Upscale Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Eat More: Upscale Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse! Americans have this uncanny obsession with chocolate and peanut butter. Some even crave it often. It may be the creamy sweetness of cocoa blended with the saltiness of roasted peanuts. Who knows? Whatever the reason, the allure is undeniable. Throw in vanilla pudding and whipped cream showcased in a parfait glass for eye appeal. It all adds up to an easy, upscale dessert that makes an everyday experience extraordinary. I find small juice glasses an appealing portion-control guide.

UPSCALE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER MOUSSE

Ingredients:

16-20 Miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, wrappers removed and candy chopped

1/3 cup peanuts

1/2 cup chocolate fudge sauce

1 3.4-ounce package Vanilla Instant Pudding and Pie Filling Mix

1 3/4 cups light cream

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup whipped topping

1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips

Instructions:

Choose 4-6 glasses or cups, depending on portion preferred. Divide peanuts equally between glasses. Layer with 1-2 dollops of chocolate fudge sauce. Set aside. In a chilled bowl, empty contents of pudding mix. Gradually add 1/2 cup light cream, beating on low speed with a hand mixer. Mix until well blended. Add peanut butter and beat until creamy. Gradually add remaining 1 1/4 cups of light cream. Beat on low, increasing speed as it incorporates. Continue beating for 3 minutes. Pudding will thicken. Gently fold in whipped topping to create air bubbles. Next, fold in chopped candy, reserving a few pieces to use as garnish. Spoon pudding into glasses, layering over fudge sauce. Garnish with candy chunks and mini chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Eagle Brand Chocolate Fudge Sauce

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Eat More: Eagle Brand Chocolate Fudge Sauce! Have you had your chocolate “fix” today? This homemade sauce can be served over ice cream, banana splits, fresh fruit, pound cake, or even drizzled into your morning coffee. The secret ingredient, Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, is really no secret. It has been around since 1856. Truth. It was originally invented as a safe and wholesome milk product for the military. The fact that it provided nourishment for infants and children was a bonus. Besides, when Elsie the Cow became the spokes-cow at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, its popularity spread all over the globe. Every kitchen pantry should keep a can or two on the shelf.

EAGLE BRAND CHOCOLATE FUDGE SAUCE

Ingredients:

1 14-ounce can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

In a 2-quart glass measuring cup, combine sweetened condensed milk, chocolate morsels, butter, and water. Microwave on High power for a total of 3 minutes, stirring at one-minute increments. Add almond extract and vanilla extract. Microwave 30 seconds longer. Stir until smooth. Serve warm. Pour extra sauce into a jar; cover, and refrigerate.

Frangelico Fudge Topping

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Frangelico Fudge Topping! It may have been awhile, but the smooth taste of Frangelico Italian liqueur is not forgotten. Need I remind you it has the same hints of chocolate and toasted hazelnut you practically eat out of a jar? Think Nutella, silly. If it were a cocktail, it would go by this name, with an added punch of alcohol. And since we’re talking dessert, let’s move on to this amazing fudge topping that works on anything from ice cream to waffles. Now I’ve got your attention.

FRANGELICO FUDGE TOPPING

Ingredients:

1 cup butter

1/3 cup cocoa powder

3 cups sugar

12-ounces evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons Frangelico liqueur

Instructions:

Combine butter, cocoa powder, sugar, and evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla extract and Frangelico liqueur. Stir well. Serve immediately over desserts or waffles. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator.

Peanut Buster Oreo Perfection

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Burst of Flavor: Peanut Buster Oreo Perfection! This icebox treat will satisfy every craving you have, as long as it’s for something cold, salty, and sweet. The Oreo cookie crust is amazing! The layer of fudge nestled between natural vanilla bean ice cream and fluffy light whipped cream is a lip-smacking delight for the palate. The best advice I can give you is… SHARE. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to eat the entire pan.

PEANUT BUSTER OREO PERFECTION

Ingredients:

1 package of Oreo cookies

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 gallon vanilla bean ice cream

12 ounces of hot fudge sauce

1 cup Spanish peanuts

8 ounces of frozen whipped topping

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease bottom of 9″x13″ pan. Crush 24 Oreo cookies and mix well with the melted butter. Spread into the bottom of the pan making a thin, even layer. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Slice the ice cream and place in an even layer over cookie crust. Pour the hot fudge topping over the ice cream. Sprinkle peanuts over fudge sauce. Spread the whipped topping over all. Crush two more Oreo cookies and sprinkle lightly as garnish. Freeze overnight. Enjoy the perfection!

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter B

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Clean Plate Club: Brownie Cherry Bomb! Nothing taste more decadent than rich dark chocolate and naturally sweet cherries. Is it any wonder it’s a popular combination? What you won’t end up with is a dry chocolate cake-like dessert. Instead it’ll be dense, moist, and gooey. Sink your teeth into the glossy, crisp outer shell. Mmmm. You may even find yourself licking your fingers. This cherry fudge brownie truly is as good as it sounds. It’s the bomb!

BROWNIE CHERRY BOMB

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/8 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup cherries, halved

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

Set oven rack on highest setting. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 8-inch square pan with nonstick oil. Line with parchment paper. Set aside. Combine melted butter, olive oil, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir well to combine. Add eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat one minute longer for best results. The color will change to a lighter color. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and sea salt. Gently fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until combined. Fold in cut cherries. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Top with mini chocolate chips. Bake for about 25 minutes until center is slightly set. Insert a toothpick into the center and it should still come out coated with chocolate. That’s okay. Remove from oven and cool for a couple hours on a wire rack. Lift and transfer the parchment paper to a cutting board. Cut into squares. Serve at room temperature.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter U

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Simple Sensations: Ultimate Fudge! My mother taught we well on this recipe. Her secret was to “stir it until your arm falls off!” You see, stirring makes it extremely melt-in-your-mouth creamy. And if you try to cut corners, it’ll turn out grainy, which is a result of the sugar not dissolving under heat. I discovered another tip when making fudge: Do not attempt this on a humid day. I guarantee you, it will be a disaster. Being forewarned…… are you ready, peeps? Read on. 
ULTIMATE FUDGE 
Ingredients:

3 cups sugar 

3/4 cup butter

2/3 cup evaporated milk

12-ounces semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1 teaspoon vanilla

7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
Instructions:

Combine butter, sugar, and milk in a 2-quart pan. Bring to full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling over medium heat for four minutes. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. Be sure to scrape sides as well. Remove from heat. Work quickly stirring in chocolate morsels until completely melted. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into greased 9″x13″ pan. Cool at room temperature; cut into squares. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter N

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Sunshine Eats: Nutella Fudge Brownies! If you haven’t been introduced to Nutella lately, allow me to take a moment to introduce you. Nutella is a distant cousin to peanut butter, the difference being its two main ingredients of heart-healthy hazelnuts and nutritious cocoa chocolate. Like peanut butter, portion control is key. That being said, love it or leave it. A little Nutella goes a long way, in my opinion. I topped a batch of fudge brownies with Nutella frosting and crushed salted pretzels for a super-yummy dessert. I have grandkids, after all, and my job is to spoil them silly. 
NUTELLA FUDGE BROWNIES 
Ingredients for Pretzel Crust:

1 1/2 cup pretzels 

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter, melted
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8″x8″ square pan with nonstick oil. Set aside. Using a food processor, pulse pretzels into small pieces. Add brown sugar and pulse until mixed. Pour in melted butter and continue until mixed. Press pretzel mixture into prepared pan. Bake 12-14 minutes until crust is firm. Remove and set aside. 
Ingredients for Fudge Brownies:

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup sugar 

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup Nutella Hazelnut Spread
Ingredients for Frosting:

1/3-1/2 cup Nutella Hazelnut Spread

Crushed pretzels for garnish

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Instructions:

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and sea salt. Set aside. In a larger mixing bowl, combine sugar and melted butter, stirring thoroughly. Add one egg. Mix well. Repeat with second egg. Add vanilla extract and 1/3 cup Nutella Hazelnut Spread. Stir until smooth. Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing well. Pour batter onto prepared crust. Spread evenly. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow fudge brownies to cool 30 minutes. Frost with Nutella Hazelnut Spread, according to taste. Garnish with crushed pretzel pieces and sea salt.  

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter X

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: X-Treme Fudge Bouchons! These chocolate fudge brownies are the perfect bite-size dessert at the end of a meal. Because they are baked in a popover pan, their shape resembles a cork, or French bouchon. The dense chocolatey cake is filled with rich dark chocolate morsels and dusted with powdered sugar making it an appealing dessert, no matter the occasion. Picnic season is upon us. Treat yourself to a taste of France. 
X-TREME FUDGE BOUCHONS
Ingredients:

3/4 cup flour

1 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened 

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar plus 3 tablespoons

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

12 ounces butter, unsalted and melted

6 ounces semisweet mini chocolate morsels

Powdered sugar for dusting
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour popover pan. Set aside. Sift together flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, and kosher salt. Set aside. Using a stand mixer, combine eggs and sugar on medium speed for 5 minutes. It will appear thick and very pale in color. Add the vanilla extract. Reduce to low speed alternating 1/3 of dry ingredients, then 1/3 of warm butter until all is blended. Add semisweet chocolate morsels. Place popover pan on a baking sheet and fill each mold two-thirds full. Place in the oven. Bake for 25-28 minutes until tops look shiny and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack for 3 minutes. Invert mold and allow bouchons to cool upside down. Lift off popover pan. When cool, dust with powdered sugar. 

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Special Edition: Peanut Butter Fudge!

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Special Edition: Peanut Butter Fudge! Once a year, my mother would send me a batch of her homemade peanut butter fudge. And, truthfully, I seldom shared it. Not because I was selfish, because it was THAT good! Now that she is no longer able to give me that glorious care package, I have assumed her role for others. The baton has been passed so the family tradition continues. Every peanut butter-lover should try some for yourself. One bite of this melt-in-your-mouth creamy fudge may lead you start a tradition to “Pay it Forward”.
PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE
Ingredients:

3 cups sugar 

3/4 cup butter

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 cup natural peanut butter, creamy

1 teaspoon vanilla

7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
Instructions:

Combine butter, sugar, and milk in a 2-quart pan. Bring to full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling over medium heat for four minutes. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. Be sure to scrape sides as well. Remove from heat. Work quickly stirring in peanut butter until completely melted. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into greased 9″x13″ pan. Cool at room temperature; cut into squares.