Recipes 1 and 2

I present to you my challenge for 2015, these 99 recipes http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/23/best-peanut-butter-recipes_n_6525130.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

I’ll be forthright and honest with y’all, I didn’t have intentions of writing this blog unit I was about recipe 3 deep.  For this reason, I don’t have the best pictures and documentation of the baking process.  I can do my best to use my words to let you know how they came out.

Recipe 1:  Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Pretzel, and Caramel Candy Bars
(http://www.completelydelicious.com/2014/09/take-5-bars.html)

Some days after teaching middle schoolers, you just needed a good friend, a good recipe, and some time in the kitchen.  Fortunately my friend Abbi was just the person to let me scream, laugh, and be my crazy self with after a long work week.  We managed to feast (baked brie, pesto pizzas, the best salads, carrots and guac) before the main event:  usually a s’more dessert.  Have no fear, this was post flywheel.  It’s all about balance, right?

Over Super Bowl weekend, I was lucky enough to go back to Dallas to see friends and my former students.  Needless to say it was emotional for me to be back in a city that I had such a love/hate relationship with.  I miss my students, but they are the driving force behind everything that I do.

Abbi and I made this recipe for a Super Bowl party.  It is a no bake recipe and pretty simple.  You need a few 30 min slots for cooling, but other than that it is a quick and easy recipe.  If you like snickers, you will love this homemade version with a twist!

You can click on the link above for the recipe and instructions.  Here are a few of my suggestions or modifications:
1.  The dessert will stick to the foil.  Spray that foil beyond generously with no-stick spray so you don’t have bits of foil in each bite.
2.  The recipe calls for milk chocolate.  If you’re like me and prefer dark chocolate, feel free to use dark or semi-sweet.  I always suggest Ghiradelli 60% dark!

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The only picture we managed to take..in process!

Recipe 2:  Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
http://www.completelydelicious.com/2014/06/sunday-stuff-reeses-chocolate-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookie-cake.html

It was a friend’s birthday.  As a graduate student, my gifts for everything are baked goods.  My friend likes chocolate and peanut butter.  How could I not make this cake?!

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Cookie layer, homemade chocolate icing, and topped with Reese’s. Yum.

Suggestions:
1.  Make sure your cookie is truly cooked before taking it out of its pan.  The top will get golden brown fairly quickly, but don’t let it fool you.
2.  The chocolate syrup is optional to drizzle over.  I left it to the side because I know not all people want the drizzle.  I personally left it off because the cake has enough going on.  Others loved it!
3. I left out the shortening in the icing.  My Mom never used it growing up, and she always says you never need it.  Mine turned out just fine.  I did use a little extra water to get the right consistency.
4.  If you’re not a Reese’s person, you could definitely switch it up with a different candy.

How My Baking Obsession Started

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The family cookie–on the Bubster’s old cookie tray!

I don’t know which came first:  my ability to walk or my love for chocolate.  Probably my love for chocolate.  As far as my memory allows me to trace back, there has been one dessert, one cookie, that has bonded my family:   the beloved steering wheel.  Yes, a steering wheel is a cookie.  Long story short, my aunt made large chocolate cookies when my brother was a toddler.  Being his analytical self, he claimed “these cookies are HUGE.  They look like steering wheels.”  And the name has stuck.

Needless to say, these are a staple amongst my family.  My friends know exactly where to find them in our freezer, and some friends were lucky enough to get packages in college with their very own bag of steering wheels courtesy of Mama Schu.  It was also my first ever solo recipe.  Not sure which is more impressive:  me making a cookie by myself or me getting some kitchen time.  It was competitive to get your hands on our ovens with my sister at home!  Steering wheels are still the family trademark cookie and go to.  It only felt right to kick start this new adventure of trying 99 new adventures with a little homage to the steering wheel.

And don’t fret–steering wheels have chocolate AND peanut butter (chips).

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