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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This blog post has been on the back burner for some time. I made it and photographed it at Christmas-time, but seeing as that was already past the point for giving away homemade goodies as holiday gifts I figured it was best to wait for the next best opportunity – summertime!
Limoncello is a lemon infused liqueur from Italy, often sipped during the summer after meals as a digestif. It’s sweet, strong, and quite easy to make. The most difficult part of the process would probably be removing all the zest from the lemons, but after that it’s just a matter of playing the waiting game – which I must admit is also difficult if you’re as impatient as I am. It is a pretty unique process that yields a unique result that you’ll love to share with your friends.
A sweet, lemony liqueur popular in Italy.
- 1 liter grain alcohol (if Everclear isn't available in your area, see notes about using vodka)
- 10 lemons
- 5 cups water
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- First, wash and dry your lemons. Since you're going to be using the peel exclusively, you want to make sure they don't have any residue on them. Next, peel your lemons (a vegetable peeler works perfectly for this job) - you don't want to get too much of the white pith under the peel, so try to peel as thinly as possible. Put the peels into a large glass container. Add the alcohol, making sure that it completely covers the peels. Let the mixture steep for 10 days, or up to 3 weeks.
- Place a colander inside of a large bowl. Pour the alcohol mixture into the colander and drain, using a wooden spoon to press out any excess liquid from the peels. Discard the peels.
- In a large saucepan, combine the water and sugar over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then add the simple syrup to the alcohol mixture and stir to combine.
- Place a wire mesh strainer over a large, clean bowl and place a coffee filter inside the mesh strainer. Slowly pour the limoncello through the coffee filter. Once the amount of liquid straining through slows down considerably or stops, replace the coffee filter with a new one and continue until all of the limoncello has been filtered, replacing coffee filters as needed.
- Next, filter again and fill the bottles as follows: Place a funnel into the mouth of the bottle you'll use for your finished limoncello. Place a coffee filter inside the funnel, and slowly pour the limoncello through the coffee filter to fill the bottle. Seal the bottle(s) and store in the freezer indefinitely.
- If you can't obtain grain alcohol where you live, you can substitute 100-proof vodka. Most vodkas are sold in 750mL bottles (versus the 1 liter of grain alcohol called for in the recipe). If this is the size you purchase, adjust the rest of your ingredients as follows: 8 lemons, 4 cups water and 3 cups sugar.
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
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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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Inspiration struck me as I was pondering the sort of dessert I’d wanted to bring to my parents’ place for Thanksgiving. Given the simplicity of the recipe I was thinking I would make my semifreddo. Then I thought it might be fun to do a twist on a pumpkin pie and change the vanilla ice cream to pumpkin, then pour it into a pastry crust instead of the chocolate. The idea rolled around in my head for a few days when I finally decided I wanted to simplify it further. An easy no-churn pumpkin spice ice cream dotted with sugary praline frosted pecans. Heck yeah.
Now that I’ve been introduced to the world of no churn ice cream, I find myself eager to experiment. The whole thing comes together in about ten minutes and is just a matter of whisking together a few wet ingredients and spices, then folding them into whipped cream. It doesn’t get much easier than this to make ice cream.
I added a tablespoon of rum to the mix, because it imparts a small amount of flavor – but also because the alcohol helps keep the ice cream a little bit soft. You’re welcome to omit it, or to substitute another liquor of your choosing. I also managed to get my hands on some really tasty praline frosted pecans that were folded into the final mixture. You can use whatever candied nuts available to you, regular toasted nuts, or of course no nuts at all.
If you can’t tell by now, this recipe is so simple that I don’t even have much I can say about it! What I can tell you is that if you want a twist on the comforting, autumnal flavors of pumpkin pie with very little hassle – this recipe is a lot of fun. I served scoops of ice cream with crumbled up shortbread cookies to mimic pie crust and to further play up the pumpkin pie feel. I think it would also pair nicely with a slice of warm pecan pie. Or try a scoop of it in a shot of espresso for a pumpkin spice affogato. Many pumpkin possibilities to be had – so enjoy!
No Churn Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream
This no churn pumpkin pecan ice cream is a fun dessert that’s quick to assemble.
- 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (wondering what to do with the rest of the can? how about pumpkin scones!)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon spiced rum
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup praline frosted pecans (regular pecans are fine if you don’t have them)
- In a medium sized bowl whisk together all ingredients except for the whipping cream and pecans.
- In a food processor or stand mixer, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form.
- Fold the pumpkin mixture into the whipped cream and then fold in the pecans.
- Transfer to a loaf pan and put in the freezer. Carefully cover the top of the pan with a sheet of plastic wrap, making sure to push it right up against the mixture to get out excess air. This helps prevent the formation of ice crystals. I find this step can look neater if you do it after the pan has been in the freezer for 15-20 minutes and the top has solidified slightly.
- Freeze at least 6-8 hours, but preferably overnight.
- Bake a traditional graham cracker crust into the bottom of a spring form pan and allow to cool before pouring the ice cream mixture over the top. Freeze as usual, release the ice cream from the spring form pan, and slice into wedges. Serve with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.
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Have you ever been struck by inspiration? A moment of genius that left you wanting to gloat to everyone in your path? It could be the simplest of ideas, but you still can’t help but think to yourself, “MY GOD I AM BRILLIANT!” That’s pretty much how I felt whenever I made this drink. The funny thing is that it wouldn’t surprise me if people had been doing this forever and I just never knew. It’s so much more rewarding to arrive at a solution on your own though, isn’t it? But seriously, I was so excited about this that you would think I had discovered antibiotics or something. Want a hot apple cider? Want a cozy, spicy chai? WHY NOT BOTH?
Oh and by the way, I decided I’m going to start drawing monsters into my pictures. In case you were wondering what the heck that ↑ was all about. Whenever I first started this blog and set the zombie eared bunny as my logo, a few people suggested I incorporate more of my monster doodles into the posts. At the time I felt like I didn’t want to add another layer of work to the already intimidating task of managing a food blog for the first time. The concept faded with time and eventually I forgot about it altogether, until my friend Chris suggested that I put a small comic strip into each of my blog posts. While I don’t have a talent for writing clever stories in the span of three frames, I thought that going back to the idea of putting a monster into each post might be fun after all. It seemed even more fun to have them interacting with the food in some way. I did a couple of test images (I have another post coming in a couple of days) and it ended up being really enjoyable to do. Being able to fuse two of my hobbies in a playful manner is pretty exciting for me, so I hope people are into it!
As for this drink – it’s just a simple way to heat up a single mug of warm, spiced apple cider when you feel like cozying up on a chilly night. Stir in a spoonful of caramel and top with whipped cream for level 2 comfort. Forgo the whipped cream and add a touch of rum for level 4 comfort, because rum skips right on past level 3.
Hot Chai Apple Cider
An easy way to prepare a single serving of spiced apple cider on a chilly night.
- 8oz apple cider
- 1 chai tea bag (you may want to use decaf if you’re making this later in the evening)
- Small slice of orange or lemon peel, optional
- Caramel, optional
- Whipped cream, optional
- Put cider into microwave safe mug (my mug actually holds 2 cups of fluid so I doubled the recipe) and heat on high for about 3 minutes or until piping hot.
- Add teabag to mug, add citrus peel if you’re using it, cover, and allow to steep for as long as you prefer. I left mine for 5 minutes because I wanted to incorporate as much spice flavor as possible.
- If desired stir in caramel or rum, and topped with whipped cream.
- Calorie count is for 1 cup of cider with tea. Does not include caramel or whipped cream.
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