Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel DTs

Last weekend I escaped to Canada Lake with my Fordham friends. We stayed in my friend Mary Grace’s lake house and spent the weekend swimming, reminiscing, and pretending like we were still in college. It was fantastic. 

DT is a standard term among my friends. It stands for “delicious treats.” Naturally, I thought DTs were in order for our big, highly-anticipated reunion. I knew that we were covered for pretty much everything. My concern was chocolate, and the combo of pretzels and peanut butter seemed to be a perfect pairing.

The night before leaving, I went to Mary Grace’s apartment in the Upper East Side for some extra help to assemble the chocolate pb sandies. Because we anticipated upwards of 15 people for the weekend, we doubled the recipe. However, for a weekend filled with chips, burgers, and hot dogs, one batch would have been sufficient. (Don’t underestimate how hearty these little DTs can be!) 

The recipe is very easy. It is a bit time consuming, so make them on a night where you don’t have too much going on. The tastiness of these DTs, however, makes up for any of the hassle. 

I stole this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Sunday Treats. Enjoy! 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel DTs
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons butter, room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pretzels (the grid shaped ones, such as Snyder’s Pretzel Snaps, work well)
1 teaspoon coconut oil (to thin chocolate)

  1. In a small bowl, beat the peanut butter and butter together until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar, light brown sugar, and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. If mixture is not stiff enough to hold its shape, add more powdered sugar and/or brown sugar.
  2. Using a small offset spatula or butter knife, spoon approximately one teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture onto a pretzel. Top with another pretzel, and gently squish to form sandwich.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and repeat with rest of peanut butter mixture.
  3. Freeze the pretzel sandwiches for half an hour.
  4. Melt the chocolate chips in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, or use a double boiler. Stir in the coconut oil (this thins the chocolate for easier dipping).
  5. Dip half of each pretzel sandwich in chocolate. Place the cookie sheet in the fridge and chill until chocolate sets. Store in refrigerator until serving time.

Happy Birthday Mar Mar!!!

My little sister Maria turns 18 today!!! In honor of her birthday, I decided to make chocolate chip cookies. Maria makes the best chocolate chip cookies.

Growing up, we made the Nestlé Toll House recipe together often. It was our go-to activity during summers.  I love tradition and held the classic back-of-the-bag recipe dear to my heart. When Maria decided she had a new favorite recipe, I was appalled. Why mess with perfection?

I was wrong. In a side-by-side comparison, the recipes appear to be very similar. Standard choco chip cookie ingredients in both. However, the subtle measurement discrepancies such as a quarter cup more of flour or a twelfth cup less of both sugars create a completely new cookie.. and a delicious one too.

There is nothing fancy to these cookies. They’re sweet, have a high chocolate to cookie ratio, and keep their fluff even after they cool. I even refrained from sprinkling sea salt on top because simply said, they are good on their own.

This recipe is taken from Baking for All Occasions: A Treasury of Recipes for Everyday Celebrations by Flo Braker. When Maria first got this book, she was obsessed. But I have to admit, she has created fabulous desserts because of it.

Happy birthday Maria.
I love you and can’t wait to have you in New York. Get ready for our future kitchen extravaganzas in the hood.

Chocolate Chip Cookies 
**I made the dough the night before baking them. After reading a New York Times article claiming cookies to be better after the dough has had time to sit (up to 36 hours), I tested the theory in my college apartment. I drew the same conclusion as the Times. The taste becomes richer, with “notes of caramel and hints of toffee.” Don’t worry when you see the dough become drier on the second or third day. The cookies will not be dry! Quest for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie-
***Sometimes baking the cookies immediately after putting together the dough is part of the magical baking experience, so by all means, go for it!

2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional- I didn’t use)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts, or a combination (optional- I didn’t use)

    Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350. 

With electronic mixer, combine the flour, sugars, salt, cinnamon (if using), and baking soda and mix on lowest speed just until blended. Add butter and continue to mix on low speed just until small, moist crumbs form (they are larger than crumbs that dont clump together) that look similar to streusel, about 1 min. Add the egg and vanilla and eat on low speed until a cohesive dough begins to form. Increase speed to medium just as you add the chips and nuts (optional) and beat until incorporated into the dough, 20 or 30 seconds. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop 1 1/2 inch diameter balls of dough and space them about an inch apart. bake for 10 to 13 mins until undersides are golden. 

Eat at least one warm cookie with a glass of milk. 

(Thomas made a cookie fish)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

big WHOOPS for the whoopie pies..

Here goes another disastrous story. This time, with a bit more patience and follow through.

I decided to make these chocolate whoopies for Rob and I to have after our dinner on Thursday. First let me preface that this is not my first whoopie experience. I made red velvet ones during my last winter at Fordham, and they were a big hit. Therefore, in my polka dot apron, I felt cool, calm and collected. Ready to tackle a more traditional recipe.

I patiently followed each step of the recipe and got a good arm workout making the batter perfectly fluffy. Before popping them into the oven, I obviously treated myself to the batter off one of the handmixer beaters. Tasted pretty good. Things seemed to be going well until I saw from the corner of my eye an egg sitting on my counter. With the cakes already in the oven, there was no going back. It was decision time, and I decided to start the whole process over.

I sped through the recipe the second time around. The cakes turned out great. Egg was definitely needed. While the mishap cakes looked fine, they were lacking in favor and cake-like consistency.

Eggless whoopies
Whoopies with egg

All in all, the cakes were pretty good. The cake to frosting ratio was off (WAY too much cake), but you can’t complain too much about a giant-size oreo.

Lesson learned: one egg can go a long way. 

Chocolate Whoopie Pies 
(Adapted from Gourmet magazine)
For cakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg

For filling

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 cups marshmallow cream such as Marshmallow Fluff
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. 

  • Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.

  • Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. (The color does lighten significantly.) It will take about 5 minutes with a handmixer. 

  • ADD EGG, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.

  • Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of batter about 2 inches apart onto 2 buttered large baking sheets. (I used parchment paper on my second go) Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Let cool completely. 

  • For the filling, beat together butter, sugar, marshmallow and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth.

  • To assemble, spread a rounded tablespoon filling on flat sides of half of cakes and top with remaining cakes. 

The marshmallow filling was delicious. It was less like frosting though, and I had trouble creating a substantial layer for each whoopie because the tops persistently slid off. I probably didn’t allow the cakes to cool as long as thy should have because I was so ready to be done with the whole fiasco. If there is a next time, I also will spend more time whipping the frosting get more volume.

bonbon failure

In my new, grown-up apartment, we have had the same Bon Appétit and Food and Wine magazines floating around for over a month now. I have flipped through them a countless number of times, and each time I close the magazine, I am filled with a new found inspiration to experiment more in the kitchen.

Passion for food, or rather good food, is in my genes. I am my father’s daughter. Anyone who has journeyed to Peachtree Lane has learned that I am a bit spoiled when it comes to my meals at home. My dad creates elegant, simple, comforting, beautiful, DELICIOUS meals pretty much everyday. Call me biased, but he is Top Chef in my book. Naturally, he has set the food bar high. 

Now, I don’t claim to be a foodie (yet), but as a Miyashiro, I am constantly thinking of what my sister Reneé calls “the perfect bite.” Her philosophy is to just try it. She has proved me wrong on numerous occasions with her perfect bite compositions and has opened my eyes to new flavors and cuisines. As a newbie to the ever-daunting real world, I begin my search to discover, create, and eat the next perfect bite. Hopefully, it will help keep my sanity. Its the simple things in life, and sometimes the simplicity of a barbeque with friends or a midday cupcake is all it takes to make the world feel right again. 

Both Ren and my dad have an effortless ease in the kitchen that I aspire to. I should also mention that my mother has more than cultivated my sweet tooth with her passion for cookies, and that my sister Maria has been a devout partner in crime when it comes to eating. Combined, they have all fostered my love for food, and this blog is for them to be proud of, be embarrassed by, and maybe one day learn from.. 

ANYWHO. Enough of that blah blah blah..

For my first ever blog post, I decided to make these Icecream Bonbons from Food and Wine magazine.

I usually consider myself a good baker, and while these are not baked goods, I had considered myself pretty pro in the sweets department. Well, my ego was definitely shaken after last Thursday. 

Caramel ice cream covered in dark chocolate, dipped in crushed chocolate cookies, sprinkled with sea salt. All ingredients adding up to what I thought would be divine perfect bite. Of course, right from the get-go, things went terribly wrong. I walked to my beloved Fairway and spent twenty minutes in the chocolate aisle before finally deciding to splurge for the nice chocolate. On the walk back, I realized I forgot to buy the chocolate wafers. I didn’t panic though. It was too hot for that. Instead I thought,”the chocolate salt combination will be good enough in itself.” (I am a HUGE fan of the salty/sweet) I was even a little bit proud of myself for not over-worrying the omitted ingredient. 

 Later that night, I chopped my pricey white and dark chocolate, melted it, let it cool and confidently snapped pictures along the way. Following the directions, I took my tablespoon, scooped a perfect, but obviously too loose scoop and dipped it into the chocolate.

 Immediately, the ice cream began to melt and the chocolate around it hardened too quickly. I tried desperately to spoon chocolate over it to make a complete shell. I lifted it out, sprinkled it with sea salt, and placed it on my baking sheet in the freezer. Pathetic. 

A bit discouraged, but not ready to give up, I made three more these not-so-pretty “bonbons.” Two caramel, and two coffee, with the hopes that the slightly harder coffee ice cream would significantly alter my luck. Unfortunately, the chocolate finally hardened too much, and in my hot kitchen, the ice cream was melting at a record speed. I finally gave up on the bonbons.

I ate two of them and my friend Thomas ate the other too. They were very tasty. The combination of the rich chocolate shell surrounding the soft caramel ice cream, with the finishing crunch and taste of sea salt was pretty dang good. But with only four to show for at the end of the night, it summed up to a complete and utter failure. Or so I thought..

I didn’t want to waste my expensive, but in all honesty, tasty chocolate. Therefore, I spread the rest of the chocolate out on parchment paper to about an inch think, sprinkled sea salt on top, and put it back in the freezer. About an hour later, I cut it into bite size pieces. The chocolate had hardened more than I had anticipated, so the chopped pieces were jagged and uneven. I like to refer to them as “organic” or “artisanal.” Anyways, they turned about to be nice little chocolate treats. And when paired with a spoonful of caramel ice cream, I’d like to think they are pretty close to just as good. Maybe not as pretty of a bite, but perhaps a perfect one all the same 🙂

This coming Wednesday, I will be cooking my boyfriend Rob dinner. To play it safe, bonbons will not be on the menu.