The Boyfriend Cookies

New Year’s Day had come and gone. Our bellies and heads ached with food and drink hangovers and as the second episode of Chopped came on my boyfriend asked me to bake him cookies. This was the first baking request in our new relationship and I happily obliged to bake him some peanut butter cookies.

I love peanut butter cookies. They are sweet and salty, moist and crunchy, and super easy to make. I decided to add chocolate chips to the batter because who doesn’t love the flavor combination of peanut butter and chocolate?

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sifting away

Sift and weight all your dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

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Mmmm brown sugar.

Always make sure to take your butter out of the fridge before baking. Having room temperature butter will help when blending in the suger, especially if you’re mixing by hand.

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Blend butter and sugar together.

Blend butter and sugar till smooth and creamy. This is my favorite part of baking, blending the sugar and butter together. It’s fun to watch the fat and sugar blend into a fluffy sweet mixture.

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Stir in the peanut butter to the batter.

Once the sugar and butter is well blended, add the egg and vanilla. Fold in peanut better by hand with a spatula or wooden spoon. You can use any kind of peanut butter that you like. Chunky peanut butter is always a nice way to add some crunch.

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All incorporated.

This is the point when the interested party walked into the kitchen to taste their special treat.

Mix in the chocolate chips.
Mix in the chocolate chips.

I like to use dark chocolate chips when baking. I used a combination of dark chocolates ranging from 60% to 72% cocoa.

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Shape into 2 inch balls before pressing with a fork.

Always chill your cookie dough before baking. If the fat is too warm, then the cookies will flatten in the oven. Chill for at least 30 minutes before baking.

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Baked and cooling.

These cookies smelled so delicious coming out of the oven. The boyfriend got a plate full of cookies and a tall glass of milk. I think he was satisfied. Maybe I’ll bake for him again.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes 24

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz (140g) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz (115g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 oz (165g) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 9 1/2 oz (265g) smooth or crunchy peanut butter
  • 8 oz (276g) dark chocolate chips

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 *F; grease baking sheet.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl; set aside.
  3. Mix together butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy.
  4. In another small bowl, mix the egg and vanilla together and then gradually add to the butter mixture.
  5. Stir in the peanut butter. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Gently stir in the flour mixture and then the chocolate chips.
  7. Chill in fridge for at least 3o minutes.
  8. Spoon out rounded teaspoonfuls of dough and roll into balls and place onto sheets.
  9. With a fork, press flat onto the balls making a criss-cross pattern.
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly colored.
  11. Cool on baking sheet.
The Boyfriend Cookies

Ganache, you’re great!

My son turned 5 on Wednesday. I’m still in shock and sugar coma. He loves chocolate cake, actually he just loves cake and anything that I bake. Each year I ask him what he wants for his birthday and his answer is always chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Sometimes the chocolate cake will be mixed with pumpkin or filled with a cranberry cream, this year it was chocolate on chocolate.

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This hardest decision is whether I make a buttercream or ganache frosting. Buttercream is great, but the sugar can put me over the edge and the kids up the wall! I asked Milam what he wanted, yes my son knows the difference between both. He opted for the creamy stuff, ganache.

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I have been making ganache for several years now and have had some really not so good turn outs. Cream and chocolate are delicate ingredients and must be handled with care. Do you melt the chocolate and then add the cream or do you heat the cream and then add the chocolate? How much cream to chocolate, every recipe changes to the cooks taste. Some have a higher ratio of cream to chocolate or just the opposite. I don’t use milk chocolate for anything I bake. It has too much sugar and milk already added, making it difficult to control sweetness.

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Don’t rush your ganache or you’ll be disappointed. I prefer to heat the cream and then have a bowl of chopped up dark chocolate waiting to be melted. Once you pour the hot cream over the chocolate, be patient and let the melting magic happened. You don’t want to stir it too much. Just let the chocolate be heated up by the cream and gently give it a stir to help the melting process.

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As the chocolate melts it will turn glossy. Gently stir the mixture to incorporate the bottom pieces of chocolate. If there are lumps, don’t worry. Simply put the heat proof bowl on top of a pot of boiling water, don’t get the mixture too hot, you only want to heat up the bottom of the bowl.

A ganache, once cooled, can be poured, whipped, or pipped. If your desired consistency is for pouring, then you’ll need to add a tablespoon of corn syrup to the finished product (it helps with the smoothness).

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So here’s my recipe.

Chocolate Ganache

makes 2 whipped cups

You’ll need:

8 oz heavy whipping cream (it’s best to use non ultra pasteurized, but it can be hard to find or if you don’t eat dairy you can substitute in any non-dairy milk)

8 oz chocolate; chopped into small pieces

Measure chocolate and set aside in a bowl. Heat the cream in a pot on the stovetop until it comes to a boil. Keep an eye on it and stir frequently. Don’t burn the cream! Once it’s steaming and boiling around the edges pour over the chocolate and gently stir.

Now this is going to be challenging but do not stir the mixture for at least ten minutes. Stirring too frequently will incorporate too much air, which slows down the melting process. After 10 minutes, give it a good stir and watch the magic happen. Gently fold in the bottom bits to ensure an even melting.

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Ganache, you’re great!

The simplest chocolate fudge recipe!

Chocolate fudge: you either love it or hate it. If you hate it, then stop reading now.

I am about to give you the simplest fudge recipe I have ever encountered. I actually found it rummaging through some old cookbooks about 6 years ago. I had never read an Amish cookbook before, but I was incredibly impressed by their recipes. This one was a keeper. I like to use super dark chocolate, but that’s just me. Trader Joe’s sells a 1 lb chocolate bar that ranges from milk chocolate to 87% cocoa. Use whatever chocolate you prefer.

This photo is of a recipe that had been doubled and cooled in a 11 by 7 rectangle pan.

Easy Creamy Chocolate Fudge a la Amish

  1. Melt chocolate in a double boiler
  2. Stir in milk
  3. Add salt, vanilla, and nuts
  4. Pour into a greased 9 in square pan.
  5. Cool; cut into squares and serve!
The simplest chocolate fudge recipe!