My daughter is 17 this year, and we’re definitely making cookies for Santa. This is not something I force on her, but something she requests, year in and year out. Will there be a letter as well? I certainly hope so. I can’t remember who said it first, but I fully believe those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
Can magic come in the form of homemade cookies? I think it can. Especially at this time of year. Here are 21 awesome cookie recipes to bring some magic to your holiday season.
I have a hardcore love of peanut butter. And a very specific type of peanut butter. It’s gotta be the super smooth American peanut butter that basically takes any hint of health out of the game. Jif is my favorite, but I’ll go for Skippy if I need to. Do NOT ask me how much money I’ve spent on a jar of peanut butter while living in countries where it’s really hard to get the good stuff.
For as long as I can remember, my favorite candy has been Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. There was a short period in seventh grade where I didn’t eat them because of the over-packaging, but it didn’t take me long to get over myself and start devouring them again. I actually just had a dream about eating these babies. Best nap ever. They don’t sell Reese’s in Taiwan. When someone brings them back from the states, those things are more precious than diamonds.
I recently discovered that it’s super simple to make your own Giant Peanut Butter Cups. They’re made in a mini tart pan, These things are three inches in diameter and heavenly to eat. It’s a lot of chocolate peanut butter intensity, though, so unless you’re a champion eater, you’ll want to share one with someone you love.
All we’re doing is melting some chocolate, whipping some smooth peanut butter with powdered sugar, and bringing them merrily together in a mini tart tin. You can easily make more if you need to. It just takes a bit of patience to get the chocolate coaxed into all the corners and some will power to let them chill out in the fridge to set.
If you have a deep and abiding love of peanut butter, Giant Peanut Butter Cups are about to be your new favorite.
Giant Peanut Butter Cups
Giant Peanut Butter Cups are a hardcore peanut butter lover's dream come true.
3/4 cup chocolate chips (you might not use all of this but better to have too much than too little)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 powdered sugar
2 mini tart pans
Melt your chocolate chips in a double boiler or in a glass bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water. Make sure the water doesn't touch the bowl. Stir every couple of minutes until the chocolate is melted and smooth, then remove it from the heat.
Spoon a couple tablespoons of chocolate into the bottom of each tart pan and gently tilt and prod the gooey chocolate to cover the bottom and work it's way into each of the little fluted bits of your pan. If you want to get really fancy, you can also coat the side of your tart pans with chocolate, but I was too lazy for that. Allow these to set up in the fridge for half an hour.
While your bases are hanging out, mix together peanut butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until you have a smooth paste.
Divide your peanut butter mixture evenly between each tart pan, and use an offset spatula to smooth this evenly over your base. Remember to get right into the fluted edges.
Finally, add more chocolate to the top of each pan and once again prod and and tilt your chocolate into those pretty corners.
Allow this to sit up in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
I like to let the tarts sit out at room temperature for about 10 minutes before eating so that the chocolate isn't rock hard.
If you're really trying to impress, you can line the bottom of your tart pans with parchment for easier removal. I just served them still stuck to the bottom of the tart pan because I'm lazy.
I started my new job this week, and my brain is on fire. I was anxious about so many things. Would I be able to deliver the best possible work for this outstanding organization with an established reputation for excellence? Would I fit in? Would they make fun of my accent? Would they assume I’m an idiot because I’m American? Would they quickly realize I have no idea what I’m doing? Ugh!!!!
I’m happy to report that everyone was super friendly and welcoming, and once again, I’ve found myself on a team of passionate people who are focused on the mission. They’ve probably already figured out my secret. I’m clueless. I’m working my tail off though to become not only deeply knowledgable, but able to articulate the mission with passion to anyone I encounter.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the only way I ever get people to like me is to bake for them. These cookies will definitely do the trick. Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies are chewy, super chocolaty and studded with peanut butter chips which makes them pretty much the best thing ever. This is probably one of my all time favorite cookies.
Any uncomfortable situation can be improved with cookies. If you want to be extra awesome, make a batch of homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies. They’ll all love you!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies are fudgy, chewy, and studded with peanut butter chips which pretty much makes them the best.
Preheat your oven to 350F (175C) and line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl or onto a sheet of parchment. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined.
Slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing on the lowest setting until incorporated. Fold in peanut butter chips. Try not to eat all of the cookie dough.
Scoop out your cookie dough onto your baking sheet, leaving plenty of room for them to spread out. Bake for about 8 minutes. The cookies will continue to bake after they've been removed from the oven, so don't worry if they look a bit soft at this point.
Allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for five minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely, if you can wait that long.
You should know by now that I’m a hardcore anglophile. The architecture, the literature, the accents, I love it all. And yet, I’m not entirely sure I’d survive for long if I lived there. For one thing, they don’t have Reese’s peanut butter cups. Also, their bacon is super thick and disgustingly flimsy. But the greatest tragedy of all is that England is an entire country devoid of peanut butter and jelly. I mean, they have peanut butter, and they have all kinds of jam. Jelly means Jello over there, so that’s just gross. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, though? You can’t get one. It’s not a thing. This makes me want to cry.
National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day is this week. This is one thing that’s got me feeling very patriotic. I practically lived off pb&j as a kid, and I still eat them all the time. This is one instance where the English really don’t know what they’re missing.
To celebrate, I made you Peanut Butter & Jelly French Toast. This one has boysenberry jam, but of course, you should use your favorite. Just dip your pb&j in your egg and milk mixture, fry until golden brown, increase awesomeness with maple syrup, and smile because you live in an amazing country.
Bring happiness to your breakfast table. Make Peanut Butter & Jelly French Toast. It’s all-American awesomeness.
Peanut Butter & Jelly French Toast
Your favorite pb&j dipped in egg and fried for an all-American breakfast treat.
Here’s what I feel like the world wants from me: perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect body, perfect clothes with high heel shoes, a wildly successful career from which I make a ton of money so I can buy a fancy car and live in a giant house, perfect children who have perfect grades and also perfect hair, must make three meals from scratch every day with all locally sourced organic ingredients; must do yoga three times a week and run a 5K once a month; must do it all while looking great and never showing a shred of stress, must smile all the time. I blame Beyonce.
Here’s what I really want: sweatpants, chili from a can, daily Harry Potter, a really good wifi connection, and for my husband and kid not to think I’m smelly and gross. That’s about it.
We don’t have to be so hard on ourselves. Everything doesn’t always have to be from scratch. Just buy the dang cake mix and the canned frosting. It’ll be fine. Your friends will still like you. If you make them these cupcakes, they’ll probably love you. If anybody judges you for using store bought, just tell them to shut up and go home and put your sweatpants on.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes are nearly effortless because we’re taking a little help from a big scary factory, and we’re not giving a damn because these taste freakin’ great. A cup of peanut butter mixed into some vanilla frosting yields a thick, creamy, dreamy cloud of frosting heaven. On top of a tender chocolate cupcake, it’s pretty much the best.
The next time you get tasked with bringing dessert to a week night gig or an office party, or anywhere, bring these semi-homemade chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. Everyone will think you truly have it all. And don’t feel guilty. Beyonce has a personal chef.
Semi-Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
The deliciousness of Semi-Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes far outweighs the effort it takes to make them.
1 box chocolate cake mix plus whatever ingredients are called for on the box
1 container vanilla frosting
1 cup creamy peanut butter
12 mini peanut butter cups, optional
Prepare your cupcakes according to package instructions and cool completely.
In a large mixing bowl,combine frosting and peanut butter. It goes more quickly if you use an electric mixer.
From here you can easily just spread the frosting on the cupcakes, but I find that since I took the easy way out with baking the cupcakes, I have time to put in a bit of extra effort in decorating.
I used an open star tip to pipe the frosting on in large swirls. Just be aware that this frosting is quite stiff because of the peanut butter, so you'll have to squeeze harder than usual.
You can also top each cupcake with half a mini peanut butter cup. Be sure to refrigerate them before cutting them in half. They'll also cut easier if you start from the bottom. Press the cut half into the center of your swirl of frosting.
By Renee Rendall
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/