Treat Week: Easy Peanut Butter Truffles

My haste to catch up on my #TreatWeek blog posts has me doing #TwoADays, so here’s today’s bonus post: an easy to create peanut butter truffle that lets you bake a quick batch of cookies while the truffle filling is chilling in the refrigerator waiting to be coated.

peanutbuttertruffle

A couple of notes: even a few drops of water can ruin your coating chocolate.  If you are accustomed to using a double boiler to melt your chocolate, there are easier methods to avoid the chance of having water seize up your chocolate.  While I love, and have gotten more than 20 years’ use out of my Calphalon Professional Anodized Aluminum pots and pans, I have begun slowly replacing them with Le Creuset Cast Iron skillets and Dutch ovens.  When doing things like making candy and melting chocolate, as long as I pay attention, I no longer have to use a double boiler because the heat conduction is so much better!

Easy Peanut Butter Truffles

  • 1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Butter
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 1 5 oz Can Evaporated Milk
  • 2 Cups Mini Marshmallows
  • 3/4 Cup Creamy Natural (NOT with the oil on top) Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 – 12 oz Bag Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips ( I prefer Ghirardelli)
  • 2 tsp Crisco Solid Shortening

Butter the inside side of a heavy saucepan.  Add sugar, evaporated milk, and the rest of the stick of butter. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture is boiling. Reduce heat to medium; continue at a moderate boil for 12 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallows, peanut butter, and vanilla. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Chill for 30 to 45 minutes.

Scoop into 1-inch balls and place onto wax paper lined baking sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes.  In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate and shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted.

Dip balls, one at a time, into melted chocolate.  Set wire rack over the lined baking sheet. Place chocolate covered balls on rack to let chocolate setup. If you want to add crushed peanuts to outer coating, make sure to drop them into the coating while it’s still wet so they stick.  You can also use #CandyMelts to add decorative swirls either before or after the coating sets.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Peanut Buttery Fudge

PBFudgeChunkStackI love Sees® Butterscotch suckers but they do a number on my teeth.  I had an extra bag of butterscotch chips and knew that I couldn’t make straight fudge.  It would be far too sweet.  I played around melting a few chips, threw in some spices & natural peanut butter….and came up with something that almost satisfied my desire for the teeth cracking hard sucker.

A few important things:

  1. Cooking with natural peanut butter (no sugar added) is tricky when you’re making candy.  I didn’t take into consideration the additional oil, and had problems with getting it to set up properly.  After waiting 4 hours for the fudge to set between, I had to re-melt it 3 times before I got the consistency right so it would set up hard enough to not be sticky and cut into squares that would hold their shape.  The peanut butter you use really mattersDo NOT use a natural peanut butter that has to be stirred!
  2. If your marshmallows are not real fresh, add a tablespoon or two of butter to the bottom of your pan to help get the melting process started so they don’t scorch.  Although, I did scorch some of mine and it didn’t hurt the final product.  Just added a little extra nuttiness to the end result.
  3. If you want to save some time, you can substitute a jar of marshmallow cream.  I prefer to use marshmallows when I make fudge, but it’s entirely up to the individual cook.

Peanut Buttery Fudge

  • 2 – 5oz cans evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 6 TBLS no sugar added natural peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural Creamy)
  • 1- 11 oz bag butterscotch chips
  • 1 Bag Jet Puffed large marshmallows or 1 jar marshmallow cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Line an 8 x 8 pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, warm the evaporated milk but do not boil.  Add the peanut butter and continue stirring until peanut butter is melted and completely incorporated.  Stir in the pumpkin pie spice.

Add the butterscotch chips and stir until melted.  Don’t worry if you end up with a few unmelted chunks. You have 3 options at this point.  You can either:

  1. In a separate pan, melt your marshmallows with a tablespoon or two of butter (if desired) until almost all the way melted, then add the marshmallows to the peanut butter mixture and stir in the vanilla; or
  2. Turn the heat down to low and stir the marshmallows and vanilla into the peanut butter mixture.  Be patient while incorporating the marshmallows.  You want to make sure you stir continuously so you don’t scorch your fudge.  I use both a silicone whisk and the back of a heat proof rubber spatula to press them against the sides and bottom of the pan as they melt down; or, finally (and quickest)
  3. Turn the heat down to low and stir a jar of marshmallow cream into the peanut butter mixture, until fully incorporated, then add the vanilla.

ButteryFudgeinPan

Pour mixture into the prepared pan and put into the refrigerator for about 2 hours, or until fudge is completely set up.  Cut into 1″ chunks.

It’s really rich, so one piece satisfies this girl’s sweet tooth.  The pieces look pretty in a WesterlyChardpaper candy cup and go nicely in hostess gifts, or those you make for friends during the holiday season too!  Make sure that you keep the fudge in a sealed container in the refrigerator.  Unlike chocolate “fantasy fudge” that can be kept in a cool place, the oily content of the peanut butter requires that it be refrigerated.  Not that it’s likely to last very long. 😉

I love to have a piece with a nice cold glass of #WesterlyWines Bentrock Chardonnay.  The fudge brings out the butterscotch notes in the wine beautifully and makes for a really nice pre or post dinner treat.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Do You Have an Echo or Echo Show?

I have an Echo Show that I bought on #PrimeDay with the intention of watching cooking videos, but the truth is I rarely use it for anything more than when I need some music to sing along to in the kitchen.  Then it’s, “Alexa play Guns N Roses,” “Alexa play me 80’s (or 70’s) music,” or “Alexa play me 80’s hair metal.”  😉

My dad lives in assisted living and I just bought him an Amazon Echo Show for Christmas. Because this is an interactive device that has educational, entertainment, books, music, TED talks, motivational speakers, video and so many other skills that can fill a lot of empty hours, think about what a wonderful #VoiceActivated gift this would be for an elderly or house bound friend or relativeThe Echo Show even allows you to talk via video messaging using your smartphone & the Alexa app!

AmazonEchoShowHP

I don’t do many product endorsements that fall outside of tools I use everyday when I am cooking, but this is one time I’m going to.  Just so we’re clear,  I do not get paid for product placements or endorsements.  But, since it IS the main #GiftGivingSeason of the year, I recommend you watch for the discounts & bundled deals on the Echo Show, and the rest of this device series, in Amazon deals of the day.  #ThisGirlLovesToShop

Now, back to the post…..

I was replacing the silicone inner seal for my pressure cooker on Amazon this morning, **TIP – keep an extra one on hand so you don’t carry heavy smells (like garlic) between dishes, when I saw the tab for Alexa Skills.  That reminded me I hadn’t used my Echo Show lately.  I started looking around and found that there are actually some useful things my Echo Show can do to help do things other than just cook in the kitchen, like stick to my diet.  Maybe they can help you too.

If you are following any particular diet plan, there are many great tools that you can access with just your voice when you need some help or reassurance, like:

  • Primal Potential Daily Bites:  A daily, non-preachy, bit of coaching on mindset, attitude, fat loss strategy and everything you need to win the day & reach your goals.
  • Healthy KETO:  Dr. Eric Berg’s Healthy KETO & Intermittent Fasting Daily Podcast
  • The KETO Police:  Ask the KETO Police to tell you if a specific food is KETO or not
  • vegi.style Vegan Guide:  Vegan Search Engine.  Examples – Ask for all vegan restaurants in a particular city or for vegan foods containing certain nutrients
  • Vegan Chef:  Thousands of vegan recipes
  • Is it Paleo?  Ask Is it Paleo? to tell you if a specific food is paleo
  • Mediterranean Diet Daily:  Everyday you will hear ideas for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner to help provide inspiration and motivation for your Mediterranean inspired lifestyle
  • Food Expert by Selectivor:  Always know what everyone can eat and their favorite foods – without the hassle of remembering complex food lists for allergies, most diet plans, etc.

Overall this tool is one that I need to remember I have and put into use more often.  I am loading new skills in as I am typing and will start tomorrow…#ThisGirlLovesToEat

 

Sweet Holiday Gifts From Your Kitchen – They’ll Never Know They’re Keto!

truffleboxOnce we get into December the invitations to holiday celebrations, cookie exchanges, progressive dinners, cocktail parties, office parties, and the like start rolling in and that means there will be many times you’ll need to bring a dish, a treat, or hostess gift.

It’s easy to go with a stand by recipe full of sugar and all of the ingredients that many are trying to consciously avoid, myself included, but wouldn’t it be fun to be the person who brings the treat that secretly isn’t quite as #badforthehips as all the others?  Here’s one that’ll let you tuck that secret into a hidden recipe card as the real #giftthatkeepsgiving:

Chocolate Mint Truffleschocolateminttruffles

  • 2 large room temperature eggs
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 drops (safe to ingest) peppermint essential oil OR 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 10 drops liquid Stevia
  • 1/3 cup granulated Stevia (Swerve or the like)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s)
  • 2 TBLS coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream butter and both sweeteners until light & fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla, and peppermint.  Beat again until well incorporated.  Add coconut flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix until a dough forms.
  2. Spread dough out onto your lined cookie sheet.  It should be about 1/2″ thick. Bake for 15 mins or until set up and starting to get firm to the touch.  Remove from the oven and cool completely.   Once cookie has cooled, break into chunks and put into your food processor.  Pulse until cookie is well crumbled.
  3. In the cleaned out bowl of your stand mixer, put 8 oz block of softened cream cheese and the crumbs from your cookie.  Using the paddle attachment, stir until cream cheese and crumbs form a sticky dough.
  4. Roll dough into about 3/4″ balls and put onto wax paper lined cookie sheet.  When all of the dough is rolled, put into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes while you prepare the chocolate coating.
  5. In a 2 to 4 Cup, microwave safe, Pyrex (glass) measuring cup, combine 2 TBLS Heavy Whipping Cream and 1-12oz bag of Hershey’s Sugar Free Chocolate ChipsMicrowave on HIGH for 30 seconds at a time until melted.  Stir between each 30 seconds until chocolate chips are melted.
  6. Dip each truffle into the melted chocolate and put back on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with colored sugar free cookie/candy sprinkles if desired.  Refrigerate until chocolate sets.  Store in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container between layers of waxed paper.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

You should be able to make 24 truffles and the nutrition information for each is:

  • Calories:  109
  • Fat:  10.45g (Sat fat 6.5g)
  • Net Carbs:  2.5g
  • Protein:  2g

 

Homemade Amaretto

amarettoI have a recipe on my all things wine website, californiagirlsgonewine.com that calls for Amaretto in it.  I know that you can make homemade Coffee and Irish Creme liqueur, and a little internet sleuthing led to the discovery that you can easily make homemade Amaretto too!

Amaretto

  • 1 Cup Distilled Water
  • 1 Cup Superfine (I use C & H Baker’s) Sugar
  • 1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar (packed)
  • 2 Cups Vodka (Any Vodka is fine)
  • 2 TBLS Almond Extract
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  1. Combine water and sugars in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Heat until the mixture is boiling, and all of the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Cook at a low boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir vodka, almond extract and vanilla extract into the mixture.
  6. Store in a well sealed bottle.

Perfect for mixing or sipping straight as an apéritif.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Lemon Turmeric Energy Balls

lemon-turmeric-energy-balls

I came across this recipe on Pinterest and am so excited to try it.

I have a tree bursting with Meyer Lemons in my backyard and just got a fresh delivery of Medjool Dates from Hadley Fruit Orchards in Cabazon, CA.  I can’t possibly ONLY drink date milkshakes (although I’d love to try), and I need to find a way to get more turmeric, with it’s anti-inflammatory gifts, into my diet, so this is a win-win.

I may even make a batch that substitutes blood orange for the lemon because I also have a tree full of ripe Blood Oranges. #CaliforniaGirlCitrusProblems

In the ginger family, turmeric is used to flavor both sweet and savory dishes in many different regions’ cuisines: South Asia, Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia), India, Eastern Asia, the Middle East, Iran, South Africa, and Thailand among others. In Medieval Europe it was known as Indian Saffron because it was used as an alternative to the more expensive and harder to get spice.

Lemon Turmeric Energy Balls

  • 12 dried Medjool dates
  • 1 cup old-fashioned gluten-free oats
  • ½ cup almonds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ cup shredded coconut, for dusting
  1. Remove the pits from dates and soak them in hot water for several minutes. When the dates are softened, drain them and place in food processor. Save the water.
  2. Add the other ingredients to a food processor and blend until mixture turns into a dough-like consistency. Add 1 tablespoon of water from soaking the dates if the mixture is too dry.
  3. With the small spoon scoop the mixture and roll into balls. Roll the balls in shredded coconut and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Store energy balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator until serving.

    Notes: Energy balls can be kept frozen up to 3 months.

    You can find the original recipe at http://www.natalieshealth.com/

    If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Holiday Gifts For the Cocktail Lover

tistheseasonIt’s the time of year when we all exchange gifts with friends.  If you’re college age to not-yet married or perpetually single and loving it, chances are you and your friends also love getting together for cocktails.

Since we all can likely name our best friends’ go-to drink orders here are a few ideas for inexpensive ways to make sure they can make themselves a “five o’clocker” using the proper tools and vessels to drink them from without breaking the bank.

You can probably figure out gifts for a wine drinker – glasses, a pretty corkscrew, funnychampagne napkins, an aerator, or a decanter.  For a beer drinker there is always the bottle opener, pilsner glass, mason jar glasses, or even (for the guy who hasn’t outgrown college) beer pong supplies/table.

If your gift is going to a margarita or  daiquiri lover:

Is your gift going to a Martini aficionado?

And finally, gifts for lovers of mixed drinks or straight up spirits:

None of the gifts we exchange with friends need to break the bank to show that we care. With a little forethought and a handy 20% coupon for Bed, Bath & Beyond  (you can use 5 per purchase you know) you might even save enough to grab a bottle or two to share with them!

If you’re on Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: my favorite recipes, drinks, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a page on Facebook you can visit too:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood