a balanced plate with room for dessert


Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies

Still here? You didn’t run away at the mention of chickpea + chocolate + blondie? Good. Trust me – these are delicious. They don’t taste anything like beans. All you get is a chewy, delicious peanut buttery blondie studded with chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies |

The weird thing is, I actually found the unbaked batter to be tastier than the baked product. So you choose – bake it or just eat the batter by the spoonful. I won’t judge.

Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies |

Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies

15 ounce can low-sodium chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8×8 square pan and set aside.
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas well. Remove and discard the skins from the chickpeas. Place the skinned chickpeas into the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Add in baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, vanilla, oats, and peanut butter. Blend until very smooth.
  3. Mix in 1/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips and spread into prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until golden brown on top, being careful not to overcook. The blondies will appear to be undercooked, but they will firm as they cool.
  4. Allow to cool completely before cutting into 16 pieces and serving.


recipe slightly adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

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Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been craving cookies like crazy lately. On Sunday night the craving was so bad and I (sadly) didn’t have any cookies in the house. Wait, I take that back. I had Girl Scout cookies, but those weren’t going to cut it.

I decided to experiment and whip up some peanut butter cookies. Then I decided to make them better with mini chocolate chips and some chopped peanuts. Mini chips are my newest baking fave. I don’t know why I don’t use them more! They are perfect for cookies because they distribute more evenly in the batter than big chips. You’re pretty much guaranteed chocolate in every nibble!

If you’re a fan of soft, cake-y cookies, these are for you. They are so light in texture and absolutely delish. I was a bit hesitant to use the word “healthy” for this cookie, but this is probably one of the better-for-you cookies that I’ve made. After all, there is not a trace of added oil or butter in this recipe. And no butter or oil means I can eat more cookies, right? Right.

Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies |

Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together peanut butter, applesauce, sugars, vanilla, and eggs until smooth and well combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir into wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and peanuts.
  4. Wet hands with water* and roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 12 – 14 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before moving to wire rack to cool completely.

*I had to wet mine with water because this dough is really darn sticky. Alarmingly sticky. But don’t fret. Wet your hands, roll the dough, and the cookies will bake up perfectly!

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Cold Peanut Noodles with Tofu and Bell Peppers

This summery pasta dish is perfect for those nights where it’s just too dang hot to spend hours sweating in the kitchen. Or for those nights where you need something on the table in less than 30 minutes. Or for those nights where you are just really craving tofu.

What? You don’t crave tofu? I do. I also really hate cooking when it’s hot and humid out. So this dish was perfect.

Cold Peanut Noodles with Tofu and Bell Peppers |

Cold Peanut Noodles with Tofu and Bell Peppers
adapted from Food and Wine

3/4 pound cold tofu, cut into 1/2 – 3/4″ cubes
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 pound Chinese shan dong noodles or other wide, flat noodle
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Chinese chile-black bean sauce
1″ piece of ginger, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
3/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 large bell peppers, thinly sliced
3 large green onions, thinly sliced
cilantro, optional

  1. Toss tofu with 1/3 cup soy sauce in a medium bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add noodles and cook according to package directions until they are al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Place into a large bowl.
  3. Combine the remaining soy sauce with peanut butter, broth, vinegar, chile sauce, ginger, garlic and sesame oil. Puree until smooth. Pour over the noodles and toss to combine.
  4. To serve, place noodles into a bowl and top with tofu, bell peppers, and green onions. Serve immediately.

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Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars |

I’m going to be honest: this was my second attempt at making these bars from the Baked: New Frontiers in Baking cookbook. You see, the first time I didn’t make it too far. I started with the crispy rice cereal base and cooked the sugar base exactly as written. I used my candy thermometer and everything. Unfortunately, it wasn’t cooked long enough. The sugar water mess remained, well, a mess. It never got to the point where it became beautiful and syrupy. I mixed it into the cereal anyway, but the cereal turned into mush.

Take two was much more successful. I do think that I will make these a third time with a new modification: double the cereal base. These treats are decadent. The authors of the cookbook say that these can be cut into 9 squares. I say they should be cut into 16 squares. Or 25 squares. The chocolate:peanut butter:cereal ratio was just a little off to me. Mike loved them, though.

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars |

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

for the crispy crust:
1 3/4 cups crisped rice cereal
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

for the milk chocolate peanut butter layer:
5 ounces milk chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter

for the chocolate icing:
3 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  1. Make the crispy crust: Lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking pan. Set aside. Place cereal in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Pour 1/4 cup water into a small saucepan. Add sugar and corn syrup to the center of the pan, being careful to not let to let it touch the sides of the pan. Using a small wooden spoon, gently stir the mixture until just combined. Place a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 – 245°F.
  3. Remove mixture from heat and stir in butter. Pour mixture over cereal and stir until thoroughly coated. Pour into prepared pan and using the palm of your hand, gently press mixture into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides). Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the milk chocolate peanut butter layer.
  4. Make the milk chocolate peanut butter layer: in a large nonreactive metal bowl, stir together the chocolate and the peanut butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove bowl from the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to let it cool slightly. Pour evenly over crispy crust. Place into the refrigerator and chill for one hour.
  5. Make the chocolate icing: in a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine all ingredients. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until mixture is smooth.  Remove bowl from the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to let it cool slightly. Pour mixture evenly over peanut butter layer. Place into the refrigerator and chill for one hour.
  6. Cut into 16 squares and serve. Or, store in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Monday! If you’re anything like me, you’re probably having post-weekend blues. I guess that’s the downside to having really great weekends. This weekend was more fun than most. In addition to baking and cooking like I do every other weekend, we did something that I haven’t done in probably 10 years – we went laser tagging. It was fun to be a kid again 🙂 We ended the night with a terrifying four episodes of American Horror Story. And then we watched four more episodes on Sunday.

peanut butter chocolate chip cookies | baked with love by

I have a love-hate relationship with this series. I’ve been hearing how good it was for a while now. Mike and I attempted to watch it last weekend but I made him turn it off after 7 minutes of the first episode. I couldn’t handle it. Why I decided I wanted to try watching it again, I don’t know. Stupid. But now I’m hooked. Thank goodness I have these cookies to comfort me.

These cookies are ridiculously good. They’re the perfect combination of crisp edges with a chewy center, not overly sweet, and I seriously cannot get enough of them.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

  1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. 
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and mix in eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Mix in vanilla and peanut butter and beat until well combined.
  3. Add half the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Repeat with remaining half of the flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart.  Gently press down and very slightly flatten the tops with the palm of your hand.
  7. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with sugar and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until the tops just begin to brown.
  8. Remove pan from the oven and let cookies cool for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.


Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey

No, not for my Mike, but for food blogger Jennie from In Jennie’s Kitchen‘s Mikey. He passed away suddenly from a heart attack a few days ago. Jennie posted a tribute to her husband and asked everyone to make a peanut butter pie in honor of him on Friday and “share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.”

So, here it is. I made the peanut butter pie. And for the first time, I didn’t mess with the recipe.

Peanut Butter Pie
from In Jennie’s Kitchen

8 ounces chocolate cookies (16 chocolate graham crackers put me at just over 8 ounces)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  1. Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs.  Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well.  Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave.  Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula.  Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
  3. Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form.  Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use.  Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar.  Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.
  4. Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream).  Fold in the remaining whipped cream.  Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan.  Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.

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Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

I was skeptical about these cookies at first since they contain no flour. In fact, I was pretty sure they were going to be a major flop right up until I pulled them out of the oven and tried one. These were delicious, peanut-buttery bites of goodness. They were simple to make and contain only three, yes three, ingredients.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine ingredients and drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool completely before removing from cookie sheet.