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    Entries in food combo (3)

    Thursday
    Apr252013

    Easy Peasy Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

    If you like peanut butter and chocolate, you’re going to love this recipe.  It’s super easy.  I actually had to make it twice because the first time I was just throwing stuff into the mixing bowl and didn’t keep track of any measurements.  They were so good that I just had to share.  That meant making them a second time so I could put together an actual recipe for you.  I really didn’t mind, though. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 1 ½ cups peanut butter (something natural)
    • 3 Tablespoons butter
    • 1 ½ cups sugar*
    • ¼ - ¾ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon molasses*
    • 1 Tablespoon brown rice syrup (or other syrup)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 Tablespoons flour
    • 1 cup oats (I used quick oats, but old fashioned are also fine)
    • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
    • ½ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
    • *If you prefer, you can use brown sugar in place of the sugar and omit the molasses.

    Go ahead and preheat the oven to 350°.  Butter a 9x13 pan and set it aside.  Then, into your mixing bowl go the peanut butter and butter.  (As always, the ingredients should all be at room temperature.)  The peanut butter I’m using is made from unblanched peanuts which is why it has such a dark color. 

    Mix them together until they are thoroughly combined. 

    Add the sugar.

    Mix. 

    Add the molasses, rice syrup, vanilla, and ¼ teaspoon salt. 

    Mix.  (I did mention these are really easy, right?)  This is a good time to taste the mixture for saltiness.  I like my peanut butter stuff to be pretty salty, but it’s a personal thing.  If you like it at that point, leave it.  If it needs more salt, go ahead and stir some in. 

    Add the baking soda and powder.  Mix them in thoroughly, scraping the bowl down in the process.

    Next up are the eggs.  Go ahead and throw them both in. 

    As you mix them in, you’ll see your stuff get stiff.  *ahem*  To be honest, I’m not sure why that happens with peanut butter cookies, but that’s the reason the eggs don’t go in until now. 

    Add the flour and oats. 

    Stir just enough to bring everything together.  It’ll be a bit crumbly,

    But if you squeeze some of it in your hand, it will hold together nicely. 

    Add the chocolate chips.  I used a combination of milk chocolate and mini semisweet ones, and although you can really use whatever you want, I highly recommend that particular pair for this application. 

    Stir them in so they’re evenly-ish distributed. 

    Dump the whole thing into your prepared pan and press it down firmly so that it’s an even thickness. 

    Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.  It will look dry on top and will be browning nicely around the edges. 

    Cool completely (yeah right.  Good luck with that) and cut into squares.  The salty peanut butter combined with the sweetness of the chocolate and the chewiness of the oats brings together all of your favorite cookies into one fabulous bar. 

    What's your favorite cookie bar?

    Tuesday
    Sep252012

    ice cream flavoured cake

    would be even better with ice cream.

    But I was out of ice cream, which is why I made the cake. Well, that and I'd managed to make it around the sun one more time.

    So, you've seen me make mint chocolate chip ice cream. Definitely one of my favourites. Last weekend was the time of year for cake, and so I made a mint chocolate chip cake. And since I have trained my offspring to be aware of food additives, he insisted that we make it without artificial colors or flavours. Which apparently meant I was not allowed to use mint extract either. Had to be mint-mint.

    Okay.

    I can do that.

    Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

    What you need:

    • about 2 c mint
    • 2/3 c milk
    • 1/3 c butter
    • 3/4 c sugar
    • more mint (about 1 tbsp once it's all chopped)
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla (which was allowed for some reason)
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 generous cup of flour
    • 1 c mini chocolate chips (they're in the other pictures)

    What you gotta do:

    Don't preheat your oven yet. We've got an extra step at the beginning here. Since I wasn't allowed to use a mint extract, even a non-artificial one, I had to make one of my own.

    So, I took a step from the ice cream recipe. Trim and rinse the mint, and put it in a pot with the milk.

    You will barely be able to see the milk under all the mint. Don't worry, it's still there. And the mint will cook down like all leafy green things.

    Bring this just barely to a simmer, stir it, cover it, and leave it alone for about half an hour.

    Set the butter and egg on the counter to warm up to room temperature while the mint milk is steeping.

    Once you've strained and squeezed the mint out, the milk will be just barely green.

    Not quite green enough to colour a cake. Which is where the other bit of mint comes in. Chiffonade and then cut that up a bit more.

    Cream the butter, sugar, and minced mint together.

    I was hoping that creaming the mint in with the sugar would mash it up a bit more and spread it around (using the coarseness of the sugar to macerate it) but that didn't quite go as I'd hoped. Oh well.

    Add the egg and vanilla to your speckled butter.

    Now, we do the three bowl method for the cake. In the big bowl, the creamed butter mixture. In a smaller bowl (the one I started in and then decided was too small) the flour, salt, and baking powder. And in a bowl shaped like a measuring cup, the mint milk.

    First, we add about 1/3 of the flour to the creamed butter. Mix this in well.

    Now, about half the milk. Also mix in well.

    And then about half of what remains of the flour. Mix again.

    And the rest of the milk. Mix!

    And finally the last of the flour. Don't mix. Kidding! Mix it.

    Oh. Um. You should have preheated the oven just before the mixing started.

    Now, the chocolate chips. The Boy insisted on chips rather than chopped chocolate. And he was calling the shots with this one; I guess that's his version of making me a cake.  

    Butter and flour a cake pan. I had a 9 inch pan, which turns out was too big. You'll see why in a minute. If you have an 8 inch round pan, or an 8 inch square pan that would work fine. I'm going to use the 8 inch square pan next time.

    You can also line the pan with a bit of parchment paper.

    I would show you how to cut a round piece, but I know I'm going to need a tip to post in a few weeks during midterms and I think that sounds like a good one. Until then, you can leave the parchment out if you'd like.

    Bake the cake at 350 for about 30 minutes. You can test after 25 if you'd like but mine took almost exactly 30. Let it cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, and then on a rack until it's room temp.

    You see that flat bit in the middle?

    That's what I mean about the wrong pan size. There wasn't enough leavening in the mixture to keep everything together enough to lift that far from the edge. Another egg, or a bit more baking powder would work. Or, I could use a smaller pan so I don't have to go messing with recipe proportions.

    But, it was still cooked through, and it smelled minty. Tasted minty too, but it wasn't as green as The Boy was hoping. Still, he was glad it didn't have fake colour in it. I doubt I could convince him to use spinach juice though, like Taneasha did with her colourful cookies.

    There are definitely flecks of green in there though.

    This is a very moist moist cake, with a crumbly, delicate crumb. And the texture kinda reminded me of those "snack cakes" that my mom used to make from a box in the 80s. Quick cakes, never frosted, and always done in a square pan. So, I skipped the frosting step on this one.

    A bit of vanilla ice cream on the side would have been nice though.