Maple Peanut Butter Swirled Brownies

I just had the best weekend of my life.

It was a weekend full of laughter, cookies, frozen yogurt and some serious kitchen failures. My beautiful cousin, Kelsey, came to visit me this weekend; this girl is my better half. It’s hard to believe that we grew up practically despising each other for the first five or so years of our lives. We go together like chocolate and peanut butter.

She shared an amazing veggie burger recipe over the weekend and I cannot wait to share that with you because I could eat it all day long; it’s that good. This weekend was also the first time I tried to make frosting. We made some awesome chocolate cut-out cookies and wanted to decorate them; unfortunately, the frosting was just short of a disaster. I won’t even tell you everything we tried to do to get it to work because we were probably so off.

Next time, though, we’re going to make it work. Although I failed at my first attempt at making frosting, I was much luckier with my first attempt at making brownies from scratch. I’ve always baked boxed brownies because they are so convenient and taste pretty good. However, I had been dying to try to make my own and I finally did! The result was better than I could have hoped for; a super moist, fudgy brownie. I’ll definitely be sticking with this recipe from now one.

These brownies contain my most favorite ingredient/food ever; peanut butter. Not just any peanut butter, though. I used Peanut Butter & Co’s Mighty Maple Peanut Butter to give the brownies a hint of maple flavor. I’m constantly debating over which of their flavors is my favorite. My top three are definitely Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, The Bee’s Knees and Mighty Maple. If you ever find any of PB&Co’s peanut butter in your grocery store, you should really pick up a jar or two. They may be a bit pricier than other peanut butters but trust me, they are delicious and I am forever addicted.

Maple Peanut Butter Swirled Brownies
(Brownie recipe adapted from AllRecipes.com)

1/2 c. oil
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 c. Mighty Maple peanut butter, melted (you can
also use regular/crunchy/etc)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and vanilla; beat in eggs. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the batter into a greased baking pan. Melt the peanut butter in a separate bowl by microwaving for 45 seconds at a time until melted. Drizzle the peanut butter on top of the brownie batter (try to do this in vertical lines up and down the pan). Using a toothpick, swirl the peanut butter throughout the surface of the batter to create a marble effect. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Sadly, I’m out of Mighty Maple peanut butter now. Not because of these brownies but because I can’t stop eating it by the spoonful out of the jar. It belongs on these brownies though.

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Toasted Coconut & Walnut Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Drizzle

I literally just made these yesterday and I’m dying to share.

I love all things about this cookie. It’s sweet, it has a little crunch to it and it’s just so packed with flavor.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t too sure how they were going to turn out but I ate three right out of the oven. The roof of my mouth hates me right now but it was worth it. You can’t beat cookies straight from the oven.

The dough was probably my favorite part. I’m sure this recipe could make about four dozen cookies…I only got about three but then again, I did eat my weight in cookie dough. The calories don’t really count until it’s in cookie form, right?

What’s really great about these cookies is that you can totally adjust the recipe to your liking. If you’re a huge coconut fan, go ahead, add an extra handful or two. Not feeling the chocolate drizzle or it’s too much of a hassle? Totally cool. They taste just as great without it, trust me, I did ample sampling. Although there is definitely something beautiful about that chocolate drizzle on top.

Especially when you’re the one doing the drizzling (or being the drizzler) because you get to melt all that wonderful chocolate and secretly hope there’s going to be extra so you can lick the bowl, spoon, bag etc. Also, feel free to use any type of chocolate. I only had semi-sweet mini chocolate morsels but I’m positive that dark chocolate would be absolutely gorgeous drizzled on top. White chocolate would be great as well, I’ll keep that in mind for next time.

Toasted Coconut & Walnut Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Drizzle
Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

1/2 c. butter (1 stick), softened
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. coconut (I used the sweetened kind by Baker’s)
1 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. walnuts, finely chopped (optional)
1 c. chocolate chips or chocolate bar, any kind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. {This is optional: On a greased cookie or baking sheet, spread coconut and walnuts on the sheet and toast them for 5 – 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn the coconut. Allow to cool before adding to batter}

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars together until creamy. Then add the eggs and vanilla; mix well. Mix in the flour, oatmeal and baking soda. Add coconut and walnuts;
mix well.

You can either drop the dough by the spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 – 10 minutes or chill the dough for about thirty minutes, then rolling the dough into a loose ball and dipping the top into coconut for extra flavor, then also baking 8 – 10 minutes. It’s up to you, they both taste equally fantastic; I did half and half.

Melt chocolate in the microwave for 1 – 2 minutes and spoon into a small ziploc bag. Make a very small cut in the corner of the bag; drizzle chocolate over cookie. Allow chocolate to cool completely before storing cookies in a jar or tin.

With all this coconut talk, I really want a piƱa colada.

Peanut Butter Tandy Cakes

Wanna know a secret?

I could probably live solely on peanut butter…

And maybe some butterscotch krimpets. When I first moved onto campus as a freshmen, my grandmother would send me boxes and boxes of butterscotch krimpets. Now that I think about it, I probably haven’t eaten a Tastykake butterscotch krimpet since then.

Enough about the krimpets, though, they couldn’t hold a candle to Tastykakes peanut butter kandy kakes. It was always a good day when my mom would put those babies into my school lunch. A close second definitely being oatmeal cream pies (because who doesn’t love Honey, I Shrunk the Kids?).

I made these right after new years. I’m sure my family was so glad I sabotaged helped out with their new years resolutions while I was on winter break. I mean, my resolution was becoming more comfortable in the kitchen; and these tandy cakes? I think it requires more effort to not eat them than to actually make them because they are literally so easy.

I remember so many birthdays and parties that these little cakes made an appearance and I’ve never witnessed anyone not liking them. But, then again, it’s almost impossible to not love chocolate and peanut butter.

Peanut Butter Tandy Cakes
Makes about 24+ servings, depending how you cut them

4 eggs, beaten
1 c. milk
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
———————–
1 c. peanut butter
8 oz (or 6 pack) Hershey bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10 x 15 dish with butter or Pam. Combine the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla in a bowl, mix well. In another bowl, sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Pour the flour mixture into the egg/milk mixture and mix until blended. Pour into greased pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

When cake is taken out of the oven, drop the peanut butter onto the cake while hot. Spread evenly as peanut butter melts. Freeze for about 30-45 min. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double broiler and spread evenly over the cake. Cut it into squares and refrigerate until serving.

I dare you just eat one.