Stay Awake Peanut Butter Cookies

Baking does a number of things for me: provides me with stress relief, delicious goodies, and a way to stay awake while waiting for people to get off of work….

Started with a basic peanut butter cookie recipe and it somehow turned into so much more.  Shortly after starting, I realized I didn’t have eggs or milk.  So I quickly had to

right out of the oven

throw together a flaxseed “egg” and use some  almond milk from the fridge.  While concocting my make-do substitutions, I saw some espresso powder in the pantry and decided to throw that in as well.  While looking in the pantry, I decided to

throw in not only dark chocolate chips, but also white chocolate and peanut butter chips because more chips are better, right?

So without further adieu…here’s the recipe that my sleep deprived brain adapted.

Stay Awake Peanut Butter Cookies (half recipe–use your best judgement in estimating amounts)

Inspired by a recipe by Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

-0.625 cups of AP flour (I told you I halved it…)

-0.375 tsp baking soda

-1/4 tsp baking powder

-1/8 tsp salt

-1/4 butter, unsalted

-1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

-0.375 cups sugar

-1/4 cup packed brown sugar

-1/2 T ground flaxseeds

-1.5 T water

-1/2 T almond milk

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-1.5 T instant espresso powder

-1.5 cups assorted chips–dark chocolate, white chocolate, and peanut butter

1) Preheat oven to 350.  Combine flaxseeds and water and set aside.

2) Mix butter and peanut butter until smooth.  Add sugars and beat until fluffy and light.  Add flaxseed “egg” mixture, vanilla extract and espresso powder.  Mix until combined.

3) Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Stir in chips.

4) Roll rounded teaspoons of dough in sugar and bake for 9 minutes on parchment covered baking sheets.

These turned out quite well.  Going to have to make these again when I’m not as sleepy :)

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What to do with leftover pizza dough

…When you are absolutely sick of eating pizza for the week….

Sounds horrible right?  Who could get sick of pizza?  Well…when you have pizza for 3-4 meals out of the week…this girl.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some deep dish and some thin crust (which by the way, that crust recipe also makes a killer thin crust), but there comes a point where one must consume something else.

 

So rather than throw out the dough, I decided to turn it into something else…garlic knots!  And what makes them awesome is that they are SUPER easy to make.

 

 

Garlic Knots

Leftover pizza dough

4 cloves of garlic

A pinch of salt

4 T unsalted butter

2 drizzles of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll pizza dough out into a square and cut 1 inch x 4 inch strips.  Roll the dough into a log and tie into a knot.  Place on baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes (I tend to like my bread a bit doughier, so adjust according!)

While the knots are baking, finely mince or make a paste out of the garlic.  Melt butter in a pan on the stove and add the olive oil and garlic.

Toss the knots with the butter mixture when they come out of the oven.

Enjoy!

See, a super quick and tasty way to utilize the items laying around in your kitchen!  And for those who love garlic….an it’s almost the weekend treat.  Shame DJ OB missed this one ;)

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DEEP DISH!!

So what do you do in Chicago when it’s cold and rainy with snow on the ground?  Make deep dish as a very long overdue gift to a certain special someone  ;). (Who I will refer to as DJ OB from here on out…)

Back up…last Valentine’s Day, I promised to make DJ OB a homemade deep dish pizza (his favorite dish in the entire world) and somehow life got in the way between now and then.  So with a free afternoon and his help, we set out to make a delicious dinner…

We used a recipe that I found on Chowhound.  I would have loved to make the recipes listed on the bottom part of the page, but as we did not have 6+ hours to devote to letting the dough rise, I settled for the short rise.
Assembly was easy: roll down out into pan (that has been greased and covered in cornmeal), toss on what seems like an ungodly amount of mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, sausage chunks, pizza sauce, herbs and parmesan cheese.  Bake at 375 for 30ish minutes and broil for 2-3 minutes.

As for a sauce recipe, DJ OB loves tomatoes and I do not, but as true Chicago-style deep dish has tomatoes on top, I had to make it saucy.  I sauteed some garlic in olive oil, added crushed red peppers, fresh basil, salt and pepper and cooked the whole mixture down for 30 minutes.  And let me tell you, DJ OB is VERY Italian and the sauce met his approval ;).

The result was delicious.  After I carefully scraped off the tomatoes chunks and sausage (weird sausage…wasn’t my fav), it was quite delicious.  I would definitely play around with the dough and sauce recipes for next time.  Stay tuned for future installments!  So what did DJ OB think about it?

He llloooooovvvvvveeeeeeedddd it :).

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Gluten Free Bagels

Sorry for the lack of writing for the past year!  I’m a horrible blogger as life just kind of got in the way :(.

Anyways, my brother and I were both at my parents house and decided that it was high time we tried out a gluten free bagel recipe.  After searching the internet high and low, we decided upon this recipe because of the pretty pictures and the flours in the recipe (good combination that generally works and doesn’t impart strange flavors).

Here are some of our pictures of the process….

So you can probably see it was an morning baking adventure well worth while!  The bagels were absolutely delicious!  They had a great crumb structure (did not crumble like traditional gluten free products) and tasted fantastic by themselves and with cream cheese.  Hats off to Terris from Free Eats for creating this awesome bagel!

Need an idea on what to do with extra bagels?  Make a sandwich out of them…and watch them disappear ;).

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Gluten Free Pecan Pie Bars

What do you do when you’re in Ames, Iowa and you need something to do??

Make gluten free pecan pie bars (and gluten free deep dish pizza but that will have to be another post)!

Dave loved the pecan pie I made for Thanksgiving and has been aching for some more, but…and don’t tell anyone this… but I’m really not the biggest fan of making pies…shh!  I mean don’t get me wrong, pies are delicious and are totally worth the effort, but I really wasn’t in the mood for making one at the time and Dave really just wanted the filling anyways…

So we made pecan pie bars!  It’s a fantastic combination of  gooey pecan pie and a crispy crust without all of the hassle of making the pie dough!  Even better, I had the perfect crust recipe ready to go–the crust for the St Louis Gooey Butter Cake I make works fantastically for this recipe.

I wish I could say that the filling recipe is mine, but alas, I took it from the Food Network and it can be found here.  Make sure you use a full 2 tablespoons of this stuff…

And make sure you save yourself some as well :) And yes, that is the tiniest bottle of bourbon ever!

Follow the same instructions for the crust as the Gooey Butter Cake (make sure you prebake it for 15 minutes or until slightly golden).  Follow the Food Network’s instructions for the filling.  Pour in the filling and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the bars are mostly set (you still want it to jiggle slightly–that’s where all of the gooeyness comes from!)

Good luck trying to trying to eat just one…I don’t think that it can be done :)

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Gluten Free St Louis Gooey Butter Cake

During college, I made a lot of friends who are St Louis natives, who decided that they needed to show me the true cuisine of St Louis.  As a result, I was exposed to St Louis staples right from the beginning…fried ravioli, Ted Drewes frozen custard, food from “The Hill”, provel cheese/Imo’s Pizza (absolutely disgusting…sorry guys!), etc.  But my favorite item gleaned from St Louis’ food culture was the Gooey Butter Cake.

The Gooey Butter Cake is something that is hardly known outside of the St Louis or Midwest region and I didn’t quite understand the obsession over upon first hearing about it.  Thankfully a friend of mine’s Mom gave me her favorite recipe for this delightful creation and I set out to make it to see what all the fuss was about.

I was hooked with my first bite of this ethereal cake… It is unlike any other cake I’ve ever had.  So when the time came to plan a Gluten Free Thanksgiving, I knew this had to be on the dessert table and quickly set out to come up with a recipe.

The resulting cake is identical to the gluten containing version–a crisp shortbread-like crust, a layer of butter goo, and a heavy coating of powdered sugar.  It was a big hit with my family and friends (who love the original!) and I hope it will be a hit for yours as well!

Gluten-Free St Louis Gooey Butter Cake

CRUST:
1/4 cup white rice flour

1/4 cup oat flour (make sure it’s gluten free!)

1/4 cup almond meal

2 1/2 tablespoons tapioca flour

1 1/2 tablespoons potato starch

1/4 tsp xantham gum

3 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup butter

FILLING:

1 1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter

1 egg

1/2 cup white rice flour

1/6 cup almond meal

3 tablespoons potato starch

2 tablespoons tapioca flour

1/4 tsp xantham gum

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

powdered sugar

CRUST:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Sift the flours together in a mixing bowl.  Stir in the sugar. Cut the butter into the flour/sugar mix until it looks like small peas and it starts to cling.  Grease a 9×9 baking pan and press the mixture onto the bottom of the pan (you can push it up the sides, but I just like the crust to stay on the bottom).  Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes–until it browns only slightly. Cool the crust.

FILLING:
Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer until fluffy and white.  While the butter is creaming, sift together your flours into a medium sized bowl. Add the egg in and mix until combined. Alternate adding the flour mixture and evaporated milk (ie flours, milk, flours, milk, flours) and mix after each addition.  Mix in the corn syrup and vanilla and beat until well combined.  Pour the filling onto the cooled crust.  Liberally cover with powdered sugar and bake for 30-35 minutes until the cake is nearly set.  Trust me on this one, you do not want to overbake your cake!  Cool and serve!Sorry about the lackluster pictures–they do not do these treats justice!  I have to admit–I was so caught up in Thanksgiving madness that I did not take a picture of the whole cake…sorry! :(

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Chocolate Babka!!

 

 

So this bread (yes, believe it or not, it’s bread) probably questions my credentials as an RD…but let me remind you though that I do have a culinary background and my true passion is cooking/baking.  So with that disclaimer taken care of, I’d like to introduce you to one of the tastiest things I’ve ever made…the chocolate babka.

This bread is not for the faint of heart.  It has 5 sticks of butter, 2.25 lbs of semisweet chocolate and more than 3 cups of sugar…but man, is it good!  My first introduction to this bread was at Great Harvest Bread Company and I very much wanted to buy it, but the $8/loaf price tag ward me off. After making this though, I finally understand the high price tag associated with the bread–chocolate and butter ain’t cheap!

My reason for finally buckling down and making this was kind of sad–one of my best friend’s dog of 12 yrs recently passed away and I wanted to make something for her chocoholic family.  The bread ended up being more for a celebration as they got a new puppy the same day I brought it over–he’s a cutey too!

Ok so make sure you have plenty of time to make this bread as the chopping of the chocolate takes quite a bit of time.  If you hand-chop it like me, make sure you grab a pair of latex (or non-latex) gloves to prevent the chocolate from melting on your hand–also get ready for a workout!

I’m not going to post the recipe for this bread because it isn’t mine and I’d like to direct some traffic over to the wonderful site where I found it.  So here’s the recipe and please check out the rest of her recipes–they have been spot on every single time I made one! I did bake the one in the pictures in a bundt pan solely because I ran out of loaf pans–this is why it has the weird shape haha!

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