Monthly Archives: July 2016

Peanut Butter Blondies

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Peanut butter seems to be one of those foods that either people love or hate. I actually used to hate peanut butter. I remember trying it several times throughout my childhood, but each attempt resulted in that same disgusted, squished up expression on my face. However, my best friend growing up packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day from third grade till twelfth grade and oddly, I was always a bit envious of her sandwich. I yearned to like peanut butter so I could have sandwiches like hers, even though I knew peanut butter and me were not a good match for each other. Even so, something was telling me one day I would acquire this special taste and then I could convert from my obscure cream cheese and cinnamon sandwiches to the good ol’ PB&J.

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And it finally happened when I went to college! Maybe it was the poor quality D-hall food or getting tired of the same food each day or just maybe it was my time to finally click with peanut butter instead of clash! Ever since then, the PB&J has become a go-to meal if I need something super speedy. And of course I began experimenting with PB in my baking adventures.

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These peanut butter bars are soft with some chewiness and melty goodness from the chocolate chips scattered throughout. They are also very versatile in that you can mix in different add-ins based on your taste. I recently tried adding mini marshmallows and some Reeses Pieces, which turned out delicious! They also come together very fast and are great for when you’re baking for a crowd. Have fun experimenting with these!

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Peanut Butter Blondies 

Yield: one 9″ by 13″ pan

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs

1/4 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups (9 oz) all purpose flour

1/4 tsp table salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup of add-ins of your choice (examples include peanut butter chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, Reese Pieces)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 13x9x2 inch baking pan.
  2. Beat butter and peanut butter in a large bowl with an electric beater or vigorously with a fork until well combined. Add sugars and beat well. Then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, whisking together until well combined. Then add this mixture to peanut butter mixture, mixing thoroughly. Still in add-ins.
  4. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan and bake for 25-40 minutes (depending on your oven), turning half way through baking to ensure even browning. Bake until lightly browned and tester comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  5. Cool completely in pan on wire rack; then cut into squares.

Adapted from Hershey’s Kitchens

IMG_2906The brown circles are the marshmallows puffing out. Although they don’t look pretty, those are the most delicious bites!

Zucchini Bread

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An abundance of locally grown zucchini has consumed farmer’s markets the last couple of months. You can find zucchini in all different sizes, colors, and shapes this time of year, which makes it a fun vegetable to try new recipes with. Even though I’ve made zucchini breads/muffins in the past, I never realized how high the water content of zucchini was until I squeezed the shreds of grated green wetness in the palm of my hand and a deep puddle of water formed in the sink. Apparently, water makes up about 95% of zucchini’s content! Lettuce and cucumbers are only 1% higher at 96%. Interesting stuff..

Anyways, as I hunted around for zucchini quick bread recipes, I wanted something that was low-fat and not too sweet and also used yogurt (since I have a lot on hand right now). I stumbled upon Melissa Clark’s recipe but tweaked it a little, which turned out to have delicious results!

IMG_2891The bread turned out very moist but not dense and lent a summery, fresh flavor with notes of caramel from the brown sugar, offering a richness without being heavy. It’s wonderful on it’s own or with a thin layer of cream cheese spread on top!

Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Zucchini Bread

Yield: one 9 by 5 inch loaf pan

Ingredients:

Butter or cooking spray for pan

1 1/2 cups or 185 g. grated zucchini (squeeze the water out of it before measuring it out)

scant 2/3 cup light brown sugar (if you’re like me and don’t like quick breads too sweet, 1/2 cup might be sufficient)

1/3 cup canola oil or olive oilIMG_2892

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups (190 g) all-purpose flour

scant 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest (I didn’t add this but think it would be a good addition)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the grated zucchini, sugar, olive oil, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  3. In a smaller bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, soda, lemon zest (if using) and spices.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing slowly and lightly until there are only a few streaks of flour. Then pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, rotating half way through baking. If the sides become done before the middle, cover with tin foil, and continue to bake in small increments (3-4 minutes) until the middle is cooked through. When tested with a toothpick, it should come out with a few moist crumbs.
  5. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes and then invert bread onto rack to cool completely.

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