Friday, June 15, 2018

Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Brownies

It’s the last day of the year for us at work at the graduation ceremony is tonight! I still work in the summer but a lot less, and I am really looking forward to a little more time off. For this week’s cookie, I wanted something nice and decadent. This brownie recipe came up in my Pinterest feed recently and they looked perfect. 

These care certainly decadent and they require a lot of ingredients: lots of chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate, peanut butter, peanut butter cups, crispy rice cereal. They are made in a couple of stages, the brownies, then the peanut butter cups, then the topping. It would be difficult to make these and cut them on the same day, especially if you typically bake in the evening like I do. These are not bars that you want to try and cut when they are even the least bit warm. The brownies are fudgy and cut best when room temperature (or colder).

These bars, as they have so many ingredients, weigh a ton. Thankfully, they cut beautifully, and you want to cut them into small squares. The bars are soft, with the fudgy brownies and peanut butter cups, but the crunchy peanut butter and the crispy rice cereal add a good crunch. You can use whatever chips that you have on hand for the topping, but I used regular semi-sweet chocolate chips. I really like these decadent bars, and they are a perfect way to end the school year. 

Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Brownies
3/4 cup butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup chocolate chips
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 Reese’s peanut butter cups, Chopped
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chunky peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon shortening
1 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

 In a small saucepan, combine the butter, unsweetened chocolate, and chocolate chips. Heat on medium low, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla on medium until light. The mixture will be a pale yellow. Add the melted chocolate mixture and beat again on medium until combined.  Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt and mix on low until combined. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. 

Bake the brownies for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups. Bake for an additional 5 minutes. 

As the brownies finish baking, make the topping. In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and shortening. Head on medium low, stirring frequently, until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the crispy rice cereal.     

When the brownies come out of the oven, spread the topping evenly over the brownies. Cool overnight, or in the refrigerator for at least two hours before cutting into bars. 

Friday, June 8, 2018

Oatmeal Lemon Coconut Cookies

I’ve done a lot of baking this week, but I haven’t had a lot of baking successes. I was making the monthly birthday cake to take to work and this month’s cake needed to be dairy free. I usually do ok with substituting dairy, but this week that wasn’t the case at all. I tried a layer cake, but the frosting didn’t work out. I made two Bundt cakes and they didn’t come out of the pan cleanly. I just decided to step away for the time being and rethink the cake I was making.

So what cookies should I make? I made some cookies for another event at work, but it was a repeat recipe and I was more hopeful they would turn out (and they did). I was thinking of something classic, and I recalled making a cookie called a lemon oat lacy. I hadn’t made them since I was in grad school, but I recall they were great. They also used a pound of butter. I looked and found a slightly different recipe, still a thin oat cookie, but only ½ a pound of butter. Downright healthy! This recipe was a oat/coconut cookie, and I also added lemon zest so it is reminiscent of the lemon oat lacy.

These are basically a “cream the butter and sugar then dump everything else in the bowl” type of cookie, which is quick and easy to make. I made one sheet of cookies using my larger cookie scoop (1 tablespoon) and the cookies were a little too big after they had spread. I switched to my 2 teaspoon cookie scoop and that seemed to be the right size. They are very thin and very buttery!  I love the lemon flavor of these, as it helps the cookies be not quite so rich.

Oatmeal Lemon Coconut Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Zest of one lemon
2 cups flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Beat on medium until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla and lemon zest and mix again on medium to combine. Add the flour, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and coconut. Stir on low until the dough comes together. Do not over mix.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, using a medium cookie scoop. The cookies spread, so don’t place them too close together on the baking sheet. 

Bake for 9-11 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. The cookies will be slightly browned around the edges but may seem under baked; they will set as they cool. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Recipe from Lil’ Luna

Friday, June 1, 2018

Lemon Crumble Bars

I really like lemon desserts, and I realized that I hadn’t made lemon cookies in quite a while. Most classic is lemon bars, which are always good, but they can be fussy to make. This bar cookie is quite similar to a classic lemon bar, but a little less fussy. The lemon punch is delivered via lemon curd, which you can make yourself of buy. It is on the expensive side, but the rest of the ingredients of these bars are pantry staples.

Since I always take the cookies I bake to work, bar cookies that bake in a 9” square pan don’t yield enough cookies to share with everyone. I doubled this recipe and baked the bars in a 9” x 13” pan. The bars end up being the same thickness, so the baking time remains the same.

These bars are so easy to make- they have so few ingredients. The texture of the dough is a little strange, but it packs nicely to make the base and crumbles well for the topping. Lemon curd, at least the type that I had, is super thick. I warmed mine in the microwave for about 20 seconds and that helped somewhat. Make sure you cool the bars completely before cutting, or you’ll have a big mess. These cookies have a wonderful, refreshing lemon flavor.

Lemon Crumble Bars
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup lemon curd

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” square baking pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Stir on medium until combined. Gradually add the flour, mixing on low, until the mixture is crumbly. Reserve ¾ cup of the mixture. Press the remaining mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Top with the lemon curd. Sprinkle the remaining dough crumbs over the lemon curd.

Bake for about 40 minutes, until the topping is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Place the pan in the refrigerator for at least an hour to fully chill the bars. Once chilled, remove the cookies from the pan and cut into bars.

Recipe from House of Yumm