Three-Day Weekends Are Better Than Two-Day Ones

This is the OMG IT’S A THREE-DAY WEEKEND?! face.

Okay, maybe not – this was his face when we went out to breakfast, because that’s how our weekend started. With pancakes! I got the lemon ricotta pancake because it’s truly the best. It’s custardy and I pretty much am in love with anyone and everything lemon that’s sweet. I also don’t typically put butter or syrup on them either, because they’re just so good.

Friday started out with 58 degrees and rain (and a run in short sleeves!) – and then it ended up with sleet and then snow. The weather actually got so bad that my Friday night plans had to change. I was originally supposed to have a girls night with my sisters-in-law and go to the art museum to see their new Jazz Age exhibit, but due to the weather, the museum closed early!

Luckily, our dinner plans didn’t fall through and we were able to have some french food at L’Albtross.  We started with cheese …

And after our main course, ended with dessert!

Saturday was pretty good too. The day included some surprise chocolates from B — Mitchell’s has some great chocolates near me, and I love their pretzels and chocolate covered ginger.

The day also included a 2+ hour car nap for FW!

While he napped, I baked some zucchini breakfast cookies for FW to hopefully enjoy. They weren’t that sweet, but I’m hoping FW will want to eat them for breakfast. 

After the nap, we headed to the art museum to finally catch the Jazz Age exhibit. Since the museum was closed early Fri. night, we were able to exchange our tickets and go Saturday.  All of us ladies couldn’t all schedule the same time, but

I was able to go with B and FW – and Katie – instead.

The exhibit was great! It had so many cool parts and pieces – jewelry, textiles, cars, dresses, and more.

After the art museum, we went to Little Italy for some pizza and dessert.

It was a cold night but we had to walk to get some pastries, too!

Chocolate cannoli and rainbow cookies. My favorite!

Sunday morning started off with some ME time! B and FW went outside to brave the cold and get in some sleighing, while I stayed home. I was able to get in a short run and walk.

I was also able to start some cookies (and do some laundry,  but that’s not as exciting 🙂 ) – so that means I baked TWICE this weekend!

We finished off Sunday with a trip to visit our friends’ new baby girl (she is so sweet!!!). I brought some of the cookies over and B made some homemade chicken soup to bring as well.

And then it was time for a Polish-inspired dinner with B’s family, where FW enjoyed playing with his cousins. Pretty much perfect comfort food for a COLD weekend!

FW’s daycare is closed tomorrow, so I’m spending the day with him. Thus, the three-day weekend! Some questions for you:

  • Any tips for keeping a toddler entertained when it’s cold and snowy/icy outside?
  • Do you like Polish food?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

peanut butter cookie dough  cheesecake bars

I stumbled upon a food holiday calendar last week and discovered that March 1 was National Peanut Butter Lovers Day. Oh my goodness – how perfect is that holiday? So naturally, I had to make something to celebrate. I had no idea what to make – there are so many choices! – but decided to make some cheesecake bars featuring peanut butter cookie and peanut butter cup.

I had seen a few recipes that looked good but each one had something wrong with it (in my opinion) – one called for peanut butter chips, which I didn’t have … one only fit in an 8×8 pan, which was too small … and most of them featured regular chocolate chip cookie, NOT peanut butter cookie. So this is somewhat of a made up recipe and you can be I’ll be making it again to perfect it – all for science, of course.

PS – Sorry this is being shared AFTER National Peanut Butter Lovers Day. Let’s just say I fell into a deep sugar/peanut butter/cheesecake bar coma after making these and didn’t get around to writing down the recipe until now. You can still make these – I guarantee they’ll be appreciated any day 🙂

peanut butter cookie dough  cheesecake bars- i crashed the web

peanut butter cookie dough cheesecake bars

Here’s what you need:

For the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

For the Cheesecake

  • 1- 8 ounce package cream cheese (8 oz.) at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter

For the Glaze

  • 4 teaspoons water
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter

Here’s what you do:

  1. First, make the peanut butter cookie dough. Cream together butter, shortening and sugar in a large bowl until combined. Then add in eggs and vanilla. Continue to cream until batter seems light. Add in peanut butter and mix thoroughly.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Slowly add to the peanut butter mixture and combine until well incorporated.
  3. Stir in peanut butter cup bites and chocolate chips with a spatula. Press half of the dough into the bottom of a prepared 9×13 pan. To prevent the mixture from sticking I spread foil through the bottom of the pan and partially up the edges and then sprayed with a nonstick cooking spray. Resist the urge to eat there set of the dough 🙂
  4. Then, prepare the peanut butter cream cheese topping. Beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and peanut butter and continue to beat until smooth. Pour on top of the cookie dough and use a spatula sprayed with cooking spray to spread evenly on top of cookie dough.
  5. Finish the batter: Drop and press small pieces of the remaining peanut butter cookie dough on top of the cream cheese topping. Cover as much of the cream cheese layer as you can.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-27 minutes or until cookie topping starts to appear golden brown.
  7. Prepare the glaze: In a small bowl, combine the water, powdered sugar and peanut butter. Mix well. Drizzle over bars while still warm. Cool before cutting. Enjoy!

And here’s another photo for you to gape at. The photos aren’t the best quality (phone camera!) but my goodness – you get the idea of how delicious these were. YUM!

peanut butter cookie dough  cheesecake bars

Brown Butter Butterscotch Oatmeal Coconut Bars

You guys. I just discovered brown butter. I don’t know HOW it took me so long to try it out – but my life is changed. I will never bake again without browning my butter!

Okay so that’s false – but in all seriousness, browning the butter for at least this recipe was amazing. It smelled SO good and I think made these bars so much better than they could have been. You MUST try it – I promise, if you get a good browned butter, you won’t be sorry.

Anyway, I had a hankering for baking with butterscotch and while I love these butterscotch oatmeal cookies, I was seeking something somewhat different. After reviewing a few recipes (and my pantry), I came up with these. They’re chewy, really sweet (warning- not for the non-sweet tooth!), and I think they’re delicious. Be careful – they’re also addicting!

brown butter butterscotch oatmeal coconut bars-icrashedtheweb

Brown Butter Butterscotch Oatmeal Coconut Bars

(adapted from Cook’s Country … because I don’t have cable and am addicted to this show)

Here’s what you need:

For the bars:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups oatmeal (I used 1 cup quick oats and 1 cup old fashioned – the texture is more chewy with the quick oats and more fibrous / gritty / textured with the old fashioned so i like to mix)
  • 1/2 sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup butterscotch chips divided in half
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup packed  brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract

Butterscotch drizzle:

  •  1/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 2 tablespoons  brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350. Prepare a 9×13 baking pan by spraying with a nonstick cooking spray or butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine  flour, oats, coconut, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Brown your butter! In a small pan at medium heat, melt the butter. Let the butter continue to cook until a rich golden brown color. Stir continuously so as not to burn the butter – burned butter does not equal brown butter! Feel free to use this site as a guide as well for additional direction on how to perfectly brown your butter.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the hot brown butter with half of the 1 1/2 cup chips (3/4 cup). Mix together until melted and smooth. Add in the brown sugar, egg and vanilla.
  5. Slowly add in flour/oat/coconut mixture, just until incorporated.
  6. Add in other half of chips (3/4) and combine. (Note: I like to add in about 1/2 chips and sprinkle rest on top of batter when in pan)
  7. Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread so it is even. Bake about 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. When the bars are almost done, make the butterscotch drizzle: Mix 1/4 cup butterscotch chips, brown sugar and water and melt in a saucepan over medium, stirring so not to burn. Alternatively, you could make in the microwave – again, just be careful to not burn it!
  9. Drizzle over the warm bars. Let the bars cool completely before removing them – this will be tough, but it’s so worth it! Enjoy – share some with your coworkers or family 🙂

brown butter butterscotch oatmeal coconut bars-icrashedtheweb

 

 

Peanut Butter Fudge Caramel Bars

Just in time for the holidays, I’m excited to share with you a recipe that is delicious and perfect for peanut butter and chocolate lovers.

This is not realllllly a holiday recipe, but you can dress it up with red and green and then it’s the perfect for the holidays! It’s not difficult to make but it IS somewhat time consuming because it’s a few layers. But I promise it’s worth it because it really is that good.*

*if you don’t like peanut butter or chocolate you WON’T like these. I can’t be held responsible for your taste buds.

Peanut Butter Fudge Caramel Bars - icrashedtheweb

Peanut Butter Fudge Caramel Bars

Here’s what you need:

For the cookie layer

  • 1/2 c butter (1 stick)
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 1 c flour

For the peanut butter caramel layer

  • 30 caramels, unwrapped
  • 3 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream

For the peanut butter fudge layer

  • 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips (I ended up using about half semi-sweet and half milk chocolate)
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. candy topping – I used peanut butter M&Ms that were red and green

Here’s what you do:

  1. For the cookie layer: Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8 in. pan with foil and/or spray with cooking spray. Creaming the butter and sugar with a stand mixer until fluffy. Slowly stir in flour. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 18 minutes until it starts to slightly brown. Cool for at least 20-30 minutes before continuing.
  2. For the peanut butter caramel layer: Mix caramels, peanut butter, and heavy cream in a pot over medium to medium low heat. Stir until smooth and melted. Carefully pour on top of cookie layer. I used a spatula to evenly spread on top of cookie. Chill at least 15 minutes before adding chocolate peanut butter layer.
  3. For the chocolate peanut butter layer: Melting chocolate chips and peanut butter together in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Stir until smooth and peanut butter is incorporated and pour over caramel layer. Again, I used a spatula to spread evenly and carefully. Top with candy of your choice – I use red and green M&Ms and sprinkles to fit within my holiday theme.
  4. Chill bars until completely firm; I chilled mine in the fridge for a few hours and then let sit at room temperature before cutting.

Peanut Butter Fudge Caramel Bars (1)

Peanut Butter Heath Bar Blondies

I must be on a peanut butter and chocolate baking kick lately. Or maybe I always have been? Anyway, if you’re a fan of peanut butter cookies, cookie bars, and chocolate, these bars are for you. That’s right – no fancy introduction needed for these bad boys. Just make them for the peanut butter cookie lover in your life and I promise he or she won’t be disappointed!

peanut butter heath bar blondies - icrashedtheweb

Peanut Butter Heath Bar Blondies (from my Magnolia cookbook)

Here’s what you need:

For the cookie bars: 

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temp. (I used Egg Beaters because that’s what I had on hand and they came out fine!)
  • 2 Tbs vanilla
  • 3 cups self-rising flour

For the topping:

  • 1 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup  coarsely Heath bar bites (they sell them with the chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted peanuts

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 and grease a 12 x 18 jelly roll pan.
  2. Beat butter and peanut butter until fluffy.  Add in the sugar & mix until smooth.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat thoroughly.
  4. Gradually add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mixing well after each admission. Mix until well incorporated.
  5. Spread batter evenly in pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges start to brown.  Cool to room temp.
  6. Make the topping: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the peanut butter chips and the cream until smooth.  Pour the mixture over cooled blondies.  Sprinkle with heath bar and peanuts.

Variations: I also made some with semi-sweetened chocolate chips melted (instead of peanut butter, as well as chopped up peanut butter cup (instead of Heath bar bites)

peanut butter heath bar blondies - i crashed the web

Some questions for you:

  • Are there any nut butters you don’t like? Which have you tried? I’ve never tried cashew butter! But I do like peanut butter, sunflower butter (or sunbutter) and almond butter. And cookie butter – does that count as a nut?
  • What other topping would you put on these bars besides peanut butter or chocolate? I’m wondering how white chocolate would taste. I know I would like them (I like white chocolate Reese’s!) but not sure how others may enjoy them.
  • What’s a new cookie bar recipe you’ve tried recently? I need some new ones to try!

 

Peanut Butter Cup S’mores Bars

I have a confession … I’ve never really LOVED s’mores.

I know – that’s like saying I hate summer … but hear me out. I have never been a chocoholic, OR a big fan of marshmallows. So s’mores? I’ll take ’em or leave ’em.

But these bars. OMG. THESE BARS. There is no way that you’re not going to like these. Even B, another non-s’mores fan (yes, there are two of us and we found one another!), loves these bars. SO with the unofficial start of summer here, I decided to bring these bars to a Memorial Day BBQ and they did NOT disappoint. We got tons of compliments (yay!) and we will definitely be making these again. Enjoy!

PEANUT BUTTER CUP SMORES BARS - I CRASHED THE WEB

Here’s what you need:

The Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 15 graham crackers, blended finely into graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 stick  butter, melted
  • 1/3 c. sugar

The Cookie Layer:

  • 1 ½ c all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 ½  cups (same as 1 1/2 sticks or 12 tbs) butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A 4.4 oz Hershey candy bar (the giant bar), broken up into chunks
  • 6 large Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped up into chunks
  • ½ c mini chocolate chips
  • 2 ½ cups mini marshmallows (1 ½ c to sprinkle on top, 1 c to add in batter)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor.  Combine with sugar and melted butter and press into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.
  3. Bake the crust for 15 minutes.
  4. While the crust is baking, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar and butter.  Add in the eggs and vanilla.  Add the flour mixture and gently stir in half of the Hershey candy bar chunks, half of the Reese’s chunks, the mini chocolate chips and 1 c. mini marshmallows.
  6. Carefully add the batter to the top of the graham cracker crust. I found it easiest to add big chunks in the corner of the pan and then carefully push the batter down with my hands so it is even. Be gentle – you don’t want to pull the crust apart. Don’t worry about making it perfectly even – it will spread as it’s baking.
  7. Press remaining candy (Reese’s and Hershey bar) on top of the bars. Sprinkle remaining marshmallows on top of the bars.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until marshmallows have started to brown/darken.  Allow to cool completely before cutting into them. I put mine in the fridge overnight before chopping them.
  9. Enjoy!

reeses smores cookie bars - i crashed the web

Peanut Butter Cup S'mores Bars

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like s’mores?
  • Do you have a go-to dessert that you bring to a potluck? What is it?
  • Peanut butter cups – yay or nay?

Pecan Pie Bars

I’m not a big pie person. I know, I know – pies are somewhat trendy (well they were a year or so ago) and therefore I should like them. I’ve just never been a big fan. Don’t get me wrong – I love desserts of ALL kinds, but if I had a choice between an apple pie or apple cookie – I’d choose cookie all the way.

So when B and I got charged with bringing dessert to his family’s Thanksgiving this year, I wasn’t really looking to make enough pie to serve 20ish people for three days (yes, it’s a pretty big family gathering). But of course, for B some people,you can’t have Thanksgiving without pie. So in addition to making a pie, or two, we decided that we’d also bring some bars – inspired of course by popular Thanksgiving pies. First up? Pecan Pie Bars. These are great for both pie AND non-pie lovers. The sugar cookie dough crust could be eaten alone and works marvelously (I’ve been watching too much Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife) with the pecan filling.

Oh, and besides having these for Thanksgiving? I’m very seriously thinking about making these for Christmas – because they really are that good.

pecan pie bars - i crashed the web

Here’s what you need:

For the crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened

For the filling

  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans (I put mine in a food processor and c

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour with powdered sugar. Cut in 3/4 cup softened butter using a knife and combine with a fork (or your hands) until the mixture is in crumbly clumps (yes that is the scientific term).
  2. Using your hands, place the mixture on the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish prepared with parchment paper. Allow mixture to come up the sides of the dish a little as well.
  3. Bake crust at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until edges are starting to brown. Cool crust.
  4. Combine brown sugar, honey, 2/3 cup butter, and heavy whipping cream in a skillet. Bring to a boil. Stir in pecans, and combine. Pour hot pecan mixture into cooled crust.
  5. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until the pecan filling is a dark golden color and bubbling. Cool before cutting into bars.
  6. Enjoy!
sugar cookie crust

sugar cookie crust

pecan pie filling

pecan pie filling

Bars are done!

Bars are done!

Recipe inspired by this Food Network recipe – minus the corn syrup! – and this one.