Chocolate Peanut Butter Honeycomb Crunch

Time for more quick, no-bake desserts. This one is a little messy but the darker chocolate compensates for the sweetness of the cereal.

The recipe calls for 8 cups of cereal but I just used the entire 12.5 ounce box and an entire bag of bittersweet chocolate chips.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Honeycomb Crunch

1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 cups bittersweet chocolate morsels
8 cups Honeycomb cereal
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Place cereal in a large bowl. Melt chocolate and peanut butter in a double boiler. Let cool slightly and then pour over the cereal. Stir gently until everything is well coated.  Pour onto a baking sheet and let the chocolate set for an hour.

In a large paper bag, place 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Dump in the chocolate covered cereal into the bag and shake out another 1/4 cup of powdered sugar on the top. Shake vigorously until sugar coats the pieces. Pour out onto a large baking sheet and let cool completely before putting in zip top plastic bags.

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Peanutty Chocolate Cheerio Clusters

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”

Ovid

In honor of taking it easy on Labor Day, I’m making these no bake dessert clusters. I recommend using bar chocolate here as morsels have a stabilizer that means the finished candy will have a bit of a waxy texture. I used 3 oz unsweetened and 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate to come up with a cup of chopped but you can use any combination of chocolate (including milk and white) to come up with the level of chocolate intensity that you prefer.

Peanutty Chocolate Cheerios Clusters

1 cup chocolate, chopped
½ cup chunky peanut butter
3 cups Cheerios cereal
flake sea salt, optional

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper. Alternately, set out paper candy cups on a baking sheet for more contained servings.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and the peanut butter, stirring regularly until melted together and smooth.

Place the Cheerios in a large mixing bowl and pour the melted chocolate and peanut butter over them. Stir gently with a spatula, until the cereal is well-coated in chocolate and no dry spots remain.

Drop small spoonfuls of the candy onto the prepared baking sheet. While the chocolate is still wet, lightly sprinkle with flake salt, if desired.

After all of the candies are formed, refrigerate until the chocolate is completely set. Store the candies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month but they aren’t going to last that long!

Peanutty Magic Bars

One of the first desserts I learned to make was the magic bars from the back of the can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (recipe here). I’ve tried over the years to add different things like peanuts or peanut butter chips but it was never nutty enough. Whilst browsing through the Skippy Peanut Butter website, however, I came across this recipe.

What a great idea to mix peanut butter with the sweetened condensed milk! As I prefer crunchy peanut butter, I’ve now added lots of peanut flavor as well as bits of peanut. Very yum and perfect to take to my volunteer shift today!

magic cookie bars

Below is my recipe.

Peanutty Magic Bars

1  1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup peanut butter – I like Skippy Super Chunk but brand and whether to use smooth or chunky is up to you
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
7 ounces sweetened, flaked coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place in the oven a 9×13 pan with the stick of butter in it to melt. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk until well combined.

Once the butter has melted, remove pan from oven and add the graham cracker crumbs in an even layer. Pour over the graham crackers the peanut butter/sweetened condensed milk mixture. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the entire surface. Layer the top with the flaked coconut and press down with your fingers.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the coconut is lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Peanut Butter Fudge

I love peanut butter – in sandwiches, ice cream, cookies and, yes, even fudge. This version starts from Donald Link’s recipe in his Real Cajun cookbook but uses less sugar.

I also use crunchy peanut butter (versus using creamy and adding peanuts to the top). By using crunchy (Skippy Super Chunk Extra Crunchy), you end up with lots of peanuts throughout.

IMG_20160227_101435767

Peanut Butter Fudge


4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup milk (or heavy cream)
1 cup peanut butter, I prefer crunchy
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cups peanuts, toasted and chopped (optional if using crunchy peanut butter)

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add in the vanilla extract. After the butter melts, stir in the brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the peanut butter and mix until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Using a mixer, add in the confections sugar and beat for 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour mixture into an 8 inch square baking dish that has been covered with parchment or wax paper. Top with peanuts, if using. Let cool completely before cutting fudge into squares.

 

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

peanut butter cookiesI am a fan of America’s Test Kitchen. While some of their recipes are needlessly fussy, they’ve got the science down pretty well. An example is the Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie recipe. They’ve figure out a way to maximize the peanut butter flavor molecules. My tweaks were basically to not bother with roasting my own peanuts and using crunchy peanut butter in place of creamy.

Cookies

1 1/4 
cups dry roasted peanuts, lightly salted
3/4 
cup all-purpose flour
1
 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 
teaspoon salt
3
 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2
 cup peanut butter
1/2
 cup granulated sugar
1/2 
cup packed brown sugar
3
 tablespoons whole milk
1 
large egg

Filling

3/4
 cup peanut butter
3 
tablespoons unsalted butter
1 
cup confectioners’ sugar

FOR THE COOKIES:

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pulse peanuts in food processor until finely chopped. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt together in bowl. Combine butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, milk, and egg in a stand mixer. Slowly pour flour mixture into peanut butter mixture until combined. Add peanuts and mix until evenly distributed.

Depending on the size cookies you want, you’ll be making about 36 cookies if you use a tablespoon of dough. I used more dough per cookies and only got 28. Using the back of a fork or damp fingers, flatten mounds until 2 inches in diameter.

Bake until deep golden brown and firm to touch, 15 to 18 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

FOR THE FILLING:

In the top of a double boiler, heat the peanut butter and butter until butter is melted and warm. Using rubber spatula, stir in confectioners’ sugar until combined.

TO ASSEMBLE:

Place half the cookies upside down on work surface. Place about a tablespoon of warm filling in center of each cookie. Place second cookie on top of filling, right side up, squishing the two cookies gently together until filling spreads to edges. Allow filling to set before serving, about 15 minutes.

The cookies are terrific by themselves, if you don’t want to fuss with the filling.