Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies

Y’all know I can’t go a week without baking cookies, right?

I tried. I really, really tried.

I thought the Snickerdoodle Cream Cheese cookie bar would suffice for a while.

It was close.

But not enough.

pb pudding cookies

I’m not ashamed and it’s not like they’ll go to waste. Hell, the cookies of this post are gone already.

They’re that damned good.

I probably should cut back on the cookies, though. Or at least try to bake with less fat content. After all of the weight that I unhealthily lost from the PM, I’m finally back to a comfortable number, and I don’t want to lose/gain anymore.

*sigh*

But… COOKIES.

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These were made with one of my favorite baking ingredients – Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Pieces. I adore using these in my cookies; they give the perfect peanut butter taste without being overwhelming and they have a crunch that is dream-worthy.

If you remember, I also used them in my Peanut Butter Dream Bars and my Congo Bars.

I often keep a bag of these babies in the baking cabinet; I never know when I want to use them.

4a

It’s been a while since I’ve baked cookies with peanut butter; lately we’ve been obsessed with Snickerdoodles, so I’ve been keeping Hubs in a constant supply of those. But Peanut Butter cookies came to life when I ran out of Cream of Tartar (and you cannot make Snickerdoodles without Cream of Tartar!!).

My Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies are incredibly easy to make, because (as the name implies) they follow the basic pudding recipe and do not need any additional peanut butter added into the mix.

7a

Hubs said that if I had added additional peanut butter (I was contemplating adding about 3/4 cup), it would’ve been overwhelming.

However, if you so wish to add the peanut butter, then by all means, indulge!

Peanut Butter Pudding Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 box (3 oz or thereabouts) pudding mix (I used Vanilla)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Pieces

Directions:

  1. Prepare flour by adding the baking soda and giving a good whisk to combine the two, set aside.
  2. In mixer bowl, fitted with paddle attachment, generously beat the crap outta the butter and both sugars until super light and fluffy. Add pudding mix powder and beat until combined.
  3. Throw the eggs in (make sure you break them outta those shells first, though), followed by the vanilla flavoring and beat.
  4. Combine the flour mixture and the butter/sugar mixture, lightly beating until thoroughly mixed together.
  5. Using a spoon/spatula, gently stir in the Reese’s bits until they are completely incorporated in the batter.
  6. Lick the spoon.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350° and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat (bonus points for you!).
  9. Roll cookie dough into 1″ balls, or just use a cookie scoop and place about 1″ apart.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on your oven. Mine baked perfectly at 11:30 but my oven is also the portal to Hades and hates me.
  11. Immediately transfer to wire rack to cool and then fight the impulse to shove three in your mouth at once.

After I finish baking cookies and they’ve cooled, I have two places that I store them – a Christmas themed Mickey Mouse tin and a clear plastic container.

8a

This time, Ethan asked to help me with the cookies. Of course I’m going to let him, he’s my baby.

I gave him the task of putting some of the cookies away in the Christmas tin.

In his preschooler mind, that translated to SHOVE ALL OF THE COOKIES IN THIS TIN NO MATTER WHAT. IF THEY DON’T FIT, SHOVE THEM DOWN.

11a

He got them all to fit.

All three and a half dozen of them.

In that one tin.

The boy has skills.

Instead of getting upset, or griping, I just started laughing and praised him.

Afterall, he did what I tasked him to do – he put the cookies in the tin. Next time, I will just have to clarify that we’re going to put the cookies in the tin AND the clear container.

They still tasted great, smooshed and all!

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Chicken Burritos with Avocado-Cilantro Cream

Not too long ago, hubby complained that we were having too much Mexican-style food for dinner (is there such a thing as too much Mexican food??). In terms of different cuisine styles, Mexican is definitely my favorite, followed closely by Italian and Chinese (…although…where would Sushi and coffee fit in there…?).

So, to appease his bored palate, I started cooking other things besides my beloved Mexican food.

BUT, when I figured enough time had passed, I pulled out the tortillas and decided to fake some chicken burritos!

Burritos

What I love about burritos is how forgiving they are; you can stuff them with so many options and they’re bound to be tasty.

These were so awesome that hubs said he loved them. He even ate the leftovers for lunch. That, in itself, is enough for me!

Burritos

This is an incredibly simple recipe, and after assembly, I grilled them on my panini press. Grilling them on the press put some beautiful grill marks on the burritos and helped the cheese get perfectly melty.

Yumm-o.

Making it even tastier is the Avocado-Cilantro cream. SO delicious!

burritos

I have a habit of buying avocados, I love eating them, but I am the only one who eats them like that. Hubby likes them, but only when “hidden” in a recipe. So I was faced with a soon-to-be-bad avocado. Knowing we were already going to have sour cream with our burritos, I decided to play dress up and make the sour cream pageant-worthy.

Make the Avocado-Cilantro Cream at least an hour prior to using it, so that it has time to let the flavors meld.

avocado cilantro cream

Avocado-Cilantro Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Sour Cream (plain Greek Yogurt would work really well, too!)
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablspoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 whole, small, avocado

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in food processor; pulse until thoroughly blended and sauce reaches a smooth consistency. Taste, add more salt/pepper as needed.
  2. Refrigerate for at least an hour before using.

Cilantro just goes so well with avocado and lime…

Next, you want to get your rice started, you don’t want it to be hot when you’re trying to stuff the burritos.

I used the boil-in-bag rice, and I added a slice lime and some fresh cilantro to the boiling water. It brought a light cilantro-lime flavor to the rice. I wish I could say it made an obvious flavor profile in the burrito, but you really couldn’t tell. You could skip this part if you so wish.

For the chicken burritos, you could use shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken; this recipe would work great for leftover chicken.  I pan-cooked the chicken with a garlic butter, then when it cooled, I shredded it in my stand mixer, leaving the shredded chicken in the mixing bowl.

burrito5

Shredded Chicken Burritos

Ingredients:

  • Burrito sized tortillas (I was able to make 8)
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1 cup salsa (or more depending on how wet/dry you want the chicken)
  • sliced avocado
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper (I used half a large pepper)
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 2-3 cloves diced garlic
  • fresh diced cilantro
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine shredded chicken and salsa.
  2. In a saucepan on medium heat, using the olive oil, saute the red bell pepper and onion, about 2 minutes. Once the pepper and onion are soft, add the diced garlic and saute for about a minute longer.
  3. Once the pepper, onion, and garlic are cooked, add in the diced cilantro and allow to cook together for about a minute.
  4. After the pepper, onion, garlic, and cilantro are cooked, combine with the salsa and chicken. Stir to combine.
  5. Now to stuff the burrito –  lay burrito flat, then spread on rice, top with cheese, then layer with chicken/salsa mixture. Top with avocado slices and fold.
  6. Bake on panini press for about 3-4 minutes or until insides are melty and there are nice grill marks on both sides. For my particular press, I don’t need cooking spray, so go with the specific requirements of your press.
  7. Serve with Avocado-Cilantro cream and enjoy!

It really made my night when hubby said he loved them. Ethan even enjoyed his, although I just made him a kid-friendly version – rice and cheese.

burritos

This may have just become my family’s favorite recipe.

Does your family have a favorite recipe?

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Amusing little quickie

When I bake up new things, I always like to get input from family and friends. My most recent concoction, the Snickerdoodle Cream Cheese cookie bars, have been taste tested, and approved for future baking, but with a few minor adjustments.

I thought I’d share that with you quick.

First, everyone has agreed that they need to be baked a bit longer, the middle didn’t seem to be finished quite enough for everyone’s liking.

Second, I need to make them less thick – remember, I baked ’em up in an 8×8. Next time, I have to use the 9×13 pan. Make ’em thinner and they’ll definitely bake properly.

Third, keep them in a preschooler free zone. Or you’ll end up with this:

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I couldn’t help but start laughing when I opened the lid and there was his little spoon.

Obviously these are a keeper.

Have you ever had to keep little fingers out of a dessert?

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Cinnamon Cream Cheese Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars.

Snickerdoodle cookie bars

Whew.

That’s a mouthful!

And trust me, considering I just created this dessert, it’s a lovely mouthful of yumminess!

This cookie bar concoction started as a daydream about cream cheese bars.

Have you researched cream cheese bars? Apparently you use canned crescent rolls. I had no idea. They looked yummy, but they weren’t quite what I wanted.

So I began brainstorming ideas … white chocolate shortbread cream cheese bars… no… white chocolate  cream cheese bars… peanut butter white chocolate cream cheese bars… all possibilities, but again, negatory homies.

Then I started thinking that perhaps I should just make Joey some Snickerdoodles.

And it hit me.

Like a snickerdoodle to the noodle.

Cinnamon. Snickerdoodles. Cream Cheese. Cookie Bar. Stir, bake, combine! Oh MY!!

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bar

This cookie bar features a snickerdoodle bottom and upper crust, with a decadent cream cheese center, topped with a delicate, cinnamon-y glaze.

The glaze was actually Joey’s idea. He liked the bars, but he said they felt plain; he suggested I add a “wetness” to it.

My first thought was rum, but he then clarified – a glaze or an icing.

*sigh*

So I topped it off with a cinnamon glaze and it got two thumbs up from the hubmeister.

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bar

Go me 😉

 

Snickerdoodle Cream Cheese Bars

Step 1: Preparing the Cookie Crusts

Snickerdoodle Base/Topping

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Dough Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and lightly spray a 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray or grease with butter. (You could realistically use a 9×13 dish, as there will be plenty of batter, I just wanted to make a small batch of snickerdoodles as well.)
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar; lightly whisk with a fork to blend.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer, generously cream the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs and vanilla, thoroughly beating after each addition.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture, 1/2 cup at a time.
  5. If using an 8×8, spread about 1 1/2 – 2 cups snickerdoodle dough into bottom of pan (if using 9×13, spread half the dough). Set aside the remaining dough. (At this point, I put the remaining dough into another bowl, and cleaned my mixer bowl so that I could use my stand mixer for the next step.)
  6. Bake this part of the cookie bar in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden and just done.

Step 2: Preparing the Cream Cheese Center

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Mixture

Ingredients

  • 8 ounce brick Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup powdered sugar, to taste (I used 1/2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons Cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 egg, yolk separated (we’re using the yolk!)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon and sugar blend

Directions:

  1. In bowl of stand mixer, beat cream cheese, sugars, cornstarch, and cinnamon until fluffy. Add in egg yolk and vanilla, beat until thoroughly combined, and no longer lumpy.
  2. When bottom portion of cookie bar is finished baking, spread cream cheese mixture on top of baked cookie.
  3. On top of the cream cheese mixture, carefully spread the remaining snickerdoodle dough, being careful to cover the cream cheese mixture.
  4. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon/sugar blend.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 28-30 minutes.

Step 3: Whisking up the Cinnamon Glaze

Cinnamon Glaze

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk vigorously until no longer lumpy and is a smooth consistency.
  2. Drizzle over cooled cookie bar.

 

Hubby likes this creation, and I have to admit, I think I did pretty darned good for this experiment.

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

The bottom cookie crust stays nice and moist, and holds up well with the cream cheese mixture. The top cookie crust puffs up, but is nice and tender, with a gloriously lightly crispy top. Then when you top it off with the glaze, you don’t get an overwhelming sweetness that becomes too much; rather, you’re left with a pleasantly sweet, gooey cream cheese cookie bar that is loaded with snickerdoodle flavor!

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

As a word of caution, however, be sure to cut into it when it’s cooled completely. Don’t be an impatient little sass like me, haha.

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

See how the middle there is all droopy and falling apart? Yuppers, that’s what happens when you dive right in and it’s still too hot. I didn’t learn my lesson, I can assure you.

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars

I also kept chewing through the burning pain that was my tongue. Stubbornness knows no bounds. Especially when it’s in the form of indulgence with Snickerdoodle Cream Cheese cookie bars!

I’m really excited about these bars, especially since they’re another one of my brain children. It’s been so long since I’ve baked anything, let alone written a post about baking that I was starting to worry I was losing my touch.

Rest assured that’s not the case.

I did, however, hit a rough patch these last few days with the Polymyositis, but I’m working through it. That rough patch just kept me from being able to stand for longish periods of time, which meant baking held no appeal. That’s truly a bummer.

But on the upside, I can bounce back with a delightfully sweet treasure like this, so I’m not all gone!! Wooo!

I’m sure, as with many of my other recipes, that this one could be modified and played with to create other versions… for instance, instead of snickerdoodle cookie dough, I’m willing to bet that Chocolate Chip cookie dough or Sugar Cookie dough would be lovely too. Or even Crescent Roll dough, haha.

What variation are you most interested in?

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