Gluten Free Orgasmic Peanut Butter Cookies

Here’s my latest gluten free creation, inspired by this recipe on a wonderful blog called Cookie Madness.  To be perfectly honest, despite my obsession with peanut butter and sweets, peanut butter cookies are NOT my favorite cookies–in fact, when given the option between peanut butter cookies and any other cookie, I will pick any other cookie.

So why do I hate on peanut butter cookies so much?  In my opinion, most peanut butter cookies that I’ve had are overcooked and crunchy.  I personally like cookies that are undercooked (translation: somewhat raw) and soft.  That and I find peanut butter cookies kind of boring.  At least with butter or sugar cookies, you can decorate them and make them a little more exciting.

After reading the post on Cookie Madness about peanut butter cookies, I thought that I might give it another try, BUT make it gluten free so my brother can enjoy it–and frankly, I’ve been slacking on the gluten free recipe development lately.  So here is my gluten free take on a wonderful recipe…

Gluten Free Orgasmic Peanut Butter Cookies

Adapted from this recipe on Cookie Madness

Makes about 24 cookies

4 oz unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I’m partial to JIF)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1 tbsp molasses

1 tbsp heavy whipping cream

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp almond meal/flour

1/2 cup + 1 tbsp white rice flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

3 tbsp potato starch

2 tbsp tapioca starch

1/4 tsp xantham gum

1-1.5 cup chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, frozen (makes it easier to chop)

2.5 oz-3 oz finely shaved semisweet chocolate (eyeball it!)

Reese’s Pieces–as many as your heart desires

1) Mix the butter, peanut butter and sugars together until mixed together–do NOT cream them for a while, it’ll cause your cookies to spread out!  Mix in the vanilla, egg, molasses and heavy whipping cream. Beat in the baking powder and baking soda, making sure it’s thoroughly incorporated.

2) Sift together all of your flours and gums and add to the mixture.  Mix until well incorporated.  Stir in the shaved chocolate and chopped peanut butter cups.

3) Place concoction in the fridge to chill overnight.

4) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare some cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats.  Make golf-ball sized mounds of cookie dough (or whatever size you want!) and decorate with Reese’s Pieces.  Bake for 13 minutes.  Enjoy!

By the way, I could not come up with a name for this so I borrowed a phrase from one of my dearest college friends which he used to describe some of my food…That being said, I can’t promise mind-blowing pleasure from this cookie, BUT it is very tasty….

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Happy Day Cookie Cake

This post is dedicated to my college roommate Kathleen–an absolutely wonderful person who kept me company and kept me laughing throughout college.  We met our freshman year on the bus to our nutrition class, found out we had a lot in common, and decided to live together for the rest of college.

Picture of us together from our freshman year on the bus.

So Kathleen used to work at the St Louis zoo a lot for school (aka she didn’t get paid to do the amount of work she used to do).  She came home one night with a cookie cake from the local grocery store that simply said “Happy Day,” not Happy Birthday but just “Happy Day.”  We were so amused by this that we kept using the saying throughout the rest of college.

So it was only appropriate to send my ex-roomie who moved across the country a cookie cake that said “Happy Day.”  So that’s what I did–I made a semisweet chocolate chip and peanut butter chip cookie and sent it to Texas for her!  I decorated it with the frosting I got while working at Wilton (those cans and which is why the writing is so terrible–eek!).  Kathleen got the cake and said it is very good–that’s all I could ask for 🙂

So I leave you with a picture from our senior year at Halloween.  Kathleen may never forgive me for this, but I figure since I’m in it, maybe she’ll let it slide…she was Beth (Dog the Bounty Hunter’s woman friend–those are balloons) and I was D’Artagnon….oh to be in college again, right?

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Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Fall is here which means my trend of fall-themed baked goods will continue!!  My family went to an apple orchard in Elkhorn, WI called the Apple Barn and got a bunch of Honey Crisp apples (my favorite!!).  I wanted to make something for a preceptor who kind enough to be a reference for my current job and given her love of cupcakes, I decided there was no better way to thank her than with cupcakes.  With fresh apples in tote, the only logical next step was to make an apple cupcake…and then top it with caramel and peanuts!  It quickly became a fall-inspired dessert!

This cake took a little bit of work, but ended up really well in the end.  I originally grated the apples, but decided afterwards that the texture was too much like a muffin–so I decided to finely chop them up (could easily do this in a food processor).  The original cupcake had a TON of spice in it, but I thought that it took away from the apple flavor a bit, so I toned that down as well.  Caramel buttercream was courtesy of Martha Stewart–I can’t get enough of the recipes in her Cupcakes cookbook!!  Here’s the recipe (minus the buttercream–don’t want to get in trouble for posting that one 🙂 )

Spiced Apple Cupcake

Makes 18 cupcakes

Ingredients:

2-3 Honey Crisp apples–finely chopped (include the juice!)

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2.5 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cloves

1/8 tsp ground ginger

3/4 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla

1 cup brown sugar

Caramel Buttercream

Chopped peanuts

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices in a medium-sized bowl.  In a larger bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, and vanilla until well incorporated.  Then add the brown sugar and mix until combined.  Add the apples.

2) Add the drys into the wets and mix until just combined.  Fill the cupcake liners until 3/4 full.  Bake for 18-19 minutes.  Cool and top with caramel buttercream and chopped peanuts.

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Pumpkin Muffins!

How do you know if you are a pumpkin addict?

  1. You keep a stash of pumpkin butter through all seasons (yes even summer!).
  2. When dining at restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, etc, you purchase anything pumpkin that you see regardless of the season.
  3. You squeal when you see Libby’s canned pumpkin out in stores again.
  4. Above applies for pumpkin lattes or pumpkin muffins at donut and coffee shops
  5. You call your favorite Italian restaurant on a daily basis to find out when they are serving their pumpkin ravioli to make sure you don’t miss it this season

I’m sure I’m missing other points–feel free to contribute!  Regardless, I LOVE pumpkin and eat it all year-long, but have a hay-day in the fall when I don’t have to hide while eating it :).  So here is the first of my hopefully many pumpkin creations this fall/winter season which I gifted to one of my best friend’s family for taking me up to Michigan for an absolutely wonderful weekend.  I hope you enjoy!

Pumpkin Muffins with Streusel

Makes about a dozen

Ingredients:

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup veggie oil

2 eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

1.5 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1.5 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp salt

Streusel

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, vegetable oil and eggs until thoroughly combined.  Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and milk and stir until mixed well.

In a large bowl, sift together (or dump if you are lazy like me 🙂 ) the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined–do not overmix or they will turn out dry and rough and you will not enjoy them as much!

For the streusel–mix all ingredients together until clumps form.

Fill the muffin liners 3/4 of the way.  Top with the streusel and bake for 20 minutes.

I should have another post up again relatively soon, but as it is another gift–I want to make sure that the person gets it so I do not ruin the surprise 🙂

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Lemon Cupcakes with Prickly Pear Buttercream

Sorry for the lack of posts for a while!  Life kind of got in the way of baking–I’ve had some pretty big changes in my life lately, but everything has worked out for the best.  I got my first RD job as a WIC Nutritionist at the site I interned at during my Dietetic Internship.  Woot!  Ok enough about me…let’s get to the cupcakes…

These cupcakes were made for my dad’s work–they are having a luncheon where the employees need to bring an “international side dish” of sorts.  His coworkers requested that I make something for their lunch and so I agreed to make something for them.  The result=lemon cupcakes with a prickly pear buttercream frosting.  Sounds weird right?  Trust me, they are delicious!  The inspiration for this dish came from some prickly pear lemonade I made a year ago– saw some prickly pears at the grocery store and wanted to make something with them.

I used Martha Stewart’s Lemon Cupcake recipe from her beautiful cupcake cookbook.  I also used her swiss meringue buttercream recipe (I think I prefer Italian buttercreams) BUT the prickly pear part is all mine.  So onto the prickly pear part…

These are prickly pears–they are part of the cactus plant!  Get yourself 7 of these guys.  You can probably find them at ethnic grocery stores.

Grab a cutting board that won’t stain and maybe wear an apron–this stuff can stain pretty badly.  Cut off the ends and slice down the side of each pod.

Peel the peel off of the bud.  It’ll come off really easily.

Throw them in a blender and blend until completely smooth (give it a few minutes).

Grab a fine sieve and strain the juice.  You’ll notice a bunch of small blackish seeds.  Discard them. 

Pour the juice into a small pan and add ~3 tablespoons sugar.  Reduce it until it gets syrupy.

It’ll look somewhat like this.  Cool it off and add it to the frosting with the vanilla!

Top the lemon cupcakes with that delicious frosting that you made and enjoy!  I shared my trial batch with a bunch of friends in Wisconsin and they went over really well.  Luncheon is tomorrow so I’ll find out tomorrow how his coworkers like the actual batch!

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Ice Cream Cake!!

So what does one make with hot fudge sauce other than…an ice cream cake?!?!?!  Ok, so I know it’s not the first thing that comes to your head when you think of hot fudge sauce, but hopefully after reading this post, you’ll think of it right away.

Tommy turned 19 today and had a small party for his friends up at the lake this past weekend.  We needed something for serenading him with and since he isn’t the biggest fan of cakey cakes, after promising him an ice cream cake for years, I FINALLY decided to make him one.  For the record, I had not followed up on my promise because our freezers at home have never been cold enough to freeze my ice cream maker bowl.  This year I could finally make him a cake because my parents finally bought a new fridge/freezer that can be programmed to remain at certain subzero temperatures.

The cake was very Tommy-like–2 peanut butter ice cream with Reese’s peanut butter cups layers sandwiching a brownie layer.  All of this was covered in the hot fudge sauce and had some decorative whipped cream and mini Reese’s peanut butter cups.  (All homemade minus the Reese’s peanut butter cups)

The result was quite tasty even though it was not the prettiest cake I’ve ever made–see the melted ice cream on the bottom.  I learned that it is probably not the best idea to make an ice cream cake on a 90 degree summer day in a cabin that does not have central air (for the record we do have some window units).  BUT I also discovered that ice cream might be my cake medium of choice because I can smoosh it into submission!!  My cake was slightly lopsided and I was trying unsuccessfully to saw enough of it off to make it even.  My mom was watching me struggle and told me to just push the ice cream down–and it worked!

While this cake was not gluten free, it can EASILY be made so by making the brownie layer minus the gluten.

Everyone enjoyed the cake and there is still some left up at the house.  I personally cannot wait to dig into again next weekend!

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Hot Fudge Sauce

This is a warning–the food you are seeing in no way healthy or good for you…that being said, it’s extremely delicious and decadent.

Ben & Jerry’s are the ice cream gods (in my eyes).  I’ve been infatuated with their ice cream and history since I was a little kid; so much so that I did a speech on their company in 5th grade (yes, I’ve always been a dork).  During high school, one of my best friends introduced me to the art of ice cream making using a Cuisinart machine and this book.

I was in love.  I immediately went home and bought both the Cuisinart ice cream machine and Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book.

This is the best ice cream cookbook I have found to this day.  Not only do they include ice cream recipes, but they also include a recipe for Hot Fudge Sauce….oh my gosh it is good.  I highly recommend you make this if you have a few hours to spare and want a delicious homemade ice cream topping.  It is one of the few recipes I will actually follow and not deviate from.

Hot Fudge Sauce

From Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup cream

Rough chop the chocolate (if you want things to move a tad quicker) and combine with the butter on top of a double boiler…Stir until smooth…look at that buttery, chocolately goodness.

.Add the cocoa powder

and whisk until combined.

With a slotted spoon, gradually stir in the sugar.

This mixture should look and feel like wet sand.

Cook and occasionally stir the wet sand mixture over simmering water for 20 min.

Gradually stir in the milk and cream.

Cook and occasionally stir for 1 hr.

Enjoy over ice cream, brownies, etc.

Stay tuned for what I plan to do with this vat of hot fudge….I personally cannot wait…can you?

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