Monday, September 23, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Layer Bars

I'm a stress baker.  There is nothing that can calm my nerves like mixing up a sweet sugary treat.

So after a week full of stressful exams and meetings the kitchen was calling my name.  No, it was screaming!

My roommate Bethany is who I bake for most of the time, therefore, she usually picks out the new recipe to try!  This time she chose these delicious, ooey, gooey, peanut butter chocolate bars.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Layer Bars
Recipe adapted from: Amanda's Cookin
1 Cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 Cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 Cups creamy peanut butter
2 tsp, vanilla
3 Cups flour (I used a combination of wheat and all purpose)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free and it worked fine!)
1 1/2 Cups semi sweet chocolate chips (Milk or dark would work as well.)
2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
2 tsp. vanilla 
1/3 Cup chocolate chips (optional, for topping)

*Note: all can be done without a mixer, you just might end up with a sore arm :)

Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees F.  Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.

Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl until creamy (skip if lacking a mixer, melt about 1/3-1/2 of butter.)  Add the brown sugar and combine the two together.  Beat in eggs, one at a time until completely combined.

Add 2 cups peanut butter and 2 tsp. of vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Gradually add the flour mixture into the brown sugar and butter mixture.  I did four sections.  The dough will be a bit sticky.

For the filling, heat the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, and 2 Tbsp. of peanut butter over low heat until creamy.  Remove from heat and add the two tsp. of vanilla, stirring to combine.  

Press the dough to the bottom of the baking pan, reserving about 2-2 1/2 Cups for the top.  

Pour the chocolate filling onto the bottom layer of dough, making sure it completely covers dough.  

crumble the remaining dough on top of the chocolate filling and then sprinkle with chocolate chips if desired. 


Bake for 30 minutes, or until top is a nice golden brown.  Allow the pan to cool at least 15 minutes before cutting.  The bars will be pretty crumbly until they have cooled completely.

Enjoy!  :)

**Update: They were much better the next day, my roommates have eaten half the pan!


Friday, September 13, 2013

Coconut Blondies

I'm not going to lie.  Sometimes I miss living with my parents. 

I definitely didn't realize how expensive it is to bake until I was out on my own!

Consequently, I really can't bake as much as I'd like, even though I live in a house with a full kitchen this year.

But I decided today that it had been far, far too long and I needed to fix that ASAP!

So, after Bethany and I studied at Barnes and Noble for awhile we stopped at Super Saver to pick up a few ingredients to make these delicious babies!

And, if it makes you feel better these are actually not too horrible for you!  They're sort of a "light" dessert.

Coconut Blondies
Recipe Adapted from High Heels and Grills

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 large egg-whites
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8" x 8" baking pan with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix the margarine, egg whites, whole egg, brown sugar, coconut extract, and vanilla until fully incorporated. 
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until all dry has been moistened. Stir in the coconut, and pour mixture into the baking pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cut into bars and serve warm.  Ice cream or whipped topping compliment them very well! (I used a 9x9 and it only took 20 minutes!)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

If you've never made an upside down cake before, it might seem a bit intimidating.  I know the first time I made one I was nervous.  But it's really not that scary!  (Except for maybe the flip, my first one ended up in several pieces...)  Point is, YOU CAN DO IT! 

This cake is not good, it's fantastic!  I literally see rainbows when I eat it.

Intrigued? You should be.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Recipe Adapted from My Grandma's Recipe Book
1/4 C Butter
2/3 Brown Sugar
6-9 Pineapple Slices
9-10 Maraschino Cherries
1 1/3 C All-Purpose Flour
1 C granulated Sugar
1/3 C Shortening
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 C Milk
1 Egg

**For this recipe you can either use a 9 inch square pan or a 9-10 inch round pan.  The different pans require different amounts of pineapple rings and cherries.**

Preheat oven to 350 degrees 

Put the butter in pan of your choice and melt it in the oven.  Make sure the butter is covering every space on bottom of pan.  Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the melted butter.

Arrange the pineapple slices on top of brown sugar.  (6 slices for round, 9 for square)  Place cherries in center of rings (and in open spaces if using a round pan). 

In medium bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and salt-set aside.

Cream sugar, shortening, egg and milk in separate large bowl.

Combine wet and dry ingredients thoroughly.  Very few lumps in the batter should exist.

Pour the batter over top of the pineapple and cherries, making sure to cover evenly. 

Bake for 45-50 minutes, depending on pan used and your personal oven.  Check by inserting a knife and checking for residue.  When knife comes out clean the cake is done.

Immediately after removing cake from oven turn over onto serving plate.  This is the tricky part.  What I have found is that if you have someone to hold the serving plate and someone to hold the baking pan it is much easier!  After turning over cake, leave the pan on top of the cake for just a few minutes so all the brown sugar glaze can drip onto the cake.  Be careful not to leave in on too long or it will start to burn.

This cake is great served warm or at room temp!  A little whip cream doesn't hurt any either!

Happy Baking!