I have been wanting to sit down and blog for the last few days, but there have been a few bumps in the road. Let’s see – there was the time that my cookies fell completely flat, so I didn’t have much of a post there – oh, and then the time that I completely scorched dinner… a dinner I had make a dozen times before, mind you. You know what though, I really think those few things keeping me from blogging were just signs that I needed to take a blog break. It is so easy to get sucked into it all. I could spend hours just trying to make the blog look pretty or editing pictures. I needed some quality time with my wifey, so the last few evenings, that is exactly what I did. It was much needed time away from the blog, spending time with the love of my life.
On an unrelated note, I want you all to stop what you’re doing, and check out musician Dia Frampton. Dia is from Utah, and was on the singing competition show, The Voice. I just got her album the other day, and oh.em.gee. I haven’t been this into a cd in the longest time, and I’m loving it. I’ve possibly listened to it about 40 times in the last 48 hours… I’m not really exaggerating either. Her voice is so unique, and her lyrics are so different and smart! I know that sounds strange, but if you listen, you’ll understand. It’s catchy and has me groovin’, but the lyrics also get deep inside you. Ah, she’s great! Anyway, just thought you should know. Check Dia out, and let me know your thoughts!
As I’m sure all of you have been crazy busy getting ready for the holiday, we’ve just been trying to get in the Christmas mood! For some reason, we just haven’t been in it all that much. We hadn’t really even started shopping until a week or two ago, and the tree just got decorated last week. I think it’s just that this year has been so crazy with the wedding-planning, that the idea of doing something else big was really overwhelming. I’m definitely okay with life slowing down for awhile! Anyway, so the spirit that I usually feel the day after we’ve stuffed ourselves with Tofurky and pumpkin pie just hadn’t been there. But today we got a bit of snow this morning finally, so that helped. I never thought I would find myself asking for snow, but I needed to find a way to get in the holiday mood!
Another big event is starting to get me in the mood for Christmas. Well, big for me. I’m baking and testing lots of cookies. Not just because it’s the holidays, but because the annual Family Cookie Bake-Off is coming up a week from Friday. My sister has hosted this bake-off for about the last ten years, and it is a tradition that I look forward to every year. It’s such a fun time for our family. The baking, the laughing, the competitive bantering, the get-togethering. It’s all a great time, and I’m always sad when it’s over. The weeks leading up to the bake-off, I try to perfect a cookie recipe that I think is going to win. I’ve got a couple cookies in mind this year that I think could walk away with a blue ribbon. Do you have any holiday family traditions that you look forward to every year? I want to hear all about them!
And speaking of a great cookie, I’m so thrilled to be sharing this recipe with you. It’s one I happened upon not long ago, and I just knew I had to try them. Have you heard of the online magazine, FoodieCrush? They just debuted their first issue last week, and it’s such a hit! A collection of recipes, bloggers, stories, etc – basically a food bloggers heaven! Within that heaven, these cookies just spoke directly to me and my tastebuds. Peanut Butter cookies? Yes! Nutella middles? Ok, why don’t you just twist my arm now! Gah, there was no convincing to be had here. I was sold on the great photography of these beautiful cookies, honestly.
I did tell you that I’m a messy baker, right? I promise, I’m trying to work on it, but no matter what, I’m just going to have things all over the place. I don’t realize how messy I am until I try to take pictures, and I have so much junk in the background!
One of my favorite elements of this cookie is the outside coating. It’s rolled in a perfect harmony of sweet and salty. Oh it was love as first bite for my tastebuds.
Peanut Butter Nutella Mounds
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of cake flour
1/2 tsp. of baking Soda
1 tsp. of sea salt
1/2 cup ( 1 stick ) butter. At room temp.
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter
Nutella Filling Ingredients
1/4 cup of smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup of Nutella
1/4 tsp. of sea salt
1 Tbsp. of cocoa powder
3 Tbsp. of granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. of confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/4 cup of finely ground, roasted peanuts ( run through the food processor )
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. of sea salt
In a small bowl, Sift the flours and baking soda together. Whisk in the sea salt and set aside.
In a large bowl, Cream the butter. Add the sugars and beat at medium speed for about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the almond extract and peanut butter. Add the flour mixture a little bit at a time. Be careful not to over mix. Stop beating when all the flour streaks are gone. Cover and refrigerate for an hour while you make the filling and topping. Refrigerating is very important. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up with very sticky and difficult to work with dough. You might even throw it like I may or may not have done…..
To make the Nutella filling, Combine all the ingredients and mix well. You should be able to easily roll the filling into ball forms. If it is too sticky add more confectioners sugar. Set aside until ready to use.
To make the topping, Simply mix all the ingredients into a shallow bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Measure out about 2 level tablespoons of the chilled cookie dough. Roll into a ball and flatten out onto the parchment paper. Roll some of the Nutella dough into a smaller ball and place on top of the cookie dough, Press in slightly. Gently fold the cookie dough over the Nutella so it is completely covered. Carefully roll into a ball and roll the ball into the topping so it has a nice coating. Place ball back onto the parchment paper and lightly press down with the bottom of a glass.
Place cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are a light gold.
Makes about 20-28 cookies.