Peanut Butter Cookies

My plans to make oatmeal cookies were foiled by not having any oatmeal. Thankfully there are always other types of cookies that can be made with most of the same ingredients.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Servings: 3 1/2 dozen cookies
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder & soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine the oil, peanut butter and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat for 1 minute at a low speed to combine and then another 2 minutes at high speed until smooth. Reduce speed to low, add sugars, beat until combined and then increase speed to high for 3-4 minutes until fluffy.
  4. Add the egg and extra yolk and beat until combined.
  5. Add the flour in 1/2 cup increments about 30 seconds apart until all the flour mixture has been mixed in. Rest the dough for 10 minutes.
  6. Using a 1 Tbsp. measure scoop dough into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Use the tines of a fork to press into 3/8″ high cookies.
  7. Bake one cookie sheet at a time for 9 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet 180°F half way through cooking.
  8. Remove the tray and cool for 4-5 minutes before transferring cookies to a cooling rack. Store any cookies you resist eating in a sealed container for as long as they last.

Notes:
I was actually short on peanut butter as well (who stocks the pantry in this place anyway, oh ya, it’s me; doh). I had about 1/2 a cup of peanut butter so I made up the remaining 1/4 cup with cookie butter; specifically with Speculoos Cookie & Cocoa Swirl from Trader Joe’s. While evily delicious I’m glad I also finished that jar; it won’t be replaced. Evily delicious and attempting to lose some weight do not go well together.

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Peanut Butter Mascarpone Pie

The basis of this recipe comes from the Uncommon Gourmet’s All-Occasion Cookbook. I often turn to it for parties when something a bit different from the usual finger food.

I used an individual cheesecake pan to make these. I suspect a 9″ springform pan would work OK. The original recipe suggested using a deep-disk pie pan so you could always give that a go.

At least three of our guests raved about how good these were. All 12 were eaten; always a good sign.

Peanut Butter Mascarpone Pie
Servings: 12
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 2 1/2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, divided
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 8-10 full crackers)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Vietnamese cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp. room temperature butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, brought to room temperature
  • 1 /12 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

  1. To make the crusts start by preheating the oven to 350°F. Spray each of the pan openings with baking spray.
  2. Toast pecans in a skillet until lightly browned and aromatic. Roughly chop; set aside 1/4 cup.
  3. Pulse the remaining pecans in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the crumbs, sugar and cinnamon; pulse 3 or 4 times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until well mixed.
  4. Put about 2 tablespoons of crumb mixture into the bottom of each cup on the baking pan. Compact crumbs into the bottom of each opening. It’s OK if a bit comes up the sides.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes; rotating half way through baking. Transfer pan to a rack and allow to cool completely before filling.
  6. While crumb base cools you can take the mascarpone cheese out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
  7. To make the filling start by whipping the heavy cream in a stand mixture until stiff. Transfer to another bowl and set aside.
  8. Beat the remaining ingredients together using the stand mixer until fluffy. Manually fold in the whipped cream.
  9. Top the crumb bases with filling; fill to the top. Smooth the top with the back of a butter knife. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set; at least 2 hours or as much as overnight.
  10. When you are ready to serve run a thin knife along the outside edge of each cup. Push the bottom of the pie up, remove the metal plate and set on a serving plate. Garnish with the reserved pecans.

Notes:
I had leftover crumb mixture; probably because I made the individual pies rather than a single pie. You could try making two-thirds of the crumb mixture.

Reese’s Cake Bars

I came across this recipe in a Facebook post that pointed to here. I’m not sure if it was originally by them or not. It sounded evilly delicious; I’m a sucker for chocolate and peanut butter. I made it back in October and it was a resounding success with our Saturday night gathering.

[Reese's Cake Bar]

Reese’s Gooey Cake Bars
Servings: 16 cake bars
Prep time: 3 hours
Total time: 3.75 hours (plus cooling time)

Ingredients:

  • 16 regular sized peanut butter cups, unwrapped and frozen
  • 1 chocolate cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, soft but not melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup Reese’s Pieces

Directions:

  1. Stop! Take your peanut butter cups, unwrap them and stick them in the freezer. Allow them to freeze for 2-3 hours until they are rock solid and would break a tooth if you tried to eat them. Once they are well and rightly frozen you can continue on with the recipe.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 8″ sqaure baking pan with baking spray.
  3. Combine the cake mix, egg, butter and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with the beater attachment until a dough is formed.
  4. Transfer about half of the dough to the prepared pan. Spread into a even layer on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Layer the peanut butter cups on top of the dough (see note).
  6. Spread the remaining dough over the peanut butter cups and smooth the top.
  7. Pour the condensed milk over the dough and spread so it covers most of the dough. Distribute the reese’s pieces over the milk.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. It’s going to look like a hot mess. Allow to rest for 2-3 hours until completely cooled.
  9. Cut into 16 squares (or smaller).

Notes:
I had the best luck arranging the peanut butter cups with first one pressed into the corner with the wide face upright. The next one is placed wide face down and butted up against the first one. Continue until all of the cups are in place.

You can certainly cut these into smaller pieces. They are very intensely sweet and rather irrestible once you have a bite.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Squares

I first made these in 2013 for a brunch buffet. I made them Friday morning, traveled ~250 miles for a family event and enjoyed them on Sunday late morning. They held up incredibly well in transit and tasted freshly made against the assortment of sweets that were available. On some level they satisfy that mix of sugar, salt and fat that many of us crave.

This recipe is based off of one I first found in the King Arthur Flour Blog, flourish.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel squares
Servings: 20 pieces
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup ground pretzels (about 6 oz. of stick pretzels)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pretzel pieces (about 2 oz of stick pretzels)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make a sling with parchment paper in the bottom of a 9″x13″ metal baking pan. Spray the open sides with baking spray.
  2. For the crust combine the flour, ground pretzels and powdered sugar in a bowl. Add the melted butter to the dry ingredients and combine to make a stiff, somewhat sandy, dough.
  3. Transfer the dough into the prepared baking pan and press it into an even layer. Use the back of dry measuring cup to press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool while making the filling.
  4. Combine the chocolate and peanut butter in a microwave safe vessel (I use a large glass measuring cup). Microwave for 4 minutes at 40% power, stirring after each minute. Continue microwaving at low power until the mixture is smooth and the peanut butter is fully integrated.
  5. Pour chocolate mixture over the crust and spread to the edges. Top with the chopped pretzel bits, pressing them into the chocolate to ensure adhesion.
  6. Transfer to the freezer for 45-60 minutes to set the topping. Use the parchment to remove the bars from the pan. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 20 pieces.

Notes:
To make the ground pretzels I placed 6 oz. of stick pretzels in the bowl of the food processor and let it spin for about 2 minutes. I then sifted the ground pretzels to remove the larger pieces that remained.