Chocolate & PB Sandwich Cookies

My husband adores chocolate and peanut butter, separately and together but most definitely together. So, when I stumbled on this recipe a little light bulb went off in my head (that happens sometimes). I dashed to the market for some Devil’s Food Cake Mix (it’s not something I stock in my pantry but I probably should!) and whipped these babies up for my man.

choc pb sandwich cookie close up

At the risk of losing friends (you know who you are!), I have to confess that I am not a lover of the peanut butter-chocolate marriage. {bows head in slight shame} I have moments where I will dive in, but they are rare. Peanut butter cups, occasionally yes. It is never the chocolate that dissuades me in these peanut butter-chocolate events. Chocolate and I get along very well under almost all circumstances. It’s the peanut butter with the chocolate. I can’t quite explain it. But my husband puts PB on his pancakes and even in his oatmeal (!) so we just differ on our love of the butter of peanuts. And that is okay. I hope you still love me. I can, without a doubt, tell you that if you are a fan of the divine marriage of chocolate and peanut butter, these will melt in your mouth and possibly leave you at a loss for words. My husband loves them. Mine got a little fat but…eh…par for the course, I say. 🙂

Special thanks to Amy at My Name is Snickerdoodle for keeping me in good graces with my hubby. Here is the printable recipe: Chocolate and Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

These will keep for 2 days at room temperature in a sealed container or place in refrigerator.  Ours don’t ever make it past the 2 day mark.  But you may also like them in the fridge for an extra cool treat.

I must say that the chocolate cookies alone are a joy all on their own! MuWah!

Easy Pretzel Treats

First, let me get your attention.  Three ingredients.  Ten minutes.  That’s it.

Second, I do not like one of the ingredients.  They are something I have to be “in the mood” for and I am rarely in the mood for these guys.  I am referring to pretzels, the crunchy little kind.  To me, they taste like the flavor I imagine cardboard to possess.  I avoid them at all costs.  I remove from Chex Mix and discard them in the trash.  Of course, there are good versions of pretzels that do exist.  For instance, the bread-like kind glazed with butter and giant pieces of salt that you might find at the mall.  That’s a pretzel.  (Please note that I have been diagnosed with a bread disorder.  For more details, please see recent post on Artisan Bread.)

While at my friend Gretchen‘s house in early December, she made these delightful little pretzel treats.  There was my usual objection as soon as I heard the word pretzel but Gretchen insisted.  She is pretty persuasive because I agreed to try them (although secretly I thought they could not possibly be any good).

You are about to find out exactly why I am able devour these pretzels with no qualms whatsoever.

Hershey’s Hugs.

and sweet, candy coated chocolate M&M’s.

(Notice how those last two items are sugar/chocolate items?  Those are the two very good reasons that I will fervently consume pretzels.)

Since we are in the season of L.O.V.E., I used Valentine M&M’s.  Back at Christmastime, we used the gorgeous holiday ones.  I snapped some photos and had the good intention of blogging about them back then but the holiday season got the best of me.  I decided that I could make them for any holiday using the appropriate M&M’s so I didn’t fret a whole bunch.

That is the fantastic thing about these treats.  You could make them anytime, using any variety of chocolate M&M’s.  Regular multi-colored ones. (Gorgeous!)  Easter. (How pretty!)  Fourth of July. (How patriotic!)  The list goes on and on.  The variety of M&M’s provides a colorful way to…(I can’t believe I am thinking this…eat pretzels!…but really)…to make these delightful treats for any occasion.  Thank you Gretchen!

So, if you are ready, here are the details.

First, pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread out the pretzels.  Unwrap the Hugs and place one on each pretzel like so…

Next, pop them in the oven for about 4-5 minutes.  Watch them carefully.  You just want to melt the Hugs so they begin to flatten.  Mine got a little too melty this time but still worked out fine.  Remove from oven.  Insert an M&M into the center of each like so…

Then, if you live in the frozen tundra like I do (and it’s February) you can set the tray outside.  They just need to be chilled for about ten minutes.  You could also set the tray in your freezer or refrigerator, wherever you have the space.  The M&M will attach to the Hug and the Hug will harden, making a sweet little pretzel treat.  Enjoy!

Botched Biscotti

In the spirit of truth and honesty, I would like to admit that I made a mistake in the kitchen this past week. I managed to royally botch a batch of biscotti.  My grandma loves to have biscotti with her coffee and I love baking it for her.  Traditionally, I use a chocolate chip version but this week I wanted to try using Heath toffee bits instead.  I set to work on a batch the other night.  Apparently, I was just a wee bit distracted because I did not follow the recipe as I should have.  The botched biscotti is pictured above.

Here is the biscotti recipe from Giada de Laurentiis that I usually follow:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground anise seed (I never use the anise seed)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Add the ground anise seed and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Form the dough into a 16-inch-long, 3-inch-wide log. Transfer the log to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 30 minutes. Cool 30 minutes.

Place the log on the cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake the cookies until pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.  (The biscotti can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

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For my accidental version, I put the sugar in with the dry ingredients (oops!) and then decided to add an additional 1/2 cup of sugar to cream with the butter.  I baked it for 30 minutes as per usual.  It spread out.  It flattened out.  It looked dreadful.  It looked awful.  As far as the first round of biscotti baking goes, it was a total goner.  I thought it was absolutely ruined but decided to take a nibble and see what it tasted like.  Lo and behold, it was an accidental sweet treat success.  It became the hit of our household.  My husband and son gobbled it up to the point of belly aches.  My husband asked if I could repeat the ‘mistake’.  Oh, you bet I could!  My sweet son asked for pancakes the next morning and ‘some of those’ with his cute little smile that tells me he’s in love with the sweet.  The end result was a sort of chewy, yummy, cookie-like treat.  As is such with the life span of most sweet treats at our home, the botched biscotti did not last more than 24 hours.

I know a few of you who have an aversion to chocolate (gasp!) and these would be a great treat for you to try.  The toffee bits were melty just like I would prefer my chocolate to be.  Based on my addiction to the cacao bean and its descendants, I can only imagine that these would make a good substitute.

Here is my version, also known as Our Happy Accident, adapted from Giada’s.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar (for flour mixture)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (to cream with butter)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • I do not use the anise seeds
  • 1 bag Heath Toffee Bits

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, 3/4 cup sugar and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup sugar and butter in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the toffee bits.

Form the dough into a 16-inch-long, 3-inch-wide log. Transfer the log to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 30 minutes. Cool 30 minutes.  Cut into bars and devour.

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Have you ever made a mistake in the kitchen?  I would love to hear your botched recipe story and hope that you were able to turn it into some sort of success.  As for me, I think I just got lucky!