Peanut Butter Blossoms

A peanut butter cookie rolled in granulated sugar, and topped with a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kiss!

This was one of my favorite cookies growing up. I think I first saw it in a magazine, a Betty Crocker Cookbook, or in a Hershey Chocolate Cookbook. I love milk chocolate so I made it, and again, and again.

I haven’t made it in a long time (maybe over a decade!) so since I was off for 5 days partly because of my second Covid-19 vaccine, I planned on baking a batch, excited to see if it still tastes the same as it did before. I wasn’t well after my Thursday vaccination (like the first dose, only not as bad) but was well enough on Valentine’s Day, so I made it then.

It didn’t disappoint at all. My son peeled the kisses but needed to do some math problems so I made the cookies myself. It was quick and easy, although I would recommend using an electric mixer because the dough is quite stiff.

For the peanut butter, feel free to use crunchy or smooth, whichever you like or have on hand. I like crunchy but keep some smooth PB in the pantry to use for sate sauce and Asian noodles. I used crunchy PB, as I like the crunch it lends to the cookies.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Sugar, to roll dough in

36 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. In a bowl, place butter,

3. Sugar,

4. Brown sugar,

5. Peanut butter,

6. And egg.

7. Beat well using an electric mixer , until combined and smooth.

8. Add flour,

9. Baking soda,

10. And baking powder.

11. Beat well until mixed.

12. Scoop up about a tablespoon dough and roll into a ball.

13. Drop into a bowl with granulated sugar. Roll to coat.

14. Place in an ungreased cookie sheet.

15. Repeat with remaining dough, making 36 balls.

16. Line them up 2 inches apart on 2 cookie sheets. They will spread a little as they bake.

17. Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes, until light golden brown.

18. Immediately press a chocolate kiss in the middle of each cookie.

20. Remove cookies from cookie sheets and onto wire racks.

21. Cool completely.

22. Serve! You can also drizzle cooled cookies with melted chocolate. Makes 36 pieces.

Electric Lunchbox #88: Chocolate Lava Cake

Good morning everyone!

It’s already the 5th day of February! Oh my goodness! Is it too early to post a Valentine’s recipe?

Well, I am posting a Chocolate Lava Cake recipe today so you can make a few trial runs of it before the actual Valentine’s Day – you know, for quality control or testing purposes! 😉 Think of it this way…I can’t be the only one eating all these yummy experimental food and sacrificing my figure for a good recipe, right?

This recipe will make the perfect dessert to finish a special meal for two, as the size of this little cake is just right.

It is rich and chocolatey that you’ll only need a dusting of powdered sugar to decorate it. Feel free to use a stencil to make it prettier. You can also top it with chocolate dipped strawberries! Double yum!

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract

2 eggs

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Procedure:

1. Grease the big or medium ELB bowl.

2. Place the butter in a microwave safe bowl.

3. Add the chocolate chips to the bowl.

4. Melt butter and chocolate chips in a microwave for 30 seconds.

5. Stir and microwave again using 30 second increments until smooth.

6. Make sure to stir as residual heat can sometimes be enough to melt the last few bits of chocolate. Careful to not burn the chocolate. This will take only about a minute or two total.

7. Mix in vanilla,

8. Eggs,

9. Flour,

10. And powdered sugar.

11. Mix well until blended.

12. Pour batter into prepared bowl. Cover with foil and place in the ELB base.

13. Add 2 1/2 ELB cups water to the base. Cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 45 minutes.

14. Carefully open the ELB and check the cake. It should be set but the center should jiggle like the video below. It should NOT be set all the way.

15. Cool the cake on a wire rack. Run a knife along the edges and invert onto a serving dish.

16. Dust the top with powdered sugar to make it look pretty.

16. Serve and enjoy!

Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

Espresso muffin is one of my favorite treat, as are blueberry, cappuccino, and chocolate chip! I had been playing with recipes to make this just right – with the taste of coffee coming through strong and blending well with chocolate.

I used instant coffee at first but that didn’t taste like espresso so I purchased a jar of instant espresso powder. That made it taste better. Semi sweet chocolate chips plays well with the bitter coffee to round out the taste of this delicious muffin! Perfect to start your day right!

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup instant espresso coffee powder

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

2. Combine flour, espresso, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, brown sugar, melted butter, eggs, an vanilla. Add dry ingredients to the large bowl, fold just until mixture is evenly moistened. Do not over mix.

4. Divide evenly among the muffin cups. sprinkle chocolate chips on top of each muffin.

5. Bake until edges begin to pull away from the sides of the muffin cup, 20-22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before removing from pan.

6. I like this still a bit warm for breakfast, with a cup of hot coffee or tea! Enjoy!

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Hot Chocolate Bombs

Happy 4th day of the New Year!

So have you had a Hot Chocolate Bomb yet? I didn’t realize how popular these things are!

These are fun little spheres (my molds were 2 1/2 inches) made of chocolate, candy coating, or butterscotch chips, and filled with hot chocolate mix and marshmallows. I also made some filled with French Vanilla Latte, Mocha, and Caramel Macchiato flavored coffees.

You place the beautifully decorated ball in a mug big enough to hold it, pour HOT milk (or hot water for the coffee ones), and watch as the magic happens – the shell melts, usually turns over in the cup, and reveals the marshmallows and chocolate mixture (or flavored coffee) inside. Stir then enjoy!

I made some to give as gifts before the holidays and got several orders that I had to keep buying the ingredients to make it. And the stores kept running out of the brand I use so I had to keep going to several places to find them! They were worth it though as everyone is so happy when they get it.

So here…in case you want to try your hand at making these, are my step by step instructions!

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These are everything you need (plus a lot of marshmallows!!!) to make hot chocolate bombs.

Chocolate chips, candy coating, or flavored baking chips

Instant hot chocolate/cocoa mix (I like the brands I photographed above, but use any you like!)

Mini marshmallows

Sprinkles, crushed candy canes, edible metallic sprays, any candy or cookie decoration you want

Chocolate melting pot or a microwave safe bowl

Sphere molds

1. I started by melting a bag of chocolate in my chocolate melting pot. I also tried in the microwave – use full power at 30 second increments until the chocolate gets soft looking and shiny.

2. Stir to melt thoroughly.

3. Place about s tablespoon of melted chocolate in each cavity of the mold.

4. Using the back of a spoon, carefully coat the inside of the cavity with the melted chocolate. Make sure you try to coat evenly, and cover all visibly thin areas.

5. Refrigerate until it sets, about 30 minutes.

6. Carefully unmold each chocolate and place on a dish or plate.

7. To even out the edges, heat a small plate for about 1-2 minutes in the microwave and quickly invert 1 chocolate shell on the plate. When it starts melting the edges, twist and return to the plate. Repeat with remaining chocolate pieces.

8. Fill half of the shells with the hot chocolate mixture.

9. And top with a lot of marshmallows.

10. Reheat the small plate, around 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. One by one, invert the unfilled shells on to the plate, let it melt the edges slightly then twist the shell onto the filled shells. Run your finger through the crease and make sure to seal it together. You do not want hot chocolate powder coming out of the ball.

11. Drizzle with more melted chocolate (be sure it is not too hot otherwise it can melt your chocolate ball) and top with sprinkles, peppermint candies, cookie crumbs, etc!

12. You can also spray them with edible metallic spray to make it look really pretty!

13. Ta-da! Enjoy!

Below are some videos we took while preparing these hot chocolate balls!

This was mine! White chocolate peppermint hot chocolate!
This was my son’s!

Decadent Chocolate Bundt Cake

I made this cake for my friend’s birthday as she requested a chocolate cake for our potluck (of course, that was pre-COVID-19).

This is super easy to prepare, totally delicious, can be frosted or left as is, dusted with powdered sugar or coated in a chocolate or vanilla glaze.

I drizzled it with chocolate ganache and sprinkled with a lot of sprinkles, to reflect my friend Mae’s fun, playful, childish personality.

INGREDIENTS

For the cake

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup espresso or strong coffee
  • ¼ cup cream or whole milk

For the ganache

  • 3 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream

Procedure:

1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Generously spray a 10 cup bundt pan with nonstick spray which also contains flour. Set aside.

2. In a bowl, beat sugar and eggs using a hand mixer, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

3. Add oil, vanilla, and sour cream. Blend well.

4. In a bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

5. In another bowl, mix together espresso and milk.

6. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, blend well. Add half of the liquid ingredients next, then blend well. Continue adding dry and wet ingredients alternately, blending well before adding the next.

7. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for around 35 to 40 minutes. Test by piercing with a skewer, it should come out clean.

8. Let cake cool on a wire rack for a few minutes. Invert cake onto a serving dish and cool completely.

9. For the Ganache: melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl using 30 second increments until shiny and soft. Stir until smooth. Add cream and stir until combined. Pour over cooled cake. Sprinkle with desired topping.

10. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Chip Sables

Chocolate chip cookies are the best kind of cookies in the world for me. It’s quick and easy to make, the ingredients are pantry staples, and it tastes great!

Having said that, I am up for testing any variation of this classic. I recently came across an instagram post about Chocolate Chip Sables, which then kept me up all night, searching for the recipe so that I could try it too. It is basically a shortbread cookie + chocolate chip cookie, combined in the most delightful, decadent way.

These are all you need for this recipe!
  • 255 grams total salted butter (2¼ sticks),cold, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup(100 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup(55 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups(325 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces(170 grams) semi-sweet or bittersweet dark chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Demerara or Turbinado sugar, for rolling
  • Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a hand held mixer, (I used the Thermomix) beat the butter, both sugars and vanilla on medium-high till it’s light and fluffy (3 to 5 minutes for a stand mixer; 6 to 8 for a hand mixer). Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and, with the mixer on low, slowly add the flour, then add the chocolate chunks, and mix just to blend. If necessary, knead the dough with your hands to make sure the flour is completely incorporated. At this point, the dough should be smooth and feel like Play-Doh.
  • Divide the dough in half, placing each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Fold the plastic over so that it covers the dough to protect your hands from getting sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a log shape; rolling it on the counter will help you smooth it out, but don’t worry about getting it perfect. Each half should form a 8 inch log, 2 inches in diameter. Chill until firm, about 2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the outside of the logs with the beaten egg and roll them in the demerara sugar, to make the edges extra delicious.
  • Using a serrated knife, carefully slice each log into ½-inch-thick rounds (if you hit a chocolate chunk, slowly saw back and forth through the chocolate). If the cookies break or fall apart, just press them back together — the dough is very forgiving. Place them on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart (they won’t spread much). Sprinkle with flaky salt.
  • Bake until the edges are just beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before eating them all.

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DoubleTree Signature Cookie Recipe

It did turn out really good! Soft yet crisp on the edges!

Have you ever stayed at a DoubleTree hotel? If you did I’m sure you’ll remember the warm chocolate chip cookies that welcomed you upon arrival! It was truly something to look forward to!

There are a lot of copy cat recipes online but this recipe was officially released April 9, 2020. See this link https://newsroom.hilton.com/static-doubletree-reveals-cookie-recipe.htm for the full article.

I love chocolate chip cookies and would try any recipe I could get my hands on. I did try a couple of copy cat recipes for this particular cookie so now that I have the real recipe, I just had to whip out the ingredients (which I luckily do have on hand despite avoiding grocery store runs lately!) and try it. I’ll let you know how it tastes at the end of this article.

Makes 26 cookies

½ pound butter, softened (2 sticks)

¾ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 ¼ cups flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch cinnamon

2 2/3 cups Nestle Tollhouse semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 3/4 cups chopped walnuts 

1. Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

2. Add eggs, vanilla and lemon juice, blending with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl.

3. With mixer on low speed, add flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, blending for about 45 seconds. Don’t overmix.

4. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.

5. Portion dough with a scoop (about 3 tablespoons) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart.

6. Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and center is still soft.

7. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for about 1 hour.

Cook’s note: You can freeze the unbaked cookies, and there’s no need to thaw. Preheat oven to 300°F and place frozen cookies on parchment paper-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake until edges are golden brown and center is still soft.

These cookies baked for longer than the 10-12 minutes I am used to baking cookies and came out of the oven after 23 minutes paler than most cookies I bake. After waiting for it to cool on the cookie sheet, I carefully took one and tasted it. It did brown up a little bit more than when I first took it out of the oven and flattened some. It was surprisingly crisp on the edges but soft overall. Full of chocolate chips and nuts, it’s really a delicious cookie!

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Electric Lunchbox #65: Yellow Cake and Chocolate Cake Boxed Mixes

I got a few people asking me to make cakes using boxed cake mixes. I thought most people would like to make their cakes from scratch as I, for one, do not like opened boxes of half used mixes lying around the pantry. If you’ve seen my pantry, you’ll know why! 😉

I guess I was wrong about that and convenience still has a place. I like to use boxed mixes when I need a consistent taste/texture, but I make most of my recipes from scratch.

So, here it is. I tested two of the most popular flavors: Yellow Cake Mix and Chocolate Cake mix. Both of the mixes I got were 15.25 oz boxes. I got them from Target, so I am hoping this brand is widely available, so that anyone wanting to try this can easily find it.

I was able to make a standard recipe whether you want to use the Yellow Cake or the Chocolate cake so I think it is safe to say that it is going to work with Red Velvet and White cake mixes too. I will update this post (or make another article) if I get my hands on those mixes.

This is so easy to make and aside from the cake mix itself, I’m sure you’ll have the rest of the ingredients on hand.

*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*

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Enjoy!

1 cup + 2 tablespoons cake mix

1/3 cup water

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 large egg

2 – 3 ELB cups water in base

1. Grease the medium or small ELB bowl. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, mix together cake mix, water, canola oil, and oil. Blend well and mix until smooth.

3. Pour into the prepared ELB bowl. Cover with foil and place on ELB base.

4. Add 2 ELB cups water to the base, cover and let steam until it shuts off, about 40 minutes.

Made the chocolate cake in the medium ELB bowl.
Yellow cake got the big ELB bowl

5. Carefully open the ELB, and remove the bowl to a wire rack. Check cake for doneness by piercing with a toothpick, it should come out clean. Add 1 ELB cup of water to the base and steam until done if needed.

6. Cool cake for a few minutes then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

7. Frost if desired. Enjoy!

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