Peanut Butter Fudge with Chocolate

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Fudge. Well what can I say ? You either love it or your wrong.

I don’t make it often because I  usually get it on the boardwalk, or in Candy Shops, visiting quaint little towns. I do know that it is just like having a tiny square of butter and sugar heaven in your mouth. I will make it during the holidays however. This way I get to enjoy it and then give most of it away. Best part is … its just so damn easy to make. A lot easier than cookies …. 😉

 

Ingredients :

  • 1 Full Stick Unsalted Butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 Pound Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1 Cup Extra Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 and 1/3 Cups of Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips *optional*

 

Directions:

  1. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a large saucepan along with the ground nutmeg. Stir in the brown sugar and milk, removing any lumps, and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes .
  2. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla, then the peanut butter. Stir well.
  3. Put the powdered sugar in a large heatproof mixing bowl. Then, pour the hot peanut butter and sugar mixture on top of the powdered sugar, and beat with a spoon until smooth.
  4. Pour into an 8×8 inch  baking pan, cover the top with parchment, and press down to smooth out the top. Set aside to cool slightly for 10 minutes, then place in the fridge to cool completely.
  5. If you decided you want Chocolate on top (I know I do) I melt the chocolate chips on low until completely smooth. I chop my fudge in little squares and smear just a little chocolate on top. I also sprinkle a little bit of coarse sea salt on top of the chocolate when I have some. But the peanut butter is also pretty darn tasty without all that jazz.
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Browned Butter Bourbon Chocolate Chip and Peacan Cookies

 

 

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Yes…. it’s a mouth full. Just try and say it 5 times fast. I will tell you, the positive side  is once you try these, you’ll never make a plain ole chocolate chip blah cookie again. I”ll admit I was skeptic about the bourbon part,  because I’m not a fan, but I can say bourbon belongs in this cookie. Take them to a holiday party, serve them at your next dinner or hell make some for the next kids birthday party you go to I’m sure the parents need them 🙂

Ingredients: (makes approx. 3 dozen cookies)

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter (1 cup)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 full egg and 1 yolk
  • 1/4 cup Bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 and 1/2 cups of all- purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • parchment paper – (do not use wax paper)

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt the butter. Once the butter is melted continue cooking, (Do not walk away and let it burn) swirling the pan constantly until the butter has reached a deep amber color. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for 20 minutes. Now is a good time to preheat the oven to 350 *
  2. In the large bowl  mix together browned butter and sugar, mixing until smooth.
  3. Add in egg, yolk, bourbon, baking soda and salt mixing until smooth.
  4. Add in flour until just combined. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips and mix well.
  5. Place bowl inside the refrigerator covered for at least 30 min to 1 hour. Remove and stir again.
  6. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and using a measuring tablespoon scoop out dough, roll it into a ball and  drop dough onto prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart. If dough gets sticky return bowl to fridge for a few minutes.
  7. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes until edges are lightly browned.
  8. Transfer cookies to a wire rack or slide paper and cookies onto a cool counter top to cool.
  • Tip: when storing cookies always make sure they are completely cooled. If putting in baggies place a paper towel inside to absorb moisture. If storing in a container place a small half piece of white bread inside for freshness and to absorb extra moisture 🙂

Bailey Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate and Candied Pecans

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This is probably my favorite ice cream to make. It isn’t easy to make, it’s time consuming. When I tell you it is well worth it I MEAN it. I saw a similar recipe and tweaked it the way I wanted it. I’ve made it a few times and am getting ready to make it again. It reminded me I need to share this frozen heaven with you in hopes that someone will find the time to make it and moan …omg this is insanely delicious. Thats what I always do 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of real salted butter chopped in small bits
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 1 teaspoons fresh ground fine coffee
  •   4 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, about 70% cacao shaved with a knife
  • 1/2 cup candied pecans chopped ( I have bought them and made them )

Directions:

  1. Add sugar to a three quart saucepan with enough water to just moisten sugar, about 1/4 cup. Place on high heat and bring to a boil. Let caramel form and darken, rotating pot if hot spots form. When caramel has turned dark amber and starts to smoke, turn off heat and stir in butter with a wooden spoon. Caramel will bubble, so watch for steam.
  2. When butter is fully integrated, add half-and-half in a steady stream and stir to combine. Caramel will bubble high and steam. When dairy is fully incorporated, add coffee grinds,  and 1 tablespoon Baileys. If caramel seizes up, stir it on low heat until it dissolves.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks well until lemony in color and thickened (they will fall off whisk in ribbons). Add a ladle of caramel mixture to yolks, whisking constantly. Repeat until bottom of bowl is warm to touch. Transfer yolk mixture to pot and whisk to combine.
  4. Return pot to low heat and let custard thicken, stirring frequently with wooden spoon. Custard is done when it coats the back of a spoon and a finger swiped across leaves a clean line. Remove from heat and stir in remaining Baileys. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours.
  5. Churn custard according to machine instructions. When ice cream is almost done, slowly sprinkle in chocolate shavings. Add pecans, roughly chopped, as well if you like (or save whole for garnish later). Transfer ice cream to airtight container and freeze for 2 to 3 hours, or until firm…… you wont regret it !!!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownie Bombs

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I follow the “Domestic Rebel” and recently she made a post with these bombs, and I just had to make them. I have altered her recipe because her measurements were off but she did a great job on dreaming them up. I made them and immediately starting giving them away. I would have eaten them all and gained 10 pounds that I do NOT need. If you like cookie dough then you would be smart to not keep to many yourself !! This is time consuming to make so make sure you have a whole day to be home for these puppies …..

Ingredients:

  • One box of Fudge Brownie Mix, ( Make sure its FUDGE Brownies ) … baked and cooled.                                      *Tip* cut and put parchment paper or wax paper on the bottom only of the pan spraying cooking spray under and on top of the paper before pouring batter in the pan, so brownies do not stick, I have used both papers.
  • 1 Package of  Candiquik or chocolate almond bark for melting chocolate ( 1lb)
  • 2 Cups of mini chocolate chips – divided
  • 3/4 Cup softened butter
  • 1/2 Cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1- 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. First you have to make the brownies and allow them to cool … for faster cooling use my tip above and then turn out on a wire rack. Take the brownies out 2-3 minutes early. The fudgier the brownie the easier to use. After the brownies have cooled cut off any stiff edges and put aside.
  2. In the bowl , beat together the butter and sugars until creamy. Add the milk and vanilla; beat to combine. Lastly, beat in the flour and pinch of salt until a soft dough forms. Stir in  (1) cup of the mini chips.
  3. On a foil-lined baking sheet, drop rounded, (scant) Tablespoon-sized balls of dough. I used a melon ball scoop for this and just scantily filled it so the cookie dough balls wouldn’t be so big. I roll in my hands for a nice round ball. Freeze the cookie dough balls for about an hour to firm up.
  4. Cut the brownies into small squares, about 1″ in size. Pick up a square and gently flatten it with your palm. Fudgy brownies will flatten easily and retain their moisture which is why it’s important to make sure you use a fudgy brownie mix rather than a cake like  one.                                                                                                                 *tip* wash your hands once in awhile while doing this step or the brownies will start to stick to your hands.
  5. Place a cookie dough ball in the middle of the flattened brownie and very gently, wrap the brownie around the cookie dough ball. If the brownie cracks, that’s okay; just kind of roll it in your fingers until the brownie completely surrounds the cookie dough. Repeat until all cookie dough balls are covered, then return to the freezer for 30 minutes or so.
  6. Prepare melting chocolate  according to package directions. Toss about 4 balls in at a time. Using a fork, remove each brownie bomb from the chocolate, coated completely, and allow excess to drip off. Return to the foil-line sheet , wait about a  minute and sprinkle the tops with the remaining cup of mini chips, for garnish. Allow them to sit 10 minutes before lifting them. Store these bad boys in the fridge or freezer, in an airtight container until ready to eat .

FYI: you will prob have cookie dough left over, it isn’t an exact science. You decide whether you want to toss them, squish them inside an Oreo and dunk in the left over melted chocolate or hell just eat it 🙂

 

Homemade Thin Pizza Crust

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I have a pizza addiction. It could be from growing up near a predominately Italian town back in Pa. which makes  such good pizza, that now tears come to my eyes when I get the opportunity to return home and eat it again. There isnt pizza like it anywhere else Ive ever been. I sometimes will get lazy and buy a store pre-made thin crust, but when I have time I like to make my own. It just reminds me of that crust from home. It isnt hard and once you get it down to a science you’ll like to make your own. Here is a basic recipe that makes 2 – 12inch pizzas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening
  • 3 1/2  to 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • olive oil
  • corn meal

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven too 500 degrees
  2. Whisk the yeast, sugar, water and lard together to make a paste.
  3. Add the flour and salt and mix, knead well by hand or use a dough hook in your mixing machine.
  4. Remove from bowl and place in a greased  bowl rubbed down with olive oil . Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide dough in half. Roll the dough into balls, cover, and let the dough rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. The dough is ready to be rolled or shaped  into a flat 12 inch wide by 1.2 inch thick pie .
  7. Sprinkle a little cornmeal on a baking sheet (if you have some, if not spray the sheet with a little cooking spray) and place plain crust  in the oven for 5 minutes to become a little firm.
  8. Take out of oven and sprinkle a little olive oil on the cooled crust and spread all over the topside.
  9. Add toppings (not too much as the crust gets soggy with too much )
  10. Bake on a rack in the middle of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or when crust is golden to dark brown.

Tracy’s Famous Oatmeal Cookies

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Ok …. well maybe they aren’t really “FAMOUS” but they are with my friends and that’s good enough for me 🙂 Make them once and if you don’t think they are the best damn oatmeal cookie you ever had then tell me about it and I’ll change the title !!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup spiced Rum (if you want them kid friendly use apple cider)
  • 1 cup Raisins
  • 3 large eggs , well beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon plain Applesauce
  • 1 cup room temp Butter
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar ( I use light but dark can be used also)
  • 1 cup white Sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups regular Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Soda ( make sure its not old and hard)
  • 2 cups Oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup chopped Pecans

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl soak Raisins in the rum for at least 4hrs … over night is better. (do not refrigerate)
  2. This is a very important second step that makes the cookie: drain the raisins and add to combine eggs,  applesauce and vanilla and let stand for one hour.
  3. Cream butter and sugars together until well blended.
  4. Add flour, salt, cinnamon and soda and mix well.
  5. Blend in egg-raisin mixture, oatmeal, and chopped nuts.
  6. Dough should be stiff. Add a tad more oatmeal and flour if it is not stiff enough.
  7. Drop  heaping teaspoons onto un-greased cookie sheet, or roll into balls and flatten slightly.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.Do not put in containers until cookies have completely cooled … enjoy !!

Soft Pretzels

 

You can make your own soft pretzels at home, they arent hard to make and it’s something the kids love to do 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1- 1/2 cups of  water, warmed slightly
  • 2- 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) dry active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 4 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  •  2- 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of coarse salt, sesame seeds, cinnamon and sugar, or whatever you chose for topping

Directions:

  1. Make the dough: Coat a large bowl with vegetable oil and set aside. Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in a large mixing bowl, stir until yeast dissolves, and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, butter, molasses, and 2 teaspoons salt. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead — incorporating additional flour as necessary — until dough is smooth and elastic — about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to the prepared bowl, turning to coat all sides with oil. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in volume — about 1 hour.
  2. Shape the pretzels: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Punch down dough, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for 5 minutes. Divide into 15 two-ounce pieces. Form each piece into a ball, roll each ball out to a 1/2-inch-thick “rope,” and twist each rope into a pretzel shape. Cover and let rise for 15 minutes. Whisk together the egg white, 1 tablespoon water, and the remaining salt in a small bowl and set aside. Bring 4 cups of water and baking soda to a boil. Poach pretzels 2 at a time for 30 seconds on each side. Transfer pretzels to a parchment-lined baking pan, brush lightly with the egg-white mixture, and sprinkle with the coarse salt. Bake until golden — about 15 minutes. Serve warm with mustard’s, cheese sauce, or even chocolate sauce for dipping.  You can even flatten the pretzel before baking, that way after baking you can make pretzel sandwiches ….. 🙂