Yummy Salted Caramel Cookie Dough Bars

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Yummy Sea Salt Caramel Cookie Dough Bars! “Honestly, you had me at Salted Caramel”, someone exclaimed to me recently. If you crave chocolate or adore peanut butter, this dessert will grab your attention. Although its golden caramel layer is dotted with mounds of cookie dough infused with white and dark chocolate, underneath lies a layer of peanut butter, oats, and toffee bits. Oh my! You may need a scoop of natural ice cream on top just to cut the sweetness. Trust me when I say, “A little goes a long way!”

YUMMY SALTED CARAMEL COOKIE DOUGH BARS

Ingredients for Cookie Dough:

3/4 cup butter, unsalted

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 cup instant oats

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup toffee bits

Ingredients for Caramel Topping:

11 ounce bag of caramels

14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup butter

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9″x13″ pan with nonstick oil and line with parchment paper. Using a food processor, cream butter and sugar together. Add peanut butter and blend well. While running, add one egg at a time, thoroughly mixing in each egg. Add vanilla. In a small bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture. Fold in chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and toffee bits. Spread 2/3 of the dough on the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, unwrap caramels and place in a saucepan with butter and sweetened condensed milk. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until caramels are fully melted. The mixture will be smooth. Slowly pour caramel sauce evenly over dough. Flatten the remaining 1/3 dough like a pancake, cut into squares, roll into balls, and drop randomly over caramel sauce. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle coarse sea salt over all. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

PB&J Cupcakes

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: PB&J Cupcakes! Mention peanut butter and watch how childhood memories instill sentimental feelings of joy and laughter. Add a dollop of jelly and suddenly the yearning is real. Here is a way to turn the classic sandwich into a yummy dessert that will find you clapping your hands with glee. The fluffy peanut butter frosting will leave you craving “just one more cupcake”! Yes, please.

PB&J CUPCAKES

Ingredients for Cupcakes:

1/2 cup raspberry jam

1 1/4 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake papers. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue beating. Stir in the flour mixture until no lumps remain. Pour a little in the bottom of the cupcake liners. Form a small well. Put a scant teaspoon of jelly in each well. Add more batter on top to cover. Do not fill cups past 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Ingredients for Icing:

1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy

1/2 cup butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup milk

Fresh Raspberries for garnish

Instructions:

Cream the peanut butter and butter until smooth in a mixing bowl. Gradually add the powdered sugar alternating with the milk. Blend in the vanilla extract until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes and top with a fresh raspberry.

Confetti Corn Flake Cookies

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: Confetti Corn Flake Cookies! Who wants to turn your day into a party? Me, that’s who. Have a pinwheel of fun when you make a batch of these crunchy sweet drop cookies that never touch the oven. Cook them on the stovetop in just a few minutes. Make this an after-school game plan with the kids and grandkids. As they lick the chocolate morsels from their nimble fingers, they’ll sing your praises!

CONFETTI CORN FLAKE COOKIES

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Karo syrup*

1/2 cup pure honey*

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups peanut butter

4-5 cups corn flakes

1 cup assorted dark chocolate, white chocolate, and butterscotch morsels

*1 cup of Karo syrup can be used, omitting honey OR 1 cup of honey can be used, omitting Karo syrup. Karo gives the cookies a “glossy/shiny” finish.

Instructions:

Over medium heat, combine the Karo syrup, honey, and sugar in a 4-quart pan. As it comes to a rolling boil, stir vigorously. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Gradually add corn flakes being careful not to crush them. Mix well. Gently blend in a portion of assorted morsels, saving some to use as topping. Line two baking sheets with waxed paper. Drop cookie mixture onto waxed paper by spoonfuls. Top with assorted morsels. Let cool before serving.

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!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Hummus

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Clean Plate Club: Peanut Butter Chocolate Hummus! You don’t have to be vegan to appreciate the benefits of hummus, especially this version. It’s more like a reward than a punishment. The peanut-ty taste combined with dark chocolate makes it only a few steps removed from eating a candy bar. But that’s where the dippers come in handy to turn it into a healthy appetizer or afternoon snack. Think celery, gluten-free pretzels, and juicy apple slices. I couldn’t resist a dollop of hummus between two shortbread cookies. Graham crackers would work just as well. Think of the fun you’ll have coming up with more ways to “spread the joy”!

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE HUMMUS

Ingredients:

15-ounce chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup natural peanut butter, creamy

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions:

Once chickpeas are drained and rinsed well, add to a food processor. Pulse to mix. Combine remaining ingredients: natural peanut butter, pure maple syrup, milk, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Blend together until hummus is smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Transfer mixture to a covered dish. Refrigerate one hour. Serve with pretzel sticks, apple slices, shortbread cookies, and celery.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter T

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Foodstuff Redefined: Thai Peanut Sauce! Known as a popular condiment for skewered meat or seafood in East Asian cuisine, peanut dipping sauce gets all the attention. Homemade Pad Thai is one example. After all, it’s no secret anyone can get addicted to peanut butter. Think about it. We add spicy chili peppers for heat, exotic curry for an earthy taste, coconut milk for authenticity. And depending on the day, there is no substitute for peanut butter and chocolate. Just saying. 
THAI PEANUT SAUCE
Ingredients:

1/2 cup natural peanut butter, creamy

3/4 cup coconut milk, unsweetened 

1/4 cup agave nectar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder 

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
Instructions:

In a food processor, combine peanut butter, coconut milk, agave nectar, fresh lime juice, soy sauce, garlic powder, ground ginger, kosher salt, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes. Pulse until mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour into a jar. Store in the refrigerator. 
*Serving Suggestion: Skewered Shrimp with orange wedges and cilantro. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter P

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Joy of Eating: PB&J Cupcakes! Mention peanut butter and watch how childhood memories instill sentimental feelings of joy and laughter. Add a dollop of jelly and suddenly the yearning is real. Here is a way to turn the classic sandwich into a yummy dessert that will find you clapping your hands with glee. The fluffy peanut butter frosting will leave you craving “just one more cupcake”! Yes, please. 
PB&J CUPCAKES 
Ingredients for Cupcakes:

1/2 cup raspberry jam

1 1/4 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake papers. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue beating. Stir in the flour mixture until no lumps remain. Pour a little in the bottom of the cupcake liners. Form a small well. Put a scant teaspoon of jelly in each well. Add more batter on top to cover. Do not fill cups past 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. 
Ingredients for Icing:

1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy

1/2 cup butter, softened 

3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup milk

Fresh Raspberries for garnish
Instructions:

Cream the peanut butter and butter until smooth in a mixing bowl. Gradually add the powdered sugar alternating with the milk. Blend in the vanilla extract until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes and top with a fresh raspberry.