Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Easy Peanut Butter Fudge

Hi again!! Well, this post will complete the trifecta! Are you saying to yourself, "what" or "huh"?!?! My last two posts involved Barbershop goodies that I gave to my coworkers this year (i.e., chocolate graham toffee treats and cranberry white chocolate cinnamon bars). And this next post represents the third and final item I gave to them; hence, the trifecta. ;-) Okay, so I'm stretching the meaning of trifecta a bit. But I thought it was kinda fun!

I made peanut butter fudge for the first time ever this holiday season! It's hard to believe I haven't made it before. Let me tell you...thanks to how easy and delicious this recipe was, I will be making it again! This recipe is from the dependable blog of the Brown Eyed Baker. You have probably heard me mention her blog several times before! Check out her peanut butter fudge recipe that I followed here.

There are only five ingredients in this fudge, folks! The recipe calls for butter, peanut butter, salt, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. That's it!

First step...heat the butter and peanut butter on the stove.

After the mixture is brought to a boil, remove it from the heat and stir in the salt, vanilla, and powdered sugar until the mixture is smooth.

Put the fudge in a prepared pan that's been buttered.

Cover with saran wrap and put in the fridge. That's it!! It only needs to be in the fridge for about an hour or so.

This recipe made about 60 pieces for me...enough for each coworker to get two pieces! Yummmm. Are you hosting or attending a New Year's Eve party? I bet this would be a delicious sweet treat to have at your get-together. You should go make some... ;-)

See you again soon, hopefully. I have a couple non-dessert recipes I've been wanting to share with you!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cranberry White Chocolate Cinnamon Chip Bars

Am I really back in the Barbershop so soon? Yes! I am relaxing at home with my parents and thankful that I did not have to drive back to Boston today in the BLIZZARD! I took a couple extra days off from work, and I'm very glad I did. So, as I have some extra time here relaxing, I thought I'd share another tasty treat with you. And also, guess what I just realized? This recipe is my 85th blog post!! Neat. :)

This recipe is another one of the treats I made for my coworkers over the holidays. And they're yet another super easy and delicious goodie!! I loved the process of making these bars. All you had to do was put one layer on top of another and then bake! Seriously. It was that simple. These bars were a bit on the sweet side, but if you just have a bite-sized size bar, then it's not too sweet, I promise. I loved the combination of flavors in these bars too...white chocolate, graham cracker, cranberry, coconut, cinnamon...yummmm. The recipe is from an awesome blog, Our Best Bites (I've referenced it a few times at the Barbershop already). Here's the recipe!

Okay, enough talking - onto pics!


The butter needs to be melted; save a dish and just melt it in the pan in the preheating oven!

While the butter is melting, prepare the remaining ingredients like the chopped pecans.

The other ingredients, ready to go...

 Melted butter!

Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over top, and press them down into the butter evenly.

Next up is sweetened condensed milk.


Cinnamon chips - LOVE these.

White chocolate chips.

Chopped pecans.

And finally, dried cranberries (I used craisins)!

Here are the bars, fresh out of the oven! They browned a bit more than I would have liked on the edges, but it didn't really affect the taste at all since they weren't actually burned.

It's important to let the bars cool completely before you cut them. I cut about 40 bars or so out of my 13 x 9 pan. I laid out these bars for my "assembly line" when I was putting together treats (30 bags worth!) for my coworkers.

You must try these bars. You just must! ;-)

See you again soon!

Chocolate Graham Toffee Treats

Hello and a belated Merry Christmas to you!! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. :) I know I did! Love love love my time with family.

I have a very simple and incredibly tasty treat for you here - chocolate graham toffee treats! These were one item that I gave to my coworkers this year in the Barbershop goodie bags they all received (the other two items were peanut butter fudge and cranberry white chocolate cinnamon chip bars - those blog posts will be in the near future ;-)). The chocolate graham toffee treats were a big hit!! They take no time at all really. If you need to make a sweet treat in a flash, I'd recommend that you try these! A warning for you though: they are a bit addicting...

The recipe I followed can be found here. And as always, pictures for you. :)

I'd definitely recommend lining the pan with foil - makes it so much easier!

Finely chopped pecans, thanks to my mini chopper!

Butter and sugar brought to a boil on the stove...

Pecans, being mixed in.

Put it in the oven!

When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle chocolate chips on top. The recipe says 1 to 2 cups. I've made this recipe twice now and only used 1 cup both times. I thought that was plenty!

Let the chips melt and then spread the chocolate evenly.

I decided to sprinkle some Heath Bar toffee bits on mine too. :-D

The second time I made them I also put white sprinkles on them for a "snowy, wintery" look.

Betcha can't eat just one! However, I challenge you to only have one. Everything in moderation. ;-) I have a lot of people ask me how I stay slim and eat all the things I cook and bake. Well, I have to attribute that to self-control and exercise! I typically only have a taste or two of the yummy treats I make, and I run and exercise often. That's my secret. :-D

See ya again soon!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Boston Creme Pie Cupcakes!

Yes, you heard me right - boston creme pie cupcakes!  Haha.  Everyone knows boston creme pie is actually a cake...but I decided to turn it into cupcakes!  I needed a fun and delicious recipe for a coworker's birthday that not only the guest of honor would enjoy, but all of my coworkers would as well!  These seemed like they'd be a decent choice...and they were. :)

I pieced this recipe together somewhat using a few different sources. I'll explain what I did next...hope you don't mind following along. ;-)

First, the cake! This is a "basic sour cream yellow cake" recipe from the good ol' Cake Mix Doctor. The ingredients:

-1 box (18.25 oz. yellow cake mix)
-1 cup sour cream (I used vanilla yogurt instead)
-1/3 cup vegetable oil
-1/4 cup water
-1/4 cup sugar
-4 eggs
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 box instant vanilla pudding (just the powder) - this was my own addition to this recipe for an added vanilla flavor

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With electric mixer, beat cake mix, sour cream OR yogurt, vegetable oil, water, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and instant pudding powder in large mixing bowl. Beat at low speed for one minute, then stop and scrape sides of the bowl. Beat again for two minutes at medium speed. The batter should look thick and smooth. Pour into prepared cupcake cups (either greased or lined with muffin cups) and place in oven.

My cupcakes took about 15 minutes to bake, so I'd recommend checking them after 15 minutes. The Cake Mix Doctor says they take 18 to 20 minutes. This recipe will likely make about 18 to 22 cupcakes for you!

Let the cupcakes cool completely after they're done baking. Then scoop out about a tablespoonful of cake (or so) from the middle to make room for the filling! I use a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the middle. Its serrated edges work perfectly for this purpose!

Next, the vanilla "creme" filling!

I have to admit; I used a shortcut here. I had read some recipes to make a true vanilla custard filling, but honestly, I just didn't have the time. So, instead I simply made some instant vanilla pudding! It worked great, I must say. :)  So for this step, just go ahead and prepare the pudding according to the instructions on the box. I made one box using skim milk.

Finally, the chocolate ganache topping...yummmm.

Check out this recipe cuz its ganache recipe is what I used. ;-)

And a couple tips for you regarding the topping... After the chocolate is fully melted, it's best to let it sit for a little while (probably 10 minutes or so) so that it cools and thickens a bit. I did stir it every couple minutes as it sat though, just to keep checking on its consistency. If you try to put the ganache/glaze on the cupcakes too soon, it won't stay on the cupcakes that well and will just drizzle down the sides because it's too thin and warm.  There will be some chocolate that drips down the sides of the cupcakes a little, but it should still be thick enough to stay on top really well too. The few drizzles down the side are kinda fun for effect, don't you think?

These cupcakes were a major hit at work for my coworker Jon's birthday. WOW, were these good. The cake itself was really flavorful on its own but then you add the vanilla "creme" filling and chocolate ganache on top?! Yikes. ;-)

Now go make yourself some of know you want to!!!!