Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Who does not love the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich? It is traditional, delicious and comforting all rolled into one. I got to thinking about that, and thought – why not transform that sandwich into a dessert? I thought about peanut butter and jelly cookies (my Grandma Barbra eats jelly on top of her peanut butter cookies) but decided for it to be portable, and less messy, it would need to be a “bar” of some kind. The first time I tried these with less jelly, but in the end, decided they needed more jelly. These are absolutely perfect!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, slightly melted
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups smooth peanut butter
3 cups white all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups strawberry jam or jelly

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F and spraying a 9×13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Next, line the pan with parchment paper, and spray the parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray. This will ensure the bars to be easily removed when finished baking.

In a large bowl, combine the slightly melted butter and white granulated sugar until throughly mixed, light in color and creamy.

Next, add in the pure vanilla extract, large eggs and smooth peanut butter. Combine this and mix together well.

Finally, add in the white all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Stir this together just until everything is combined throughly.

Place over half of this mixture into the prepared pan, spread and push down evenly with clean fingers. You want the base to be as even as possible – this is important.

In a medium sized bowl, place the strawberry jam/jelly and stir well until it turns into a spreadable consistency.

Place the jam/jelly on top of the dough base and spread out evenly with the back of a spoon.

Crumble the remaining dough evenly over the top of the jam/jelly. Don’t worry about consistency here – just crumble as evenly over the top as you can.

Place in preheated oven for 40 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing and serving. This is best kept refrigerated.

Enjoy!

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Potato Chip Monster Cookies

I love “monster cookies”, but I grew up with my Grandma Barbra calling them “Kitchen Sink Cookies”. Whatever you call them, call them delicious. These are the perfect combination of sweet, salty and crunchy. Very addictive! Feel free to substitute the Mini Reese Pieces for chocolate chips. Also feel free to add up to 1/2 cup of your favorite nut variety.

Potato Chip Monster Cookies

1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups white all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup crushed plain potato chips
1 10 oz. bag Mini Reece Pieces

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare your baking sheets by lining each with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the white granulated sugar, light brown sugar and solid vegetable shortening. Mix in the two large eggs, pure vanilla extract, baking powder and baking soda beat until light and fluffy.

Next add in the white all-purpose flour, and stir until combined. Stir in the quick cooking oats and stir.

Stir in the crushed potato chips.

Finally, stir in the mini Reese Pieces.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets. Roll the dough into balls, but don’t press flat. Keep dough balls about 3-4 inches from each other – giving them plenty of room to spread when baking.

Place in preheated oven for 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Once baked, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly on baking sheets before enjoying.

Enjoy!

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Chew This – Chocolate Chip Cookie In A Mug

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! (And Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads!) As many of you already know, I have a food column in “The Courier-Times” on the 1st and 3rd Sunday’s each month. It is a place where I can share my stories and recipes, and I love it! I am always trying to think of new and different recipes to share with everyone – and this one takes the cake! Or, well, cookie! Ha! 

I spent longer than a person might think in developing this recipe, but the reward was well worth all the time, trouble and sink loads of dishes. The recipe produces a single chocolate chip cookie in less than two minutes. Two. Minutes! It is dangerous – it is fun – it is addictive – it is delicious! 

This recipe was tested in your average microwave. Do not try and bake this in the oven – or a convection oven. If the cookie is still gooey after your 50 seconds, microwave 10 seconds longer. If too dry, microwave less. 50 seconds worked for me. 



Chocolate Chip Cookie In A Mug

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_5a93a43a-6e25-572a-b383-8678dadc5cce.html

Enjoy! 

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Coconut Chocolate Brownies

I am not the biggest can of coconut, but when mixed with sweetened condensed milk, topped and covered with chocolate – now maybe THIS I can do… AND the best part? It is easy – and tastes just like that popular candy bar you can grab up by the checkout counter. 

Try these today…

Coconut Chocolate Brownies

1 package brownie mix (13×9-inch)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, (mixed with 1 tablespoon white all-purpose flour)
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
5 cups shredded coconut, divided
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tub chocolate fudge frosting

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F and lightly spraying a 13×9-inch pan with floured baking non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, prepare the brownie mix according to packaged directions. Mix in the chocolate chips and instant coffee granules. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 28 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine 4 cups of the shredded coconut with the can of sweetened condensed milk.

When the brownies finish baking, remove from the oven and immediately top with the shredded coconut mixture. Spread evenly with a knife.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat the remaining 1 cup shredded coconut, stirring continuously, until the coconut becomes toasted and brown.

Spread the toasted coconut out over foil or parchment paper – and allow to cool slightly.

In the microwave, place the plastic tub of frosting (remove the lid and foil wrapper) for 1 minute.

Pour the melted frosting evenly over the brownies and coconut mixture. Spread evenly with the back of a spoon.

Finally, top with the toasted coconut. Refrigerate until firm, then cut and enjoy. If cutting while warm, enjoy with caution – the coconut brownie is hot! This is also perfect served with ice cream.

Enjoy!

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Chew This – Skillet Meatballs

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! For those who already know – I have a food column in “The Courier-Times” on the 1st and 3rd Sunday’s each month. It is a place where I share my recipes and the stories behind them. This one is fabulous, and I am so excited to be sharing it with everyone! Do you like meatballs in your spaghetti? What about as an appetizer? What about placed inside a sub bun, and topped with shredded cheese? Me? I think all ways sound delicious, and I can not wait to hear what you think about my “skillet meatballs”! 


Skillet Meatballs 

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_6df2864d-4b8a-5b6d-ab1c-44fdb32f3b7b.html

Enjoy! 

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Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Honey Frosting

I am a huge fan of cupcakes! I love making them, eating them – but not decorating them… I am not the World’s Best Decorator by any means – I think it is because my focus is always on the eating of the dessert – and less on how it looks. Regardless, the perfect garnish can hide some imperfections – like the sliced banana garnish I use for these!

This recipe was inspired by Martha Stewart. You can Google her version of the recipe and see what changes I made. I added more cupcakes to the total amount baked, changed some of the measurements and added some flavorful ingrediants. I am always looking on how to improve a recioe – and in this case – I have done it!

Instead of making banana bread next time you have some ripe bananas to use – make these moist and delicious cupcakes!

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Honey Frosting

For the cupcakes…
1 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white granulated sugar 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
4 ripe bananas, mashed 
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

For the frosting…
4 cups powdered sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
1 tablespoon pure honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt 

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 12-cup cupcake tins with cupcake liners. Lightly spray cups with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, mix together the white all-purpose flour, white granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon. 

Next, add in the melted and cooled unsalted butter, mashed bananas, large eggs and pure vanilla extract. 

Gently fold everything together, being very careful not to over mix the batter. Gently fold until all the white streaks of flour have disappeared. 

Next, divide the batter evenly between the cupcake tins. This batter makes 18 cupcakes and you need to fill them each 3/4 of the way full to the top.

Pour a small amount of water into the remaining 4 empty cupcake cavities. 

Place in preheated oven for exactly 27 minutes.

Once baked, remove from oven and allow to cool while you make the frosting.

To make the frosting, combine the melted and cooled unsalted butter with the honey, ground cinnamon and salt. Add in enough powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. You’ll want a frosting that is thick, ice cream consistency, but yet easy spreadable. 

To frost the cupcakes, divide the frosting evenly between the cupcakes, and frost accordingly. 

Enjoy!

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Cookbook Corner – and Giveaway – Delicious Dump Cakes

I am SO excited to talk about my newest “Cookbook Corner”! I can not imagine how fun this book was to write – because it was a BLAST to taste a lot of the recipes inside. 


“Deliciois Dump Cakes” By: Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore

This book is short in length, but HUGE in fun and flavor! I can not remember the last time I had such FUN recipe testing a book for my “Cookbook Corner”! I am highly HIGHLY recommending this to everyone who loves to bake. And do not let “dump cakes” scare you away – it is great! Trust me…

Let us start with QVC and “In the Kitchen with David”. That is where I first discovered this book – and my interest quickly peaked when I seen David take a bite of the “Peanut Butter Cup Dump Cake” – and did his famous “happy dance”. I had to learn more. And can we talk about Roxanne and Kathy? They are so cute! 

As soon as I got the book – I flipped over it, and knew that I would love it. For those of you who are wondering about a cookbook using cake mixes to make “dump cakes” – just admit it already – you use them – and you love them. But – if you really would rather NOT use a cake mix, Roxanne and Kathy have recipes to make your own homemade “cake mix”. 

The recipes in this book are fun, festive, versatile and delicious! So many different flavor combinations are profiled in this book – from cakes with blueberries, lemon, chocolate, peanut butter, orange, cherry, strawberry, and on and on. 

The photos are fabulous, the recipes foolproof and delicious, and one of my FAVORITE recipes? The “Peanut Butter Cup Dump Cake” on page 81. When you get this book – TRY IT FIRST! 

Here’s a picture…


Look delicious!? Look how it looks when it’s actually BAKED – 


IT. IS. DELICIOUS! And seriously – one of the best dump cakes I have ever had in my life. And guess what!? I used a cake mix! Yay! Ha!!! It was fun – and it was FABULOUS! 

To buy “Delicious Dump Cakes”, click here – http://www.amazon.com/Delicious-Dump-Cakes-Desserts-Minutes/dp/1250082633

AND. GUESS. WHAT??? 


I loved this book so much – I immediately ordered another one – for YOU! My newest giveaway – is this book and you can enter to win! 

HOW!? 

Email me your name and address – blaisethebaker@gmail.com 

A random winner will be picked Monday June 6th, 2016. 

Good luck! 

Blaise

UPDATE: (06/06/16) The giveaway is now closed. THANK YOU to everyone that participated! A winner will be announced shortly!

Watch your emails…

-Blaise