In the Kitchen: Peanut Butter Cups

In an attempt to get all my recipes and cooking talk in one place, I’ll be periodically re-posting recipes from my time writing on the Kitchen Mirror here. In some cases I may update pictures & proof-read, but for the most part it will just be a re-posting of what I had there. The posts are not in chronological order – I’m trying to post holiday appropriate recipes near the holidays they go with & fill in others around them.

Originally posted September 7, 2008

I have a thing for sweets and sugar. It is my downfall, seriously. No matter how many times I try to get on track to eat healthy, something sweet and delicious sneaks into my mouth. Especially if it’s chocolate. Chocolate can turn me into Homer Simpson, complete with drool.

So, recently I’ve decided to cut down (if not out) on the amount of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in my diet. Which doesn’t mean that I’m going to be all freakazoid about it and insist on ingredient lists when I’m out eating, but I’m really trying to be more conscious about the foods I’m putting into my body and right now, I’m still learning what those are. This has led to the possibly annoying habit of reading ingredient lists on EVERYTHING until I figure out what the limits are.

Which has nothing to do with today’s cooking experiment, but it will probably flavor my future posts here, so heads up.

Now, let’s get to the fun stuff, shall we?

I love peanut butter. I love chocolate. I like making foods myself so that I know what ingredients are in it. And just the other day, I found this recipe for a home made peanut butter cup. Naturally, I jumped all over that.

peanut butter cups<

Doesn’t it look fantastic? It really was quite yummy.

What I did – I doubled the recipe because I wanted bigger pb cups and I used regular size muffin papers to make them in.

What happened when I did that – I ran out of chocolate about halfway through topping the cups, so I improvised. I used the rest of my bag of chocolate chips and tossed in some semisweet Scharffen Berger chocolate squares I had in my candy stash (oh, yes, there is a candy stash), melted it all together in my microwave and still ran out.

Oh, well. In the end, these were delicious, but I think that next time I’ll follow the directions to make them smaller by using the mini muffin cups.

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FO: Baby Milo Vests & a Chocolate Tasting

Last weekend, I attended a baby shower at Kakao that also included a chocolate tasting.

Of course, as I was getting out of my car, the tornado sirens went off in Maplewood. I booked it the two blocks to the shop & managed to get inside shortly before the skies opened up.
Stormy Weather

The chocolate tasting was amazing.
Chocolate Flight #1
Truffles L-R: Lavender, Pistachio (SO YUMMY), Turkish Coffee

Chocolate Flight #2
Truffles L-R: Mint, Irish Whiskey, Thai Spice

Chocolate Flight #3
Serendipity Chocolate Ice Cream with Kakao Salted Burnt Caramel Sauce – this sauce was delicious!

Chocolate Finale
Sea Salt Caramel – I love these things.

Of course, we were there to celebrate the impending baby arrival, so I had made a couple little Milo vests for the baby boy & baby girl on the way.

Milo x2

The pattern is Milo, which I have used before. The purple vest has XO cables, the brown has little owl cables. The yarn was Berroco Vintage (which I love for a baby gift, y’all). More details on my project pages here and here.

In the Kitchen: Nutella Oatmeal Cookies

Oh, hello there. Where were we? Ah, yes, there was a sheep festival. And then there were cookies.

As our normal Sunday knit group is no more, I had all day Sunday free. It seemed like a great idea at the time – I’d clean the apartment, make Mindy’s matzoh tags, do some knitting, and relax a little. Except that around 7pm, I didn’t feel like knitting and I was BORED. B.O.R.E.D. BORED.

Apparently the thing to do when bored is make cookies. I could have gone to the gym, read a book, or done something productive, but NOOOO. I made freakin’ cookies. Some of the best freakin’ cookies ever.

Before you read any further, go to your kitchen. Do you have a jar of Nutella in there? Yes? Good. You’re going to want it after this.

YIP 282.365 Nutella Oatmeal Cookies

Nutella Oatmeal Cookies
(slightly modified from this recipe. Seriously – go look at her cookie pictures and tell me you don’t want to crawl through the screen and stuff all these cookies in your mouth).

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup Nutella (or a smidge more if you’re emptying out the container)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (you could probably go up to a cup, I just only had 3/4 a cup left.)

Preheat the oven to 375F. Get out your nonstick cookie sheet(s).

Mix together your butter & Nutella (I used my handheld mixer & the whisk attachment for the whole thing. It worked really well). Blend until fluffy. Add the sugars, baking powder, baking soda, & salt. Beat until well mixed. Add eggs & vanilla, beating again until incorporated. Add the flour in two batches, beating after each addition. Add in oats & mix well (this is where I switched to my wooden spoon). Add in the chocolate chips and mix one more time.

Drop by tablespoon onto nonstick (or lightly greased) cookie sheet – they do spread out a bit, so make sure to leave some space. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Let cool on pan a couple minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool more. Stuff into your mouth while still warm or save some to share with your coworkers.

I got around 48 cookies from this recipe. Maybe more. It’s hard to tell since I was trying to do math after I’d eaten a few cookies.

Side note #1: One of my best purchases in the kitchen was a cookie scoop. I’m fairly sure I waxed poetic about it before, but without it, there was no chance “BORED” would have ever translated into “try a new cookie recipe”. If you have a cookie scoop, USE IT. It makes cookie baking time more fun.  I used the “small” one when I made these.

Side note #2: I’ve been trying to use Pintrest more when I find something I want to save for later. That’s how I found this recipe, actually. I like the idea behind it, but I have a bad habit of forgetting about it for a few weeks at at time, then randomly pinning a ton of things all at once. Mostly recipes.

Life List Item #3: I like candy.

Before we even get started, know that I’ve had this post in the pipeline for a while. I’ve just been lazy about getting it finished & out there for some unknown reason. So, no, I haven’t fallen off the “healthy” wagon a mere three days after my ode to Dr. Pepper, I’m just trying to clear out the backlog of half written posts.

Whenever I’m out and about, especially at random convenience stores or gas stations, I look for candy/chocolate I can’t find other places. I also seek out chocolate shops (or just randomly happen to find them) when I’m out of town. So it’s no real surprise that the third item on my life list was to taste many different kinds of chocolate or candy. I’m not going to really count things that I’ve tried in the past and have a memory of (or will grab as a go-to chocolate fix, like say your Twix or Kit Kat). Which brings us to the list currently.

1. The official count started with the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bugles. Yikes.

2. Twin Bing – My coworker brought me one of these back from Iowa when she went back home to visit family. Peanuts & chocolate? Delicious. Neon pink cherry-flavored nougat center? A little scary.

3. Pretzel m&m’s – Okay, we all know I am a sucker for salty/sweet, but these were off somehow. Maybe because of the candy shell intruding on the chocolate/pretzel combo, maybe the lack of large salt crystals you get with a simple chocolate dipped pretzel. Maybe it’s because the m&m people are trying to do TOO MUCH. Coconut, Wild Cherry, & now Pretzel. In addition to your plain, peanut, almond, peanut butter (my favorite), mint, dark chocolate, and dark chocolate peanut. HOW MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF M&M’S DOES THE WORLD NEED?

4. Twix Java – This was odd. It’s a chocolate cookie (like the PB Twix has now) with coffee flavor in the caramel. I felt like the coffee flavoring was a little overpowering. Then again, it’s supposed to be coffee flavored, so maybe that’s why it had a distinct coffee overload.

Since the Twix Java, there hasn’t been a new candy or chocolate in my world. However, one of my coworkers is visiting Italy & Greece at the moment & she’s going to try to bring me something yummy back to try. There’s not a moratorium on candy/chocolate eating, I just need to be more selective about what I’m eating and when.

Life List Item #3: Taste mmmph kinds of chocolate or candy

I don’t know who it was who first put together peanut butter and chocolate*, but that person was a genius. I can’t say if he or she was a sane genius or a maniacal one, but GENIUS nonetheless.

So far be it from me to deny myself a new treat with the words “chocolate” and “peanut butter” in their names.

Let me got back to how I discovered this treat. Before knit night on Wednesday, I stopped at the local convenience store for a refreshing beverage & small snack. I went to the aisle with the Corn Nuts because I was craving salty. As I looked around, I saw the Chex Mixes of the world and other random hanging bags of salt. My eyes darted past a bag and caught the glorious words “chocolate peanut butter”.

For a moment, the skies were glorious and the angels were singing.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bugles

And then I realized what I was looking at. Chocolate Peanut Butter BUGLES**. This would be either the greatest thing on the planet or something that would terrify me until the end of my days.

It’s been 24 hours since I had one and I’m still not sure how I feel.

Do you remember Puppy Chow? The Chex mix with chocolate & peanut butter melted together, then coated in powdered sugar? Well, it was kind of like that. Only without the powdered sugar. And with Bugles instead of Chex.

You know how Bugles have that artificial flavor of corn with enough salt to take down a lesser person? Well. That flavor mixed with the chocolate peanut butter (I’m just gonna call it a chocolate peanut butter paste, okay?) paste was a little alarming at first.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bugles
a close up of the horror

Yet I could not stop eating them. It was addicting, this trying to figure out if the Bugles were good or bad. I forced them on the rest of the knit night crew, hoping for…I’m not sure what.

According to Rachel, they are: “Repulsive if you savor them. Less repulsive if you bite right in to them, but still not good. Engineered to make me crave them.”

I still don’t know what to think of them. But the remainder are sitting in a bowl in my kitchen beckoning me to try just one more. Just one…

*or, really, peanut butter plus anything. Also, remember

**My brief bit of research tells me this product came out in 2009 sometime, but as I don’t usually go shopping for Bugles, I had not seen them until now.