7-layer bars (aka DisneyWorld Magic Cookie bars)

I have a confession to make.

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My husband John and I first came across these cookie bars on holiday in DisneyWorld in 2010.  I’m embarrassed to say he’s been asking me for nearly 3 years to make them 🙂  I’ve only recently got hold of the butterscotch chips to make the proper version of these…but I’m still embarrassed 🙂

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I’m thinking of these as a Valentine’s present for John, however I’m one of those people that doesn’t really ‘get’ Valentine’s Day.  I know, I know.  I just get slightly miffed with the overpriced cards, flowers and chocolates.  Don’t wait until Valentine’s to tell someone you love them 🙂

These bars are a heady mix of a digestive biscuit (graham cracker) base, nuts, coconut, chocolate and butterscotch.  They are delicious and very easy to make…prepare for your sweet tooth to be satisfied for the next week or so!  Take care when baking these, when they get close to being fully baked, they can brown a little too much on top (because of the sugar in the condensed milk caramelising).  Bake for 20 minutes and check, but they may need the extra 5 minutes baking time.

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Ingredients (makes 16 magic cookies):

  • 113g unsalted butter
  • 200g digestive biscuits (graham crackers)
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 150g milk chocolate chips
  • 120g dessicated coconut
  • 100g walnut pieces
  • 150g butterstoch chips

Method:

  1. Grease and base line a 8inch x 8inch tin.  Preheat oven to Gas 4/180C.
  2. Food process the digestive biscuits until they turn to fine crumbs (or bash them with a rolling pin!)  Melt the butter and mix into the crumbs.  Press this into the tin to make a base.
  3. Bake base for 5 minutes in oven and remove.  Layer all the ingredients (apart from condensed milk) in any order you like!  Pour condensed milk over to cover.
  4. Bake for around 20 minutes until set (bars will still be very squidgy)

Prepare to visit the dentist very soon after eating 🙂

Recipe adapted from MagicalRecipes.net

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Banana peanut butter chip muffins

I try to eat a healthy breakfast.  Really I do.  I absolutely love porridge, fruit and yoghurt for example.  But more often than not, during the week, that extra 15 minute lie in wins over 🙂  That’s why I keep a variety of quick (and fairly healthy!) breakfast options up my sleeve.  Like today for example…

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Bananas are the ’emergency breakfast’ that I always have in the fruit bowl.  They taste great and are cheap (why are bananas so cheap?  I often wonder this, when some fruit grown in the UK is more expensive!)  However the bananas I used in today’s recipe I wouldn’t even consider eating (I’m one of those slightly strange people that eats green bananas :-)).  For bananas to be used in cake, they have to be practically rotting away, which gives what ever you are making the fantastic sweet taste.  It’s the reason that not a lot of sweetener is needed in my Peanut Butter Banana Oat Bars and it also means the muffins will keep for a lot longer.

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Today’s muffin recipe is based on my Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Muffins, but with the addition of…peanut butter chips!  Ever since getting hold of these in the UK, I’ve been keen obsessed with using them 🙂  When making these muffins, fold the flour in really carefully, as overmixing muffin batter can cause it to become really stodgy.  As soon as the dry ingredients are incorporated, stop mixing.  This should ensure you have a lovely light texture in the finished cake.  These are divine straight out of the oven, when the chocolate  and peanut butter chips are all gooey, but will also keep well for a few days (particularly good at breakfast :-))

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Ingredients (makes 10 muffins):

  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g plain (all purpose) flour)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 50g peanut butter chips
  • 50g dark chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas 6/200C.  Line a muffin tin with muffin paper cases.
  2. Beat the eggs and oil together in a jug.  Mix all dry ingredients (apart from the choc and peanut butter chips) in a bowl.  Pour the eggs and oil into the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix carefully together.  DO NOT OVERMIX.
  3. Fold in the mashed banana, followed by the peanut butter chips and chocolate chips. Fill the muffins cases nearly to the top (this ensures the muffins are tall).
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and well risen.

Peanut butter swirl brownies

It’s brownie Friday 🙂

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I’ve been looking for a really dense, chocolatey, fudge like brownie recipe for ages and I think I’ve hit the jackpot!  These brownies taste like chocolate fudge and are totally delicious.  Of course, there’s only one thing that makes brownies better…peanut butter 🙂

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I’ve made these brownies twice in the last 2 weeks, so it’s safe to say they’ve been well taste tested 🙂 And this is one recipe that didn’t make it into work!  The 1st time I made these, I used 70% dark chocolate and they came out beautifully.  The 2nd time (and what you see in the photos) I could only get hold of 50% cocoa solids.  They came out well and tasted good, but I’d highly recommend using the very dark chocolate for these 🙂  These brownies call for some light brown sugar as well as white, which adds to the general fudginess.  It also means they are so soft and dense, they must be stored in the fridge.  This is a very dangerous thing…these brownies will stare at you every time you open the fridge door…

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You’ll also notice that this recipe calls for relatively little flour compared to the other ingredients. Less flour = a more fudgy brownie.  The addition of swirled peanut butter and peanut butter chips…Oh my word.

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Ingredients (makes 16 brownies):

  • 200g dark chocolate (around 70% cocoa solids)
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 130g plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 70g smooth peanut butter
  • 100g peanut butter chips

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to Gas 3/170C.  Grease and baseline a 20x20cm brownie tin.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave (carefully, in short bursts).  Stir until smooth.
  3. Stir in the sugar until incorporated and then fold in the flour.  Mix in the eggs until smooth.
  4. Fold in the peanut butter chips and pour batter into the tin.  Melt the peanut butter in the microwave, dot on top of the batter and swirl with a knife.
  5. Bake for around 30 minutes, or until set on top but slightly wobbly in the middle.  Do not overbake, otherwise the brownies will become crunchy.

Vanilla fairy cakes

It’s time for fairy cakes 🙂

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This is a recipe that brings back very happy memories of baking with my mum & sister and also my food technology course at school.  It’s one of the first recipes I ever made and I’m sure fairy cakes were around long before their bigger cupcake cousins were on the scene 🙂

Fairy cakes are essential cupcakes in small form.  The recipe I’m showing you today is incredibly light, thanks to the combination of self-raising flour and baking powder.  If you don’t have self-raising flour available, you can safely use extra baking powder instead.

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The addition of vanilla extract in the cake batter gives these little cakes a wonderful sweetness and warmth.  You’ll also notice I’ve used margarine rather than butter in this recipe.  I find you don’t really miss the butter flavour in these cakes and it also means you can use the ‘all in one’ method, rather than creaming the butter and sugar first.  They are topped with a simple water icing, made with water and icing (powdered) sugar).  You can top these with whatever you like…sweets, chocolate or in my case, hundreds and thousands!  I made the rather silly mistake of sprinkling the fairy cakes with said decoration on the worktop.  This resulted in a hundreds and thousands explosion and resulted in the ‘hoovering through a straw’ method of cleaning 🙂

These cakes are perfect for a party (children love them) or when you perhaps want the taste of a cupcake without the calories!

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Ingredients (makes 12 fairy cakes):

  • 4oz self-raising flour
  • 4oz caster (superfine) sugar)
  • 4oz margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Icing sugar
  • Sprinkle decorations
  1. Preheat oven to Gas 5/200C.  Line a shallow bun tin with 12 small paper cases.
  2. Using an electric hand beater, beat together all ingredients (apart from icing sugar and sprinkles) quickly, until just combined.
  3. Fill cases 2/3 full and bake for around 15 minutes, until risen and golden brown.
  4. Whilst cooling, mix together a small amount of icing sugar and water, until it reaches a thick consistency.
  5. Smooth icing over the cakes and sprinkle on decoration of your choice!

What are your favourite sprinkle decorations?

Chocolate chunk peanut cookies

I have yet another cookie recipe for you…sorry? 🙂

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Today’s offering is based on what has become my favourite cookie dough, which means I can now happily experiment with all the delicious add-ins!  I’m sure I will experiment further to perfect this cookie dough, however I’ve been so pleased with how chewy, yet crisp these cookies are and how they puff up when they bake 🙂

As I’ve mentioned before (with all the cookie science I’ve been learning over the past few months) it is so important to 1. Chill the dough (ideally overnight).  This means the cookies don’t spread much during baking, keeping them puffy and 2. use more brown sugar than white.  I use a combination of 3 sugars in this recipe, which seems to work great, particularly the treacly dark brown sugar with the cocoa powder.

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I recently found in my cupboard 3 full packets of salted peanuts.  Oops.  I had (still have) the intention of making homemade peanut butter, however at the moment the peanuts are just hanging around.  Staring at me.  I could easily eat those 3 bags on their own.  But then I’d have to do Pilates non-stop for about a week to make up that 10 minutes 🙂

I love the sweet/salt combination (remember the salted popcorn/chocolate button confession?) so I thought it would be perfect to add some salted peanuts into the dough, as well as white chocolate chunks (which go amazingly gooey) and milk chocolate chips.  These cookies stay soft for a good few days after baking due to the high proportion of brown sugar, but they probably won’t be around for long! 🙂

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Ingredients (makes around 18 cookies):

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar (superfine)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 195g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g salted peanuts
  • 50g white chocolate chunks
  • 100g milk chocolate chips

Method:

  1.  Line 2 baking trays with baking paper or liner.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg.  Mix in the flour, cocoa, bicarb and baking powder.  Fold in the chocolate chips, peanuts and chocolate chunks.  Chill the dough at this stage for at least 2 hours (I chill mine overnight)
  3. Preheat oven to Gas 4/180C.  Roll dough into golfball sized balls and place on the baking tray (leaving some space inbetween), Bake for 8-9 minutes (no longer).
  4. Leave to firm up on the baking tray for at least 5 minutes and then cool on a rack.

What are your favourite cookie dough add ins?

Salted peanut & white chocolate monster cookies

Thank goodness for Friday 🙂  It’s been a very busy, tiring week and there’s only one cure for that…cookies 🙂

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I’d never heard of/eaten monster cookies before I began my blogging journey a few short months ago.  They are a delicious mix of fine oats, M&Ms, peanut butter and chocolate.  After I had made them, I seriously questioned why I had not found these cookies before 🙂  They have just the right combination of soft cookie, peanut butter flavour and crunch from the M&Ms.

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The first time I made this recipe I used peanut M&Ms as well as regular, which tasted great with the peanut butter in the cookie dough, however I found they were slightly too large for the dough to ‘hold’, so I swapped to regular for the version I’m showing you today 🙂  I also added salted peanuts, white chocolate and milk chocolate chips.  Hands up who likes the sweet/salty combination?  Hands up who pours chocolate buttons all over salted popcorn? *sheepish*

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There is no need to chill this dough (unless it is really soft, in which case you could chill it for 30 minutes), which is great if you are impatient 🙂  These cookies stay soft for ages too, due to the high proportion of brown sugar in the recipe.  Not that they stayed around for long in my house!

Happy Friday everyone!

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Ingredients (makes around 14 cookies):

  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar (superfine)
  • 200g smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 210g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 60g oatbran (or superfine oats)
  • 90g M&Ms
  • 50g salted peanuts
  • 40g milk chocolate chips
  • 40g white chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180C.  Line 2 baking trays with baking paper or a baking liner.
  2. Cream the butter, brown sugar and caster sugar together until soft and fluffy.  Gradually mix in the peanut butter, egg and vanilla.  Fold in the bicarb, flour and oatbran.
  3. Fold in the M&Ms, peanuts and chocolate chips.  Chill the dough for 30 minutes at this stage if it’s too soft to handle. Roll dough lightly into balls (2-3 tablespoons) and place on baking tray.
  4. Flatten cookies slightly with your hand.  Bake for 9 minutes (no longer).  Leave cookies on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes after removing from oven so they can firm up, then place on a cooling rack.

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Peanut butter white chocolate cookie bars

How long has it been since my last chocolate/peanut butter recipe?  About 5 minutes?  Time for another one then 🙂

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This recipe is sort of like a blondie, however the batter is very thick (exactly like cookie dough), hence the name!  They turn out very dense, chewy and full of peanut butter and chocolate flavour.  My favourite flavour 😀 The light brown sugar gives these bars a lovely caramel taste, which paired with the texture from the crunchy peanut butter is delicious.

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I used a combination of white chocolate and milk chocolate chips in this recipe, however feel free to use all milk or all white.  Now that I’ve had my expedition to the American Sweets shop (and I have family living in the town, so a constant supply, mwhahahaha :-)) I will use peanut butter chips next time in these cookie bars.  Oh yes 😀

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Ingredients (makes 16 squares):

  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 150g crunchy peanut butter
  • 175g light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g milk chocolate chips
  • 50g white chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to Gas 3/170C.  Grease and baseline a 8 inch square cake tin.
  2. Cream the butter and peanut butter until very soft.  Mix in the egg, sugar and vanilla until incorporated.  Fold in the flour and baking powder, followed by the chocolate chips (dough will be very thick).
  3. Press into the tin and bake for around 25-30 minutes.  Watch the cookie bars carefully, it is better for them to slightly underdone in the centre, as they become dry if overbaked.
  4. Allow to cool slightly in the tin, then take out and cut into squares.

Adapted from ‘Bake!’