Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Well, it’s official.  We are moving to Scotland in August.  The philosopher got a job at University of St Andrews in St Andrews, Scotland.  And while I hate to leave California, I’m excited for the great adventures we will get to have in Scotland.  Not to mention how close we will be to other awesome places in Europe.

Then when I thought about how far away we will be from family and friends, I though that might be a good real to start back up the blog.  I don’t know how much time I’ll have to post until August, since I’ll still have the 3-4 hour daily commute, but I’m anticipating a much shorter commute once we get to Scotland.  Maybe less than 1 hour total!  That means I’ll have 2-3 more hours each day to fill!  Oh the possibilities.

This recipe isn’t very fancy, but it’s a yummy, filling, and healthy way to start the day, and should be good for those chilly Scottish mornings.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal

2 cups water
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Bring water to a boil in a small sauce pan.  Add oatmeal and cook over medium heat until most of the water has been absorbed.  Stir in peanut butter and cook until the rest of the water is gone.  Remove from heat, stir in cocoa powder, and divide between two bowls.  Top with fruit of your choice, and a little honey or sugar if you prefer your oatmeal a little on the sweeter side.

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Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies

I find myself baking cookies more often than anything else now because they are so quick.  They are also much easier to give away, which is good because we don’t really need to eat an entire recipe of cookies between two people!  These are some of my favorite cookies.  They come together quickly, don’t require any baking, and can really feed a crowd.  I made a double batch (60+ cookies) and took some to work, sent some to the philosophers, and still had a nice pile at home to eat.

Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter

Combine the sugar, butter, cocoa, and milk in a large pan over medium heat.  Stir until everything is combined and melted.  Bring to a boil for one minute.  Remove from the heat and add the oats, peanut butter, and vanilla. Mix until everything is well combined.

After you mix everything together, you might need to let the mixture sit for a minute or so.  You want it to still be very pliable, but not so much that your cookies are going to run.  While the cookies sit, lay out a long sheet of wax paper on a flat surface.  Using a tablespoon, scoop mounds of the cookie mixture onto the wax paper.  The cookies should set up pretty quickly, but if it’s particularly hot or humid they might need to be helped along a bit by the fridge.

Two bite peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate ganache

A while back I happened upon this recipe on a long abandoned baking blog, and boy was that my lucky day.  The peanut butter makes a more dense cupcake than you usually find, but keeps it moist at the same time.  I loaned my muffin tin to a friend, which is why these a mini-cupcakes, although they really are the perfect size for a little snack. The small cupcake also makes for a better chocolate – peanut butter ratio.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 and spay muffin tin with cooking oil.  Combine dry ingredients and set aside.  Beat together butter, brown sugar and peanut butter until smooth and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.  Beginning with the dry ingredients, alternate adding the dry ingredients and milk, mixing well after each addition (3 additions for the dry ingredients and 2 for the milk).  Scoop mixture in to muffin pan, using about a tablespoon for mini cupcakes or a quarter cup for regular size.  Bake approximately 15 minutes for mini cupcakes, or 22 for regular.  Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Chocolate Ganache
1/4 heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine butter and cream in a small sauce pan over medium low heat.  Cooking until butter is melted and mixture is hot but not boiling.  Remove from heat and add chocolate chips.  Let the chips sit in the hot mixture for 30 seconds to soften and then add vanilla and whisk until smooth.  Spread a small spoonful of ganache over each cupcake. The ganache will harden after a bit for easy storage.