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Posts Tagged ‘peanut butter’

Happy Mother’s Day to all! Hope it was lovely.

JT and I babysat my 13 year old nephew, Jack and my 10 year old niece, Annie on a recent weekend while their parents went to the Caiman Islands for a benchmark birthday party! We had a great action packed weekend filled with a visit to the High Park Zoo, bowling at Lucky Strike, cake decorating and cookie baking. Jack had his head burried in his laptop or smart phone at any given time; surprisingly he was not playing games, but monitoring a help desk he set up.

At the zoo, we were very lucky to see the 1 month old baby Wallaby, hoping along side of Mama (he/she even crept back into Mama’s pouch)! And we reacquainted with the Lama that was born last year. Lots of great things to do at this quaint little zoo — chickens to hold, bunnies to pet and Capybaras to feed, and best of all, it’s FREE! If you’re in Toronto, take the kids to High Park, in addition to the zoo, there is an amazing Jamie Bell Adventure Playground that was recently rebuilt due to vandals burning it to the ground (hundreds of volunteers and a celebrity contractor rebuilt the castle, click here to read the article).

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The baby Wallaby and Mama drinking water. Shortly after this photo, the baby crawled back into Mama’s pouch.

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Annie feeding the baby lama. He had such an adorable face.

He really was having fun, even though he hid it well.

He really was having fun, even though he hid it well.

But even after bowling, the weekend wasn’t complete without some quality kitchen time. We wanted to take a cake over to Grandma and Papa’s as a get well gift for Grandma who recently had an operation, so I baked two vanilla slab cakes (well, that’s not the fun part) and Annie cleverly decorated both, one as a gift and one for dessert over the weekend — which was thoroughly enjoyed!

Getting ready to decorate the cakes.

Getting ready to decorate the cakes.

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With everything going on, I didn’t have time to make the icing, but the cake was home made.

This cake was for Grandma and Papa.

This cake was for Grandma and Papa.

This one was for us!

This one was for us!

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We ate al fresco all weekend, which was a HUGE contrast to this past weekend when it SNOWED! Yes, you read that correctly!

We also baked the easiest Peanut Butter Cookies we’ve ever made and I thought I would share them with you because they are gluten free!

The Easiest Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies EVER (recipe from Kraft)

Makes about 24 medium-sized cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Kraft Smooth Peanut Butter (UPDATE) I made these cookies again using all natural peanut butter and they turned out perfectly. I won’t be buying Kraft again for this easy and tasty cookie. Take into consideration how oily the natural pb is, the last batch I made (2015) was excessively oily so I upped the sugar to 3/4 cup).
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • Optional 24 milk chocolate wafers

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together until well blended (no need to drag out the hand mixer, just mix well with a spoon).
  3. Roll into 24 balls and place on parchment paper about 4 inches apart. Flatten with fork (or with a flatten with a milk chocolate wafer pressing it into the cookie).
  4. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly brown. Do not over bake. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and transfer to wire racks. Cool completely if you can resist eating.
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Cookie making is serious business.

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Batch one, traditional peanut butter cookie.

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Annie claimed that we had mice because the cookies kept disappearing.

Cookie batch one.

They were so successful, we made another batch the next day.

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Delicious PB and Chocolate, what’s not to love? I didn’t have quite enough Kraft PB so I used a couple of tablespoons of natural crunchy PB I had on hand. Next time, I’ll try it all with the natural stuff.

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My SIL’s mother, Lea was one of my Mom’s dearest friends (JT’s Mom was her other dearest friend but sadly she passed away quite a few years before my Mom). Lea recently had hip replacement surgery and is recovering slowly, and when I spoke to her, I detected quite bit of frustration in her voice. She has 6 grand children and she likely feels like she’s missing out on quite a bit of action! So, to help cheer her up, I decided to bake her some brownies, but not just any brownies, but Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate Chip Brownie Bars! Now who wouldn’t cheer up with a big, fat bucket full of Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate Chip Brownie Bars? Frankly, she wouldn’t expect anything less from her good friend’s daughter; my Mom always had food whenever there was a visit!

Chewy, chocolatey and peanuty. I know you want one!

Year’s ago JT was in NYC on business (why wasn’t I with him you ask aghast? I’m still asking myself that same question) and he bought me a Hershey’s Chocolate Cookbook as consolation (huh, diamond tennis bracelet would have done the trick!). Believe it or not, I have not made a single thing from that book. Why, you might ask? Although the book is FILLED with wonderful delectable sweets, it is by far, the most unhealthiest recipes I have in my collection and therefore put it aside for the ‘right moment’. And the right moment is upon us, because as we all know ‘cheer’ is nothing without copious amounts of calories and fat.

So join me in wishing my SIL’s Mom a speedy recovery so she can get back to baby-sitting those rug-rats ;-)!

Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate Chip Brownie Bars

Small, bite sized little morsals

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (I used all natural, unsweetened)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 3/4 teaspoon shortening

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
  2. Stir together the melted cooled butter, sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla in large bowl. Add 2 beaten eggs; stir until blended.
  3. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to egg mixture, stirring until blended. Spread in prepared pan.
  4. Bake 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, stir together sweetened condensed milk, peanut butter, remaining beaten egg and 1 teaspoon
    vanilla extract. Pour evenly over hot brownie. Set aside 1 tablespoon each milk chocolate chips and peanut
    butter chips; sprinkle remaining chips over peanut butter mixture.
  6. Return to oven; continue baking 20 to 25 minutes or until peanut butter layer is set and edges begin to brown.
  7. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
  8. Stir together remaining milk chocolate chips, remaining peanut butter chips and shortening in small
    microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 30 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an
    additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when
    stirred. Drizzle over top of bars. When drizzle is firm, cut into bars. Store loosely covered at room temperature.
    24 to 36 bars depending on the size you cut them.

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