Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snickers Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies with Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache

Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies stuffed with chopped Snickers topped with a Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache....need I say more? If you love the combination of  Peanut Butter and Chocolate (and who doesn't?), this is definitely the cookie for you!

So, I must confess that leftover Snickers bars from Halloween were the inspiration for these cookies. I'm not sure how I wound up with leftover chocolate? The words "leftover" and "chocolate" rarely go together in my house...kinda like "extra" and "money". Nope, rarely happens...
The cookies turned out great. At first, I thought I would try them warm & gooey right out of the oven, but they actually taste better after they have cooled. This allows the Snickers bar to "set" again and creates a better separation of flavor between the Snickers Bar and the actual cookie.

I should note that I use the term "Ganache" very loosely in this recipe because I basically just took some Skippy Dark Chocolate & Peanut Butter Spread, put it in the microwave for a few seconds and spread it on top of the cookies before eating.  Easy, peasy! The spread definitely made these otherwise "plain" looking cookies look and taste extra special.
I hope you'll give this recipe a try and enjoy them as much as we did!
Snickers Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies with Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter "Ganache"
Makes approx. 30 cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
10 small Snickers Bars, each cut into 3 equal pieces
Skippy Natural Peanut Butter w/Dark Chocolate Spread


In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use your electric hand mixer) cream together the butter and both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy (approx. 2 minutes).

Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix at medium speed until combined. Then mix in the peanut butter until combined.

Add the dry ingredients and pulse a few times on low speed so the flour doesn't fly everywhere, then mix at medium speed until combined.

Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.

Form the dough into 30 equal size balls. Using your thumb, press an opening in the center of each ball and place a piece of the Snicker bar into the opening. Roll the ball to cover evenly. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350f. Place balls of dough on parchment or Silpat lined baking sheets and bake for approx. 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Do not overbake.

Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool for 1-2 minutes before removing to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Before serving, place some of the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread in a bowl and microwave for a few seconds to soften. Spread on top of the cookies & enjoy!

** Tips -
These cookies taste best when they have cooled and the Snickers bars have been allowed to set on the inside.

Only spread the topping on the cookies you will be eating/serving at that time. Store the remaining cookies tightly covered at room temperature for up to 2 days. Add topping just before serving.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Glazed Meyer Lemon Cookies

There's not much excitement going on in the way of fresh produce during the winter, with the exception of Meyer Lemons! I always look forward to Meyer Lemon season. If you're not familiar with Meyer Lemons, the best way to describe them is a cross between a regular lemon and a tangerine. They tend to be smaller in size and have thinner skins, like a tangerine, but the flavor is the perfect combination of the sourness you get from a lemon with the slight sweetness of a tangerine. Whenever they're in season, I love to use them in  baking wherever I would use regular lemons. They also make a delicious curd.

Recently, I fell in love with these Lemon Glazed Cookies from Mama's Gotta Bake.  And by love, I mean L.O.V.E! (all caps with an exclamation point). Her photos of these cookies made me want to run to the kitchen and make them on the spot, but I knew I wanted to adapt the recipe using my favorite...Meyer Lemons!  My patience, definitely paid off.
Whether or not you are a lemon lover (and I know some people are not...Boo!), you will love these cookies. They're tender, chewy and bursting with lemon flavor without being overwhelming or too tart. L.O.V.E!

If you're a fan of Meyer Lemon like I am, you would also enjoy these Fresh Strawberry and Meyer Lemon Scones


Glazed Meyer Lemon Cookies
Makes approx. 16-17 large cookies


Cookie Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened but still slightly firm
2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon zest (from approx. 3 Meyer lemons)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (from approx. 3 Meyer lemons)

Glaze Ingredients
2 cups powdered sugar, preferably sifted
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon fresh meyer lemon zest (from approx. 1/2 Meyer lemon)
A few tablespoons of fresh Meyer lemon juice


Place the butter and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Alternatively, you can also use your electric hand mixer. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy, approx. 2 minutes.

With mixer at medium speed, gradually add in the granulated sugar and beat until combined, approximately 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl.

Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Beat at medium speed until combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of bowl.

Add the lemon juice and beat at medium speed until combined. Scrape down the bowl.

With mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 batches beating just until combined.

Place the cookie dough in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least a few hours or overnight.

When ready to bake -

Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Divide the dough evenly into 16 portions, then roll into balls. Place the balls on the baking sheets (no more than 6 per baking sheet) and flatten each ball into a 3" disk using the palm of your hand. If you do not have enough baking sheets for 16 balls of dough, place the remaining balls of dough in the fridge so they don't get too soft.

Bake at 350 for approx. 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Do not overbake.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes then remove to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, make the glaze -

Place all of the ingredients (starting with only 3 tablespoons of lemon juice) in a medium size bowl and stir with a spoon until well combined. If the glaze is not proper spreading consistency, add a little more lemon juice and stir. Repeat until you get a thick glaze that is easy to spread, but isn't too thin or runny.

Using the back of a spoon or an offset spatula, spread glaze on each cookie. Allow a few minutes for the glaze to set.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Baked "Donut Holes"! A great way to start the weekend!

This recipe came to me in my sleep.. well, not really, but I did wake up the day after New Year wanting a donut. Maybe it's the thought of eating better in the future that made me feel deprived already.  Well, this recipe is not exactly diet food,  but it is delicious! And the best part is the donut is baked not fried.  That will definitely count for something.  

These donuts holes bake wonderfully.  I was actually a bit sceptical when I read the recipe, but the end result was a delicious moist donut.   The flavor is amazing with the pumpkin spice you add into the dough and the cinnamon sugar topping.    They are easy and quick to make so you can easily make them in the morning. Pair them with a cup of coffee or some hot chocolate and you have perfect morning or evening treat!  Happy Cooking Everyone!!

  (adaption of Baker Bettie baked mini donuts)

  Ingredients :

 5 tablespoons softened butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup half & half milk (or whole milk)

1 large egg at room temp

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2  teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

A pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour


Sugar topping

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice



Lightly spray two mini cupcake pans with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees

A. In a bowl, mix the butter and sugar together, until creamy . ( I used my Kitchen aid with paddle attachment)

B. Add the egg, milk and vanilla. Mix until combined. It will not look smooth (second picture)


C. Add baking powder and salt and mix.

D. Add flour and Pumpkin Pie Spice and combine just until all ingredients are incorporated. Do not over mix dough.

E. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop and distribute batter evenly between the 2 mini muffin pans. They will be between 1/2-3/4 full.


F. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

G. Remove from oven . While they are cooling a bit, melt butter for dipping and combine the sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice in two separate bowls.  Once your're done preping the cinnamon sugar and the melted butter you are ready to start finishing donuts holes.

 H. Dip each donut into the melted butter, then toss in the cinnamon sugar. Put into a bowl and serve.



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Spicy Cracked Pepper and Romano Cheese Crackers for The Leftovers Club

For this month's Leftovers Club I was paired with Ruthy from Omeletta. Ruthy has a great blog with a wide variety of recipes. She recently posted this recipe for Creamy Butternut Squash Soup. I love Butternut Squash soup and her addition of Buttermilk sounds amazing.
For our Leftovers Club exchange I baked Ruthy these Spicy Cracked Pepper and Romano Cheese Crackers which I think would pair well with her soup. I'm definitely going to have to give her recipe a try!
These crackers are really easy to make and only take a few minutes to mix up. You can make the dough the day ahead or even up to 1 week in advance! They would be the perfect addition to your Super Bowl Cheese Platter. The fresh cracked black pepper really gives them a kick and the Romano Cheese, which has a sharp flavor similar to Parmesan, can really stand up to the flavor of the pepper. Together, they are a great combination.
Congrats Ruthy on the upcoming new addition to your family! I hope you enjoy the crackers!!
If you're interested in joining The Leftovers Club and would enjoy receiving goodies in the mail each month (who wouldn't love that?), just ramble on over to Food Ramblings for all of the details

Spicy Cracker Pepper and Romano Cheese Crackers
Makes about 24 crackers

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 cup grated Romano Cheese
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
2-3 tablespoons of cold ice water


In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse the flour, salt and pepper for a few seconds until combined.

Add the cheese and pulse for a few seconds to combine.

Add the cold, cubed butter and pulse until the mixture looks like wet sand.

Add the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time (don't include any of the ice) and pulse a few times after each addition. By the 2nd or 3rd tablespoon, the mixture should start to come together to form a ball. Pinch some of dough in the palm of your hand, it should hold together. If for some reason the dough is too dry, add a little more cold water and pulse. Try not to add too much water.

Place the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll to form a log about 12 - 13 inches long. Wrap tightly and refrigerate overnight or up to one week.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350f.

Slice the log into 1/4-1/2" slices and place on parchment lined baking sheets. The crackers don't spread so you don't need too much space in between.

Bake for approx. 20 minutes or until the crackers and lightly golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire cooling rack.

Serve as part of a cheese platter or with soup!

Store in an air tight container for up to 1 week.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Lemon Chicken and Orzo Stew

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a great Christmas and that 2014 will be a year of dreams come true!! Have you made any resolutions for the new year? Me, I don't make resolutions, but I do set goals. One of my goals for 2014 is to live life without false limitations and by false limitations, I mean the restrictions we set for ourselves, the ones we tell ourselves (maybe subconsciously) can't or shouldn't be done. Starting with this blog!
When Yvonne and I started LiveBakeLove 2 years ago, we set out to share our love for baking. Every recipe posted for the past 2 years involves using the oven to bake or roast in some way, shape or form, but what about all of the other recipes we love? Yvonne's Mom has a treasure trove of family recipes that have been in her family for generations. Why can't we share those? Why can't I share the family recipes that I love to make for my family? So, restrictions be damned!  We're throwing caution to the wind and opening LiveBakeLove up to any recipe we want to share!
Come along with us into this brave new year. I promise it's going to be great!

I'm kicking it all off with this Lemon Chicken and Orzo Stew. I often get asked for soup recipes and now I'm free to share them on the blog. Yay! This Lemon Chicken and Orzo Stew has all of the classic Greek flavors of Lemon Chicken Soup, but is made thicker to be more the consistency of a stew. Don't worry, you can always increase the amount of chicken broth if you prefer a soupier consistency. After all, that's the beauty of cooking.

Lemon Chicken and Orzo Stew
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1" cubes
5 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 celery ribs, sliced into 1/4" slices
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4" slices
1 leek, whites cut into 1/4" slices and thoroughly cleaned
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
5 cups good quality chicken broth or stock
1 cup water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh Thyme (or dried Thyme if you don't have fresh)
1 cup orzo pasta

Note: You can sub oregano for the thyme for a more classic Greek taste, but I recommend the thyme; it compliments the flavor of the lemon juice really well

Place the cut chicken thighs in a large bowl and pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt & pepper, then sprinkle the flour over the chicken and toss to coat.

In a large heavy bottom pot or Dutch Oven, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on all sides in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan. Remove the chicken to a plate as you brown them.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot and reduce heat to medium low. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and leeks and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for about 30 seconds to 1 minute stirring often to prevent burning the garlic.

Add the chicken broth, water and thyme. Stir well to loosen up any browned bits at the bottom of the pot. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

Add the chicken and orzo. Cover and simmer for 7-10 minutes or until Orzo is tender. At this point you can add more chicken broth if you want a soupier consistency, just simmer for another minute if you do add more broth to help bring the flavors together.

Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking (add more salt, pepper, lemon juice, thyme..)