Saturday, January 15, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup...Cookies!

Out of no where the chocolate craving hit me last night...what could I make that would satisfy?  I was contemplating making a batch of brownies, while they are delicious, I just made a batch a couple weeks ago.  I needed something new...maybe something peanut-buttery too.  There are few things better than peanut butter and chocolate together (chocolate covered pretzels are a very close 2nd!)

So off to the kitchen I went to make up some chocolate cookie dough.  How would I get the peanut butter inside though?  I browsed the internet for some ideas.  The easiest method looked to be making up chocolate cookie balls and smaller sized peanut butter balls, put them together and work the chocolate dough around the PB ball.
Here, I have my chocolate cookie dough, PB cream (peanut butter and powdered sugar mixed together) and I've started to make my chocolate dough balls.

As you can see I couldn't get the PB cream to a 'creamy' consistency.  It ended up working out fine, the dough was just a little harder to work into balls without crumbling apart.  I may have to play around with this...I did hand mix it.  I'll try using the mixer next time, see if that helps.

A kitchen table full of balls!!!  hehe..

Next step was to plop one PB ball on top of each chocolate ball.  Then, work the chocolate dough around the PB ball so that none of the PB is showing...

Before baking, you need to slightly flatten them and add some sugar sprinkle to them at the same time.  I used the bottom of a glass pressed into some white sugar to flatten the cookies prior to baking

Throw them in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and cook for 8 minutes.  After removing from the oven, cool about a minute on cookie sheet before transferring to wire racks.

These were really tasty...a perfect cookie version of a peanut butter cup.  These may seem like a lot of work but if you prep well, it goes really easy.  One bite and you'll know it was totally worth it!

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

1 1/2c. all purpose flour
3/4c. unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2c. butter, softened
1/2c. sugar
1/2c. brown sugar, packed
1/4c. peanut butter
1 egg
1T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

3/4c. powdered sugar, sifted
1/2c. peanut butter
2T. sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium bowl, add your flour, cocoa, and baking soda.  Sift using a wire whisk.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the 1/2c sugar, brown sugar, butter and 1/4c peanut butter, until combined.
Add the egg, milk and vanilla.  Beat well.
Beat in as much of the flour/cocoa mix as you can with the mixer.  Hand stir any remaining flour/cocoa mix.
Form chocolate dough into 32 balls, about 1 1/2 inch in diameter.  Set aside.
For PB filling, in medium bowl, combine (mixer?) 3/4c. powdered sugar and 1/2c. peanut butter, until smooth.  (My mixture never got to 'smooth', I will try using the mixer next time...)
Shape PB mixture into 32 smaller balls, about 3/4 inch.
Slightly flatten chocolate balls and top each with a PB ball.
Shape chocolate dough over PB filling, completely covering PB.  Roll into a ball and place on a cookie sheet. Repeat for all 32 balls.

Lightly flatten each ball with a glass dipped in 2T. sugar.
Bake for 8 minutes, or until just set and surface is slightly cracked.  Let stand 1 minute on cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Banana Crumb Muffins

One of my favorite muffin recipes and definitely my roommate's favorite by far.  Every time a banana starts to go brown, he's asking if I'll make 'those killer muffins'...
Sometimes I like to add ground flax seed for an extra healthy muffin and I almost always use whole wheat flour.

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4c. sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup bitter, melter
1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2T. all purpose flour
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1T. butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease 10-12 muffin tins

In large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, butter and egg.
Stir banana mixture into flour mix just until moistened.  Spoon into muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2T. flour and cinnamon.  Cut in 1T. butter until mixture is crumbled.
Bake muffins 18-20 minutes, adding crumb mixture during last 10 mins of baking.

These were so great to wake up to this morning...add a hot cup of joe and it really is a GOOD MORNING! :)

The BEST EVER Brownies

Some brownies are too cake-y.  Some are too dough-y.  But, the perfect brownie is chewy, gooey and just a little crunchy on the edges, am I right?  Part of what makes this particular brownie recipes so epic is the fabulously gooey chocolate frosting.  I substituted the recipes frosting for store-bought once when I made these and it was a HUGE mistake.  So here you go...the PERFECT brownie.  You can thank me later.  :)

Ally's EPIC Brownies
(this recipe is ok to double)

1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tablespoons (or so) Hershey's chocolate syrup

3T. butter, softened
3T. unsweetened cocoa
1T. honey
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted.
(Note:  A simple way to sift dry ingredients is to simply mix with a wire whisk!  Got that tip from Martha Stewart)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease baking pan

In a medium bowl, sift dry ingredients and set aside.
In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter.  Remove from heat, stir in sugar, eggs and 1 tsp vanilla.  Careful not to over-stir.
Stir in dry ingredients..again, careful not to over-stir!...unless you like cake-y brownies.

Spread batter in prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.  Be sure not to over bake!

Frosting:  Combine 3T. butter, 3T. cocoa, 1T. honey, 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1 cup powdered sugar. Frost brownies while they are still warm!

Sprinkle with something pretty..I chose Easter colored flowers.  Who cares if it isn't Easter!  :)


Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Birthday Surprise!

The day is finally here!  I just love birthdays!  I really do think it is a hell of a thing to make it through another year of this all too short life, happy, healthy and surrounded by loving friends and family.  *Sigh* Birthdays are just so great!  It doesn't even have to be MINE...just keep the birthdays coming! 

So I'd been planning a surprise for my bestest bud for a few months now.  I got the idea while searching online for photos to fancy up my baking blog...and I came across the most adorable cupcakes ever!  I knew Iris was a fan and I knew I had to make these for her...and the secret planning began!

Everything came together quite nicely, save for an almost frustrating search for Willy Wonka's RUNTs candies.  But I gathered everything I needed and was all set early in the week.

Wednesday evening came...time to start baking some devil's food cupcakes!
 Mmm...choooccolate!  Rest little cupcakes, I'll see ya in the morning!

Day Two...time for decorating!  Need oreos, junior mints, Runts (bananas) and lots of frosting! =)

Owl Eyes!  Well...almost!

And then just about 30 minutes later...Poof!  Those bare little cupcakes have been transformed into super cute OWLS.  I can't get over how darn cute these are!!

These were so fun to make!  On the way over to deliver these cuties I was already thinking of other adorable critters I could transform my next batch of cupcakes into!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Putting it all together...

OOof!  I just realized next week is birthday time already!!  For a while I was worried because it appeared that birthday girl would be out of the country on the big day...but unfortunately for her, those plans have changed :-/

I can't wait to put together the cutest little birthday treat for the very best friend a girl could have! 
A tiny hint of what's to come...I need to get Runts in preparation...the Runts are a MUST.  Hope that isn't too big of a hint...I despise spoiled surprises!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gruesome Cupcakes and Creepy Cocktails Girl's Night!

Last night The 3 'Muskasweets' got together for a Scary Halloween Movie PartyAs it turned out listening to music and telling real-life scary stories was much more fun!!


Iris made up some fantastic Bleeding Heart Martinis...they were so gory...and SO good!
 Thelma brought pizza...YUM!!  And also Snickers...two of the best things on Earth.  :)

I made some Oozing Eyeball Cupcakes

They turned out looking pretty neat but I must admit I was fairly disappointed with the texture of the cupcakes.  The ended up being slightly overcooked cupcakes that tasted more like a sugar cookie. I was really run down the night I prepared them and things did not go smoothly.  If I had had the time I'd have remade them...but they were not AWFUL...just not so great.  :-/  Don't worry guys, I didn't foul up anything that would make them unsafe to consume!!!

It was another great evening with two GREAT friends.  I always enjoy these cozy, chatty, quaint evenings in.  :)


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Secret Project!

A very special friend's birthday is coming up in November and today I just got THE best idea for some cupcakes to make for her! 
The photo above has nothing to do with my plans...but it is cute ;)

Stay tuned for hints AND to eventually find out what I'm up to.