Monday, October 18, 2010

Smores Bars

Monday, October 18, 2010
Not quite a brownie, not quite a cake, these smores bars are just plain yummy! They're chewy, chocolatey, and delicious!

The ingredients: 


You'll note that there's a carton of whole milk in that picture - but I actually forgot to add it to the recipe. They came out just fine! I think though, if you add the milk, the bars will come out less dense and chewy. I will post the full recipe below. 

When making these, it's best to line the pan with aluminum foil, and then butter it. I had no problem removing them from the pan with the butter/foil method. 

Then you mix the wet ingredients, add in the dry, and press into the buttered, foil lined pan
The mixture is very thick when you forget to add the milk, but it works!



Throw the pan into the oven and bake halfway. Take the pan out and then arrange marshmallows in rows. Put the pan back in the oven and bake a while longer.  The marshmallows get big, puffy, and golden brown :





Once you take them out of the oven, they "calm down" and flatten. Let them cool in the pan, then cut and enjoy. 


They look a bit  like fried eggs, but let me assure you they taste really good :)

Serve warm - They can be stored for a few days - I recommend popping them in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to heat them back up. 

Ingredients
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (make them yourself in a food processor, or get the Keebler ready made graham cracker crumbs) 
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter  (room temp)  + butter to line the bottom of the pan 
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup whole milk (optional - use it if you want more cake like bars.. don't use it if you want chewy brownie like bars) 
12-16 ounces semi sweet chocolate chunks (either buy the chunks or cut up some chocolate bars) 
15 marshmallows

Kitchen Tools
13 x 9 baking pan
aluminum foil 
Stand mixer or hand mixer

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  

Line bottom and sides of baking pan with aluminum foil and then coat it liberally with butter. 

Put the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. 

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar (with hand mixer or stand mixer) until the mixture looks creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla. 
Add in half the crumb mixture and mix until blended. 
Here is where you would add the milk if you are using it.
Mix in the remaining crumb mixture, and then stir in the chocolate pieces.  Scoop batter into pan and spread it evenly. 
Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and arrange the marshmallows on top of the cake - three rows of 5 marshmallows. 
Continue baking until the marshmallows are golden brown and puffed up - about 15 minutes. 

Take the cake out of the oven and immediately loosen it from the sides using a small knife. Cool the cake, in the pan, on a wire rack. When ready to serve, just lift the foil out of the pan and cut it into slices. 

Serve warm or microwave to reheat. 


Enjoy!





Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have to say I have never really been a fan of peanut butter.  I hated how it stuck to the roof of my mouth, how it was too gritty, too chunky, or just plan something I just wasn't ever in the mood for. I never craved peanut butter anything.   I didn't even really enjoy Reese's peanut butter cups - I just felt that there were better candy / dessert options out there.  Well, you know how people's tastes change every so often? Mine has - big time.  I now literally cannot get enough peanut butter!  I think I may even have had a dream about peanut butter the other day.

I got a new Kitchen Aid mixer for a wedding present and so I decided to whip up a batch of cookies (peanut butter, of course).  I couldn't just do plain peanut butter - I had to add chocolate chips :)

OK so on to the cookies! Here are the cast of characters:  (I'll post the full recipe below)


Basic cookie ingredients - nothing too fancy - flour, sugar, vanilla, butter, an egg, salt, brown sugar, baking soda, oh, and peanut butter.  I use natural peanut butter because I don't like the idea of hydrogenated oils in my cookies. There's something not quite right about it.  Anyway,  I found some of the natural peanut butters can get a bit gritty - so for these cookies  I used Skippy Natural, which is as creamy as the peanut butter with the hydrogenated oils (so tell me again why we need these silly trans fats??)

I have to say my Kitchenaid mixer is THE BOMB. I love how easy it all was!


Once they were all mixed up, I rolled them into balls and placed them on a cookie sheet.  Then take a fork and smoosh the cookie down till it's flat and has a nice criss cross pattern on it. 


Bake them and enjoy the aroma of cookies. There's nothing like the smell of fresh baked cookies!


Take them out of the oven and try to let them cool off a bit before you eat them.  I couldn't wait that long and burned the roof of my mouth. Some day I will learn about restraint. 



Serve with a big glass of cold milk !

Here's the recipe: 

Ingredients
1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Kitchen Tools Needed:
Mixer (either a stand mixer or hand mixer) 
Cookie Sheet (s) 
Spatula
Wire racks for cooling 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Cream butter and peanut butter in mixing bowl. Beat until smooth - about 1 minute. 
Add sugar, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla - beat until combined. 

Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together, and gradually add into the wet mixture. Mix until well combined. 

Add in chocolate chips and stir gently. 

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet, or a sheet lined with parchment paper.  Press flat with a fork in a criss-cross pattern. 

Bake until golden brown - 10-12 minutes.  Be careful not to over cook, these can get a bit dry.. 
Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. 


Variations 
  • Skip the chocolate chips
  • Add butterscotch chips
  • Add peanut butter chips 
  • Combine peanut butter and chocolate chips together
  • Add in some chopped nuts 
The options are pretty much endless :)

Enjoy!