Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

You guys, I have some big news: I finally got the KitchenAid stand mixer I’ve been dreaming of for years! So naturally, I had to put it to use right away, and what better way to do that than to whip up a batch of big, cake-y and super-indulgent Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (as requested by Harrison)?

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Whether it’s all thanks to my new mixer or not, this recipe ended up being surprisingly simple to pull off, and it made nearly 20 thick, rich and delightfully peanut buttery cookies that I ate way too many of. (No shame.)

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Because they’re pretty dense and cake-y, they’re best right out of the oven or within a day of baking, which keeps them from tasting a little dry. And even though you’re going to want to eat the entire batch at once, their flavor is so intense and delicious that one (or two!) at a time is more than enough.

Check out the recipe below, then bake these up for your first fall get-together. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

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Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Yield: 15-18 cookies (Recipe via The Baker Upstairs)

1 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups coarsely chopped peanut butter cups

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment.

2. In small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, then set aside.

3. In large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar until well combined. Add egg, vanilla and milk, and mix until combined.

4. Add dry ingredients and mix to form a thick dough. (If the dough is very dry and crumbly, add an extra tablespoon or so of milk to help it come together.) Gently fold in peanut butter cups, reserving about 1/4 cup.

5. Scoop large spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle with remaining peanut butter cups.

6. Bake 12-14 minutes, being careful not to over bake. Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.

12 Homemade Ice Cream Recipes to Beat the Heat

My love for sweets isn’t very discriminating. Cakes, cookies, brownies, doughnuts, macaroons: You put them in front of me and I’ll totally devour them. However, there’s one sweet treat that I typically don’t go crazy for: ice cream (milkshakes are a whole other story …)—unless it’s homemade ice cream, of course. To me, there’s just something undeniably amazing and indulgent about a sweet, creamy batch of homemade ice cream on a hot summer night. And though I love basic flavors like chocolate, strawberry and peach (my favorite!), it’s also fun to play around with more creative (and even more delicious) flavors, too. That’s why I’ve rounded up 12 super-sweet and sure-to-cool-you-off homemade ice cream recipes to try out this summer:

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Clockwise from top left:Honey Ricotta Ice Cream from Wonky Wonderful; S’mores Ice Cream from The Gunny Sack; Caramel Pecan Chocolate Ripple Ice Cream from Kitchen Simplicity; Oatmeal Cookie Chunk Ice Cream from Dinner or Dessert; Bacon Ice Cream from Bacon Wiki; and Brown Butter Maple Nut Ice Cream from Country Living.

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Clockwise from top left: Creme Brulee Ice Cream from CompleteRecipes.com; Key Lime Pie Ice Cream from MyRecipes; Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream (photo via Creature Comforts); Snickers Ice Cream from Lauren’s Latest; Hazelnut Praline Ice Cream from The Sugar Hit; and Lemon Meringue Ice Cream from Sifting Focus.

You guys, these all look so delicious that I hardly know where to start with picking my favorites. I really love rich, indulgent flavors, so the Brown Butter Maple Nut, Bacon, Peanut Butter Cup and Snickers recipes all sound amazing. But I also love a lighter, more savory flavor come summer, so the Lemon Meringue, Honey Ricotta and Key Lime Pie versions might be a good place to start, too. If I had to pick a favorite though, I think that Hazelnut Praline recipe is definitely taking home the prize.

Do you make your own ice cream for summertime? If so, what’s your favorite flavor to whip up?

Oreo Fudge Brownies

Monday mornings are never my favorite, but knowing what I have to look forward to—including a bout of warmer weather and a later sunset—today isn’t looking too shabby. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m coming off of an amazing weekend with friends, who flew up from North Carolina for a few days of sightseeing, catching up and indulging in some great food and drinks.

Instead of going out for dinner every night while they were in town, we made a nice little meal at home on Friday evening for the four of us. And because my friend Katie has almost as big of a sweet tooth as I do, I knew I was going to need a delicious dessert recipe to finish off the meal. After scouring options on my favorite Pinterest board, I found one that looked unbelievable and unbelievably easy to make: Oreo Fudge Brownies.

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I won’t embarrass myself by admitting how many of these brownies I actually consumed over the course of the weekend (or the fact that I ate them for breakfast multiple days in a row), but I will say that it was one of the best brownie recipes I’ve ever tried. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the cookies & cream ice cream the recipe called for (how that’s possible, I’m still not sure), so my batch was lacking that delicious ingredient. And even though they were amazing, fudgy and melt-in-your-mouth without it, I can’t wait to try out this recipe again to see what kind of difference the ice cream really makes.

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Check out the recipe below, then run to the kitchen immediately to make this amazing treat. Trust me, you won’t be sorry! (Your diet, on the other hand, may be a different story.)

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Oreo Fudge Brownies

via Kevin & Amanda

1 box brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownie mix)

Eggs + oil, as called for by brownie mix

1 heaping half cup Cookies ‘N Cream ice cream

1/4 cup hot fudge sauce, chilled or at room temperature

1 package Oreos

1. Preheat oven according to directions on brownie-mix box. Grease 8×8-inch baking dish generously with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Combine brownie mix, eggs and oil as directed on back of brownie-mix box, but do not add water.

3. Add ice cream and hot fudge to brownie batter, and stir to combine.

4. Pour half of batter into baking dish, then layer with Oreos. Top with remaining batter.

5. Bake 40-50 minutes, or as directed on back of box.

Sweet Treats: Valentine’s Day Desserts

This might make me a wee bit boring, but I’m not a hugely romantic person who likes to make (or receive) grand gestures or elaborately planned-out celebrations. That’s probably why Harrison and I never make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day—a holiday that typically consists of us going out for a simple dinner or making a nice meal at home, just like we would do on any other weekend. No gifts are needed or exchanged, of course, but if they were, I know exactly what I would want: Sweets. (That, or a shopping spree.)

As much as I like to be on the receiving end of sweets, I also love to make desserts and candies for any possible holiday or occasion, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), we’ll be in London for the holiday this year, so I won’t be able to whip up any yummy, heart-shaped sweets and treats. But that doesn’t mean a girl can’t look!

Even though we won’t be celebrating with homemade desserts, I found myself searching for them anyway, and I’ve managed to come up with a lineup of six Valentine’s Day desserts and candies that look adorable, delicious and just plain fun to eat. Check them out:

Clockwise from top left: Hazelnut Hearts via Good Housekeeping; Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies via Sally's Baking Addiction; Strawberry Chocolate Hand Pies via Days of Chalk and Chocolate; Cherry Heart Cutout Cupcakes via Food, Family & Finds; Heart-Shaped Soft Pretzels with Pink Sea Salt via Say Yes; and Brownie Mix Truffles via Iowa Girl Eats

Clockwise from top left: Hazelnut Hearts via Good Housekeeping; Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies via Sally’s Baking Addiction; Strawberry Chocolate Hand Pies via Days of Chalk and Chocolate; Cherry Heart Cutout Cupcakes via Food, Family & Finds; Heart-Shaped Soft Pretzels with Pink Sea Salt via Say Yes; and Brownie Mix Truffles via Iowa Girl Eats

Whether you’re baking up some treats for your Valentine, making holiday-themed goodies for your girlfriends or whipping up some sweets for the office, any one (or all!) of these six recipes would be perfect. Those hazelnut hearts and red velvet brownies look divine, and there’s nothing prettier than those hand pies or cutout cupcakes. Even beginner bakers can make the truffles in no time, and the heart-shaped pretzels would be great for anyone who likes salty more than sweet (if that kind of person even exists …).

Which of these sweets would you make for Valentine’s Day, and what’s your favorite dessert for the holiday?

Marbled Brownies

You guys, I am so ready for a new year! The New Year’s Eve outfit has been picked, the goals have been set, the resolutions have been made—2014, you’re mine! I came to terms with my resolutions this year and, for once, didn’t even attempt to add “eat better” or “cut down on sweets” to the list. And to be honest, it’s not because I don’t eat healthfully anyway. I love a good salad, and you can’t find a girl out there who loves her fruit and veggies more than I do. No, it’s because I just can’t resist the sweets. Put cakes, brownies, cookies, candies or pies anywhere in my vicinity, and you can be sure I’ll be munching on them within seconds.

Take these delicious Marbled Brownies, for example. I made these the other week for Harrison to take to his company’s holiday potluck, and even though they most definitely weren’t for me, I may or may not have “messed up” a few bite-sized pieces just so I could nibble on them. And believe me, it was so worth it.

food, recipe, recipes, desserts, sweets, baked goods, baking, cooking, dessert recipes, brownies, chocolate brownies, cream cheese, brownies recipe, marbled brownies, marbled brownies recipeI’ve actually never made brownies from scratch before, so I was surprised at how quick and easy it was to whip up the batter. And because they were made with a whole bar of unsweetened chocolate, they were so much richer and more flavor-packed than anything you can get out of a box. These brownies would have been delicious on their own—or even with a light layer of chocolate frosting over them—but I wanted to add in the cream cheese “batter” to make it more visually appealing.

food, recipe, recipes, desserts, sweets, baked goods, baking, cooking, dessert recipes, brownies, chocolate brownies, cream cheese, brownies recipe, marbled brownies, marbled brownies recipeUnfortunately, I accidentally overstirred the brownie-cream cheese mixture, so I didn’t get that cool marbling effect you would expect from a recipe like this. But what can I say? That’s what happens when you watch “Sex and The City” episodes while baking.

Check out the recipe below, and then tell me about some of your New Year’s resolutions (especially if they including eating more sweets!).

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Yield: 4 dozen (via Southern Living’s Christmas Cookbook)

1 4-ounce unsweetened chocolate baking bar, chopped

3/4 cup butter

2 cups, plus 1/4 cup sugar

4 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 8-ounce-package softened cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals.

2. Whisk in 2 cups sugar and 4 eggs until well blended. Stir in flour, then spread half of batter into greased 13- x 9-inch pan.

3. Beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg yolk and vanilla extract at medium speed with electric mixer until smooth.

4. Dollop cream cheese mixture over brownie batter in pan. Dollop with remaining brownie batter, and swirl together using a paring knife.

5. Bake for 35–40 minutes, then cool 1 hour on a wire rack.

Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls

Maybe it’s just the kid in me, but I go nuts over cinnamon rolls. I mean, you just can’t beat the taste (or smell!) of fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon rolls drizzled with a gooey, sweet glaze. Growing up, I couldn’t wait for Saturday mornings when my mom would bake a batch of cinnamon rolls, and I still haven’t grown out of my obsession over this sweet breakfast treat. That’s just one reason why I knew I had to make these Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls the second I saw them.

food, breakfast, dessert, sweets, recipe, recipes, breakfast recipe, dessert recipe, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon rolls recipe, strawberry cinnamon rolls, strawberry cinnamon rolls recipe, strawberries, strawberry jamI have to be honest: I’ve never had flavored cinnamon rolls before I baked these. But, I thought, how can you go wrong with a combo of cinnamon, strawberry jam and freshly sliced strawberries? The answer: You can’t!

food, breakfast, dessert, sweets, recipe, recipes, breakfast recipe, dessert recipe, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon rolls recipe, strawberry cinnamon rolls, strawberry cinnamon rolls recipe, strawberries, strawberry jamThese cinnamon rolls were super simple and fun to make, and they didn’t take hours to whip up like some of the other recipes out there. And surprisingly enough, they were just as delicious without the easy-to-make icing as they were with it.

food, breakfast, dessert, sweets, recipe, recipes, breakfast recipe, dessert recipe, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon rolls recipe, strawberry cinnamon rolls, strawberry cinnamon rolls recipe, strawberries, strawberry jamI’m sure this breakfast recipe is even better during the summer season—and can probably be made with different jams and fruits—but I couldn’t pass up a chance to incorporate more Christmas colors into my holiday baking. And who could wait another six months to devour these mouth-watering treats anyway? Check out the recipe below:

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Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 12 rolls (via A Few Short Cuts)

3/4 cup, plus 1-2 tablespoons milk

1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons instant yeast

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/4 cup water

1 cup strawberry jam

1/2, plus 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups sliced strawberries

1 cup powdered sugar

1. Heat 3/4 cup milk in small saucepan until warm. Mix in butter until melted, then cool until lukewarm.

2. In large bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix well.

3. Stir in egg and 1/4 cup water, and mix well. Stir in milk mixture until dough forms.

4. Stir in additional cup of flour. When dough comes together, flip onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.

5. Return dough ball to bowl, cover with a damp towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

6. Roll out dough into a 15 x 10-inch rectangle. Spread strawberry jam across dough, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Evenly cover dough with sliced strawberries.

7. Roll up dough and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal-size rolls.

8. Place rolls cut-side up in a greased baking dish. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. While waiting, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

9. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

10. While baking, mix powdered sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon with 1 tablespoon milk. Stir until glaze forms, adding up to 1 additional tablespoon of milk for desired consistency. Drizzle glaze over finished rolls.

Red Velvet Cookies

Decorating the tree, shopping for (and opening!) presents, spending time with family. These are all things I love about Christmas. But my favorite part by far: holiday baking. From cookies and cakes to breads, truffles and more, I love to whip up lots of sweet stuff that brings joy to everyone (myself especially) during the holidays.

Harrison’s stepdad was in town this past weekend and, like me, he has a total sweet tooth. I wanted to send him home with something special, so I decided to make my first holiday dessert of the season: Red Velvet Cookies. And seriously, I am so glad I did.

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The best part? With one batch making so many cookies, I had plenty to give out and to keep for myself. Check out the recipe below, and tell me: What’s your favorite holiday cookie to bake or eat?

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Red Velvet Cookies

Yield: 24 cookies (via Whipperberry Dish)

1 box red velvet cake mix

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 sticks butter, softened

1 large egg

2 cups white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In mixing bowl, beat butter until soft and fluffy. Slowly add cake mix and flour, and combine.

3. Add egg, and mix completely. Add white chocolate chips, and mix until well combined.

4. Form dough into 1-inch balls, and place onto non-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, then let cool on wire rack.