Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

When I was a teenager, I remember my mom making some chocolate peanut butter bars one time.  And honestly, the thought crosses my mind, wondering if that was a really good thing, or a really bad thing.  Why?  Because I ate the whole batch.  In two days.  In fact, that may have sparked an argument between my dad and me because he went looking for one…and they were all gone.  It wasn’t me.  It was the dog.  Or my friend across the street.  Or my mom.  Or, maybe HE was the culprit and ate them so quickly that he forgot it was him.  Unfortunately, I had the tummy ache as evidence from wolfing them all down…but it was so worth it, and I ended up finding myself in the kitchen the night after I made them this time, pulling “just one more” out to eat.  Some things never change…but at least I didn’t eat the whole batch.

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And since my family is a bunch of peanut butter fanatics, the situation presented itself perfectly when they were all coming over for lunch.  As my brother was eating one of the Crescent Roll Mozzarella Sticks, I warned him to save room for these bad boys.  He rolled his eyes and sighed, then said, “You know, I feel like Hansel coming over to your house because you keep trying to fatten us up.  Are you planning to cook us?”  I laughed.  That may have been the funniest analogy I’ve heard.  I cackled at him and said, “Yes.  You have figured out my plan.  Now, eat.”

For the Peanut Butter Layer:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1 cup smooth peanut butter

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

Line an 8×8 inch square pan with foil, leaving enough to hang over the sides, then butter the foil.  Set aside.  In a medium saucepan, melt the 1/2 cup of butter over low heat.  Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the powdered sugar until smooth.  Stir in the peanut butter and graham cracker crumbs until completely combined and smooth.  Spread the peanut butter mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

For the Chocolate Layer:

1 cup semisweet chips

1/4 cup unsalted butter

In the empty saucepan, melt the 1/4 cup butter.  Add the chocolate and stir until almost completely melted.  Remove from heat and continue stirring until completely melted.  Pour the melted chocolate over the peanut butter layer and smooth into an even layer.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set.  Remove from the pan using the foil overhangs and place on a cutting boat.  Use a knife or pizza cutter to slice into 16 bars.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Original recipe borrowed from browneyedbaker.com, but I added some more chocolate for a thicker top layer, and used semisweet chocolate instead of milk chocolate.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Lover’s Cake

Chocolate and peanut butter are just one of those universal combinations that people seem to go nuts over…which is probably why Reese’s peanut butter cups are so stinkin’ popular.  Well, I decided to make this into a cake, for your drooling pleasure.  I made this cake for a big family reunion that we recently went to.  In fact, I wasn’t even going to make a cake this year for the reunion, but one of my mom’s cousins emailed her, asking if her daughter was going to make one of her amazing cakes.  Um, yeah, that plastered an ear-to-ear smile across my face…so I decided to make this one.  This is a 9 inch 3 layer dark chocolate cake with peanut butter chips, peanut butter icing in between the layers, and covered with chocolate icing.  Oh, and then decorated with MORE peanut butter icing, chocolate syrup, and mini Reese’s peanut butter cups.  After I decorated this, I stood in the kitchen, staring at it and saying out loud,  “Wow.  Just, wow.”

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At the reunion when people started getting in line for the food, I noticed several people avoiding that long lunch line and heading straight for the dessert table, picking out what they wanted.  Within five minutes, I looked over and saw that almost half of this cake was gone.  So, my mom and I went to find her cousin that emailed her to let her know that she may want to go ahead and get a piece of the cake, especially since she was the reason I made it in the first place.  She hurried over to the table and grabbed a piece.  The sister cupcake to this cake would be the Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cupcakes, which is one of the most popular flavored cupcakes that I make.

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At this reunion, there is a quite large dessert table, and every year that large dessert table is packed.  Packed!  Cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pies, cobblers, cake balls…you name it, and it’s probably there.  I also made some Candy Sushi and took that as well.  The end result?  Both of them were polished off…and I mean completely gone.  Wiped out.  The cake board was only left with bits of crumbs and a little bit of icing…and the candy sushi platter was totally empty.  No evidence of any sushi existing on this platter here, folks.  This made me happy, especially considering the fact that I already told my mom I wasn’t taking any of this stuff home if there were leftovers.  Problem solved!

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This was the cake I made for last year’s reunion.  It was huge.  And Neapolitan.  It’s a 12 inch 3 layer cake, the bottom is chocolate, the middle is strawberry, and the top is vanilla.  The numbers and letters are made out of chocolate, and the flowers are made out of royal icing.  It’s layered and covered with cream cheese icing.  I think next year for the reunion, I may make an Oreo Cake, or maybe the White Almond Cake with Bavarian Crème Filling and Truffle Icing.  Decisions, decisions.

For the Cake:

1 box Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix

1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup milk

4 eggs

8 oz. sour cream

1 bag peanut butter chips

1 bag unwrapped mini Reese’s peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine first six ingredients in medium bowl, beat with electric mixer at medium speed for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in peanut butter chips.  Divide evenly between greased three 9 inch round cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool on cooling racks in pans for 10-15 minutes, turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely before layering, covering and decorating.

For the Peanut Butter Icing:

2 lbs. powdered sugar

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup shortening

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup water

combine first three ingredients and beat with electric mixer at medium speed for about 2-3 minutes, until mixture is creamy and smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and continue to beat at medium speed for another 3-4 minutes until creamy.  Spoon half of mixture between cake layers, use remaining peanut butter icing to decorate bottom and top of cake.

For the Chocolate Icing:

2 cans Duncan Hines Classic Chocolate Icing

For the Chocolate Syrup:

Take a little big of leftover chocolate icing and add a small amount of chocolate syrup, stirring to desired consistency.  Pipe or drizzle over cake.

Peanut Butter Kings

For several months, I’ve had this idea for peanut butter cake pops lurking in my brain, just waiting for the opportunity to be tested.  Well, this opportunity presented itself when I made some peanut butter icing for my chocolate peanut butter chip cupcakes…and I jumped all over it.  Imagine a peanut butter cake pop with peanut butter chips, covered in dark chocolate, topped with more melted peanut butter chips and then a mini peanut butter cup on top…  Peanut butter lovers, your search is over!

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First, make a standard yellow cake.  After the cake has cooked and cooled completely, crumble into a large bowl.  Spoon peanut butter icing into bowl.

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Next, using an electric mixer, beat at medium speed until mixture is completely combined and all cake crumbs have been mixed in.  Pour your peanut butter chips in bowl, and stir together well.

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Using a cookie scoop, drop the cake balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.  Set in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

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Roll cake balls in your hands to smooth out any rough edges, place back in fridge.

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Melt chocolate in 15-20 second intervals, stirring after each time, until completely melted.  Take a long lollipop stick, dip the tip in chocolate.  Then, inset into cake ball, dip in melted chocolate.  Twist pop around in your hand, letting the excess chocolate fall off.  Place in a block of styrofoam or a cake pop stand to let chocolate harden.  Melt the peanut butter chips in 15 second intervals, stirring in between each time.  Spoon a small amount of melted peanut butter chips on top of cake pop, then press a mini peanut butter cup on top.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is peanut butter paradise…and here is your king.

For The Cake Pops, You’ll Need:

1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix

16 oz. peanut butter icing

2 bags dark chocolate melting wafers

1 bag peanut butter chips

1 bag mini Reese’s peanut butter cups

Bake cake according to box directions, cool completely.  Crumble into large bowl, add 2 cups peanut butter icing, beat at medium speed with electric mixer until mixture is completely combined and all cake crumbs have been mixed in.  Stir in 1/2 cup of peanut butter chips.  Using a cookie scoop, drop the cake balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.  Set in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  Roll cake balls in your hands to smooth out any rough edges, place back in fridge until ready to dip into chocolate.

*To maintain firmness of cake balls during the dipping process, I keep them in the fridge, pull one out at a time.*

Peanut Butter Icing:

1/2 stick butter, softened

1/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup milk

1 lb. powdered sugar

Beat butter, shortening, and peanut butter for 2-3 minutes at medium speed.  Add remaining ingredients, continue mixing for another 3-4 minutes.  Store in airtight container.

Peanut Butter Bundt Cake with Chocolate Chips

If you like my Peanut Buttery Heaven Cupcakes, you’re sure to love this cake!  Over the weekend, some good friends were having a cookout at their house.  When I asked him if they had a preference when it came to flavor or type of dessert, I received the response, “Anything with chocolate. peanut butter or cheesecake.”  Easy enough.  So, this cake showed up at their house yesterday afternoon.

When I was contemplating how to top this sinful cake, dark chocolate glaze just kept floating through my head.  So, when we went to the store to get the ingredients, I loaded to cart up with everything we needed and headed to the cashier.  While standing in line, I glance over at the chocolate candy, and there they were…screaming at me.  The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  They were quickly moved from the candy box to the pile of other ingredients.

The cake is flavored with a full cup of peanut butter, and the mini chocolate chips are thrown in there for a little something extra to add to the peanut buttery goodness.  When I showed up at their house, one of the guys asked right away if he could go ahead and cut a slice.  Of course!  As he was stuffing his face with the cake, he came to the back door and tapped on the glass while we were outside on the patio….and gave me a thumb’s up, with a mouthful of food.  I couldn’t help but to laugh.  Since my mom was still cooking dinner for us at home, we had to leave early…the hostess transferred the entire cake so that I could take my mom’s cake carrier home, and I had to ask her for a slice to take back to my parents.  She gave me a hard time, but I was still able to smuggle a piece out of there for them to enjoy as well.  I’ll have to make them a cheesecake for our next visit.  😉

Peanut Butter Bundt Cake Recipe:

1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix

1 small box instant vanilla pudding

1 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/4 cups water

4 eggs

1 bag mini semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease bundt pan.  Combine first six ingredients in mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer at medium speed for 3-4 minutes.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spoon mixture into bundt pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean (minus the chocolate chips).  Let cool in pan on cooling rack for 10-15 minutes, turn out on cooling rack to cool completely before topping with glaze.

Dark Chocolate Glaze Recipe:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa

1/4-1/2 cup chocolate syrup

Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir together to desired consistency before spreading on top of bundt cake.  Top with chopped Reeses’s Peanut Butter Cups.  For this recipe, one King Size package was enough (4 regular size peanut butter cups).

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cupcakes

As I was scrolling through Reese’s Facebook page, it hit me…  I hadn’t made some cupcakes with those delicious little peanut butter chips in them.  So, that quickly made the top of my to-do list, especially since I was going to a cookout where there would be some cupcake fans there.  Oh yeah, and they also like peanut butter.  Then again, who doesn’t?

My two year old daughter went with me to the grocery store, and I asked her if she wanted to help me make some cupcakes.  She got all excited and said, “Yes!”  Even though she’s technically too young to help with the process, she loves to help me with the shopping list and watch the electric mixer do its thing.  Oh, and the most important part…testing out the cupcakes.  We loaded up all of the necessary ingredients to make these fabulous little cupcakes, and headed home to get started.

Anytime the standing mixer starts going, she comes running into the kitchen, and wants me to pick her up so she can see exactly what’s going on.  As we stood there by the mixer watching it mix away, the aroma of peanut butter was intoxicating.  We kept sniffing close to the mixer in order to get the full effect.  I seriously considered adding some cocoa to the icing recipe itself, but decided against it and made a chocolate peanut butter glaze to go on top, along with the mini peanut butter cup.  The batch makes 3 dozen cupcakes, and I ended up taking 2 dozen to the cookout.  I kept telling people to make sure to get a cupcake (I didn’t want to take any home with me).  Well, once the first one was eaten…it was like a domino effect.  Other people would see a cupcake, then remember they’re in there and go in to get one.  Next thing I knew, the same people are going back in for seconds…and even thirds.  By the time I went home, there were only two cupcakes left.  Success!  This is definitely one of those recipes that I’ll continue to make again and again…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cupcakes Recipe:

1 box Duncan Hines dark chocolate cake mix

1 box instant chocolate pudding mix

1 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup water

4 eggs

8 oz. sour cream

1 bag Reese’s peanut butter chips

Combine first six ingredients in bowl and beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 2-4 minutes.  Stir in peanut butter chips with spoon or spatula.  Using a standard size ice cream scoop, distribute batter evenly among lined cupcake pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 24 minutes.  Cool completely before icing.  *I used a cake decorating bag and tip 1M for these cupcakes.

Peanut Butter Icing Recipe:

2 lbs. confectioners sugar

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup Reese’s creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat butter, shortening and peanut butter using electric mixer at medium speed for 2-4 minutes, until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and beat at medium speed for 5-7 minutes, until smooth and blended.  Pipe on top of cupcakes, then top with glaze and mini Reese’s peanut butter cup.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze Recipe:

1/2 cup peanut butter icing

1 tablespoon cocoa

2-4 tablespoons chocolate syrup

In small bowl, combine all ingredients and stir together until desired consistency (should be thinner than icing, but thicker than plain syrup).  Using a cake decorating bag and tip number 3, drizzle glaze on top.  Top with mini Reese’s peanut butter cup.

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Peanut Buttery Heaven Cupcakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

I love no-bake pies.  Maybe it’s because they’re so simple.  Maybe because they’re so delicious.  Or, maybe it’s both…which could very well be the case here.  I usually bring dessert over to my brother’s house when we have dinner over there, and I contemplated not making anything.  My sister-in-law saves desserts for the weekend, my brother is trying to eat healthier, and my sister-in-law’s mom is also trying to eat a little better.  I told my brother about how I was thinking of just not bringing dessert, but he told me that I should still bring it anyway.  When I told him it was a chocolate peanut butter pie, he responded, “Um, yeah…you better bring that over here.”  Yes sir!  I smiled, because even if he is on a diet, he won’t be able to resist something with peanut butter in it.  It’s like his Kryptonite.  So, I guess that would make him similar to Superman.  Think I would die laughing if I saw him in tights and a cape.

Passed down from my grandmother, our family has a peanut butter pie recipe that we always get so excited about when someone makes it.  The peanut butter layer of this pie is actually very similar to our peanut butter pie, only with added chocolate pudding, chopped up Reese’s peanut butter cups, and of course the Cool Whip layer on top.  I decided to go with a chocolate graham cracker crust, and since they have these available at the store, made it that much easier to make.  Our family peanut butter pie doesn’t hold a candle to the Peanut Butter Ritz Cookies, but they certainly come close.

This pie is super simple, and the combination of the different layers makes it even more yummy.  When I took the pie over for dinner last night, my brother’s slice disappeared very quickly.  “Like it?” I asked.  “Nah, I was just trying to be nice.  Didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”  Couldn’t help but to laugh, since big brothers aren’t really known for being sensitive towards hurting their little sisters’ feelings.  Ha!

Peanut Butter Pie Recipe: (makes 2 pies)

2 (8 oz.) containers whipped topping

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1 small box instant chocolate pudding

1 3/4 cup milk

14 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped (reserve a small amount for pie topping)

2 chocolate graham cracker crusts

Beat cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar and 1 container of whipped topping at medium speed until mixed well and smooth.  Spoon into bottom of both pie crusts.  Mix instant pudding and milk with whisk, place in refrigerator for five minutes to set.  Spoon pudding evenly between both crusts, on top of peanut butter mixture.  Sprinkle chopped peanut butter cups on top of pudding layer, top with remaining container of whipped topping.  Sprinkle small amount of peanut butter on top of pies for garnish.

**If you only want to make 1 pie, just half the ingredients.  Pies freeze well, so if you want to put one in the freezer and save it for the future, that works too!

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Peanut Buttery Heaven Cupcakes, Happy Cookies, Double Dipped Peanut Butter Oreos, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes, Peanut Butter Shortbread Bites, Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies, Brownie Cookies

Peanut Buttery Heaven Cupcakes

As I was thinking of a name to call these deliciously peanut butter cupcakes, the word heaven popped into my head.  Why?  Because that’s what my kitchen smelled like while these little guys were baking in the oven.

My family is a bunch of peanut butter fanatics, so I can’t wait to let my brother get a hold of one of these.  Well, maybe I should give him two, just in case.  The cupcakes are a rich peanut butter flavor, with little bursts of chocolate throughout…then topped with chocolate peanut butter icing, chocolate glaze and mini chocolate chips.  If you love peanut butter, you may have found yourself a new best friend.

Peanut Buttery Heaven Cupcakes Recipe:

1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix

1 small box instant vanilla pudding

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/4 cups water

4 eggs

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

Combine first 6 ingredients and beat well, using electric mixer.  Medium speed for about 4 minutes.  Using ice cream scoop, distribute evenly among cavities in a lined cupcake pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 23 minutes.  Cool completely before icing.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Icing:

2 lbs powdered sugar

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

4 tablespoons water

Cream the peanut butter, shortening and butter until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and beat on medium speed for about 5-7 minutes.

Chocolate Glaze:

Take small amount of icing and add chocolate syrup, mixing well until a thinner consistency than the icing.  Drizzle on top of iced cupcakes.