12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 11: No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

20141215_093020So I don’t do enough no-bake desserts here, because I am obsessed with baking and creaming together butter, sugar and vanilla. But there are lots of people out there for whom baking is a challenge, or just not possible because there’s no oven.

So my friend Anna asked me- almost a year ago!- so share some no-bake recipes. I’ve known Anna for years now- since the 12th grade, in fact- and since then, we’ve gone from confused college students to idealistic journalism grads to busy moms. Except Anna’s kind of a supermom. She has 3 kids, all spaced about 2 years apart, and she handles everything like a pro. Morning routines, the school drop, karate classes, birthday parties, you name it. And she’s the one we go to when we have any questions related to babies, toddlers, tantrums and more.

I call her a supermom because in the middle of a busy day, she still has time to type out a 1000-word email when I text her and ask for advice on potty training. (I’m sorry if it makes you queasy, but bathrooms and poop become hot topics of discussion once you have kids.) She was prompt to reply to my query, but I’ve taken long enough to reply to hers. So for Anna, an easy no-bake cookie recipe. And I promise to post one more no-bake recipe before we hit Christmas!

This recipe is straightforward and exceedingly simple, comes together in minutes on the stovetop. The original calls for oatmeal, I used rolled oats instead for more bite.

NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES (From Food Network.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 110 grams butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used smooth)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups rolled oats or oatmeal

METHOD

  • In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Allow the mixture to boil for a minute, then add the peanut butter, vanilla and rolled oats.
  • On a Silpat/greased cookie sheet/sheet of waxed paper, drop teaspoonfuls of the mixture. Or use a small scoop to dollop them out in the shape of bonbons.
  • Allow the cookies to cool and harden, and serve.

 

12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 10: Cookie Butter!

20141210_135310So cookie butter is a thing, and Trader Joe’s has some to-die-for Speculoos flavoured cookie butter, and I haven’t had the good fortune of eating it myself.

But I have eaten Speculoos biscuits, and Speculoos-flavoured Haagen-Dazs by the tub, so I can only imagine how delicious Speculoos cookie butter is!

I saw the recipe for cookie butter on Get The Dish with Brandi Milloy on Popsugar, and once I saw it, I knew I had to make it. And hey- how can cookie in a spreadable, spoonable form be bad? Sure, it’s not healthy by a long shot- butter, sugar, milk and cookies- but this is an indulgence. Creamy, tasty, grainy, caramel-y goodness on a spoon.

This tastes good on crackers, toast and straight out of the jar; I topped some vanilla ice cream with it and even added it to a smoothie. I think it makes a fun edible gift to give your foodie friends for Christmas, and if you are handy with mason jars, twine and a sharpie, you could make the jar look quite pretty. (I, unfortunately, am not very crafty, which is why my son has no toilet-paper -tube binoculars or owls.)

Another bonus: it’s no-bake and comes together in minutes!

COOKIE BUTTER (Adapted from Foodie Fiasco and Popsugar.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup cookie crumbs of your choice (I used graham cracker crumbs and chocolate chip cookie crumbs, both of which I crushed by hand.)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 4 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • A pinch of fleur de del or Maldon sea salt (optional)

METHOD

  • Using a food processor or blender, pulse the almonds till they almost get clumpy/pasty.
  • Add the cookie crumbs and pulse some more.
  • Add the milk, melted butter, brown sugar and salt (if using,) and keep at it until you reach the desired consistency, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary.
  • Store in a clean dry jar.

12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 8 : Roasted Red Pepper & Cream Cheese Dip

20141127_131858

 

I know in my last post I told you to ditch the chip and dip and make bacon-wrapped dates, but dips are a good thing to have in your culinary arsenal. (Does that even make sense?)

Whether it’s with served with crackers, chips or a crudite platter, dip is easy and a crowd-pleaser. This one is inspired by *again* Simon Hopkinson’s Piedmontese peppers. You roast the peppers in the oven, blitz them in the blender, then whisk the red pepper puree with softened cream cheese. Season, and that’s it! I used one large bell pepper for this, so the measurements are not exact- you may need to add more cream cheese to reach the right consistency.

ROASTED RED PEPPER DIP (Inspired by this recipe.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • Chilli flakes (optional)

METHOD

  • Preheat oven o 190 C
  • Wash your red pepper, remove the stalk and seeds and cut it into quarters/large chunks.
  • Place your red peppers and large clove of garlic in a baking dish, season with flaky sea salt and black pepper, and drizzle with olive oil till evenly coated.
  • Bake at 190 C for 40 minutes until the peppers are tender and fragrant.
  • Once cooled, transfer the pepper chunks and garlic, along with the pan juices, to a blender. Blend to make a smooth puree.
  • Transfer the puree to a bowl, add softened cream cheese and whisk till smooth. If you’d like a thicker dip, add more cream cheese.
  • Add more salt and pepper to taste and top with chilli flakes if you want to.