How To: Muddy Buddies! (Video)

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Also known as puppy chow, this was a college party (read: potluck) favorite back in the day. It takes six ingredients, and it’s a lot of fun to make. I made a video to prove it:

Here’s your recipe

Ingredients
9 cups of Chex cereal, in any variety you prefer
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions
Put the cereal in a very large bowl and set aside. Microwave the chocolate, peanut butter, and butter in a bowl until melted and smooth, about 40 seconds. Add the vanilla extract and stir. Pour this over the cereal and combine gently until the cereal is coated evenly. Place the cereal in a gallon sized ziploc bag and add the powdered sugar. Shake well until all the powdered sugar has stuck to the cereal. Lay out to dry for 10 minutes if you can wait,  then serve!

 

It’s great with milk, actually….

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“behind/above the scenes”

 

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Top 5 of 2015

As we ring in another new year, I thought to look back on the passing year with a post of my favorite recipes of 2015, that I know I’ll be coming back to.

Enjoy, and Happy New Year! See you all in 2016 😀

 

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Lemon Zucchini Bread – delicious and easy quick bread with lemony zing

 

 

 

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Pop Quiz – all you need to know about popcorn and making it from scratch

 

 

 

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Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies – a hit with your non-dairy, gluten-free, and omnivore friends alike

 

 

 

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White (Chocolate) Drizzled Lavender Shortbread – attractive and attainable party goals

 

 

 

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Dad’s Mango Bread – a new family recipe that’s always a good idea

 

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies


     Let’s get right to it: these things are gluten-free AND vegan! But these cookies aren’t GF and V to be accommodating; they’re really just good cookies disguised as healthy. Who said you need anything more than peanut butter and sugar in a good cookie, anyway?



      I was watching Unique Sweets (explanation of the show here) and they were showing the process for a bakery’s flourless peanut butter cookies, so naturally I tried to make some myself. They came out pretty great.



     There are only four things in these cookies, if you count water: peanut butter, powdered sugar, and a flax egg, made from flaxseed meal and water. Make sure you sift the sugar so you don’t have to deal with squashing tiny lumps later.



Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 12 3-inch cookies

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 flax egg (1 tablespoon + 3 tablespoons water)
Optional: coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Combine the peanut butter and sugar in a bowl. Add the flax egg and mix until smooth. To make the dough easier to handle, you can chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Scoop out dough to form balls of desired size and flatten with hands. Use a large fork to make cool patterns, so people know they’re peanut butter cookies. Bake at 350° for 9 minutes, or until edges look crispy.

     Evidently, you don’t have a real peanut butter cookie in your hands unless it has those fork marks. And if there’s a cookie with fork marks in your hands, it must be a peanut butter cookie.
     Potential variations include covering the dough in granulated sugar before baking, and using brown sugar in the dough. Hooray for peanut butter!


Browned Butter Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats

     I either need to think of different ways to acknowledge my lack of regular posting, or find time to post regularly. That first one really isn’t much of an option; I’ve already ran out of things to say, apart from sorry!
     Jake and I are back in action with a Joy-inspired evening of marshmallows and cereal. Luckily, his kitchen is significantly larger than ours. Much like the classic rice crispies, these bars are chewy and crunchy, but with a nice nutty flavor, from both the peanut butter and the browned butter, one would assume. This was my first butter browning experience, and Jake and I had trouble perceiving it with everything else going on. But after a while, I decided that it provided some carameliness. We’ll go with that until I try browning butter in chocolate chip cookies.

Brown butter ≠ burnt butter
Quick add the marshmallows
Quick add the peanut butter
Quick add the rice crispies
Look at that color corrected
Added some chocolate (is “YOLO” over yet?)
Sweet deal.

Browned Butter Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Treats
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag marshmallows, mini or large
  • 1/2 cup smooth all-natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups (about half a box) crispy rice cereal
  • 1/2 bag chocolate

Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan. Set aside.
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium heat until just browned. Butter will melt, foam, and froth, then begin to brown along the bottom. Whisk browned bits off of the bottom of the pan.
Just as the butter begins to brown, add the marshmallows, peanut butter, and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until mixture is silky smooth and speckled with browned butter bits. Remove pan from heat and add rice cereal. Quickly stir, ensuring that all of the cereal is coated in the marshmallow mixture.
Turn the mixture out into the prepared pan. With buttered or oiled fingertips, press mixture into the sides and bottom of the pan. Let cool and set for at least 30 minutes before slicing into 9 large blocks.
Either get a double boiler setup going or attempt to melt chocolate straight in the pan on a stove. You may need a stick of butter for the second method. Drizzle over dish.
Wrap individually in plastic wrap/tupperware.
Crispy rice treats will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 4 days.

You know a recipe’s legit when The Cooking Channel posts it

Oatmeal Date Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

As seen on “Foreign Food on Photos“, my Nigerian food blog
If you look closely you can see the SURPRISE

     EVERYONE GUESS WHAT! I made cookies.
     Duh, I made cookies…I mean I created cookies. How is this the first time I’ve made a cookie recipe, you ask? I’ll get back to you on that. But it looks like it took traveling 5000 miles from my kitchen to do it. Don’t worry, it will happen again! And it’ll only take me 300 miles. But here’s what happened.
     My uncle bought a good 3 kilos of rolled oats after giving up on the instant lifestyle (darn). He kindly asked if I would be willing to help him make some cookies with them (or something like that). So what does bored old me do with a clean kitchen in the dead of night when everyone’s gone to bed? Get cReAtIve. And too creative, by the sounds of it, right? Don’t worry, read on!
     With a half full tub of peanut butter waiting for me to make my lunch sandwiches, some questionably-sourced dates returning from I’m-not-sure-where in my cousin’s hand, no chocolate, and those darned oats, I had some interesting flavors to work with. And work I did. I wanted to go all out after the chocolate chipless cookies I’d made some weeks before, so why not use all these things, and if no one likes them, more for me! Haha kidding…
     ….yeah. So I had the basics: butter, sugar, flour etc. I decided to try the dark brown sugar that was around, which was a successful first. It’s also expiring on Thursday. Here was my “logic”, if I had been thinking rationally (I think it’s all subconscious at this point): peanut butter cookies are a norm, and so are oat and date cookies (soo good, you can actually check “my” recipe here!). Oats and peanut butter could be easily paired together. This combo might need something sweet to cut the thickness/nutty flavors. Dates are sweet. In they go!

Dark brown sugar for extra molasses chewiness and color

     Of course, right after adding some knife fulls of peanut butter, I decided I wanted to be like those fancy gourmet bakers who stuff shenanigans into their cookies. In my ideal cookie, this would be chocolate. Just an eruption of melted chocolate everywhere. But I had peanut butter. And peanut butter is what I used. So peanut butter cookies became stuffed with peanut butter. And it was an excellent choice. If you’re not so into PB, you can skip that part, but don’t skip the PB in the dough because it’s mild and lovely. I made some normal cookies so I wouldn’t overwhelm with the decadence, and they were good too.
     Alright, enough of the blog banter, let’s get y’all baking these. And I must warn you that some of these instructions and measurements are approximate, for I guesstimated a temperature from the knob on the gas oven and kept adding more of stuff. Who goes exactly by the recipe, though? They’re more like guidelines, anyway.
     Also, if you think of a better name for these cookies, do tell! I’ll bake you some for free. So far my other candidate is “Oatmeal Date Cookies with a Heart of Peanut Butter (or gold??)”

How innocent-looking

Crazy Oatmeal Date Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies
Makes 25 stuffed cookies, or 35 regular cookies

Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 dashes of salt
6-8 mejdool dates, coarsely chopped
1 cup rolled oats
Several more spoonfuls of peanut butter

  1. Preheat the oven whenever you want, but it will be at/around 360 degrees. Butter two cookie sheets and set aside.
  2. Combine your softened butter and sugars in a large bowl until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well, then add the peanut butter.
  3. Gradually mix in the flour, baking powder and salt. Add in the dates, making sure they separate in the dough. Gradually stir in the oatmeal.
  4. To make stuffed cookies, make small balls of dough, using just over half the dough, and place on the cookie sheets. Use a spoon to make a small well in the dough. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to stiffen. Place a 1/4 teaspoon of peanut butter in the well of the dough. Use your hands to flatten small tops to cover the peanut butter. Diligently seal the sides of the cookie so the peanut butter doesn’t escape.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean/with just peanut butter.

You can make bigger cookies to add more peanut butter,
but they’re already fairly large
I suggest finding your milky beverage of choice before
finishing the batch

That One Time I Had Finals: highspeedrecap

Oops, I got lost in the sea of work and woe. Now that I’m home, here is a super fast summary of the month of December in food.

Lunch with Jari and Shaunte at Taste of Thai: chicken wing and spring roll appetizers and yellow curry
Lunch with Robyn: Soup…it had chickpeas…and a curried tuna salad sandwich-interesting! Robyn had a “late autumn tart”
Rebecca’s birthday cake: only blog worthy because it looks beautiful, right? We won’t talk about how it started out… also, Nutella/PB middle
Look ma, no flour! Getting rid of food while testing out recipes with only two ingredients: Nutella cake using eggs (beaten? What?) and nutella…and peanut butter. It was manageable.
Anticipate more legitimate posts in the coming weeks as I bake my way through the holiday season
“Nutella cake” recipe here

Comfort

Easily the best cookies I’ve made…and I’ve made my fair share of cookies. Many will agree with the assertion that peanut butter and chocolate are a premier dessert pairing, and the dark chocolate chip comfort cookies do a fine job of confirming this. I’m not much of a peanut butter fan, but it doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to these; it’s just the right amount of everything. I even tried substituting the peanut butter for Nutella once. They came out a little too rich in chocolate for my palate, next time I’ll halve the cocoa if I opt for hazelnut. If you want to make them look super presentable once they’re done, place chocolate chips on top of the dough balls by hand once they’re on the baking sheet.
A dough of half a cup of peanut butter, half a cup of cocoa powder, a cup and a half of sugar and some chocolate chips will do you in if you consume enough, and you definitely won’t want to forget your milk of choice.

 

ALL the lipids
You should probably mix those dry ingredients
Also, make sure to sift the cocoa so you don’t get unwanted chunks o’ chocolate in your mouth
No matter what you do, this cookie is going to look like the recipe’s photo

Dark Chocolate Chip Comfort Cookies
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 oz. dark chocolate chips
chopped pecans, optional

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa, soda and salt using a wire whisk and set aside.
  • In another bowl, cream butter, sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until combined.
  • Stir in dark chocolate chips.
  • Roll cookie dough into 1-1/4 inch balls. (If desired, roll balls in chopped pecans.)
  • Place on parchment paper covered baking sheet.
  • Bake 10 minutes.
  • Place cookies on cookie rack to cool.
  • Makes about 30 2-inch cookies.
    *recipe from Bakerella via Tumblr…again