Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – A Bonus Recipe

Grandma and Becky

Grandma Dora pulling my sister in a wagon on a snowy day. Maybe she couldn’t resist being out in the snow either.

The snow is perfect right now.  It has been for days and I can’t seem to keep myself from going outside.  I know I have work to do inside, but when I look out at the snow sparkling in the sunlight, I just can’t resist.  I’ve been cross country skiing or sledding with my friends and family (and even by myself when no one else was available to go) almost every day this week.

So, I honestly haven’t taken a lot of time to bake this week, but when I did bake, I decided to go with my all time favorite.  I’ve made a lot of cookies in my day.  In fact, I’ve made a lot of chocolate chip cookies.  But, this is the one cookie recipe that I always come back to.  It is simply the best.  How could you go wrong with the combination of chocolate, peanut butter and oatmeal?  Well, I’ll tell you – you can’t go wrong.  Just like the snow that’s on the ground right now, it’s perfect.

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My sister and my nephews are coming over today while my brother-in-law goes with some of his friends to the car show in Detroit.  I decided I would make them some chocolate chip cookies for a treat when they came.  But, not just any chocolate chip cookies – peanut butter chocolate chip cookies!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars;  beat in peanut butter, egg and vanilla.  Combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt;  stir into the creamed mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool 1 minute before removing to a wire rack.  Yield:  2 dozen.

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First I creamed the butter and sugar together.

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Then I beat in the peanut butter, egg and vanilla.

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Next, I combined the flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt.  (My sister likes to blend up the oatmeal before she adds it.  It changes the texture and is very good too.)

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I stirred the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until I had a nice cookie dough.

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Next came the chocolate chips.  Doesn’t it look good enough to eat?

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After that I rolled it into balls and put it on the cookie sheets.

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I baked them at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  They turned a lovely golden brown.  I cooled them for a minute, then moved them onto a wire rack.  They smelled delicious!

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I’m sure that when my sister and nephews get here, I’ll try to coax them outside to play in the snow.  And, maybe when we come inside all wet and cold and happy, we’ll have a snack of milk and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  You just can’t go wrong with these cookies.  They are simply the best of the best!  You really have to try them!

Happy Baking!

Amy

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Fruity Baked Oatmeal – A Bonus Recipe

You might recall that when I gave you the recipe for the oatmeal bread I mentioned I really love baking with oatmeal.  I do.  And, so I have another oatmeal recipe for you.  I have been baking this breakfast dish for many years and it is one of my favorites.  I had never had baked oatmeal until I went on a retreat with some friends.  They were going to a missions conference at a retreat center and I went along with them to watch their boys during the meetings.  It was a nice place and I remember that they served baked oatmeal for breakfast.  I loved it and so I began looking for a recipe.  Once I found this recipe, I never turned back.  I’ve tried other baked oatmeal recipes, but they never measure up to this one.  I will give you the original recipe and then tell you how I have changed it over the years.  Both the original recipe, and the “healthier” version I have come up with are worth your time!

Fruity Baked Oatmeal

  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup chopped peeled tart apple
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh or frozen peaches
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • Additional fat-free milk, optional

In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Combine the eggs, milk, butter;  add to the dry ingredients.  Stir in the apple, peaches and blueberries. 

Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cut into squares.  Serve with milk if desired.

Putting it together is really quite simple.

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Just combine the dry ingredients.

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Then combine the wet ingredients.

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Add the fruit.

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Stir together.

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Put it in the pan and bake.

I have changed it a bit, to try to make it healthier.  Actually, I pretty much make it a little bit different every time.  But overall, here is my “new” version.

Amy’s Fruity Baked Oatmeal

  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup chopped peeled tart apple
  • 1 cup chopped fresh or frozen peaches
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

The directions to put it together are pretty much the same as the original recipe (dry ingredients, wet ingredients and then mix in fruit).  I use a slightly larger pan since I add more ingredients.  I also bake closer to 45 minutes.

My favorite way to make this is to put all of the ingredients together on a Saturday night.  Then, I stick it in the refrigerator overnight.  On Sunday morning I put it in the oven and it makes a nice breakfast before church.  The leftovers are also good warmed up in the microwave.  You can serve with milk like the recipe states or serve it with a dollop of yogurt.

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I’m glad I found this recipe.  It is one I’m sure I will always keep in my recipe box.  I hope you give it a try and add it to yours.  If you do, let me know what you think!

Happy Baking!

Amy

Oatmeal Bread

I love cooking with oatmeal.  I don’t know why, but I use tons of it in my cooking.  I already shared the oatmeal cookie recipe and I’m sure I’ll share more recipes with oatmeal as time goes on.  So, when I saw the oatmeal bread recipe in my Grandma Dora’s recipe box, I wanted to give it a try.

I normally do all of my bread baking in my bread machine, so this was going to be different for me.  I was thinking about how impressed my Grandma would have been with my bread machine.  But, when I said that to my mom she said, “Oh she would have probably said that she liked the old way better.”  Then, she went on to tell me that when my grandpa wasn’t making enough money on the farm, he worked at a limestone quarry for income.  He would be laid off in the wintertime, so he would help my grandma with kneading the bread when she made it.

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Oatmeal Bread

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 packages yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 6 to 7 cups sifted flour

Combine and bring to a boil in saucepan, 2 cups water and 1 1/2 cups rolled oats.  Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup molasses, 1 tablespoon salt and 2 tablespoons shortening.  Let cool.  Dissolve 2 packages yeast in 1 cup warm water.  When cool enough, put all together and add 6 to 7 cups sifted flour.  Mix into loaf and let rise as any bread.  Bake at 375 degrees from 3/4 to 1 hour.

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I started by combining the water and rolled oats.  Actually, I only had quick oats on hand, so I just used those.  It made a nice pan of oatmeal.

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After it had boiled a little bit, I removed it from the heat and added the molasses, salt and shortening.  It called for 1 tablespoon salt, but that just seemed like way too much.  I opted for 1 teaspoon instead.  The addition of the molasses made the mixture look dark and beautiful like chocolate.  (If you aren’t a fan of molasses, my guess is that honey could be substituted here.)

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I set the mixture aside to let it cool and combined the warm water with the yeast.  The recipe called for two packages of yeast.  I buy yeast in jars, so I looked up the conversion and found that 1 package of yeast is 2 1/4 teaspoons.  So, I needed 4 1/2 teaspoons altogether.  I stirred it up until the yeast dissolved in the water.

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Once everything was cool, I put it all in the kitchen aide.  I decided to use my kneading hook attachment although the regular paddle would probably have worked as well.  I added about 6 1/2 cups of flour before I thought it looked right.  The recipe just called for sifted flour.  I wasn’t sure whether to use all purpose flour or bread flour.  In the end, I decided on bread flour and I think it was a good choice.

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Next it said to “mix into loaf and let rise as any bread.”  Since, I usually let the bread machine do this part for me, I called my older sister, who likes to bake bread without the bread machine, for advice.  She said I should let it rise once until doubled in the bowl and then punch it down and let it rise again in the bread pan.  Both times I let it rise I covered the bowl or pan with plastic wrap, so it wouldn’t dry out.

Since it was such a beautiful day outside, I put the dough in the bowl (I should have greased the bowl first, but forgot) and went out for a walk.  When I came back, the dough had risen high up in the bowl.  I punched it down and prepared to put it in two greased loaf pans.  Although the recipe said “loaf” singular, I knew that with more than 6 cups of flour, this was going to make at least two loaves.  In the end, I think I should have used three loaf pans (or even four) because the two loaves were huge!

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After the second rising, I preheated the oven to 375 degrees.  After about 40 minutes the loaves were looking very done.  I let them go a few more minutes and took them out.  They were a nice brown color.  The loaves were so big that I wondered how they would be.  However, when I sliced the bread, I was happy to see that it was nice and soft and tasted good too.  My parents both tried some and raved over it.  My dad said it was “perfection.”  I wondered how it would be the second day.  It was still soft and tasted great – it was good toasted too.  I think this is one I’ll be making again!  I hope you’ll give it a try.  I think you will be happy that you did!

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Happy Baking!

Amy

Louise’s Oatmeal Drop Cookies

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My dad has lots of memories of eating cookies growing up.  We’ve already shared hermit cookies, ice box cookies and shortbread cookies.  But, since Grandma Dora’s recipe boxes are overflowing with cookie recipes, I decided to try another one.  I found several different oatmeal cookie recipes.  When I was trying to decide which one to use, I found one that had the word “good” written in the corner.  That seemed like a good sign, so I pulled it from the box.

My mom must have taken the idea of rating recipes in the upper right corner because she has the word “good” or “really good”, etc. written on many of her recipe cards.  My favorite is a recipe I found in her recipe box on which she wrote, “okay, not great.”  She must have tried the recipe, thought it was only okay, so wrote it on there, and then put it back into her recipe box.  Funny.

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Oatmeal Drop Cookie Recipe

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Oatmeal Drop Cookie Recipe

My grandma must have enjoyed swapping recipes because she had them from many different people.  This one says Louise up in the corner.  The recipe is as follows:

Oatmeal Drop Cookies

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup nut meats (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

Cream shortening and sugar thoroughly.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Sift together flour, baking powder, spices and salt.  Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.  Stir in vanilla.  Add raisins and oatmeal.  Drop from teaspoon on greased cookie sheet.  Bake in medium hot oven (375 degrees) for 15 minutes.  Makes 4 dozen.

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I creamed the shortening and sugar first.

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I then added the eggs one at a time.  It made a beautiful, creamy mixture.

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I then mixed together the dry ingredients (except the oatmeal) and the added them alternately with the milk.

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After that, I added the vanilla.  The recipe just called for nutmeat and raisins (no amounts).  I decided on a cup of each, but I’m sure they would be fine without them for those who don’t like those tastes.  I added the oatmeal, raisins and nutmeats and had a nice dough.

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I put the dough out on the cookie sheets.

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I baked them in the oven for about 13-15 minutes.  At first I thought this would be too long, but it turned out just right.

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The cookies were delicious.  They have a distinct, old fashioned taste that you’re sure to enjoy.  I hope you give them a try.

Happy Baking!

Amy

 

Granola – A Bonus Recipe

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Granola – I ate this bowl of granola for my breakfast right after I took the picture. It was delicious!

Since it is “back to school” time for a lot of families, I was thinking about how breakfast sometimes has to be done in a hurry.  When I was eating my favorite quick breakfast the other day, I thought about how I should share this great recipe with all of you.  This one, like the zucchini bread and the raspberry pie, is a bonus recipe because it does not come from my grandmother’s recipe box.  My good friend Linda gave me this recipe last summer.  She got it from her sister, also my good friend, Laurel.  I have made a lot of different granola recipes, but once I was given this one, I don’t deviate from it very often.  In fact, I often double it because it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for even longer.  And, as soon as it is gone, it is not long before I am stirring up another batch.

The recipe is as follows:

Granola

  • 4 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup each raw walnuts, almonds and cashews
  • 1/2 cup each raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola or veg oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately  Mix wet into dry and then spread out on a jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes, stirring after 30 minutes and then every 7-8 minutes until beginning to brown. Cool on counter and then place in fridge for 2-3 weeks. This is also delicious with dried cherries, cranberries or raisins.
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Granola cooling in the pan.

One of the nice things about this recipe is how you can change it to suit your tastes or what you have on hand.  I usually use 1/2 cup of flax seed meal and 1/2 cup of wheat germ in place of the sunflower and pumpkin seeds because that is what I have.  I also lower the maple syrup to 1/4 cup so I am eating less sugar and it still tastes great.  I also use whatever nuts I have on hand at the time.  It is so simple to put together.  I usually top it with yogurt and fresh fruit.
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Childhood birthday part with Linda, Laurel and Beth and our friends Sarah and Michael.

Linda, Laurel and their sister Beth were some of my sisters, brother and my best childhood friends.  In fact, they are more than childhood friends – they are our forever friends because we love them still and feel like we are with family whenever we are with them.  Thank you for the great recipe girls!
Happy Baking!
Amy