Chocolate Peanut Butter Poke Cake

I’m been teaching my students about the good, the bad and the ugly of social media. As you may already know, there is a lot of bad and ugly on social. But, every once in awhile you find a gem, such as these baby emus chasing a piglet.

And this recipe for chocolate peanut butter poke cake, which my friend Christy shared on Facebook.

When I first saw it I thought it might be too much: too much chocolate, too much peanut butter. Then I realized what a silly thought that was. Can you ever have too much chocolate or peanut butter? Riiiiiight.


For the cake

  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 2 cups peanut butter, melted
  • 2 cups Reese’s peanut butter cups chopped

For the frosting

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 10 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of heavy cream

Heat your oven to 350° and either grease and flour or line a 9-x-13 pan with parchment paper. Prepare cake batter according to package instructions and pour into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Poking holesLet cake cool completely.

Using the back of a wooden spoon or other similar kitchen tool, poke holes all over cake. Then pour melted peanut butter over the entire cake, filling the holes. Set aside.Pouring Peanut butter

For the frosting, cream together the peanut butter and butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in cream to get the right frosting consistency.

Spread the frosting on the cake and top with chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups.Dropping peanut butter cups

I also microwaved a quarter cup of chocolate chips then drizzled  them over the top. Just because I could.

Finished cake


Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know that January isn’t the best time to indulge in something deliciously decadent. So, if you’re one of those folks trying to refrain from excess in 2015, save this post for another time. However, if you’re one of my faithful foodie followers who says, “Bring it on,” then I have something wonderful for you.

I found it on BuzzFeed, in an article titled, “19 cookies with a life-changing secret.” C’mon. How can you not check out an article with that headline?  I double-dog dare you.

Anyway, there I found this amazingly decadent, naughty recipe for Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. What, you say? Oreos inside chocolate chip cookies?!?! Yes, my fingers didn’t slip on the keys. A delicious cookie within a delicious cookie.


  •  2 sticks softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10-to-12-oz bag chocolate chips
  • 1 package Oreo Cookies, I used the regular kind (but imagine the possibilities if you tried other flavors)

Preheat your oven to 350°. Cream you butter and sugars until well combined and fluffy. Add your eggs and vanilla until well combined.

In a separate bowl sift the flour, salt and baking soda. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined.

You can use a cookie scoop, but I just used a generously filled tablespoon, to place dough both on the top and bottom of each Oreo. Seal the edges together by pressing and cupping in your hand until the Oreo is enclosed in the dough. OreoStuffedCookiesonTray

Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the cookies about two inches apart and bake for 11 to 15 minutes until the cookies are baked through. Let cool for five minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Pour yourself a big glass of milk and enjoy. Let that triple-cookie goodness wash over you like a warm, sweet blanket of love. (Keep in mind that one of these cookies is really like three, just in case you don’t want to totally overdue it in 2015.)OreoCookieCropped


Sweet Cashew Clusters

We’ve talked before about combining sweet and salty and how much we love, love, love it. Add this recipe for Sweet Cashew Clusters from the Food Network Magazine to your list of must makes.

The cashews are delightfully salty and mix so well with the sugary, buttery coating. You’ll love these.


  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups salted cashews

Place sugar in a medium-sized saucepan and cook over medium heat. You’ll want to occasionally swirl the pan – don’t stir the sugar – until it’s a dark amber color. It’ll take about 10 minutes.SugarForCashewsCookings

Remove from heat and stir in the butter and cashews.

Pour onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and separate into clusters with two forks. Let harden. Enjoy the salty-sweet goodness.


Chocolate Pecan Pie Chex Mix

Happy 2015! (I’m still trying to figure out where 2014 went; it’s still kind of a blur. No, I didn’t spend most of the year in a drunken stupor.)

I know with the holidays now past, you may not be thinking about snacks. But I bet at some point soon, you’re going to be thinking about snacks. I’m thinking about them right now.  🙂

If/when snacks pop into your head, here’s one for you to try: Chocolate Pecan Pie Chex Mix.

It’s a sweet kick to traditional Chex Mix that I think you’ll like.


  • 3 cups Corn Chex
  • 3 cups Rice Chex
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the Corn Chex, Rice Chex and pecans. Set aside. In a small microwave-safe dish, combine the butter, molasses and brown sugar. Microwave for 1 minute, or until the butter is melted. Stir. Add the vanilla, sea salt, and cloves and stir together.

PouringSauceonChexMixPour the butter mixture over the cereal and use a large spatula to carefully stir it all together until all of the cereal is coated. Microwave the mix for 6 minutes, stopping it to stir every minute. (This is really important. I’ll explain later.)

When it’s done cooking, sprinkle the chocolate chips into the warm Chex Mix and give it two quick stirs. You don’t want to completely stir the chocolate around, just disperse it so it will melt and create clusters within the Chex Mix.

Place the mixture into the fridge for 20 minutes to set the chocolate completely.

Full-recipe disclosure: Keep in mind that different microwaves have different power levels. When I was making this, I noticed that a few of my squares were getting pretty dark after four minutes. So, you may not need to microwave your mix for the full six minutes. You’ll avoid burnt Chex if you stop and stir after each minute.ChexMixDone

Pumpkin Scones

I love scones. I’m not sure why. There are certainly richer, more savagely delicious treats than scones. Perhaps, I just love the idea of scones, nibbling on one while sipping hot tea and perhaps reading a book or solving a mystery. (Can anyone say Miss Jane Marple?)

Regardless of the reason, they are tasty. And, unless you’re a food masochist, they’re easy to make. I made pumpkins scones after I saw this recipe from the Food Network little booklet of 50 canned pumpkin recipes.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 stick of cold butter, cubed
  • 2/3 cup solid pack pumpkin
  • ¾ cup cream

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice. Work in the cold butter with a pastry blender. In a separate bowl, whisk the pumpkin and cream then stir into the flour mixture.SconeSquare

Pat into an 8-inch square on a floured surface, then cut into 16 triangles. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F, 20 minutes.

Full-recipe disclosure: I drizzled glaze and sprinkled cinnamon on mine to make them extra tasty and pretty.FinishedScone

Cinnamon Roll Rice Krispie Treats

Is there anyone who doesn’t love Rice Krispie treats? Seriously, anyone?

I’ve always found them addicting, perhaps because they’re not too sweet and are lighter than most treats. I haven’t made them in years, but was intrigued when I saw this recipe for cinnamon roll Rice Krispie treats, which I think I found on BuzzFeed. 

While I expected them to be delicious I thought I’d use the students in my class as guinea pigs. At the end of class, there was only one left — treats, not students — so I took it home to a grateful He Who Must Be Fed. Again, treats, not students.



They’re quick and easy to make. And, they’re delicious.


RiceKrisipeIngredientsFor the treats:

  • 1 10 oz. bag marshmallows,
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 1/2 cups Rice Krispies


For the cream cheese glaze:

  • 2 oz. softened cream cheese
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

MeltingMarshmallowsIn a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt marshmallows, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon together over medium-low heat and stir continuously. Once everything is completely melted, remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Gently fold in Rice Krispies.RiceKrispies

Press into a lightly greased 9 X13 inch pan. To make the pressing easier, rub your hands with softened butter. That way, the treats won’t stick to your hands as you’re pressing them into the pan.

To make the glaze, whisk the cream cheese until creamy. Gently whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla. Then whisk in milk. Add more or less milk to get a glaze consistency that you can drizzle. If glaze seems too thick, heat in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.

I sprinkled about a teaspoon of cinnamon on top to add a bit more flavor and make them look pretty.

Drizzle with cream cheese and serve.


Molasses Cookies

Sometimes simple is just better, right? Sure, it’s fun to create a multi-ingredients recipe, filled with all kinds of fun, funky flavors that perform a culinary choreography on your taste buds.

But sometimes, you just get a-hankerin’ for something simpler. No funk.  Just plain good.

Case in point: these delicious molasses cookies. I got the recipe from All Recipes. They’re simple and delicious. They’re also easy to mail in case you have a loved one far away who happens to have a gigantic sweet tooth, is working hard on his master’s degree, and really misses his mother … Oh, sorry. I digress.


  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoon sugar

Preheat your oven to 350°.  Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses.CreamingSugarButter

Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture.


Shape dough into walnut sized balls and roll them in the remaining two tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.


Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for five minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.CookiesPostOven

I hope you enjoy these as much as someone else I know. If you try them, drop me a line and let me know how they turned out.



Double Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownies

Happy Halloween, friends.

Halloween is one of my favorite times to make treats. Unfortunately, my favorite Halloweenie no longer lives at home. 😦 He’s almost 24 (what, you say?!?!) and is now living in the big city while he works on his master’s degree. But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t send him some Halloween treats. After all, I do miss seeing his freakishly handsome face around the house.

So, to celebrate his (and my) favorite holiday, I made him these double peanut butter paisley brownies from Hershey’s Kitchens.

They’re scary good.

I hope your goblins like them, too.


  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 10 oz. package of peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup chocolate syrup

Heat your oven to 350°. Grease a 9×13 pan. Beat butter and peanut butter in large bowl. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in vanilla.ButterAndPeanutButter

Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Then mix that into peanut butter mixture, blending well. Stir in peanut butter chips.


Spread half of batter in prepared pan. Spoon the chocolate syrup over the top. Carefully top with remaining batter; swirl with a metal spatula or knife for marbled effect.


Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.


Cut into squares. Makes about 24 brownies.

In honor of Halloween, let me leave you with this:

Sweet Potato Pecan Bread

It’s fall. The perfect time to make something awesome, particularly if that awesome thing is made with cinnamon, pumpkin or sweet potato, and pecans.

If you’ve been following along, you know that I discovered a culinary gem recently. This month’s Food Network Magazines features a little booklet with 50 quick bread recipes.

I vowed last week to try them all and started with the Carrot Coconut Bread. Today, it’s Sweet Potato Pecan Bread.


  • 1 cup pureed sweet potatoes
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the sweet potato puree, vegetable oil, brown sugar, water, eggs and vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt, orange zest and pecans.CuttingPecans

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Bake 60 to 70 minutes.


It’s delicious and tastes just like fall.



Carrot Coconut Bread

Is there anything better on a cool autumn day than baking something delicious that will make the house smell awesome? OK. There may be some things– jumping in a pile of leaves, taking a nice drive along a country road to see the colored leaves, picking out the perfect pumpkin – but they’re really only equally as good.

This month’s Food Network Magazine came with a little gem: a little booklet with 50 quick bread recipes.

I’ve decided to work my way through the entire thing, making each one.

This Carrot Coconut Bread was the first one, and what a way to start. It reminded me of carrot cake, and it was delicious.


  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the carrots, vegetable oil, yogurt, eggs and vanilla.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, coconut, pineapple, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.BatterforCarrotCoconut

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes.


Optional glaze:

If you’re looking for more of a sugar high, you can make this glaze to drizzle on the bread while it’s warm.  Just whisk the ingredients together.

  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt

We did not feel the need for the glaze. The bread was super-duper without it. Doesn’t that look pretty?