H.B. Reese, the creator of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (originally named “Penny Cups” for their price of one cent), arrived at this ingenious combination of ingredients while trying to support his wife and 16 children. He was almost as good at making sweets as he was at making kids. Little did he know that his successful basement experiment would go on to become one of the most popular candies in the U.S. And little did you know that you can make an indulgent chocolate peanut butter treat of your own in about 12 minutes prep time. You don’t even need a truck load of kids to help you.
There are plenty of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup knock-off recipes out there, but that’s not what this is. Oh no no. I consider this to be a more grown up version of the famous novelty, made with higher quality ingredients. The best part though? No fussy molds to deal with. If you can operate a microwave (and a spoon) then you can make these delicious bars.
Given the simplicity of this recipe I feel like I should issue a warning to my readers. These are good. Damn good. You will eat more than
one five of them. I cannot be held responsible for any self induced tummy aches that may occur as the result of gorging on these addictive confections. But… is that really a warning though? Maybe it’s more of a tease, gently beckoning you to enjoy these decadent bars with a glass of cold milk. I won’t notify anyone if you slice the pan in half and tell your friends you only ate “one”.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bars
Smooth, rich peanut butter fudge with dark chocolate ganache. Easy to make, easier to devour!
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 8 ounces unsalted butter
- 1 pound powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang at the edges so you can easily lift the fudge out when it sets.
- Microwave peanut butter with unsalted butter for 2 minutes.
- Stir well and microwave 2 more minutes. Mixture will be molten hot so be careful with it.
- Add vanilla and salt, stirring to combine.
- Combine peanut butter mixture with powdered sugar and stir well with a wooden spoon. Mixture will be incredibly thick.
- Spread mixture across the bottom of the prepared pan. I like to lay another sheet of parchment on top and use my hands to help level it out.
- Transfer to the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the ganache.
- Heat the cream to just below a simmer. If you have a thermometer and want to be more precise you're aiming for around 185F. You can do this in a saucepan on the stove, but a couple of minutes in the microwave should do the trick. Just watch it closely to make sure it doesn't boil.
- Pour the hot cream over the finely chopped chocolate and walk away for 10 minutes to give the chocolate time to melt. Gently fold the chocolate and cream together until smooth and glossy. If your chocolate wasn't chopped finely enough you may have a few stubborn pieces that refuse to melt. Pop the mixture in the microwave at 10 seconds intervals until the ganache is smooth.
- Spread over the peanut butter fudge. Sprinkle the top with sea salt if desired. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are quite salty, so I find this adds a pleasant finish that people love. Return to the refrigerator to finish setting up completely. The bars are not too thick and tend to be ready to eat in an hour or so.
- Run a sharp nice around the edge of the pan to loosen the fudge if needed. Using the overhanging parchment, gently lift the bars out. Slice into squares and serve.
- Calories vary depending on the size of the bars. Cutting into 20 squares puts it at 256 calories each, cutting into 40 smaller sized pieces would put it at 128 calories each.
- As an optional step, sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the peanut butter layer before you've added the ganache. Gently press them into the fudge to keep the bars flat and smooth on top. The texture of this ends up being akin to chocolate chip cookie dough and is so good!
Adapted from Alton Brown's Peanut Butter Fudge
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What kind of food blogger would I be if I didn’t give you a delicious, simple chocolate recipe just in time for Valentine’s Day? These chocolate hazelnut truffles can be finished in a few different ways depending on your tastes and the amount of time you have, but the ganache base in the center of each one is silky and divine.
One of the most important things to know when it comes to making delicious truffles is that you need to start with high quality ingredients. Chocolate is center stage in this recipe so you want to get the best quality possible. If you want to save a little money you could always blend a more affordable chocolate with something on the luxurious side, but quality will definitely shine here.
The easiest way to finish these truffles is definitely with a quick toss in some good cocoa powder. Quality matters here as well! The cocoa powder will be the first thing that touches your tongue after all. I used Penzeys high fat dutch process cocoa powder.
If straight up cocoa powder is too bitter for you, there are plenty of other options at your disposal. You can blend the cocoa with a little powdered sugar to sweeten it, use straight powdered sugar, sprinkles, chopped nuts, crushed peppermint, cookie or graham cracker crumbs, candy melts, or tempered chocolate. Let your creativity flow and use whatever is available to you.
Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles
Chocolate hazelnut truffles are simple, elegant, and delicious.
- 8oz high quality chocolate (I used a combination of milk and dark Valrhona chocolate)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur (I used Frangelico)
- Toppings of your choice for coating truffles (cocoa, nuts, sprinkles, melted tempered chocolate, etc)
- Blend your chocolate in the food processor to break it down into fine pieces. I do this to help it melt more quickly. Place chocolate in a large glass bowl with the unsalted butter and set aside.
- In a small sauce pan heat your heavy cream until it just barely comes to a simmer, then pour over your chocolate. Let sit for about a minute.
- Whisk chocolate and cream together until smooth and shiny. Add your vanilla and hazelnut flavorings and then stir to combine.
- Leave your bowl somewhere to cool until it can be formed into balls. This took about 45 minutes for me.
- For the easiest method of forming the truffles, simply scoop out a small ball of the ganache and then roll in cocoa powder (or whatever you choose).
- For a slightly more advanced method dust the inside of a silicone mold with a small amount of cocoa powder, fill with ganache, and let cool completely before releasing. Once you've removed the chocolate from the mold just coat as usual.
- If you would like to coat your truffles with a nice shell, you can either use candy melts (pretty foolproof and they comes in lots of fun colors) or properly tempered chocolate. I brushed the inside of my mold with chocolate, let it set until firm, added a small dollop of the ganache filling, and then topped with more chocolate. Once set and totally firm I released it from the mold and brushed it with a little pearl dust.
- You will have the best results if you don't refrigerate your chocolate, as it can affect the chocolate's texture and flavor. If you're in a pinch it can do the trick though!
- Calories are calculated based on using 1/4 cup of high fat dutch processed cocoa for rolling. Count will vary if using tempered chocolate, nuts, or sugar.
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Once again it’s been a while since I updated my blog. Though previously I had wanted to avoid posting two sweet dishes back to back, this recipe is so easy that I really wanted to share it. The first time I made it I decided to make the caramel sauce from scratch following David Lebovitz’s recipe. Making caramel seems to be hit or miss with me. Sometimes I will get the batch right on the first try, but other times I’m likely to turn an entire bag of sugar into charcoal. Ree Drummond (the Pioneer Woman) has a great fool-proof recipe for caramel sauce as well, if you’re not prepared to tackle the daunting task of creating molten sugar syrup the old fashioned way. And of course if you want to take the easiest way out, get thee to a local grocery store and buy a jar of their tastiest caramel. Ideally you’ll want something with pouring consistency that can easily be swirled throughout your vanilla mixture, but let me just say that I tried this with a jar of super firm dulce de leche and it was awesome. While you don’t get the beautiful marbled appearance that comes with using a more liquid sauce, the finished product is chock full of hidden caramel treasure globs. Yeah, that’s right – treasure globs. Whichever way you decide to do it it’s gonna taste incredimazing.
Some of you may be sitting there asking yourself, “What the heck is semifreddo anyway?” Well, it’s basically a frozen dessert similar to ice cream, except it is served slightly soft… which makes sense when you consider that semifreddo literally translates to “half cold”. The texture is silky and creamy and wonderful… but that’s not even the best part. The really great thing about it is that there is no churning required. It is a fine day indeed when an apartment dweller with limited storage space for single use appliances learns how to make a delicious no churn ice cream. Honestly I am torn between feelings of righteousness and guilt over sharing this recipe. On one hand you’re going to learn that you can make a super awesome dessert that people will think you slaved over (when it’s actually in the freezer in about 20 minutes), but on the other hand I’m giving you the key to a vault that holds eleventy billion scrumptious calories. You know what? I’m over it. Go make this and thank me later.
Vanilla Bean Semifreddo with Caramel & Pecans
A delicious no churn ice cream pie swirled with caramel and nuts.
- 1 half sleeve chocolate wafer cookies (about 15-20); I used Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of roasted, salted pecans
- 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, melted
- 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 2 tablespoons spiced rum
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup caramel sauce
- 1/2 cup roasted salted pecans, chopped
- Chocolate sauce for drizzling (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In food processor add wafer cookies, 1/2 cup of pecans, and brown sugar. Pulse until coarse and crumbly then add in the melted butter and pulse until mixture is just moistened. Press into bottom of a round springform pan and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- In a large bowl whisk together sweetened condensed milk, rum, vanilla bean scrapings, salt, and 1 tablespoon of your caramel sauce. Set aside.
- Whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. I prefer to do this in my food processor, but you can always use a hand held beater or even good ol’ elbow grease if you like.
- Very gently whisk half of the whipped cream into your sweetened condensed milk mixture. When combined gently whisk in the rest until smooth.
- Stir chopped pecans into prepared caramel sauce. Depending on how much “swirl” you would like in your ice cream you can always adjust the amount of caramel and pecans to suit your taste.
- Pour half of the cream mixture onto the baked and cooled crust. Follow by spooning half of the pecan caramel on top of it. Repeat this step so you have cream, caramel, cream, caramel in the pan. Gently swirl a knife through it to create a marbled effect.
- Transfer to the freezer, cover, and allow to set for a good 6 hours, preferably overnight. To release it from the pan run a sharp knife along the edges and pop the springform clasp so the pan opens up. Top with additional caramel, chocolate sauce, or chopped pecans if desired (trust me, it’s desired). It should keep in the freezer for about a week, but holding onto it any longer could risk the formation of ice crystals and the loss of that silky texture.
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Some days you just wanna make something really easy with whatever you have on hand. I had a day like that last week. I had a craving for a sweet snack and wanted to make something somewhat reasonable with very little effort. That’s where these guys come in.
I made these bars two different ways, each way calling for three ingredients. The first one was made with chocolate and peanut butter while the second one was made with chocolate and toasted coconut. They are both really tasty and REALLY easy. This recipe is barely even a recipe. It’s a throw a bunch of stuff together and end up with something tastipe. Tastipe? I tried to make up a cool new word and I don’t think it really worked out.
Anyway! Because of the simplicity of ingredients involved you could definitely up the portions to say… fill an entire cookie sheet or baking dish, then slice it into squares. I can’t afford to keep that much of a good thing around or I’ll eat it all, which is why I only make enough for one bar. I cut the bar in half and eat a square at a time, but I suspect most people will want to eat the whole thing at once which is why I’m going to calculate the calories out as one serving. Also, you can use whatever kind of cereal you have on hand. I used Kashi Go Lean Crisp Cinnamon Crumble (that’s a mouthful – HA FOOD PUN) but pretty much any cereal with fairly small pieces should work fine. Lightly crushing a larger cereal would probably work well too.
While I was in the middle of writing this post I stood up and went into the kitchen to make one of these. I wanted to whip out my phone and quickly snap a photo of how I wrap these up before they go into the freezer. It’s not exactly rocket science but a little visual aid never hurt anyone! I also just wanted to eat one. Ain’t gonna lie.
Three Ingredient Crispy Chocolate Treat
Easy to make, three-ingredient chocolate snack.
- 1/4 cup dry cereal (I used Kashi Cinnamon Crumble)
- 1 tablespoon chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chips)
- 1 teaspoon peanut butter (I used Smucker’s Natural)
- In a small bowl microwave the peanut butter and chocolate together until melted.
- Stir the cereal into the melted chocolate until thoroughly coated.
- Spread onto a sheet of parchment paper and fold it up, similar to how you’d roll up a burrito – making sure to fold in the edges to keep everything snug inside. This process is forming the shape of the bar so you want to keep it kind of tight to hold the edges in place.
- Transfer to the freezer to chill to 10-20 minutes until the chocolate has hardened. The amount of time it takes will vary depending on how flat you make your bar.
- To make the coconut version, sub 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of toasted coconut in for the peanut butter.
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If you’re like a lot of Americans, it’s likely that you’ve yet to be introduced to the glory of the Tim Tam. If you’re Australian then you’re probably sleeping on a Tim Tam mattress at night in your knitted Tim Tam footsie pajamas. I happen to know that most of the people that visit my blog are from the states though (thanks Google Analytics!), so I’ll tell you a bit about this delightful little cookie… or biscuit as it’s more appropriately called. Actually, I’ll just let Wikipedia do the work for me:
“A Tim Tam is composed of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate.”
Do I have to tell you how awesome it is that the word chocolate is listed in the description three times? Nope? Alright then, because we’ll be much better friends if you appreciate chocolate in the way that I do – Inception style. Chocolate within chocolate within chocolate. So why not take this awesome store-bought treat and I don’t know… cover it with more chocolate, some dulce de leche, a chewy oatmeal crumble, and salty chopped pretzels? The amount of win in these bars is out of control, man.
Tim Tams haven’t always been easy to get in the U.S. and I’d go on to say that they still aren’t easy to find, but since Pepperidge Farm started making them it’s become a lot easier. The true brand is called Arnotts, and I’m able to find them at the local World Markets in the Dallas area. The Pepperidge Farm version is a pretty good knock off – slightly different than the original – but still a suitable replacement. I haven’t actually tried them in this recipe but I see no reason why they wouldn’t work just as well. I’ve been able to find them at Target. I suggest you try to get your hands on two packages. One for the unforgettable (and absolutely required) Tim Tam Slam experience, and the second for making these addictive dessert bars.
Tim Tam Caramel Crumble Bars
An addictive dessert bar that is chewy, sweet, rich, and a little salty.
- 1 package of Tim Tams
- 5 tablespoons butter, chopped into cubes
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, chopped into cubes
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup salted pretzels, chopped
- 3/4 cup of dulce de leche (up it to 1 cup for a thicker caramel layer)
- 3 tablespoons milk
- Preheat oven to 350F and butter an 8×8 inch baking dish.
- In your food processor pulse together the Tim Tams, 5 tablespoons of butter, and 1 tablespoon of sugar until crumbly. Press into bottom of your baking dish. Spread 1/4 cup of the dulce de leche over the top – it will be a very thin layer.
- Go back to your food processor and combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, 1/2 cup of butter, and 1 tablespoon of the milk. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly and scatter half of it over the top of the dulce de leche. Press lightly into place and bake for 10 minutes.
- While that is baking pulse the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk and the chopped pretzels into the rest of the oatmeal mixture.
- Remove pan from the oven and while still warm, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. Drizzle remaining 1/2 cup of dulce de leche over the chocolate chips (I found microwaving the dulce de leche for a few seconds helped make this part easier). Using the back of a spoon very gently level out this layer. You don’t want it mixed, you just want the melting chips to meld with the caramel sauce a little and to have the layer be even.
- Scatter the remaining oatmeal and pretzel mixture over the top. Press gently to pack the layer down slightly and return to the oven for another 20-25 minutes.
- This next step is the most important: Let the bars cool completely before cutting. I actually think they do better if you let them cool, transfer them to the fridge to chill, and then cut them. You want that chocolate to be completely firm or you’ll have a gooey mess on your hands. I know that sounds delicious and tempting, but trust me when I say it’s worth the wait to do it right! Slice into 16 squares and serve.
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Finally got around to making the brownies from the Baked cookbook. We ate them with scoops of delicious bourbon vanilla ice cream (from Sweet Firefly) and homemade hot fudge. I didn’t include the calorie content for this recipe because I haven’t calculated it yet (and possibly because I’m scared to learn what it is).
Baked NYC Brownies
The famous brownie recipe to end all brownie recipes.
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- 5 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13-inch glass or light-colored baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.
- Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
- Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve.
- Store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap for up to 3 days.
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
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