Spending time in the kitchen

The majority of this week has been spent in the kitchen.  Years ago, I would never have imagined that I'd find myself wanting to hang out in the kitchen.  Boy how things have changed:)  I made more pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, marbled chocolate cookie bark, chocolate cupcakes with chocolate peppermint ganache and peppermint frostingdark chocolate brownies, and pear butter!!  Luckily most of that immediately left the kitchen for delivery to friends and neighbors.

The marbled chocolate cookie bark was a recipe I got from Cindi (MIL).  She brought down a batch for Thanksgiving, and I found myself making excuses to go into the kitchen just to sneak a piece (or three).  I don't have pictures, but here's the recipe.  It's simple and delicious.

8 squares of Baker's Semi-sweet chocolate
6 squares of Baker's White chocolate
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
10 oreos, coarsely chopped into a crumble
Line a large baking sheet with waxed paper.  Melt the white and dark chocolate in two separate bowls until completely smooth. (Melt in 30 second periods in the microwave, stirring after each 30 seconds.  It shouldn't take much more than a minute or 90 seconds depending on the microwave.)  As soon as the white batch is melted stir in the peanut butter.  Add half the cookie crumble to each bowl.  Using two spoons, place equal-sized amounts of the two batches, alternating and touching until all of the batter is used.  Take a knife and "draw" the knife through randomly to "marble."  Place the pan in fridge for one hour, then break into bite-sized pieces. 
* I used 8 squares of white chocolate because that's what the package held and I didn't want to be stuck with 2 extra squares.  The recipe tasted just as good.  
** I added extra Oreos, because really, can you every have too many Oreos?!

The chocolate cupcakes with chocolate peppermint ganache and peppermint frosting were a gift for my neighbors who have watched Reagan on a few occasions.  I got the recipe from Our Best Bites.  They have already detailed the recipe complete with pictures, so check it out!  Turns out to be a super cute gift because you make the cupcakes in small mason jars:)  This site has the cutest ideas!

The dark chocolate brownies were from a Duncan Hines box, so I'll spare you the details on that one.  But they were quite tasty and it was the only thing I kept for the house (and I even took half to my neighbor so I didn't become a total hog).  

Finally, the pear butter idea came from a copy of People magazine that Cindi left for me to browse.  It was very easy and tastes great.  

1. Peel and core 6-7 pears (approx 8 cups)

2. Chop pears and combine in a sauce pan with 2 cups apple cider and 1 tablespoon lemon juice - bring to a boil, reduce to simmering, and cook for approx 30 minutes until pears soften

3. Get a wonderful helper!

4. Mix brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg 

5. Add brown sugar mixture to the pears and cook for 1 hour stirring every 20 minutes

6. Empty contents into a food processor and process until semi-smooth (a few chunks are good)

7.  Spoon mixture into mason jars, label and pass out to friends


  1. I'll take one of each please. Oh wait... Guess that won't help with losing this baby weight?! Dang it! All of them sound so delicious.

  2. Uh, am I included in the people who get a jar?


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