Chocolate Double Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

Oh, so you're doing Whole 30? I've got a better idea for you: eat some chocolate peanut butter out of a peanut butter cookie cup. Go ahead, add some salt on top while you're at it. 

While you ponder the pleasure of eating these things, let me explain where I got the brilliant idea for this recipe.

A few months ago I was commissioned to make a recipe for Peanut Butter and Company: peanut butter cookie cups that could be filled with milk. I made that recipe, and it was fantastic.

But in the several times that I made the cookie cups, at a certain point I started to wonder what else I could fill them with. And the best answer was the easiest one: another PB+Co product, their Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter. This stuff is so good that you can go to town with it and a spoon, but it's even better when cradled in a peanut butter cookie cup. 

So basically, what I am saying is that you should make the peanut butter cookie cups from this recipe, and if you feel like you don't want all of them to be used as vessels for milk, do this instead.

Chocolate Double Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

Makes 18 or so

For the cookie cups:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter & Co. Smooth Operator peanut butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

To fill:

1 jar (give or take) Dark Chocolate Dreams (chocolate peanut butter)

1. Position two racks in the middle position of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grab two 12-cup muffin tins, and either line 18 cups (you can do 9 and 9 in each tin, or 12 in one tin and 6 in another) of each with cupcake liners, or generously grease and flour the wells, if not using cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Set to the side.
3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and peanut butter until silky in texture and totally combined, about 1-2 minutes on high speed.
4. Pause to add the two types of sugar, and mix briefly on low speed and then as the sugar is absorbed, increase the speed to high, mixing until the butter and sugar mixture is fluffy and light. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing briefly to incorporate each one into the mixture.

6. Add the flour mixture to the dough, and mix until incorporated.

7. Scoop 1/4 cup of dough into each cupcake liner or prepped portion of the tin.

8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden on top. Remove from the oven and transfer to wire racks. They will look like cupcakes.

9. Let cool for about a minute, and then grab a spoon and do something that feels very strange: press the centers of each cupcake-looking portion in, forming a well in the center. Be careful; the cookies are still hot, but it’s important to do this while they are still soft. If you did not use cupcake liners, also run a sharp knife along the edge of each cookie cup to loosen it from the sides.

10. Let the cups cool completely. Once cooled, either invert the pan to remove the cups (if unlined), or remove the cups and remove the liners.

11. Fill each cup with a generous spoonful of Dark Chocolate dreams..

 then garnish with a sprinkling of salt. EAT. 

How would you fill a peanut butter cookie cup?

A Different Way to Drink Milk

Why on earth would you drink milk from a cup when you could drink it directly from your cookie?

For my latest recipe for Peanut Butter and Company, I created peanut butter cookie cups with a chocolate "lining" which allows you to pour in milk. You eat it like so: "shoot" the milk, then eat the cookie. It's a very good thing indeed! They're fun to make, and even more fun to eat.

Millet Muffins, Yo

I used to live in Philadelphia, on the same freaking block as the Reading Terminal Market. If you know this market, you know that it's heaven on earth and that living right next to it, you'd probably feel compelled to visit every single day.

I did visit every single day; sometimes, multiple times a day. One of my favorite AM spots was Metropolitan Bakery, and one of my favorite treats offered was the millet muffin.

Now, you might be tempted to think that a millet muffin is health food, but it's not.

These morsels are packed with an incredible amount of butter, an assertive amount of sugar, and the nutty little millet balls throughout them add a flavor and texture that makes them completely irresistible. 

I found myself craving one of them this week, and was able to locate the recipe online, when Metropolitan Bakery contributed it to a Mother's Day recipe roundup. I whipped them up (they are fast and easy to make) and I need to tell you, they completely satisfied my nostalgia.

According to the recipe headnote, "This is a great recipe to make the night before (up to adding the flour mixture) so that you can have fresh muffins ready in a jiffy the next morning." 

You're guaranteed to love this muffin recipe. Since the butter is creamed, they have a distinctly cookie-like finish, with crispy, buttery edges. In spite of all the butter in the recipe I found that when topped with a little ghee, they were even BETTER. 

Try this recipe! You will love it. 

Makes 12 muffins 

Millet muffins 

(Via Metropolitan Bakery)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup millet
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Generously butter twelve 1/2 cup (standard size) muffin cups.
  2. On a baking sheet toast millet in one layer in the oven until lightly golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Cool millet completely.
  3. Into a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the millet. In another small bowl stir together the eggs, milk and vanilla. Set aside. Cream well the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Alternately beat in the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Do not over beat. Spoon batter into prepared cups and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes (original recipe called for 20 to 25 minutes, but mine were done at 17 minutes). Cool muffins 5 minutes before turning out. Serve warm or room temperature with fruit preserves.

Have you ever baked with millet?

Ganache, For Those Who Hate Chopping Chocolate

I despise chopping chocolate. This, right here, is my enemy.

I realize that food bloggers are supposed to have some sort of idealized, Anthropologie photo shoot type of kitchen and CIA-caliber culinary skills, but I am just going to level with you: I'm an awful and messy chocolate chopper.

It's likely because I have never really learned proper knife skills; in my kitchen, when it's time to chop chocolate, it's an ugly hacking scene which always results in a BOM (Big Ol' Mess) in my kitchen. 

The thing is, chopping chocolate is NECESSARY for certain recipes. Say, ganache. You really need to chop the chocolate, because if you were to pour hot cream or milk on top of a big block of unchopped chocolate, it would never melt into a creamy, velvety ganache. 

But guess what, my friends? There's another way. 

Yesterday, as I faced with the task of chopping chocolate to make ganache for the bottom level of a pie, the idea of taking out a knife, chopping chocolate, and then cleaning up the inevitable mess I'd make simply seemed insurmountable. It seemed impossible. 

But then, a little lightbulb went on over my head. I found myself wondering, "what if I put this big ol' block of chocolate in the oven for a few minutes, and melted it instead?". I figured that if I got the chocolate a bit melty, then I could just pour the hot cream on top of it and it would make an effortless ganache that would require no chopping.

Here's what I did: 

Step 1: I preheated the oven to 200 degrees. Low!

Step 2: I grabbed an oven-safe vessel. I reached for a loaf pan, which in retrospect was probably not the best vessel, but it did work.

Step 3: I put a 6-ounce block of expensive chocolate inside of the vessel. I live for risk! 

Step 4: I put it in the oven, and checked on it every few minutes. After about 3-4 minutes, it looked soft and was leaving a little puddle on the bottom of the pan.

After about 8-10 minutes, it had a slight "crack" on top and I thought to myself, "you'd better take this out of the oven". 

As it turned out, when lightly touched with a spoon, the chocolate exploded into molten, completely melted chocolate. OK! 

Step 5: I heated up some cream to the simmer point, and poured it in the loaf pan on top of the chocolate.

Step 6: I mixed it up with a whisk, cursing myself for choosing the loaf pan every time I spattered myself with chocolate (really not the best vessel for this project; next time I will use an oven-safe bowl). 

Now, I know that in the food world, especially in the day and age of DIY everything, I should be embracing the process and never taking shortcuts.

But dammit, this worked! I didn't have to do the dreaded chocolate chopping, and my ganache came out beautifully. I poured it into my pie shell (this pie has another layer of chocolate goodness on top) and it set beautifully. 

 

SO! Moral of the story is, if you're lazy and hate chopping chocolate like me, but you really want to make homemade ganache, you can use the oven to melt your chocolate instead. 

What are your thoughts on chopping chocolate? 

3 Ingredient Sweetened Condensed Chocolate Milk Pie

For me, sweetened condensed milk is a bit like the dessert equivalent of sriracha sauce. That is to say, I like to use it as a sauce for any and everything. 

I mean, seriously, have you ever tried brownies drizzled with sweetened condensed milk? Or birthday cake? Or ice cream? Try any and all of these things immediately, if you have not already. 

The other day, finding myself with a lack of dessert, I decided that wanted to make something easy, and that it had to include sweetened condensed milk. 

I had been thinking recently about the unique texture that the SCM (sweetened condensed milk) attains when baked on top of magic cookie bars, and found myself thinking that it might make for a fine texture for a tart/pie filling. I was right.

So what I did was as easy as this: I melted some chocolate into the SCM, poured it in an unbaked pie shell, and baked it up. 

While the filling remains soft all through baking, the top of the pie forms a brownie-like "crust". As the filling cools, it firms considerably.

While it's not too hard to eat, it is difficult to keep the crust intact when you cut it straight from the fridge, but seriously, I think you'll survive if it is less than pin-worthy for a moment.

As for the flavor? Perfection. It's like caramel chocolate contained in a shattery, buttery, carbohydrate hug. There is no wrong part about this pie. 

Sweetened Condensed Chocolate Milk Pie

Makes one pie - printable version here

  • 1 unbaked pie crust
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 10 ounces dark chocolate 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the top of a double boiler, melt together the sweetened condensed milk and chocolate until totally combined and smooth and thick. Ohhhh baaaaaby. 

Pour the mixture into the pie shell.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until "set" on the edges (but still with a distinct jiggle in the middle; it will set and firm as it cools) and the crust is golden. Now, I'll tell you at this moment: that big time range is because I baked this pie at high altitude, and that can make things screwy. At sea level, it might be on the lower end of things. Just keep an eye on it, ok? 

Remove from oven, and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours before serving so it can attain the perfect texture. 

Enjoy! 

Homemade Chocolate Pop-Tarts

Let me tell you a story about how deeply, to-the-core evil, I am. It involves pop-tarts. 

OK, so when I was young, and it would have to have been before I was six, because this was before my little sister was born, my mom would, on occasion, take out a shiny two-pack of chocolate pop tarts. She would open it, and give one of the precious pop tarts to me, and the other to my older sister. 

Here's what I would do with that pop-tart. I would hold it in my hand while watching my sister eat hers. And only when she was just about done would I start eating mine. The entire reason for my doing this was to hold it over her. I didn't have many ways to exert power as the little sister who was more bookish than scrappy, so I held on to these little opportunities with all my might. 

Amazingly, I have no recollection of her ever shoving me and or grabbing my tart and running with it. I would have deserved it. 

I still have a lot of love for pop tarts, but I have no delusions about them being actual food. However, when you make your own toaster pastries, you can enjoy the nostalgia but actually up the flavor game. 

When I was assigned to make a chocolate pie crust for Craftsy, the recipe yielded two crusts. With one, I rolled it out in the traditional way and blind-baked it; it was the perfect shell to fill with a creamy chocolate filling.

But with the second crust, I rolled it out, cut it into rectangles, and made myself some choco pop tarts. 

Man, was this a good decision. BURSTING with chocolatey flavor, they satisfied my nostalgia, but tasted totally grown-up. And they delighted everyone who came into contact with them. I would say that I win! You can win, too. Here's the recipe. 

 

Chocolate Pop Tarts

Makes 6 pop tarts - printable version here

  • 1 portion chocolate pie dough (from this recipe
  • about 12 squares of dark chocolate (I used squares from Perugina dark chocolate bars)
  • 10 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped 
  • 5 ounces heavy cream
  • White nonpareil sprinkles 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Roll out the pie crust into a vaguely rectangle-like shape; standard or slightly thin pie crust thickness, about 1/8 inch thick (remember, you're stacking double portions to form the tarts). Cut out 12 equally sized rectangles. 

Oh, and if you have leftover bits of dough, don't toss it. Roll them up with some butter and sugar and cinnamon and make roly polies! Bake them in the oven while you bake the tarts.

Press 1 1/2 squares of dark chocolate in the center of each of the 6 rectangles.

Place a second rectangle on top, and crimp the edges to seal them, using the tines of a fork. Press the tines in the center of each tart to create a little escape valve for steam. By this point I had transferred the tarts to the lined baking sheet.

Place the tray in the oven; bake until the tarts are "set" - on the low end, 6 minutes, or longer depending on your oven. Just keep an eye on them. Once they have a dull finish on top and look toasty on the edges, remove from the oven.

Let them cool on the tray for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. 

While they cool completely, make the topping. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream to the simmering point. Pour the cream over the chocolate and mix until smooth. 

Spread/pour some of this ganache on top of the tarts.

I like to do this while they're on parchment over the wire rack because nothing will drip through; once that chocolate sets it is still delicious, even if messy. Immediately top with sprinkles (while the topping is still wet). Let the topping set for a while, then enjoy your tarts. 

sprinklesonyourtarts.jpg

Hoarding your tart until your companion has finished theirs = optional. 

Want more pop tarts? Here's a recipe for traditional pop-tarts, inspired by my friend Peabody.

What's your favorite pop-tart flavor?