Desserts/Pastries

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Rice-Cereal Treats

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Rice-Cereal Treats

 

When nostalgia knocks, I answer—with open arms 🙂

So when I was in need of goodies for some wonderful neighbors, I appealed to everyone’s inner child and whipped up some Rice-Cereal Treats. Of course, I needed to up the ante a bit and added creamy peanut butter to the melted marshmallow and drizzled the tops with chocolate. Why Not, right? Because let’s be honest–what’s better than PB and Chocolate!?

Needless to say, they were DEE-LISH! And although I wish I could take full credit for them, a recipe can be found on the side of any box of rice cereal. But hey–no one seems to mind when they are taking a big ol’ bite of a rice cereal treat. 🙂

So here’s to having great neighbors and nostalgic-yummy treats!

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Peanut Butter & Chocolate Rice-Cereal Treats
Adapted from Any “Rice Cereal” Box  🙂

Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
½ Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
10 Ounces Packaged Marshmallows
7 Cups Rice Cereal
¾ Cup Milk Chocolate Chips

Grease 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray.

In large saucepan slowly melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter until melted and smooth. Add rice cereal and stir until well coated. Quickly transfer rice cereal mixture into pan and pat down evenly. Cool for one hour.

Place chocolate chips in a microwaveable bowl. Melt chips in the microwave using 20 second intervals—be sure to stir in between each heating. When chocolate is melted and glossy, drizzle melted chocolate over the rice cereal treats. Cool for a minimum of 30 minutes and cut into large squares.

ENJOY!

Desserts/Pastries

Big, Super-Nutty Peanut Butter Cookies

Growing up in Minnesota, I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandparents. Not only would they would watch over me while my folks were at work but they were my playmates since my elder siblings were way too cool to hang out with their baby sister 🙂

Sure, I admit it now; I was somewhat the quintessential baby sister feigning hurt feelings and tears when I was left out from my older siblings’ adventures. And what were the results? Comfort in the form of kind words from my grandparents followed by secret consolation treats like Fig Newtons and Andes Mint Candies—which I happily accepted. In fact, many foods have childhood memories directly associated to them.

One, for example, are Peanut Butter Cookies. They were my grandpa’s (who we called “Ôn”) favorite sweet treat that my sisters often baked for him. Sometimes they even let me make the traditional tracked prints on the top with a fork—a HUGE honor and joy for a 6 year old. To this day, I can’t eat a Peanut Butter Cookie without thinking about Ôn. And this particular recipe from Cooks Illustrated would have pleased him greatly. First discovered by my sister, this recipe has made its way as one of my favorite cookies to make. A tad laborious (like all Cooks Illustrated recipes!) but the end results are second to none and pack HUGE peanut butter flavors. Super buttery, great texture from the chopped nuts and crunchy peanut butter, slightly crisp on the outside, chewy on inside….yummy.

Delicious on its own and also as a vessel for ice cream sandwiches, I know any Peanut Butter fanatic will just L-O-V-E these.

This one’s dedicated to my gentle hearted, WWF wrestling-watching grandpa. We miss and love you, Ôn!

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Super-Nutty Peanut Butter Cookies
From Cooks Illustrated
Makes approximately 30 Large Cookies

Ingredients:

2½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ lb. Butter, salted
1 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar
1 Cup Ganulated Sugar
1 Cup Extra-Crunchy Peanut Butter
2 Large Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Roasted Salted Peanuts (ground in food processor to resemble bread crumbs)

Adjust oven rack to low center position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.

In bowl of electric mixer or by hand, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes with electric mixer, stopping to scrape down bowl as necessary. Beat in peanut butter until fully incorporated, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Gently stir dry ingredients into peanut butter mixture. Add ground peanuts; stir gently until just incorporated.

Working with 2 tablespoons dough at a time, roll into large balls, placing them 2 inches apart on a parchment-covered cookie sheet. Press each dough ball with back of dinner fork dipped in cold water to make crisscross design. Bake until cookies are puffed and slightly brown along edges, but not top, 10 to 12 minutes (they will not look fully baked). Cool cookies on cookie sheet until set, about 4 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 7 days.

Desserts/Pastries

Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Toffee Brownies

 

There are very few American desserts in my opinion that are more iconic than the brownie (yeah-yeah….some would say Apple Pie but that’s just too cliche 🙂 )

Now the texture of a Brownie can truly vary from one person to the next. Some prefer the cake-like approach, whereas I enjoy the dense-chewy brownie. I also love the crunchy bits that the corner squares offer—mmm, good!

So, when the BF and I decided to make a triple feature at the drive-in movies one evening, I immediately began whipping up a batch of brownies to pack with us. I decided to kick up my “go-to” milk chocolate brownie batter by adding some toffee chips and peanut butter. Because as my girl Ina Garten would say, “How bad could that be?” 🙂

And they were OH-SO-GOOD!! Gooey, chocolatey, decadent…..and the bits of toffee added such a great texture. I’m wondering why I didn’t think of this earlier! But at least we’ve got it now and I’m more than happy to share the goodness.

So friends, pour yourself a nice icy-cold glass of milk and tuck into one of these brownies. You won’t regret it! 🙂

 

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Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Toffee Brownies
Makes 9, 3 inch Brownies

Ingredients:
½ Cup Unsalted butter
1½ Cups Milk Chocolate Chips, plus ¼ Cup reserved (I used Ghirardelli Chips)
½ Cup Toffee Chips
½ Cup Smooth Peanut Butter, plus1Tablespoon Water
¾ Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
½ Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
2 Large Eggs
¾ Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
¼ Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper for easy removal. Cover parchment paper with cooking spray.

In a heatproof bowl, melt butter and 1½ cups milk chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth. Do this in 20 second intervals, stirring in between to ensure that you do not scorch the chocolate. Cool the chocolate mixture until room temperature. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, until mixture is glossy and smooth.

Whisk together remaining ingredients and combine with chocolate mixture. Stir in remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips and toffee chips. Spread batter evenly in pan. Mix peanut butter and water in a heatproof bowl. Microwave for 15 seconds to thoroughly incorporate both ingredients. Drizzle peanut butter mixture on top of the brownie batter. Using the tip of a pairing knife, create swirls of the peanut butter. Do not over mix, as you want to keep the peanut butter visible.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes up mostly clean.  Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes and cut into 3 inch squares.