Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip

My snacking recently has been out of control in the worst way. You don’t even want to know how much chocolate I downed on Valentine’s Day. Seriously. And since I have to fit in a bridesmaid dress in about two months, I’m making more of an effort to curb the junk food and reach for healthier snacks.

This was a healthier snack/dessert that went over really well. It’s just the right amount of sweet without being loaded up with sugar. I really loved this with sliced up bananas!

PeanutButterYogurtFruitDip

Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip
(from Food, Fun & Life)
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 heaping cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter
2-4 Tbsp. honey, to taste
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Fruit, for serving

Mix together yogurt and peanut butter. Stir in honey, starting with 2 Tbsp. and adding more until it suits your taste. Stir in cinnamon. Refrigerate until serving.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Magic Cookie Bars

I know, I know. Another chocolate peanut butter dessert. I think they’re coming close to being their own category on the blog there’s so many of them – but this was too good and too easy not to share.

Magic cookie bars have become a go-to since Jake was born because they’re just so darn easy to throw together. Now that I’ve got the basic recipe memorized, I’ve been playing with all different flavor combos and this one is a particular winner. It’s sort of like an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. With peanut butter. And none of the cookie-dough scooping. Can you say win? These also freeze great, so they’re a great one to make if you want to make dessert ahead (or force portion control!)

ChocolatePBMagicBars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Magic Cookie Bars
(a Kate’s Recipe box original)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease a 9×13″ pan and line it with parchment.

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom of the pan. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crust. Sprinkle on the oats, chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Pat the toppings down so they sort of stick into the sweetened condensed milk.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the edges are golden and pulling away from the pan. Let cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting.

Oreo Cupcakes

Valentine’s Day is all about showing love. We have a very untraditional tradition: a basketball game and a bar for munchies. It started at some point before we were married – a game my husband really wanted to go to just happened to fall on February 14. I thought agreeing to go made me a super-awesome girlfriend, but the truth is I enjoyed it so much we’ve kept it going. Doing something he really enjoys – instead of just the stereotypical girl-pampering – has always felt like a great way to say I love you/I love us. Of course, life got busy and we didn’t end up getting tickets for a game this year.

I still want to do something, though, so I’ve been looking for some other inspiration. And, when I need inspiration I end up baking. Usually something sweet. Like cupcakes. I pink-ed these out so I could call them Valentine’s Day cupcakes but they’re really just “hey, I needed a cupcake in my life today cupcakes”.

I mean, showing love is coming home to freshly baked cupcakes, right?

OreoCupcakes

Oreo Cupcakes
(adapted from Cupcakes From The Cake Mix Doctor)
Makes about 2 dozen

For the cupcakes:
20 Oreos
1 package plain white cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the icing:
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
10 Oreos, finely ground
Optional: Food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and line a cupcake pan.

Crush Oreos into medium-sized crumbs. Set aside.

Beat together the cake mix, sour cream, oil, eggs and vanilla for 2 minutes, scraping down the side as needed. Fold in crushed Oreos.

Fill the each well of the prepared cupcake pan about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until cupcakes are lightly golden and they spring back when lightly pressed.

Remove cupcakes to a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beatining until well blended after each addition. Add in the milk and vanilla and beat for another 3-5 minutes, until very smooth and creamy. Add food coloring as desired and beat until incorporated evenly, scraping down the bowl as needed. Fold in the finely ground Oreos.

Frost cupcakes and enjoy!

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bars

If you’re not tuned in to the sports world, here’s a PSA for you: the Super Bowl is Sunday.

I will fully admit that I’m just not into it this year. I’m not crazy about the teams playing. I’m over the drama of deflategate. And compared to the excitement of last year when it was held in our backyard, I’m just feeling meh about the whole thing.

But, football food. Eating during the Super Bowl is like it’s own special event. An it’s all that awesome snacky stuff that’s hard to justify on a regular night. Like chocolate caramel pretzel bars. They’re exactly as indulgent as they sound and a super perfect grab-and-go snack for during the game.

Or, you know, during the commercials.

ChocolateCaramelPretzelBars

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bars
(adapted from this recipe)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup broken pretzel pieces
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup caramel bits

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease a 9×13″ pan and line with parchment.

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until well combined and press into the bottom of the pan. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the graham cracker crust. Sprinkle pretzel pieces, chocolate chips and caramel bits over evenly. Press gently into sweetened condensed milk.

Bake for 30 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges and starting to pull away from the pan. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing  from the pan and cutting.

Cinnamon Rolls

I love lists. I make a lot of them. Probably too many. One of my current favorite lists is for the Day Zero Project – a challenge to tackle 101 goals in 1001 days. I’m currently on my second list – and I’ve only got about five months left. Hello, crunch time!

One of the things on my list was to make cinnamon rolls and I finally tried them out for Christmas this year. Since two dozen were a lot for us, we delivered some to our parents and neighbors too. I’m pretty sure making them for everyone is going to be an annual tradition from now on! So, so happy to have these under my belt.

CinnamonRolls

Cinnamon Rolls
(as seen on Sugar & Spice by Celeste)
Makes approximately 2 dozen

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 cup melted butter, plus more as needed
1/8 cup ground cinnamon for sprinkling
1 cup sugar, plus more as needed

In a saucepan, combine the milk, vegetable oil and sugar. Scald and then let cool for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle yeast over the warm milk mixture and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of the flour and transfer to a large bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for an hour, until doubled in size.

Stir in the additional 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Sprinkle your work area generously with flour and roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spread melted butter over the dough, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll up from the long side and pinch the seams together to seal up the rolls. Cut the log into 1 1/2″ rolls.

Place 1 Tbsp. melted butter in the bottom of each pan you’re using (a little more for larger pans) and arrange the rolls. You’ll get about 4 8″ round pans with 6 rolls each.

To bake now: Let rest for 20-30 minutes and then bake at 375F degrees for 13-17 minutes, until golden.

To freeze for later: Cover pans with foil and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then follow the “bake now” directions.

Marshmallow Fruit Dip

Is it just me, or does something always fall through the cracks this time of year?

With a full-blown case of new-mom brain, I’ve been trying to be extra diligent this year. I have a ton of lists and have been double-checking them. I’ve got baking plans. I ordered Christmas cards in November. I’ve got all our gifts laid out on the dining room table, sorted by what day we’ll be seeing people. Sounds like I’ve got my stuff together, right? I thought so, too.

I was patting myself on the back Saturday evening for having my food contributions for Sunday’s family party altogether – this dip already made and all the stuff for a salad ready to go in the fridge. I was upstairs rocking the baby when Mark came up with a panicked look on his face – and a reminder I’d left on the end table to order a pretzel tray for the party. My Mom had volunteered to bring it – but it was on us to order it. And my reminder had gotten buried under mail and other papers.

Guess who was scrambling to order a pretzel tray the night before the party? This girl. At least I had my own stuff together. With any luck, that’s the only thing I’ll forget this week.

MarshmallowFruitDip


Marshmallow Fruit Dip

(from Women Living Well)
Makes about 2 cups

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temp
1 small jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Fruit, for serving (I used strawberries, grapes, bananas and cantaloupe)

Toss the cream cheese, marshmallow creme and vanilla in a stand mixer and beat until smooth. Serve with fruit.

Cookie Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I need to start out with this: I love Christmas.

This time of year just makes me happy. I love finding the perfect presents for family members. I love pulling out all the ornaments that we’ve collected on our travels so far. I love excuses to get together with family and friends. And, of course, I love making Christmas goodies.

A lot of my baking list is dictated tradition: I make up batches of my Opa’s cookies every year, because it just wouldn’t be Christmas without them. Cookie recipes I love but haven’t made recently get broken out for exchanges. And I make ranch pretzels in mass to give as gifts.

There’s always room for something new, though, which is where these cookies come in. I made up these delicious treats for a cookie swap with some of my foodie friends. They’ll be reaching their destination today so I hope they’re well-loved!

If you haven’t tried cookie butter, you need to. Really. Just stop reading now and go buy some.

In all seriousness, though, it’s sort of like a cross between peanut butter and a gingerbread cookie – which is totally perfect for a holiday goodie like this. It’s safe to say these will be making the baking list again next year!

CookieButterChocolateChipCookies

Cookie Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
(from Knead to Cook)
Makes about 3 dozen

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Cookie Butter (I like Trader Joe’s)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the cookie butter, vanilla and egg until well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoon-fulls onto lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Let cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting for 2

You know what next Monday is? National Cupcake Day! Today, I’m linking up with lots of other bloggers to share some awesome cupcake recipes. Consider this your one-week heads up – plenty of time to pick out a recipe and make something special for someone special!

ChocolateNutellaCupcakes

As a general rule, I try not to make things just for the sake of blogging them. I didn’t have any big gatherings coming up to make cupcakes for, and making a whole batch for just the two of us seemed daunting – and then I ran across this recipe in my folder of saved recipes. Just two cupcakes? And chocolate with Nutella frosting? I’m totally on board with that!

These were awesome – dangerously so. I really shouldn’t know how to whip up just two chocolate cupcakes because it totally takes them from a special occasion thing to a, yeah, I can whip these up during naptime for an afternoon snack thing. Dangerous.

But, oh, I love them so!

You can check out all the other awesome cupcakes bloggers made at the links below. Whether you’re looking for something small batch or to feed a crowd, seasonal or birthday-perfect, there’s something for everyone!

ChocolateNutellaCupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting
(from 52 Kitchen Adventures)
Makes 2

Cupcakes:
3 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon + 1/16 tsp. baking soda
1/16 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting:
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup Nutella
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2-1 teaspoon milk

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Prepare a cupcake pan with two liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry cupcake ingredients. Whisk in the wet ingredients until all moistened. Divide batter between two cupcake liners.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes cool, beat together the butter and Nutella. Beat in the powdered sugar. Add in the vanilla and milk and beat until thoroughly combined. Add more milk or powered sugar to reach desired consistancy. Frost cupcakes once they’re cooled.

Flourless Pumpkin Pie Muffins

whatsbaking

The theme for this round of What’s Baking is pumpkin – perfect for the season! Since I knew I’d be posting my pumpkin recipe this month, I wanted to pick one that would fit in with October Unprocessed. I actually made them last month and these aren’t totally unprocessed – I used a chocolate peanut butter and chocolate chips – but subbing an appropriate nut butter and leaving out the chocolate chips would easily bring them into line.

I’m going to be making them again soon. Like, probably today.

You can check out the roundup of other pumpkin goodies later this month on Carrie’s Sweet Life.

FlourlessPumpkinPieMuffins

Flourless Pumpkin Pie Muffins
(from Running with Spoons)
Makes 9 Muffins

1/4 cup nut butter
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
6 Tbsp. honey
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees and spray a muffin pan with cooking spray.

Add all of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips to a blender and blend on high until the oats are gone and batter is smooth and creamy. Stir in chocolate chips then pour the batter into prepared muffin pans.

Bake until the tops of your muffins are set and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean,about 10-12 minutes. Allow muffins to cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

M&M Brownie Batter Dip

I’m pretty sure dips are the perfect party food. They’re easy to prepare, easy to serve and easy to over-indulge in without every noticing.

What more could you want?

I whipped this up when we went over to the neighbors’ to watch football. The game was incredibly disappointing, but the dip was a hit! I served it with pretzels and animal crackers for dipping – graham crackers and apple slices would be great, too!

BrownieBatterDip

M&M Brownie Batter Dip
(from Something Swanky)
Makes about 4 cups

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
5 Tbsp. all purpose flour
5 Tbsp. cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
2-3 Tbsp. milk, divided
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup mini M&Ms
Pretzels, animal crackers, apple slices or graham crackers for dipping

Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and 1 Tbsp. of milk and beat until well combined and nearly smooth. Add another 1 Tbsp. of milk and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. If you want a thinner dip, beat in an additional 1 Tbsp. of milk. Stir in M&Ms.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.