peanut butter

Honey Kissed Peanut Butter Cookies

When I go to bake a batch of cookies, I often find myself adding in other sweet things.  Instead of a basic chocolate chip cookie I make oatmeal, coconut, pecan, chocolate chip cookies.  Instead of simple shortbread I make these tasty treats.  But this time I decided to keep it truly simple.  Peanut butter cookies.  Just peanut butter.  Well, peanut butter cookies with a touch of honey.  I couldn’t help myself.

This recipe for Classic Peanut Butter Cookies is from the King Arthur Flour blog, Bakers Banter.  The cookie dough comes out dry and crumbly.  The recipe suggests adding the slightest bit of water at the end to make it more cohesive.  I added about a tablespoon of honey instead, which probably makes these cookies a little chewier than they would be otherwise.  The texture in the final product was really nice.  Crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy inside.

In hindsight, I am really glad I didn’t add chocolate chips or crushed pretzels to the dough.  It just isn’t up to the challenge of holding on to much more than itself.  I did try to stuff a few of these with a sweetened cream cheese (it worked wonders in these cookies) but it wasn’t very successful.  The crumbly dough didn’t hold together, and of the ones I did manage to form and bake, I wasn’t sure it was even worth the extra effort (or the extra calories).  So, stick to the basics here.  There’s a time and place for excess, and it is not here.

Butter is typically my fat of choice in cookies, but I did follow the recipe here and used shortening.  A note on the site says that you can substitute 1/2 cup of softened butter for the shortening, and that will produce a softer cookie.  The recipe does not call for rolling the cookies in sugar before baking, but I did it because I like the exterior to have that nice sugary coating that leaves a touch of crunchy, sweet sugar on your fingers.

Honey Kissed Peanut Butter Cookies


  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup supermarket-style smooth peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • extra granulated sugar for rolling (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
  2.  Beat together the shortening, sugars, egg, vanilla, and peanut butter until smooth.
  3.  Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the peanut-butter mixture, beating gently until everything is well combined. It may take awhile for this rather dry dough to come together; and when it does, it’ll be quite stiff. Drizzle in the honey and mix to combine.
  4. Drop the cookie dough by tablepoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets (a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here), leaving 2″ between them.
  5. If desired, roll into balls and then in granulated sugar and return to the baking sheet.
  6. Use a fork to flatten each cookie to about 1/2″ thick, making a cross-hatch design.
  7. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, until they’re barely beginning to brown around the edges; the tops won’t have browned. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.


Peanut Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables

One of the great things about having a pantry that’s on the small side is that it is next to impossible to lose track of food, only to find it years later.  I don’t have to get elbow-deep in my canned goods to find a can of tomatoes.  My small food storage also keeps me from stocking up on things I don’t need…I do have a snack bowl on top of the cabinet for my assortment of gummy candies and what remains of Carson’s Easter goodies.  But candy is a need, right?

Anyway, when I came across this recipe on I knew that I had about 3/4 of a box of thin spaghetti because I see it every time I get something from the pantry, so I added this to my meals for the week.  I was already planning to buy chicken for chicken parmesan, so I was able to buy a 4 pack of chicken breasts and know that they would all get used that week.  That makes me happy.

The recipe calls for a bag of vegetable medley, but I just used veggies that we like; broccoli, red bell pepper, snap peas, frozen edamame and carrots.  Since I was using more like 11-12 ounces of spaghetti, I increased the amount of vegetables I used to about 20 ounces.  I really like there to be a lot of vegetables in pasta dishes, so you may not want to use as much as I did.  I used 1 medium sized broccoli crown, 1 red bell pepper, 5 small carrots, 1 small bag of snap peas, and 8 ounces of frozen edamame.  I kept the sauce pretty much the same, but did end up adding more soy and a drizzle of sesame oil at the end.  The sriracha is spicy.  I like spice, so I used 2 teaspoons of the stuff and definitely felt the heat.  If you are not a fan of spicy foods, use 1/2 a teaspoon in the sauce, taste it and add more if you’d like.

A mistake I made with this was adding all of my vegetables at once.  The carrots were a little under cooked, so if you’re using carrot slices, don’t slice them too thick and make sure to give them a head start in the boiling water.  The broccoli, bell pepper, snap peas and edamame cooked easily in the 3-4 minutes of cooking time.

To make this meal even faster to fix, use shredded rotisserie chicken.  Buy bagged vegetables that are ready to go, or chop your veggies the morning of or the night before.  You can even make the sauce ahead of time and refrigerate it.  The heat from the cooked pasta and hot water will loosen it up as it will be stiff coming out of the fridge.  You can serve this warm or cold.  We ate it both ways and it was delicious.

Peanut Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables

Adapted from

Serves 6-8


  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 10-12 ounces thin spaghetti
  • 16-18 ounces of vegetables (broccoli, snap peas, bell pepper, carrots, edamame) carrots, broccoli and bell pepper cut into pieces
  • fresh chopped cilantro, optional


  • 1/2 cup chunky, natural peanut butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1-2 teaspoons chile-garlic sauce (Sriracha), or to taste
  • 2-3 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Cook the chicken.  In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil, salt water, then add chicken, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove chicken from water and let cool slightly before shredding into bite size pieces.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook for 4 minutes, add carrots if using and cook for a minute, add the rest of the vegetables and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water then drain and rinse with cool water.
  3. Make sauce by whisking peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sriracha and sesame oil in a large bowl.  Stir 1/2 cup of pasta water into the sauce.  Toss in pasta, vegetables and chicken.  Add in more pasta water to moisten pasta to your liking.  Mix thoroughly so that all the veggies, pasta and chicken are coated with sauce.  Garnish with cilantro if desired.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Is there any better combination?  Maybe if I’d added caramel in some capacity…

Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarsely ground pretzels
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar for rolling


  1. Beat butter and peanut butter until thoroughly combined.
  2. Add sugars and beat until light.
  3. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until fluffy.
  4. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined.
  5. Mix in pretzels and chocolate chips.
  6. Roll into balls (about the size of a golf ball) and roll in granulated sugar.  Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment and flatten slightly.
  7. Bake @ 350°F for 10 minutes.

Peanut Butter Icebox Pie

There are not many combinations more perfect than peanut butter and chocolate.  When I came across this recipe as I was flipping though The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook I immediately stopped and added the ingredients to my grocery list.

There is no baking required and therefore no need to turn on your oven, which is nice for me.  It’s been over 100°F most days this summer.

I changed a few things about the assembly of this pie to make it a little simpler.  If you read the recipe from the cookbook you notice that the assembly requires some marbling of the caramel, peanut butter and cream cheese mixture.  I just put a layer of caramel on top of the crust and then mixed the peanut butter in with the cream cheese.  This seemed to be a fine way to assemble the pie, maybe just not as pretty as the marbling would have been.

I highly recommend putting the peanut butter cups in the fridge or freezer prior to chopping.  This makes life, cutting boards, knives and hands, much cleaner.

As you might have noticed, there is not much sugar in the filling.  I was a little worried about this, but it was perfect.  Who am I to doubt Magnolia Bakery?  Combined with the cookie crust, caramel and peanut butter cups it is just wonderful and not overly sweet.

One of my new guilty pleasures are those Reese’s Minis, and I happen to have a stash of them in the fridge (where I must keep any chocolate with it being so hot this time of year.)  I halved the minis and chopped some unsalted peanuts for the topping.  If I were feeling really crazy I might use salted peanuts as a nice salty contrast.  Something else that might be interesting would be using some of the white chocolate Reese’s…I think it could work.  Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Icebox Pie

From The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook



  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs


  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup (1 pint) heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • 6-8 regular peanut butter cups, chopped
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce


  • Handful of chopped peanut butter cups
  • Handful of chopped peanuts



  1. Combine butter and cookie crumbs in a bowl until crumbs are evenly coated.
  2. Press into a 9-inch pie plate.
  3. Chill in the freezer for 20 minutes.


  1. Beat cream cheese until fluffy, 2 minutes.  Add sugar gradually, then beat in peanut butter and vanilla.
  2. Whip the cream in a separate bowl, then fold gently into the cream cheese mixture.
  3. Fold in the peanut butter cups.


  1. Remove the crust from the freezer.
  2. Spread the caramel on the bottom of the crust, then spread the filling over the caramel and smooth the top.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 8 hours, or overnight.
  4. To serve, garnish with peanut butter cups and peanuts.

Triple Peanut Oatmeal Cookies

An undeniable craving for oatmeal cookies struck me last week.  I rummaged through the baking cabinet…yes, I have a cabinet filled almost exclusively with baking goods and gadgets…and found a bag of peanut butter chips.  Mmm.  Then I went to the pantry and was drawn toward the jar of creamy peanut butter and the container of roasted peanuts.  Peanut butter oatmeal cookies were calling to me.  I toyed with the idea of adding some dark chocolate chips, or maybe some crushed pretzels, but in the end all peanut was the way to go.

I looked at a few regular oatmeal cookie recipes for some basic ratios and then changed and added as I thought necessary.  My final recipe is below.  There are a few things I might tinker with in the future, but these cookies were very good.  They have a nice full peanut flavor, a good contrast of salty and sweet, they are crunchy yet chewy, and delicious.

Triple Peanut Oatmeal Cookies
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 cup chopped peanuts


  1. Beat together butter, shortening and peanut butter until smooth.
  2. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until smooth.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, powder and salt.
  5. Mix in flour mixture  until just combined.
  6. Add in oats, peanut butter chips and peanuts and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  7. Spoon dough onto baking sheets using a large scoop (2-3 tablespoons) about 1 inch apart.
  8. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.
  9. Let cool on pan for a minute or two, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Toffee Brownies

A few weeks ago I caught the end of Oprah while on the treadmill at the gym.  Her guests were the contestants of the 2010 Pillsbury Bake-Off, and at the end of the show they revealed the winner of the $1,000,000 grand prize.  This was the winning recipe, Mini Ice Cream Cookie Cups.

These little treats look delicious!  And I know they must taste good as well.  How could they not?  The ingredients have no option but to create perfect sugary wonder!  Sugar cookie dough made into cups, dipped in chocolate and nuts, a spoonful of fruit jam in the bottom, topped with ice cream and fresh raspberries on top.  My problem with this is that it won $1,000,000 dollars.  They are somewhat creative I guess, but very little of this recipe is homemade or imaginative.

Were there no better recipes than this in the contest?  Seriously?  Who judges this contest?  A 10 year old who just LOVES ice cream sundaes?  Am I being harsh?

I got on the Pillsbury website and decided to go on a mission to look at other recipes that were contenders in the 2010 Bake Off. These brownies were among the finalists, and while they do use a brownie mix, there is more to these brownies than just a dressed up mix topped with ice cream.  On top of the brownie layer is spread a layer of sweet cream cheese and peanut butter goodness.  To finish things off, a layer of melted chocolate  is spread over the brownies and then sprinkled with toffee pieces.

Without having made the cookie cups, I can’t say for sure that these are better or more worthy of the prize, but they are very tasty.  Enjoy in small portions with a glass of milk because they are rich and quite chocolate-y.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Toffee Brownies

Courtesy of Pamela Shank


  • 1 box (19.5 oz) Brownie Mix
  • ½ cup Vegetable Oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • ½ cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 bag (8 oz) toffee bits
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray.

2. In medium bowl, stir brownie mix, oil, water and eggs 50 strokes with spoon until smooth. Spread batter in pan; set aside.

3. In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add milk and peanut butter; beat until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of the toffee bits. Spoon mixture over batter; spread evenly.

4. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until cheesecake layer is set and edges are light golden brown. Cool on cooling rack 30 minutes. Refrigerate 40 minutes.

5. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and cream uncovered on High 40 to 60 seconds or until chips are melted; stir until smooth. Spread over cheesecake layer. Sprinkle with remaining toffee bits. Cool completely, about 1 hour. For brownies, cut into 6 rows by 6 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bites

These little, unassuming bite-size goodies made quite an impression last weekend.  I brought them to a Christmas party where they were completely devoured and raved about.  I saw one of the party guests 2 days later and she asked me for the recipe.  I hadn’t had such a great response to a dessert in, well…ever!  I wish I could say they were my own creation, but alas, they were not.  I got the recipe in my 12 Days of Cookies email from the Food Network.  This was Day 10: Sunny’s Crunchy Peanut Butter S’more Bites.


If you go to the Food Network site and read the review on these cookies, you will wonder why I made them.  Bad reviews on taste and preparation.  What was I thinking?  Well, I wasn’t.  However, with a few modifications to the recipe, they taste yummy (still very sweet of course) but still make quite a mess of your kitchen.  Sometimes you have to take the bad with the good!


Peanut Butter Fudge: Re-Do

I was so embarrassed after I tasted the final fudge disaster.  It was hard, crumbly and pretty much inedible.  How can someone with some tiny bit of culinary sense, a relatively competent mind, and a candy thermometer screw up fudge?  Well, I did it!

So, you may want to discontinue reading this blog, unless you want to feel better about yourself and laugh at the woman who couldn’t make something yummy using peanut butter and marshmallow fluff.  I am ashamed!

I felt the need to redeem myself.

My original inspiration was marshmallow fluff.  But now it’s getting serious and I just need a spectacular Peanut Butter Fudge.  So, I tried this recipe from Alton Brown.  It uses the microwave and doesn’t require a candy thermometer.  I was a little skeptical, but the recipe was highly rated, and his recipes have always turned out pretty great when I’ve tried them in the past.

The final product was creamy, sweet, rich and while not seeping with peanut butter flavor, was very good.  It was also incredibly easy.  If you’re planning to make treats for people this Christmas, or need something to add to a cookie tray, this is an easy and yummy fudge.


Peanut Butter Fudge

(courtesy of Alton Brown)


  • 1 cup butter, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pound (about 3 and 3/4 cups) powdered sugar


  1. Microwave butter and peanut butter for 2 minutes on high.
  2. Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes.
  3. Add vanilla and powdered sugar to peanut butter mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon.
  4. Pour into a buttered 8 by 8-inch pan lined with waxed paper.
  5. Place a second piece of waxed paper on the surface of the fudge and refrigerate until cool.
  6. Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Peanut Butter Fluff Fudge

fluffMarshmallow Fluff is one of those things that should probably never have been invented.  It wouldn’t have been invented by anyone but Americans.  I love the stuff.  A friend of mine in high school grew up in Boston and began bringing “Fluffernutters” for lunch and I was amazed!  Peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwiched in between two slices of white bread.  Perfection…in a weird way.

I had a jar of Fluff in the pantry.  Do not ask me why.  Someone must have snuck it into my shopping cart.  So I found this recipe for peanut butter fudge that uses a jar of the sticky and almost sickeningly sweet white goop.

This wasn’t the best fudge I’ve ever made.  A few years ago I used this recipe from Rachel Ray with terrific results.  I made a few batches; chocolate with peanuts and raisins, and white chocolate with cranberries and pistachios.  Both were delicious and simple.  The recipe can be easily adapted.  Change the chips to white, or peanut butter, and then add in the same amount of any nut, chopped candies or dried fruit.  Endless options!

I might try to create a peanut butter fudge using the Rachel Ray recipe.  This recipe produced good tasting fudge, but it was very dry and crumbly.  I am pretty confident that I did something wrong.  It tastes OK, but maybe not good enough to waste a whole lot of calories.  It may end up in the trash.  I don’t do that often, but when I have a choice between delicious cookie swap cookies and dry sugary fudge…it’s not exactly a tough decision.  If you want to try this and tell me what I did to make such a rock hard pan of sugar, please do!


Peanut Butter Fudge (

  • 2 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 of 7 1/2 oz. jar marshmallow fluff
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 12 oz. jar peanut butter
  1. Cook sugar, butter, marshmallow and milk on stove top over medium-high heat until it boils.
  2. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove from the heat, add peanut butter and mix until creamy.
  4. Spread in an 8×8 pan and let cool.

Sweet Saturday: Candy Bar Blondies Experiment

Last week I made 3 batches of blondies hoping to create something irresistibly delicious.  I originally planned on making a Candy Bar Blondie with a variety of candy bars chopped into chocolate chip sized pieces.  I used a basic blondie recipe and then just replaced the chips and buts with the candy pieces.


reeses4Attempt #1 resulted in a yummy treat filled with chopped Snickers, Rolos, Reeses and Twix.  The problem was that the edges rose up on the sides and stayed there after the blondies cooled creating a sunken and sad looking baked good.  A blondie sinkhole.  I used a metal 8×8 inch pan which I’d greased.  The middle of the blondies were incredibly gooey, but the edges were hard and caramelized.  Hmmm.  I decided to try again.

Attempt #2 used the same combination of candy bars, sans the Twix because I ran out.  I tried to bake this one in a glass pan which I greased and floured.  I assumed the problem was my baking pan preparation.  Same basic recipe.  New pan.  Same problem.  Intriguing…and a tad bit frustrating.