Category Archives: nut butter

Peanut Butter Carmelitas

Peanut Butter CarmelitasSometimes you—and by “you,” I mean “I”—want a dessert that is purely about peanut butter. No chocolate or candy or jelly or Oreos—just peanut butter in all its glory. You could, of course, remedy this by going directly to the pantry and dipping into the jar with a spoon, or you could make a batch of these Peanut Butter Carmelitas. Peanut Butter CarmelitasYou should make these, period. They’re a peanut butter lover’s paradise! Two layers of crispy peanut butter cookie are sandwiched together with a thick layer of peanut butter caramel and then sliced into crumbly, chewy bars. It’s like someone—and by “someone,” I mean “I”— took my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe and turned it up to 11. Oh my word, these are good.Peanut Butter CarmelitasThey’re easy to make, too! Start by mixing up a crumbly peanut butter and oat dough, tossing in some chopped roasted peanuts for good measure. Pack half of it down, and then drizzle on a bunch of caramel candy that you’ve melted with peanut butter and heavy cream. Mmhmm.Peanut Butter CarmelitasPeanut Butter CarmelitasFinish it all off with the remaining dough and then bake until the edges are golden and the caramel bubbles up in a few spots and then—and this is very important—let them cool completely.Peanut Butter CarmelitasI’m serious! Don’t be tempted to slice these (or any carmelitas) while they’re still warm. I know gooey peanut butter caramel is extremely tempting, but the mess isn’t worth it. I promise you that the middles of these carmelitas are just as enticing at room temperature. We’re talking soft, stretchy peanut butter candy magic, y’all.Peanut Butter CarmelitasYes, the caramel is the star of this show, but don’t sleep on those cookie layers. Crispy, crunchy, buttery, salty-sweet, crumbly cookie held together by caramel? Sign me up! These bars will crumble at bit when you bite in, but it’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a very good thing.

Very good.Peanut Butter Carmelitas

Peanut Butter Carmelitas
makes one 8-inch pan, about 16 squares

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1 cup roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted), roughly chopped

Caramel Layer:
1 11-ounce bag caramel candies
1/4 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and grease heavily with butter. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, oats, light brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.

Combine butter and peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold it into the dry ingredients—mixture may be crumbly, but should hold together when pinched. Ensure that the dough is not too warm before folding in chopped peanuts. Set aside.

Combine caramels, peanut butter and heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside.

Firmly press about 2 1/2 cups of the dough into an even layer at the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour caramel over the top and smooth to the edges. Scatter remaining dough mixture over the top. Use the palms of your hands to gently pack it into a even layer, covering the caramel.

Bake full pan for 23 minutes, or until turning golden at the edges. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack,

Slice bars with a lightly greased chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Do not try to slice bars until they are completely room temperature.

Bars will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days. Layer them with wax paper to keep them from sticking together.Peanut Butter CarmelitasPeanut Butter CarmelitasPeanut Butter Carmelitas

Flourless Peanut Butter Cake

Flourless Peanut Butter Cake If you are into rich, thick, salty-sweet, intensely peanut buttery peanut butter things…well, let me introduce you to your new favorite cake. This Flourless Peanut Butter Cake is the sort of thing that you can whip together for a casual night in (also known as every night right now) or dress it up for a birthday or dinner party (when dinner parties are a thing again).Flourless Peanut Butter CakeFlourless Peanut Butter CakeThis recipe is a play on the three ingredient peanut butter cookies that have been around forever. If you haven’t made them this quarantine, the general gist is that you mix together 1 cup of creamy peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar (brown, granulated, or a mix) and an egg, scoop, roll and bake 10-ish minutes for some really excellent grain-free peanut butter cookies.Flourless Peanut Butter CakeFlourless Peanut Butter CakeFlourless Peanut Butter CakeThis cake is almost exactly the same thing, except that I add a few more eggs, a pinch of salt and a little vanilla, and bake it all up in a cake pan. The result is a little chewy at the edges and tender in the center—think somewhere between Flourless Almond Cake and a cookie cake. Yum!

Lest I forget quarantine swaps…feel free to use all brown or all granulated sugar in the cake. You can leave out the vanilla too, if you’re out or running low.Flourless Peanut Butter CakeFlourless Peanut Butter CakeFlourless Peanut Butter CakeAfter the cake has cooled, garnish all up to you. Leave it plain, dust with powdered sugar, serve with ice cream, make it into Peanut Butter Mousse Cake—whatever makes you happy.Flourless Peanut Butter CakeToday marks fifty days of lockdown in NYC, so I felt the need to jazz it up a little. I nuked chocolate chips and peanut butter until smooth, then loaded it into a bag, snipped a tiny corner and drizzled til I liked what I saw. The border is just chopped roasted peanuts and mini peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s. I know it’s gilding the lily, but like…what else are we doing seven weeks in?Flourless Peanut Butter CakeFlourless Peanut Butter Cake

Flourless Peanut Butter Cake
makes one 8-inch round cake

1 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural-style)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature

Drizzle (optional):
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon creamy-style peanut butter

Garnish (optional):
chopped peanuts
miniature peanut butter cups
chopped peanut butter cups
Reese’s pieces
chocolate chips
dusting of confectioners sugar

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan and line with parchment. Grease again. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat peanut butter, granulated and brown sugars until combined and a bit fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in salt and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, mixing to combine after each addition. Beat on high for 30 seconds.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 27-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs (not batter). Let cake cool 30 minutes in the pan on a rack. Cake will deflate a bit as it cools.

Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan and invert onto a plate (or rack). Peel off parchment. Place a serving plate upside-down onto the bottom the cake. Holding on tightly to both plates (but not so tightly as to crush the cake), flip the cake to be right side-up on the serving plate. Let cake cool completely.

Make the drizzle. Combine chocolate chips and peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Load into a plastic sandwich bag, snip a tiny corner and drizzle onto the cake as desired. Alternatively, drizzle with a fork or use an offset icing knife (or the back of a spoon) to spread it onto the cake. This will likely be more than you need.

Garnish as desired. To set the drizzle, refrigerate the cake for 15 minutes.

Slice and serve. Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to four days, and in the refrigerator for a bit longer.Flourless Peanut Butter CakeFlourless Peanut Butter CakeFlourless Peanut Butter Cake

Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins

Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsUntil a few weeks ago, I hadn’t put a muffin recipe on here in about 2.5 years—it’s been even longer for cupcakes. If you had asked why, I would have said it’s because I hate cleaning muffin pans, which is the absolute truth. Too many corners for stuff to get stuck.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsAnd while muffin/cupcake liners are the obvious solution to that problem, there was another to contend with: I was not terribly confident in my base muffin recipe. But then I went and tested the crap out of my Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins and found a formula that works every time and can be adjusted easily without disaster and, well, I made you some Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins. You’re welcome.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsYou read that right: Brown Butter. Nutella Swirl. Muffins. Basically every good thing in the world in a handheld treat that is somehow suitable for consumption at breakfast.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsThe recipe for these muffins has a few adjustments from the Lemon Poppy Seed version, but not many. Besides the obvious flavor difference, there’s a little more flour and I swapped some of the milk for sour cream, making the batter a little thicker so the Nutella swirls don’t sink.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsAnd speaking of Nutella swirls, they are applied in two phases. Basically, you add half the batter to the muffin cups, then swirl in some Nutella, then top with the remaining batter and swirl in remaining Nutella.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsY’all, these are so good. The interiors are feather soft and the Nutella swirls make every bite extra decadent, as all things with Nutella should be. Also, there’s a little variance in each bite—you could have a little Nutella or you could have a lot! The brown butter is subtle, as it is in my Brown Butter Strawberry Shortcakes and Chocolate Chip Scones, but brings a little nuance that you wouldn’t get with regular melted butter. Not that making these will regular melted butter would ever be a bad idea.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins

Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/4 cup full-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a small bowl.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a small-medium mixing bowl (or large measuring cup), whisk together brown butter, eggs, milk, sour cream, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon just until combined—no more than 15-20 strokes.

Add 2 tablespoons batter to each muffin cup. Drop 1 teaspoon Nutella into each muffin cup and use a toothpick (or thin knife) to swirl it around. Divide remaining batter among muffin cups (about 1 1/2-2 more tablespoons each). Top each with another teaspoon of Nutella and swirl again. Muffin cups will be very full.

Carefully tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any large air bubbles. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350F and bake for an additional 14-15 minutes.

Remove muffins from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least five minutes before removing to prepared rack to cool completely. Serve. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for a couple of days, but may be refrigerated for up to 5.Brown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsBrown Butter Nutella Swirl MuffinsBrown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins

Monster Cookies

Monster CookiesIf you’re keeping track, this is my third Monster recipe in 18 months, but I took the long way around, posting two spin-offs of this recipe before posting the real deal. Logic isn’t always my bag. Monster CookiesIf you missed my Monster Blondies and Monster Carmelitas and are wondering why I’m talking about monsters and if this is another Halloween thing, the short answers are

  1. Monster Cookies are peanut butter oatmeal cookies with M&Ms and chocolate chips.
  2. Nobody seems to know exactly where the name came from, but it has something to do with them being loaded with so many good things. A “Monster mash”-up, if you will.
  3. Not traditionally, but the name works. It’s Halloween food if you say it is. Or if you steal your kids’ Halloween candy and use it to make Monster Cookies.Monster CookiesMonster Cookies

When going about trying to make the best Monster Cookies I could muster, I started with my recipes for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Monster Blondies and went from there. After a few tweaks, like finding the right amount of peanut butter, reducing the oats and adding a chill, I’m happy to report that the results are pretty stellar.Monster CookiesWe’re talking puffy, chewy, peanut buttery cookies that have just the right amounts of oats, M&Ms and chocolate chips. I had every intention of pawning these off on friends and acquaintances, but they’re so delicious that I kept them all for myself. #sorrynotsorryMonster CookiesTo that point, Monster Cookies stay good for a whole week! Day after day, I kept waiting to bite into one and be disappointed, but the batch came and went and nary a sad cookie was eaten.

But, I mean, when cookies are this colorful and delectable, how could they ever be anything but delightful?Monster Cookies

Monster Cookies
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup M&Ms candy
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Combine butter and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30 second increments in the microwave, stirring between, until melted and smooth. Transfer mixture into a large mixing bowl.

Whisk brown sugar into the butter-peanut butter mixture. Add eggs one at a time, whisking to combine, followed by vanilla. Mix in flour mixture. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in oats, followed by M&Ms and chocolate chips. Cover cookie dough with plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments and roll into balls. Set at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 10-11 minutes, rotating pans top-to-bottom and back-to-front at the 6 minute mark.

Let cookies cool on their pans for 7-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat dough rolling and baking until all dough is used.

Cookies will keep very well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.Monster CookiesMonster Cookies

Oreo-Peanut Butter Magic Bars

Oreo-Peanut Butter Magic BarsLet me take this moment to express gratitude for the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap. Did we need a remake of the 1961 classic? Probably not, but it’s enjoyable enough, and it introduced little 13 year-old me to one of the great duos—not Lindsay Lohan & Lindsay Lohan—peanut butter & Oreos!

I was already a big fan of peanut butter & chocolate (duh!), but Oreos were a game-changer. I’ve been finding ways to put them together ever since.Oreo-Peanut Butter Magic BarsBesides the obvious dipping of Oreos directly into peanut butter, I’ve paired the two in homemade peanut butter, cupcakes and blondies, and now Magic Bars!Oreo-Peanut Butter Magic BarsOreo-Peanut Butter Magic BarsOreo-Peanut Butter Magic BarsOreo-Peanut Butter Magic BarsThey have just four ingredients–Oreos, peanut butter, butter & sweetened condensed milk–and come together in less than 45 minutes. Oh, and they’re ridiculously easy and far more delicious than any baked good with four (!) ingredients should be.Oreo-Peanut Butter Magic BarsWe’re talking soft, chewy peanut butter filling and buttery Oreo crust here, people!Oreo-Peanut Butter Magic BarsThose are two of my very favorite things. One of the great duos, if you will.Oreo-Peanut Butter Magic Bars

Oreo-Peanut Butter Magic Bars
makes 1 8- or 9-inch pan, about 12-16 bars

36 chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreos), divided
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural-style)

Preheat oven to 350F. Heavily grease a 9-inch square pan and line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on two sides. Grease again. Set aside.

Place 24 chocolate sandwich cookies the bowl of a food processor and process until pulverized. Add melted butter. Pulse until combined. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan. Press into an even layer. Bake for five minutes, until set. Set crust aside to cool while you prepare the filling.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter.

Drizzle sweetened condensed milk mixture over crust. Use a silicone spatula or the back of a spoon to carefully spread into an even layer.

Break or chop remaining 12 chocolate sandwich cookies into pieces and scatter over sweetened condensed milk mixture. Bake for 25 minutes, tenting pan with foil at the 15 minute mark. Bars are done when the center jiggles just slightly when the pan is jostled.

Let bars cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use overhang to remove bars from the pan to a cutting board. Peel off foil. Slice with a lightly-greased knife and serve.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.Oreo-Peanut Butter Magic BarsOreo-Peanut Butter Magic Bars