It was time to clean out the pantry.  In the pile of leftover-baking-ingredients, there were two half-full bags of Jammy Bits.  One bag was raspberry and one was blueberry, both leftover from fruitcakes this past Christmas.  I didn’t want to make fruitcake in July, but I did have this really good peanut butter cookie recipe from the Fluffernutters. 

 

So I made the cookies, again.  I learned, this time, that an 18oz jar of peanut butter was almost exactly the two cups I needed.  I didn’t mention the oatmeal last time, but it adds some structure and texture that most peanut butter cookies lack.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

And this time, as the very last step, I added in just over a cup of mixed Jammy Bits.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

I was worried they’d break up in the stand mixer, but they held up fine.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

In the oven, the jam bits melted into tiny pockets of jelly.  I was worried that it would overwhelm the peanut butter, but they came out nicely balanced. 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

All in all, one of my more successful pantry-cleaning afternoons!

( see the recipe )

Today’s recipe is from Houston Classic Desserts (Classics Series).  I was having people over on short notice, and I wanted something different.  I’d gotten the book a few days before, and flipped through it, looking for something that didn’t take all day in the kitchen, but was a step up from my usual cookies.

And I can’t ever resist a sandwich cookie, and these looked really, really good. 

The outsides are a particularly peanut butter-y – two whole cups of peanut butter! – and some oatmeal, but they’re otherwise a standard peanut butter cookie recipe.  I really enjoyed them, and I’d make them again just to eat as peanut butter cookies.

They get scooped onto a baking sheet:

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And flattened after they’re baked.  I was tempted to put the traditional fork marks in them, but I didn’t.  Anyone who got within ten feet of them could smell the peanut butter, so I didn’t think it was necessary.

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One side of the filling is marshmallow fluff.  The other side is peanut butter, a bit of butter, and powdered sugar.  I was tempted to use crunchy peanut butter, but I was worried that it would get stuck in the piping bag.  Next time, I might sprinkle a handful of whole nuts in the middle, too.

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Assemble.  Eat.

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They’re good.  I’m not a huge fan of marshmallow fluff, but these were good.  I’m make them again – maybe one of these days, I’ll just throw an entire party based around sandwich cookies!

( see the recipe )

After the maple mousse, I was in the mood to make another kind of mousse.  I’ve been looking at this peanut butter mousse recipe for a while, and I was invited to a brunch. 

I liked the idea of the edible cups, so I started with those. I had small plastic molds that I use for peanut butter cups, so I painted the inside of the molds with a thin layer of chocolate, and put them in the fridge to harden.  The first batch had to be re-melted, after they stuck to the just-out-of-the-dishwasher Pyrex bowl.  For the next batch, I pre-chilled the bowl, and lined it with Saran Wrap just in case, and they were fine.

Once the shells were done, I made the mousse.  It’s very simple – beat 2/3rds of a cup of whipping cream until it makes soft peaks.  Then beat a cup of peanut butter and 8 ounces of softened cream cheese until smooth.  Sift in a cut of powdered sugar, add a teaspoon of vanilla, and beat until smooth.  Then fold into the whipped cream carefully.

I chilled it for a few hours, then piped it into the cups.  I wanted to use a star tip, but I forgot that mine had had an unfortunate encounter with the garbage disposal a few months ago, so I settled for a plain tip.  They would have been prettier with the star, but…

Peanut Butter Mousse

They were perfect.  The mousse was very, very rich, and would have been too much in a bigger serving.  These were just one bite – the perfect mix of peanut butter and chocolate.

( see the recipe )

I’m not a big Halloween person.  My neighborhood is mostly retirees, so in the 3.5 years I’ve lived there, I’ve never had a kid come by trick-or-treating.  Sometimes I buy candy just in case, but mostly I just ignore the entire holiday. 

On the other hand, I rarely ignore easy-to-make snack recipes.  So when I saw these bars on You Are What You Eat…or Reheat, I couldn’t pass them up. 

I’ve done a million recipes like these.  My mother used to make them with jelly in the middle (called Oatmeal Jelly Bars, of course).  I’ve seen them with peanut butter in the oatmeal crust and jelly in the middle.  But I’d never seen  a version with chocolate and Reese’s Pieces before.

Halloween Bars

The crust is a basic oatmeal bar crust – flour, melted butter, brown sugar, and oatmeal, some nuts if you like them.  About half of it gets pressed into the bottom of a 13×9. 

For the filling, melt a cup of chocolate chips and some butter in a can of Eagle Brand.  I’m tempted to call it a ganache, but I suspect there’s a Foodie Law against using “ganache” and “Eagle Brand” in the same paragraph, so I won’t.

Pour the chocolate over the crust, sprinkle with the Reese’s Pieces and the rest of the crust mixture, and bake for about half an hour.  That’s it.

This is what you get:

Halloween Bars

Perfect fall munchie food.  I wouldn’t make these all the time – they have an awful lot of processed stuff in them – but they’d make a great quick treat for an office Halloween party.

( see the recipe )