19 November 2015

Peanut Butter Blossoms

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If peanut butter and chocolate got married, this would be their baby.  That's weird.....and probably wrong.  A chocolate peanut butter cup would probably be a better baby analogy.  Then again, you can't see the peanut butter until you take a bite of the chocolate peanut butter cup, so maybe the peanut butter blossom would make a better baby.  Does it really matter?  No.  What does matter is that these cookies are soooooo goooooooooood!!!!!
I know we've all probably seen these before, especially around Christmas, so I know I'm not breaking new ground in any way whatsoever.  Not that I ever really do.  But these cookies are a cinch to make and once batch makes a lot of cookies, so they are really good for a crowd.  I have also frozen the dough after I shape it into balls so I can make as little or as many as I would like at one time.

Peanut Butter Blossoms
48 Milk Chocolate Hershey's Kisses (wrappers removed)
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup additional granulated sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the shortening and peanut butter until well blended. Add 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and brown sugar, and continue to beat until fluffy.  Then, add the egg, milk and vanilla and mix to combine.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Gradually add it to peanut butter mixture, while continuing to stir until thoroughly combined.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar.  Place the dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Once the cookies are out of the oven, immediately press a chocolate kiss into center of each cookie.  The cookie will crack around edges. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.

05 November 2015

Candy Bar Brownies

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Anymore, it seems like the marketing corporations of the world want to find ways to make people buy candy for your kids.  Sure, Halloween was always the huge candy free-for-all that left you with a heaping bag of sugar and chocolate.  But then, Christmas is just around the corner, with stockings stuffed full of sugar and chocolate.  And isn't Valentine's Day just for your sweetheart?  Not anymore!  Get those kids some cardboard hearts stuffed with more sugar and chocolate!  Of course, then we have Easter, with baskets overflowing with sugar and chocolate bunnies.  We get some relief in the summer, but how long will it be before we have Independence Day fireworks exploding with sugar and chocolate for the masses?

We never seem to recover from Halloween, as soon as we put a small dent in the candy stockpile, Christmas strikes, and we just add fuel to the fire.  The process continues over and over as each candy holiday barrels through.  We have taken to just buying our kids a few fun specialty candy trinkets because we know they'll get more than enough from the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and school friends.

I know this may sound like I'm complaining, but I'm not.  I am so grateful that I have family and friends around to shower my kids with love and candy, I really am.  I honestly don't want to see it end.  So when life throws you buckets of candy, make candy bar brownies!!  Better yet, make candy bar brownies and take them to a party, so other people can help eat your stash.

I ran into this situation a couple years ago when we were invited to a friends house and I offered to make dessert.  I looked at my mammoth Tupperware thatsa mega bowl filled to the brim with candy and thought maybe I should just take some fun sized candy treats to share.  That's not really my style, so I tried to think of a vessel to use to pawn my candy off on my unsuspecting friends, and then it hit me....BROWNIES!

I killed two birds with one stone with these deliciously rich chocolaty treats, and I have made them the past couple years from out Halloween hoard.  The recipe calls for just chocolate-coated caramel-peanut nougat bars, aka Snickers, and plain old milk chocolate bars, but I have been known to throw in some M&M's, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, Mr. Goodbar, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and Baby Ruth.  I think it's fun to add variety because then you can guess which bars are in the brownie piece you eat.  I stay away from Twix and Kit-Kats because those don't really translate well to being crushed and baked.  I would also suggest not using Skittles.

These brownies are a lot of fun.  They are a kind of whimsical way to enjoy Halloween candy, and they are so much fun to share with friends.  Just make sure you have a glass of milk nearby. 

Candy Bar Brownies

4 large eggs, lightly beaten 
2 cups sugar 
3/4 cup butter, melted 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/3 cup cocoa
8.5 ounces chocolate-coated caramel-peanut nougat bars, chopped
4.4 ounces milk chocolate bars, chopped

Add the eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt into the egg mixture and stir until just combined. Then, fold in the chopped nougat bars and chopped milk chocolate bars.

Spoon mixture into a greased and floured 13 x 9inch baking dish.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.


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