Quick Super-Duper Peanut Butter GF Cookies

cookie perfectionWhen I say quick, I mean you can stir these up in the time it will take your oven to heat up. Then bake, cool, for maybe a minute and you have cookie nirvana.
almond butter

It started when I learned a neighbor had surgery and I felt the need to rush a baked item to her door to speed the healing. She needs gluten-free items, so I whipped up my 3 ingredient cookies and raced a plate to her door.

cookies2

Then I thought – wouldn’t they have been better with chocolate chips? Well, duh, isn’t everything?
So I made another quick batch to test that theory. (Luckily, this only makes about 12 cookies per batch and I have friends who help me devour them.)

cookies1
Next my hubby said he would prefer these made with almond butter, so more experimenting ensued – and I added a few more ingredients.

cookies with oats

more cookies 012

We loved these, but my healthy angel sat on my shoulder and suggested adding oats. So yes, another batch with chewy perfection.
more cookies with oats

Ahh, my she-angel said, but couldn’t we improve on the sugar? Well OK. A batch of coconut palm sugar proved equally delicious.

Finally, instead of adding the chips to the batter, I tried dipping half the cookies in melted dark chocolate. You know I do this only for you right? So that you can go right to my final recipe and bake with confidence.
dip in chocolate

Original Peanut Butter GF Cookies (but wait for my final recipe below.)
1 cup peanut butter (I like extra crunchy)
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg.
Mix until blended. Plop onto cookie sheets and bake in a 350 degree oven about 12 minutes. Makes 12.

But wait!

Clare’s Quick Super-Duper Peanut Butter (or almond butter) Cookies
1 cup nut butter of choice (Still prefer extra crunchy.)
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp vanilla (or almond if you are using almond butter)
pinch salt
1/2 cup Chocolate chips for dipping. (or you can press them into the batter.)
Mix everything (except the chips)in a small bowl until blended.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes. Makes about 12 heavenly cookies.

When they are out of the oven, microwave the chocolate and then dip the cookies in the chocolate.
If you are in a big hurry to eat one, put them in the fridge to set up.
(But it will leave tiny bubbles on the chocolate. Don’t ask me how I know this.)

Bonus:
nut clusters

If you have extra melted chocolate in your bowl, toss in some nuts and drop by spoonfuls for nut clusters.

Chocolate Cake with Fudgy Glaze – flourless (GF)

Flourless chocolate cake

Flour is the new food villain. Not just gluten, but all flour is now being thrown under the bus. Sigh… For years the food czars have harped on us to use only whole grains. My cupboard is filled with whole wheat, rye, whole wheat pastry, graham flour and a warehouse of other foods that are now betraying me.
Although I love whole grains – and they love me and cling to me- we are all being told to trim all flours and glutens from our diets. Zip – nada – none.
Apparently the flours are responsible for the odd shapes we have all become.

almond meal is used instead of flour


And I always thought it was sugar….or fat…..or salt….or cantaloupe. No, it’s never the fruit’s fault. Or lettuce. Rarely are we told to cut back on our lettuce input – except when there are those nasty e-coli out breaks in national-chain restaurants. But that’s just a surprise outbreak now and then – like playing Russian roulette with lettuce as the blast.

chocolate batter


So let’s set aside our fear of butter and sugar for a few moments and see if we can create a flourless chocolate cake so rich even I will ask for “just a sliver.” Scarlett O’Hara would be proud. Of course she wouldn’t see me going back for another “sliver.” And another. Just a sliver.
You can make the cake without the glaze, but why would you? If you’re going for rich, this glaze – which is really a genache -is a must. I took pictures before it set up, but it did eventually turn more fudgy and less saucy. But I tried it before the metamorphous and it was chocolate heaven.

whip egg whites

fold in egg whites


Also, this is really a torte. But because most Americans aren’t sure what a torte is (It’s a rich flourless cake) we call it a cake so those looking for rich and yummy will know this is the place. A torte is typically heavier than a cake and more dense. True here. The only leavening is egg whites. So handle them carefully. No, I’m kidding. You cannot ruin this even if you are a bit clumsy with the egg whites. Fold away.
If you must swap out the butter – use coconut oil.
If you must swap out the sugar, try coconut palm sugar. But I didn’t swap either. Did I mention this is rich?

baked cake


Flourless Chocolate Cake Ingredients
8 oz. dark chocolate chips
1 3/4 sticks of butter (That’s 2 Tbsp. shy of a cup.)
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
5 eggs – separated
3 TBS almond meal
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

pour glaze


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a spring form pan or a tall 8″ round cake pan.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave bowl – 30 seconds at a time. Stir until smooth.
Meanwhile separate the 5 eggs and put the whites in a glass or metal bowl.
Beat the egg whites until they can hold a shape. Set aside.
When the chocolate has melted, add the sugar, almond meal, salt, vanilla and egg yolks. Whisk until smooth.
Gently fold in the egg whites. They will look messy at first, but will eventually blend in and resemble a batter that you would gladly eat raw – if there weren’t five raw eggs in it.
Pour the batter in the pan and bake about 40 minutes. There should be cracks on top.
Cool the cake on a rack 10 – 15 minutes and then turn it out onto a plate to finish cooling.

Fudgy Glaze Ingredients
½ cup whipping cream
3 Tbsp butter
8 oz dark chocolate chips
Dash salt
1 tsp vanilla

Directions for Glaze
In a saucepan, bring the cream and butter to a simmer. Reduce heat and add the chocolate.
Stir until smooth.
Let it cool about 20 minutes. Pour over the cake – warm or cool.
It will set up in about 2 hours, but by then most if it will be gone. Have at it. Life is short.
If there is any left, store in the fridge.

just a sliver

Quickly, devour it before they tell us we can’t eat chocolate!

4 Easy “No Bake” Treats

Too flustered to turn on the oven? Don’t need one for these little goodies.

No bake treats

What you do need is chocolate – lots of chocolate for melting. Use either melting wafers, dark chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate bars. Semi sweet or milk chocolate will all work just fine.
Perfect for holidays, game days or when you need a chocolate fix.

Rolo pecan pretzels


Pecan Rolo PretzelsThese take only moments to put together. But first take ten minutes to gently toast your pecans in a 350 degree oven. This gives them the “snap” that is so delicious.
Ingredients
Rolo candies – unwrapped. (For those who live under a rock, these are small caramels that are dipped in milk chocolate.)
Small pretzels – use any shape you like.
Pecan halves – one for each rolo.

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lay out pretzels on a cookie sheet or bar pan.
Place one unwrapped rolo candy on each pretzel.
Bake for 2-3 minutes until the candies start to melt.
Take them out of the oven and press a pecan onto the top of each caramel.
Cool, eat. That’s it.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels


Chocolate Covered Pretzel Peanut Butter Treats

This is a new twist on the standard chocolate covered pretzels.
For this treat, look for pretzels that are filled with peanut butter.
Melt chocolate and toss in a handful of the pretzels.
Fish them out and place on a plate that has been lined with wax paper.
Cool, eat, that’s it!

Buckeyes


Buckeyes
These are old standby’s in the Midwest. Basically peanut butter balls covered in chocolate.
Ingredients
1 stick butter (or less – you could cut this in half.)
1 small jar of peanut butter – 15 or 16 oz.
2-3 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Dash salt
Dark chocolate (or semi-sweet – your choice)

Directions for Buckeyes
Mix everything except the chocolate until you have a very still dough.
Dip them out using a small cookie scoop – or about 2 tsp per ball.
Roll them into balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
Put in the fridge until firm. (Or outside if it’s winter in the Midwest.)
Melt some chocolate, being careful not to get any water into the chocolate.
Use a toothpick to stab a firm peanut butter ball and dip into the chocolate to coat all except the tops.
Let them set up. Don’t they look like Buckeye nuts? Sure they do.
Cool. Eat, That’s it!

Bonus –
Ritz Cracker Peanut Butter Treats

OK, if you don’t have rolos or pretzels, you probably have whole wheat Ritz crackers – right?
Sure, you’re trying to eat healthy, so you have the whole wheat ones.
Take two crackers and smear one with peanut butter (or almond butter). Make a sandwich by placing another on top.
Melt a handful of chocolate chips and coat the cracker-sandwich in chocolate.
Cool, Eat. That’s it.

Sure, we could do this all day, but this will get you started.
Happy New Year!

Rocky Road Brownies


Warning, Rocky Road Brownies don’t fit in the “Healthy Food” category but rather in the “I Need Chocolate Now” section of my blog. Well, I don’t really have a separate listing for chocolate desperation, but “cookies and bars” will fill the bill.

I made the Rocky Road Brownies for the couple who won our church auction – Kathy and Chuck. I pledged to bake goodies for six months and these folks were the bid winners.
The money goes towards mission trips for our college students, so everyone wins.

bet you can’t eat just one!

You know I love to make brownies and playing with chocolate is always fun. It’s an easy recipe and one that goes together quickly and bakes in a jiff. You will be in chocolate heaven in less time than it takes to watch an episode of Downton Abbey. As long as you don’t mind warm gooey brownies! Mrs Patmore won’t mind.

Ingredients for Rocky Road Brownies
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder – I used Hershey’s Special Dark
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup chopped nuts

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Grease a 9″ square pan or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, melt the butter and the cocoa together in the microwave.
Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
Stir in the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
Spread in the pan.
Bake 20 – 25 minutes until brownies are almost done.
Remove from oven and sprinkle the marshmallows, nuts and chocolate chips on top.

Setting up in pan


Note: if you want them to look really pretty, put these ingredients on separately and sprinkle them around evenly. I mixed them all together and it was more difficult to get a nice even blend of marshmallow, chips and nuts in each bite.
Bake another 5-10 minutes until the marshmallows are golden and the brownies are set. (Toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean…unless it bumps into a chocolate chip.)

Let them cool, but cut them before they are completely set up. (About an hour.)

I had never made these before but they are worth repeating. Very chocolatey and rich.

Five days after I delivered these to Kathy and Chuck I ran into them at a Lenten Fish Fry. Chuck said he had to let his belt out a notch – High Praise Indeed! Kathy glowed when she spoke about how much they were enjoying the brownies, so I think you should give them a try.

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