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

Treat Week is Here!

dippedmacaroons2

Christmas is two weeks from tomorrow.  Those words just struck fear into most of the people who read them, me included.  I haven’t gotten my tree yet, very few decorations are out, but all is not complete chaos, I have gotten my baking organized.  Organized, not done. 😉

We’ve all got to get our acts in gear though, it’s time to take treats into the office, get them sent to the kids’ schools, and have them ready for coaches, babysitters, postal carriers, UPS drivers, dry cleaners, house keepers, gardeners, pool cleaners, and the rest of the village we need to show our appreciation to for helping make our lives a little bit easier.

One of my favorite cookies to make is the macaroon.  While many people proclaim themselves #CoconutHaters, I push them out of the way and take the stand that it just leaves #MoreForMe!  I love the big glob of sweet, juicy coconut with the browned bottom and edges, and I don’t skimp when I dip my macaroons in the chocolate either, they get a solid coat!

I’ve tried all the fancy recipes and frankly none are better than the one found on the  #BackOfThePackage of Baker’s Angel Flake Coconut!

CoconutMacaroons

Baker’s Coconut Macaroons

  • 1 – 14 oz pkg Baker’s Sweetened Angel Flake Coconut (5 Cups)
  • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 6 TBLS Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1 tsp Almond Extract

Heat the oven to 325°F then, using butter, lightly grease and flour two cookie sheets.

Put the coconut into a medium mixing bowl and run a large fork through it to separate any clumps.  Sprinkle the sugar over the coconut and mix it in thoroughly, then do the same with the flour and salt.  Using a rubber spatula, mix in the egg whites and almond extract until all is well combined.

Using a tablespoon as a scoop, place 18 loosely packed mounds of the coconut mixture onto each of the cookie sheets.  Do not overload the spoon, roll into balls or pack too tightly.  You want the heat to circulate and get inside so the cookies bake completely without burning underneath.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown and you start to see edges crispy brown on some of the pieces on top of the cookies.  Remove from oven and take immediately from the pan to a wire rack to finish cooling.

If you are going to dip in chocolate, it’s easy:  I use milk chocolate chips, but you can use any kind you like, you can even get the dipping chocolate they sell in the fruit department by the bananas and strawberries.  I melt about 1/2 cup at a time in 30 second increments and then dip half the cookie in until it has as much chocolate as I like.  I move the cookies to wax paper to harden.

Store the cookies in a sealed container with wax paper between the layers.  #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

Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing

indexyresolutions

For those who make them, the time to set your resolutions for 2019 is quickly approaching.  If you’re one of the many vowing to lose a few pounds, why wait until after the first of the year to start?  You can get a head start on your goals quite easily.

It’s not hard at all to cut carbs and sugar from your diet while still enjoying the things you like, and making just that small change can make a big impact on your scale quite quickly.  A great place to start, where even guests at your holiday parties won’t notice a difference: Dips & dressings for vegetables or salads.

Avocado Lime Ranch Dressingavcadodipdressing

  • 1 medium ripe avocado
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 TBLS mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1+1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 2 TBLS olive oil
  • juice from 1 medium lime (about 2 TBLS)
  • 1-2 TBLS shallot finely minced

Add all ingredients to your food processor or blender and process until smooth.  Using a rubber spatula, take a taste.  Adjust your seasonings then scrape all contents into a container with a tightly fitting lid and store in your refrigerator.  Use up within a week.

**TIP:  If the dressing is too thick, pour some into a smaller bowl or cup and add a TBLS or two of milk to thin it down to a better consistency.

This is great on salads, over steamed vegetables, as a dip for fresh vegetables or tortilla chips, and even with Mexican food.

Nutrition information:  Calories 80; Fat 9g; Protein 1g; Net Carbs 1g  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Peppermint Mocha Latte – Keto Friendly

starbuckPMLatteI love my Starbucks® and my normal latte is #KetoFriendly, but once the holiday peppermint drinks come out it’s really hard to stay away.  Instead I experimented in my kitchen until I got close enough to not feel completely deprived.

Keto Peppermint Mocha Latte

  • 2 – Medium to Bold K-Cup Coffee Pods (Brewed so you have 20 oz of coffee) OR 2+1/2 Cups Bold Brewed Coffee
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 2 tsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Stevia® Liquid Sweetener
  • 1/4 tsp Pure Peppermint Extract OR 1-2 drops #SafeToIngest Peppermint Essential Oil
  • 1 Square (about 1/2 oz) Bittersweet 70% Dark Chocolate
  • Canned Whipped Cream (If Drinking as a Mocha)

peppermintmochalatte

To drink as a Mocha:  In a small saucepan, combine the brewed coffee, the whipping cream, the milk, and the cocoa powder.  Stir until the powder is incorporated.  Add the square of chocolate and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat and stir in the Stevia® and peppermint.   Divide evenly between 2 oversized coffee mugs that hold at least 16 ounces and top with whipped cream.

To drink as a Latte:  In a small saucepan, combine the brewed coffee, the whipping cream, and the cocoa powder.  Stir until the powder is incorporated.  Add the square of chocolate and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat and stir in the Stevia® and peppermint.  Divide evenly between 2 oversized coffee mugs that hold at least 16 ounces.

I have a milk steamer that foams as well, but if you don’t there is a very easy solution that I found online:  Place the cup of milk in a microwave-safe 2 1/2 cup container with a lid. Shake vigorously for 1 minute or until milk is frothy and doubled in volume. Remove lid; microwave milk at HIGH for 30 seconds. Top each coffee cup with a dollop of milk froth. Divide any remaining hot milk evenly between the cups.

**TIP  You can make this recipe as fat or thin as you want it based on the milk you choose.  If you don’t need as much fat for your day you can eliminate the whipping cream and use Whole or 2% milk instead.

#ThisGirlLovesToEat

 

Turkey Day Prep: Zinful Cranberries

cb3

This is a recipe I shared yesterday to my wine lifestyle blog #GirlsGoneWine that I love pulling out for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s one that I have been making for a few years. It’s fast, easy, and tastes so good!  If you’re serving a #KetoCrowd, there’s an adaptation at the bottom of the recipe.

Growing up, my family never ate any cranberry sauce that was homemade.  In the preparations for cannedcranberriesThanksgiving, someone was always assigned the task of bringing two cans of jellied and one of whole berry cranberry sauce.  You couldn’t try and pull a fast one by buying store brand.  It had to be Ocean Spray on Grandma’s Thanksgiving table!

When I began cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my own family I automatically followed the same routine until I became obsessed with the Food Network a few years back and made my first foray into making cranberry sauce from scratch.

For the first few years, I stuck with the basic “back of the package” recipe:

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 – 12 oz bag of whole fresh cranberries

Boil sugar and water, add cranberries and cook 10 minutes over a slow boil until berries have popped, refrigerate until time to serve.  *If you wanted it jellied you strained out the berry solids and skins using a mesh strainer before refrigerating.  BORING!

This year I put some time and creativity into the preparation and came up with a winner:

Zinful Cran-Blueberry Sauce

  • 1 & 1/4 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cup Zinfandel Wine (Best Quality you can afford – if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it)
  • 1 – 12 oz Package Ocean Spray Fresh Whole Cranberries
  • 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Whole Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • Orange or Tangerine Zest

Bring sugar, wine and cinnamon stick to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add remaining ingredients and return to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes.  You may want to use a splatter shield to avoid splashing when cranberries pop. Remove and discard cinnamon stick.  Cool slightly then move sauce to serving dish.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours and serve cold.  Sauce will thicken up as it cools.  Garnish with a few cranberries, blueberries and curls of zest.

Keto Conversion:  Substitute 1/2 Cup+1 TBLS Granulated Swerve (Stevia) for the Sugar

Don’t worry, for the holdouts who just can’t stand not seeing the canned Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce, I still have the obligatory dish with the slices in the shape of the can. 😉  #CAGirlsGoneWine

Turkey Day Prep: Pumpkin Pie for the Keto Crowd

easy-keto-low-carb-pumpkin-pie-recipe

This week is all about making Thanksgiving desserts that those in your family who live the Paleo or Keto lifestyle can enjoy with you.  Yesterday was Pumpkin Mousse, and today we’re taking on traditional pumpkin pie in a keto crust.

The great things about this crust is that it can be used for either sweet or savory pies and that, even if you have the most vocal of coconut haters, they shouldn’t be able to smell or taste that coconut is your secret ingredient.

Keto Low Carb Crust

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract- eliminate for savory
  • 1/4 cup Swerve sweetener -eliminate for savory
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup butter cold cut into cubes
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Whisk the eggs, oil and vanilla extract in a food processor or stand mixer.
  3. In another bowl whisk the remaining ingredients together until combined.
  4. Pour the dry and wet mixture into a food processor.
  5. Add the cubed butter. Process by pulsing until it looks like crumbles.
  6. Spray a pie plate with cooking spray and pour crumbles into pie plate.
  7. Press with hands to form dough right in the pie plate. Alternately you can also roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper and flip over into a 9 inch pie plate.
  8. Using a fork randomly make holes into the bottom of the crust.
  9. Bake the crust 10 minutes or until golden.
  10. Cover the crust edges with aluminum foil if using this for a savory or sweet pie that needs to be baked again, otherwise it will burn.
  11. Take crust out of the oven, cool completely, and add your filling.

Easy Low Carb Keto Pumpkin Pie

  • 1 15-oz can Pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup Heavy cream (or coconut cream for dairy-free/paleo)
  • 2 large Eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup Powdered erythritol (Truvia)
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp Sea salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 tsp Blackstrap molasses (optional)
  1. Beat together all ingredients at medium-low speed, until smooth. (Don’t over mix.)
  2. When the pie crust is done baking, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Cool the crust on the counter for at least 10 minutes, longer if you have time.

  3. Pour the filling into the crust. Gently tap on the counter to release air bubbles.
  4. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the pie is almost set but still slightly jiggly in the center. (Check on it occasionally, and if you see the crust starts to brown too much, cover the crust edge with foil and return to the oven until the filling is done. It should still jiggle a bit in the center, like a custard before it sets.)

Cool completely on the counter, then refrigerate at least an hour before slicing. Pie can be refrigerated overnight.

Serving size: 1 slice, or 1/12 of entire pie

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Calories: 244 | Fat: 21g | Total Carbs: 8g | Net Carbs: 4g | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Protein: 7g

Big thanks to Maya Krampf at Wholesome Yum for creating the pie filling & getting the recipe just right!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat