Recipe 9: Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

Sorry for my absence.  I haven’t baked in over two weeks.  I haven’t given up, I’ve just been re-prioritizing lately.  The weather has been bizarre this winter/spring.  The sun has graced us with its presence quite a bit these past few days, and I think the vitamin D has been working wonders.  So instead of spending all my time in the kitchen, I’ve been outside as much as possible.

I stumbled upon this quote a few weeks ago while wandering around town with a friend.  I happened to see it again yesterday, and it motivated me to get back on the blog.  This semester has been a weird one for me–not necessarily good or bad, just weird.  I had to do some real soul searching about whether or not I made the right career decision.  Someone told me at the beginning of the semester that in order to be the best counselor, I need to adapt my own worldview:  a daunting, yet exciting task.  I haven’t developed mine quite yet, but I do know this:  all people need to be loved, and one way I share love is through food.  Thank you to my people who have been here for me these past few weeks.

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This recipe is from a few weeks ago when I had a weekend class.  I like to think it brought some smiles to my classmates’ faces during our rainy weekend class.  It combines some of the best snacks into one–little crunch, little salt, lots of chocolate.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

IMG_4415 1.  Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. 2.  Melt the butter and peanut butter.   I melted mine in the microwave.  Those dishes are pretty special–they were my Bubbe’s (grandmother).  She taught me how to show my love for others through food.

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3.  Mix the sugars and butters in a mixer.  After combined, mix in eggs and vanilla IMG_4405 4.  Slowly add in the dry ingredients.

5.  Crush the pretzels.  I put mine in a plastic bag, lay the bag over a towel to catch crumbs, and hammer away with a rolling pin.  Baking:  good for anger management and tastes great! IMG_4408

6.  Mix in the crushed pretzels and chocolate chips.

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7.  Use your hands to form the cookie.  I’ve noticed that cookie dough with peanut butter tends to separate the chocolate chip from the dough.  Push them into the dough to make sure they stay part of the cookie.

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Make sure your hands are washed!

8.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookie is lightly golden.  Bring to class or work and share the love!

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Link to the recipe: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2013/03/peanut-butter-pretzel-chocolate-chip-cookie-bites/

Recipe 8: Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

“Spring” break has come and gone.  Spring breaks used to be filled with spontaneous trips to Germany, half marathons in DC, adventures in San Fran, and Deer Valley cookies…I mean ski trips out west.  And by far the best part of a ski trip was lunch at Silver Lake Lodge.   Have I mentioned their cookies yet?  Seriously, they’re worth a trip to Utah.  I also loved lunch because it was the only time our family spent together on the mountain.  My brother is a naturally talented skier.  My sister is fiercely competitive and sets personal goals of skiing every run on the mountain at least twice before the lifts close (and really tries to avoid breaking bones after that one time…).  My dad isn’t so bad himself.  My mom and I on the other hand decided that snowshoeing is just as great an activity and a little less frightening.  So family ski trips became divide and conquer and see ya for lunch!

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The fam on the “beach”

The cookie that I recently made would be a perfect post skiing, or any kind of exercise, cookie.  It has all the ingredients you want after working out–peanut butter, banana, and a hint of chocolate!  Maybe I should pitch the recipe to Deer Valley and move out west?  I’m attempting to train for a half marathon amongst the ice, snow, and rain that Nashville seems to be gracing us with.  After a 6 mile run on Sunday, these were the perfect refuel treat.

They also earned a breakfast stamp of approval from my 9am class friends.  What a versatile cookie!

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies:

1.  Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

2.  Blend the sugars and melted butter together until smooth.

3.  Pour in the melted peanut butter.


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4.  Combine the mashed up bananas with the peanut butter mixture.  It will remain a bit chunky.

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An action shot for y’all

5.   Slowly add in the dry ingredients.  Or add them up quickly and make a mess.  Choice is yours.

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6.  Add in the chocolate chips—don’t measure them.  Live a little.

7.  Bake for about 10-ish minutes.

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Some reflections and modifications:
The banana is really overpowering.  I personally couldn’t taste the peanut butter, so if I make these again (duh, I’m making them again!), I’m putting in way more pb and a little less banana.  I would also throw in some oats and take out some flour.  And to make it super healthy I would sub in some dark chocolate.

Thanks Ellen for helping me make these!  Bet y’all thought that hand was mine…

Find the original recipe here:  http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/04/peanut-butter-banana-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Recipe 7: Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is flourless and gluten free.  No, I’m not gluten free.  Yes, I eat gluten often..more like all the time.  We live in a world where it has become trendy to cut out food groups—paleo this, sugar detox that, etc.   If that is your thing, go for it.  If you have an allergy or medical condition that prevents you from eating gluten, please continue to do what you need to to stay healthy and happy.  My philosophy?  I’m sugar FULL, gluten FULL, dairy FULL, and definitely peanut FULL until a doctor tells me I can’t be.

So why make the gluten free cookies?  In case you forgot, I’m making 99 recipes with peanut butter.  Not just any recipes (so while I appreciate the requests, I have to finish my list first).  The recipes come from here..send me requests from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/23/best-peanut-butter-recipes_n_6525130.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063 please!

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies:

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This recipe is so easy!

1.  Blend the peanut butter, brown sugar, baking soda, and eggs in a mixer.
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2.  Mix in the chocolate chips.  The recipe calls for 1 cup, but we all know that isn’t enough chocolate!  I actually rarely measure chocolate chips.  You will know when you have enough.

3.  Form your cookies and bake.  The recipe calls for 10 minutes, but mine were more than ready after 7 minutes.

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Baking tip:  Stagger your cookies on a baking sheet.  This prevents overcrowding.  Plus it’s how my Mom taught me to bake cookies.  I trust everything my Mom says in the kitchen!

4.  Eat and enjoy!

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Thoughts on Gluten Free Cookies:

I do not typically eat gluten free baked goods.  So take this critique with my ignorance in mind.  These cookies were good, not great.  The texture was a little more crumbly and would go well paired with some milk.  As long as I can still eat gluten, I’m sticking to regular cookies.

My friend who is doing her dietetic internship suggested a way to add some nutritional value to this cookie.  Take some oats and turn them into oat flour by pulsing them in a food processor.  Add to the cookie dough, and let me know how it changes the consistency!

Recipe:  http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/2012/06/13/flourless-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies/ 

Recipe 6: Nutella Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

I have a rule that it’s not dessert if it doesn’t have chocolate.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fruit crisp or cake….as long as there is a chocolate option on the side. That being said, I tend to not mess with peanut butter cookies.  I obviously will have to get past this bias of mine as I continue to bake these 99 recipes.  However, no surprise that I picked the peanut butter cookie filled with nutella as my first pb cookie.

I’m happy to report that even the skeptic (me) determined this recipe is a keeper.  There was a perfect pb to nutella ratio so I didn’t feel chocolate deprived.  You can also (attempt) to surprise people with the nutella on the inside, because the cookie looks like plain peanut butter from the outside.  Here’s how you do it:

1.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and make 26 teaspoons of nutella.  Freeze for about an hour.

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2. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).

3.  In your mixer, combine the butter and both sugars.  Then beat in the peanut butter until it is combined.

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Tip: Let butter get to room temperature and cut it up to combine quicker

4.  Add in the egg and vanilla.

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5.  Slowly add in the mixed dry ingredients.

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6. Now for the fun part.  Take out your frozen nutella.  Take about half a cookie’s worth of dough, place the frozen nutella on it, take the second half of dough to conceal the nutella.

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7.  Use a fork to make the typical peanut butter cookie indents.  Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350.

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Wouldn’t think there was nutella inside..

What I would do differently:
I like to make cookies pretty small, so I can eat more.   I would make 1/2 teaspoon sized frozen nutella bits to make twice as many cookies.            IMG_4273

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Thanks Marissa for being the hand model!

Find the recipe here:  http://www.handletheheat.com/nutella-stuffed-peanut-butter-cookies/

Recipe 5: 5 Ingredient Triple Decker Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

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Parking lot turned ice skating rink

We’re currently iced/snowed in in Nashville.  As much as it has been great to have some time off from class and work, it has been a challenge to find comfort in slowing down for a few days.  Despite earning the reputation as the ‘lazy child’ of the three kids in the family (while the other two were competitive athletes always at sports practice, I was typically found memorizing the top 10 music videos on TRL), I have found that I am happiest when I’m busy and productive.  The ice has forced me to stay inside and take a breather.  I managed to do an hour and a half of yoga which is something I know I need to incorporate into my life, but it is so hard for me to turn off my brain and “be present.”   I somehow have never managed to do that in yoga, but the stretching must have been good for me, right?  I’m not sure if I’ll ever be fully present and focused in yoga, especially because I don’t really know how to stop thinking, but baking for sure allows me to get into the zone and flow.

On this ice day I decided to go for a no bake triple decker bar.  This recipe is simple, easy, and so tasty!  It is more or less a homemade Reese’s.  And of course it is good for you because it’s mostly peanut butter…aka protein!

Even if you don’t feel confident in your baking skills, I am confident that anyone can make this recipe!  Here’s how….

1. Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter.  You can either do this in a saucepan on the stove or in the microwave.  Regardless of the method, be very involved so you don’t burn the chocolate.  That’s the only way you can ruin this recipe..so slow and steady is better than fast and burnt.

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2.  Spread the melted chocolate and peanut butter in a pan lined with parchment paper. Put in the fridge for about 30 min.

3.  In a mixer (hand mixer would work too), combine butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Mix until creamy.  Spread this mixture onto the chocolate layer.

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4.  Repeat step one by melting more chocolate and peanut butter.  Spread evenly onto the peanut butter layer to make your third and final layer.

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5. Place the whole pan in the fridge for about 1-2 hours before cutting.

6.  Serve and enjoy!

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Want to make these with a twist?  Here are some ideas–try a different kind of nut butter or a different kind of chocolate.  Warning:  make sure the nut butter isn’t super oily because it won’t form a creamy solid filling.  If you’re a white chocolate person, be careful to get a good quality chocolate because white chocolate can be temperamental when melting. Try something new and let me know how it goes!

Find the recipe here:  http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/5-ingredient-tripple-decker-chocolate-peanut-butter-bars/

Recipe 4: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Maybe one day I will have the courage to make baking my day job, but for the time being I am pursuing a master’s degree in school counseling.  Before moving to Nashville I was a middle school science teacher.  My two years in the classroom made me realize the immense need for more attention to social and emotional learning in schools.  So here I am learning skills, constantly advocating for my students back in Dallas, and baking when times get stressful.  Part of this process means taking some weekend classes.  Fortunately for me, my professor suggested a Valentine’s Day cookie swap for our Saturday class.  Obviously she understands the need for self care….chocolate and peanut butter (don’t worry Mom, I’m training for a half marathon too)!

The cookie swap was a perfect excuse to try another recipe off the list.  And this one, http://www.annies-eats.com/2011/11/11/chocolate-peanut-butter-cup-cookies/, was the chosen one.

They were crowd pleasers y’all!  However, this recipe wasn’t one of my favorites.  My biased opinion is that the actual cookie was a little boring in comparison to the steering wheel.  I was glad that the cookies stayed soft (little hint:  I always bake them for 2-4 minutes less than the recipe calls and then adjust accordingly). There was nothing wrong with these cookies, and I was definitely the harshest critic.

So, let’s bake!

1.  Add the dry ingredients (cocoa, flour, salt, and baking soda)

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2.  In an electric mixer (thanks to my brother and sister for the greatest gift of a kitchen aid!) mix butter, peanut butter, and sugars.

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3.  Add in the egg, milk, and vanilla.  Blend until light and fluffy.

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4.  Slowly and carefully blend in the already mixed dry ingredients.
5.  Gently fold in the cut up Reese’s to the dough.

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6.  Form the cookies and place on your baking sheet.  I use silpats (they are wonderful, go out and get yourself one!) Push reserved cut Reese’s into the top before putting in the oven.

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The finished product

Enjoy and share.  I promise, everything tastes better in the company of people you love!

Recipe 3: Nutella Swirled Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Doesn’t the title alone make your mouth water?!  I read it and immediately knew what those ripe bananas in my freezer were going in.  It was perfect timing for this recipe to fall into my hands because a friend was coming over for dinner, and I don’t do dinner without dessert.  You could say I have a sweet tooth…

This bread (more like cake) is dense to say the least.  Even though the recipe calls for about 50 minutes of baking, my bread required more time.  To prevent the nutella topping from burning, I recommend covering the whole bread in foil.  After the middle of the cake is almost ready, take off the foil to let the top brown.  Otherwise you will have a burnt nutella topping–no good.

My other suggestion for this bread is to swirl some nutella throughout the batter.  The recipe calls for nutella only on the top, but I definitely wished I could taste the nutella throughout.  My sister tried the recipe a few days later and said the nutella throughout was a good modification.

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Nutella swirled goodness!

Find the recipe here http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/06/21/nutella-swirled-peanut-butter-banana-bread/