Tag Archives: chocolate

peanut butter cookies with salted chocolate

I don’t know whether or not this is crossing the line we’ve established…but I completely drooled on myself while eating one of these the other day.


Yes I know. I am gross.


In my defense, I don’t do this regularly. Does it help at all if I say that? Probably not.

At least, now you know that they’re good. And worthy of salivating all over your arm.



Even though drooling on myself is a huge perk, I love making peanut butter cookies simply because they remind me of my grandma. There are many little kitchen memories that my brothers and I remember about her–like the cinnamon candies she would put in our oatmeal, the way she served our grilled cheese with a side of powdered sugar, and how she would convince me to eat my sandwich crusts by telling me it would make my hair curl. She also reinforced (via song) that peas and carrots do make you grow, and taught me how to clean dishes using a preferred wash tub.

A memory I particularly remember, however, is the criss-cross pattern atop the peanut butter cookies we would bake together. She would scoop out the dough, hand me a fork, and allow me to magically create the intricate ‘x’ that peanut butter cookies usually wear.


After the smell of warm cookies filled each corner of the house, we would dunk our treats into two huge glasses of milk. I usually dunked my tiny hand in there with it. And though I can’t speak for her myself, I think my sweet-toothed Grandma Emma would have definitely given me the go-ahead with this sweet and salty combination I’ve added to her famous recipe.


Peanut Butter Cookies

Yields 3 dozen

1 cup spry (shortening)

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs beaten

1 Tbsp. milk

2 cups flour, sifted

1 tsp. baking soda

10 ounces of bittersweet (dark) chocolate

coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine spry, peanut butter, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add sugars and cream together. Add eggs and milk until well combined. Gently mix in flour and soda.

Drop by the teaspoon onto a sheet covered in parchment paper (or coated in spry). Press with a fork in an ‘x’ shape. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, heat chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until melted. Dip cooled cookies, or spread over cookies using a spoon. Sprinkle immediately with sea salt and let cool on sheets of parchment paper for up to 1 hour (I popped mine in the fridge for a few minutes). Store in an air-tight container for up to one week, or store in freezer for up to one month.




Filed under Cookies, Desserts

hot chocolate – two ways

Rum and hot chocolate. Yes, I know it.


If you’re anything like I am, you saw “rum” and “hot chocolate” in the same sentence and the world turned upside-down. Who dumps hard liquor into something as perfectly innocent as an untouched mug of chocolate and cream? Well, everybody, that’s who. Or at least everyone should. Allow me to fill you in on a secret: so long as you and I are anything alike, you’ll take one sip of this heavenly medley and realize that it’s even more satisfying than a chocolate rum ball melting ever so beautifully on your tongue.

oh. my. rum.


Not everyone is of age, nor a fan of distilled bevvies, which is why I’ve also posted a recipe for plain and simple (dare I say perfect?) hot chocolate. sans alcohol. Making the most delicious cup of hot chocolate doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Using melted chocolate morsels or more costly brands like Ghiradelli is nice, I know, and I could’ve probably ate my way through their entire store when I was in San Francisco last March, buuut…I do believe that dutch cocoa of nearly any brand can be fit for a king with the help of just a few key ingredients.

First things first. You cannot make hot chocolate with skim milk. I repeat. Skip the skim. And most definitely, definitely not water. Ya just can’t. In fact, if the manufacturer even calls for 8 ounces of water, please do yourself a favor and perform the following tasks: Dig a hole in your yard. Throw in said box. Toss in your bathroom scale if it makes you feel better. Cover the hole. Perhaps plant a tree. And go buy a gallon of the real deal.

Whole milk or half and half will give you the best hot chocolate, and additions of heavy cream will also provide a thicker, creamier booty beverage. Oh…and did I mention that this recipe is low in fat? Right. I think if there was such a thing as “Bar Wars,” this drink would be Jabba the Hut.

Go buy yourself a pretty little parka that covers your bod. It’s wintertime. Drink up.

The Best Hot Chocolate

(Serves 4)

3 cups whole milk (or almond milk)

1 cup half-and-half (or an additional cup of almond milk)

1/4 cup Dutch cocoa (non-brand names work fine)

1/2 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 small pinch of coarse sea salt per serving

Garnishes (optional): peppermint candy bits, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, marshmallows, powdered sugar, ground cinnamon, milk foam, etc. Get creative :).

Place milk and half-and-half in a saucepan and heat to a simmer over medium heat. Place sugar and cocoa into a medium metal bowl.

One cup at a time, stir hot milk into the cocoa and sugar mixture. With help from a rubber spatula, pour cocoa mixture back into the saucepan with the milk and simmer 2 minutes with cinnamon stick; do not boil. Stir in vanilla before pouring into four mugs. Sprinkle with salt, garnish, and enjoy. Cheers!

Hot Chocolate with Rum

Prepare the same way as above, leaving out cinnamon stick and sea salt. Pour 1 tsp. of rum* into the bottom of each cup (or more, depending on desired strength) and stir well. Enjoy!

*Vanilla vodka, hazelnut liquor, peppermint schnapps, Baileys, and Kahlua are also known to be great in adult hot cocoa.


Filed under Beverages, Christmas, Desserts, Holiday Dishes, Winter Dishes

homemade butterfinger bars

There are a bazillion things that flood my memory when I think of my dad–but after hanging out with a person for 22 years, that really shouldn’t surprise me.

Most of the memories I have of him are funny; he’s a funny man, that fellow. I’ll never forget the night he mistakenly shook the “pour” side of the Parmesan cylinder at dinner, which eventually led to Mount Parmesanjaro atop his spaghetti. “Would you like any noodles with your cheese, pops?” I was only eight at the time, but unfortunately that didn’t spare him any ridicule.

Other memories I have could be better described as sentimental, like the day he took me to Tappers and bought me my first ever sterling silver necklace in seventh grade. I vaguely remember my mom asking him not to spoil me–or at least, that’s probably what she’d say now–but he insisted. I guess that’s what happens when you’re the baby of the family–you get spoiled. After that, having my Christmas stocking at the bottom of the staircase didn’t seem so bad, after all.

Finally, there are the seasonal memories: I can remember balancing the blades of my ice skates against dad’s bluejeans as he laced them up, ever so tightly; running from tree to tree with my brothers during one of the many epic Easter egg hunts he’d choreograph each spring; and playing our own “silent” version of Marco Polo in the swimming pool after hamburgers and coleslaw on the patio each summer. On days like today, though, I am reminded of candy corn, pumpkins, and football. October always reminds me of my dad.

An October memory of my dad that I love is when he brought me to Joe’s Army and Navy outlet one afternoon; I wasn’t enlisted or anything, but we both thought an authentic G.I. Jane costume would receive a nice variety of “oo’s” and “ah’s” on Halloween night. It did–though I’m pretty sure I was forbidden to wear my camouflage pants in public after that. I also distinctly remember carving jack-o-lanterns with him and my brother in the garage while my mom roasted the extracted pumpkin seeds. Hours later, we’d run out to the street when dark had fallen to proudly view our glowing jack-o-latern sitting there on the front porch, flickering against the dark, unlit night.

The most stand-out fall memory I have of my dad, however, is not playing football with him in our backyard or raking piles of leaves that had fallen from the twin Maples out back (though I can assure you, we did lots of that, too), but rather the countless times he would lean over our emptied pillow cases and watch my brothers and I categorize our trick-or-treat findings on the living room carpet. It was during our classification of the fun-sized candy bars that he’d ask to “test” our candy to make sure that it was safe to eat. We quickly outgrew this trick and managed to guard our goodies for a couple of years, but that only lasted until “Halloween taxes” were invented. Dad would get paid in Butterfingers and Baby Ruths, respectively–but he more than well deserved it.

If anyone in our family enjoys candy corn, it’s my dad and I. I guess you could say that we share a liking for corn syrup and faux-fluorescent triangles. Sure it makes me feel sick if I eat more than, er, two pieces, but it smells good and it’s chock-full of memories. When I saw this 3-ingredient recipe, I obviously had to try it. Butterfingers have been my go-to movie snack ever since I can remember–I think it’s something about the way my Cherry Icee tastes in combination with the buttery center that gets stuck in my  back molars. I guess my taste buds haven’t matured much since I was seven.

SO, even though I won’t be home for my dad’s birthday, I made these in his honor. Candy corn+ peanut butter = homemade Butterfinger bars. Could the ingredients be any more up our alley??? Answer is no.

Happy birthday dad!

Homemade Butterfinger Bars

(Makes 1 8×8 pan – Source – 20-30 minutes)

16 ounces candy corn

16 ounces peanut butter (I like chunky!)

16 ounces milk chocolate

Grease an 8×8 pan using butter or spray. Melt candy corn in a microwaveable bowl for 1 minute. Stir. Repeat in 15 second increments until candy corn seems warm enough to melt. (I warn you…do NOT use your bare fingers to scrape the candy corn from whatever you are stirring it with. It gets much hotter than you’d think!) Next, add the peanut butter–the oils will help to thin out the consistency, but I still popped it back in the microwave for a few seconds until it was fairly easy to stir.

Spread into pan and press flat. Let cool (10-15 minutes). Once cool, cut into rectangles. Size doesn’t matter here.

Melt chocolate in a double broiler or in microwave for 30 seconds, reheating for 15 seconds and stirring until melted. Dip squares and place on wax paper until cooled. Enjoy!!! They look and taste just like butterfingers. They’re also very good frozen :).


Filed under Candy, Desserts, Halloween