Fudge Striped Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites

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Little, itty bitty bite-sized morsels of peanut butter, pumpkin, and a little driz of chocolate ganache.

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Bite-sized is always the best.

Fudge-Striped Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
6 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, melted and cooled
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 ounces dark chocolate chips
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream

Melt peanut butter and butter in a large microwaveable safe bowl, at 30 second intervals (stir in between) until melted. Yum.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice until nice and combined.

To the butters, add the LOOSELY measured brown sugar (NOT packed… woops), raw sugar and combine. Next add the pumpkin puree, and egg and mix. Stir in the vanilla.

Add the dry to the wet slowly, about 1/2-1 cup of dry at a time. It’ll get super thick (and delicious).

Chill 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. On a parchment-paper lined baking sheet, shape small amounts of dough into a ball and place about an inch apart (small amount = about half a tablespoon).

Bake about 8-12 minutes. (I accidentally used tightly packed brown sugar, so I added more pumpkin to even it out, which resulted in a longer baking time). Once golden brown on the bottom, remove and let cool completely.

Next, heat up the cream until it’s bubbling and steaming. Pour over chocolate chips and stir well until smooth and combined.

Drizzle or dip the cookies into the ganache. To drizzle, you may need to add more cream.

Let sit for about 30-60 minutes, so chocolate may set.

DEVOURRRRRRRR

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Yes, I trudged out into the snow to take these. Might I say, snow is not a bad backdrop! So much white light reflecting… All right, back to business.

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These little pillow-like-in-texture cookies are so delectable.

Delicious, with or without chocolate (but who doesn’t like chocolate? …except my brother). I used all-purpose flour to please the palates of those unused to the healthier, heartier taste of whole wheat flour (and to appease the throat of my bro, who says it gets itchy when he eats whole wheat… sadly) but these would definitely work with whole wheat pastry flour. They are perfect for parties (the inspiration to make them in the first place) and are just … pretty. They get a delicious crust on the bottom and are just … mmm. So good. Honestly, I couldn’t taste the pumpkin, though… Sadly. I wonder if my pumpkin pie spice needs re-filling. Pumpkin-flavor or not, these little guys were delicious.

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Peanut Butter-Greek Yogurt Pies with Oreo Crust

This couldn’t be easier.

Zero percent plain Greek yogurt. Mix with peanut butter. Spoon into premade oreo crusts. Chill (that’s the hardest part).

Warning: Gets better the longer it chills.

Warning: Kinda addictive.

Peanut Butter-Greek Yogurt Pies with Oreo Crust

Adapted from little bitty bakes; makes 12 pies

12 Oreos or other chocolate-sandwich cookies (I used Bloomeos)

2.5 tablespoons melted Earth balance or butter (maybe more, I was kind of winging it)

About 2.5-3 cups 0% Greek yogurt

About 1/2-2/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter

Put cupcake liners in a 12-cup muffin tin.

Pulse the oreos in a food processor until crumbly. Add melted Earth balance. It’ll still be kind of crumbly but pressable. Put about 1.5 tablespoons in each paper liner. Using the back of the spoon and/or fingers, press the mixture to the sides to make little crusts. Place in fridge/freezer to chill. My crust was still pretty crumbly, so I’d probably add more margarine next time to make it sticky. But it didn’t hurt the end result (i.e. spooning into my mouth).

Next, combine the yogurt and peanut butter thoroughly. Now, I thought it was delicious just pb & yo, but a little honey wouldn’t hurt.

Fill up each pie with the pb/yo filling (as best you can–the oreo likes to stick to the yogurt, which doesn’t spread so well) and put in fridge to chill at least 6 hours (the longer it chills, the firmer and better it gets!)

Eat!

So yummy. Seriously, you don’t need sweetener in the filling–the oreo crust is more than enough.

Peanut butter mixed with yogurt. Sounds weird, but really tasty! You could forgo the crust and just eat it like a dip with apples. Personally, I like the crust. Then again, I really like oreos.

Just go make it already. Yum.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

If super-soft, rich-tasting, oozing with chocolate peanut butter cookies are your thing, look no further.

If all of the above is necessary, plus the healthy factor, well, you’ve just hit the jackpot.

If you are craving chocolate, in cookie form, but don’t want to make enough to feed five bake sales, this recipe is perfect.

And if you like ice cream with warm chocolate chip cookies… wait, why did I even write “if” in that sentence? There’s no question!

Above, the cookies with vanilla banana soft serve. Perfect pairing!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Texanerin (for more round, exact looking cookies, follow her recipe! Below is more like drop-cookie style)

1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, if unsalted also + 1 pinch of salt
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup-ish chocolate chips/chunks, homemade or Nestle

Preheat oven to 350.

In a food processor, combine everything but chocolate chips. Get it super smooth.

Remove to a separate bowl and stir in chocolate chips.

Dollop about 2 tablespoons worth onto a parchment-papered cookie sheet.

Bake 12 minutes or until desired doneness. Makes about 12 cookies.

So if you’ve actually read this far, you will have noticed that chickpeas are the secret weapon here, much like in these blondies and this chocolate chunk cookie cake. Chickpeas are mild in flavor but lend a rich-feeling texture when pureed–and match well with whatever sweetener they are imbued with and are especially delicious with chocolate. The batter was wetter than I wanted it to be, but I should probably have dried off the chickpeas like the original recipe told me to… and I just totally didn’t even see that step.

These are super dense in the middle, soft and good warm or cold. The whole tray was gone in less than 24 hours. Plus, with minimal sweetener, chickpeas, peanut butter and heart-healthy cocoa, I wouldn’t mind calling these more of a snack than a dessert! But of course, they’re delicious either way.

Peanut Butter Cups 2.0

Okay. Keep your eye on the cups. Which one holds the prize?

If you chose any of them, you’re right! duh.

However, some hold different prizes. Please continue reading.

Peanut Butter Cups 2.0

Peanut butter filling adapted from Averie Cooks

Chocolate, melted: either 1/2 cup chocolate chips, or 1/2 cup worth of coconut oil/agave/cocoa powder (like from Chocolate Covered Katie)

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 teaspoon nutritional yeast

1/2 tablespoon powdered sugar

a slice of banana

strawberry jelly

Put some melted chocolate in the bottom of a muffin-liner; spread to cover bottom and up the sides to create a sort of hole for the filling. Freeze. Once hardened (it’ll take like 5 minutes), smear about a teaspoon of peanut butter mixture (pb + nutritional yeast + powdered sugar).

Option one: stop there and place more chocolate on top. Chill.

Option two: dollop a tiny bit of strawberry jelly on top of the peanut butter and carefully spread more chocolate on top. Chill.

Option three: place a slice of banana on top of the peanut butter and carefully spread more chocolate on top. Chill.

Now you can slice in half to see your handiwork, or you can just take a bite. Warning: strawberry jelly will ooze. But this is a good thing.

Gooey, gooey, gooier. It’s like a chocolate covered strawberry, peanut butter and jelly, Reese’s cup all in one.

Banana. Peanut butter. Chocolate. A threesome made in heaven.

In retrospect, it would probably have been easier to dip frozen banana chunks in chocolate and top with some peanut butter. But this is more fun! You take a bite expecting just peanut butter & chocolate… but then banana comes to play… and it’s amazing.

Store in the freezer or fridge. These are supremely melty if using coconut oil chocolate, especially in this summer heat, and will melt all over your fingers. Things fare a bit better if you just melted down some chocolate chips.

The nutritional yeast adds a more Reese’s like quality to the peanut butter–a more salty/sandy flavor/texture, so good! After tasting these you will not go back to a Reese’s cup. However, it’s not necessary at all (I mean, chocolate and pb … does not go wrong.) Try almond butter or other nut butters too! I think sunflower seed butter would also be delicious.

I initially was going to make regular cups, but then upon taste-testing the peanut butter, I was in the mood for strawberry jelly (surprise). And then…

Eureka.

Power Peanut Butter Granola Snacks

Oats, peanut butter, almonds, honey, chia seeds, raisins… what a delicious way to start a morning. Or, to rev up a work out! Today I tried doing a Fartlek run–and these were just the ticket to get me out of bed. I threw them together last night–extremely easy recipe, with no extra oil and lots of rooms for additions and subtractions!

Power Peanut Butter Granola Snacks
Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Makes about 10-12 cupcake liners’ worth, depending how much you eat in the process of making

2 heaping cups rolled oats

2 tablespoons chia seeds

3/4 cup peanut butter, melted in microwave

1/2 cup honey (or brown rice syrup to make vegan!)

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup almonds

Combine oats, chia, and almonds in a large bowl. Add honey and stir. Add melted peanut butter and mix, throw in any add-ins such as the raisins (I used) or coconut, other nuts, wheat germ, flax, dried fruit, chooocccollattee…). If too dry and crumbly add more honey or peanut butter (or both) to get a good consistency. I didn’t bake these, just simply pressed them into muffin liners and refrigerated. However, if you wish to bake, do 350° F for 15-25 minutes.

These were great, unbaked–very chewy but also crumbly; the muffin liner works well for catching the crumbs! While peanut butter holds the bars together, I opted for using whole almonds instead of pieces of peanuts–giving a nice texture contrast. Honey and peanut butter taste so delicious together as well; it’s one of those combinations that just ALWAYS works (for example, tomatoes + basil, roasted red peppers + goat cheese, strawberries + chocolate, apples + cinnamon, oreo cookie outside + oreo creme inside…). I love that these don’t need extra butter or oil to hold together.

If you did bake these, I imagine some vanilla ice cream on top of a bar would be… divine. I can taste it now!

Vegan Mac&Chee

I have seen nutritional yeast in lots of savory vegan recipes, namely vegan macaroni and cheese recipes.

Nutritional yeast is not brewer’s yeast, nor is it baker’s yeast. It is a yeast (S. cerevisae) that is grown on enriched molasses and then deactivated (killed) and used as a supplement. It is chock-full of nutrients such as all 18 amino acids (a complete protein), B-complex vitamins, and a great source of vitamin B12 for vegans and others who don’t eat animal products.

Flaky and golden yellow in form (also found as a powder), nutritional yeast lends a cheesy, nutty flavor and texture to foods. Besides being made into a “cheese” sauce, apparently nutritional yeast can be sprinkled on hot popcorn, kale chips, cereal (sorry, this one just grosses me out… cereal should not taste cheesy?!), eggs, tofu, mashed potatoes… It’s a good substitute for parmesan cheese, although the only use I can vouch for is a “cheese” sauce, as this is what I have tried thus far.

(It was freakin’ delicious.)

(And supah easy.)

(And my notoriously picky brother ate it without complaint… of course he had no idea what was actually in it. Let’s keep that between us.)

Vegan Mac & Chee
(The name comes from what we used to call macaroni and cheese, for short, except we said “mackeechee”; but I didn’t think that would spur instant recognition from my enormous fan base from my small pool of readers) 

Adapted from Oh She Glows, which was adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

1 pound whole wheat pasta (rigatoni, penne, shells… something cheese-sauce friendly, of course)
half a bag of frozen peas
1 orange bell pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces (or broccoli… or spinach… any veggie will do)

1 1/4 cups water
1 cup unsweetened silk soymilk
3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon garlic puree
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard or regular mustard (I used honey mustard)
1/2 teaspoon paprika (did not have; added a bit of chili powder)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (curry powder)
1 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (if you have tahini, use that)
black pepper to taste

Cook pasta in a somewhat large pot; during last 5 minutes cooking, add peas and orange pepper. Drain.

While pasta cooks, process everything else (1 + 1/4 cup water to black pepper to taste) in a food processor. I’m sure you could just whisk it all together if you don’t have a food processor.

Return the pasta to the saucepan and add the cheese sauce mixture. Heat on low/medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently–the sauce will thicken magically before your eyes. Taste and season as needed.

Mangez-vous.

Don’t you love when things just WORK OUT? I had no idea how this would go — Oh She Glows‘ pictures were promising, but too often than not I don’t get the same result in my own experiment. And experiment this was — I felt like a mad scientist combining the strangest, un-foodlike ingredients (when I opened the bag of nutritional yeast, or “nooch,” I thought it looked and smelled like fish food… but I was not deterred! Please don’t let that gross you out… uh…) into something that could be edible.

BUT! This was so good! A delicious yet exceedingly healthy comfort food that while obviously not cheese, had a great taste and texture. Especially paired with the veggies and later, some applesauce (favorite side dish to macaroni and cheese).

This is creamy out of your mind. Creamier than any other (non vegan) macaroni and cheese I have ever made. And easier than any other macaroni and cheese! No roux-making, no waiting for sauce thickening that never really gets thick enough… Plus, it is so, so full of nutrients barely any fat, tons of protein, and most of the flavoring from spices.

Even though this January has been feeling more like spring, a steaming pot of this macaroni and cheese will hit the spot.

Red Quinoa Sliders with Lemon Zest Greek Yogurt Sauce

I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a while (by which I mean about 2 days) and decided they were just too cute not to make.

Quinoa, carrots, chickpeas, sesame seeds, spices, egg to hold it together, with a creamy, cool dipping sauce.

Paired with a little glass of wine (I am a twenty-something undergrad… no worries… cough) and arranged on cucumber slices, this was as fun to assemble as it was to eat.

Quinoa Sliders with Lemon Zest Greek Yogurt Sauce

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen (please go check it out… the photos are gorgeous)

1/2 cup red quinoa
1 cup chopped carrot
1 small shallot, sliced
1 tablespoon dried parsley (3 tablespoons fresh)
15 ounces (1 can) chickpeas
2 eggs
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1/4 a lemon)
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (Convection oven @ 375 F, bake sesame seeds in a single layer for 2 minutes, shaking and rotating pan midway)
2 cloves garlic
dash salt
sprinkle pepper

olive oil for pan

1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 peanut butter (use tahini if you have it… I used crunchy natural peanut butter and enjoyed the texture)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Fresh Chives to taste (if you have. I didn’t, so I sprinkled more parsley on top)
dash salt
sprinkle pepper

1 English Cucumber, sliced into long sticks for presentation (and dipping!)

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to low, cook about 12 minutes to allow water to be absorbed. Note: I usually add the quinoa to the cold water and bring it up to a boil together… if not sure, just follow the directions on the package. Also, turn off the heat even if it looks like the quinoa could adsorb a little more–the water will be adsorbed just from sitting there. Let cool.

Stir together yogurt, peanut butter, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste (and the chives; reserve a few chives for sprinkling later). Cover and chill.

Pulse carrots and parsley (dried or fresh) in a food processor. Add shallot, chickpeas, toasted sesame seeds, lemon juice, eggs, garlic cloves, coriander, and cumin, salt and pepper. Pulse until combined. Add quinoa, pulse a few more times. Taste-test, if you aren’t all that concerned about raw egg. (I’m not.) Let set in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight.

Form two-tablespoon’s worth of quinoa mixture into small, thick patties.

Over medium heat, drizzle a bit of oil in a nonstick pan to cover the surface. Sear the patties about 3 minutes on each side, flattening them out with the back of a spatula in the pan or until golden brown on each side. For each batch, use some new oil. Also, turn on your fan and crack the window as your fire alarm may go off because if you’re like me, something’s burning at some point or another.

Serve warm, on top of the cucumbers, with the yogurt sauce.

Sprouted Kitchen suggests putting them into mini pitas for a vegetarian appy.

Yum!

These were good. The ones I took outside to photograph got pretty cold, pretty fast, which is how we learned they taste better warm.

They were really yummy, though. A nice browned crust formed on each side, and the burgers themselves held together pretty well (something I have had trouble with in the past). If I had not been too lazy to go get fresh herbs, they would have been quite amazing. The yogurt sauce was especially good. Thick, from the Greek-ness; uber creamy from the Greek-ness and from the peanut butter running through; yet light-tasting from the lemon zest. My dad later heated the sliders in the microwave for about a minute and declared them delicious. I need to eat more quinoa and home-made food in general; these definitely hit the spot.