Two things happened this past week that nearly knocked me over, gave me great relief, and renewed my excitement for this little blog of mine.
What were those things you ask?
One. I was able to use my camera again and not use my iPhone for picture taking. I’ve started reading more about photography, specifically food photography, and it has been wonderful to have more creative control over the shots I take of my food. I am super excited to read more and expand my knowledge on this interesting topic. Hopefully that will be reflected in the photos I take of both my food and my family.
Two. I decided this past week to let go of the goal to finish through “Z” by the time Baby #3 arrives. His name is Benjamin David, by the way, and he is currently about 4 1/2 pounds and due to arrive somewhere between mid to late August. Finishing through Z is not only impractical but stressful… and I don’t need the stress…
For baby’s sake and my sanity’s sake.
This may have been an obvious choice to some of my family, friends, and readers who wondered why I would try to crunch everything in before Benjamin’s arrival, but I thought it would be less stressful to “finish” before I dove into round 3 of baby-raising. Then it hit me… Finish? But I don’t plan on being done blogging just because baby arrives. Sure it will require a break and less blogging for a while… but I probably won’t feel like doing much else besides sitting (and eating) during these soon-to-come nursing days… I might as well be writing while I’m sitting!
Why would I want to “finish” and give up what I like doing so much? I’m not sure what the next ‘phase’ of Apples to Ziti looks like after we do finish through ‘Z’, but I do know that it won’t be the end when we do get there.
Though I did decide to slow things down a bit, I still dove into the next letter of our A to Z journey this past week… next up… “P is for Peanut Butter!!!”
Don’t tell me you’re not excited about this.
Now, you might think this strange… but I actually do NOT care for peanuts.
Nope. Don’t like ’em.
HOWEVER…. I do like peanut butter. Anybody there with me?
If not, I’m okay with that.
Because I have a sweet tooth this week… and because I want to… I am starting with a Peanut Butter DESSERT!
“No-Bake Chocolate-Espresso Peanut Butter Cookies”
Tell me what about that title doesn’t sound good to you. NO baking. Chocolate. Coffee. Peanut Butter. Cookies.
I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter…. and I love chocolate and coffee together… so, why not combine all three?? I thought: “This has to yield a delicious result.” It did NOT disappoint.
Melt some butter in a LARGE saucepan… a good start to any recipe if you ask me.
Add some sugar…
A good dose of cocoa powder…
And a mixture of strong brewed coffee and whole milk…
And, finally, a couple of good spoonfuls of ESPRESSO powder!
I used this espresso coffee back at Christmas to make Fudge as gifts for friends and family and I’ve bought two more containers since to use in recipes. It gives great coffee flavor without watering down a recipe, and it dissolves really easily (no grainy texture here!)
Whisk this mixture over medium heat until it comes to a boil. When it starts to bubble, start whisking constantly for 90 seconds. Then remove the mixture from the heat.
I used too small of a sauce pan so I had to finish the recipe in a large bowl… but you can add the next ingredients right into the saucepan to make your life (or at least your dish duty) easier.
You’ll need peanut butter, vanilla, and quick oats…
To the chocolate-espresso mixture add the peanut butter and vanilla…
Then let the heat of the chocolate mixture melt the peanut butter and whisk until it is completely SMOOTH!
Finally, stir in the quick oats with a spoon until well-combined.
Line 2-3 baking sheets with wax paper, and spoon the chocolate-espresso-oat mixture out one heaping tablespoon at a time.
There is no exact science to this so scoop away!! This should not be the thing that stresses you out in your day. Your kids? Maybe. Your dirty house? Perhaps. The heat? Definitely (at least if you live in Phoenix… and you’re pregnant.)
You can make the scoops closer to teaspoon size… but you’ll just end up eating 4 cookies instead of 2… or 8 cookies instead of 4… But I wouldn’t know anything about that.
Now comes the hard part…
You have to WAIT!
If you’re impatient like me you’ve already eaten a spoonful (or two) of the mixture right out of the bowl, but try to wait for the rest of the no-bake cookies to completely set before eating too much more!
Cover them with foil or saran and pop them in the fridge for a couple of hours to set completely. I like to store mine in my fridge even after they’re set, but maybe that’s because of my hot Phoenix house that’s 80 degrees during the day… ??? Your call on that. You can store them in an airtight container at room temp or in the fridge.
To save space I like to just top a pan with another sheet of wax paper and then pace another cookie sheet on top of that… repeating the layers until I’ve stacked them all. This does smash your cookies down flat though… so, as long as you’re okay with that!
I promise smashing them won’t change their taste… just their presentation… so maybe don’t do it if you’re serving them to guests. They look better in a mound instead of flat!
These will cost you 19 cents PER COOKIE to make… that’s about 3 dozen cookies from the recipe… roughly… depends how much or little you scoop for each cookie.
Here is your RECIPE!
Happy Peanut Butter eating!