Peanut butter Nutella cookies

August 23, 2012 § 1 Comment

So continuing on my health food kick…I’ve been CRAVING cookies, which is not really a regular thing for me. Ice cream, yes. Chocolate, yes. But not generally cookies.

Now that I’m saying that, these cookies would be great with ice cream!

Anyway, saw this on ye olde Pinterest and was dying to try them. Thankfully we had everything on hand for a change. Now I will make them probably more frequently then I needed. This recipe yielded about 30 pretty large sized cookies for us.

This recipe from The Sisters Cafe as posted by Mindy.

Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks) room temperature
2/3 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy – we used creamy)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
heaping 1/3 cup Nutella
1. Cream butter, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla together until smooth.
2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt and add to butter mixture. Add Nutella in dollops over the top of the dough.  Use a butter knife to swirl the Nutella through the dough.  Do not over mix (as I was on the verge of doing because I didn’t follow the directions and just dumped all the Nutella in at once…).
3. Chill the dough in fridge for 15 minutes before spooning onto cookie sheet to firm the nutella.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Bake until slightly brown at edges.  Let cool a few minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to cooling rack.

Mike and Nick’s Improved Smith Island Cake (8 layer cake with raspberry buttercream and chocolate ganache frosting)

August 4, 2012 § 2 Comments

Made this cake for a recent birthday celebration. I’ve been wanting to make this again with a different/better frosting than used for the original recipe posted early in this blog’s life. This new concoction was undeniably successful. Even though the leftovers have to be kept in the fridge (because of the buttercream), this cake remained fresh, moist and really tasty for 4 days (only a emergency kept this from lasting that many days though). The cake recipe is the same as that posted before, but I’ll include it all for easier access.

For those that think making 8 cake layers is too much work (I assure you it’s really not), I think this combo would work very well in a two or three layer cake as well.

Raspberry buttercream adapted from Call me cupcake! and chocolate ganache frosting (not a glaze) adapted from Martha.



1 box cake mix (Duncan Hines yellow is the go-to, but use a flavor if you’d like, I suggest adding zest of 2 lemons to flavor)

1 can evaporated milk (1 1/2 cups)

1/3 cup water

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 t. salt

8 T. softened butter

The steps

1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease four 8″ round cake pans with cooking spray, dust with flour, and knock out any excess. Set aside.

2. Put cake mix, 1 1⁄2 cups evaporated milk, butter, vanilla, salt, eggs, and 1⁄3 cup water into a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 10–12 minutes.

3. Divide half the batter between prepared cake pans (if using 4 pans). Set remaining batter aside. Using the back of a spoon, spread out batter so that it covers the bottom of each pan, making it slightly thicker around the edges than in the middle. Bake until cooked through and golden around edges, 12–14 minutes. Set aside to let cool slightly, then loosen cake layers with a knife and invert onto cooling racks.

4. Wash and dry cake pans. Repeat process a second time with cooking spray and remaining flour and batter.

While all the cake layers are cooling, make the raspberry buttercream then the ganache.


Raspberry Buttercream 

This was on the sweet side for me when tasted alone but balanced really nicely in the cake. Adjust if desired or if using for another purpose (will also depend on your fruit).

5 egg whites

3/4 cups sugar

1 stick plus 6 T butter (just 2 T short of 2 sticks)

6 oz package of raspberries, macerated with a sprinkle of sugar


1. Pour eggs whites and sugar in a clean bowl to be used for a double-boiler. Put the bowl in your make-shift double-boiler (pyrex bowl over a pot with a little simmering water in it). Whisk the sugar and eggs constantly until the mixture gets to about 140 degrees F (or rub some of the mixture between figures, if sugar has melted you’re done).

2. Remove from heat, whip until white, fluffy and cool (should be mixture of shaving cream). Start adding butter 1 T at a time. This process can take 10-15 minutes. Just when you think you’ve done something wrong it all comes together. If it gets to cold, put over the double-boiler for a few seconds and re-whip. If it gets to hot and looks curdled and soupy, put it in the fridge briefly and re-whip.

3. Add raspberries (strain if desired, but I wanted it all in) and vanilla to taste. Whip until smooth.

4. Put just enough on each layer.


Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting

1.5 cups whipping cream

1/3 cups powdered sugar (a little more to taste if desired)

12 oz bittersweet chocolate (roughly chopped, I used 70% Ghirardelli and an amazing local chocolate)

pinch of salt

vanilla to taste

1. In a saucepan, bring the cream, sugar, salt to a gentle boil. Add vanilla, and pour over the chopped chocolate in a bowl.

2. Let stand, without stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk just until combined.

3. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until spreadable, about 1 hour.

chocolate raspberry torte

January 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

As many of you know, Mikey and Nick have decided to leave me ALL ALONE in our fair city.  Naturally, this makes me very sad.  On the upside, it also makes me a GENIUS for having opted for a cookbook-blog instead of a regular old cookbook. 

 If everyone asks really, really nicely, maybe Mikey and Nick will keep posting.  (Feel free to cheer Aine on, too, though I’m slightly concerned that she may start confusing things– and by “things” I mean “me”–  by posting in grams and such). 

Anyway, before they threw all of their belongings in a U-Haul and drove off into the sunset, we had a little going-away get-together.  I was in charge of making a Mikey-friendly dessert.  Since Mike hates strawberries, the Indian Giver cake was out.  Left without a standby, I sent a frantic e-mail to Gastronomy612.  That girl’s got the baking goods, and apparently also has really good taste in chocolate tortes.  The recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated, the (comments) are mine.

Makes one 9-inch cake, serving 12 to 16.   Published November 1, 2010.   From Cook’s Illustrated.

Original post here:


Why this recipe works:

–>We recommend using either Callebaut Intense Dark L-60-40NV or Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar, but any high-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate will work (I went the Ghiradelli route.  Unsurprisingly, thumbs up). If you’re refrigerating the cake for more than 1 hour in step 6, let it stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.


Cake and Filling
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine (see note)
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 3/4 cups (about 7 ounces) sliced almonds , lightly toasted
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (1 1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
5 large eggs
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup fresh raspberries , plus 16 individual berries for garnishing cake
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
Chocolate Ganache Glaze
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped fine (see note)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream


1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line bottom of two 9-inch-wide by 2-inch-high round cake pans with parchment paper. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Stir in vanilla and espresso powder.

2. Process 3/4 cup almonds in food processor until coarsely chopped, six to eight 1-second pulses; set aside to garnish cake (I just bought a package of slivered almonds and gave them a rough chop with a knife). Process remaining cup almonds until very finely ground, about 45 seconds (this is, in part, because I don’t own a food processor.  I do, however, own a coffee mill, which is very good at grinding almonds.  Though I wonder why one couldn’t just use almond powder). Add flour and salt and continue to process until combined, about 15 seconds (I combined by hand). Transfer almond-flour mixture to medium bowl. Process eggs in now-empty food processor until lightened in color and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes (did this in the Kitchen Aid). With processor running, slowly add sugar until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Using whisk, gently fold egg mixture into chocolate mixture until some streaks of egg remain. Sprinkle half almond-flour mixture over chocolate-egg mixture and gently whisk until just combined. Sprinkle in remaining almond-flour mixture and gently whisk until just combined.

3. Divide batter between cake pans and smooth with rubber spatula. Bake until center is firm and toothpick inserted into center comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer cakes to wire rack and cool completely in pan, about 30 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto cardboard rounds cut same size as diameter of cake and remove parchment paper. Using wire rack, reinvert 1 cake so top side faces up; slide back onto cardboard round.  (Cardboard rounds.  Hilarious.  Since there was a zero percent chance I was going to cut out cardboard circles, I covered the pans with a plate and quickly flipped.  Look, ma! No cardboard!)

4. TO ASSEMBLE TORTE: Place ½ cup raspberries in medium bowl and coarsely mash with fork. Stir in raspberry jam until just combined. Spread raspberry mixture onto cake layer that is top side up. Top with second cake layer, leaving it bottom side up. Transfer assembled cake, still on cardboard round, to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.  (I put everything on the dish I planned to serve the torte on, and set the torte atop several sheets of parchment paper.  In my mind, this is much easier than making more dirty dishes, as Cook’s suggests.  Then, when everything’s all done and you’re ready to serve, carefully pull out the parchment paper and you  have a nice, clean serving plate). 

5. FOR THE GLAZE: Melt chocolate and cream in medium heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and gently whisk until very smooth. Pour glaze onto center of assembled cake. Use offset spatula to spread glaze evenly over top of cake, letting it flow down sides. Spread glaze along sides of cake to coat evenly.

6. Using fine-mesh strainer, sift reserved almonds to remove any fine bits. Holding bottom of cake on cardboard round with 1 hand, gently press sifted almonds onto cake sides with other hand. Arrange raspberries around circumference. Refrigerate cake, still on rack, until glaze is set, at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Transfer cake to serving platter, slice, and serve.

Puppy Chow

December 21, 2010 § 1 Comment

This is probably the recipe from the box of cereal, but it’s still good.




9 cups of favorite Chex cereal

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


1. Measure cereal and pour into large bowl

2. Combine chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in 1 qt microwavable bowl. Microwave on high for 1-1.5 minutes, until melted. Stir in vanilla.

3. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal. Stir until all pieces are coated.

4. Pour cereal mix into large ziploc bag with powdered sugar. Shake until covered.

5. Spread on wax paper until cool.


December 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Or chocolate peanut butter oatmeal bars for the Midwesterners.


2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

3 tbl cocoa

1 stick butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

3 cups oats

1 tsp vanilla

Mix together first 4 ingredients. Bring to boil for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter, oats and vanilla. Mix well. Spread into ungreased 8 x 8 pan. Chill, then cut into squares (or drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper then chill). Eat.

AMAZING Chocolate Cupcakes

April 12, 2010 § 2 Comments

Ultimate chocolate cupcakes with ganache filling

with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

makes 12 cupcakes

AmTestK May 2010

The stuff:

Ganache filling

2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (Callebaut Intense Dark or Ghirardelli Bittersweet Baking Bar)

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 tbl powdered sugar

Chocolate cupcakes

3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/3 cup (1 oz) Dutch-processed cocoa

3/4 cup hot coffee

3/4 cup bread flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp table salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

6 tbl vegetable oil

2 large eggs

2 tsp white vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

Peanut butter buttercream frosting

The deal:

The Ganache: place chocolate, cream, and powdered sugar in microwave-safe bowl and heat on high 20-30 seconds. Whisk until smooth, place bowl in refrigerator and chill (no longer than 30 minutes). **Also can be done in make-shift double-boiler as I did.

The Cupcakes:

1. Preheat oven to 350, with oven-rack in middle position.

2. Line standard-sized muffin pan with baking-cup liners.

3. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Cool completely (20 minutes in fridge).

4. Whisk flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in medium bowl.

5. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa-coffee mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

6. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups (makes 12, with approx 1/2 cup in each).

7. Place one slightly rounded tsp of ganache filling on top of each cupcake.

8. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 17 to 19 minutes.

9. Cook in pan on wire rack until cool enough to touch (10 minutes). Remove from pan and cool on wire rack to room temperature before frosting.

10. Frost with 2-3 tbl delicious frosting.

smith island cake

January 27, 2010 § 2 Comments

Eight-Layer Chocolate–Peanut Butter Cake

8 large Reese’s peanut butter cups, frozen
Nonstick cooking spray
1⁄4 cup flour
1 18 1⁄4-oz. box yellow cake mix, preferably
Duncan Hines
2 cups plus 3 tbsp. evaporated milk
16 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄2 tsp. salt
4 eggs
6 cups confectioners’ sugar
1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1. Pulse 4 peanut butter cups in a food processor into small chunks; transfer to a bowl. Pulse remaining 4 peanut butter cups into a fine powder; transfer to another bowl. Chill both until ready to use.

2. Heat oven to 350°. Grease four 8″ round cake pans with cooking spray, dust with half the flour, and knock out any excess. Set aside. Put cake mix, 1 1⁄2 cups evaporated milk, half the butter, vanilla, salt, eggs, and 1⁄3 cup water into a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 10–12 minutes. Divide half the batter between prepared cake pans. Set remaining batter aside. Using the back of a spoon, spread out batter so that it covers the bottom of each pan, making it slightly thicker around the edges than in the middle. Bake until cooked through and golden around edges, 12–14 minutes. Set aside to let cool slightly, then loosen cake layers with a knife and invert onto cooling racks. Wash and dry cake pans. Repeat process a second time with cooking spray and remaining flour and batter.

3. When all 8 cake layers have cooled, make the icing. Combine remaining milk, sugar, and cocoa in a medium pot; stir well, then add remaining butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter is melted and icing is shiny, 4–5 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Stir well.

4. Spread a cake layer with about 1⁄4 cup of icing; sprinkle with about 1 tbsp. powdered peanut butter cups. Top with another cake layer and repeat process to make 8 layers in all. Frost outside of cake with remaining icing; sprinkle top with peanut butter cup chunks. Let sit for 2–3 hours before serving. The cake can be stored for up to a week refrigerated in an airtight container.

We need to play around with the frosting a bit to make it perfect, but here’s how we started.

This version of the Smith Island cake comes from island resident Mary Ada Marshall. It’s Maryland’s state cake (and we all know that means a lot).

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