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Volume III
November 08, 2013

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

Hi...I'm a Peanut Butter-aholic

By Whitney Saupan

I was looking up recipes to write about earlier this week, and for some reason every recipe I searched for called for peanut butter. The more I thought about it, I figured out why this kept happening...I'm addicted to peanut butter! I'm not even sure what it is about the stuff that I go crazy for. Is it the texture, or the color or the taste? Whatever the reason, this delicious food item is great for so many dishes! For all of you closet-peanut-butter-addicts, here are four peanut buttery recipes! Enjoy!

Butterfinger Fudge

Do you love Butterfinger candy bars? This recipe uses candy corn and peanut butter to create that same taste! Yum!

Serving size: 15
Calories per serving: 256

3 cups candy corn
1 cup peanut butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips, optional

Line a pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. (I used an 8x8 pan. The fudge was very thick, so if I made it again, I’d use a 9x9 pan.)

Add Candy Corn and peanut butter to a medium saucepan and heat, over low heat, stirring every 30 seconds or so, for about 3 minutes. Add sweetened condensed milk, stir, and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds (you don’t want the milk to boil; a slight simmer is okay). Add white chocolate chips and stir until everything melts together. (It will seem like it’s never going to melt...but it will!)

Spread evenly in pan. Cool on counter about 15 minutes, then chill until hardened. Cut into squares.

If you want, you can dip the fudge in milk chocolate. Melt chocolate chips (I added a little vegetable oil to thin them) and dip the bottoms of the fudge squares in the chocolate. Set on a wax paper lined cookie sheet to harden.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Blondies

Yield: 9 generous squares

Serving size: 5
Calories per serving: 985

1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 to 1/3 cup strawberry, grape, cherry, or raspberry jelly

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 60 seconds. To the melted butter, add 1/4 cup peanut butter and heat for 30 to 45 seconds to soften the peanut butter. Stir until the melted butter-peanut butter mixture is smooth and combined. Add the brown sugar and stir to combine. Add the egg, vanilla, and stir to combine. Add the flour, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or the blondies will be tough. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula or offset knife if necessary.

To the top of the batter, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup peanut butter, dolloped out in 4 or 5 tablespoon-sized mounds. Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup jelly, dolloped out in 4 or 5 tablespoon-sized mounds. Using a knife, marble the peanut butter and jelly in a zig-zag pattern, up and back, back and forth, across the pan until peanut butter and jelly is dispersed and marbled; do not over-do it or surface will look muddy rather than swirled or marbled.

Bake for 22 to 27 minutes, or until edges begin to slightly pull away from sides of pan, center is set and golden, and a toothpick comes out clean; do not overbake. Allow blondies to cool for at least 45 minutes before slicing and serving. Store blondies in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

The blondies are ripe for substitutions and variations. Add about 1 cup of any of the following stirred into the batter: peanut butter, chocolate, butterscotch, or white chocolate chips; toffee bits, fresh or frozen fruit including cherries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries; diced or whole peanuts, slivered almonds; diced candy such as Peanut Butter Cups, Reese’s Pieces, Peanut M&Ms, Peanut Butter M&Ms or whatever strikes your fancy.

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Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Cups

Serving size: 10
Calories per serving: 208

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups caramels, unwrapped
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spray 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside.

Beat together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.

Add peanut butter and mix just until blended.

Add egg and vanilla and mix well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Gradually add flour mixture to wet mixture, just until blended.

Roll out your cookie dough into balls. (The size of each ball will depend on how big you want your cookie cups. I did about 1-inch ones, but next time I will probably do 2-inch ones.)

Place one ball into each of the 24 muffin cups.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden.

After baking, use the end of a wooden spoon and press down the center of each cookie to make an indentation for the caramel.

Let cool completely.

In a medium, microwavable bowl, microwave caramels and water uncovered on high for 1 minute.

Stir and continue to microwave in 15-second increments until caramels are melted and can be stirred smooth.

Stir in milk.

Fill each cookie cup with about 1 tablespoon of melted caramel.

Sprinkle with salt and let stand until set.

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Peanut Butter Cheese Ball

Serving size: 10
Calories per serving: 434

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (not all-natural)
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter chips
graham cracker sticks, Teddy Grahams, apple slices, Nilla wafers, for dipping

Beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer.

Spoon onto a large piece of plastic wrap; bring up all four corners and twist tightly to form a ball.

Freeze for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the cheese ball is firm enough to keep its shape. Place peanut butter and chocolate chips on a plate. Remove the plastic wrap from the ball and roll it into the chocolate and peanut butter chips to completely cover, pressing them into the ball if necessary.

Place the ball on serving dish; cover and freeze for 2 hours or until almost firm. (Can be made ahead. If frozen overnight, thaw at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.) Serve with graham cracker sticks, Teddy grahams, Nilla wafers, or apple slices for dipping or spreading.

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Whitney Saupan
Weekly Newsletter Contributer since 2013

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