the recipe still worked.

When the egg white is whipped and the syrup has reached temperature, immediately remove the syrup from the heat and slowly pour the syrup into the egg white with the mixer running on low. Try to avoid hitting the beater. Increase the speed and beat until the nougat cools slightly and has turned stiff and glossy, about 1 minute.

Stir in the peanut butter until fully combined. Spread the nougat into an even layer in the prepared pan. Allow to cool while you make the caramel.

Make the caramel. In a large saucepan, gently stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water, being careful not to get sugar on the sides of the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and insert a candy thermometer. Continue cooking caramel until it reaches 300 degrees F. You may gently swirl the pan if some of the caramel turns color before the rest.

Once the caramel reaches 300 degrees F, add the cream and butter, then continue cooking until the caramel reaches 248 degrees F. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanuts and vanilla. Pour the caramel over the nougat. Smooth into an even layer and sprinkle with Maldon salt. Cool at room temperature for 40 minutes. Then cool completely in the refrigerator for at least an hour and up to overnight.

Assemble the candy bars. Remove the pan of nougat and caramel from the refrigerator. Cut into bite sized pieces. Melt ½ the carob chips in a microwave safe bowl with about 1 tablespoon of shortening in 30 second increments, stirring in between to promote melting and prevent burning. When the carob is fully melted, using a fork, dip 1 piece of the nougat/caramel into it and cover completely. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining carob. The process is the same for the white chocolate chips as well.

Once all the candy bars have been coated, place in the refrigerator to set completely. Bars may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer, individually wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about 30 minutes.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Not Without Salt

Additional cooling time may be required.

http://piesandplots.net/homemade-carob-snickers-birthday-thoughts/

Peanut Mazapanes #SundaySupper

Peanut Mazapanes #SundaySupper

Spanish was always one of my favorite classes in school.  I started taking it in second grade and continued into college.  It always seemed so cool to be learning another language.  From learning colors and numbers in grade school to verb conjugation in middle, and writing one page papers in high school to a textbook without English in college, my love and fascination with the language only grew.

I didn’t mind practicing vocabulary with Mom, showing off my pronunciation skills.  I always wanted to start speaking Spanish in the middle of conversations.  “How are you?”  “Muy bien, gracias!”  But I refrained, knowing people already thought I was weird enough.

Peanut Mazapanes #SundaySupper

Peanut Mazapanes #SundaySupper

My Spanish teachers were some of my favorites too.  It was always easier to go to class and learn and retain information when I liked who was teaching it to me.  I still think back to some of my Spanish teachers and smile.  I can’t say that about much of my time in school.  A lot of my Spanish vocabulary has vanished with lack of use, and I never became fluent like I hoped, but I still love the language and remember some of it.

It’s funny, I remember Day of the Dead parties much more than Cinco de Mayo parties, but I’m sure we had them.  I like to imagine they involved chips and salsa, piñatas, and no homework.  Definitely no homework.

Peanut Mazapanes #SundaySupper

Peanut Mazapanes #SundaySupper

I’m so happy we’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a Sunday Supper fiesta today.  I made Peanut Mazapanes, a traditional Mexican candy.  These are so easy to make.  Just three ingredients and a food processor leave you with a fun and delectable no bake treat.  Soft and creamy with a bit of texture from peanuts, these almost melt in your mouth and will leave you wanting to celebrate Cinco de Mayo every day.

 Peanut Mazapanes #SundaySupper

Peanut Mazapanes #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: About 20 pieces

Ingredients

2 cups dry roasted unsalted peanuts (I used Planters)

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural)

Instructions

In the bowl of a food processor, process the peanuts until they are about the texture of coarse meal. Do not process too long or it will turn into peanut butter. Add the confectioners’ sugar and peanut butter and process for about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl halfway through, until a paste is formed and all ingredients are fully combined.

Pour the mixture onto plastic wrap. Wrap it up, forming it into a log with about a 1 ½ - 2 inch diameter as you wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Using a sharp knife, slice into about ½ inch thick slices. Slices may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

Candy needs to chill for 2 hours before slicing and serving

http://piesandplots.net/peanut-mazapanes/

Please check out all the other Sunday Supper dishes too!

Cinco de Mayo Appetizers & Sides {Aperitivos}:

Cinco de Mayo Main Dishes {Platos Principales}:

Cinco de Mayo Desserts {Postres}:

Cinco de Mayo Drinks {Bebidas}:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday, May 5th to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and food photos.

Bale Bars

Bale Bars

The first concert I ever saw was Britney Spears.  I know you’re all judging, but I loved Britney and I still kind of do.  I knew every word of every song on her first CD.  I’m not sure I can say that about any other CDs.  I also knew most of the dance moves from watching MTV every possible moment while my peers watched the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon.  Most of the dance moves have left my brain along with Geometry but I still know most of the songs.  I love when a Britney song, new, old, or in between comes on the radio.  And to be honest, I’d probably go see her in concert if she tours again.

It was a great first concert.  Dad got tickets from work which were quite good.  My baby-sitter came with us.  It was at Pine Knob, which if you’re a Detroiter was what the main outdoor amphitheater was called before it became DTE Energy Music Theatre.  This concert was clearly many moons ago, as I was nine.

Bale Bars

Bale Bars

Walking past the gates, the experience was similar to being at an amusement park: lines and people everywhere, concession stands, merchandise booths.  My eyes darted around, trying to take it all in.

At the time, I’m sure it felt like forever before the concert started, as we waited for it to get dark outside and for the opening act to finish (I have absolutely no recollection of whom the opening act was) and far too soon for it to end.  I enjoyed every moment, singing and dancing from my perch standing on my seat, binoculars firmly in hand most of the concert.  It was awesome.  I loved it and couldn’t wait to go to my next concert.

Bale Bars

Bale Bars

I sang along to the radio as we waded through parking lot gridlock and on the long ride home.  I think my baby-sitter fell asleep after marveling at the fact that I even knew every word to every song played on the radio.

Concerts make me think of summer (Yay! Summer!) and when I think of summer, I also think of no bake treats.  Don’t get me wrong, my oven will be in full operation all summer long, but there’s something about a no bake treat on a ninety degree day that just seems right.  Upon exploring my Baked bakery cookbooks, these Bale Bars immediately caught my eye.  Pretzels, peanut butter, white chocolate.  What’s not to like?

These bars are super simple to make, though they do have to set up in the refrigerator for awhile.  Sweet and salty, they get great crunch from the pretzels and peanuts, along with a fudgy quality from the peanut butter-white chocolate ganache.  Best of all these need to be stored in the refrigerator, so they are a refreshing summer treat, perhaps while you listen to some music.

Bale Bars

Bale Bars

4.9 from 9 reviews
Bale Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup white baking chips
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¾ cup peanuts (I used dry roasted unsalted)
  • 3 cups salted thin pretzel sticks (I used Rold Gold)
Instructions
  1. Line a 9 by 13 inch pan with parchment, leaving enough overhang to be able to pull the bars out later.
  2. In a large bowl, combine peanuts and pretzels with your fingers.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add the sugar and cream and bring to a low boil for 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the white chips and 1 tablespoon vanilla and stir until the chips are completely melted into the mixture. Add the additional 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla and peanut butter and stir until combined.
  4. Pour the white chip-peanut butter mixture over the pretzel-peanut mixture and stir until all the pretzels and peanuts are fully coated. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 90 minutes until the bars are firm. Cut into pieces and serve. May be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Baked Elements

Good Morning Sunshine Bars

Good Morning Sunshine Bars

The other day, I told you how I love to eat breakfast for dinner.  I love it so much, I had it again the other night.  Today I have another confession.  A much worse confession.  I like to eat dessert for breakfast.  I know.  I’m all messed up.  Breakfast for dinner.  Dessert for breakfast.  What’s next?  Dinner for lunch?

In the morning, sometimes a muffin doesn’t sound good.  But a leftover piece of pie or cake is just calling my name.  Or maybe it’s more like screaming.  Last week, it was the last piece of blueberry buckle, waiting patiently in the freezer to be eaten.  It was freezing and snowy and totally terrible outside.  I needed a reminder that the weather will get nicer.  So I turned toward a berry filled cake, all warm and moist right from the oven.  It was the best breakfast a girl could ask for.  And it had fruit in it, so it was a totally acceptable breakfast, right?

Good Morning Sunshine Bars

Good Morning Sunshine Bars

There is some method to my madness.  I always eat a healthy dinner.  Protein and vegetables, yummy, good for you foods that keep me feeling good.  After all that healthy food, sometimes I’m too full for dessert.  Gasp!  Such a travesty – no dessert!  In the morning this is clearly not an issue, my body ready for a treat to fuel the day.

Speaking of which, eating dessert in the morning also gives me all day to work it off.  Running, elliptical-ing, going up and down the stairs, creaming butter and sugar by hand.  Each time I move, I’m, burning the calories I ate for breakfast.  Eating dessert after dinner, the only calories I burn come from my heart racing during the latest plot twist on The Americans.  I think I’ve convinced you eating dessert for breakfast is a good thing.  Oh, you didn’t need convincing?  Well, then I’ve helped you explain it to others not in the know 😉

Good Morning Sunshine Bars

Good Morning Sunshine Bars

I was looking through the awesome Baked cookbooks Mom and Dad got me for my birthday when I came across these Good Morning Sunshine Bars and knew immediately I had to make them.  When the amazing Sydney over at Crepes of Wrath whipped up a killer batch of her own, they moved up on the do to list, as they looked so good.  These are quite the decadent breakfast treat, but even the cookbook authors note they are the perfect wake-up meal, as they’re name suggests.  I ate one for breakfast and one for dessert and can attest to the fact that they make any part of the day better.

Much like Triple Peanut Butter Puppy Chow, Momofuku Peanut Butter Cookies, and homemade Marshmallows, these are destined for regular rotation in my kitchen.  Chex and peanuts (I used Planters dry roasted unsalted because I don’t like salt, but feel free to use what you like) are coated in a peanut buttery concoction that has serious peanut butter flavor and a sticky, chewy consistency almost like a rich taffy.  I used Skippy peanut butter because I didn’t want to have any issues with the more volatile homemade.  In the book, they’re coated in ribbons of chocolate, but, as you know, that’s not a possibility for me, so I drizzled mine with both white and peanut butter chips.

Good Morning Sunshine Bars

The cereal and peanuts stay crunchy, while that chewy peanut butter coating adds a different texture and depth of flavor.  The drizzle adds a bit of sweetness, as these bars are not overly sweet.  Now, these are insanely tasty at room temperature, all the flavors and textures melding perfectly, but they are outstanding, irresistible, eat the whole pan good when warmed just a little.  The white and peanut butter chip drizzle starts to melt, as does the peanut butter coating, but the cereal stays crunchy.  I even topped mine with a melty homemade marshmallow.  Let’s just say I had to be torn away from the pan. 

So whether you eat these for breakfast or dessert, just be sure to make this easy, no bake treat.  You might find you want to eat them for all three meals a day.

Good Morning Sunshine Bars

4.9 from 11 reviews
Good Morning Sunshine Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
Ingredients
  • 6 cups Corn Chex
  • 1 cup peanuts (I used Planters dry roasted unsalted)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup white baking chips
  • ½ cup peanut butter chips
Instructions
  1. Butter a 9 by 13 inch pan. Line it with parchment. Butter the parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, combine Chex and peanuts. Mix together with hands just to distribute.
  3. In a medium saucepan, cook brown sugar and corn syrups over medium heat until they come to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the peanut butter, salt, and vanilla. Stir until fully combined. Immediately pour onto cereal mixture. Stir until all of the cereal and peanuts are coated with the peanut butter mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Allow to cool completely.
  4. When cool, place the white baking chips in a small bowl. Microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring in between to promote melting, until fully melted. Drizzle over the bars. Repeat with the peanut butter chips. Allow to cool until the drizzles have hardened. Cut into bars.
  5. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing this recipe. When ready to serve, microwave individual bars for 15-30 seconds until warm and slightly melty for an even better eating experience.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Baked Elements

Caramel Cheerio Treats

Cheerio Treats

Problems.  We all have them and would like to avoid them as much as possible, which isn’t really possible at all.  In the course of a day we are bound to encounter a dozen or more problems.  The thing is, we have to separate them into good problems and bad problems.

There are the bad ones.  Your car breaking down.  A cell phone with no battery life left.  A broken nail.  A dead plant.  A pen running out of ink.  A computer crashing right in the middle of writing a document that hadn’t been saved.  A recipe that doesn’t turn out how you expected.  They range from really bad to just kind of bad, but they’re all bad and can easily ruin a day.  We hope we don’t encounter too many of these on a daily basis or even over our entire lives, but no matter how hard we try and how many precautions we take, we’re bound to encounter some.

Caramel and Marshmallow

Then there are the good problems that tend not to be problems at all.   Having to spend a gift card before it’s expired.  Giving yourself a manicure to use up the last of a bottle of nail polish.  Not having anything to do (I wish this was my problem sometimes).  Having too many shows to watch on TV.  Not being able to choose which movie to watch or restaurant to eat at.  Having a bunch of leftover homemade caramel sitting in the refrigerator waiting to be used.

While I’ve encountered many of these problems, I was recently faced with a bowl of caramel staring at me, waiting to be used.  And you might be in the same bind if you’re following along with caramel week.  I poured some over some frozen Apple Walnut Cake before wrapping it in parchment and thawing it in a 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes.  That was heaven!  I made another recipe, the final in caramel week, that you’ll see Saturday, but there was still plenty left and no matter what I did with it, I was not under any circumstances going to throw it away, because that was a problem I simply couldn’t live with.

Stirring Cheerios

So I thought about it for a few days and figured I’d try a no-bake cereal treat with the crazy hot weather.  Because the only thing that could be better than a ton of marshmallows melted down to generously coat cereal is mixing a bunch of caramel into it as well.  I eliminated the butter as there is plenty of butterfat in the caramel.

The end result was amazing.  The flavor is very reminiscent of the Rice Krispy Treats we all enjoyed as children, but with a major grown up flare.  The sweet marshmallows, the complex caramel, the crunchy cereal, the slightly salty peanuts.  These bars are nothing but pure deliciousness.

A few notes about the recipe:  I only added five cups of cereal, but if you don’t want the bars incredibly gooey and sticky, feel free to add a cup or perhaps even two more.  I used lightly salted Planter’s peanuts because I don’t like salt, but any salted peanuts will do.  I used regular and Peanut Butter Cheerios and think the mix really worked and is necessary.  Using all regular Cheerios will result in a little bit of a grainy texture.

This is the perfect summer sweet treat for the whole family.  It only takes a few minutes for everyone to be enjoying sticky, sweet goodness.

Cheerio Treats in Pan

Cheerio Treats

4.7 from 3 reviews
Caramel Cheerio Treats
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1 10.5 ounce bag Jet Puffed Mini Marshmallows (I highly recommend using this brand)
  • 1 cup homemade Caramel Sauce
  • ¾ cup lightly salted peanuts
  • 3 cups Cheerios
  • 2 cups Peanut Butter Cheerios
Instructions
  1. Line a 9 by 13 inch pan with parchment. Butter the parchment generously.
  2. Place the marshmallows and caramel in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring well between each session. It will take a couple of minutes to fully melt the marshmallows. Continue microwaving in increments until everything is completely melted and when stirred together forms a homogeneous mixture.
  3. Pour in the cereal and peanuts. It is okay to add the cereal a couple cups at a time to make stirring easier. Once the mixture is fully incorporated with the marshmallow mixture completely covering the cereal and peanuts, pour it into the prepared pan. Smooth it out with buttered fingers or spatula; this is a messy job. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days before cutting into bars and serving (though tasting while warm is entirely acceptable). May also be stored in the freezer, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for just a few minutes.

 

 

Peanut Butter Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

Cravings are sometimes insatiable.  As a baker and foodie who also takes exercise very seriously, I get a lot of food cravings.  King Salmon and Halibut are almost always on my craving list.  I could eat them every single day.  The smell of them baking in the oven makes my mouth water.

But sweets are my thing.  Sometimes pie gets on my mind and won’t get off until crust is rolled, filling made, the smell of baking pie fills the house, and the cooled masterpiece is sliced and served.  More often, I crave cake.  I love soft, moist, sometimes gooey cake, whether it’s filled with fruit or nuts, or coated in a healthy serving of creamy frosting.  Cake is the kind of thing I spend all day thinking about until dessert time comes after dinner.  Donuts, ice cream sandwiches, and anything Momofuku also rank high on the craving meter.

Coating

Cookies are rarely something I crave.  It’s hard to find the perfect cookie to suit my tastes: soft, maybe a little gooey, not brown, huge, clearly no chocolate, and it’s even harder to make them.  I have trouble underbaking cookies just enough to have that perfect cookie texture and prevent browning.  But the other day I got a craving for a peanut butter cookie.  It stuck around for days.  All I could think about was peanut butter cookies.  It was a good thing I had just whipped up some homemade peanut butter and had bookmarked Double Delight Peanut Butter-Honey Cookies from Sugar Plum.  Sugar Plum was the first, and still one of the few, bloggers to welcome me to the baking blog community, so I appreciate that and have thoroughly explored her blog.  These cookies are one of the many things I have been dying to make from the site.

Filling

Unbaked Cookies

They’re not just plain old peanut butter cookies.  No way.  They’re filled with peanut butter, then rolled in sugar, cinnamon, and honey roasted peanuts.  The flavor combination is amazing, satisfying every peanut butter craving cell in my body.  I thought the peanut butter center would be my favorite part, and while I loved it, it was actually the cookie itself that was my favorite, being the best peanut butter cookie I’ve ever had.

Be careful with the coating.  The first few cookies had tons of sugary peanut goodness, but the last few barely got anything.  You could also make extra topping if you want them all fully coated.  Also, when I make these again (and I will be making them again), I am going to bake them at 350 instead of 375 and watch the time more closely.  They weren’t overdone for anyone but me, but I would have preferred they be less brown on the bottom and slightly chewier and softer.

The next time you have a peanut butter craving, check these cookies out.  They’ll satisfy the craving, but the craving will probably come back even more frequently with the exceptional taste of this treat just asking to be made again and again.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

5.0 from 2 reviews
Peanut Butter Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
Ingredients
  • Cookies
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup (or a little more) creamy natural peanut butter, cold (I used homemade)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Filling
  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup creamy natural peanut butter, cold (I used homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Coating
  • ⅔ cup finely chopped honey roasted peanuts (I used Planter’s)
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (or 350 if you don’t want the cookies to be brown on the bottom). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Make the cookies. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter, butter, sugars, and honey until well combined, light, and fluffy. I used a spoon, but a hand or stand mixer would also work. Mix in the vanilla and egg. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until fully combined. Put the dough in the refrigerator while making filling and coating.
  2. Make the filling. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, peanut butter, and honey until well combined. Divide mixture into 18 portions and shape into balls. I divided it in 4 sections, got 4 from each section, and left some for 2 more.
  3. Make the coating. In a small bowl, stir together peanuts, sugar, and cinnamon.
  4. Assemble the cookies. Divide the cookie dough into 18 portions in the same way you divided the filling. Flatten 1 piece of dough at a time in the palm of your hand. Place a ball of filling on the dough and wrap the dough around the ball, making sure it completely covers it. Roll the cookie in the coating and place on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with fingertips.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until the cookies are barely golden brown around the edges and still quite soft to the touch. They may also be slightly cracked. Cool completely on pan or they will break. Store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Sugar Plum

 

 

Homemade Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter

There isn’t a single phase of my life where peanut butter doesn’t make an appearance.  Growing up, I ate more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches than I can even count.  Jif peanut butter with some kind of Smucker’s jam; it was comfort from home when I was stuck eating lunch at school with no one to talk to.  Then it became a snack.  Pretzels dunked into a heaping helping of peanut butter, or peanut butter smeared onto graham crackers.  Then it was onto peanut butter and banana on toast for dinner.  I think that got me through my sophomore year in high school.  Back to lunch, just on bananas or apples with cereal.  And now, I love baking with it, and I only buy Trader Joe’s peanut butter.

Peanuts

But I’ve heard so much about homemade peanut butter that I wanted to try it.  Could it really be better than TJ’s, since either way it’s just peanuts?  I had to find out.  So I pulled out the food processor and made a video of my experiment.  You can find it below.  I really do hope you check it out; maybe you’ll help me become the next YouTube sensation.  That would be awesome!

It is so much better than any peanut butter I’ve ever had.  It is just peanuts, so it must be stored in the refrigerator and while it hasn’t been in there long, and probably won’t be, it doesn’t separate like the natural store bought varieties.  It is also light in color.  The texture is smooth and creamy, slightly more reminiscent of Jif and the like.  It has a light, almost whipped quality to it.  And the flavor?  Pure peanutty goodness.  I ate some on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to bring me back to those childhood times.  Yum! And there will definitely be some peanut butter baking going on in my kitchen.  It’s so easy to make and so much better than any peanut butter I’ve had that I think I’ll probably stick to making it instead of buying it from now on.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  And please check out my video.  It is time lapsed so you don’t have to watch all the food processing and can get to peanut butter making of your own much more quickly.

And it’s peanut butter week here on Pies and Plots.  All peanut butter recipes, but if you’re allergic or just don’t like peanut butter, any of these recipes would still be awesome with almond or even sunflower seed butter.

Homemade Peanut Butter Video

Apples and Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter

5.0 from 2 reviews
Homemade Peanut Butter
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Varies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound roasted unsalted peanuts (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • Optional additions include a pinch of salt or drizzle of honey, but possibilities are really endless.
Instructions
  1. Pour peanuts into bowl of food processor. Process for as long as you feel is necessary to obtain your desired texture. It will take 3-4 minutes for completely smooth and creamy peanut butter. Stop throughout the process to scrape down the bowl and make sure all of it is uniformly blended.
  2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

 

 

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