Sunday, July 28, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

If there was ever a perfect match made in heaven, it's chocolate and peanut butter. And this cookie recipe is one of the easiest, yummiest ways I've found to combine these two favorite flavors.

You may have noticed that I called this recipe "chocolate peanut butter peanut butter chip cookies." Nope, it wasn't a typo! The reason I decided to put peanut butter in the name twice is that not only are peanut butter chips in the cookies, but there's peanut butter in the cookie dough as well! Double the peanut butter, double the fun. :)

The texture of these cookies is soft and chewy, which is, in my opinion, the best possible texture of a cookie. Every now and then I do enjoy a little crunch to my cookies, but if I could only choose one cookie texture to eat for the rest of my life, it would absolutely be soft and chewy. And these cookies fit that bill.

And they are also so easy to put together! They do require the use of an electric mixer, but I had the ingredients whipped up in just 10 minutes (minus the time it took for the butter to soften, of course ;)). But you know what method I've found works great if you do need to soften butter quickly? If you don't have time to plan ahead and leave your butter out to soften (or, you simply forget to do it ahead of time - I've definitely been guilty of that!), try microwaving it on low power (or on defrost). For one stick of butter, on low power, you can have your butter softened (and not anywhere near melted, which we don't want) in 10 seconds. So easy!

The recipe for these wonderful cookies is based on a recipe from King Arthur Flour. And when I made these cookies, it was my first time ever using Dutch-process cocoa powder! I've never used it before. In the past, I've just never bought it, so I've avoided using recipes that call for it. But, recently, on a trip that my mom and sister made to King Arthur Flour in Vermont, they nicely picked up some Dutch-process cocoa powder for me, so now I don't have any excuses to skip over recipes that call for it!


-1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
-1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 large egg
-2 Tbsp. water
-1 and 1/2 cups peanut butter chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets or line them with parchment paper. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, beat together both sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and water; then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well. Stir in the peanut butter chips.

Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheets. If desired, flatten each cookie with the bottom of a glass until the cookie is 1/2-inch thick. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until cookies are set and you can smell the chocolate. Remove from oven, let sit on cookie sheets for a couple minutes, and then cool completely on a cooling rack. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

The original recipe actually calls for mini peanut butter cups instead of peanut butter chips. I didn't have the peanut butter cups on hand, so I just substituted the chips. These would be awesome with the pb cups though!

If you read through the recipe, you may have noticed that it says to flatten the cookies a bit before baking. I actually forgot to do that with the first batch that went into the oven, but I did flatten the second batch. Both turned out great! The ones I flattened slightly were, of course, slightly flatter. If you make this recipe, I'd recommend trying whichever you prefer - slightly flatter cookies or slightly rounder cookies. Either way, the flavor and texture remains the same - wonderful!

The amount of peanut butter chips in this recipe was perfect, I thought. Not too many and not too few. This recipe has a perfect dough to chip ratio. :)

You are going to loooove these cookies.


Friday, July 19, 2013

I've Been Away From the Kitchen...

....because we've been on our honeymoon for the past two weeks! Although I've had a few posts the past couple weeks, I have not been in the kitchen at all! We've been away in France and Belgium on our honeymoon. :) And now we're back after having the time of our lives! Seriously. We had such an amazing time.

We saw beautiful sights in Paris...

Ate some of the best ice cream we've ever had....

Admired the quaintness and charm of cities in Belgium...

Enjoyed delicious Belgian waffles...

Ate many a Belgian frite (and yes, with the mayo - it's good!!)...

Drank Belgian beers in beautiful places...

Watched a dance festival in Grand Place in Brussels...

Drank beers in Belgian beer cafes with some of the best beer selections in the world...

Toured very, very, very old breweries...

Enjoyed many delicious meals (those Belgians are real foodies!!)...

Found ourselves in awe of so much beautiful architecture...

Visited ancient abbey ruins...

Tasted heavenly Belgian chocolates...

Ate even more ice cream....

And pretty much, just had the time of our lives! ♥

Now that we're back, not only will I be back in our own kitchen, but I can also return to reading all my favorite blogs and commenting on them. I only have about 350 unread blog posts in Bloglovin' to catch up on.... ;)

I missed my blog world friends and am happy to be back! Talk with you more next week!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Easy Dinner Idea: Turkey Tostadas

Easy dinner ideas. I'm aaaaall about 'em. And my guess is that many of you are too! Well, I've got an incredibly easy recipe for you here for a fun, simple dinner of turkey tostadas. One of my new favorites, for sure!

The recipe came about with some inspiration from a couple sources. One of those was Two Peas and Their Pod's recipe for open-faced enchilada veggie quesadillas over at Tasty Kitchen. And I had also been eyeing a recipe for chicken tostadas and avocado salsa at My Recipes, so I kinda sorta put the two recipes together and came up with these turkey tostadas!

The recipe is quite flexible, so you can change it up if you'd like to suit your own tastes by using a different meat (or no meat), different veggies and toppings, etc.


-olive oil
-1/2 medium/large onion (any kind), sliced
-1 lb. lean ground turkey
-1/2 green pepper, diced
-1/2 to 3/4 tsp. chili powder
-1 ear corn, cooked with the kernels cut off the cob
-1/3 to 1/2 cup canned black beans (drained and rinsed)
-1 medium/large tomato, diced
-4 whole wheat flour tortillas
-canned tomato sauce, enchilada sauce, or salsa
-shredded cheese (Mexican blend or other)
-sour cream


In a large skillet on the stove, heat olive oil and add the onion, cooking two or three minutes. Add the ground turkey. After a few minutes, add the diced pepper and chili powder. Continue to cook over medium heat until the pepper softens and the meat is cooked through. For the last minute or so of cooking, add the corn kernels, black beans, and tomato, and incorporate with other ingredients. Remove mixture from heat and set aside.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a large cookie sheet (or two sheets), place the tortillas. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the tortillas puff up a little (they will harden/become more crisp) and are lightly golden brown. Remove from oven (but keep oven on). On top of each tortilla, spread desired amount of your topping of choice - tomato sauce, enchilada sauce, or salsa (we used salsa). Next, top with desired amount of the turkey/veggie mixture. Finally, sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Put cookie sheets back in the oven to melt the cheese. This shouldn't take much more than 2 to 4 minutes. When the cheese is melted to your liking, remove from oven. Top with other toppings, if desired - avocado, sour cream, salsa, etc.

Mike and I both really loved this meal. It came together so easily! Keep in mind, as I said earlier, that the toppings are very flexible. You can definitely make this meatless, or you can substitute a different meat for the turkey (chicken, beef, etc.). And all different types of veggies would work well too. A very customizable meal!

This quick dinner idea will definitely enter the regular meal rotation in our house. :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Oldies but Goodies: Recipes I've Been Making Lately

I thought it might be fun to revisit a few recipes that I've been making lately that I posted on my blog a while back...  These are some old favorites of mine that I regularly make. As a food blogger, I am usually looking for new recipes to try about 90% of the time... But, there are always some staples that never go away. Here are a few that I've made lately that I thought were worthy of sharing with you again!

This brownie recipe is the best I've ever had in terms of a simple, easy homemade brownie recipe. It is one of my favorites because of how easily it comes together! It dirties very few dishes. :) And it's made with ingredients you likely have on hand right now! It's a recipe from Nestle's Very Best Baking, and thanks to this recipe, I can't even remember the last time I used a boxed brownie mix!

The base brownie layer for the red wine buttercream frosting was the Nestle "best brownies" recipe.

Short on time but you need to make cookies? Then try these M & M cookie sticks! They are so much fun and so easy. They take less time than making a batch of cookies because you only need to put one cookie sheet in the oven - one time! You form the dough into a large, rectangular cookie almost, and then just bake it! And you slice it into cookie sticks afterward. Couldn't be simpler. :)

Okay, so I have to tell the truth and say that I, personally, have not made these lately. But my mom has! She made them for her coworkers a few months ago, and they keep asking her for more! I'm not even sure how many times she's made them now to bring to work... And with her telling me this, it reminded me of how amazing of a recipe this is. An instant winner with the chocolate mint flavor combo! And know what else? The base brownie layer for these bars is...yes, you guessed it, my favorite best brownies recipe that I mentioned above!

For the past few months, I've probably made overnight oats for Mike and me for our breakfasts at work at least two or three out of the five days in our work weeks. I love this recipe because it takes 5 minutes to put together the night before, and the next day you already have a delicious, healthy breakfast ready and waiting for you. In case you've forgotten or aren't familiar with overnight oats, it's basically equal parts regular oats, milk, and yogurt (I do anywhere between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of each). And then you can mix in other ingredients like fruit, nuts, cinnamon, etc.

The only yogurt we buy now is plain Greek yogurt. Although it's on the tangy/tart side because it's plain, we have been getting used to its taste (and feel better about the fact that is has less sugar than flavored varieties). And plain Greek yogurt is perfect for overnight oats. The milk helps sweeten it a little bit so it's less tart, and once in a while we'll add a little bit of a sweetener like honey or maple syrup. But often times, the fruit is also enough to sweeten the mixture! We put just about any fruit that we have on hand in our oats - bananas, all types of berries, peaches, mangoes, etc. A small dash of cinnamon goes into our oats about 98% of the time as well. :) Adds some nice flavor!

Although I just posted about these in late March this year, I've already made them a few times since! They are perfect for when you have a couple really ripe bananas to use up, yet you don't feel like taking the time to make a loaf of banana bread. They are healthy, so simple, and have no added sugar!

Homemade Peanut Butter

Cannot. Get. Enough. I make a batch for us about once a week now! Although I still use store-bought peanut butter (like Skippy or Jif) for baking, for eating, we only have homemade peanut butter now. We are obsessed. :)

And finally...

Like the 3-ingredient banana oatmeal cookies, this avocado egg salad recipe is a fairly recent post on my blog. However, I've made it again a few times since then! It's such an easy lunch to put together. And I much prefer it to egg salad made with mayo. A few of my friends have made this recipe too since I posted about it a few months ago, and they all love it as well!

Well, there you have it... A mini round-up of some "oldies but goodies" from my blog. I hope you'll try one or two of them if you haven't yet!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Homemade Maple Cinnamon Peanut Butter and Banana Strawberry Peanut Butter Quesadilla

My obsession with homemade peanut butter continues! I've mostly been making plain peanut butter, but I've tried my hand at flavored varieties a couple times. I've already posted about the amaaazing butterscotch white chocolate peanut butter. So. Good.

A little while back I decided to make my own variation, so I tried my hand at a maple cinnamon flavor. And it turned out very well, I thought! Another flavor combo to keep in the peanut butter rotation. :) 

And with the maple cinnamon peanut butter, I also made a delicious snack of a banana strawberry peanut butter quesadilla. A healthy snack that takes about 10 minutes start to finish, it's a great after school (or after work) or weekend afternoon snack option. :) Below are the recipes for both the peanut butter and the quesadilla.

Maple Cinnamon Peanut Butter


-1 and 1/4 cups roasted peanuts (unsalted)
-2 to 3 tsp. pure maple syrup
-1/2 to 1 tsp. cinnamon (regular or Vietnamese), depending on how strong a cinnamon flavor you'd like
-salt to taste (optional; I don't think you need much more than 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. if you use it and personally, I don't think you actually need the salt at all :))


Put peanuts in food processor. Turn processor on and get the peanuts going. With the machine on, add the cinnamon (and salt, if using) through the shoot. Continue to process for probably about 3 to 5 minutes or until peanut butter is smooth. Turn the processor off and scrape down the sides. Turn the processor back on, and while it's running, add the maple syrup. The addition of the sugar will mess up the consistency of your peanut butter at first; it will become less smooth and almost chunky. Be patient though; as the processor continues to run, it will smooth itself out and become a more cohesive mixture. This may take 3 or 4 minutes. You're done when it reaches your desired consistency!

Store in airtight container in fridge. When ready to use it, let sit at room temperature for 10 to 20 minutes to let it soften. Makes about 2/3 to 3/4 cup peanut butter.

The maple flavor in this recipe is subtle, but there. The cinnamon flavor is a bit more pronounced. All in all, it is a fun, new flavor to try for homemade pb!

Banana Strawberry Peanut Butter Quesadilla


-1 whole wheat flour tortilla
-1 Tbsp. or so maple cinnamon peanut butter (or any peanut butter)
-1 to 2 strawberries, sliced
-1/2 banana, sliced
-dash cinnamon


With tortilla flat on a plate, spread peanut butter evenly over half of it or so. Layer sliced strawberries and bananas on the peanut butter, being careful not to put the fruit all the way to the edge of the tortilla. If desired, sprinkle a dash of cinnamon over the fruit. Fold tortilla in half (by folding the empty side over top of the side with the fruit). Lightly butter the side of the tortilla that's facing up.

Heat non-stick pan or skillet over low-medium heat on stove. Place the quesadilla, buttered side down, on the preheated pan. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the bottom side becomes golden brown (use a spatula to lift up the tortilla and peak underneath it to see how browned it is). While the first side is cooking, lightly butter the other side of the tortilla you haven't yet buttered. When the pan-down half reaches your desired golden brown color, carefully flip the quesadilla and cook the other side, for another 3 or 4 minutes. Once both sides are cooked to your liking, remove from heat and place on plate or cutting board. Cut into thirds with a sharp knife. Serve warm and enjoy!

The fruits really add a nice sweetness to the quesadilla. It makes it almost dessert-like. I'd say this could easily be eaten for breakfast, a snack, or dessert... Or heck, even lunch or dinner. ;)

I loved how the inside of the quesadilla was warm and gooey. Just what you want in a quesadilla of any kind! The inside was a nice contrast to the outer tortilla, which was slightly crisp from the browning on the stove.

I think this would be a really fun snack for kids...but it's also perfectly suitable for adults, of course. :)