One Bowl Grain-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Many, many years ago I baked some peanut butter cookies for my dad.  My mom would always make chocolate chip cookies; but, I somehow thought peanut butter was more fitting.  Upon eating them he mentions to my mom how peanut butter cookies were his favorite.  Much to my mother's chagrin, as she was always told chocolate chip was his favorite, she replied, "You said chocolate chip was your favorite?!"  

"Well, yes, I like chocolate chip cookies; but, peanut butter cookies are my favorite," my dad replied.  

Come to find out he passed this peanut butter gene onto my brothers, both of whom did not care for chocolate; hence, chocolate chip cookies became a mute point.  I would bake some grain-free peanut butter cookies for my brother and have Ben bring them down to Arizona with him years ago while on a business trip.  

Sidenote on peanut butter cookies and while we're at it, snickerdoodles.  I have never been a huge fan of either for the sheer crunch factor.  I am not a fan of crunchy cookies unless it's sandwich cookie in the form of an Oreo.  Most peanut butter cookies are crunchy and crumbly.  No thank you!  

Fast forward, I made my peanut butter cookies soft for my brother, and then I added chocolate for me.  Oh heavens, it took me back to my junior high days eating peanut butter blossom cookies at Christmas time (you know the peanut butter cookies with a Hershey's Kiss in the center--they're soft).  

Those ones used regular ole Jif peanut butter, which really did enhance the "wow" factor.  However, I buy this relatively cheap organic peanut butter at Costco without any added sugar.  And they taste just as good in my opinion.  This recipe could easily be turned into cookies.  Adjust the baking time to 12-14 minutes and drop tablespoons of dough onto a pan.  Press them down with a fork to make the traditional crisscross design.  

But, since we know I prefer soft cookies, and typically don't have a whole bunch of time, I prefer the bar cookies.  You get the softness factor and the ease factor in one batch.  Adding the chocolate in my mind sends it over the top; because, if you don't see how peanut butter and chocolate marry more than peanut butter and jelly...well, I feel bad for you.  

Grain-free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars (printable recipe)

Ingredients: 

1 cup peanut butter, no sugar added kind

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter

1 1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cup blanched almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup to 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  

Get an 8x11 pan out and set it aside, no need to grease the pan if using a glass pan.

In a large bowl, add peanut butter, butter, and sugar and mix together until they are fairly combined.  Add the egg & vanilla and mix it throughout, but it doesn't have to be perfectly mixed in.  

Add the almond flour, baking soda, & salt and mix until the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed into the wet ingredients.  You are trying to achieve the wonderful consistency of playdoh.  Once you have achieved this, put the dough into your 8x11 pan and press it into the pan, corners and sides.  It will look rather shallow in depth; but, it will rise.  

Take your chocolate chips and sprinkle them on top and lightly press them into the dough.  

Bake for 25-28 minutes.  Bake depending on how soft or not you like your bar cookies.  At about 25 minutes you will have nice browned edges with a soft center.  At 28 minutes it will still be soft, just a bit more firm.  

Allow it to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before slicing into them.  The longer you allow them to cool the better they will taste, which also allows them to firm up without chocolate chips being melted.  

 

Grain & Dairy Free Peach-Blueberry Cobbler

It's still officially summer here, which means the girls have not returned to school, and we are still enjoying the peak of seasonal bounty in the form of blueberries and peaches.  I have to say when I see others IG accounts boasting of peaches in early July my heart sings a sad song.  That is until August comes here, when it's peaches in smoothies, peaches in pies, and peach juice dribbling down my chin.  

Add to that the ever present tang and sweetness culminated in a perfect, straight from the bush blueberry.  The girls and I went to Ben's work last Friday, where there are blueberry bushes to eat from.  Needless to say, we enjoyed a few ourselves.  

It reminded me how eating fruit should be.  The taste is unadulterated and waiting out in the winter months to eat to my hearts content in the summer months is sure worth it.  

Try this simple grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free cobbler.  It's not overly sweet, and perfect for dessert to a morning treat.  

Grain & Dairy Free Peach-Blueberry Cobbler (printable recipe)

Ingredients:

Filling:

1 pint blueberries

5-6 peaches, peeled and cut into slices

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

juice from half of a lemon

2 Tb arrowroot powder

Crust:

2 cups blanched almond flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup arrowroot powder

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 egg

Plus another egg for a wash

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large bowl, combine blueberries and peaches.  Add maple syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon juice and gently mix.  Sprinkle the arrowroot powder over and gently mix in.  Allow to sit for 10-30 minutes.

In another large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and arrowroot powder till it is thoroughly disbursed.  Add the coconut sugar and mix throughout.  With a fork or pastry blender, combine the coconut oil into the dry ingredients.  Once the coconut oil is broken down into small pea size pieces, add the beaten up egg to the crust.  Combine until the dough is wet.  

In a 9x9 pan add the filling.  Set it aside.

With your hands, form the dough into patties or discs.  They should measure roughly 1/8 to 1/4 inch in height.  You should be able to make six discs of dough.  Place each disc on top of the filling so as to cover the entire surface. Try your best to not overlap them.

Take your last egg and lightly beat it.  With a pastry brush, brush the tops of the dough.  Put into the oven to bake for 30 minutes.  

Allow it to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  

***The maple syrup in the filling is adjustable.  For less sweet, only use 1/4 cup.  For more sweet, use 1/2 cup.  

***This pairs lovely with full fat plain yogurt as well.   

My Favorite Summer Drink: A Thirsty Crow

On our way down to Arizona we were able to spend the night at my oldest & most dearest of friends, Veronica's (and Alan) house. We have that friendship where you immediately pick up where you left off, and there's no need to explain family history. It's refreshing!

its so comfortable, I made myself right at home by going through cupboards to find baking supplies to honor our "First Day of Summer" tradition (eating strawberry shortcakes for breakfast). There is no fear of stepping on each other's feet. My gift is in cooking the food, while Veronica's has always been in opening up her space for it (and eating what I make).  

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That evening after the girls went to bed, Alan made us a drink. Veronica had posted a picture of it promising to make me one when I visit. Being the cheerful receiver as much as a giver that I am, I obliged. 

Sidenote: it's true that being a cheerful receiver is as much a gift of hospitality as giving.

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Hot dog! I'm glad I did, because this has become my signature summer drink. A Thirsty Crow, which has the unmistakeable boozy silhouette, while filling out with enough sweetness to not make those of us non-hard liquor people to gag.

It boasts of spicy ginger beer, sour fresh lemon juice & the sweet scent of Maraschino liqueur.  To tie it together, the Rye gives it that slight burn in your throat to let you know this is not a "frilly" drink. Add a dash of bitters at the end, and sprig of mint & one maraschino cherry for garnish give it a classy edge. 

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Thirsty Crow (Printable Recipe)

Ingredients: 

1 ounce fresh lemon juice

1 ounce Jim Beam Rye

1 ounce Maraschino liqueur

4 ounces Ginger Beer (not alcoholic ginger beer. I like Reed's or Fenimans) 

dash of aromatic bitters

sprig of mint 

1 maraschino cherry

Directions:  

 In a pint sized jar or cup add one sprig of mint and about 1 cup of ice. Add the lemon juice, rye, maraschino liqueur and finer beer. Mix with a spoon. 

Add maraschnto cherry and dash of bitters. Serve immediately. Makes 1.