Friday, April 20, 2018

Peanut Butter White Chocolate Toffee Bars

There are some flavors that are always popular. Peanut Butter. Peanut butter and chocolate. Anything with caramel. Nutella and Biscoff spread. I know when I see a recipe if the flavors will be well received, but it can be hard to find new recipes. When I am finding recipes I think about new combinations, and what includes tried and true flavors. I found this recipe and thought it sounded great: white chocolate, toffee, and peanut butter.

The technique of making these cookies is a little different. It starts out normal enough, making a fairly standard bar cookie dough. This dough is quite sticky, and is thus difficult to spread in the pan. The original recipe had you bake the bars in a 10” x 15” pan, but I used a standard 9” x 13” pan. I figured the dough only have 1 cup of flour and it wouldn’t be much dough to spread that thinly. I’m glad I made that decision because it was tricky enough to spread the dough in the smaller pan. Just reconsider the baking time when using a smaller pan.

The other oddity is how you incorporate the white chocolate chips. You top the bars with the chocolate chips and then put them in the oven for 5 minutes, then swirl the half-melted chocolate into the cookie dough. It’s amazing how soft, almost liquid, the cookie dough got after 5 minutes in the oven! It makes for a very interesting cookie. The toffee bits and white chocolate are sweet, and those flavors shine through, more so than the peanut butter. Cut them small, they are very sweet!

Peanut Butter White Chocolate Toffee Bars
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
¾ cup toffee bits
 12 ounces white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, peanut butter, and eggs. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir on low to combine. Stir in the toffee bits with a spatula.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the white chocolate chips.

Bake for 5 minutes. Remove the bars from the oven and run a knife through the bars to marbleize. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, until browned along the edges and set in the center. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

Recipe from Can’t Stay out of the Kitchen Can’t Stay out of the Kitchen

Friday, April 13, 2018

Rolo Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

While I love making bar cookies, my second favorite type of cookie to make are what I call tassies, which are cookie cups baked in mini muffin pans. Pecan tassies are probably most common, which are like little pecan pies. You can make almost any type of cookie in a mini muffin pan. Sometimes the cookies have a crust or a base, other recipes just have you bake the dough and then make an indentation after the cookies come out of the oven. Either way, this type of cookie always turns out looking great.

These cookies bake in the pan and then you press a Rolo into each cookie once they come out of the oven. As they cool, the cookie sinks a little in the center, which makes that easy. The original recipe topped these cups with a whipped cream/mousse. I know that whipped cream isn’t necessarily as sturdy as frosting, so I opted to make a caramel-infused buttercream instead. I used some prepared (bourbon) caramel that I had on hand; you could certainly make plain buttercream if you wanted.

This recipe stated that it makes 24 cookies. I had thought about making one and a half or a double recipe, and I am glad that I didn’t. In the end I made 4 dozen cookie cups, which some dough left over. Mini muffin cups are a standard size and I certainly couldn’t have filled them any more, so I am not sure how you could only get 24 cookies. The frosting recipe is standard and does make more than you need for the batch of cookie cups. These are quite decadent, which chocolate chip cookie, paired with caramel, topped with frosting. I’m a fan of anything with caramel, so I was very happy with how these turned out.

Rolo Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips

¾ cup butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup caramel sauce
3-4 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixer bowl, mix the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and stir to combine. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix on low until combined. Add the mini chocolate chips, stirring again on low to combine. 

Scoop the dough into the muffin cups, filling about half full. Bake for 9-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Allow the cookies to cool for a couple of minutes before pressing a Rolo in the center of each cookie cup. Allow the cookies to cool completely before removing from the muffin pans.

 Make the frosting: in a large mixer bowl beat the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and caramel until smooth. Gradually add milk until the frosting is of the desired consistency. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cookie cups. Sprinkle with additional mini chocolate chips if desired. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars

After a couple of weeks not baking bar cookies, I’m back with some awesome bar cookies. I’m not sure why I like bar cookies so much, but I sure do. I like a good, sturdy, hearty bar cookie and these certainly fit the bill. These bars aren’t very springy, but you can never go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter.

These bar cookies contain sweetened condensed milk, which I tend to be a little weary to use, as it can make things so sweet. I recall several bar cookies I made ages ago that came from a little magazine insert featuring sweetened condensed milk. While the recipes were good, they hurt your teeth to eat them because they were so sweet. I was hopeful that the other flavors in these bars would balance the sweetness.

I made the crumb base in the mixer, but the original recipe had you cut in the butter by hand. This usually just turns into a messy proposition, and it seems like the mixer does a more consistent job anyway. The peanut butter layer was a lot thicker than I was expecting, so it doesn’t spread as easily as I had hoped. That being said, these bars were quick to make. These bars are very good, with the peanut butter layer tasting like a peanut butter caramel. They are sweet, but not over the top.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars
1 cup flour
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, room temperature, cubed
3/4 cup peanut butter
14- ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add the butter pieces and mix on medium until the mixture is crumbly. Reserve 1-1/2 cup of the crumbs. Press the remaining crumbs evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.

In the same mixer bowl, combine the peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla. Stir on medium until smooth. Spread the peanut butter mixture on top of the oat base.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the peanut butter layer, and then top with the remaining crumb mixture.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Allow the cookies to cool completely before cutting into bars.     

Recipe from Cookies and Cups