Super Easy Peanut Butter Cookies.

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I adore peanut butter.

I mean, really. What other source of protein would I find if not for peanut butter? How pathetically boring would my life be if I was only left to spread butter on my toast? Bananas would seem sad and lonely. Life would be grey and dank. If I ever developed a peanut allergy, I would cry. Then I’d suck it up and risk death by choosing to eat peanut butter by the spoonful anyway. And if I ever end up in the hospital, peanut allergy-free, I’ll ask for peanut butter in my IV.

My world would stop turning without peanut butter.

Peanut butter > gravity

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And if you’re a peanut butter freak (or, if you prefer another noun, maniac, fiend, enthusiast, admirer…), you will love these cookies.

Once upon a time, there were three lazy college students who were tired of studying and craving baked goods. Particularly, something not requiring flour or much effort. And, voila: enter the flour-free peanut butter cookies.

Four ingredients. Well, five if you use two different kinds of sugars. And ONE BOWL, none of that “mix & set aside” nonsense. Mix a little, stir a little more, roll, bake, and BAM. Peanut butter goodness. Ridiculous peanut butter goodness.

The peanut butter flavor is so pronounced because of the lack of flour. Less flour, more peanut butter? If that doesn’t scream “health food” to you,  I don’t know what will.

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Oh hey there, beautiful. Peanut butter perfection at its finest.

Have I mentioned these are easy? And beautiful?

Especially warm from the oven.

They’re adaptable, too. I like brown sugar in peanut butter cookies because the softness of the brown sugar seems to better complement the peanut butter – at least, my taste buds think so. Next batch, I want to cut down on the sugar to bring out the peanut butter flavor any more – but, if you’re like my friend Kat, you can add more sugar if you prefer a little more sweetness. You can add chocolate chips, different extracts, cocoa, sea salt on top, nuts, even Nutella…

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I’m not kidding when I say these were all gone in about 15 minutes.

What are you waiting for? If you’re on the Internet, you definitely have 20 minutes to spare so you can make these. Get to it.

Flour-free Peanut Butter Cookies
slightly adapted from Anna’s website
Makes about 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used natural creamy)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla until combined.
  3. Roll about one tablespoon of the dough into a ball and place on baking sheet. Flatten with a fork, creating a criss-cross pattern.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are golden around the edges. Devour.

Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes

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Hello friends. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? What with spring break insanity and getting back to school, things have been a little busy these past week. Not to worry thought, I brought you something.

I bring you…more pancakes.

There’s a reason breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s also the most beautiful and most delicious: you can consume sweets under the guise of “it’s breakfast food and I haven’t eaten in 12 hours!”. You’re allowed to eat a lot because it helps to jumpstart your metabolism (sounds good to me!).

I have a soft spot for muffins. Especially lemon poppyseed muffins. Citrus isn’t one of my better-liked flavors, but I make exceptions for Florida oranges, lemon cake, and lemon poppyseed muffins. Unfortunately, muffins aren’t always very fulfilling to my stomach. Plus, breakfast is more fun if you eat it with a fork (I used to think the opposite, but forks are fun).

Oh, and I’m really impatient in the mornings. Especially when I’m hungry. Which I always am.

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When I ran across this recipe on Joy The Baker’s blog, I knew I had to make it. I have such a love affair with her blog, it’s a little insane. Most of my Internet bookmarks are her recipes. I stayed up until 1 in the morning once looking through her entire blog. Yes, I remain unabashed. I regret nothing.

Who am I to pass up making pancakes on a (depressingly cold) spring break morning?

Warm, fluffy, lemon-y, poppy seed-y pancakes, hot from the griddle. The most work you’ll have to do is zesting the lemons, which is fairly therapeutic. Mix the ingredients. Then, do the pancake thing. You won’t be disappointed by the slight crunch from the poppy seeds and tang of the lemon. Lemon juice + lemon zest = delicious lemon-ness. The buttermilk definitely takes these from good to great.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes
Very slightly adapted from Joy the Baker
(makes a lot of pancakes)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 1 medium lemon)
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons poppyseeds

Directions

  1. Combine granulated sugar and lemon zest. Rub the two together until well-incorporated and sugar smells like lemon. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the lemon sugar and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and melted butter.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add the poppyseeds and stir to combine. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add a teaspoon of butter, oil, or cooking spray to your pan or griddle (I prefer butter) and heat over medium heat. Dollop or ladle batter onto hot pan. Cook until bubbles form on the edges and middle and pop. Flip and cook until the other side is golden brown.
  6. Repeat until all batter is gone. Place cooked pancakes on a baking sheet or oven-safe plate in a 200 F oven until all pancakes are cooked and ready to serve.
  7. Top with butter, maple syrup, or jam. Devour.

Life-changing Peanut Butter Blondie Bars.

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If I were a gifted song writer, I would write an eloquent ode to peanut butter.

Peanut butter is my go-to snack. I go through about two jars of peanut butter in a month. I eat it on toast, bananas and apples, graham cracker, by the spoonful…and when I was young, I preferred straight peanut butter sandwiches over a PB&J. Peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are my favorite and I try to implement it into as many recipes as possible (peanut butter in oatmeal? Hmmm, this recipe for white chocolate chip cookies could use some peanut butter. PEANUT BUTTER CHEESECAKE, YES, & etc). Peanut butter & chocolate is my all-time favorite flavor combination. Perhaps I’m mutating into some species that breathes peanut butter instead of air.

Ok, I digress from the peanut butter, let’s talk about these bars.

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Mmmmmmmm, these are absolutely out of this world. You’ve never seen or tasted (or SMELLED) blondies like this before, and these are not for the faint of heart. They’re richer than Bill Gates, dense, soft, and beautifully peanut butter-y. So, so peanut butter-y. They’ll knock your socks off and leave you running for a glass of cold milk, wondering how you ever survived without them in the first place.

Have I mentioned they’re simple? Mix some of these ingredients, mix some of those ingredients, pour into a pan, and 25 minutes later, you have a dessert that is to die for. These bars will rock your world and shatter your way of thinking permanently. These bars are life-changers.

Creamy peanut butter is the only kind I had on hand, but I’m sure that crunchy would only make these bars better. Unless, of course, you’re a fan of creamy peanut butter. Whatever works for you.

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Oh, and definitely add chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter Blondie Bars
Very slightly adapted from The Post-Punk Kitchen
Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup canola oil or applesauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk (any kind)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3+ cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 square baking pan.
  2. Mix together peanut butter, oil, and sugar.
  3. Stir in milk and vanilla.
  4. Add flour, salt, and baking powder. The dough may become a little dense and difficult to stir at this point, so you can use your hands if that’s easier.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Transfer the dough to the baking pan and spread it equally. You may need to press it down to ensure it’s all equal. Sprinkle more chocolate chips on top.
  7. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. The top will look soft, but that is normal. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Devour.

Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

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Spring break is upon us.

Well, it’s upon me.

For some of the students at university, it means a week of sleeping – for others, it’s time for volunteering, or catching up on all the school work that’s been avoided for the past two months. For me…it’s time for food-ing.

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Home sweet kitchen.

My friend Kat is here at home with me for break…so while she was enjoying some well-deserved rest after our six hour car ride last night, my body decided that eight hours was more than enough for this exhausted university student and compelled me out of bed. So what’s a girl to do on a (semi-early) Saturday morning?

Make pancakes.

I’ll be honest, I’m not the most…stable pancake-maker. The burner makes me nervous, and don’t even get me started on the flipping.

If you have pancake-making anxiety too, don’t worry. It takes practice. Once, I decided to make pancakes for my then-boyfriend. Guess who burnt the first two and had to make her father cook the rest of them? This girl. Yep, not my shining moment. But in the three  plus years since then, I’ve – well, I’ve burned pancakes, yes, but I’ve gotten better at making and flipping them (and understanding that the burner needs to be on medium or lower before you put the batter in…oops). Practice makes deliciousness.

Oh, and if you burn some, don’t worry. For one, you’re going to make mistakes, but also, there’s probably someone within the vicinity who is willing to eat your “failures”.

Take a deep breath.

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I bet most of you are pancake pros. Maybe I’m the only one who is pancake-making awkward. This’ll be a breeze.

Can I just say that I love breakfast food a whole ton? It’s my favorite meal of the day, hands down. Of course, it’s hard for me to refuse steak or any kind of pasta, but there’s just something about pancakes, bacon, waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, fresh fruit, cereal…did I mention pancakes?

You know what’s even better than breakfast food? Dessert breakfast food.

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These pancakes are fluffy and delicious, and not too sweet – there’s just enough sugar and maple syrup, complemented by the spices and extracts. Omit the almond extract if you don’t have it, but if you do, it definitely makes a difference. A super delicious difference. Even the golden raisins elevated these pancakes from super-good to super-super-good, and that’s coming from a strict raisin-hater.

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Mix the ingredients, turn on the stove, and fear not the flipping.

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Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes
adapted from Joy the Baker
(makes a heck of a lot of pancakes)

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk (or a little more, depending on how you like the consistency of your pancakes)
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2+ cup golden raisins, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, chopped nuts (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, beat eggs.
  2. Add in the buttermilk, butter, maple syrup, and extracts; mix well.
  3. Add flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Mix well.
  4. Fold in raisins or other add-ins; let the batter sit for a few minutes.
  5. Add a teaspoon of butter, oil, or cooking spray to your pan or griddle; heat over medium heat. Ladle the batter onto the pan. When bubbles begin to form on the edges and middle, flip the pancake and cook until the other side is done.
  6. Repeat until all the batter is gone. To keep the finished pancakes warm while the others cook, place them on a heat-proof plate or baking sheet in a 200 F oven until all the pancakes are done.
  7. Top with butter, maple syrup, or peanut butter. Devour.

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Baking and blogging during midterms?

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Challenge accepted.

One of the food staples among my friends and me here at school is bananas, one of the few fresh fruits our cafeteria offers. At one point last week, however, we realized that we had an excess of quickly ripening bananas in our dorm rooms. Of course, the logical conclusion we reached was to bake banana bread.

So, Sunday morning, we stole into one of the other dorms – one with a well-equipped, clean, roomy kitchen.

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Remember Kathryn from my last post? She is a self-professed “I do not particularly enjoy baking” woman.

This recipe converted her.

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What happens when you have a lot of bananas, a 26-oz jar of peanut butter, and two bags of chocolate chips?

Miracles happen, my friends. Delicious, warm, gooey miracles.

As you probably already know, proper baking things are often in short supply in college. Since there wasn’t a loaf pan in sight, I opted for a muffin tin, then decided on a round cake pan. Ok, maybe it was a metal pie pan. Honestly, at this point, it’s a miracle I know where my dorm is and how to tie my shoes. Whatever. That being said, I was a little anxious about it would turn out.

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Of course, there was another snafu: no eggs, despite a desperate wild goose chase to procure a few by raiding three dorm kitchens . Not a one. Not even egg substitute. According to someone on Google, however, apparently you can use applesauce and baking powder as an egg in a pinch. Number two on the list of potentially disastrous things in this recipe.

A third “disaster”? Some of the bananas weren’t as ripe as anticipated…banana bread is only as good as its bananas. Again, thanks to Google, that was quickly remedied by throwing the bananas in the hot oven as we mixed all the ingredients. (for the full tip on ripening bananas, see the very bottom note of this post)

So, with great apprehension, Kathryn & I measured, poured, and mixed (in REAL bowls, with REAL spoons and a REAL whisk).

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Unnecessary worrying, as usual. As soon as I had a taste of the batter (without any potential of contracting salmonella), I knew this was going to be a great loaf of bread.

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I have a thing for peanut butter. It takes me less than a fortnight to finish a whole jar. I pile it onto bananas, toast, apples oatmeal, anything that would taste reasonably delicious with the addition of peanut paste. On particularly stressful days, I throw chocolate chips into a jar and spoon it out. Adding my favorite combination of dark chocolate and peanut butter to banana bread was a surefire way to make my favorite kind of sweet bread…even better.

This bread is scrumptious. Heavenly. Fantastic. Divine. Ambrosial (isn’t that a fantastic word?). Dessert-like, but actually healthy. Sort of like eating a peanut butter and chocolate sandwich…on banana bread. The sugar adds a spectacularly nice crunch (has anyone ever regretted topping anything sweet with sugar?). None of the flavors overpower the others; in fact, they accent one another beautifully.

This is the perfect marriage of banana, chocolate, and peanut butter, the paradigm of baking combinations. And you are invited to this celebration. A mostly guilt-free celebration, I might add: minimal butter, good fat from the olive oil, plenty of fruit, protein from the peanut butter and yogurt. Next time, I want to reduce the amount of granulated sugar – so feel free to use less sugar, more bananas, different kinds if chocolate chips…or more sugar. Whichever.

Because this was baked in a circular pan, the slices themselves looked more like scones than pieces of bread. There’s something more geometrically satisfying about eating a triangle over a rectangle or square.

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I’m convinced that only the addition of walnuts or pecans could’ve made this yummier.

Oh, and more peanut butter.

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
recipe adapted from Joy the Baker
(makes one loaf pan – could also use a round cake pan or muffin tin)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (white whole wheat, all-purpose, or a mixture – I used all-purpose)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe* bananas (about 4 medium bananas)
  • 1/3 cup plain or vanilla fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup all-natural peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 2 large eggs or egg substitute (since I didn’t have egg access, I used 1/2 cup applesauce + 2 tsp baking powder)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 cup dark chocolate chips (depending on your preference)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup nuts (peanuts, walnuts, pecans, or a mixture…or whatever other nuts you so desire)
  • optional brown and/or turbinado to sprinkle on top

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a loaf pan; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix mashed bananas, yogurt, peanut butter, melted butter, and oil.
  4. Add eggs and sugars to the banana mixture until no sugar lumps remain.
  5. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until everything is well mixed. Mix in dark chocolate chips and nuts.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and, if desired, sprinkle with brown and/or turbinado sugar. Bake for 55-65 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean (mine was done when the edges started peeling away from the pan).
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes (or eat straight out of the pan), then invert loaf onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Toast, microwave, eat straight from the pan, slather with more peanut butter or melted butter, dip into a cold glass of milk, etc. Devour.

*NOTE: If your bananas aren’t ripe but you’re craving banana bread anyways, place them (skins still ON) on a baking sheet and stick them in a 350 degree F oven for about 45 minutes. The peels will turn black, but the inside will be ripe and sweet (and very easy to mash). Proceed with recipe.

PS: if you’re like me and express your affection for others by giving them food, this is a good recipe to whip up and send, or randomly show up on their doorstep with. It works, trust me.