Peanut Butter Bird Nest Cookies

Peanut Butter Bird Nest CookiesThese Peanut Butter Bird Nest Cookies are a dream come true.  I often lie awake at night, tossing and turning for what feels like hours (and sometimes is!) before I am finally able to drift off to sleep.  I have struggled with falling asleep since I was young.  I’m usually thinking about all the things I need to do/want to do/didn’t do or my imagination is running wild thinking of flavor combinations and dessert ideas.  I actually started keeping a notepad on my dresser so I can jot things down so I don’t forget them the next morning.

Peanut Butter Bird Nest Cookies

These  Bird Nest Cookies were one of those late night ideas that came to me last week.  I was thinking about all the cute little bird nest cookies and desserts I’ve seen lately (like these Bird Nest Cupcakes from Jessiker Bakes), but how I don’t like those crunchy noodles, and how I wanted them to have great texture and my favorite flavors.  It doesn’t get much more delicious than chocolate and peanut butter, does it?  Didn’t think so.  Now throw in some toasted coconut and we’ve got a winner!

Peanut Butter Bird Nest Cookies

I’ve been wanting to try pudding cookies for some time and these bird nest cookies provided me with the perfect opportunity!  I looked around the internet and came up with a recipe (mostly adapted from these peanut butter cookies).  My first batch didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to; they weren’t as moist or chewy as I wanted so I upped the butter and brown sugar and made another batch.  It was perfect!  You could use your go-to peanut butter cookie recipe or even a store-bought mix.

Peanut Butter Bird Nest Cookies

I dipped my cookies in semi-sweet chocolate, but I’m sure dark (or milk) chocolate would be heavenly too! I used Reese’s Eggs to add to the peanut butter and chocolate combination, for most of them anyway.  I ran out because I used the same bag for my Loaded White Chocolate Easter Bark, so I used Robin’s Eggs for the rest.  Peanut Butter Bird Nest Cookies

The result was heavenly!  The cookies were soft and flavorful.  They weren’t super peanut buttery, so you could up that if you want, but if you up it substantially, cut back on the butter a little.  Once they were decorated, they were almost too cute to eat!  Almost being the key word there…I ate a lot of them.Peanut Butter Bird Nest Cookieskizmos

Oh and have you heard of Kizmos?  They’re the cutest kitchen utensils I have ever seen, and I was lucky enough to win a set of them from a giveaway by Crazy for Crust a couple months ago!  I never win anything, so this was very exciting!  It was even better because I desperately needed new rubber spatulas – these were amazing!  The tops of the Kizmos spatulas don’t fall off when you’re using them to mix up something really thick; that is awesome!  And aren’t they so adorable?!?  Want to see more of Kizmos?  Like their Facebook page or Follow Kizmos on Pinterest!  Need some for your own kitchen?  I know you do; head over to Pfaltzgraff or Amazon and order whatever utensils you want need!

Peanut Butter Bird Nest Cookies

Peanut Butter Bird Nest Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 package vanilla pudding
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 package of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 bag shredded sweetened coconut (~2 cups)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla and mix.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture, and continue to mix until incorporated throughout.
  5. Scoop dough by the heaping tablespoon, form into a ball, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Use a glass to gently flatten each ball. Optional: Use a tablespoon to make a well in each cookie, you could also do this after they have baked.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Toast the coconut:
  8. Spread the coconut flakes on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  9. Bake at 325 for 5-10 minutes. Keep in mind that sweetened coconut flakes will take less time.
  10. To decorate:
  11. Melt chocolate chips and vegetable oil by the method of your choice.
  12. Dip each cooled cookie into the chocolate.
  13. Sprinkle with toasted coconut and place Reese's eggs in the center.
http://paintchipsandfrosting.com/2013/04/01/bird-nest-cookies/

Loaded White Chocolate Easter Bark

Loaded White Chocolate Easter BarkLoaded White Chocolate Easter Bark, yep I’d say that is a very appropriate description of this delicious flavor combination.  Just the thought of white chocolate sprinkled with lots of festive Easter candy and adorable sprinkles (yes, those are little bunny and butterfly sprinkles you see!) makes me drool.  As I always do, I stuffed my face full of it for a day, then had to send it to work with the husband.  Oh how I missed it the second it walked out the door.

Loaded White Chocolate Easter Bark

I love bark for so many reasons.  Let’s start with an obvious one: it is SUPER easy to make!  When a recipe is as simple as melting chocolate and spreading it out over waxed paper, it is (near) impossible to screw up!  This leads almost directly to the next reason: time.  It takes less than ten minutes (closer to five minutes really) to prepare your bark, and you can pop it in the fridge to let it harden if you’re really tight on time.  Do be careful though, refrigerating/freezing chocolate can cause it to turn white.  It’s called bloom and while it is okay to consume (within expiration), it does not look pretty at all!

Loaded White Chocolate Easter Bark

Bark is so simple; it’s just chocolate or whatever type of candy/chips you choose to melt (almond bark, candy melts, etc.), which makes it pretty universally appealing.  It is not impossible that someone will dislike it though, says the wife of someone who doesn’t particularly like chocolate or dessert in general *gasp!* and who did not care for my Leprechaun Bark.  He did, however, did like this Easter bark and said it reminded him of frosted animal crackers!

Loaded White Chocolate Easter Bark

The sky is the limit with bark; you can use ANYTHING!  Mix in candy, pretzels, crushed cookies, sprinkles, or whatever your imagination can come up with.   Regardless of what you add to it, you will get a wonderful treat that takes no time to make, can be dressed up for any occasion, and will likely be a hit with everyone eating it.  That, my friends, is what I call perfection, or at least pretty darn close!

Loaded White Chocolate Easter BarkLoaded White Chocolate Easter Bark

This Easter bark is perfectly festive and so easy to whip up if you’re short on time.  I used Reese’s eggs, milk chocolate m&ms and Robins eggs, but like I said before, the sky is the limit!  The swirling on my bark is not incredibly noticeable and that is because my chocolate and candy coating were still a little warm when I poured and swirled them.  If you let them cool to room temperature, the colors will not blend together as much.   I’ve already been dreaming up the next bark I want to make and it will definitely involve chocolate and peanut butter.

Loaded White Chocolate Easter Bark

Easter Bark

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 package white chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup pink candy melts
  • sprinkles and candy for decorating

Instructions

  1. Melt the chocolate chips with 1 tsp vegetable oil using the method of your choice. Separately, melt the candy melts. Let each cool until they are just about room temperature.
  2. Spread the white chocolate over a layer of wax paper as thick or thin as you'd like and then spoon or drizzle the melted candy coating over the top. Use a fork/spoon/spatula to swirl the colors together.
  3. Sprinkle with candy and sprinkles and let it harden completely.
  4. Break or cut into bite-sized pieces and serve.
http://paintchipsandfrosting.com/2013/03/27/easter-bark/

Spring Fever Sugar Cookie Bars

Spring Fever Sugar Cookie BarsI’ve got spring fever and I’ve got it bad.  I’ve had enough snow, enough cold, enough frosty car windows when I leave for work in the morning – enough already!  I even wore a dress last week because it was just above 40 (I’m not completely crazy, I had leggings on, too).  I’m not sure 40 degrees should be considered dress weather, but it needed to happen of I might have completely lost it.  Let me tell you though, I heard lots of birds chirping today, and I’m going to take that as an indication of warmer weather in my (hopefully immediate) future.  Until then, here’s a treat filled with fun pastel colors and deliciousness that will help satisfy your spring cravings.

Spring Fever Sugar Cookie BarsSpring Fever Sugar Cookie Bars

These sugar cookie bars are fabulous and would be a perfect treat to make for Easter.  The recipe uses a sugar cookie mix as a base (Cheating, I know, but I made this with my two nieces, so anything to make it go a little more smoothly is nice).  Let’s be honest, we all need quick and easy recipes and it IS forgiveable to use premade mixes sometimes.  Don’t like store-bought?  Easy solution: homemade cookie mixes and make your own bulk baking mixes  (FYI I haven’t used the cookie mix recipe, but it looks promising.)

Spring Fever Sugar Cookie Bars

I adapted this Cran-Pistachio cookie recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything.  That might seem odd, but I wanted to add pudding to make it a little softer, and I liked the additional flour and egg, anything to make them a little fuller in the pan.  You could use your favorite sugar cookie recipe and press it into a pan, or use just the mix and follow the directions on the package, as well.

Spring Fever Sugar Cookie Bars

On a separate note, did you hear about google reader?  I’m sure you did.  When I first decided to use a reader, it was an easy decision to go with google reader.  I already had a gmail, so NO extra work signing up or creating a profile, just one click…I call that a success.  I was happy with the layout and function of it, so everything was good!  When I found out it would no longer be available in a few months, I was  disappointed, but still eager to check out other options.  I’ve heard a lot of about Bloglovin, especially lately with the news about google reader, and decided to give it a shot.   Well, I love it!  My favorite aspect is that it displays an excerpt from each post (rather than the whole post), so you can quickly and easily scroll through new posts.  If you will be in the market for a new reader in a few months or are just curious, I urge you to check out Bloglovin!

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Spring Fever Sugar Cookie Bars

Sugar Cookie Bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 9x13 pan

Ingredients

  • 1 17.5 oz pouch Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
  • 1 3.5 oz box vanilla pudding
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • sprinkles and m&ms for decorating, as much or as little as you want

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9x13 in baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar cookie mix, pudding, and flour. Add the melted butter and eggs and mix until incorporated. A wooden spoon works very well, an electric mixer risks over-mixing. Fold in the white chocolate chips.
  3. Place sugar cookie mix in greased pan and use a spatula to spread it out. Sprinkle with m&ms. I used both milk chocolate and peanut butter Easter m&ms.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, being careful not to overbake. Let cool completely before serving (if you can!)
http://paintchipsandfrosting.com/2013/03/25/spring-fever-sugar-cookie-bars/