Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

You may have noticed that I have been saying “Week of Christmas Treats” and not “Week of Christmas Cookies“. As much as I love (really. love.) cookies, I can’t ignore the other delicious treats loved by so many this time of year. Fudge is something I’ve ignored for the last few years, but I couldn’t let that crime continue another year.

When deciding what kind of fudge I wanted to make I had a lot of ideas swirling around in my head. Once I finally had it narrowed down to 2 ideas, I started searching for good recipes. The problem I came across is that a lot of recipes call for marshmallow fluff or sweetened condensed milk, and some even call for Velveeta cheese (seriously?! tell me it’s better than it sounds). I really wanted to avoid those kinds of products, which, luckily I suppose, really narrowed down my search results. In the end the winning recipe contained evaporated milk (something I usually have on hand anyways) and no marshmallow fluff or sweetened condensed milk (something I never have on hand).

Of course, chocolate and peanut butter are a winning combination in my book. But that’s not all that’s great about this fudge! This fudge is also pretty easy to make and the resulting texture is amazing. Smooth and rich without being obnoxiously sweet (which I find some peanut butter fudge to be). The hardest part for me was deciding when to stop beating the fudge after it cooks and sits. I probably could have gone a bit longer, but I wanted to avoid overbeating.



 

Secret Kiss Snowball Cookies

It’s day two of my Week of Christmas Treats and I’m super excited about today’s recipe. Chocolate and mint are like the Christmas version of peanut butter and jelly. A match made — in the North pole. 🙂

A few weeks ago, I asked readers what their must-have holiday cookie is each year. The question had a bit of an ulterior motive, as I was looking for some more ideas for this week of cookies. Melissa, over at I Was Born to Cook, said that her must-have cookie is Hidden Kisses. I was intrigued, and filed the idea away. It must have been what I was thinking of when I impulsively bought a bag of Mint Truffle Kisses at the store the next day. Then last week Nikki, from Pennies on a Platter, shared a similar cookie, but with a chocolate cookie base. I just knew the chocolate version would be a perfect match for my Mint Truffle Kisses.

I was right, the pairing was awesome. Like an Andes Mint cookie. Mine did spread a little more than Nikki’s, but once they were rolled in powdered sugar it didn’t matter. Knowing that Jesse prefer chocolate/peanut butter, I also surprised him by using Reese’s cups in a few of the cookies instead. He seemed to think those were the bomb, but also was a fan of the mint truffle cookies. Personally, for this season I prefer the mint. 🙂

 

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

For some reason peanuts are not on the radar when it comes to dessert in China. Of all the interesting ingredients and flavors I’ve seen thrown into desserts, I can’t believe that the deliciousness of sweet peanut butter hasn’t caught on. Reese’s cups are no where to be found (even at import stores!) so if we are looking for a chocolate peanut butter fix, we have to take matters into our own hands.

I’ve had these cookies, from my friend  Nikki’s blog, bookmarked for what seems like forever. I can’t say why I waited so long to make them, but I can say that I am kicking myself for not having made them sooner! I fell in love with the texture of the cookie and I loved the look on Jesse’s face when he tasted the peanut butter and found the surprise. 🙂

 

 

Chocolate Hazelnut and Salted Caramel Chocolate Birthday Cake

It seems like every year someone asks me who will make my birthday cake. And I guess that makes sense, usually people enjoy letting other people do some of the work for their birthday (or maybe they just enjoy the cake?). But for me, more than half the fun comes from planning and making my cake.

Through out the year I keep mental notes of cakes and flavors that look or sound interesting and then a few weeks before my birthday I started planning what I actually want to do. Last year, I had ice cream on the brain. This year, I had gelato on the brain.

Back in San Diego there is a gelato shop that Jesse and I love. The location is awesome, right near La Jolla cove, so we would typically treat our selves after a nice evening of watching the waves and seals. The first time we went I got a scoop of salted caramel and scoop of chocolate hazelnut and I was immediately hooked. It became my standard order. Makes me drool just thinking about it! Like a match made in heaven!

With that in mind, I created the concept for this years cake. I.am.so.excited about how it turned out. The frosting is an absolute dream. Smooth and creamy with the perfect hint of hazelnut. The salty caramel is the perfect match. In fact, I’d like to go out on a limb and say that chocolate hazelnut and salted caramel is the new peanut butter and jelly. Finally, when we threw our party last month one of our guests brought us Ferrero Rocher candies and they were the perfect garnish. Happy Birthday to me!