Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Cups

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Who can resist a Recess Peanut Butter Cup - I mean seriously, it might be the best “chocolate bar” ever invented! Lately, my favourite treat has actually been the dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joes - they are mini, delicious, and the perfect little after-dinner treat! I keep them in the fridge because 1 - it’s always warm here and I don’t want them to melt, and 2 - nothing beats really cold chocolate. Anybody with me on the cold chocolate front?

So while it is way to easy to pick up a pack of super yummy peanut butter cups it’s also kinda special to make your own now and then. Plus, if you're going to go to the trouble of making peanut butter cups you might as well up your game and add in a few extra ingredients right! Peanut and chocolate are basically the perfect canvas for adding in extra flavours. I have done a layer of raspberry jam, making them peanut butter and jelly cups, or how about adding in some marshmallow fluff, bananas, or go really crazy and toss in a little bacon - seriously, your options are endless

Today I was feeling the salted caramel and crunchy peanuts, and it honestly brings these peanut butter cups to the next level - plus the sea salt makes them so addictive, which is why storing them in the fridge is another solid plan because out of sight out of mind. It may actually help stop you from eating the entire batch in one sitting!

So next time you have a craving for your favourite peanut butter treat whip up a batch, though be careful, because you may find yourself making these more often than you will want to admit!

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prep time 40 minutes

total time 40 minutes

servings 12

Ingredients

2 cups good quality chocolate

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 tbsp icing sugar

1/4 cup caramel + more to drizzle over the top

1/4 cup salted peanuts

coarse sea salt

Instructions

Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners. In a small bowl place 1 cup of the chocolate and melt in the microwave for 1 minute - stopping every 20 seconds to stir.

Scoop a teaspoon of the chocolate into the bottom of each paper lines and spread around the entire bottom and 1/2 an inch up the sides.

While the chocolate is setting combine peanut butter and icing sugar in a small bowl and whip to combine - microwaving for 20 seconds if the peanut butter is too thick. Divide the peanut butter evenly between each of the chocolate cups - spreading so it fully covers the bottom.

Divide caramel over the peanut butter then sprinkle with the salted peanuts. Let sit for 10 minutes in the refrigerator to allow to harden.

Microwave remaining chocolate for 1 minute stirring every 20 seconds. Pour chocolate over each of the cups then tap the pan so that the tops become smooth. Allow to set for 10 minutes on the counter then drizzle with a small amount of caramel and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Allow peanut butter cups to fully set before serving.

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S'mores Cookies

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Ok, guys, this recipe is a really really good one - if I do say for myself! I mean seriously, how can you go wrong with graham wafers, marshmallows and chocolate? Making this even better is that it’s a cookie, so less mess and fuss than making actual s’mores!

So I made these cookies this past weekend when we went to a bonfire on the beach. We initially were going to bring all the fixings for s’mores, but then realized we didn’t have any marshmallow roasting sticks, so to make things easy the cookie was born. Let’s just say that the classic s’mores weren’t missed in the slightest so many people said that these were the best cookies they had ever had!!!

They are so special and look amazing yet the are actually pretty simple to make. You basically make a standard chocolate chip cookie with the addition of chopped up graham wafers then topping with all of the classic s’mores flavours. The key to getting that extra crunchy top and golden brown marshmallows is to broil them for just a minute. It seriously is the key making good cookies great - plus your house smells like a s’mores, so that's a bonus!

So skip the s’mores at your next campfires and go for the cookie - I promise this is a twist on a classic that any s’mores lover will wholeheartedly approve of!

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prep time 20 minutes

cook time 15 minutes x 3 batches

total time 1 hour 5 minutes

servings 24 cookies

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cup chopped graham wafers + crumbs for garnishing

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup butter at room temperature

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 cup chocolate chunks + more for garnishing

72 mini marshmallow

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl combine flour, cropped graham wafers, baking powder + salt then set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer place butter and whip until light and fluffy. Add in white and brown sugar and beat on medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until it’s all fully combined. Add in vanilla and eggs and beat until just combined.

To the wet ingredients add in your flour and stir until flour ifs fully incorporated then stir in your 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Using a cookie scoop of teaspoon place heaping spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Press 3 marshmallows into the top of each cookie along with a few chunks of chocolate then sprinkle with graham wafer crumbs. Bake for 8-14 minutes or until cookies are golden and the marshmallows are just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack then continue until all of your dough has been used.

One all of your cookies are baked turn your oven to broil. Place cookies back on your cookie sheet (you can crowd them at this point as they will not spread). Broil for 1-2 minutes keeping a close eye on them so that they do not burn. Allow the marshmallows to toast and the graham wafers to brown.

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The Best Ever Cornbread

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I have had some really good and some really bad cornbread over the years, and I'm sad to say that more often than not the cornbread in restaurants are the most disappointing.

So a few weeks ago we were in Montana visiting friends and we had this cornbread. Aaron has said many times since then that it was the best cornbread he has ever had, so needless to say I had to make it. Now the key to making this cornbread extra delicious is bacon drippings. I know, I know, your probably thinking bacon drippings - seriously? But trust me, it gives it the exact flavour that is needed to make this cornbread delicious. But, if you haven’t recently cooked some bacon or it’s just not your thing you can always use butter.

The other great thing about this bread is that it’s made in a cast iron pan which is one of my most favourite thing to cook with. It gives nice even heat and cleans up so easily contrary to what many believe.

So next time you are making your favourite chilli or almost any food that saucy and includes BBQ sauce make sure you whip up this cornbread. It’s a classic combination that just can’t be beaten!

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prep time 15 minutes

cook time 30 minutes

total time 45 minutes

servings 12

Ingredients

4 tbsp bacon drippings or butter

1 1/2 cup medium coarse cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup half + half or milk

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375. In an 8 or 10 inch cast-iron pan place bacon drippings or butter and put in the oven.

While the oven is preheating combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt + sugar. In a small bowl combine eggs and half + half and whisk until well combined. Pour wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Remove pan from hot oven and carefully pour the batter into the pan then using the back of a spoon or spatula even out the top.

Bake of 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown and the bread has pulled away from the edges. Serve while hot or warm.

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Cherry Vanilla Scones

Cherry + Vanilla Scones = Breakfast Love!!!

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I really love scones. It probably all stems back to my Starbucks days and eating way way too many Pumpkin Scones, but what else is a girl to do when you start work at 4:45 - I mean seriously, a scone was a necessity. Plus, suprisingly Starbucks has really good pastries, so resisiting was useless.

So since then, I have been on a mission to make the best possible scones ever! So far the winning scone is my raspberry almond - but this recipe is giving that one a run for my money. The recipes are close, yet this one has extra vanilla and fresh, sweet cherries instead of raspberries and almonds.

Now if you are like me cherry season is very exciting, probably because it’s so short-lived. Plus, unlike so many other fruits that are around all year (even though they are coming from way too far away), cherries don’t tend to be available, at least where I live. So I figure if you only get them for a short time - eat as many as you can right!

So if you love cherries as much as I do you absolutely must make these scones. The addition of vanilla makes these scones perfect and a wonderful breakfast or mid-day snack.

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prep time 20 minutes

cook time 22 minutes

total time 42 minutes

servings 8

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1 tbsp baking powder

3 tbsp white sugar

1/2 tsp salt

6 tbsp cold butter

1 cup milk

1 tbsp vanilla

1 cup halved cherries

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. To the flour add in butter that has been grated using a cheese grater. Toss to combine being sure that all of the butter is coated in flour and the mixture is crumbly.

Add in milk and vanilla and stir until just combined. Turn your dough onto a floured surface and gently knead to form a ball - adding additional flour if needed. To the ball add in the halved cherries and then knead one last time then flatten into 1 1/2 inch round. Cut out the scones into your desired shape then place on a baking sheet and bake 18-22 minutes or until scones are lightly browned.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before icing.

Vanilla Icing

5 cherries

1 tbsp sugar

1 cup icing sugar

1 tbsp white vanilla

2 - 4 tsp milk

In a small bowl combine finely chopped cherries and white sugar. Mash together then allow to sit for 5 minute to let the juices release from the cherries.

In a second bowl combine icing sugar, vanilla and milk - whisking until no lumps remain. Use a mesh strainer to press cherry juice into the icing. Stir then drizzle over cooled scones.

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