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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Chocolate Espresso Coconut Mousse with Almond Crumble

Chocolate Espresso Coconut Mousse with a crunch Almond Crumble - this is what dessert is supposed to look like!

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So I, like so many other people, LOVE Trader Joe’s. I mean seriously, how can you not go into one and get excited about your cooking potential! Plus it’s so cheap and who doesn't love that!!!

So during a recent visit, I picked up some of their coconut cream with absolutely no plans for it. I was just one of those items I needed to have for 2 very good reasons.

  1. I rarely see coconut cream rather than coconut milk

  2. the label was just so pretty

So after having it for a few days, I started doing a little brainstorming and that is where this mousse was born. Now, I love a good chocolate mousse but sometimes just having straight mousse doesn’t cut it. While it is yummy and has a great texture I tend to like when textures are mixed. That’s why cheesecake is so delicious, a crunchy crust with smooth creamy filling = a match made in heaven!

Now, this crumble is a bit reminiscent of one of my all-time favourite desserts - Butter Brickle. If you have never tried it you are soooo missing out, it’s crumble, caramel and ice cream - perfection on a hot summer day. So while this isn’t exactly the same it gives the same crunchy element to complement the smooth creamy mousse.

So do yourself a favour and keep a few cans of coconut mousse in your fridge at all times because you can never be too prepared when it comes to dessert!

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prep time 20 minutes

cook time 10 minutes

total time 30 minutes

servings 4

Ingredients

1/ 3 cup slivered almonds

1/3 cup oatmeal

3 tbsp cold butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 oz dark chocolate

2 cans coconut cream (refrigerated a minimum of 12 hours)

2 tbsp espresso or dark coffee

4 tbsp white sugar

2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl combine almonds, oatmeal and brown sugar. Using a cheese grater grate in butter and mix together until crumbly. Press onto a small cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

In the bowl of your stand mixer add in your cans of cold coconut cream - being sure to only use the cream that is on the top and not any of the coconut water. To the cream add in sugar, vanilla, coffee. Beat on high for 2-3 minutes or until it is light and fluffy like whip cream.

While the coconut is whipping melt your dark chocolate using a double boiler or microwave. Once the coconut cream is fully whipped carefully fold in the chocolate.

To assemble layer divide 1/8 of the crumble in the bottom of 4 glasses or dessert bowls. Divide mousse between each cup then top with remaining crumble. Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving.

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Double Chocolate Mexican Hot Coco Cookies

These double chocolate cookies are kicked up with a hit of cayenne pepper, perfect to finish off any Cinco De Mayo feast!

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So it’s sunny and bright today but in typical Alberta fashion this past weekend it snowed!!! It’s almost May and I know, I know snow happens often May in Alberta, but for some reason, it’s still always really shocking especially when it was sunny and beautiful the week before and people were talking about starting to get their yards ready for summer.

So since it’s almost May it’s totally Cinco De Mayo time which always means a little bit of spice. It’s always easy to add spice into your savour dishes but often times the sweet ones get left behind, except for Mexican Hot Chocolate.

That hit of cayenne is the perfect kick with chocolate and translated perfectly into these cookies. The double chocolate gives an extra rich flavour and the slight burn of the cayenne give a surprise that you don't expect.

so if your hosting a Cinco de Mayo party with weekend finish it off with these little treats, your guests will love you for it!

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prep time 15 minutes

cook time 12 minutes

total time 27 minutes

servings 12 - 14 cookies


Ingredients

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup dark chocolate

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1/2 tsp baking soda

2/3 cup flour

pinch of salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. In a small saucepan add in butter and melt. Remove from heat then add in finely chopped dark chocolate and stir until chocolate is completely melted and incorporated into your butter.

Pour butter/chocolate mixture into a medium bowl then add in cayenne, brown sugar, and egg and beat to combine.

In a small bowl combine baking soda, flour and salt. Stir then add 1/2 of mixture into the dough and stir using a wooden spoon. Add remaining flour and stir then add in chocolate chips and mix until they are evenly distributed.

Bake for 9-12 minutes then allow to cool on a cooling rack.

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Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the most buttery tender cookies you will ever have. They are a cross between a shortbread and a traditional chocolate chip cookie and the perfect valentines day treat!

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Ok so valentines day is just around the corner, I don’t know about you but it’s one of my favourite times of the year to make cookies. Nothing beats pretty heart-shaped cookies, looking at them just makes me smile.

Now, besides these cookies looking so cute they also taste sooo good. With the addition of condensed milk, these cookies are more like a shortbread cookie than a traditional chocolate chip.

I also really love that I was able to roll these cookies out and use a cookie cutter rather than do a traditional drop style. Now, if you're in a hurry certainly go with the traditional drop, just make sure you press then down a little bit as they don’t spread very much as they bake. I iced a few of my cookies as well just to add an extra special treat, but it’s certainly not necessary.

So go ahead and get started on your valentines day treats!

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prep time 20 minutes

cook time 10 minutes x 3 batches

total time 50 minutes

servings approx. 36 cookies


Ingredients

3/4 cup butter

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 cup condensed milk

1 1/2 cup flour (plus more for dusting)

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl beat together butter sugar and condensed milk. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt, stir until well combined then add in chocolate chips and stir until evenly distributed. (if your cookie dough is very sticky add additional flour 1 tbsp at a time until it is able to be handled without sticking to your hands.

On a heavily floured surface place your dough, flour the top, then roll out until it the same thickness as your chocolate chips. Using a floured cookie cutter cut into hearts then place a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned on the edges. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

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Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate

This delicious hot chocolate gives the dairy-free people of the world the option to enjoy this classic treat!

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Well, Christmas is over which means one thing in Canada - Boxing Day shopping and trying to find the best sales all while freezing because you had to park about a mile away from each store and you need to go to at least 6 different places.

So what better way to warm up than with a big mug of hot chocolate? Now here is the question, do you know the difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa? Hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder and hot chocolate is from melting down chocolate. So to use up all those bars of chocolate you inevitably have leftover hot chocolate is a natural choice. Making it with coconut milk also means the entire family can enjoy it and you can splurge on one last decadent treat - that is until New Year's Eve!

If you want to make this treat a bit more adult you can always add a shot of baileys of peppermint schnapps. That is only if your celebrations plan to continue on for the rest of the week!

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prep time 5 minutes

cook time 10 minutes

total time 15 minutes

servings 4

Ingredients

1 can light coconut milk

1 can regular coconut milk

1 bar of solid milk chocolate

1 bar solid dark chocolate

1 tbsp vanilla

1 tbsp almond extract

Instructions

In a large sauce heat both cans of coconut milk and whisk until smooth. Break chocolate into pieces and place into milk. Slowly bring to a low simmer until chocolate is melted. Simmer 5 minutes then add vanilla and almond extract. Serve immediately.

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