Double Butterscotch Cookies

I love fall, the cooler weather makes it the perfect time for baking. Usually, when baking for myself, I lean toward recipes that involve peanut butter or chocolate or a combination of both! Today I turned to a new cookbook I received for my birthday, The Taste of Home Cookbook. I would highly recommend you add this cookbook to your collection. It offers everything from appetizers to desserts and many of the recipes are simple and use ingredients often already found in your kitchen.

After paging through all of the cake, brownie cookies and bar recipes I decided I was in the mood for some cookies. What drew me to this recipe was that these cookies are meant to be slice and bakes. You prep the dough, form into logs, wrap in Seran Wrap and chill until ready to bake. When the craving hits, you just cut off slices of dough and bake as many as you like. How perfect is that for times when you crave only a few cookies or when you have friends stop by unexpectedly and you want to serve up some yummy treats in a snap?

I was very impressed by this recipe and the dough was sooooo yummy.  I prepped the dough as directed but then instead of forming all of the dough into logs as the recipe states, I baked some right away as drop cookies. Let me tell you, as much as I love chocolate and peanut butter, these cookies were great! They have a depth of flavor lacking in most cookies and were so tender (bordering on cakey but not overly so). After cooling they remained tender and the brown sugar/butterscotch flavor became more pronounced and was enhanced with the pieces of pecans and toffee bits.

I formed the remaining dough into logs as directed and chilled. After 5 hours I sliced and baked cookies from the chilled logs of dough. These cookies were great as well. They were not puffy like the first batch and had a nice crisp exterior that you can see in the pictures.

I imagine you could bake thicker slices for a thicker cookie but I followed the directions and sliced mine 1/2 inch thick. Next time I may slice them thicker and see if that changes their texture. If I had to choose between baking the dough right away as drop cookies and forming into logs to slice and bake later I would choose the former. I enjoyed the texture more. Either way, however, these cookies are great. Next time I may form the dough into balls and then chill and freeze until ready to bake to keep the convenience of baking a few at a time and still achieve the texture I enjoyed more!
*I have included pictures of both the drop and the slice and bake cookies.

I highly suggest you make these soon. Bake a few right away and form the rest into logs for later. You  be the judge of which way you prefer to enjoy this winning recipe! I loved them and will be making them time and time again. I may even add mini chocolate chips next time to jazz them up, but honestly, they really don’t need anything more in my opinion!

I rate these cookies (drop method) a 9
I rate these cookies (slice and bake) an 8

Double Butterscotch Cookies
Taste of Home Cookbook (recipe is halved)

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening (I used trans-fat free butter flavored Crisco)
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 TBS vanilla
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup English Toffee bits (like Heath bar bits)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (I toasted mine first)

Preheat oven to 350 (if going to bake immediately)
In a large bowl cream the butter, shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Stir to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix until combined. Gently fold in the toffee bits and nuts.
*If baking immediately, drop dough by spoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes until edges are set and light brown. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Shape dough into 2 12 inch rolls Wrap each in Seran wrap. Chill for 4 hours or unitl firm.
When ready to bake:
Preheat oven to 350. Unwrap and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Place 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lighlty browned. Cool for 1-2 minutes on sheet before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

*UPDATE: Ok, seriously, this dough tastes FANTASTIC out of the fridge, I am slicing off pieces just to eat! The flavor is amazing after chilling 1 day and the nuts and toffee bits only enhance the deep butterscotch flavor! It tastes a lot like an uncooked blondie!

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oat Bars

I love to bake, that is no surprise but during the hot and humid summer months I do not like to turn on my oven (unless I have to). Because my sweet tooth cares not about the weather, I need to find recipes to satisfy it but not heat the house to temperatures comparible to those Hell. ha ha.

The internet came to my rescue yesterday and I found a recipe that included two of my favorite treats: Peanut butter and Chocolate. Food of the Gods I say.  I did adapt the recipe a bit, my changes in parenthesis, and would do the same in the future as I felt they turned out great!! In fact I have made them three times in two days!

This recipe comes together in about 10 minutes but needs about 3 hours in the fridge to chill and set. These bars are gooey and need to be eaten with a bowl and sppon if not chilled/set but still very good. I like to take them out about 15 minutes before serving to soften a bit but still keep their shape. I served these to family and three people demanded the recipe. That is when I know it is good!! So good, I actually had to make these twice yesterday because the first pan was eaten before dinner in about 10 minutes! That is another reason to love the recipe, you can whip up another batch in no time flat! They chilled while we cooked and ate dinner and were perfectly set and ready to eat afterward.

*Next time I may sprinkle some chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter cups on top with the oat topping to enhance the peanut butter flavor!!

I give these bars a 9.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars
adapted from allrecipes.com
1 cup butter (I used 2/3 cup butter)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick cooking oats (I used between 2 3/4 and 3 1/4 cups, just enough to keep moist but not too wet or too dry)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1 1/4 cups, a mixture of Milk and Semi-Sweet chips)
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used 3/4 cup)

Grease a 9×9 inch square pan. (I lined an 8×8 pan with foil and sprayed with PAM)

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Mix in the oats. Cook over low heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until ingredients are well blended.
Press half of mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. (I pressed 2/3 mixture in bottom of pan)
Reserve the remainder for topping.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture over the crust in the pan, and spread evenly with a knife or the back of a spoon.

Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate layer, pressing in gently.
Cover, and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before cutting into bars.

Oreo Cheesecake

One of my all-time favorite desserts as a child was Cheesecake. It was always a treat because while my mom and grandmothers baked an abundance of cookies, cakes and brownies they RARELY ever baked cheesecakes. Now that I have my own kitchen, I find myself following in their footsteps and often only bake cookies and brownies. It is not because cheesecakes are hard to make, they are actaully quite easy. It is not because they don’t store well. They freeze (and thaw) beautifully! I am not sure why I don’t make these delicious treats more often.  Perhaps I like that the rare occasion that I do make one makes it all the more special and a real treat!

This is the same recipe I use for my plain cheesecakes. This time I decided to bake in an Oreo crust and fold in some quartered Oreo cookies for a kid friendly dessert! Everyone loved it and it was gone in no time.  Feel free to make it your own by baking in a traditional graham cracker crust and folding in ingredients of your choice (chocolate chips, chunks of brownies, cookie dough, etc). Any way you make it, I am sure it will be a hit.

Cheesecakes make a beautiful presentation and their thick creamy texture makes them the perfect dessert. There are millions of cheesecake recipes and this is a combination of several that I have tried over the years and tweaked to my liking. I like my cheesecake to have a creamy texture and hold up well so I can pile on toppings when garnishing if I so desire. The secret to achieving the perfect texture (in my opinion) is the Sweetened Condensed Milk. It creates a silky, smooth, creamy texture that holds its shape well. 

To prevent cracking, I like to cool my cheesecake in the oven for several hours before transfering to the fridge to chill overnight.  I also bake with a pan of warm water on the bottom rack while baking to help keep the cheesecake moist and not crack. This usually works for me, but don’t worry if your cheesecake cracks, just hide them with garnishes such as fresh fruit, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, chopped cookies, etc.

I rate this recipe a 9

Oreo Cheesecake
2 cups Oreo Cookie crumbs
3 TBS butter, melted

3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz.)  Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 TBS flour
3 large eggs
1 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
15 Oreo Cookies, quartered
Oreo cookies for garnish if desired

Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease 9-inch springform pan.
Fill an oven safe cake pan (I use a 9×9) 3/4 full with warm water. Set on bottom oven rack while oven is preheating.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine Oreo crumbs and butter, stir to combine.  Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and increase oven temperature to 350.

In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese until creamy. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until smooth. Add sugar and flour, beat to combine. Add  eggs one at a time beating only to combine after each addition. When adding the third egg, also add the lime juice and vanilla extract; beat until combined.

Using a spatula, gently fold in the quartered Oreo cookies. Gently pour batter evenly into prebaked crust.
*You can arrange Oreo cookie pieces over top of batter for a pretty presentation if desired.

Bake in preheated oven for 50-65 minutes or until edge is set and center moves slightly. Watch carefully and do  not overbake.
Shut oven off and allow cheesecake to cool in oven for 1-4  hours. Run a warm knife around edge of cheesecake after 1 hour.
Place in fridge to cool completely. (Remove the pan of water)
Allow to chill at least 24 hours before serving for best flavor and texture.

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies. Period

It is no secret that I love the combination of PB and chocolate. To me there is no better combination when it comes to sweet treats. Needless to say, I will use any excuse to make treats involving this delicious combination.

This recipe is by far my favorite Peanut Butter cookie recipe ever; and believe me, I have tried many many recipes (Like I said ANY excuse to try more Chocolate/Peanut Butter combinations). The recipe below has been six years in the making. I first received the original recipe as part of a recipe exchange in a club I was involved in my junior year in college (Thanks Heidi). Not being much of a baker back then I liked the recipe but did not know how to tweak it to better meet my preferences (tender and chewy with a lighlty crisp exterior). Don’t get me wrong it was a good cookie to begin with but felt there was potential for more. There were things I LOVED about the original.

I have tried many recipes for Peanut Butter cookies since first receiving the original recipe but have always come  back to the one from Heidi. One thing I love about this recipe is that there is more than twice as much Peanut Butter than butter. I firmly believe that Peanut Butter should not share the spotlight with butter in ANY cookie that claims to be a Peanut Butter cookie! I also love the addition of chocolate and Peanut Butter chips (genious) and that you roll the dough balls in sugar before baking. This creates a slightly crisp exterior that compliments the delicate texture of the interior perfectly!

As my experience in baking grew I began to tweak the origianl recipe each time I made it and I am happy to say I am finished tweaking.
It now meets and exceeds my expectations of what a Peanut  Butter Cookie should be. I know everyone has a different idea of their “perfect cookie” so these may not be your cup of tea, but I do suggest at least trying them. I make these often and every time I take them somewhere people comment on their wonderful light texture and great Peanut Butter flavor.

There are a few Hints/Tips to making these bad boys:
1. I like to chill the dough for about 15 minutes before baking and keep it chilled while one pan is baking (especially during the warm months as Peanut Butter tends to ‘melt’ easily and makes the dough harder to work with). Chilling helps the cookies keep their shape while baking and helps with the delicate texture of the baked cookie.
2. You need to let these cool on a baking sheet for at least five to ten minutes after removing from the oven, if not they will fall apart because they are so tender! You can finish cooling on a wire rack before storing.
3. To keep these nice and soft, store a piece of bread in a sealed container with the cookies, make sure it is not touching the cookies (I place it on a piece of wax paper on top of the cookies in the container)
4. If freezing the balls for later baking, Chill dough, roll into balls and freeze. Don’t roll in sugar until ready to bake.(See photo)
5. These are delicate cookies and can be difficult to transport. I find a single layer of cookies transports beautifully. If needing to stack cookies to transport, place a few sheets of waxed paper in between layers.

I rate these cookies a 9 (hey, there is always room for improvement right? ha ha)

The Original Peanut Butter Cookie (from Heidi)
tweaked by bakingblonde
1 cup + 2 TBS peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 TBS milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Peanut Butter chips (I recommend the Reese’s brand, the generic are not the same)
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips
3/4 cup Sugar (for rolling dough balls, may need more or less)

Preheat oven to 350.
Line baking sheets with parchement paper.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter. Once combined beat in the white sugar, and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla.
In a large bowl wisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gently add to creamed mixture and mix until almost combined. Fold in chocolate and peanut butter chips. Chill dough for at least 15 minutes.
Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Genlty roll the dough balls into sugar and place dough balls on parchment lined baking sheets. Carefully press each ball with fork tines to create a criss-cross pattern.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets for 5-10 minutes until sturdy enough to be transfered to a wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Balls

This recipe once again combines two of my all time favorite flavors: Peanut Butter and chocolate. This is a ‘recipe’ that I have used for years. I don’t really measure anymore, just ‘eye ball’ the measurements and go by the texture and taste (yum!!) of the dough. Of course I taste test the finished produt as well, check out the teeth marks in the picture below!

What makes this recipe great is there is NO baking required and instant satisfaction! Less than half of the dough is usually made into Peanut Butter balls because it ends up in my tummy while I am mixing all of the ingredients together! I want to put out a quality treat and feel it is my responsibility to taste test my goodies to ensure a quality product. It is a cross that I happily bear!

I made these to bring to a small party of friends and family because I did not feel like heating up the oven making a baked good. This is a recipe that can be made in no time but is a little messy depending how good you are at dipping the balls into chocolate. Either way, these Peanut Butter balls are great but be warned, they are very sweet so make them small. I used creamy peanut butter but crunchy would work fine and add another textural dimension. As is, the Rice Krispies cereal provides a slight crispness that does not distract from the smooth sweet peanut butter texture of the filling.

I dipped these into a mixture of melted chocolate consisting of 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate, 1 cup milk chocolate chips but feel free to use any chocolate combination you prefer. After dipping in chocolate I decided to melt some white chocolate and drizzle over the top to create a more ‘eye catching’ finished product since these were being served to friends. These were devoured very quickly and received rave reviews.

I rate these treats a 9

Peanut Butter Balls
6 TBS butter, softened
2 cups peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar (sift after measuring)
3 cups Rice Krispies

2-4 TBS paraffin wax, finely chopped (you can use shortening as well to thin chocolate and make shiny)
3-4 cups chococolate chips
1 cup white chocolate, melted (for accent, optional)
**Depending how big you make the balls and how many you make, you may need to melt additional chocolate for dipping

Line a large (or several small) baking sheet with Wax paper.
In a large mixing bowl stir together butter and peanut butter.
Stir in vanilla.
In a large bowl sift the 2 cups powdered sugar and stir in Rice Krispies.
Slowly add the sugar/cereal mixture to the PB mixture. Fold in using a spoon until incorporated.
You may need to use your hands to mix everything well. (If the mixture seems too sticky, add a little more powdered sugar. If it seems dry, add a little more Peanut butter)
Take about 1 TBS of dough and roll into balls using your hands. Work in with hands until it will form balls.
Place balls onto wax paper lined sheet. When finished, place balls (still on the wax paper baking sheet) into the fridge to chill. (this makes dipping into chocolate easier) (I chilled mine for about 3o minutes)

While the Peanut Butter balls chill, place chocolate chips and wax into a mini crockpot and turn to low. Cover.
Stir occasionally until all of the wax and chocolate is melted. (You can add a TBS of Shortening, stirring until melted to thin the chocolate for easier dipping if needed)

*Can melt by placing chocolate and wax into a heat safe glass or metal bowl over a pot of simmering water, Stir until chocolate and wax are melted. Watch carefully so water does not get into bowl (chocolate will seize) or that the boiling water does not touch the bottom of the bowl or the chocolate may burn. Google for more information.

Remove the balls from the fridge. Carefully dip into melted chocolate with using a toothpick or fork. Tap off excess chocolate and place back on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Drizzle with melted white chocolate if desired.
When finished return balls to fridge to set and cool. Store in fridge.

Basic Blondies

Once again I made a batch of Blondies. It is a recipe I have made a million times but just haven’t taken pictures. I had my camera out tonight so I thought I would snap a couple pictures to share.

I am in love with this recipe and love its versitility. I have tried more combinations of add-ins than I can count and each time they turn out Delish! I added toasted pecans, toffee pieces and white chocolate chunks to this batch. Here are some other variations I have really enjoyed but feel free to mix and match add-ins to meet your tastes!

I rate this recipe a 9

PB chips/Milk Chocolate Chips/Reese’s Pieces
Dried Cranberries/White Chocolate Chunks/ Toasted Walnuts
Toffee pieces/Toasted Pecans/Butterscotch chips
Diced apples/cinnamon/Cinnamon chips
Reese’s PB cups, chopped/ Grated Hershey’s bar
Toasted Coconut/Macadamian nuts

Cinnamon Cheesecake Swirled Blondies

I haven’t baked forever (stupid work, keeping me busy) and couldn’t wait to whip up some goodies this morning. I had half a block of cream cheese that needed to be used up and decided to experiment a bit and add a Cheesecake Swirl to a slight variation of my Basic Blondie recipe.

The results were great, even though the colors of the cheesecake swirl and the blondies blend together so it is hard to distinguish between the two visually. The cinnamon in the Cheesecake swirl was not overpowering and complimented the cinnamon chips and the hint of cinnamon I added to the blondie recipe nicely.

These were really good warm with a scoop of cinnamon icecream and warm carmel sauce drizzled over the top. MMM.

I rate these bars a 9

Cinnamon Cheesecake Swirled Blondies
6 TBS butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup Hershey’s Brand Cinnamon Chips (optional, white chocolate chips or walnuts would be good as well)

Cinnamon Cheesecake Swirl
5 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon (more or less to taste)
2 TBS flour
1 tsp pure Vanilla
1 egg yolk

In bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, flour and vanilla beat until smooth. Add egg yolk and beat just until combined. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350.
Line an 8×8 pan with foil and lightly spray with PAM.
In a large microwave safe mixing bowl melt the butter. Allow to cool for 5 mintues.

Mix the brown sugar with the melted butter and beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla. Add salt, stir in flour baking powder and cinnamon.
Mix in Cinnamon Chips and/or nuts or other chips (if using)

Pour into prepared pan and use a greased spatula to evenly spread mixture in pan and level the top. Dollup cinnamon cream cheese mixture over blondie batter in pan.
Run a knife through the blondie and cheesecake layers to create a pattern or swirls.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until set in the middle. (I baked for 27 minutes)Cool on rack before cutting.

Oatmeal Carmelitas

Look at those bars! Who does not love the combination of caramel and chocolate?

Wow, I had forgotten how great these bars are. I love the texture of the slighlty crisp crust with the gooey caramel layer filled with nuts and chocolate.
I have been making these since high school (one could say it was my “signature” dessert back then). The recipe comes from our dear friends at Pilsbury and is so easy I used to have it memorized.
The thing I love about these bars is that they are great warm, room temperature or even straight out of the fridge (which is where I keep them during the summer months or the caramel gets a little too gooey for eating with your hands). The oatmeal/brown sugar crust provides a nice and hearty base for these bars and keeps them from being overly-sweet.
I rate these bars a 9
Here is the recipe directly copied from the website. My changes are in red.
Oatmeal Carmelitas

2 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose or Unbleached Flour (I used Gold Medal)
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups margarine or butter, softened (I used butter)

1 (12.5-oz.) jar (1 cup) caramel ice cream topping
3 tablespoons Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose or Unbleached Flour (I used Gold Medal)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1/2 cup Milk chocolate and 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I usually use Walnuts but omitted nuts this time)

Heat oven to 350°F.
Grease 13×9-inch pan.
Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, combine all crust ingredients; mix at low speed until crumbly. Reserve half of crumb mixture (about 3 cups) for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture in bottom of greased pan.
Bake for 10 minutes or until light brown.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine caramel topping and 3 tablespoons flour; blend well.

Remove partially baked crust from oven; sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts.
Drizzle evenly with caramel mixture; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.

Return to oven; bake an additional 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until filling is set.
Cut into bars.

Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies


Lick the beaters, the spoon, your fingers, the knife and your plate. These are THAT good in my opinion. I have been tweaking a basic brownie recipe for the past six months that I found in my mom’s recipe box. The recipe was tattered and and speckled with dried batter (a sign of a winner in my book!). My mom rarey makes brownies from scratch anymore as she is a woman of convenience and the $.88 boxed brownie mix. She did remember that she used to bake these from scratch all of the time when she was my age and first married to my dad but doesn’t remember where she got the recipe.

The first time I baked the brownies according to the recipe but they were not very chocolatey and way too cakey for my liking. I did some tweaking (more/less eggs, sugar, butter, chocolate, cocoa powder, etc) every time I have made them and lets just say that these brownies came out to be the Brownies I had dreamed of. I only hope to have continued success with the recipe as written, if not, I am not afraid to tweak some more until pure brownie perfection is achieved. **Fingers crossed for future success!!

After my latest tweaks I stood there looking at the batter in my mixing bowl. Not wanting to be disappointed by another plain-jane-so-so brownie I decided to jazz them up a bit. In my book chocolate, cheesecake and peanut butter is a combination created by the Gods. And let’s just say the God’s have shined down upon this recipe. These brownies are fudgey, gooey and oh so chocolately (thanks to THREE different kinds of chocolate) with a creamy peanut-buttery cheesecake swirled throughout not once but twice. If that wasn’t enough peanut butter overload these babies are topped with chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups the last five minutes of baking. Just long enough for them to melt into the brownies a bit but still retain their shape making these brownies fall into the FOOD PORN category.
Go ahead and indulge!

I rate these brownies a 9

Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

3/4 cup butter, very soft (not melted but softer than room temp)
1 cup sugar
1 TBS vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
1 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cups creamy PB
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
5-6 Reese’s peanut butter cups (regular size) cut into 6-8 pieces each
IMPORTANT: Do NOT omit the Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. They take these brownies over the top and add the “Double” Peanut Butter taste the title tepts tastebuds with
Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8″ square pan with foil and lightly coat with PAM cooking spray.
In a microwave safe bowl melt the two baking chocolate squares in 30 second intervals stirring after each interval until smooth and melted after stirring. Do not scortch! Remove from microwave and allow to come to room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl, Beat together butter and sugar until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time until blended. Add vanilla and melted chocolate. Mix to combine. Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl and wisk together. Gradually stir dry ingredients into butter mixture. Do not overmix.
In separate mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, peanut butter sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add egg and beat until just combined.

Spread about 2/3 of chocolate brownie batter into prepared pan. Evenly drop 1/2 of cheesecake batter in dollups over brownie batter. Run a knife through both mixtures to slightly swirl.
Dollop remaining brownie batter and cheesecake batter over swirled mixture. Run knife through the browine and cheesecake dollups (not all the way through the already swirled layer) to create a swirled pattern.
Bake for 40-45 minutes**, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center has a few crumbs stuck to it. Do not overbake or they will harden, if underbaked they will be too gooey. Every oven is different so watch and check these after about 35-40 minutes of baking to ensure propper doneness.
**After about 35-40 minutes of baking (with about 5-7 minutes of baking time left, you just need to eyeball it) gently place cut up Reese’s cups over top of almost fully baked brownies. Finish baking until a toothpick inserted in the center has a few crumbs stuck to it. The Reese’s PB cups will melt but hold their shape slightly. Cool completely on wire rack before cutting and serving.

NOTE: I have not baked the brownie recipe without the Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl and Reese’s on top so I am not sure how the brownies themselves rate. Let’s just say I may not find out as I am in love with the Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake recipe.

NOTE 2/13/08: I changed and added 5-7 minutes the baking time as a few people who have made the recipe indicated a longer bake time was needed than oringinally posted. The recipe listed above reflects those changes.
All ovens are different so be sure to keep an eye on your brownies to prevent overbaking. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs stuck to it.

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cupcakes

This recipe comes from the Hershey’s website. Just as the title implies this is the “Perfectly Chocolate Cake”. I chose to make mine into cupcakes (portion control, ha ha, yeah right!) and as you can seen I filled cupcake liners with a tad too much batter as the cupcakes almost baked over their liners!

These baked up light and fluffy (as you can see) and oh so chocolatey! I chose not to frost these cupcakes as I much prefer a dollup of SugarFree Coolwhip on the top of my cupcake. Frosted or not, you will not be disappointed with this cake recipe as it is a tried and true and has received RAVE reviews, both on the Hershey’s website as well as on “What’s for Dinner” message board on thenest.com as seen in Chelley’s, Erin’s, Carrie’s and Tara’s blogs.
If you are looking for the Perfect Chocolate Cake (or cupcakes) give this recipe a try and be prepared to have your socks knocked off.
I rate this recipe a 9
.
Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cupcakes
from: Hersheys
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
VARIATIONS:ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.
THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.
BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.
CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.