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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mini Peanut Butter Cup Blossoms

These cookies are evil.  You must make them today.

Reason #1 why these cookies are evil:  They are deliciously irresistible.  They are like a drug.  Once you're hooked, you won't be able to stop eating them.  I blame the perfect ratio of chocolate to peanut butter. The taste of these sweet little treasures will haunt you long after they're gone.  I found a few more of them in a baggie in the back of a drawer after I thought they were all gone and snarfed them down like an addict.  It was sad. Excuse me while I go check that drawer again...

Reason #2 why these cookies are evil:  They are adorably bite-size.  No one will be able to resist their cuteness.  You will keep popping them into your mouth as if they were M&Ms or popcorn.  No matter how many you have eaten, you will feel compelled to eat a dozen more. It's a sickness.

ason #3 why these cookies are evil: 
They are a pain to make.  It's a process that lasts an entire afternoon.  Rolling all those little balls of dough will feel like an endless task.  And after pulling them out of the oven, you have to press a mini peanut butter cup into each tiny ball and then IMMEDIATELY remove it to the cooling rack or the candy will melt and not be cute anymore.  It's really a two-person process--one person presses the candies into the cooked dough balls while the other one scoops them off the tray and onto the cooling rack.  Despite the tediousness of making these cookies, despite the fact that you will probably declare "I'm never making these again!" before the process is completed, you will make them again.  Why? See reasons numbers one and two.

I saw the recipe on Cookies and Cups, and of course, who could resist them?  Even though I vowed never to make these tedious cookies ever again while I was making them, I fell completely in love with the finished product.  I will be making them again, folks.  They were adorable and oh, so yummy! 

I adapted the Cookies and Cups recipe slightly.  I used Hershey's Mini Peanut Butter Cups, which I think were slightly bigger than the Trader Joe's mini peanut butter cups that Cookies and Cups used, so mine came out a tad larger.  Also, I halved her recipe because if I didn't, I'd probably still be rolling tiny dough balls. 

All in all, despite the fact that these cookies are evil, they are delicious and you will love them.

Mini Peanut Butter Cup Blossoms
Adapted from Cookie and Cups

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
mini peanut butter cups
extra granulated sugar for rolling

Cream butter and sugars together on medium.  Add peanut butter and mix.  Add eggs and vanilla, and mix until combined.  Slowly add dry ingredients, and stir until just combined.

Chill dough for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350.  When dough is chilled, remove from fridge and roll into tiny balls about the size of a marble.  Roll each ball in reserved granulated sugar.

Place each rolled dough ball on a baking sheet.  Bake 5-6 minutes or until bottoms get slightly golden and tops just start to crack.  As soon as they come out of the oven, press peanut butter cups into cookie and immediately remove from tray onto cooling rack.  Let cool for 20-30 minutes, then store in airtight container for up to 3 days (if they last that long).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Best of 2011 - Your favorite and My favorite

Your favorite post, based on number of views per page, was the Blueberry-Buttermilk Breakfast Cake, with A Quilt for Dallas coming in second. You have good taste, folks.

My favorite post this past year was the Hershey's Kisses Candy Cane Swirl Cheesecake.  I will admit I do have a weakness for cheesecake so I may be a bit biased, but this truly was an amazing recipe.  I can't wait until next Christmas so I can make this again!  My second favorites would have to be a tie between A Quilt for Ella and A Quilt for Dallas.

I know this may be a couple weeks late, but Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies and the Best Christmas Present Ever

Among other things, I received a new baking sheet and a new cooling rack for Christmas.  (Shout out to Evan and AJ!  Thank you!)  Even though the house was already filled to bursting with cookies, I felt the need to use these Christmas presents as soon as possible, and have discovered yet another fantastic chocolate cookie recipe, Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies!

During the holidays, I am surrounded by cookies and candy.  Any holiday.  Halloween, Easter, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Memorial Day... Honestly, I think holidays were invented to fatten us up.  During Christmastime, it is hard not to eat Christmas cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  So there was no reason in the world to bring even more cookies into the equation.  But my brand new baking sheet was just begging to be used.  My new cooling rack was desperate for a batch of cookies to use its cooling surface.  And so I consulted my mental to-bake list, and these cookies from How Sweet It Is came to mind.  They were delicious--an instant winner!  Even though I already have a chocolate cookie recipe that is awesome and about five more I plan to try, I feel you can never have too many ways to enjoy chocolate.

Using these new baking things, of course, brought to mind other gifts and, more importantly, the gift givers, to mind.  My favorite gift from childhood would have to be any Barbie.  I lived for Barbie.  I remember almost every Barbie I ever received and who I got it from.  I remember I could tell by the shape of the box which Barbie I would probably be getting before I even opened the package.  But my best gift ever would have to be the painting that my sister-in-law gave me.  She is an artist, and she has given me two of her paintings, so actually I have two best gifts ever.  I had never imagined that I would be the recipient of even one her paintings, let alone two, so each one was a complete and overwhelming surprise.  They were paintings I had admired even before she gave them to me.  They are beautiful.  They are perfect.  And, truth be told, a lot better than a Barbie.

I hope you enjoy the Double Fudge Oreo Cookie Recipe as much as I did.  The recipe calls for refrigerating the dough, but I didn't have the time (or the patience) for that, so I left that step out and they turned out fine.  Next time, though, I will definitely refrigerate the dough to ensure a thicker cookie.

Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies
From How Sweet It Is
Makes about 30 cookies

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup crushed Oreo cookies (I used a little more than a cup)

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and mix until combined.

Fold in chocolate chips and crushed oreos. Refrigerate dough for 2-4 hours or more.  (I did not refrigerate, but I would recommend it.)  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350, roll into balls or scoop with an ice cream scooper and set on baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely.

And here are my best gifts ever: