Quick and Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Last night around midnight, I was poking about online and found this super-easy, flourless peanut butter cookie recipe. I immediately ran out and measured my peanut butter . . . juuuust shy of a cup! Of course! Not to be deterred, I threw Byrd in the car (actually, I let her jump into the car herself) and drove to the grocery store to pick up some extra peanut butter, along with things I’ll need for my savory cupcakes this weekend (stay tuned for these! I’m hoping they’re going to be amazing!)

I was excited about this recipe because of the possibility of making a weekday snack. I eat lower carb during the week, and since they have no flour, these cookies (when made with sugar-free peanut butter and Splenda) are low carb. About 125 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates per cookie, to be exact.

The only issue I was concerned about is the effect these substitutions would have. Natural peanut butter can be oilier or drier (depending on how well-mixed your jar is) than regular processed peanut butter, and Splenda works in most things, but not all. The cookies came out dry because of the peanut butter difference, and a little crumbly as well, but you know . . . for a low carb sweet, they hit the spot. After refrigerating overnight in an air-tight container, they were quite yummy. Nevertheless, if you’re not worried about the carbs, I would use regular ol’ JIF and sugar for a moister cookie.

Flourless Quick and Easy Peanut Butter Cookies


Recipe By:

Nadia

Yields: 14-18 cookies

Cookie Ingredients:

1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

Mix ingredients together for about 2 minutes. Cover and chill in refrigerator for half an hour. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a cookie sheet. Shape dough into small balls (and roll balls in sugar, if you’d like). Use the back of a fork to press balls flat vertically and horizontally (forming that lovely crisscross pattern). Bake for 18 minutes. Allow to cool on wire rack and store in airtight container.

Note: As mentioned above, the low carb version of this won’t be quite as moist, but is yummy as a quick treat. If substituting low carb ingredients (and maybe even if not), I think refrigerating overnight in an airtight container makes the flavor better. If you’re making the regular recipe, I could see these being fantastic with some mini hershey kisses or dipped in jam, as several folks on the original post suggested. Mmm peanut butter cookies! Enjoy!

Ferrero Rocher Failcakes

I showed you the pretty ones, but I thought you might also like to see my Ferrero Rocher Failcakes! I have my share of kitchen disasters. While I was happy with my second batch of Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes, the first batch didn’t quite turn out . . . to say the least!

The chocolate cupcake recipe I was using didn’t say anything about adding baking soda and powder (they were in the ingredients list, but not in the directions, which I always go by) and so . . . I didn’t! Oops. Lesson learned: always cross reference the ingredients list.

The failcakes still tasted okay, but were quite dense and not so pretty! I drizzled some extra ganache over them just in case we decided to eat them anyway. As of right now, though, they’re sitting in the fridge untouched.



Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes

Ferrero Rocher are my absolute favorite candy.  They’re lovely, crunchy, chocolatey balls of hazelnut cream surrounding a whole hazelnut.  Mike isn’t a candy person at all, but he loves them as well.  There’s something about the chocolate, cream, and hazelnut combination that just melds in your mouth.


Best candy in the world!

Never content to just enjoy pleasant things as they are, I wanted to innovate with these babies. I decided (big surprise!) to try to create a Ferrero Rocher Cupcake.  I searched out a delicious chocolate cupcake recipe with the intention of poking a whole, frozen candy in the middle of it prior to baking.  The frosting, in an attempt to mimic the chocolate and hazelnut covered shell of the candy itself, was ganache with chopped hazelnuts.  And of course, I drove all the way to Michael’s to pick up some gold sprinkles to echo the candy’s bright gold wrapper.


Oh yeah! Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes!

The cupcakes are scrumptious — moist and rich chocolate cake surrounding the familiar Rocher goodness.  There were a few flaws.  The candy stuck to the bottom of the cupcake paper a bit, so a little of its chocolate coating gets left behind when you peel the paper off. I think freezing them for a full 30-45 minutes before baking (I froze mine for 15) would help.  (Edited to add:  after refrigerating overnight, the candy no longer sticks, and the flavors have melded even more — yummy!)

Also, the crispy shell of the Rocher candies absorbed moisture from the batter during baking and lost some of its crunch.  But all in all, despite some texture changes, I feel like this recipe was a success! I was pleased that the taste of the candy was maintained and worked well with the cupcake flavor.

This trial run also makes me think of other great cupcake ideas.  For instance, deconstructing the Rocher: it’d be nice to make a chocolate cupcake filled with hazelnut cream (mmm, nutella!) and chopped hazelnuts, and frosted with this same delicious ganache.  In fact, after posting, I went back and googled to see if anyone had thought of Rocher cupcakes.  Turns out they had;  I found some fun recipes!  In particular, I’d love to try these!  Mmm. There are also some great nutella swirl cupcake recipes I’ve seen floating around. Lots of possibilities! In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy these Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes.

Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes


Recipe By:

Michelle (cupcakes)
Alton Brown (ganache, tweaked)
Ferrero Chocolates (they provide the chocolates, y’all!)

Yields: 24 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
2 cups (500mL) sugar
1/2 cup (125mL) cocoa powder
2 teaspoons (10mL) baking soda
1 tsp (5mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 cups (500 mL) of butter milk
2 teaspoons (10 mL) vanilla
24 Ferrero Rocher candies

Ganache Frosting Ingredients:
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped fine
8 ounces (1 cup) heavy cream
1/2 cup hazelnuts, finely chopped
gold sprinkles or edible gold leaf (optional)

Directions:

Cupcakes: Freeze 24 Ferrero Rocher candies for 30-45 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees Celsius).

To make cupcakes, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together oil, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry, mixing well. Increase speed and beat for 2 minutes, until well combined. Spoon into 24 paper-lined muffin cups, filling halfway. Do not overfill, no matter how tempting! Plop one frozen candy into the middle of each cup of batter.


Oven time!

Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until tops are firm and toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for a few minutes, then transfer to rack and cool completely.

Ganache Frosting: Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan until just simmering (careful not to let it boil over). Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate in a heat-resistant bowl. Let sit for 2 minutes. Mix well until smooth. Add in finely chopped hazelnuts and mix. If ganache is too runny, let it cool for awhile until it’s at the appropriate consistency. Then, dip the tops of room temperature cupcakes into the ganache, letting excess drain for a few seconds before righting the cupcakes. Sprinkle gold sprinkles or lay a piece of edible gold leaf in the center of the cupcake for a decoration. Let cool completely.


The dipping and sprinkles station.


Lots of delicious candy-inspired cupcakes.


Bon Appétit!

Peach Lemon Cupcakes

A friend tells me that Coconut & Lime’s Lemon Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Centers are incredible.  I can’t wait to try them!   In fact, I decided to experiment with the recipe this weekend when I had leftover peaches from my Peach Cobbler Cupcakes.  I wanted a lighter, summery peach cupcake.  I used Coconut & Lime’s recipe with some baking powder and soda added, and peaches in the place of strawberries.  While my mom felt peaches and lemon were an odd combination, I think they turned out rather nice.  The texture is divine, and the flavor is mostly lemon with a peach tang (and there’s that nice, juicy splush when you bite into a chunk!) I think next time I’ll add more peach to help it stand up to the lemon.

Peach Lemon Cupcakes


Recipe By:

Coconut & Lime (cupcakes, tweaked)
Paula Deen (frosting, tweaked)

Yields: 12 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:
7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large peach, chopped

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-2 drops yellow food coloring (if desired)
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350. Line 12 wells in a cupcake pan. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat to combine. Mix in the buttermilk, vanilla, and lemon juice. The mixture may look a little curdled but that’s okay.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet. Beat the batter an additional 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Pour an even amount into each cupcake well, filling about 3/4 of the way. Drop 3-5 chunks of peach into each well, depending on their size and your personal taste. Bake 15-20 minutes. Cool in pan briefly, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Ice with lemon cream cheese frosting.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, lemon juice, and food coloring together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife or pipe it on with a big star tip (I used star tip 1M.)


Ready for the oven! Just made a half batch of these, and one without peach for Mike’s sister!


Light, springy, fresh!

Meatloaf “Cupfakes”

Mike typically likes his food to LOOK like what it TASTES like. While I understand his natural desire to know what he’s eating, I also have a great love of trickery. I love food that’s made to look like other food.

I saw this cute cupfake post on a blog the other day. Instantly, I was reminded of all of the fun meatcakes I’d seen before (here’s a great gallery!) I’d always wanted an excuse to make some, and the perfect excuse came Saturday. Mike had a hard day of GRE testing (he obtained a PERFECT score on his math section, by the way; Congratulations, Mike!) and I told him I’d make a surprise dinner. What’s more surprising than a platter of cupfakes? I baked these cuties up with two other kinds of real cupcakes: Peach Cobbler Cupcakes and Peach Lemon Cupcakes.


The whole meal together!

When he came in, I told him that his surprise was that we were skipping dinner and only eating dessert! I could tell he was a little disappointed, so I pointed to my cupfakes and asked what flavor he thought they were. He guessed chocolate, red, and green (okay, he’s not good at guessing) before finally giving up. I loved the look on his face when I made the big reveal — MEATLOAF cupcakes! He loved it!

The piping on these could have been a LOT better. I rushed a bit, and I made the mashed potatoes a bit too viscous. I also should’ve cut a larger corner off of my ziplock! Oh well, there’s always next time.

This meal is so fun, and so easy to make! If you make these, make sure to post about how your surprise goes over!

Currency Meatloaf “Cupfakes”


Recipe By: Oprah, according to my Mom’s recipe.
Yields: 2 loaves (or 12 meatcakes and 1 loaf, or 24 meatcakes)

Meatloaf Ingredients:
3 lbs. 97% lean ground beef
1 1/2 slices bread, torn
1 cup milk
2 eggs beaten
2/3 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon dried mustard
1 heaping tbs sage
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
3 stalks celery
pepper
1 can tomato paste, for top

Decorations:
instant mashed potatoes for “frosting”
grape tomatoes for “cherries”
salt
food coloring

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix meatloaf ingredients and put a heaping scoop in each of 12 greased cupcake wells. Do not pack. Spoon the rest of the mixture lightly into a greased loaf pan (preferably with racks, to allow fat to drain out). Spoon tomato paste on top of each cupcake well and the loaf. Bake meatcakes for 25 minutes and drain on paper towels. Bake loaf for 1 hour.

Once meatcakes are drained, place them carefully into cupcake papers. Frost with instant mashed potatoes in a ziplock bag (I added some garlic to mine for flavor, and you can add more milk to get the right consistency. I think I added too much!) Mix a tablespoon or so of salt with a drop of whatever food coloring you like, and sprinkle lightly on top. Top with a squirt of ketchup or a grape tomato for a cherry (my mother reminded me, and I still forgot!)


Nestled in their cute cupcake foil liners!


Finished (albeit with not-so-cute piping on my part)


Mike’s Cupfake Meal (with some delicious stuffed squash — let me know if you want the recipe!)

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