Sunday, May 24, 2009

peanut butter n' chocolate extravaganza

This is a recipe straight from "The Complete Book of Baking" by Pillsbury. This recipe won $15,000 in one of Pillbury's BAKE-OFF contests. I have to be honest. I've never sampled it because I've given the entire dish away after having made it.  I've made it on two separate occasions within the span of 1 year. I made it in December of 2008 and then yesterday, May 2009.  (both of those times on behalf of Nate Oshman - "Uncle Nate"). He and I share a passion for peanut butter and when I came across this recipe I figured it would be a "hit"....and Nate says it's "incredible". This is NOT healthy in any's completely indulgent. The original name from Pillsbury is: Peanut Chocolate Parfait Dessert but Nate coined the descriptive "Extravaganza" and so we are sticking with it....*wink*.  

1 (18.25oz) pkg. pudding-included devil's food cake mix
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. milk
1 egg
3/4 c. peanuts

3/4 c. peanut butter
1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
2-1/2 c. milk
1 (8oz.) cool whip
1 (5.25oz) pkg. instant vanilla pudding & pie filling mix

1/2 c. peanuts
1 (1.45oz) hershey milk chocolate bar

Heat oven to 350.
Grease and flour bottom only of 13x9 pan.
In large bowl, combine all crust ingredients until well blended. (I used a hand mixer on med.)
Spread in greased & floured 13x9 pan.
Bake @ 350 for 20-25 minutes. (insert knife in middle - if's done)
Cool. (at least one hour)

(I don't do these remaining steps until the crust is cool to the touch)
In small bowl, combine peanut butter and powdered sugar at low speed until crumbly; set aside.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
Add milk, cool whip and pudding mix.
Beat at low speed 2 minutes until well blended.

Pour half of cream cheese mixture over cooled, baked crust. Sprinkle with half of peanut butter crumble mixture. Repeat with remaining cream cheese and peanut butter mixtures. 
Sprinkle with 1/2 c. peanuts; gently press into filling. 
Sprinkle with grated chocolate. (I used chocolate curls instead of grating - just use a veggie peeler).
Cover, refrigerate or freeze until serving time. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

I've not tried this frozen but I imagine it would be JUST as if not more incredible.

Servings:  16
start to finish:  2 hours

Friday, May 22, 2009

the best chocolate chip cookies ever!

Looking for a full-proof chocolate chip cookie recipe? THIS is it. Chrissy Kirkland gave me this recipe and she originally got it from Ember Hansen. You can do all sorts of renditions by adding your particular favorite chips, nuts, etc.

1 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar (I used dark brown - which is unusual for me)
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

2 c. + 4 TBSP flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
chocolate chips (your favorite)
nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 335 degrees.
Beat first 5 ingredients together. 
Combine flour, salt, & baking soda. (I use a sifter and add ingredients at once and then churn into a separate bowl - just my preference but not really necessary).
Add flour mixture to wet mixture and mix until blended completely. (scraping bowl often).
Add chocolate chips and nuts in the amount that you prefer.
Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop, place a dollop of cookie dough on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. (I tend to bake mine for 11 minutes, pull them out of the oven, let them sit on the cookie sheet for one minute and then remove to a cooling rack). 

These are seriously delicious cookies and are quite easy. You can have a batch made up in a pinch. 

serving size: 2-3 dozen
start to finish: 30-45 minutes to fresh baked cookies