I’m very particular about peanut butter. Offer me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on honey whole wheat bread and I’ll be unreasonably happy, but offer me a peanut cookie or slice of cake with peanut butter frosting and I’ll be less inclined to accept.
I can never tell if I’ll like a particular peanut butter dessert, so I usually just make recipes and hope I like them.
The other day I stumbled upon this recipe for peanut butter oatmeal bars while looking for a recipe to make for friends. They looked delicious so I decided to make them, figuring that if I didn’t like them others would.
I didn’t have any Reece’s and planned to add chocolate chips instead, but halfway through making the bars I remembered seeing a recipe for peanut butter jelly bars, and decided that, yes, that was what I needed in my life.
I was right.
These bars are intensely good. The peanut butter flavor is subtle but still evident, and the jelly adds a delightful gooeyness. They’re soft and buttery and fragrant. Yum.
I didn’t want to risk gluten-free-afying these bars since they were for others, but I liked them so much that today I did make a gluten-free, vegan version of peanut butter jelly bars.
If you’re looking for a fun recipe to try, I would definitely make these bars (now, optimally). If you’re gluten free or vegan, I’ll post a similar recipe that you can enjoy soon!
Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
Recipe adapted from here.
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbs vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup peanut butter baking chips
- strawberry jelly or jam
- Cream together the butter and brown sugar.
- Mix in the peanut butter.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture until smooth.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, and peanut butter baking chips.
- Fold in the wet ingredients until no flour streaks remain.
- Pat 2/3 of the dough into a greased 9x13 inch pan.
- Spread a layer of strawberry jelly or jam over the dough, using however much desired. (I added just enough so the bottom was completely covered.)
- Add the remaining dough to the top of the jam in small chunks.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until golden the top is light to medium golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the bars comes out clean.
When I was younger and my dad still ate gluten, we use to walk to a local bagel store every morning before he dropped me off at preschool.
I would have a sesame or poppyseed bagel with cream cheese (and remember being disgusted by the horribly uneven bagel to cream cheese ratio) while he would order a bialy.
Well, he would order one but I would usually toss aside my bagel and eat it instead. As picky as I was, I knew a good breakfast when I tasted it.
That morning routine seem so far away now, especially considering my dad hasn’t eaten a bagel, let alone a slice of bread, in nearly a decade.
Since I’ve been eating mostly gluten free for the past few months (whenever it’s feasible but I’m not picky — on a side note, I hope my slew of gluten free recipes hasn’t become tiresome), today I decided to make gluten free bagels. As I was making the dough I remembered the bialys from my childhood, and was inspired to recreate them.
I can’t take credit for the dough because I used Pamela’s bread mix (I love all of their products so, so much), but the final texture was fantastic. Of course, like all gluten free breads, the bialys were distinguishable from normal gluten ones, but they still tasted great.
Seriously, look at the beautiful texture of the bialys:
However, in the interest of giving you full disclosure, there is one issue with the bialys I made.
In my defense, I tried to cut the onions, I really did. It’s just— I had my glasses on and the sink running and glass of hot water by the cutting board to boot, and I still was chopping wildly with one eye closed and the other one in severe pain. Eventually I just gave up.
For anyone still confused, here’s the problem with these bialys: the onion pieces should be finely diced while mine are the size of small spaceships.
Also, while I’m being honest, I didn’t cook the onions nearly long enough. Don’t be like me and cook them until they are golden brown.
Moral of the story: be stronger than me — chop the onions finely and cook longly.
Still, these bialys were delicious and even though I may have to accept my failure and scoop off the topping, I will be making them again. Just with precut onions (or someone else’s help).
Gluten Free Bialys
- 3 1/2 cups Pamela’s Bread Mix
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 1/3 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 tbs oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
- In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mix the Pamela’s Bread Mix, instant yeast, warm water, and oil. Whisk on medium speed for 3 minutes.
- Scoop out 1/2 cup sized portions of the dough and flatten into disks on a greased baking sheet.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for an hour.
- Bring water to a boil and boil each disk for 25 seconds. Return to a baking sheet. (Technically bialys are not boiled, however I like the texture it gives the final product and chose to include this step.)
- Create divots in the dough by smoothing the insides of the disks with wet fingers.
- To make the filling, heat up the 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan.
- Add the onions and sauté until golden brown.
- Stir in the salt and poppy seeds and remove from heat.
- Divide the filling among the bialys and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
Ever since my lens stopped working (a nicer way of saying I think I might have broken it when my camera fell of the couch), I haven’t made much food. Occasionally I’ll whip up a batch of cookies, but without a way to document what I make, baking is somehow less rewarding.
Photography is something I do instinctively, how I record and remember my life. Unlike memories which fade and contort over time, pictures are constants. I can try to remember things long past, but human memory is fallible. Pictures are reminders of what has existed, how I revisit the past.
I’m not a very sentimental person despite how sappy I might sound right now, but as my high school graduation rapidly approaches and as I anticipate being uprooted, torn away from the people I have spent so many years with, I can’t help but flip (scroll) through old pictures and reminisce. Try as I might, I cannot fathom a life any different than the one I have now.
Food might not have the emotional significance of friends, but cooking has become an integral part of my life and I like to remember what I make. I’ve been using my phone’s camera since my f/1.4 lens broke, and it works fine for casual pictures (I like how candid phone pictures look), but my iPhone doesn’t do justice to food.
My fingers itching to practice food photography once more, I ordered a f/1.8 lens from Amazon last week, and though it’s was a hundred dollars, finally I have the ability to take DSLR pictures. My other lens is at the store being evaluated at the moment, but for now this lens will do.
This chocolate cake is probably my favorite ever. I know I’ve called this the “ultimate” chocolate cake, and I even have another gluten free chocolate cake recipe here, but this cake, this cake exceeds them all.
I use my friends as Guinea pigs for my gluten free foods especially (aren’t I a sweetheart?), and this one cake was received very, very well. One friend who claims to have discerning tastebuds scoffed when I announced the cake was gluten free, said it was good but kind of “empty,” then proceeded to finish her slice. The next day she ate another slice, and the day after had another. (Moral of the story: I think she’s just doesn’t like the idea of gluten free foods.)
My mom said she couldn’t even tell the cake was gluten free, and I agree with that assessment. The cake is moist, tender, and chocolatey - and has made up two out of my three meals today…oops. (I was almost going to see whether I could go an entire day on only chocolate cake, but I relented.)
A bit of advice, though: blend the quinoa mixture well. If not the cake will have a sort of corn meal texture, but it’s not a bad thing (I like it!), just different.
Gluten Free Quinoa Chocolate Cake
- 2/3 cup white or golden quinoa
- 1 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup milk
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and parchment paper two 9 (or 8) inch cake pans.
- Rinse the quinoa under cold water. (I forgot to do this and didn’t encounter any problems, but the quinoa can impart the cake with a bitterness if not done in some cases.)
- Add the water to the quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- In a blender combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla.
- Add the quinoa and butter and blend until smooth.
- In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Pour in the liquid ingredients and fold together until smooth.
- Divide the batter among the two pans. Bake for around 25 minutes (35 minutes for 8 inch pans) or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool then frost.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup milk
- Melt the butter.
- Stir in the cocoa, sugar, salt, and vanilla.
- Beat in enough milk to get desired consistency. I didn’t add much and ending up with a soft, fudge-like product.
A while ago I posted a recipe for gluten free pancakes promising a recipe for gluten free chocolate pancakes in the future. Well, today’s that day! These pancakes are super simple to make (provided you have a blender) and they taste amazing! Chocolate lovers (aka me), these are for you!
Gluten Free Chocolate Pancakes
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tiny pinch salt
- 1/4 cup oats
- Blend all ingredients until smooth.
- Fry on a nonstick surface! (very very important that the pan is nonstick. My other pans couldn’t handle this batter)
- Serve with a healthy drizzle (dousing) of chocolate ganache (1 tbs of chocolate chips melted in 2 tbs heavy whipping cream)!
On a side note, my camera is still broken :( Luckily I have this picture from before it broke.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this: macarons are finicky little beasts.
Out of the various times (read: 5 or more) I’ve tried to make them, all batches have failed to some degree.
Sorry to say, the batch pictured was somewhat of a failure too. I admit I’m sort of deceiving you with these pictures.
This batch wasn’t a disaster by any means and the macarons tasted delicious, formed adorable ‘feet’ and had a perfectly soft/chewy texture combo, but the other 3/4 of the batch had cracks.
I’m pretty sure it’s because I didn’t let the macarons rest long enough before baking them, given the last ones in the oven had the fewest cracks. Lesson learned.
From my many attempts at macaron making, I can give the following tips with confidence:
- Let the macarons rest!
- Weigh the ingredients. For a while I didn’t have a scale and thought measuring in cups would work just as well. It doesn’t.
- Let the macarons cool before filling. The last thing you want is to ruin a perfectly good beautiful batch of macarons with runny filling — I know from personal experience.
- If the macarons stick, wipe a damp cloth on the bottom side of the parchment. (Works best if they are still warm.)
- Don’t over or under fold the batter. Over folding can cause excessive spreading, and under folding can lead to bumpy macarons. (I wasn’t lying when I said macarons are finicky.)
- If you succeed on your first try, gold star for you (and please, send some of your skills to me!). If you don’t, try again.
- 150 grams powdered sugar
- 110 grams almond meal
- 10 grams dutch processed cocoa powder (~2 tbs)
- 100 grams egg whites
- 50 grams sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Sift together the powdered sugar, almond meal, and cocoa.
- In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, gradually adding the sugar. Stir in the vanilla,
- Fold the dry ingredients into the whipped egg whites until no streaks remain.
- Pipe or scoop the batter onto 3 parchment paper lined baking trays. Allow to rest for at least an hour and a half.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 16 minutes. If the macarons stick to the parchment, wipe the bottom side of the parchment (below the macarons) with a damp cloth. This should loosen them and make them easier to remove.
- Fill with ganache.
- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- In a saucepan, heat the chocolate and heavy whipping cream until a smooth chocolate mixture forms.
- Cool until spreadable.
On a side note, I’m interested in posting more dinner recipes! For some reason, I’m feeling quite sugared out. Lately I’ve been cooking my own meals (or having my mom order takeout), so there’s a bunch I can potentially share!