October 14, 2020

Hot Chocolate Bombs

 Living in a pandemic is stressful, and I came across the concept of hot chocolate bombs on a particularly stressful day. So I promptly ordered the molds from Amazon and a giant container of hot chocolate and created these as a form of stress relief. They are incredibly fun to use and quite tasty as well. 

Would I recommend investing in the equipment for these? That depends on whether you want a cool party trick, if you'd use the molds more than once, whether you plan to make them for gifts, etc. The answer for me was yes to all of these. I can envision a non-COVID world where I need teacher gifts and package these in a mug for all the teachers and aides that make our world go round (whom I desperately miss currently). 

I think I need to try a white chocolate version, and my son would appreciate a milk chocolate version. (I used a dark chocolate because that's my jam.)

Hot Chocolate Bombs

12 oz. high quality chocolate (can use milk, dark or white), chopped
6 Tbsp. hot cocoa mix (although I may double that in the future)
Miniature marshmallows (or other fun add-ins)

Temper the chocolate. If you've never done that before, I followed simple instructions to temper in the microwave by melting 3/4 of the chocolate, stirring every 10 seconds. Once that was melted, I stirred in the remaining chocolate and allowed it to melt. 

Use a spoon to spread chocolate into the molds. (I poured chocolate in each mold and used the back of a spoon to make sure the chocolate went up the sides.) Turn the molds upside down and shake out the excess chocolate. Place in the freezer 5 minutes. Attempt to remove bombs from molds. If they show signs of cracking, you can reinforce them with a bit more chocolate, just spreading it on with a spoon. Chill again to solidify. 

Carefully remove molds. Fill half of them with 1 Tbsp. of cocoa mix and mini marshmallows. Microwave a plate, so it is warm to the touch. Working carefully, take an unfilled chocolate shell and melt its edges on the plate. Stick it to one of the filled halves. Repeat the process to make all the bombs. You can also use a warm spoon to help smooth the lines where they connect. Makes 6 bombs. 

Full disclosure: Not every bomb melted and opened this cool. One broke because it wasn't sealed well enough, and another simply melted with a hole instead of the cool reveal. Still tasty and still fun. We were 2 out of 4 of the ones we tried. 

October 8, 2020

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

This recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod is a new favorite recipe for granola bars. I've adapted a bit from the original recipe. These are deliciously full of peanut butter, and I like the addition of chia seeds.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars
1/3 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups quick oats
1 cup regular oats 
1/2 cup coconut flakes
2 Tbsp. flax seed, ground
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Melt coconut oil, peanut butter and honey together in the microwave, approximately 1 minute, longer if needed. Stir in vanilla. In large bowl, combine oats, coconut, flax, chia and salt. Add in the peanut butter mixture and stir well to combine. Stir in chocolate chips.

Press mixture into a lined 8 x 8 pan. Push firmly to help granola bars hold together. Chill at least a couple hours in the refrigerator before cutting. Stores well in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

August 8, 2020

Boozy Peach Jam

There's nothing quite like a fresh peach, but so often I end up with peaches that are woody or don't ripen beautifully. We invested in some beautiful peaches last month, but we ate them all before any could become jam. This recipe from Love & Olive Oil was intriguing enough that I text my husband and asked him to bring home 4 pounds of peaches. I knew we'd easily eat the extra pound because my son adores peaches. 

Boozy Peach Jam

3 lbs. ripe peaches
2 cups sugar, divided
6 Tbsp. lemon juice, divided
2 tsp. Pomona's Universal Pectin
1 1/2 tsp. calcium water
1/2 cup bourbon, divided

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Cut a shallow X on the bottom of each peach, blanch for 30 seconds and then submerge in an ice water bath. Once cool, peaches should peel easily. Cut in half, remove pits, and then chop the rest of peaches into roughly 1/2-inch pieces. You should have about 5 cups of chopped fruit.

Toss peaches with 3 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1 cup of sugar. Cover tightly and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, stirring once or twice to keep the peaches coated with their own juices. 

Once peaches have macerated, prepare jars and supplies for canning. 

Combine remaining sugar and pectin, and set aside.

Bring to a simmer, and cook 10-15 minutes, mashing as it softens, to get to the desired consistency. Add remaining lemon juice, calcium water and 6 Tbsp. of bourbon. Bring to a full boil, stirring occasionally. Whisk in sugar/pectin, stirring continuously until mixture returns to a full boil. Stir in remaining 2 Tbsp. bourbon, and remove from heat. (If you prefer a kid-friendly jam, omit the last of the bourbon or add it all prior to boiling.) 

Ladle jam into prepared jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Cool completely, and refrigerate any unsealed jars. 

Depression Era Peanut Butter Bread

 This is the third peanut butter recipe in a row on my blog. Obviously, I love peanut butter, so this recipe from Sprinkle Bakes caught my attention. I saw it yesterday and was able to bake it today. It's definitely best served with a glass of milk, full of peanut butter flavor and delicious. 

Depression Era Peanut Butter Bread

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 1/3 cups milk

Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, stir together the peanut butter and honey. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients along with the milk. Mix using an electric mixer on low speed until just combined. Scrape down the bowl, and fold the batter until no streaks of flour remain.

Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Scrape batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour, until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 

Let the bread cool 5 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool further. Slice using a serrated knife. Serve warm or cool. Makes 1 loaf.

June 14, 2020

Peanut Butter Icebox Torte

This recipe from Life Love & Sugar is phenomenal. My family loved it. My parents were lucky enough to snag pieces and loved it. In fact, my mom came back to watch my children just to eat another piece. OK, that's not quite true. She came back to help out during a childcare crunch, but at least she got another piece of this dessert in the process.

We're already contemplating a mint version ...

Peanut Butter Icebox Torte
12 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
255 grams powdered sugar, divided
2 Tbsp. milk
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
2 15 or 16 oz. packages of peanut butter Oreos
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
Remaining Oreos

Prepare a 9-inch springform pan by lining the sides with parchment paper sticking about an inch above the sides of the pan.

To make the mousse, beat the cream cheese and 155 grams powdered sugar together until smooth. Add the milk, and beat until smooth. Set the cream cheese mixture aside, and make the whipped cream.

To make the whipped cream, whip heavy cream on high until it begins to thicken. Add vanilla and remaining powdered sugar. Continue to whip on high until stiff peaks form.

Carefully fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the mouse until combined. Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Then divide mousse mixture, putting 2/3 in one bowl and 1/3 in a separate bowl. Add the peanut butter to the 2/3 mousse, and fold until mixed. Add the cocoa to the remaining third, and fold until mixed.

Pour the milk into a shallow dish. Dip the Oreos in milk briefly, and place a layer of Oreos in the bottom of the pan. (I dipped 2 or 3 at a time, just to coat them. Don't let them sit or they'll get too soggy.) Spread with half the peanut butter mouse. Add another layer of milk-dipped Oreos. Top with the chocolate mousse. Add another layer of milk-dipped Oreos. Top with the remaining peanut butter mousse. Chill at least 4 or 5 hours.

To make the garnish, whip the heavy cream on high until it begins to thicken. Then add sugar and cocoa powder, and beat until stiff peaks form. Pipe chocolate whipped cream on the cake, and garnish with Oreos immediately prior to serving. Makes 14 to 16 servings.