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Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Oatmeal PB Pie

Hello Baking Fiends,

I have another creation that I think you’ll enjoy! I had another birthday at work (yes, apparently Summer was the time to be born to work in our group!) and was requested to do something with oatmeal or peanut butter for them as a treat.

Of course, I was thinking about doing an array of cookies, and then decided that this was the perfect opportunity to expound out and try something new. So… I found peanut butter pie recipes, and decided to use an oatmeal cookie crust instead of graham cracker for the base!

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Pie, Oh My!

My inspiration was this Peanut Butter Silk Pie recipe, however (surprise!) I changed a couple things around quite a bit to make this one happen!

CRUST LAYER:
I took a box of basic Oatmeal Cookies and crushed 18 of them to make the crust. The box had 24 cookies, and they were each about the size of an average palm – to give you a reference. Anyways, my Magic Bullet Blender was my friend to crush these to smithereens, and ended up looking like this:

How The Cookie Crumbles!

Next, I added 1/3 cup of sugar to this mix. Now, instead of using the expected butter, I recently came into possession of (aka I purchased) some Butter Flavored Olive Oil. Smells and tastes like butter, and it’s geared towards substituting for real butter even. So of course I had to try it here! I used 1/3 cup + 1 teaspoon of Butter Olive Oil in lieu of 1/2 cup of melted unsalted butter. YUM!

It’s Crust Magic!

Finally, for the crust, I patted the crust into a sprayed-with-Pam 13×9 baking pan, in this case of the aluminum foil variety for easy travel. Bake this for 8 minutes at 375 to set the crust so it won’t completely crumble on you. Remove from oven and let cool completely – I put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Crust Complete!

FUDGE LAYER:
While your crust is cooling, remove your 17.75 jar of hot fudge sauce from the fridge and let come to room temperature. I used the Smuckers Special Recipe Hot Fudge one, and you will use all but 2 tablespoons of this for the 13×9 pan just as a heads up for you…

Once your crust has cooled completely, and your fudge sauce has gotten pretty soft (you can microwave it for 20 seconds if need be), stir it up good and then spread it all over the crust layer until you cannot see anything but fudge sauce! Stick this back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, until chilled (fudge will harden up a bit)!

Warning: The fudge sauce may be tacky and put up a fight with you about laying down on the crust, so just know that you WILL win the battle, and conquer the hot fudge!

MMMM Fudge!

Peanut Butter Filling (two versions):
Okay, so through trial and feedback, I wanted to give you two options for this filling. If you like super-sweet, creamy, and thick fillings, follow the way I did it. If you prefer lighter, airier, and not as heavy – then substitute ONE of the cream cheese packages for ONE Cool Whip “No Sugar Added” container. Trust me on this! 😉

Okay, so back to business. Here is what I did for the filling:
Combine 2 8-oz packages of 1/3-less fat Cream Cheese (softened) with 1 cup Whipped Peanut Butter. Once this is fully mixed, add in 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Mix until fully combined. To this next add, one at a time, 1 8-oz Cool Whip Free (thawed) container, and 1 8-oz Cool Whip Extra Creamy (thawed) container! You will mix this until your arms are in pain, but it will be worth it!

Peanut Butter Filling!

Once this is nice and creamy, take your crust-fudge layers out of the fridge and spread this topping evenly over top of it all.

Peanut Butter Topped Dessert!

Once it’s spread evenly, I would make little waves in the topping, just for fun, like this (with a spatula):

Peanut Butter Waves!

Now crumble up 3-4 of the leftover cookies from your box of Oatmeal Cookies from the crust, and sprinkle those evenly over top of the waves of filling.

Oatmeal Crumble Topping!

Finally, take the leftover fudge sauce in the jar, add 1 teaspoon of milk, and microwave for about 40 seconds until nice and thin. Drizzle this over top of the oatmeal crumbles, and you will have a gorgeous dessert! Refrigerate this at least 2 hours, preferably overnight though, before serving to let all the flavors soak in!

Beautiful Fudge Drizzle!

Let me know how you enjoy this, and which version you use!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Oatmeal Currant Cookies

Well hello again friends, nice to see you again. Twice in one week, I know, you are impressed that I am actually back in it again, aren’t you? 😉 Gotta love baking weeks. Well, okay, at least I love them. I chose some new victims — I mean taste testers — for this week. A friend’s family graciously volunteered. Okay, that may be over-stating it. A friend volunteered their family. There, that is more accurate. I would hate to mislead you, really. So I made the Banana-Ganache Cupcakes and was actually in the mood to bake more. So I thought “Hey, why not some cookies too!”, and was trying to decide what kind to make when I saw a red box in the corner of the kitchen. Perfect! California Raisin time – woohoo! So yes, we now have a decision: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, yay! 🙂

Now about this time, you are probably thinking “Oatmeal Raisin? You said ‘Oatmeal Currant, so what is  this crazy madness talk you are going on about?” Alright, I will enlighten you. Feel lucky. So I mention that red box that we all know and love for the California Raisins, right? Yeah, turns out when I actually grabbed the box out of its hiding spot, it was a box of Zante Currants. Same brand as the raisins, so I was fooled by packaging and branding. Darnit. But that is okay, I am nothing if not adaptable, right?!? Sure, we’ll go with that. Just nod and smile for me, that’s it, I promise I won’t be upset.

So now to make the Oatmeal Currant Cookies. Are you ready with me? Are you excited? I know I am. Join me in the fun, why don’t you?

First off, we need to make our base for cookies. Now one thing you need to know about my cookies is that I do not use eggs, and it is the one time I prefer margarine to butter in baking. And yes partly because of cost-effectiveness I won’t lie. Tubs of margarine seem so much cheaper and better deals when you’re using cups of the stuff at a time, don’t you agree?

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: A Cookie Base Beat

Take 1 cup of margarine and melt it in a microwaveable mixing bowl, usually about 45 seconds works for me. Once you have the margarine nice and melted, add in 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and half a 3-oz package of instant-sugar-free vanilla pudding mix. Mix well, and make sure it is not clumpy.

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Brown Sugar, Sugar

Next add in 1/2 cup of brown sugar, again mixing well so there are no lumps.

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Oats In The Mix

Next add in 1 cup of oatmeal and, you guessed it, make sure it isn’t lumpy. I am sure you are tired of hearing that, but I promise the cookies taste much better if they are evenly mixed. I wouldn’t lie to you about this, I promise. It is all about baking a great cookie, right? Go cookie team!

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Flour Power!

Now we get to the binding of the cookie mixture. Add in around 2-3 cups of flour, make sure the dough is not sticky but not too dry either.
Like this:

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Plump Your Currants

Once you add the flour, set the dough aside, and pour the currants (about 1 1/2 cups worth, or half a bag) into a small bowl half filled with water. Let soak for roughly 5 minutes until they start to get a little plump. You can also add in about 1/8 cup of sugar to sweeten them up a bit while they soak. Drain the water from the currants, now they are ready to make cookie-able!

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Currant In The Cookie

Gradually add in the currants to the cookie dough, mixing until evenly distributed.

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Scoop of Cookie

Now take small scoops or pinches of cookie dough like above and roll into balls to place on a greased cookie sheet. While doing this, preheat your oven to 375 F.

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Cookie Sheets

I personally prefer baking my cookies on greased sheets of aluminum foil, as they seem to work better to get the cookies cleanly off in the morning. Now if you have air-bake cookie sheets this should be unnecessary. But just in case, you are forewarned.

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Voilà Finished Cookies

Bake the cookies for 7 minutes 25 seconds (yes, I have it precisely down, have no fear, though cooking times may vary by oven about 15 seconds either side). I take them out of the oven and let them sit on the cookie tray for another 2 minutes, where they continue to bake. Then I remove to a cooling rack for the last few minutes of cooling. Now, all that is left is to enjoy!

Let me know how you like these, and until then…
Craft You Later,
Beth

Breakfast of Champions

So every morning, my alarm goes off and I realize that it is another day and that I (sadly) actually have to get up and go be productive. You know, act like an adult and work, make money, pay bills, et cetera ad nauseum. With each and every mornings realization, it dawns on me that I should probably not hit snooze 4 times on my phone. I’m sure my cat Snowball would also appreciate this as the noise just ticks him off. But hey, if it’s not annoying, it’s not an alarm, right?!?

So I drag my bum out of bed, get myself presentable to the world, and then hit dilemma #2. I need to get out the door to work, but I also need to eat breakfast. What to do, what to do. I can eat at the house, or I can pick up something on the way to work (okay choices are limited but there), or I can pick up something once I get uptown. You would think this is an easy choice, no dilemma. However somehow it gets me every morning. Like a daily vitamin, but this one is more like a daily missed vitamin. I sometimes do miss breakfast altogether (Bad, Bethie, Bad!!!), but usually I get something.

So my quick breakfast options are (drum roll please….):
Home: oatmeal, eggs & bacon, cereal with milk, toast with Nutella.
Way In: McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts (yes they have more than just donuts people!), or Bojangles (okay no they don’t really have anything healthy, I will admit)
Uptown: McDonalds, Showmars, Just Fresh, Salsaritas, Einstein Bagels (okay, yes there are more available, but not really any places I actually like for breakfast, and/or within a few minutes walk of my building)

So if I want to eat healthy, I pretty much eat at home or uptown. If I want to eat cheap, I eat at home or on the way in. If I want to eat quick, I eat uptown or on the way in. So it really depends on how late I am running thanks to Mr. Snooze at this point in the daily dilemma resolution. I will say, oatmeal usually wins out, at home or in the office, but it does get very tiring eating oatmeal every day. I am the type of person I have a hard time eating the same thing day in and day out. Even as a kid, I couldnt’ do PB&J every day for lunch. I had to have some variety. I guess I just love food and flavors and creating combinations WAAAAY too much to stick with the same thing day in and day out. This is great when it comes to cooking, but really stinks when it comes to getting into a pattern so you know you will eat breakfast every day. Grrrrrrr. I do not like you Dilemma 2…. I do not like you at all.

So pretty much for oatmeal, I get the Quaker Instant Fruit Variety Pack, take half into work, and leave half at home. This allows for a bit of ‘change’ in the variety of flavors. But it is still oatmeal, and still hard to do every day. For cereal, I usually have 2 boxes at home at any given time: one healthy, one guilty pleasure. Currently these include “Honey Graham Oh’s” and “Special K”. Yes my guilty pleasure is Honey Graham Oh’s, and I am okay with that. The stuff is delicious, it’s like Cinnamon Life Cereal met Honey Nut Cheerios, and this is their child. Deeeeeeelicious. (Okay at this point, you should have figured out by now, if you don’t already know, that I am a dork. Complete and utter dork. But a happy dork. :-D) Other favorite cereals include Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch, Fruity Pebbles, Special K Vanilla Almond, Cheerios, Golden Grahams, and Blueberry Morning. So typically I have a good selection of cereals (in my taste, at least) at the house. But sometimes you just don’t want to dirty a bowl, wash a spoon, and try to rush through cereal without getting milk all over your work clothes. And we all know, the only time you’ll get milk spilled is if, and only if, you are in your work clothes already. Pajamas just don’t have that luck. Darn you Mr. Murphy, darn you for that.

So today the oatmeal won out (Apples & Cinnamon, oh my!), while sitting at my desk. We will see what tomorrow brings, but since I ate McDonalds uptown yesterday (that biscuit just was too tempting, darnitall!), I am forecasting a bowl of HG Oh’s for tomorrow….if I get up before the 4th snooze, that is! 😉

What is your favorite breakfast?!?

For now, though, happy breakfasting like champions!
Beth

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