Tag Archives: peanut butter

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (Dairy-Free!)

I have always tried to be very sensitive to the food allergies and special diets of my friends and family. I am happy to experiment with new foods and I enjoy making food that everyone can enjoy. I don’t want anyone to feel like they can’t enjoy every part of a meal at my house, so I’m happy to tailor my menu accordingly.

However, until I cut out all of the dairy in my diet while nursing my daughter, I really had no idea what it was like to live with a food allergy or sensitivity on a day-to-day basis. Let me just tell you… I have a whole new respect for anyone who has to eat a specialized diet. Cooking at home with a lot of whole foods (which is what I try to do as much as possible) certainly helps, but it is still a challenge. Want to buy a bag of dark chocolate chips for cookies? Well, they contain butter fat. Or, they were processed in a facility that also processes milk. It seems everything is cross-contaminated these days.

I stopped eating dairy because I thought maybe the dairy in my diet was affecting Madison. I had read a lot about babies who are sensitive to the proteins in dairy. The symptoms of the milk protein insensitivity are pretty generic… So, the crazy first time mother in me was convinced that she had them all.  And, she wasn’t sleeping well at night, an issue I attributed to pain with an upset tummy.

One day, my mom was here visiting and Maddie started showing all of her “symptoms” of severe tummy pain (or so I thought)… I pointed it out and she just kind of laughed.  Turns out that babies have been known to throw a tantrum when they just want to be held… Or when they get in the habit of nursing at all hours of the night. The kid had me all figured out. All she had to do was throw a little tantrum and I would assume she was in great pain and pick her up and snuggle her, feeling horrible that she was allergic to milk. Well played, Miss Maddie.

So, I started eating dairy again. It was fine.

One of the things I missed most during my dairy-free stretch was chocolate. To be more specific, I wanted peanut butter cups. Easter was about one week after I cut dairy out of my diet, and watching my hubby devour all of the chocolate peanut butter treats in the house was more than I could handle.  So, I found some dairy-free chocolate at the store and set out to make my own.

Fortunately for me, the peanut butter cups turned out really well… In fact, I think they were even better than the packaged ones I had been craving.  My secret was to start with a jar of peanuts instead of using peanut butter. And, I didn’t add too much sugar. The resulting filling was smooth, but not too smooth… Sweet, but not too sweet. If you love chocolate and peanut butter, you have to give these a try. Whether or not you choose to use dairy-free chocolate, I think you’ll be pleased with the results.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (Dairy-Free)
Makes about 2 1/2 – 3 dozen, depending on size

  • 16 ounce jar unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 – 10 ounce packages dark chocolate (optionally dairy-free)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil

Line a mini muffin pan with candy cups/mini muffin papers and set aside.

Combine the peanuts, powdered sugar, sea salt, and vanilla extract in your food processor or blender. (I used my Vitamix, which worked well.) Pulse to gradually chop the peanuts and mix all of the ingredients. Then, blend until mostly smooth.  The filling should be sort of like the consistency of play dough.

Combine the chocolate and coconut oil in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Gradually melt the chocolate, stirring every 15 – 30 seconds, until the chocolate is smooth.

Pour a small amount of chocolate in the bottom of each of the muffin cups. Transfer the pan to the fridge to let the chocolate sit.  Meanwhile, roll the peanut butter filling into balls using approximately 1 tablespoon for each.

Once the chocolate is set, place one ball of filling in each muffin cup.  Then, add enough melted chocolate to cover the peanut butter filling.  Let the chocolate cool and set completely before taking the peanut butter cups out of the pan.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I’ve been finding myself baking a lot of oatmeal cookies lately. They certainly aren’t the most summery of desserts.  But, I have been in the mood to bake oatmeal cookies, so I have just gone with it.

I bake for a lot of reasons… Sometimes I want to surprise a friend or family member with something special, for no reason at all.  Other times I am baking for an occasion, like a birthday or holiday.  But, as my husband pointed out to me last week, there are many times where spending time in the kitchen baking is my way of escaping and coping with what’s going on around me. I am a control freak, and baking is (generally) something I can control.  I can precisely measure out ingredients and combine them in just the right order to create a cake, a pie, or (in this case) a batch of oatmeal cookies.

So, while I would love to tell you that I had some sort of divine inspiration while creating this particular recipe for oatmeal cookies, that simply isn’t how it happened.  The truth is that they were an escape… About two weeks ago, I had Yellowdog outside in the back yard with me while I picked some of my overly-abundant zucchini crop.  As I looked away for a few moments, she caught sight of my hubby coming home from his morning run.  She took off running to greet him.  I didn’t even really think about it… I could see where she was headed and knew that she wouldn’t go far. Unfortunately, in the process, she completely tore a ligament in her knee and came back limping on three legs. It only took a glance between the two of us to know that we were headed for another knee surgery. It’s been almost two years since her last knee surgery, but we both remember it clearly, and we knew the signs instantly.  A trip to the vet quickly confirmed our suspicions.

Fortunately, we were able to get her surgery taken care of last week, and she’s doing really well.  She’s got an 8 week recovery (possibly even more like 12 weeks) ahead of her… And, you may remember that the new addition to our family is also due in about 8 weeks.  To tell you that I haven’t been a bit stressed would be a lie. And, honestly, I don’t think the stress is going to be ending any time soon.

So, today I am leaving you with oatmeal cookies.  I cannot tell you that they were inspired. As my husband, who often understands my crazy behavior far better than I do, can tell you, they were my escape from a week of worrying, stress, and a sleepless nights with a doggy who doesn’t like to sleep in her cone collar.  Fortunately, the other thing my hubby can tell you is that the cookies turned out quite well – chewy and hearty with just the right amount of peanut butter and chocolate. Oatmeal cookies, as it turns out, are something I can control.Continue Reading

Friday Favorites – Episode 138

Reading food blogs has become dangerous for me lately… I seem to be constantly hungry, and looking at lots of incredible photos of even more incredibly delicious food doesn’t help things at all! Just writing this blog post has my tummy grumbling!

So, I’m going to keep things brief and get right to the Friday Favorites. And, then I’m going to get a snack.Continue Reading

Friday Favorites – Episode 137

Friday is here again! I’m writing my Friday Favorites a bit late this week.  But, better late than never, right?

It’s been a slightly busier-than-usual week at my house. We were dog sitting for my parents earlier in the week (meaning double the doggy shenanigans!), and now I’m working on a cake for a casual wedding reception this weekend. I couldn’t just skip over my Friday Favorites post (I do slack off from time to time and neglect to write my Friday Favorites!), though, because there are some pretty fabulous blog posts that I came across this week that I wouldn’t want you to miss!

Pumpkin, Peanut Butter, and Bacon Dog Biscuits

It’s been a while since my sous chef shared a recipe.  She represents one third of the My Kitchen Addiction family (and sometimes it seems like more!), but she doesn’t get the representation she deserves here on the site.  Granted, you’d probably get sick of reading about the all-natural sweet potato and trout dog food that she eats just about every day for breakfast and dinner… She thinks it’s delicious, though, I must warn you that it leads to very fishing smelling doggy breath (fondly called “trout snout” at my house).

Even though Yellowdog’s weekly menu might not make for a thrilling blog post, I did think it was time that she share another recipe for homemade doggy biscuits. Originally, I planned to let her write this blog post and share the recipe herself. However, when it came time to actually make the biscuits, she was nowhere to be found. Most days I can barely get a package of bacon out of the fridge before she is sitting at my feet begging for a taste.  But, when I made these dog biscuits, she was upstairs in my hubby’s office sleeping while the bacon was sizzling away. So, since she was not actually part of the baking process, I decided to revoke her writing privileges.  That’s what she gets for sleeping on the job!

Yellowdog and I have been wanting to try making some doggy treats with bacon in them for a while.  She is a fan of bacon, after all.  Since I have my freezer stocked with more pumpkin puree than I will ever need, I decided to make a bacon-flavored variety of her favorite pumpkin (or squash) and peanut butter treats. To make sure that the treats were safe for her sensitive tummy, I used some gluten-free flours that I had on hand from doing some gluten-free baking a while ago.  We’re not 100% sure whether or not wheat and gluten are the source of her tummy troubles, but I try to avoid them as much as possible when making her treats.  Of course, if your doggy is OK with those ingredients, feel free to substitute regular all purpose flour.Continue Reading