Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

I’m sorry I ruined your lives

and crammed eleven cookies into the VCR.

—Buddy the Elf

Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Happy May! It is raining, grey, and 40 degrees here in Chicago.
HEY-O. Cut the whining because today, it’s gorgeously sunny, green, and perfectly cool—just right with a light jacket. Not too hot or muggy, just chilly enough to still have hot drinks. The way you might expect April to be, in a normal human habitat.

But the sunshine doesn’t affect me whatsoever, because pauvre moi is stuck in the library this week.
And I literally mean all week, because I’ve got neuroscience/statistics/physics exams Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, plus physics/statistics problem sets due Tuesday/Thursday.
Who gets tired of my college student whining? Probably all of you.

If you want a happier way of ringing in spring with cookies that are way more adorable than these (and less pouting to boot), go check out Courtney’s Aloha Rilakkuma cookies.
That is the best blog post I have seen in a while. I lost it at the tiny grass skirts and leis.
I mean come on, give the rest of us a chance!!! Ahhhh.

Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

These cute, kinda homely little cookies are perfect snack-y treats.
They’re a combination of peanut butter, brown sugar, salt, chocolate chips, and colorful sunflower seeds.
They’re chewy—not crumbly—and crunchy from the seeds, but stay soft on the inside.
The classic three ingredient PB cookies are good, but I don’t always love the sandy texture; this time, I wanted a chewy and soft cookie that would hold together when bitten in half. Luckily, I found the perfect recipe from Liv! It will be my new go-to.
You can easily adapt it into other types of peanut butter cookies; you could add M&Ms instead of the chocolate covered sunflower seeds, or add butterscotch chips, or throw in some candied ginger… Ooooh girl.

These will last in your freezer for a while, and bake up into perfect pillowy cookies in just 10 minutes.
If only I still had afterschool snacktime.
(What is this “after” school you speak of? School hasn’t ended for me in three long years. Ha. Ha.)

Okay, whiny baby out. I’ll be back soon with cake.

Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
adapted from Liv for Cake
makes 15 large cookies

100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
110 grams (1/2 cup packed) brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
135 grams (1/2 cup) creamy peanut butter
113 grams (1/2 cup, 1 stick) unsalted butter
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
150 grams (1 1/4 cup) AP flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup chocolate covered sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Place sugars, salt, peanut butter, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Begin beating on low speed until combined; increase speed and beat for 3 full minutes, until light and fluffy.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add in the egg and vanilla extract; beat for another 3 minutes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add in the flour and baking soda; stir on low until dough is homogenous.
Stir in the sunflower seeds and chocolate chips.
Portion out the cookie dough in 1/3 cup scoops onto parchment lined baking sheets (place cookies ~2 inches apart).
Freeze until ready to bake (at least 30 minutes).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake cookies straight from freezer for 10-12 minutes, or until the center is just set and the edges are beginning to turn golden.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 3 minutes on the pan; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cric! Crac!

Reese's Pieces Cocoa Krispie Treats | La Pêche Fraîche

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

—John Keats, from To Autumn

Reese's Pieces Cocoa Krispie Treats | La Pêche Fraîche

If given my choice of candy, with all calories nullified, I would always choose something milk chocolaty and, preferably, somewhat salty or, at the very least, not purely chocolate.
I do like truffles, but they rarely have enough salt for me—and with those, I have a very strong preference for milk and white chocolate, even though I know dark chocolate is technically better for you…
Among cheap candy, KitKats, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Whoppers, Junior Mints, M&Ms reign supreme.
It’s always so baffling to me when someone I know prefers fruity candy to chocolate candy.

Nati has an affinity for Sourpatch, which I can stomach and will even absentmindedly munch on, but there’s no way those are better than Goobers or M&Ms.
No wayyyy!  No how.
BUT celebrating Halloween with someone with opposite taste is lucrative, as I’m sure we all know.

I have so many memories of getting home after a long night of trick-or-treating (at, say, 9pm…!) and sorting through all my candy in my little plastic pumpkin to see which ones were best.

Perversely, and tellingly, I would always save the best for last, forcing myself to eat the “bad” candies first.
I still do this today—save the best bite for last!
I am a two marshmallow kid to the bone, people.
To the bone.

Reese's Pieces Cocoa Krispie Treats | La Pêche Fraîche

Today, I have some double chocolate cocoa krispie treats loaded with white chocolate chips and Reese’s pieces, because duh, PB+chocolate forever.

They’re as easy to make as regular rice krispies.
Melt, stir stir stir, press, eat.

Here, we use cocoa krispies and add an extra pinch of salt, with a hunk of dark chocolate to up our cocoa game.
White chocolate chips, milky and sweet, contrast the dark chocolate, and Reese’s pieces are salty, sweet, and crunchy.
The mix-ins totally make these rice krispie treats.  They add just the right amount of surprise to every bite!

(Plus this is a way to use up any ~extra~ Reese’s pieces that you might just have lying around post-Halloween.
Although if you do, who even are you?)

Reese's Pieces Cocoa Krispie Treats | La Pêche Fraîche

Reese’s Pieces Cocoa Krispie Treats
makes 16 bars

20 grams (3/4 ounce, 1.5 tablespoons) butter
30 grams (1 ounce) dark chocolate
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
150 grams (5 ounces) marshmallows, mini or otherwise
4 cups cocoa krispies
1/2 cup Reese’s pieces
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment or wax paper.
Place butter, marshmallows, salt and chocolate into a bowl and microwave until all ingredients are melted.
Mix well until fairly homogeneous.
Stir in the cocoa krispies gently, followed by the Reese’s pieces and white chocolate chips.
Firmly press krispies into prepared pan and allow to set for at least 2 hours.
Cut into squares and serve.
Bars will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Back At It

PB&J Choux au Craquelin | La Pêche Fraîche @rachelhsally

“The world owes you nothing.
It was here first.”

—Mark Twain

PB&J Choux au Craquelin | La Pêche Fraîche @rachelhsally

Whoa. Back-to-school definitely just happened.

I’m done with my first week of classes, and just about to start on my second.
9 days now of being a 3rd year/junior.  Weeeeiiirddd.

They aren’t joking when they say that your college years fly by, are they?  Yesterday, I turned to Nati and reminded him that we’ve been dating since we were freshmen, and he literally did a double take.

First year feels like just yesterday.
Major events jump out through the haze of the past, but I wonder as to where the blurry boring milieu floated off.
I contemplate the “junk” DNA that fills up the gaps between the punctuation often.
The genes are indelible, irrevocable memories that I revisit as I please, but the everyday substance escapes me—the stuff that made up the hours and minutes between heartbreak and joy and the return of exam results (which generally falls somewhere between those two former emotions).

This, of course, is well known—that the mundane is forgotten and the local maxima and minima become more exciting and depressing, respectively, as the x-axis of life extends, great stalactites and stalagmites rising out of the mist of the (not-so) tidy records of the mind.
What is arresting is that I am now old enough for the forgotten stretches to comprise years.
That I might think of the majority of the 700 or so odd days between the ages of 18 and 19 with a warm, familiar sense of blurry disorientation, the way you might feel when you see that Actor Whose Name You Cannot Ever Recall but whom you quite like in an unexpected role—say, buying dishwasher detergent in the supermarket.

PB&J Choux au Craquelin | La Pêche Fraîche @rachelhsally

And here is where the little chime sound rings or the channel changes or whatever you want to envision for a 180 degree turn and the scene changes completely.
No sure why I associate that with a chime sound.  #Pavlov
No witty ending for the musings up above, mostly because I tried my hardest to eke one out but what little humor I possess has begun to recede—the world’s lowest volume tide—as UChicago and its infamous work load begin to ramp back up and my All Important Busyness butts its way back into center stage.

All Important Busyness, I should note, is extraordinarily familiar and disconcertingly, instantaneously nauseous, like slipping into a  comfy lambskin slipper in which a passing kitty has deposited a wet hair ball.
This has never happened to me.
Not because my cats are above this sort of behavior, but because I don’t own lambskin slippers.

PB&J Choux au Craquelin | La Pêche Fraîche @rachelhsally

So onto the 180:
In my current boring day to day life, which I wish I could skip past and forget about, I am sick with a nasty little rhinovirus that has invaded my head and made me deaf in my left ear in doing so (God, I hate colds).
My poor little puppy N is also sick, since I forced him to take care of me while I was still contagious.
What a girlfriend…!

I’m taking Financial Accounting at the business school, which is boring and 3 hours long but a necessary evil.
(I’m sitting in class right now shhhh.)

I’m in a neuroscience class and developmental biology and physics, all of which are OK but not stellar and all come back-to-back-to-back on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Brutal schedule.  However, I have Fridays off, so that assuages my suffering slightly.
But only slightly.

PB&J Choux au Craquelin | La Pêche Fraîche @rachelhsally

This weekend is Recruitment for sororities here on the UChi campus, and it’s going to be quite a process.
I’m very excited to be on the other side of it this year (last year I was joining as a new member!), and even more excited to meet the baby kites who will be joining Thetaaaaaa.
That being said, probably don’t expect to hear from me until next Monday when I have F.A. again.
(I’m only sort of kidding…)

PB&J Choux au Craquelin | La Pêche Fraîche @rachelhsally

These here pastries are a grown-up, sugared-up Frenchified version of the (schoolyard and beyond) favorite combo:
peanut butter and jelly.

Start with a magical, eggy base of pâte à choux that puffs up into glorious golden globes of chewy pastry.
Bake them with a brown sugar craquelin topping, crunchy and sugary and pretty, to add some extra flavor.
Fill with peanut butter cream, nutty and rich and the perfect balance of salty-sweet.
Add a dollop of strawberry jam and a few fresh strawberries, plus a light dusting of powdered sugar, and you have the ultimate peanut butter sandwich in pastry form.

A cream puff in sandwich clothing.

PB&J Choux au Craquelin | La Pêche Fraîche @rachelhsally

These are so light and fluffy, with a good bite from the craquelin tops.  I can pop them one after the other.

Choux batter is super easy to make, just follow the directions for baking carefully (really let them dry in a low oven to prevent de-puffing!) and I think you will find yourself with a successful, puffy batch of choux!

Happy eating, friends. xx

PB&J Choux au Craquelin | La Pêche Fraîche @rachelhsally

PB&J Choux au Craquelin
makes 30 small-medium pastries
choux recipe adapted from Joe Pastry

for the pâte à choux:
60 grams (2 ounces) butter
120 grams (1/2 cup) water or low-fat milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
70 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) flour
2 large eggs

for the craquelin:
60 grams (2 ounces) butter, soft
70 grams (1/3 cup) brown sugar
70 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) flour

for the peanut butter cream:
90 grams (6 ounces) butter, soft
150 grams (1/2 cup) smooth peanut butter
175 grams (1 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon half and half or milk, if needed

to assemble:
strawberry preserves
fresh strawberries
powdered sugar

Make the craquelin: cream butter and sugar together until a smooth paste forms.
Stir in the flour until dough comes together.
Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness between 2 sheets of parchment or wax paper.
Cut out circles in approximately the size you want your choux puffs to be.
Freeze on baking sheets lined with parchment.
Meanwhile, make the pâte à choux: preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place butter, milk, salt, and sugar in a pot over medium heat.
When the mixture reaches a boil, whisk in the flour and allow to cook until thick and a film forms on the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes more.
Remove from heat and beat in each egg with a wooden spoon, stirring vigorously to incorporate the first before adding another.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a round tip and pipe small domes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Press down any peaks with a wet finger and place a frozen round of craquelin on top of each of the puffs.
Immediately bake for 12 minutes at 425, then turn the oven down to 350 and bake for 20 minutes more, or until completely golden brown and crisp.
Turn off oven and prop open with a wooden spoon; allow to cool completely in the oven before removing to avoid collapse!
Meanwhile, make the peanut butter cream: beat butter and peanut butter on high speed for 3 minutes, or until extremely light and fluffy.
Sift in the powdered sugar and salt and beat to combine; there should be no lumps.
If the cream is too thick, add in half and half or milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the cream is pipeable and fluffy.
To assemble, cut open the choux and fill with a tablespoon of peanut butter cream.
Add 1/2 a teaspoon of strawberry preserves, if desired, and finish with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Pure Comfort

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

“What’s comin’ will come
and we’ll meet it when it does.”


Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Because peanut butter is like a big hug.
And because I need a big hug (it’s finals, oh yes it is).

My brain is too fried to tell you about the hell that are finals here at good old UChicago.

Instead, I’m going to share with you some things I’ve been loving lately; things that are so nice they wrap me up in a big hug all on their own.

First of all, these soft silk camisoles from J. Crew. I have three of them, and wear them under sweaters or blazers with pants or skirts or whatever I so please.
Ridiculously versatile, unbelievably soft and well-made.
Love them.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Secondly, I purchased these konjac face sponges from Sephora on a whim, because they intrigued me, and because I never feel like washing with just my fingers gets my face completely clean after a long night.
They’re magical—they puff up and become soft and supple, and they are gentle but effective at removing dirt and grime.

Speaking of clean and fresh, my Pinterest “Space Inspiration” board is leaving me with white-washed dreams, full of greenery and subway tile.  I could get lost in any of those homes.

This butternut mac and “tease” is all I want in my life.
It looks so, so good—like WOW.

I’ve been making baked sweet potato fries as a quick meal lately—a bunch of sweet potato, cut super thin and rolled in lots and lots of coconut or olive oil with a heavy sprinkling of salt, tossed onto a foil lined baking sheet in the oven for 15 minutes at 450.
After you’re done, turn the oven to 350 and bake kale chips while you eat your sweet potatoes.
Double yum!

And since today’s recipe involves PB, I have to link to Mandy’s jaw dropping sticky rice balls in green tea—stuffed with runny peanut butter!  Now I’m craving sticky tang-yuan, too.
(Or mochi.  We had killer mochi ice cream at Sunda the other day.  I could live off of mochi, no lie.)

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Anyways, for the peanut butter sweets included in this post:
These cookies are really tiny little cakelets—like whoopie pies, but eensy-meensy.
Each little cookie sandwich is a soft and fluffy dream.
The base is a rich, chocolate butter cake with a fine crumb and the perfect amount of dark cocoa flavor—there’s just enough of it surrounding the cloud of peanut butter frosting to make you take another bite, and then another cookie.
The combination of chocolate and peanut butter is timeless—talk about a comfort combo.
There’s plenty of salty-sweet action going on in these cookies, and a they strike the perfect balance between fluffy rich cake and fluffier, salty-sweet frosting.

Plus, I love that they’re only two-bites big.
It gives you an excuse to eat 5.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Some notes:

I used an oversized French pastry tip to get the starburst pattern on my frosting dollops.
This is by far my favorite pastry tip right now—you’ll see it in action on some cupcakes very soon!

I got my cookies to be perfectly even by using a small round cookie cutter to trim the edges of each cookie as it emerged from the oven.  You don’t need to do so if you don’t want to—just match up your cookies by approximate size and wonkiness.

The peanut butter frosting has a nearly equal ratio of butter to PB—you need to whip this mixture up wildly in order for it to be totally fluffy and amazing, so just set a timer and let your mixer do the work.  And don’t forget the salt!

The consistency of the frosting, due to all that PB, is really dependent on what type of peanut butter you use.  Be ready to add in an extra few tablespoons of powdered sugar or heavy cream, since your PB might be runnier or thicker than mine was.
(Oh, and if you use natural peanut butter?  Please don’t forget to stir, or you’ll have an oily mess on your hands!)

I need to go finish writing a paper and begin studying for Genetics, so wish me luck and send me positive vibrations and brainwaves.
I’ll pay you back in cupcakes next week.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake Cookies | La Pêche Fraîche

Mini Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake Cookies
cookie portion adapted from Saveur
makes 24 cookie sandwiches

for the cakes:
8 tablespoons butter, very soft
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup milk

for the peanut butter frosting:
6 tablespoons butter, very soft
5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups (or as needed) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cream

Make the cookies: preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed for 2 minutes.
Add in the sugar and beat for 2 more minutes.
Add in the egg and vanilla and beat for 4 full minutes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add in the cocoa powder.
Beat on high speed for 30 seconds.
Scrape the bowl; add in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda; only stir until half combined.
With the mixer running on low, stream in the milk.
Once fully incorporated, beat on high speed for 15 seconds to ensure homogeneity.
Scoop out portions of the batter with a 2 teaspoon (or whatever size you want) scoop.
Make sure to leave plenty of room between cookies.
Bake for 11 minutes.
Immediately after removing from oven, use a small round cookie cutter to clean up the sides if you desire.
Allow to cool while you make the frosting.
To make the frosting, place butter and peanut butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high for 5 minutes (set a timer!).
Sift in the powdered sugar, add the cream, and stir slowly until fully incorporated.
If the icing is too runny (the consistency is dependent on your peanut butter), add in up to 3/4 cup more powdered sugar.
If it is too stiff, add in up to 3 more tablespoons of cream.
To frost the cookies, flip half over onto their backs and, using a pastry bag filled with the peanut butter frosting or just a butter knife, dollop a generous amount of frosting on each cookie.
Place the top cookie on the sandwich and enjoy!

So Question


Much wonder.
Such searches.

“my olive oil bottle had some slimy things”

“is little debbie oatmeal cream pies good for chakras”
Probably not?

“lets make marscarpone ourselves for once”
Yes, let’s.  God.


“dumb jokes”
“dysfunctional family funny”
“dumb shit jokes”
I think you’re in the right place, my friend.

“homogeneous motor for milk and mango juice”
“gothic baking dishes”
“fairy hand cream mango butter switzerland”
“brass triangle fruit ripener”
“picture of willy wonka marshmallow pillow”
“ready to bake cheese marscapone croissants wholesale”
“kids throwing cookie dough on ceiling”
“plate with some fruits two toothbrush one small pot drawing in pencil”
“lime green fat baby boots with white fluffy stitching on the toe”
What?  No.  How did you manage to end up here?


“comfy belly pumpkin roll”
“christina tosi maple”
“nigella frangelico tiramisu grams”
“michael laiskonis silpat”
“dorie greenspan is too soft and crumbly cheesecake”
Nope nope nope not me.  Wrong person.

“why is my mississippi mud pie still runny in the middle”
“2c heavy cream 4 tsp matcha 3/4 c sugar 6 egg yolk 1 c milk where is it books”
“how to bake cake in a 5 burner gas cooktop candy”
“660grams of chocolate buttons = cups?”
“should a pumpkin roll cake be wet still when you take it out of the oven”
“why do my meringue cookies always end up with a syrup like crust on the bottom???”
“can u use buttercream piping for a dummy cake or will it rot? cake central”
“creme brulee didn’t set congeal can i freeze it”
“3cups cocoa powder 4sticks butter layer cake”
“why gateau cake didn’t rise”
“do they have pumpkin butter in sweden”
“why does creaming butter and sugar in more than one direction, get curds”
“260 grams flour and sugar and butter cake making how many eggs i use”
“i like to make it my own pomelo powder tall me how”
“i am looking for a recipe that used nutter butter cookies and butter as a crust, and then you melt marshmallows then make a layer of candy using cornsyrup and peanut butter chips”
I wish I could tell you the answers to all these existential questions, but…


“best ice cream scoopers activated by body heat”
“brown butter cookie nutella fill kitchen dink w/ 2″ of cold water”
“waterproof nut pie crust”
“she made a graham with childish decorated toppings”
“pressure ulcers cooker de leche condensed milk”
“glitter sprinkle french macaron vanipla”
“whot. can. you yes. hef. coleur perpar”
“no egg no milk no butter cookiesh ki,o.lpo.ol”
“cheese lava guna kracker magic”
“like golden ray butter”
“drama psheat”
“pepar fool ke banana”

“la peche fraiche”
“lapechce fraiche”
“la pache frasche”
“la pilche frache”
“peche freche”
“la peche peach”
“rachel sally pastry blogs”
“rachel sally blog”
“ithaca rachel sally”
Lol hai.  Welcome.


You guys search such silly things and manage to end up here, at my doorstep.
I can only begin to understand my readership through searches like “cheese lava guna kracker magic.”
Conclusion: you guys are weird.  And poor typists.  And are therefore in good company.

These cookies are delicious, fat, bakery-sized peanut butter sandwiches, filled with fluffy marshmallow and rolled in honey roasted peanuts, in honor of whoever searched
“i am looking for a recipe that used nutter butter cookies and butter as a crust, and then you melt marshmallows then make a layer of candy using cornsyrup and peanut butter chips”
Sadly, this is the best I can do for you.  I hope you enjoy them, mystery googler.
(I have a feeling they’re more delicious than this suspect nutter butter-corn syrup pie…)

The cookie base has edges that are crispy and crunchy, like a nutter butter, but a thick, soft center.  Perfect for sandwiching, and not too brittle or crumbly, like most PB cookies.
A cookie with bite.
Even better, they can be frozen for later!  Only use what you need, and stick the rest in the freezer for emergencies.
The marshmallowy filling is a billowy Italian meringue, whipped to sticky perfection.
Annnnnd this cookie sandwich is then rolled in
salted honey roasted peanuts.

These are like fluffernutters, only made with cookies.
Fluffernutter cookies.  Do I need to say more?

Perhaps just this: make these, you weirdos.  Ok.  That is all.


Fluffernutter Cookies
makes 6 very large cookie sandwiches, or 12 cookies
cookie portion adapted from Miette

for the cookies:
113 grams (8 tablespoons) butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
70 grams (1/3 cup packed) brown sugar
1 egg
160 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
180 grams (1 2/3 cups) flour

for the Italian meringue:
1 egg white
50 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
15 grams (1 tablespoon) water

to assemble:
about 3/4 cup honey roasted peanuts, chopped
pinch or two kosher salt

Make the cookies: beat butter on high speed until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add in the salt and sugars and beat for 3 minutes, scraping the bowl halfway through.
Add the egg and beat for 3 more minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add the peanut butter; beat for 1 more minute.
Scrape the bowl and add in the flour and baking soda all at once.
Mix on low speed until homogeneous.
Scoop out generous (1/3 cup) portions, then roll into smooth balls.
Press a cross-hatch pattern onto the cookies with a fork (or gently press them with a meat tenderizer) to flatten them slightly.
Place on a baking sheet and freeze for at least 15 minutes, and up to a month, wrapped very tightly in plastic and aluminum foil.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake cookies for 12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through.
Allow to cool completely, then assemble the sandwiches.
Make the Italian meringue: place egg white in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk.
Place the salt, sugar, and water in a small sauce pot.
Begin to whip your egg white while heating the syrup on medium heat.
When your syrup reaches 200 degrees F, the egg white should be all foam; at 240, it should be at soft peaks.
Carefully pour the hot syrup into the egg white; beat the meringue until cooled to body temperature, about 5 minutes.
Spread onto one cookie and sandwich with another.
Mix the honey roasted peanuts with the extra salt, then roll the edges of each cookie in the mixture.
Enjoy with milk!

To the Core


“Our biggest disagreement was about chunks.
Ben came up with the flavors and I did the manufacturing, and he wanted bigger chunks and I wanted small ones with greater distribution.
He said people didn’t care if you got a chunk in every bite as long as you knew that fairly soon you’d get a chunk.”

Jerry Greenfield


I think we can apply Ben Cohen’s theory about ice cream chunks to life happiness.

How important, and too often forgotten, is the idea that not every bite will or needs to contain a chunk?
We’re so trained for instant gratification that anything less feels like deprivation.
We forget that not every day needs to be perfect or leave you fulfilled.
You don’t need to be cheery and happy every minute to feel satisfied in the big picture.

We think about our lives in terms of monumental moments; we measure the passing of time with the passing of tragedies and victories.
What about all the days where nothing “of importance” happens?


They are to our lives as bites without chunks are to Ben and Jerry’s, as junk DNA is to genes.
From the outset, they seem less important.  Undesirable, useless.  Wasted.
But more flies under our radar, which is tuned to big spikes in emotion, than we think.
Little things.  Daily things, both annoying and delightful.

The first bite of a crisp apple.
Losing your keys, phone, wallet, mind.
A smile from a passerby.
Stubbing a toe.  Twice.
The smell of cookies baking.
Being overworked and overtired at the end of a long day, a long week, a long year.
Snuggling into your own bed.

So much that we take for granted is beautiful in its own right.

I intend to practice more gratitude and appreciation for the plain, the mediocre, the underappreciated, the kind-of-crappy happenings in my life.
I intend to take each moment as it comes, to breathe it in and live in it,
to meet it with a smile and know it fully.

Each moment of each day in our fantastic, terrible world deserves meaning.


It is a sophisticated hope, then, that sustains true, lasting happiness.
The hope—or rather, the knowledge—that you’ll get a “chunk” fairly soon.
And the deep and conscious enjoyment and appreciation of every moment, every plain bite of ice cream, every pretzel in the Chex mix.

Food for thought.  Thought for food.


Speaking of food… Cupcakes?!  Again?!  Who am I?!
Just last week, I made these “teatime” cupcakes.  And I loved them!
Photographing cupcakes is more pleasant than cookies, and lord knows I’ve made enough of those in recent times.
So.  Many.  Cookies.
Thus, despite my semi-loathing of cupcakes, I made more.

Part of my newly affirmed affection for cupcakes is that I’ve been frosting them with a meringue buttercream.
Seriously, I used to think that thick, American-style buttercream was a decent choice for cupcakes.
But, truthfully, there is no comparison to a cloud of rich, glossy IMBC.
Especially not a brick of confectioner’s sugar/butter ABC.

I wax on about meringue buttercreams all the time (not sorry) but that’s because they’re amazing.
Light, easy to pipe, smooth, shiny, stable, flavorful.
(I’m an adjective junkie.)

They’re only minimally more work, are less likely to break/curdle/be gross and are therefore totally worth the extra 10 minutes of prep.
Give your favorite cupcakes a makeover with some IMBC and you won’t recognize them, or ever even look back.

Maybe you don’t like cupcakes, like me.
I swear to you, cupcakes frosted with IMBC may change you.


These cupcakes were inspired by Ben and Jerry’s ice cream!

One of their “core” UK flavors is called Peanut Butter Me Up.
It’s half peanut butter and half vanilla ice cream, surrounding a core of raspberry jammy goodness.  The vanilla is studded with peanut butter cups.
Sounds like a perfect pint to me.  Heaven is peanut butter+vanilla+fruit.
Why don’t we have it in America?  I don’t know.  But it’s killing me.

These “Peanut Butter Me Up” cupcakes are a soft, buttery, salty PB cake, filled with tart raspberry jam, topped with a big fluff pile of vanilla Italian meringue buttercream, topped with a peanut butter cup.

I used raspberry preserves made only with pomegranate juice as the sweetener, so it was extra tart and tangy!
I only made 12 cupcakes, but there was definitely enough batter/buttercream to make 16 or 18 cupcakes, so I’ve adjusted the yield in the recipe to reflect that.

Since I can’t get the ice cream here, I’ll have to stick with cupcakes.
Somehow, I’m OK with that.


Peanut Butter Me Up Cupcakes
makes 16-18 cupcakes
cake portion adapted from Serious Eats

for the peanut butter cake:
4 tablespoons butter
1 packed cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

for the vanilla Italian meringue buttercream:
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
big pinch salt
6 ounces (3 sticks) butter, cut into small bits, soft but cool
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

to assemble:
raspberry jam, approximately 1/2 cup
mini peanut butter cups

Make the cupcakes: preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 18 muffin tins with papers.
Beat butter until softened, about 1 minute.
Stream in brown sugar and salt and beat for 3 full minutes.
Add in the peanut butter and beat for 3 more minutes.
Add in the eggs, one at a time, and beat for 2 full minutes.
Mix the milk and vanilla extract, and, very slowly and carefully, stream into the batter while slowly, slowly mixing to prevent splashing.
Dump the flour on top of the batter and add the baking powder over the flour mound.
Slowly stir batter until homogeneous (it will be thick).
Portion out with an ice cream scoop into your tins.
Bake for 22-26 minutes, until springy to the touch, very fragrant, and a tester comes out with only a couple crumbs.
Allow to cool completely.

Make the vanilla Italian meringue buttercream: combine sugar, salt, and water in a heavy bottomed pot.
Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Begin to whip egg whites on medium speed while heating the sugar syrup over medium-high heat.
When the sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees F, your egg whites should be at very soft peaks.
By the time the syrup reaches temp at 245 degrees F, your egg whites should be at soft peaks.
Slowly and carefully pour the hot syrup into the whipping egg whites.
Whip the meringue until it reaches body temperature, then begin to whip in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Add the vanilla and continue to whip the buttercream at high speed until it becomes fluffy, glossy, and thick.

Assemble the cupcakes: place your raspberry jam in a piping bag fitted with a plain tip.
Plunge the tip into the cupcake and wiggle it around, applying gentle, even pressure to fill the cake, until the pressure forces the tip out of the cake.
Frost the cupcakes with the meringue buttercream as desired, then top with a peanut butter cup!

Far to Fall


Peanut butter Pollock.


Thank god for no-bake recipes.

When you don’t have a kitchen (just a microwave and a fridge and a bureau for counter space), you have limitations.

i.e. I’ve been washing dishes in the bathroom.  Which only has push-button faucets, which means every 8 seconds, the water turns off and I have to hold down the handle again.  As if washing dishes could be MORE torturous.

Also, no oven.  Or stove.  Which means that recipes cannot only be no-bake, but no-cook.

Also, it’s finals week.  Which means, I ain’t got time.  For anything.  Other than crying and Game of Thrones, of course.

Stop looking at me like that.


These bars are dead simple, and deadly delicious.
Just 6 ingredients, and they can be whipped up in just a few minutes.

It’s really hard to go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate.  But PB, chocolate, and graham crackers?
It is LITERALLY impossible.  It cannot be done.

For example: graham crackers sandwiched with peanut butter and chocolate.  Impossible to do wrong.

The best part of these bar cookies, aside from their no-bake conception, is the fact that the graham cracker crumbs stay crunchy in the melted butter/PB base, which creates an airiness and crunchiness that is incredibly difficult to resist.

Actually, impossible to resist.  Cut these small, because that means you can eat a million and one of them.


Peanut Butter Graham Bars (no bake)
makes 1 8×8 or 9×9 inch pan of bars

8 tablespoons butter, melted
scant 1 cup smooth peanut butter
big pinch salt
1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 sheets of crackers)
1 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon chopped dark chocolate plus 1 tablespoon white chocolate, optional
1 tablespoon peanut butter plus 2 teaspoons chopped white chocolate, optional

Butter a 9×9 or 8×8 square pan.
Melt the peanut butter and butter together in a microwave; stir until smooth.
Stir in the salt, confectioner’s sugar, and graham cracker crumbs.
Press into the pan firmly; refrigerate until set.
Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate with the second measure of butter; pour over cooled and set peanut butter base and smooth out; rap on the counter a few times to release air bubbles.
Refrigerate until set.
To decorate, melt the dark chocolate together with the white chocolate; stir until smooth.
Melt the peanut butter with the white chocolate; stir until smooth.
Splatter and drip the two mixtures over the set bars; allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing to ensure that topping is set.



This cake soothed some of my OCD tics for a beatific hour or so.


It was very fulfilling to separate the Reese’s Pieces by color.  I felt good, even though it ate away at 45 minutes of my free time, which is precious little here in college.

I ended up sorting through almost twice as many as I needed.  Oh well.

While I was mindlessly dropping each color into its own bowl, I stopped biting my lips, something which has become quite a subconscious and destructive tic.

Cake works wonders, I tell ya.


The inspiration for this cake hit me in a CVS candy aisle, like all good ideas do.
I was buying Robitussin for this ridiculous cold I still have.
They were selling bags of Reese’s Pieces, 2 for $6.

My first thought was



Reese’s Pieces have never been among my top candy choices.
To be honest, I would almost certainly choose m&ms over them any day.
That being said, they are purrrfect for Halloween treats.

Other times of the year, the colors leave something to be desired.
When Halloween rolls around, though, it’s go time.

Armed with lots of Reese’s Pieces, I began to plan for a Halloween cake.

Obviously, it had to be peanut butter

and therefore

also chocolate.

But most recipes I found were chocolate cakes covered in some sort of peanut butter frosting.
I had my heart set on the opposite- peanut butter cake with chocolate frosting.

Mainly because, well, have you seen how many chocolate cakes are on this blog?  It’s a little ridiculous.
I feel like I make a chocolate cake every two weeks.

I needed change.


In the end, the cake was a two layer peanut butter cake which was soft and flavorful, covered in whipped peanut butter and bittersweet chocolate ganache, and decorated with Reese’s Pieces and PB cups.

It was supposed to be three layers


I dropped one of the pans and it fell on the ground and broke into a million pieces and my friends and I gobbled it up, fresh and hot, right then and there.  RIP.

This is a scavenged cake because I swiped the peanut butter for it from the dining hall.
I convinced my friends to each grab me a few of the little tablespoon-sized packets.

I myself grabbed a few and the resultant ridiculous amount of PB was smuggled out in my backpack, which ended up being the perfect amount for this cake.

P.S. note that this is another Halloween post sans pumpkin.  Ahem.


Peanut Butter Cup Cake
cake portion adapted from Simply Gloria

for the cake:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
big pinch kosher salt
2 eggs
splash vanilla
1 cup milk, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

for the ganache:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream
6 tablespoons butter
8 ounces (1/2 pound) chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup peanut butter

for decoration (optional):
Reese’s pieces
peanut butter cups, chopped

Make the cake: preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour 3 6-inch pans.
Whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda together; set aside.
Beat peanut butter and butter together until completely smooth, about 4 minutes.
Add in the sugar and salt and beat until combined well, about 2 minutes.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla; beat until completely combined, 2 minutes more.
While mixing very slowly, stream in the buttermilk while simultaneously shaking in the flour mixture.
Mix until completely combined then scrape the sides of the bowl and mix a little more.
Spread into your pans and bake for 25-27 minutes.
Allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting: melt the cream, chocolate, and butter together in a microwave safe bowl; gently stir together and put in fridge to cool.
Once the ganache is semi solid and chilled, whip it until it becomes fluffy; add the peanut butter and whip until the ganache is fluffy, light-colored, and spreadable.

Decorate to your heart’s content!

Brace Yo’self

Treat Brace yo’self.
Forgive me.  This one is a mouthful, in all senses of the word.
I guess I might as well start out by telling you what you’re looking at, because otherwise I fear you may feel unsure of my sanity.
Gird your loins.
This is a vanilla bean marshmallow, Greek yogurt cheesecake with a peanut butter base, torched marshmallows, and homemade potato chips.
These flavors called to me as I stared at a big ole pile of homemade vanilla bean marshmallows and graham crackers that I had leftover from a picnic yesterday (I’ll share some pictures etc. in the next few days.).
I keep a running note of minute-to-minute, day-to-day, random inspirations on my phone.
It includes eclectic and esoteric things like “honey nut” and “coconut kumquat” to, lo and behold, “homemade potato chips with peanut butter- cupcakes?
So obviously, this is not cupcakes.  But those two flavors are featured in this cake.
Savory, fatty peanut butter combines with silky cheesecake and soft, puffy marshmallows, only to be highlighted with über crispy, salty chips.
This cheesecake is a no-bake deal.  You can whip it together in 20 minutes.
It has to chill for a while, but that’s down time.
You could run errands or walk your dog or clean your kitchen (none of which I did), or drink milky green tea while watching the last two episodes of Food Network Star (cue glazed eyes), and feign sleep when someone discovers you, which I may or may not have done.
Anyways, you have some time.  A minimum of 2 hours.  So plan ahead.
The nice thing about this is that you can make this way ahead and let it hang out in the fridge before unmolding and decorating it.
I would say a full day ahead would be totally fine.
You don’t want to put the chips on too early, you little eager beaver you, because they will get soggy and limp.
Soggy and limp are not two of the adjectives I ever want to hear describing any cheesecake.
So chill with the chips until you’re ready to serve.
This thang is not so rich as one might think: there is no butter, only a smidgen of cream, it’s made with 0% Greek yogurt, light sour cream, and neufchâtel.
It slices very well and is light and creamy.
The textures are out of this world… I can only think of adjectives to describe this cheesecake.
I have trouble forming full, coherent sentences.
Crispy, salty, fatty, soft, creamy, silky, sweet, savory, and just a touch bitter (torched mallows).
One last thing: let’s be honest,  you don’t have to make your own marshmallows and potato chips to make this cake.
(I garnished with regular mini marshmallows!)
Go out and buy a package of mini mallows and some Cape Cod potato chips and go to town.
You’ll thank me later.
(You can add in vanilla bean or extract if you use regular marshmallows.)
Also, I realize this post was all about food and kind of one note.
Never fear, I’ll be back before you even want me to be, bitchin’ and whinin’ about my life as per usual.

Crazed Cheesecake
(Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Potato Chips and PB Crust)
makes one 6×3 inch cheesecake or one 9×2 inch cheesecake
3 ounces graham crackers (I used homemade, you could easily sub more Nutter Butters)
3 ounces (about 6 cookies) Nutter Butter or other peanut butter sandwich cookies (leave the filling in)
2 ounces (heaping 2 tablespoons) peanut butter
16 ounces cream cheese (I used half neufchâtel)
150 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
8 ounces (1 cup) 0% Greek yogurt
3 ounces (1/3 cup) light or full-fat sour cream
2 ounces (1/4 cup) cream
2 teaspoons gelatin
7 ounces marshmallows, melted and still warm (about 1 cup when melted)
Garnish: toasted marshmallows, potato chips
Lightly grease your springform pan (either a 6×3 or 9×2).
In the bowl of a food processor, process your cookies and crackers, leaving the filling in the peanut butter cookies.
Meanwhile, melt the peanut butter in a microwave or over a stove.
Pour the still-fluid PB into the food processor and pulse until the mixture sticks together when pressed.
Press into the bottom of your pan and place in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.
Whip the cream cheese with a stand or hand mixer until it is light and fluffy.
Add in the sugar and whip for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, sprinkle the gelatin over the top of 2 tablespoons of cold water and set aside for 5 minutes.
To the cream cheese, add the yogurt and sour cream and beat until combined; scrape the sides of the bowl.
After the gelatin has softened for 5 minutes, add it to the cream and microwave on high until it melts, about 20 seconds.
Add the cream mixture to the cream cheese mixture and beat on high.
Scrape in the still-warm marshmallows (you may need to reheat them a bit to get them nice and liquidy) and beat on high until everything comes together.
The batter will seem a little liquidy; this is fine.
Pour the mixture into the prepared crust/pan and place in the refrigerator to set, about 2 hours.
Once the cake is set, garnish how you like.
It cuts best with a clean knife, so wipe in between cuts.