Peanut Butter Blossoms

>> Friday, December 19, 2014

If you’ve been reading here for a long while, you know that my baking tradition at Christmas revolves around Peanut Butter Blossoms. This year, of course, is no different. I’m not picky when it comes to cookies (right?), but these guys are just my all-time favorite, and I only seem to make them this time of year.

I decided to try something different than my usual recipe this year because I am out of several key ingredients. Still, they turned out great! This recipe is for a large batch. If you stick to tablespoons of dough, you could get up to 48. I, however, go with the heaping approach, so I think I got 24. Halve the recipe if you’d like a smaller batch.


PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOMS // 2014

Based off Jif’s classic recipe. Use different chocolate to make vegan.

What you’ll need . . . 
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (consider homemade!)
  • 1/2 cup organic shortening
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flax meal + 3 tablespoons hot water)
  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Sugar In The Raw, for rolling
  • Hershey Kisses

Method . . . 
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. 
  2. Put the peanut butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer and blend together using the paddle attachment. Then add the sugars and cream until fluffy. Add the vanilla, milk, and flax egg and beat well.
  3. Add the flours, baking soda, and salt, and mix into a stiff dough. Adjust with more coconut milk if it’s crumbly.
  4. Then scoop by teaspoon or heaping teaspoon, roll into balls, and roll into sugar to coat lightly. Place onto increased cookie sheets. 
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden.
  6. Right out of the oven push the kisses onto the tops of the cookies and transfer to a cooking rack.

HAPPY FRIDAY! 

We’re going to meet (another) Santa tonight! Oh, and if you like cookies, check out this (free) Holiday Cookie eBook I made back in 2009!

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Homemade Holiday: Cookie Mix

>> Thursday, December 18, 2014

Way before the days of Pinterest, I remember my mom assembling cookie mixes in jars, covering each with a swatch of colorful fabric, and gifting them around. Now? That tradition is definitely a popular one, and for good reason. I love giving wholesome, edible gifts for a variety of reasons. They’re thoughtful, they’re economical, and they’re unique.

I’ve shared with you guys my DIY Drinking Chocolate Powder and my Cranberry + Almond Energy Chunk Mix recipes. This next one doesn’t feature a specific cookie recipe. (Well, actually the one in the photos is the crunchy almond butter cookies from Oh She Glows Cookbook.) But it’s the concept that matters most.

Go wild with it.


STEP #1: Choose your recipe.


We have a wide variety of recipes on this site, but you can search around and find one that’s right for you. I favor recipes that include different textures of ingredients -- like oats, chocolate chips, different types of flour and sugar -- so I can stack. It makes everything look cool. However, it isn’t a requirement. I’d love to receive a cookie mix of any kind, pretty or not.

Here are a few of my favorites:


Whatever you choose, make sure you’re familiar with the recipe. That way, you can provide any notes or useful tips for making and baking. It will make measuring out the ingredients much less stressful, too. I usually go with a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, since it’s a general crowd pleaser.

STEP #2: Assemble your ingredients.


Now’s the time to splurge a little on ingredients. Get the nice chocolate chips. Toss in some walnuts. Use quality sugar and flour. In my everyday life, I cannot afford to spend big bucks on such luxuries all the time, but when it comes to gift giving -- it’s worth it. If there are special wet ingredients that won’t go into your jar, consider getting those, too. But don’t sweat stuff like oil, eggs, or peanut butter. Most people have these things on hand.

STEP #3: Measure it out.


If you tally ingredients from certain cookie recipes, you’ll quickly see that the ingredients to make up the yield is far too much to fit in a jar. So, halve it! It might take some experimentation -- but large ball jars have the capacity for a quart or 4 cups total. That should accommodate most “normal" cookie recipes, so stay away from bulk!

PS: These green quart jars are especially festive! And I’d consider getting reusable lids so the jar can be used again and again.

STEP #4: Add instructions and decorate.


Don’t forget to write the instructions for baking down on a card to include with the gift. List all the wet ingredients that are needed to complete the recipe. The oven temperature and time, as well as anything else that’s worth noting. If you have a special connection to the recipe, write about that, too.

You can easily make your own labels using index cards and craft paper. For a fancy touch, I love these chalkboard labels. (You can also paint with chalkboard paint directly onto the jar.)



Or you could just buy this same thing at the store. For $11?! Yikes. I don’t think so. You can make several jars for this price, and they’ll be healthier, tastier, and much more personalized. Don’t you think?

Do you make cookie jars? What’s your favorite recipe?

Pssst: One shopping days left for shipment before the holiday!

Like what you just read? Browse more of our posts + recipes on Pinterest. Chat with us on Twitter or Facebook. And you can always email us with your questions and comments.

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Biscuit Waffles, Two Ways

>> Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Throughout the last couple years, I’ve seen people making all sorts of things in the waffle maker. Brownies. Cake. Pizza. Eggs. Falafel. S’mores. The list goes on (and on). So, slowly I’ve started to try out some of these recipes, and I’m definitely hooked. Baking stuff in my waffle maker is both easy and completely, amazingly satisfying.

I’ve now made several savory waffle recipes using this exact biscuit crust as my base. And if you eat dairy, I highly recommend using real butter and real milk. The flavor and texture -- oh, the texture -- are out of this world. That being said, Earth Balance and soy or almond or coconut milk make a wonderful waffle as well. Maybe just not as flaky.

Crunch.


(Sorry! Sometimes I’d rather eat than take gorgeous photos.)

BASIC BISCUITS

You can also make this recipe and use as drop biscuits!

What you’ll need . . . 


  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 stick cold butter (or 1/2 cup Earth Balance)
  • 1-1/4 cups milk (or substitute)
  • pinch salt

Method . . .

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together. Then toss in the butter -- but in pieces throughout.
  2. Mix with your hands until the “dough” resembles a coarse meal texture. You might need to pinch and crumble the flour and butter together a little. 
  3. Preheat your waffle maker. Lightly grease with more butter or Earth Balance.
  4. Then pour in the milk and stir until everything is just moistened. Spoon out in portions that make sense for your waffle maker. For ours, 1/2 cup fills it up.
  5. Bake until done, then set on a cooling rack to avoid sogginess.
  6. If you want to make these guys as drop biscuits, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Then drop dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 14 minutes, until golden.

BRUNCH GRAVY BISCUITS



For this deliciousness, you’ll want to whisk up some Mushroom Gravy. Then just make your waffles, poach (here’s how) or soft boil (here’s how) or fry a few eggs, and assemble with a little spinach or other greens. Very easy, but it’s an amazingly tasty breakfast for those of you who don’t like to start the day on the sweet side.


PIZZA WAFFLES



I mentioned these guys (thanks, Ashley!) the other day in my Weekend Things post, and since then . . . we’ve made them twice more. I originally just used Pumpkin Pizza Dough in my waffle maker, but there wasn’t as much taste. When I used this biscuit waffle as a base, the resulting “pizza” reminded me of some of the great pan pizzas I’ve had. Thick, buttery crust. I broiled Pepper Jack cheese onto the tops until bubbly and chose to leave the sauce off and dunk instead.

So, there you go. Biscuit waffles, two ways!

I have already asked Stephen for a new, round waffle maker as one of my Christmas gifts. Our current one was a $10 find, and it’s done quite well but seems to be a little over-loved these days. We’ll see. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a s’mores waffle recipe to drool over.


MORE WAFFLES!

Peanut Butter + Banana Waffles
CSA Market Waffles
Green Waffles, Two Ways
Zucchini + Carrot Waffles
Homemade Freezer Waffles

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