Nutter Butter Truffle Eggs

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Every Easter, Reese’s rolls out its Peanut Butter Eggs, and in my head, I envision a chubby chocolate bunny bouncing from store to store across the country and dropping off the eggs for selling. That’s one bunny I’d like to meet. The Easter Bunny is cool and all, but a chocolate bunny that hands out PB Eggs? That’s my kind of rabbit!

Last year, I beat that chocolate bunny at his own game when I made some stellar Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs, complete with a how-to video. But this year, I wanted to step it up another level. You’re wondering, “How does one take a step up from Peanut Butter Eggs, the crème de la crème of Easter treats?”

Well, I might have something to change your mind and take over the throne for supreme Easter confection: Nutter Butter Truffle Eggs.

I took a beloved American cookie, which is also one of the most versatile (See: Nutter Butter Penguins), and turned it into a sweet & salty creamy filling. You get the peanut butter flavor, plus the sweetness and substantiality of the cookie. Then, the Nutter Butterific filling is enveloped in a silky coat of creamy and smooth chocolate.DSC_2454

What you wind up with is the Peanut Butter Egg’s cooler, smarter, all around-awesome sibling. I’m sorry, but plain peanut butter filling can’t hold a candle to rich Nutter Butter filling. That’s like saying apples are as good as apple pie. Don’t be silly.

Don’t be intimidated by the pretty appearance of these divine little eggs; their cute egg shape is easy to make, and all you need to dress ‘em up are some festive, Springy sprinkles. This is a no-bake treat that’s easy to execute, and even easier to eat. The only problem is, you might eat half of the Nutter Butter filling before you ever get to shape it into an egg. You’ve been warned.

Now get your bunny butt up and shake your cotton tail into the kitchen to whip up these must-try chocolate-covered PB cuties.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Make sure you give the filling enough time to freeze and firm up rock hard before dunking in the chocolate or it won’t hold up.
  2. Use whatever sprinkles or decorations you like. Be creative!
  3. Skip the egg shape and just make these truffle-shaped, and you can enjoy these any time of year.
  4. Go for white chocolate if that’s more your thing.
  5. Coating these in chocolate is not a technical process. Use whatever method you like. The easiest way is to stick it on a fork, or you can be like me and just use your hands!
  6. You must melt chocolate in intervals when melting in the microwave or it will burn.DSC_2436

Nutter Butter Truffle Eggs
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Yield – about 2 dozen eggs

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Nutter Butters, reserving ½ of last sleeve for your own snacking or whatever you please
  • ½ cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 6 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • Easter sprinkles, for decorating

Directions:

  1. Place the Nutter Butters and peanut butter chips in a food processor and process until they start to come together, about 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down halfway through. Give it time to let the chips melt and the cookies break down.
  2. Stream in the canola oil and process until smooth and creamy, another 2 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and place in fridge to chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Form Nutter Butter mixture into scant tablespoon-sized balls. Press down lightly and pull at the edges gently to create an oval, about ¼-inch in thickness. Pinch the top to make it look like an egg. Place on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper so it doesn’t stick. Repeat with remaining mixture.
  4. Transfer shaped eggs to the freezer until completely firm, about an hour.
  5. Place all the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 20 second intervals, stirring very well in between to help it melt faster. This should only take about 3 intervals.
  6. Dunk frozen eggs into the chocolate and coat completely (you can use a fork to do this or just your fingers). Flip to coat both sides and let excess drip off. Return to lined waxed paper lined baking sheet. Immediately top each coated egg with sprinkles because they set up quickly, and the sprinkles won’t stick then.
  7. Stick coated eggs in fridge to set completely, about 15 minutes, then enjoy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Let come to room temperature before eating.DSC_2415

Peanut Butter-Toffee Cookie Bars with Ganache

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Only a fellow foodie can understand the kind of all-consuming obsession that takes over when you find a recipe you really want to try. Until you make that recipe, your mind (and grumbling stomach) will not rest. Your every waking thought is consumed by salivation-inducing fantasies of what that first bite will be like. It’s similar to when you develop a crush on someone you just met and obsess over them, except, in the case of the recipe, you can basically guarantee you’ll be together someday. I can’t say the same for your love interest.

And that, my friends, is why I cook.

I had an encounter with one of these recipe obsessions when I changed my Pillsbury calendar to the February page. For each month, the calendar has a Pillsbury recipe. Everything about the February recipe called to me: peanut butter cookies, toffee, chocolate…good lord, what else do you need?

I’m not one to make other people’s recipes too often, but when you’re craving something, there ain’t much you can do but give in. I put a few of my own touches on Pillsbury’s recipe to give you these Peanut Butter-Toffee Cookie Bars with Ganache.DSC_1287

I just love when a semi-homemade recipe comes out just as good as, if not better than, something made from scratch. These bars are bangin,’ so perfectly soft and chewy, like 360 degrees of the best center-bite of a cookie. Even though we used pre-made peanut butter cookie dough, you’d never know. Between that perfect texture and the marvelous mix-ins like aromatic vanilla, peanut butter chips, and crunchy butter toffee, you’d never know we didn’t make these decadent bars from scratch.

The only thing that could make this better is a thick coating of rich, silky chocolate ganache. I’ve tried a lot of ganaches, homemade and from bakeries or restaurants, and this is the best I’ve had. I figured out my ideal level of sweetness, no too sweet, but not bitter like most ganaches are. It’s perfect!

There is so much good stuff going on in one place here that your mouth will be overwhelmed with sensory satisfaction upon the first bite. There’s crunchy, creamy, chewy, chocolaty, salty, nutty, and sweet. If you don’t find love at first bite with this easy-to-make treat, then you must be missing taste buds.

DSC_1362A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. You can make this with homemade peanut butter cookie dough if you’re an all-homemade kind of cook. I highly recommend my Perfect Peanut Butter Cookie recipe.
  2. My ratio of chocolate in the ganache may sound like it’ll be too sweet, but it’s actually just perfect. Try it; you won’t be sorry!
  3. Ganache sounds like this fancy, scary thing, but literally all you’re doing is melting chocolate and mixing in cream. Bam, you’ve got ganache.
  4. There were originally chopped nuts in this recipe, which I left out for a co-worker with an allergy, but feel free to mix some in.
  5. DON’T overbake! You’ll lose that wonderful chewy texture.DSC_1074

Peanut Butter-Toffee Cookie Bars with Ganache
Adapted from Pillsbury

Ingredients:

For the cookie bars

  • 2 rolls Pillsbury® refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough
  • 1 cup Heath® Bits ‘O Brickle® toffee bits
  • 1 ¼ cups Reese’s® peanut butter baking chips
  • optional: 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp. McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

For the ganache

  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 13×9-inch pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl, break up the cookie dough, reserving ¼ of the second roll to munch on yourself or bake into cookies. Add toffee bits, peanut butter chips, nuts if desired, and vanilla. Mix with wooden spoon or knead with hands until well blended.
  3. Press dough evenly in bottom of pan. Bake for 18 to 24 minutes or until golden brown, puffed, and set.  Remove from oven to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  4. In large microwavable bowl, microwave the chocolate and cream in 20 second intervals, stirring well in between. As long as you mix well, it will only take 4 intervals to be able to stir it smooth. Pour over top of cooled cookie and smooth into an even layer. Place in fridge until set, about 20 minutes (put in freezer to speed this up).
  5. Cut cooled cookie into bars. Store in an air tight container.

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White-Out Hello Dollies

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You know when you buy a specific ingredient for a recipe that you wouldn’t normally have on hand, but then you don’t use it all for that recipe and you’re like, “Great, what the heck am I going to do with this now?” That’s been happening to me, except not just as a one-time occurrence, but in a cyclical manner.

I bought a box of Nilla Wafers about a month ago to use for my Nilla Wafer Truffles, and was left with extra. Then I used those Nilla Wafers for my Strawberry Sweetheart Bars, but there weren’t quite enough, so I had to buy more and was left with ANOTHER half-empty box. This happened once again when I made the Strawberry Sweetheart Bars a second time. So I basically had my thousandth box of Nilla Wafers hanging out in the pantry that I had no clue what to do with.

Don’t get me wrong; Nilla Wafers are delicious, and I would’ve loved to just inhale the rest of that vanilla-scented yellow box all by myself. However, I also enjoy not resembling a cow, so I decided against that. Instead, I needed another recipe to bake them into and get them the heck out of my pantry.

Nilla Wafers are commonly made into crusts for pies, so I was initially leaning in that direction, until I thought about my recipe for my Grandma’s Hello Dollies. Those beloved bars have a graham cracker crust; what if I did a variation with a Nilla Wafer crust instead?DSC_0924

Following that lead, I crafted these White-Out Hello Dollies. Like the original recipe, they’re composed of 5 layers that bake together like magic to form ooey gooey and chewy bars of bliss. Instead of the graham cracker crust, we’ve got a buttery Nilla Wafer crust. Instead of milk chocolate chips, we use white chocolate. And instead of walnuts, we use almonds. The coconut, since it’s white, stays the same.

Everything’s bound together by caramelized sweetened condensed milk to create an albino treat reminiscent of its relative, the traditional Hello Dolly, but delving into new, sweeter territory. It’s rich and buttery with that white chocolate and the Nilla Wafers, but balanced out by the salty nuts. Basically, it’s gooey heaven in a bar.

To make these thick white-out beauties, all you have to do is pile the ingredients in a pan and bake. Then, you’re only a few minutes of magic away from the dessert of your dreams. If you like regular Hello Dollies, then you’ll love these. Stop wasting time; get your butt in the kitchen asap!

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Get my original Hello Dolly recipe here.
  2. Longing for more Hello Dolly heaven? Try my Hello Dolly Ice Cream!
  3. These bars freeze GREAT, probably better than any cookie/bar I’ve frozen before. They taste great right of the freezer too if you’re too impatient to let ‘em thaw. Just pack them in an airtight container, and they’ll last in the freezer for months.
  4. Also try macadamia nuts instead of the almonds.DSC_0833

White-Out Hello Dollies
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, melted
  • 2 cups Nilla Wafer crumbs (about ½ a box’s worth of Nilla Wafers, crushed in a food processor)
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 2 cups chopped almonds
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 2 15-oz. cans sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pour melted butter into a 9×13 baking pan. Sprinkle Nilla Wafer crumbs over top in an even layer.
  2. Sprinkle coconut over top in an even layer, followed by the almonds, and finishing with the white chocolate chips. You may add more or less chips depending on how chocolatey you like things. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over top in an even layer and gently spread out.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes then turn oven temperature down to 325 degrees F and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown all over and bubbling. It should be nice and set in the middle.
  4. Let cool for at least an hour before cutting into squares. They’ll cut cleaner if you chill them in the fridge or freezer for a while first.DSC_0825

Strawberry Sweetheart Bars

 

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Roses are red, violets are blue.

I love food, and so do you.

And that, my friends, is why food is the best Valentine’s Day gift I could give you. We share a mutual love for food, you and I, and that’s an incomparable bond. I don’t even have to know anything else about you to know that you’re worthy of being my Valentine. If you’re on this site, that means you like food. And if you like food, that means I like you.

So here’s something sweet for all you Smart Cookie readers: My Strawberry Sweetheart Bars. They are chewy, moist…and sweet like me! I Sorry, I had to. I guarantee you Mother Cookie is rolling her eyes right now and saying, “Oh god.”DSC_0384

I absolutely love these bars because they’re so darn simple, but they make one heavenly treat. It’s a one-bowl recipe, and you just need a few ingredients. This is stress-free baking, giving you soft and chewy strawberry bliss in no time at all.

We use a boxed cake mix as the base then added eggs and butter to yield a texture that’s sturdy, but very moist and rich, like a strawberry blondie. Then, each bar is speckled with creamy white chocolate chips and chunks of Nilla Wafers that soften like cake when you bake the bars. The end product is like strawberry shortcake, but even better.

Festive pink and red V-Day sprinkles are the perfect finishing touch to these simple but scrumptious bars. Be cautioned: you will want to eat the whole pan before ever sharing with you sweetheart. Hence why I’m giving you guys a recipe for V-Day, instead of the actual bars…DSC_0380

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. I tried making this in an 8×8 pan, and the bars burned around the edges before cooking in the middle, so stick to the 9×13.
  2. Easily double or triple and bring these babies to a party!
  3. Leave out the sprinkles or sub with rainbow ones, and these delicious bars are perfect all year-round.
  4. Don’t overbake these, or they’ll dry right out. I recommend pulling them just before you think they’re done, rather than after.DSC_0313

Strawberry Sweetheart Bars
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 1 box strawberry cake mix (I used Pillsbury Super Moist)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup crumbled Nilla Wafers
  • ¼ cup Valentine sprinkles, plus 2 tbsp. more for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, eggs, and butter on low speed just until well-combined. Mix in the chips, Nilla Wafers, and 1/4 cup sprinkles.
  3. Transfer batter to the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Cover with remaining sprinkles. Bake 20-25 minutes, checking after 15, or until puffed and set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs. Let cool completely then slice and enjoy.

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Nilla Wafer Truffles

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Now that I finally own a big-girl food processor, I feel the need to process everything. It started with that wonderful White Chocolate Almond Butter last week, and now I’m on a roll. Filling for veggie burgers? Into the processor. Ingredients for a sauce? Toss ‘em in! Socks? Why the heck not?

Alright, don’t worry; I haven’t actually thrown socks into the food processor (yet). But I was intrigued by the idea of making cookie butter, which is just like nut butter, only made with cookies instead of nuts. Biscoff spread, made form Biscoff cookies, is the most obvious example. I wanted to make a butter out of classic Nilla Wafers, an extremely underrated cookie in my opinion.

For an extra bit of sweet indulgence, I added some smooth and creamy white chocolate. The end result tasted like candy or frosting; too good to just spread on bread (not that I’d be against it, though). There was so much I could do with it: top pound cake or brownies, dip strawberries in it, or just eat it with a spoon. In the end, I opted to make it into super easy Nilla Wafer Truffles.DSC_0063

All you’ve got to do to make these is chill the “butter” enough to be able to roll it into balls. Then, most truffles need to be coated in something, whether it be powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or more chocolate, so I opted with rolling the truffles in dusting of cinnamon-sugar, a flavor that perfectly complements the creamy blend of white chocolate and Nilla wafers underneath.

What you wind up with tastes like if a snickerdoodle and a white chocolate truffle had a baby; it’s creamy and candy-like, but you get that cookie aspect as well, plus the coating of cinnamon. You cannot possibly imagine how heavenly these are until you’ve tried them. And considering how simple they are to make, you’ve got no excuse not to!

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Biscoff cookies would work here as well.
  2. The dusting of cinnamon-sugar is optional. And if you’re looking for a substitute, try shredded coconut, chopped nuts, or powdered sugar.
  3. These babies make a great gift.
  4. Your kids will love making these with you. They’re easy, so kids can help out, and they’ll enjoy using one of their favorite snacks, Nilla Wafers.DSC_0126

Nilla Wafer Truffles
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Yield – about 1 dozen truffles

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Nilla Wafers
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • Dash salt
  • Cinnamon-sugar, for dusting

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, process Nilla Wafers until they resemble a fine crumb. Add chips and salt. Stream in oil, pulsing, until it starts to combine. Continue to process until completely smooth, resembling the texture of peanut butter.
  2. Pour some cinnamon-sugar into a shallow bowl. Transfer mixture to a bowl and place in fridge until it firms up, about 15 minutes. Roll mixture into balls. The heat in your hands will soften them enough to roll. Immediately after rolling, before the outside of the truffle sets again, roll in the cinnamon-sugar to completely coat the outside. Set in a container lined with waxed paper and container with remaining mixture. Store in the air-tight container in the fridge. Let them come to room temperature before eating, or enjoy them straight out of the fridge.DSC_0119