Tag Archives: chocolate

Take 5 Cookies

18 Apr

Take 5 Cookies

When I told my mom I was making these cookies, she most likely felt a twinge of jealous-happiness. Happy that I was making these but jealous that should could not gobble them up with me.

Take 5 Cookies

If you’ve ever had a Take 5 candy bar before, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. The candy bar itself has a combination of peanuts, caramel, pretzels, peanut butter, and milk chocolate. The sweet and salty combination is to die for. I have a hard time controlling myself when it comes to this candy bar, so I limit that impulse by not buying the candy at all.

Take 5 Cookies

All that limiting impulse stuff goes out the window when your grandma sends you a big bag of Take 5 candy after visiting Hershey’s Chocolate World. Can you be tortured by your favorite candy? I’d say so.

So the battle began. At first, I just let the bright red bag of candy sit on my counter unopened. Then I decided to snip off a corner and just eat one a few. After a few days of this cycle, I knew I’d have to be more productive about this.

So what should I do with all that peanut buttery, pretzely, chocolately goodness? Make cookies out of it, of course!

Take 5 Cookies

Turns out, candy in cookies is all the rage these days. I started with a simple, chocolate chip cookie base, to which I added a few dollops of peanut butter for good measure.

Then, of course, I chopped up the Take 5 candy bars and added that deliciousness in.

Take 5 Cookies

Hope you enjoy this creation as much as I did!

Take 5 Cookies

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No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz Cracker Cookies

20 Mar

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz Cracker Cookies

As I may have mentioned before, we have two long-haired cats. They’re adorable, cuddly, and (mostly) sweet putter tats. But they’re long-haired. Which is basically a nightmare to vacuum/clean/keep from looking mangy. Their long hair also makes them look about 10 pounds heavier than they really are, which in cat-weight is pretty darn hefty looking.

Over the past few months, we’ve toyed with the idea of getting them shaved. I know, I know. It will make them look like weird, little rats, but the benefit of no hair is enticing. But before we could make a final decision on this, the hubs thought he could double as a barber and decided to start chopping their hair off with some scissors. Needless to say, they now have wildly uneven coats of hair. Can’t decide which is preferable: shaved rat cats or Homemade Hairstyles by Hubs.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz Cracker Cookies

Here’s a recipe that doesn’t involve scissors or cats. In fact, it’s so easy that it doesn’t even involve your stove. That’s right, a no-bake beauty with only three ingredients.

I am forever indebted to Tess for introducing me to these devilishly easy “cookies.” They’re the perfect combination of salty and sweet, and who can resist the peanut butter/chocolate combo? (No one in their right mind, that’s who.)

I list measurements in the recipe, but feel free to adapt to however many you want or need at the moment. These are simple, and I’d venture to say a definite staple for your recipe box.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz Cracker CookiesThe cast of characters.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz Cracker CookiesStep 1 = a no-brainer.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz Cracker Cookies

Make cute cracker sandwiches.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz Cracker CookiesDip cracker sandwiches in melted chocolate and top with chopped peanuts for fanciness or leave them plain and smooth.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz Cracker Cookies

Let the chocolate harden up for at least 20 minutes or else you may notice an embarrassing chocolate stain on your face a few hours later when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz Cracker Cookies

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie

13 Feb

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie

When’s the last time you got in trouble? I don’t think about getting in trouble much because, hey, I’m an adult, and adults don’t get in trouble, right? Wrong.

Last week while visiting San Francisco, I rode the famous cable cars. I sat on the outside seat so I could get a good look at the city as we drove by and so I could occasionally stand up and hang off the side of the car just like in the movies. While I was sitting down, I casually slung my arm over the back of the wooden seat. The cable car conductor/driver/operator was not having that. He yelled at me to move my arm and waggled his finger at me like I was a naughty kid. I’m pretty sure I was blushing out of embarrassment. But did I learn my lesson? A few minutes later, without thinking, my arm was right back around the back of the seat in a comfortable position. This time, I didn’t get a verbal warning. The conductor swatted my arm off the seat. He actually hit me! I was less embarrassed and more baffled. I just got smacked by a stranger. It was bizarre and weird and a little funny. Mostly bizarre, though.

I prefer not to get in trouble.

If you don’t want to get in trouble this Valentine’s day, try making a delicious homemade breakfast for your loved ones. How about the easiest one there is? I don’t know too many people who turn their noses up to smoothies.

Ever since my husband watched a few documentaries on obesity and unhealthy living, he’s finally come to the conclusion that vegetables are good for you. (Shocking!) Smoothies are a great place to hide healthy veggies. Your kids (and/or spouse) will think it’s a dessert-like snack, but it’s also sneakily good for them. I promise you can’t taste the green veggies at all in this recipe. It tastes like a pure treat!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie

Load all ingredients in your blender.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie

The greens will take up a lot of room…do not fear!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie

Blend until completely smooth.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie

Serve immediately and drink with a straw (duh!).  (more…)

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookie Dough Thumbprint Cookies

24 Oct

I am hopeless when it comes to directions. Forget about offering me tips like, “Go north on Main Street.” I’ll counter back with, “How am I supposed to know which way is north?” Come on, people! It’s hard for some of us.

It’s not hard for all of you, though, is it? Some people just have an aura of good-directionness around them.

Take my husband, for example.

The first time we went to NYC on our own, we were just two college kids taking an adventurous trip for the weekend. Naturally, I was terrified. And just as naturally, my pre-husband (pre-marriage, FYI) was in complete control.

We left Grand Central Station, my pre-husband assertively navigating up the right streets and down others and me lugging my roller-bag suitcase behind me, half-walking, half-running, and panting all the while. I was sure we were lost. I wanted a taxi with my whole heart, but for some reason, a taxi was not an option. We walked 10 or 50 blocks, depending on who you ask.

And then, out of nowhere, we were at our destination. This was a small miracle to me, the hopeless direction girl. But pre-husband never batted an eye. (Aura of good-directionness, I tell you.)

Today’s destination is not nearly as navigationally challenging as that trip to NYC; it’s just to some cookies. So come on, no reason not to make these.

I first made these cookies approximately one month ago. Then I made them again two weeks later. And then I made them two days ago (and put the last batch in 30 minutes ago). Yes, folks, they are that good.

These cookies are special because they’re not your run-of-the-mill thumbprint peanut butter cookies with a unwrapped, waxy chocolate kiss lazily thrown on top. (But don’t get me wrong, those lazy kiss ones are great, too!) The chocolate cookie dough topping is what takes these over the edge. They are rich and chocolatey and peanut-buttery. The ultimate trifecta in my book.

Cream your butters and sugars together. You know the drill.

Add the rest of your ingredients to complete the dough.

Shape the dough into tablespoon-sized balls, roll into sugar, and make a thumbprint impression with your thumb.

Bake at for 10-12 minutes until golden on the edges.

Before the cookies cool (and before you take them off the sheet), deepen the thumbprint with the back of a spoon.

While the cookies are cooling, start on your chocolate cookie dough topping. (Eggless, of course!)

It should look like this at the end. Smooth, chocolatey, and oh-so-perfect as a topping for the peanut butter cookies!

You know what comes next: you put it all together and admire your handiwork. Then you eat your handiwork. (more…)

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

19 Jul

When asked what my favorite animal was, I always used to say a cheetah. They have bright, spotted coats of fur and can run as fast as cars can drive. Also, have you ever seen pictures of a baby cheetah cub? Cutest. Thing. Ever. I guess I imagined cheetahs to be like big house cats—just more adept at leaping and hunting.

This time next month I will be in South Africa. That’s right everybody, SOUTH AFRICA. It’s a little bit crazy, considering the only time I left the United States was to go to Jamaica, and at that time I was living in Florida (so it wasn’t really that far away). One-way travel to our first destination is a mere staggering 26 hours.

I’m excited to go (understatement of the year). Things I will be doing include going on a wildlife safari, visiting Cape Town, touching the Indian Ocean, and tasting some new-to-me African dishes. My mind is boggled. It is actually a possibility that I might see a real cheetah. My life might be complete after that.

In retrospect, my life might have been complete after making and eating these chocolate caramel shortbread bars. I’ve always had a thing for caramel, and what better way to eat caramel than sandwiched between a layer of smooth chocolate and buttery shortbread?

Yes, the bars happen to contain 4 whole sticks of butter. Yes, the recipe makes a large 9 x 13-sized batch. Yes, I ate the majority of these by myself in under a week’s time. Any more questions?

Start by making your shortbread. At first it will be very crumbly. Keep mixing.

Keep mixing.

Before you know it, the dough will come together and feel more like cookie dough.

Press the dough into a parchment-lined cake pan. Even out the dough with your fingers or the bottom of a flat glass, then bake it.

To make the caramel, melt the butter with the sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Stir constantly!

Keep stirring constantly even once it starts to boil.

Keep stirring constantly as it starts to thicken.

Keep stirring constantly until it turns a light caramel color. Remove from heat.

Spread the caramel over your shortbread, then put the pan in the refrigerator until you’ve made your chocolate.

Combine your butter, corn syrup, and chocolate.

Heat over simmering water just until melted.

Spread chocolate over caramel and shortbread layers.

Refrigerate until firmed up. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Cut into bars and serve. Refrigerate leftovers for up to a week or freeze indefinitely. (more…)

Chocolate Cream Puffs

22 Jun

I was a hyper kid. I always had trouble winding down. My real problem was that I couldn’t stop laughing. (And mostly I found myself hilarious.) The family would be sitting around having a jolly time, and I would start getting silly. Inevitably something would crack me up, and I would start laughing. At first, it was no big deal because everyone else was laughing too. But then the laughter would all die off, except for mine. And of course I found this even more funny. Times like these would end in tears. Laughing for a straight 10 minutes is bound to cause a bodily reaction, and I would usually be gasping for air as tears rolled down my face. Like I said, I had trouble winding down.

I was always the hyper one—that is, until my little brother came along. He is 14 years my junior, and the caboose of the family. I went home last weekend and have since decided that we are twin souls. He cracks up at himself and can’t stop laughing for the life of him. He was laughing so hard at one point that he yanked his shorts down and starting doing the underwear dance. Crazy kid. Again, twin souls. Twin silly souls.

I made these chocolate cream puffs after some begging from my mom. They aren’t silly. In fact, I’d say these are the opposite of silly. But sometimes you gotta balance out the silly with serious, mature treats such as these.

The chocolate filling is by far the best part of these. It has a rich chocolate flavor, and I’m not opposed to eating it alone like a bowl of decadent chocolate pudding.

Stir together the water, butter, and salt until it begins to boil.

Add all of the flour, and stir until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Use a 1/4-cup scoop to drop dough balls onto a cookie sheet.

It’s fine if they all look a little different. It adds character.

Bake until puffed and golden brown.

This is how your baked puffs should look.

Cut off the tops and pull out the doughy insides. Now make the chocolate filling!

Heat the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, salt, and milk, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until the mixture begins to boil.

After adding beaten eggs, return to heat and stir constantly until mixture thickens and begins to boil.

Mixture should be very thick. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.

Pour filling into a bowl and place plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the chocolate to prevent a film from forming.

Now fill the puffs with thick chocolate filling.

Dainty chocolate cream puffs. (more…)

Devil’s Food Cupcakes

18 Jun

Wrinkly feet. Constant sleeping. Even, open-mouthed breathing.

There is something magical about newborn babies. All you want to do is touch their perfect skin and smile at them. I got to hold my friend Tess’s baby girl this week, hence this pondering. And I’ve determined all is right in the world when you hold a tiny infant.

Or a kitten.

Or a puppy.

What is it about baby creatures that we can’t deny? For me it comes down to sweetness and cuteness. (The most important “ness-es,” probably.)

I like to think these cupcakes are sweet and cute. The chocolate cake is rich and oh-so-moist (thanks in part to the cocoa + boiling water and the buttermilk). The frosting flavor will remind you of ganache, and yet it’s thicker and velvety (thanks to the cream).

Whisk together the cocoa and boiling water. This makes the cake extra-rich.

This is what the batter should look like after the eggs are mixed in.

This is what the batter should look like after the flour and buttermilk have been added in.

Fill your muffin tins using a 1/3-cup scoop.

Bake until the cupcakes puff and the centers spring back when touched.

Frost your cupcakes. (more…)

Big Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

5 Jun

When I was a kid, I got in trouble for putting my feet up on my chair at the kitchen table. Everyone corrected me for it. It’s like all the adults in my life had it in for me just because of this one little habit. Here’s how it normally went.

Begin scene.

Mother/Father/Grandparent: “Adrianne.” (Serious tone.)
Me: “What?” (Innocently.)
Mother/Father/Grandparent: “Put your feet down when you’re sitting at the table. You cannot sit like that when you’re grown up.” (Sternly.)
Me: Slowly put feet down like a proper lady. Thirty seconds pass. Slowly put feet back up like a comfortable, hunched-over little monkey.

Repeat scene.

That was a habit that I just couldn’t seem to break. One of the first ways I celebrated my freedom when I lived on my own was putting my feet up on my chair in the comfort of my own apartment. No one corrected or reprimanded me or told me I was acting like a child. It was awesome.

I also ate too many cookies as a child. That’s not a habit I’m willing to break as a grown-up, either. Children sometimes have it right.

Here’s a recipe for one of my favorite cookies since I was a kid. These chocolate cookies are huge, chewy, and full of peanut butter chips. Because they’re so big, no need to feel guilty for eating too many. You’ll probably start feeling full after one.

Cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy.

Add eggs and vanilla, beating well after each addition.

Add the dry mixture to the creamed one, mixing gently by hand until combined.

Add in those peanut butter chips.

Form dough balls the size of golf balls.

Bake 16-18 minutes until puffed and cracked on top.

A close-up…mmmmm. (more…)

Turtle Brownie Pie

10 May

I worked at a bakery for two weeks. That’s right, two whole weeks. I wasn’t even baking. I was just at the front of the store using tongs to place croissants in boxes, toss decorated sugar cookies in waxed paper baggies, and run credit cards through the cash register.

It all ended so suddenly when I requested some time off for Thanksgiving. Foolish girl—you can’t request days off for a holiday. (Especially when you’re making an enviable $8/hr.) Needless to say, I wasn’t able to sample all of the treats before I had to take my leave.

One thing I managed to taste was their turtle brownie. And, my, it was good. Ever since then, I’ve dreamed of creating my own (better) version.

This turtle brownie pie may be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made. I always try to make delicious-tasting food, but it doesn’t always look as good as it tastes. And with food, you really do judge the book by its cover. Who wants to eat food that looks like chewed-up garbage?

This isn’t exactly a pie, but it’s round, so that’s what we’ll call it. The brownie is dense and decadent, and the top is smothered in ganache, toasted pecans, and buttery caramel sauce. (Pause. I just reached over and ate a spoonful of the extra caramel sauce. Heavenly.)

Step 1: Toast pecans.

Step 2: Whip up brownie batter.

Step 3: Make rich ganache. Lick the spoon.

Step 4: Cook some caramel. Repeat licking spoon step.

Step 5: Assemble pie. (more…)

Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 May

Shortening. There, I said it. If you are too scared to keep reading, I understand. I know some people ban shortening from their houses, but sometimes, just sometimes, I think it makes food taste better. (Traitor! Witch! Dummy!)

You may still be skeptical. Chocolate chip cookies? I already have a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, and I make them with butter, and I’ve made them 100 times, and they taste just fine. Well…true. But because chocolate chip cookies are part of my food pyramid, I like to mix things up a bit so I’m not eating the same cookie every week.

The shortening really does make these cookies taste like a new chocolate chip cookie. These cookies are still delicious when cooled and even for days to come. I like to flatten them a bit before baking. This gives them a simple look and makes it easy to smash a scoop of ice cream between two little disks for a smart cookie sandwich.

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