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Peanut Butter Cookies with Mini Chips and Smoked Sea Salt

Everyone has their favorite peanut butter cookie recipe. I love peanut butter cookies rolled in sugar with a Hershey Kiss in the middle. These are perfect Valentine treats!

Next to the famous Toll House Cookie recipe, I think these are my husbands favorite! I didn’t have any Kisses in the house, but I did have mini chocolate chips and smoked sea salt. I thought it would be a fun way to say “Welcome Home” and “Happy Friday!” to my favorite Valentine!

Here is how they turned out…
Mini Chip Smoked Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cookies

Not bad, right? You should make a dozen (or three) for your favorite Valentine!

Peanut Butter Cookies with Mini Chips and Smoked Sea Salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter – use your favorite!
11/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp smoked sea salt

In a stand mixer fitted with paddle, cream together the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add 1 cup granulated sugar, all of the brown sugar and continue to beat at least two minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing for one minute between each egg.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda.

Stop the blender and scrape down the sides. Add flour mixture all at once into batter. Mix on low-speed until just combined. Remove from the mixer, scrape down the sides and incorporate any leftover flour mix that may not have gotten mixed in. Place the mixing bowl in refrigerator for 1 hour.

When you are ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and then roll in sugar before placing them on parchment lined baking sheets. Dip a fork in the remaining sugar and flatten each ball, making a criss-cross pattern. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown slightly around the edges.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle 1/4 tsp of mini chips on each cookie. Sprinkle the whole batch lightly with smoked sea salt.

Let cool completely and enjoy!

A Delicious Opportunity! Boozy Eggnog Bread Pudding!

There is a scene from the movie “Evan Almighty” when God is talking to Evan’s wife about “opportunities.” He advises her, “When people pray for patience, do you think God gives them patience, or opportunities to become more patient?” I’d been thinking and praying about how to get more creative with recipes and dishes…

Do you remember this?

Imperfect Banana Bread

This was my “opportunity” to become more creative in the kitchen!

I couldn’t just toss away the Boozy Banana Bread that fell apart. Immediately after sharing my mistake with my Sundays with Joy group, it hit me! Bread Pudding! Even better, Eggnog Bread Pudding!

I crumbled that broken loaf into a big bowl and let it sit on the counter for a few days to dry out. This morning, I warmed some eggnog and brown sugar on the stove, whisked in some eggs, vanilla and a bit more bourbon. In an 8×8 pan, I put the bread crumbles and covered it with the warm eggnog mixture. After it sat for about 15 minutes, it went into the oven for 35 minutes. This is how it turned out…

Bread Pudding

What do you think?

Eggnog Chocolate Banana Bourbon Bread Pudding

Here is how you can make your own!

Boozy Eggnog Bread Pudding

3 1/2 cups of your favorite banana bread, cut or torn into chunks
1 banana, sliced into discs
1 1/2 cups eggnog
1 cup milk
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 eggs
2 TBLS bourbon
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBLS chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray an 8 x 8 square pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Place torn banana bread chunks into the prepared pan. Add 1/2 of the banana slices, tossing well to combine.
In a medium pan over low heat, combine the eggnog, milk, sugar, nutmeg and salt. Stir to dissolve sugar. Heat only until eggnog mixture is warm. Do not let it boil! Set aside to cool a bit while you prepare the eggs.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs together. While you are whisking, slowly add the warm eggnog mixture. Go slowly so you don’t scramble the eggs! Continue whisking until all the eggnog is incorporated. Finally, whisk in the bourbon and vanilla.
Pour the eggnog mixture over your banana bread. Press down on the banana bread until all the pieces are submerged. Let the bread sit and soak in the eggnog for at least 15 minutes before putting it in the oven.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the bread is no longer jiggly in the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Serve warm topped with the remaining banana slices and the chocolate chips!

This was a great learning experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to turn a near disaster into something delicious. Plus, what a sweet way to ring in the New Year!

Potato Chip ‘N Chocolate Cookies

Potato chips are my favorite snack! When I saw these cookies on a Facebook link from Smitten Kitchen, I knew I was in trouble. Potato chips in a cookie? Seriously? This could be my dream come true!!
It took me less than five minutes to print the recipe and get to the kitchen!

This recipe is adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s Potato Chip Cookies. (Honestly, how have I missed Potato Chip Cookies for this long?) The cookie is a shortbread type. I didn’t have pecans in the pantry and you know I couldn’t wait so…I used mini chocolate chips instead of the nuts. That’s right. Chocolate and potato chips. You’ll thank me later.

There are two different finishing options for these cookies. The first is a potato chip/sea salt finish and the other involves dipping the cookies in chocolate. I made both! Let’s be honest Ladies, there are just certain times when you crave chocolate and salt together. Maybe we should rename these cookies to PMS Goodness?

Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 cup total)
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (the original version calls for 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans)
1/2 cup finely crushed plain potato chips
2 cups all-purpose flour

Potato Chip & Sea Salt Finish
1 TBLS crushed potato chips
1 1/2 tsp flaked sea salt

Chocolate Dip Finish
4 ounces semi or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tsp butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl cream together the butter with 1/2 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla and salt. Beat until smooth. Add the chocolate chips, potato chips and flour, mix until just combined.

Place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl. Scoop a tablespoon-sized mound of dough and form it into a small ball with the palms of your hands. Roll the ball in the sugar until coated. Place on prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly with the bottom of a drinking glass.

Repeat with the remaining dough. The cookies only need to be an inch apart. They don’t spread. If you’re using the Sea Salt finish, sprinkle the cookies with the chip/salt mix.

If you’re going to use the chocolate finish, bake them without topping.

Bake cookies until lightly golden at the edges, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
If dipping in chocolate, melt with butter in a double boiler or in short bursts in the microwave and stir until smooth. Dip half of each fully cooled cookie in the chocolate, and let dry and harden on a wire rack. I didn’t have a clean rack, so I put mine on wax paper and put them in the fridge.

Of course, I had extra potato chips (what girl doesn’t?) so I took it a step further…

I used BOTH finishings together! These are dipped in chocolate and then sprinkled with potato chips and sea salt. How amazing does that look? They taste just as delicious too! I’d offer to share but their aren’t any left.

Let me know if you need help eating yours too. 🙂

Much Love,

Sara

Sweet Heaven Bars

Ohhh Sweet Heavens!
I’m beginning to wonder if this layered bar thing is an obsession? This week, I made Sweet Heaven Bars. They are filled with chocolate chips, toffee bits, and caramel perfection, all in one!

I started with a few things gathered from the fridge and the pantry…a few things, with the exception of the caramels. According to three of my local grocery stores, Classic Caramels (the square ones wrapped in cellophane) are “seasonal” items. They are only available in September and October. What?? Get serious! Sadly, they were serious. Caramels were supposed to be part of our bowling snacks! Plus, I have a killer recipe for Caramel Apple Pie for Christmas! Neither of these things can happen if Caramels are “seasonal.”

Thankfully, the youngest foodie was at Target and I asked him to look for caramel while he was there. SCORE! Thank you Market Pantry for having caramels! They were not finished in time to bring bowling, but my co-workers were happy to sample their caramelly goodness!

Here is what I used to assemble these delicious beauties!

Mix the eggs, oil, and cake mix together and gently fold in chocolate chips and toffee chips.

Spread HALF the batter in a 9×13 pan, lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick spray. It will look like this:

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Create the caramel layer while the crust is baking. Unwrap the caramels…

Add a stick of butter and the sweetened condensed milk…

Melt in microwave and pour over the warm crust…

Sprinkle the remaining cake mix over the caramel…

Just for fun, add more chocolate chips…

Return to the oven and bake for an extra 25-30 minutes until the crust is a deep golden brown.

Let cool for an hour, until the bars are at room temperature. Refrigerate until set-at least another two hours. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Sweet Heaven Bars

1 box yellow cake mix (18.25 oz)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 (12 oz) bag chocolate chips
2 cups crushed Heath Bars (or 1 bag Heath Toffee Baking Bits)
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
32 caramels, unwrapped
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Pour cake mix, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until well blended. Fold in the chocolate chips and Heath Bars. Press HALF the mixture into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes. The mix is thick, so you can use a piece of wax paper sprayed with non-stick cooking spray to help spread the crust on the bottom of the pan.

While the crust is baking, melt the butter, caramels and milk in a double boiler, stirring constantly until smooth. Pour the mix over the baked crust and then top with the remaining cake/chip mixture. Just crumble it across the top, as it bakes it will puff and spread!

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is set and a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for about an hour until it comes to room temperature. Refrigerate until set, about another hour or more. (I let mine sit in the fridge for three hours) Peel foil away from the sides and bottom and cut into bars.

These are one of our favorites so far this season! I do have to say, my pictures are all starting to look alike with these layered bars so I may give them up for a while. The best part of doing all these though, has been learning what to layer between different things. Brownies, cookie dough, cake mixes can all take chocolate, cookies, caramel and a host of other things in the center and then be topped off with more decadent layers of brownies, cookie dough or cake mixes! What a wonderful world!!

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