Peanut Butter Frosted Brownies

Ermahgaaaawd! These brownies are… basically my happy place. In my every day real life I have a chocolate & peanut butter obsession. It’s bad. Well, no it’s not. It’s really good. I’ve probably done that combination to death by now, but I can’t help it.

These brownies started off as a recipe adapted from these PB Swirl Brownies from Love and Olive Oil. I liked it, it was good… but I wanted to make it my own!

So, I used a basic brownie recipe and kept the PB Swirl (which I doubled). I made my brownies in a 9×13 pan. The first time I tried to make my own version of PB Swirl Brownies I overbaked them because the middle didn’t seem like it was set. That made the edges too crispy. Whomp whomp.

I’m not a big fan of over crispy brownie edges so I had to try again. If you’re counting… this makes 3.

This time, I left the PB swirl out. I used it as a frosting instead! Yup. Frosting. I baked the brownies, and then as soon as they came out of the oven I poured the melty peanut butter mixture over the top. The PB layer on top sets up and gets a little firm, or at least I think it will. It did for me, but I also kept these in the fridge. Sometimes I like cold brownies. Don’t be judgey.

Unless you’re going to be judgey and tell me how awesome these brownies are. 😉

So, apparently the 3rd time is the charm. Find out for yourself and make these PB Frosted Brownies!

Happy Baking!
-Holly

PS. I think I might make some PB Frosted Brownies using my favorite BOOZY Brownies the next time I make these!

PPS. Here are some more PB & Chocolate recipes: PB Cookie Dough Brownies, PB Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes, PB & Chocolate Scones, Peanut Butter (and Chocolate) Layer Cake, Chocolate PB Kettle Corn, PB Filled Chocolate Cookies… I’m obsessed!

Super Easy Buffalo Chicken Salad!!

buffalo chix salad

I adapted this recipe from Buffalo Chicken Melts (pg 79) in the Skinny Taste Cookbook. Would you believe it if I told you this wasn’t even one of the recipes I bookmarked to try for my Cookbook Challenge? I don’t know how I missed it!

This Buffalo Chicken Salad was super quick to put together, especially because I used a roasted chicken from the grocery store.  I really love those things! is that weird?

I’m really not a fan of mayo. This was the first time in YEARS I’ve bought it. BUUUUT, you can’t even taste it. I used Kraft RF with Olive Oil, maybe that makes a difference.

If you own the cookbook, you can tell I didn’t change very much from the original recipe. The chicken can be diced or shredded. Or, you could do like I did and rip it up with my hands into tiny pieces. I added some extra onions. I weighed the ingredients, except for the celery… I just chopped up a single stalk.

I don’t know how many calories other chicken salad recipes have, but this one seems to be pretty low to me! I got 4 servings, with only 85 calories each. I think each serving was about 1/3 of a cup…

The.mr and I had this for dinner last night. This morning I used the rest of the roasted chicken to make another batch for lunches! We both really liked it. It’s def going in my “quick meal” rotation.  I think this’d also be great to make in a big batch for a cook out.

Happy Making!
-Holly

Here’s my Buffalo Chicken Salad recipe… now go make it! 😉

Buttermilk Biscuit Pull-Apart Bread

I made this pull-apart bread last month when I was doing my Cookbook Challenge. The idea is from a few different places… let’s just blame Pintrest. 😉 The biscuit dough recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

I didn’t change any of the ingredients for the dough, the only thing I did differently (besides making actual biscuits) was using my food processor to combine the dry ingredients with the butter & shortening.  It goes a lot faster this way.

I know I put actually measurements in the recipe to cut the strips… but I really just “winged it.” I used 3 fingers to measure. One cool thing I did is using a pizza cutter instead of a knife to cut the strips & squares… it was easier, and I’m all about easier. 😉

This Buttermilk Biscuit Pull-Apart Bread took almost 40 minutes to bake in the loaf pan. By the time the middle was baked through the edges where a little more brown than I wanted them. I also made this in a bundt pan, and I think I liked that way better. It seemed to bake more evenly, and took less time.

This recipe tasted fantastic! The.mr and I devoured it, practically overnight. It’s def going to be happening again!

Check out the recipe HERE.

Click HERE for my March Cookbook Challenge Post to see what else I made from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Happy Baking!
-Holly

March Cookbook Challenge- The Pioneer Woman Cooks

March Cookbook Challenge- Pioneer Woman Cooks
I actually owned this book before this month! I know… I’m only 3 months into this challenge and I’m cheating already. I justified using PWC because I’ve only made one recipe out of it before this.

The Recipes

  1. Edna Mae’s Sour Cream Pancakes (pg 76)- say “hello” to my new favorite pancakes. They’re perfect! They ended up super fluffy and light. The.mr and I devoured them!
  2. Twice Baked Potatoes (pg 152)- I made ½ the original recipe. I kinda feel like this recipe was complicated. It wasn’t hard, but there are a ton of steps, and it takes a while. Other than that this recipe gets thumbs up from the.mr and I. He REALLY liked them. Ree writes that these “freeze beautifully”, so I think I’ll make some extra next time.
  3. PW’s Chocolate Sheet Cake (pg 218)- ermahgawsh! This cake was soooo good. I did make a few tiny changes. First… I used dark cocoa instead of regular. Secondly… I baked it in two, 8×8 pans, instead of a sheet. I ended up baking it for about 35 minutes. HERE’S my slightly adapted recipe!
  4. BONUS: Pizza Dough– I made this when I first bought this cookbook. I use it almost as much as my favorite Honey Wheat Pizza Dough.
  5. 2x BONUS: Buttermilk Biscuits- I used this dough to make a pull-apart cinnamon bread! Recipe is HEEEERE!

The Good

  • Step by step instructions with great pictures of the whole process.
  • Recipes for every meal.

The Less Good

  • Most of the recipes are complicated, or take a pretty long time to make. Maybe I’m weird, but I don’t want to leave my oven on for 6 hours to cook a roast (no matter how good it looks).

Other Recipes 2 Try

  • BBQ Jalapeno Poppers (pg 14)
  • Corn Salad (pg 26)
  • Macaroni & Cheese (pg 96)
  • Skillet Cornbread (pg 102)
  • Creamy Mashed Potatoes (pg 146)

Overall
This cookbook makes meals to feed families! Large, large, families. The Pancakes are probably the only recipe I didn’t have to reduce. The photography is beautiful and the stories are short…
I’m glad I bought it, It’s def going to be getting some use.

See the 2015 Cookbook Challenge here!!

Happy Making!
-Holly

Baked Zucchini Chips!!

zucchini chips

This recipe happened by accident. When I bought these zucchini I planned on turning them into Turkey Taco Zucchini Boats. It turned out I didn’t have a few things I needed for the boats. My next thought was Zucchini Fries… but when I cut the ends off, I just kept slicing!  Ooops!

I actually used 1 cup of breadcrumbs, not ¾. Let me explain… toss the zucchini slices in the milk (in a bag or container), then add ¾ of the bread crumbs. Shake it, and lay the slices on the baking pan. Then sprinkle them with some more of the breadcrumbs. After you bake them for the first 20 minutes, flip the slices over and sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs…

There are tons of different recipe for Zucchini Chips on the web. Most of them use higher heat than I did. I baked these at 400 degrees because when I try to heat the oven higher than that it smells like I’m burning the house down. I’m not, I promise.

Why? Because the breadcrumbs didn’t stick perfectly the first time. So sprinkling helped! Get it?

You might want to bake these longer than 40 minutes, I noticed that not all of my slices weren’t as crispy as I would’ve liked. Live and learn. 😉

Other than that… you most def want these in your life. Go forth and bake these Zucchini Chips!

Happy Making!
-Holly

Peanutty Chocolate Coconut Bars!!

When I was younger I used to hate coconut. Now…  I just don’t like it.  I tried it for the first time since I was in high school when I was making these bars.

I actually made these for the.mr to take to work. The guy that originally hired him (at this company, and the entire reason we moved to PA) left for another job this past week. L

I told him I’d make him  a special going away present, all he had to do was pick the flavors. He picked peanut butter, chocolate, and coconut.  I have to admit that I was stumped when the.mr came home and told me. What am I supposed to do with those? I don’t even *like* coconut.

I ended up surfing the interwebs until I came across a Martha Stewart recipe Chocolate Coconut Bars. With a little modification these bars turned into Peanutty Chocolate Coconut Bars! They were a big hit!

It’s a fairly simple recipe that doesn’t take a lot of time to put together.

I used chocolate graham crackers instead of regular ones, because I wanted to make sure there was lots of chocolate flavor. You could probably crush them by hand or use a rolling pin, but I really like the small crumbs I got using a food processor.

I used plain peanuts that were broken into halves, instead of the pecans in the original recipe.

I added the ½ cup of peanut butter chips to make sure there was some sweet peanut flavor.

When it came time for the condensed milk I had a little trouble. I couldn’t get it to spread, and there was a lot in the middle of the crust. I eventually used an offset spatula to spread it around. I think it was difficult because I used more “dry” ingredients then in the original recipe. Make sure to keep the condensed milk from the edges of the pan, it’ll burn.

I wasn’t sure how long to cook these for. I’m not really sure what toasted coconut is supposed to taste like, or how brown it’s supposed to get. I took it out of the oven when the coconut pieces sticking up where browned.

These coconut bars kept their shape really well… except the corners and some of the edges. If I make them again I’ll def trim the edges before I share.

The.mr said these Peanutty Chocolate Coconut Bars (click on the link for my recipe) where a hit! AND I found out I no longer despise coconut. Now, I merely dislike it. 😉

Happy Baking!
-Holly

February Cookbook Challenge- SL Heirloom Recipe Cookbook

The Book
Southern Living Heirloom Recipe Cookbook. Cobbs, Katherine, & Strickland, Ashley. Oxmoor House, 2011.
I picked out the SL Heirloom Recipe CB while I was browsing thru the cooking section at Books A Million.  I lived in Southern Virginia for 8ish year and I never learned to cook while I was there, so I thought this might be a nice tribute to the area I love. I might have been born and raised a Yankee, but Southern VA is the place I really feel at home.

The Recipes
I have to confess… I didn’t start writing this post ‘til the end of MARCH. So, it’s been a while since we actually ate these recipes. I’m sorry it’s a little vague.

  • Vegetable Cheddar Chowder (pg 199): Step 1 in this recipe says to drain the veggies after cooking them. I drained about ½ the liquid off, because I thought we needed the broth as a base. I won’t drain any of the broth next time. It’d be really easy to make this recipe vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth. The.mr and I enjoyed this recipe, but we found that it didn’t reheat well. Everything got waaaay too mushy in the microwave.
  • Meatloaf (pgs 120 & 121): I originally set out to make the Turkey Meatloaf on page 121, but I couldn’t find turkey sausage in the grocery store! I just used regular pork sausage. I reduced the recipe by ½. Instead of cooking this in a “loaf” I cooked it in lightly greased LARGE muffin tins. I filled each spot w/ about ¾ cup of the mixture, and baked it for around 40 minutes. This recipe was greasy, I think it was because of the sausage. If I make this again, I’m going to try precooking the sausage.
  • King Ranch Chicken (pg 170): I reduced this recipe by ½ also. I also used all cheddar cheese, and substituted nacho cheese soup. Other than that I followed the directions! I wasn’t a fan of this one. I’m not sure why… but I just didn’t like it. The.mr really liked it, he said he’d even ask for it again. Go figure.
  • Sour Cream Crescent Rolls (pg 57): Of the 4 recipes I made for the challenge this month I loved these the best! Surprised, you shouldn’t be? I really love my carbs! I accidentally used ¾ cups (instead of ½ c) of butter when I made the dough. It was kind of sticky… Oops! It’s OK, they still worked out really well! Step 5 in the instructions said to let the dough rise for 45 minutes. I made 2 cookie sheets of rolls and let them rise in a warm oven (preheated to 200 degrees, then turned off). I let one sheet rise for the full 45 minutes, and the other I let rise for 30 minutes. The.mr and I like the ones I let rise for 30 minutes the best. They had the best texture, and kept their crescenty shape. I also made a rookie mistake by baking both cookie sheets at the same time, and forgetting to rate them on the racks! So some of them browned more than others.

The Good

  • Easy to follow recipes
  • (Mostly) easy to find ingredients

Other Thoughts

  • It’s neither good nor bad, but I’m kind of indifferent to the stories… I barely skimmed them.
  • I wish there were more pictures.
  • This *isn’t* a healthy cookbook. 😉 What I mean is, there are lots of delish fats & carbs!
  • The recipes are def family sized! I had A LOT of leftovers!

Other Recipes 2 Try

  • Orange Rolls
  • Chicken Kiev
  • Macaroni Au Gratin
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Jalapeno Jelly
  • All the desserts!

Overall
I like this cookbook, and there are a lot of other recipes I can’t wait to try. The.mr liked everything we tried, but I was indifferent to the meatloaf and didn’t like the KRC.
I’m not sure it’s worth the money I spent, but if I saw it at a used bookstore I’d grab it!

See all the 2015 Cookbook Challenge Recipes!!

Happy Cooking!
-Holly

Peanut Butter Pretzel Pi(e)!!

Y’all! Saturday was an epic Pi Day!

Did you just ask me what Pi Day is!?

Shame on you. Pi Day is March 14, a day when math nerds celebrate the marvelous Pi. This year was even more special because it was 3/14/15!

If you know me IRL, you know math is not my thing. Math isn’t even close to my thing… I constantly carry a calculator and use it A LOT.

Do you know why I celebrate Pi day? Because bakers and other food people had the awesome idea to co-opt Pi day and turn it into Pie Day! YAY!

The pie I made this year was adapted from Erica’s Sweet Tooth & Inside Bru Crew Life. It came together really easy, and tastes pretty darn good!

The crust is made of pretzels and Tag-along GS Cookies. Who doesn’t like Girl Scout Cookies!? I added them to the crust for a little bit of sneaky peanut butter flavor! I originally planned on putting this crust into a pie plate (pan?). I couldn’t get the crumbs to stay along the sides, so I switched to a springform pan and just made a thick bottom crust!

I’m not really a big fan of cheesecake,  so I added extra peanut butter to the filling to balance out the cream cheese flavor a little bit. I love that the filling used Cool Whip, so I didn’t have to take the extra step to whip heavy cream! The next time I make this pie, I’m going to chop up the Reese’s PB Cups. I thought that using the mini ones would be OK, but they really made it a pain in the rump to cut this pie into slices.

The last piece of this pie is the chocolate frosting on top. I was going to make chocolate ganache to pour over the top, but… well… I ran out of motivation and I had a can of store-bought frosting in the pantry. I didn’t measure out how much I actually used, but it was under half a can. Next time I’m going to (not be lazy and) just make the ganache.

Overall this Peanut Butter Pretzel Pi(e) gets thumbs up. The.mr really liked it. I thought it was OK. Click HERE for the recipe.

Happy Making!
-Holly

Coca-Cola Cake!!

Cola Cake is a “Southern” thing? Right? Well… according to The Southern Living Heirloom Cookbook it is! When I saw this recipe in there I knew I had to try it! I’ve made rum & coke cupcakes before, but never a plain Coca- Cola cake!

The cake itself was pretty good. Next time… I’m leaving the marshmallows out. They just floated there in the batter, mocking me. While the cake was cooking they all floated to the middle, and then they got all crusty on the top… I had to peel it off to get the middle to finish baking! I have no idea why!! I did bake it for the entire time recommended in the recipe, but I think I’ll bake it for a few minutes less next time. It was slightly overcooked.

OOPS! I forgot to mention the buttermilk thing! I used vinegar and whole milk instead of buttermilk. Just put ½ tablespoon in a measuring cup, then fill it up to ½ cup with milk and let it sit for 5 minutes before stirring it into the flour. It’s a decent substitute, and seemed to work out OK.

The frosting was the best part of this recipe. I love that I could just pour it over the top and be done! Oh, and it tasted freaking awesome. I *might* have licked the bowl. I’m kidding… I licked the spatula and the whisk that I used to stir/ mix the frosting.

Overall, the.mr and I liked this cake. Although, it tasted kind of basic, like a plain (slightly boring) chocolate sheet cake. I was hoping I’d be able to taste the cola. The next time I want a chocolate sheet cake, I think I’m going to try The Pioneer Woman’s version.

Happy Baking!
-Holly

Would you like to try my version of Cola Cake? Here’s the link!

Cream Cheese Cookies!!

Here’s the deal with these cookies. I like them… but I don’t… and it’s confusing.

I adapted the recipe from one on AllRecipes because I needed to use some cream cheese I had leftover in the fridge. I used cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. I was hoping it would make the cookies puffier, thicker, less crumby, and more tender. I think it worked, but I don’t have anything to compare it to. I’m just guessing.

But let’s get back to why I like/don’t like them. I like the texture and the base flavor. I think the problem with these cookies is the Peanut Butter M&M’s and Plain M&M’s. *GASP* I knooooooow. Who doesn’t want peanut butter and chocolate!? In these cookies? Me. I think they’d taste better plain. .. or citrus. After the first bite, I knew I wanted to try them again with lemon or orange. Imagine some zest sprinkled through them and a light citrus flavor coming through that first bite…

I had to watch them really close while they were baking because the tops stayed really pale, and the bottoms browned. Not too much though, they didn’t burn. 😉

The.mr and I ate all of these, so it’s not like they tasted baaaad, but I’m def going to leave out the PB & Plain M&M’s and add some citrusy flavor next time. HERE’S the recipe!

Happy Baking!
-Holly