Spicy and Sweet

I’m not sure what it is, but I love to bake. I can remember helping my parents bake when I was a little girl and as soon as I was able to reach the flour and work the oven, I was experimenting on my own. These days I try to bake at least once a week, although sometimes it is more and sometimes it is less.

Yesterday I had been thinking of what I was going to make for Jake and the two teens he is taking with him on a mission trip to Africa. The three guys would need something easy to munch on and non-messy. As I was going through the many options, a light bulb went off and Spicy Chex Mix popped into my head. Jake LOVES anything spicy so this was perfect. Now for something sweet. Jake’s favorite cookie is white chocolate macadamia nut, however I just made those last week and wanted something different. Peanut butter cookies are the next go-to cookie for us.

I personally enjoy sipping on a glass of wine while I do my baking . I uncorked a bottle of Rex Goliath Free Range Red table wine.  I picked this little gem up at our local Gateway Market and love it!  It has a smooth, luscious taste and for only $5, you can’t pass this up.

Before I begin with the baking, I have to say that I cannot contain my excitement over a recent purchase Jake and I made the other night. I have been dying to get new measuring cups and spoons as the set I have are several years old and just pathetic. Jake and I were invited to a  “completion event” at Bed, Bath and Beyond the other night, where you can purchase what you didn’t get on your wedding registry and receive 20% your total bill. I must say they were a little on the pricy side, but very durable, and received 5 stars on amazon.com. 

Spicy Chex Mix adapted from Chexmix.com
The lineup:

(Somehow the peanut butter made it into the picture of what you need. Apparently I had peanut butter cookies on my brian).

The recipe states you can make this in the microwave, but I like the crispy texture that the oven gives you. Pre-heat your oven to 250 degrees and melt 6 Tablespoons of butter, 2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 2 1/2 teaspoons of Lawry’s seasoning salt, and  1 Tablespoon of liquid Tabasco (adjust to your liking of spiciness) on a sided cookie sheet.

While your liquid deliciousness is melting in the oven, mix a total of 9 cups of cereal in a bowl. You can use any combination of rice, corn and wheat cereal. (I personally like the rice and corn). With the cereal, combine 1 1/2 cups Hot and Spicy Cheez-It’s, and 1 cup of mixed nuts.  (Most recipes call for pretzels, but I find that the chex mix is much better without). Pour the cereal mix on the pan with the melted butter and seasoning and take a spatula to mix. Make sure the liquid and mix is as evenly distributed as possible.

Bake in the oven for an hour, stirring the mix every 15 minutes. Once done, let cool on wax paper and store in an airtight container.

YUMMY! This golden brown, spicy mixture will not last long in my household!

As the chex mix was baking, I started on a batch of delicious peanut butter cookies.

I have used the same peanut butter recipe for the past two  years and decided to try a new one. I recently recieved a copy of the 15th edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook and decided to try the recipe they have listed.

Peanut Butter Cookies:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 teas baking soda

1 teas baking powder

2 eggs

1 teas vanilla

* The key to making successful cookies is to use room temperature ingredients. I had pulled out the butter and eggs from the fridge an hour before baking.

1.  Mix the butter, shortening and peanut butter with a mixer into it forms an ooey-gooey consistency.

2. In a small bowl mix the sugars, baking soda and baking powder together.

3. Add your sugar mix to your butter and peanut butter mix and blend with beaters until combined.

4. Next add your two eggs and vanilla, beating again until well combined. Now pour in as much flour as you can to be mixed with the mixer. Hand mix the rest of the flour in.

I think one of my favorite parts of baking with an electric mixer is getting to lick the beaters once you are done.

5. Once you have your peanut butter mixed together, cover and put in the fridge for an hour to chill.

6. Once the cookie dough is ready to be handled, roll the dough between the palms of your hands and form into 1 1/4-inch balls. Then roll in granulated sugar.

I should mention that I also recently received a Silpat which is a baking mat that is a must have if you like to bake using a cookie sheet. It’s purpose is to eliminate the use of greasing a pan and making the removal of your goodies easier after done baking.

Now that I am set, I begin to line up my peanut butter balls on the Silpat baking sheet. The thing that makes peanut butters cookies stand out from the crowd is that you flatten them by using the tines on a fork and press a crisscross pattern into the cookies. There is a lot of speculation as to why this is done. The thoughts range from it being a religious marking, to helping the cookies bake evenly and a way for others to distinguish the cookie if on a plate with others. You could omit this process, but why mess with a long-standing tradition. *wink *wink

7. Bake in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes and let cool on pan for one minute before transferring them to a cooling rack or wax paper. Then enjoy!

Now I can tell you that these mouth-watering, melt in your mouth cookies are delicious with a nice cold glass of milk.

I love hearing about new recipes or adaptations to old ones. Let me know if you have any secrets or tips you would like to share!

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3 thoughts on “Spicy and Sweet

  1. Glad you’re enjoying your Silpat, every baker needs one! =)

    PS. You should proooobably sneak me a peanut butter cookie. With the husband’s ol’ peanut allergy I don’t get to make those types of delicious treats around here!

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