Wholesome Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs

Did you ever notice how many of your most beloved childhood foods taste better in your memory that in real life? It’s kind of sad and yet somehow fascinating; now that I eat mostly whole foods and try to steer clear of added artificial crap, those treats I adored as a child taste eerily fake and often leave a lingering plasticky taste in my mouth. Don’t get me wrong, I can get down on a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or an ice cream sandwich from time to time, but as a general rule the edible foodlike substances of my youth have lost their luster.

Wholesome Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs

Reese’s peanut butter cups fall into this category. I remember those commercials that would feature all the different ways to go about eating your Reese’s. My favorite one was to poke a perfect hole in the middle, eat that first and then nibble away at the grooved, rigid outer ring. Now when I eat a Reese’s, all I taste is a fistfight between salt and sugar with a hint of peanut butter flavor egging them on in the background (no pun intended). So when I saw a recipe for copycat Reese’s peanut butter eggs on Pinterest, I was all about making a revamped version of my old Easter basket fav.

These tasty nuggets of joy are made from just seven wholesome ingredients. The texture is freakishly similar to the store bought ones, but the taste is supremely better. Coated in bittersweet chocolate and scented lightly with vanilla and cinnamon, these actually “taste of what they are” which is mostly straight-up peanut butter. Coconut flour is the binder and thickener for the filling, maple syrup sweetens the deal just a touch. As long as you can form a semi-reasonable egg shape and refrain from licking your fingers every five minutes while coating these, you should be just as successful in making them as I was. Happy Easter. Have a wonderful weekend of renewal, reunion, and refreshment.

Ingredient note: Coconut flour is soft flour produced from dried coconut as a natural byproduct of coconut milk production. As my friend Elizabeth, who introduced me to this versatile, gluten-free flour, has pointed out, “it’s almost all fiber” and for this reason, it absorbs liquid like a sponge and cannot be substituted for AP flour in a 1:1 ratio. It’s best to use coconut flour in recipes that were created with this ingredient in mind, like this one or this one!

Coconut flour is an exceptionally good source of the essential micronutrient manganese. Manganese helps our bodies optimally utilize choline and biotin (found in eggs), vitamin C and thiamin. Manganese also supports a healthy skeletal and nervous system and promotes thyroid health.

Coconut flour can be found in most well-stocked grocery stores (Bob’s Red Mill has a version) as well as in the bulk section at many natural food stores (including the Milwaukee-area’s Outpost Natural Foods).

Wholesome Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs

Wholesome Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs

adapted from My Whole Food Life
makes about 16 “eggs”

Ingredients:

For the filling:

1 cup natural peanut butter (ingredient list: peanuts, salt)
1/4 cup coconut flour
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp cinnamon

For the chocolate coating:

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 ½ Tbsp almond milk (or milk of choice)

*alternatively you can combine 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup or honey to make your chocolate coating*

Method:

Combine the peanut butter, coconut flour, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mix well using an immersion blender, food processor, or a fork and a very strong arm.  The filling should be similar to the texture of cookie dough. If it’s more runny than that, add a tiny bit more coconut flour.Wholesome Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs

With clean hands, shape the mixture into about 16 eggs (~ 1 Tbsp of filling per egg). Hint: make sure they’re tapered at the top and more rounded and wide at the bottom, this is the key to a convincing egg. 🙂IMG_0233

Place the “eggs” on a lined baking sheet and stick them in the freezer while you heat up the chocolate, at least 5 minutes.

Using a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate chips and milk together until smooth and creamy. Remove chocolate from heat and retrieve the eggs from the freezer.

Roll each egg in the chocolate until covered and place them back on the lined baking sheet. (There is no right way to do this. You can use two forks, a spoon, or your fingers. It’s a bit tedious and you may have to put the eggs back into the freezer halfway through to prevent them from melting in their hot chocolate bath, but you’ll get through it and by George, it will be worth it.)

IMG_0244

Stick the eggs back in the freezer to let the chocolate set for an hour or two, storing them there until ready to share.

Wholesome Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs

Guaranteed to be a hit with bunnies, rabbits and even the occasional hare at your holiday gathering.

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Oat-tastic Cookies with Semisweet Chocolate Chips

It’s been a spell since I last posted, folks. School became pretty intense for a while there: I was blessed with the challenge of creating and carrying out a lesson plan to teach 7th and 8th graders about the connections between sugar consumption, obesity, and diabetes. At first blush this seemed like a straightforward task, but the lines between these three “epidemics” of our nation are more blurred that you might think. Perhaps there will be more on that in another post, this one’s about cookies.

Then last week I had my wisdom teeth taken out, an experience from which I gleaned a deep-seated gratitude for the ability to eat solid food. Even just 6 days of milkshakes, mashed potatoes, and pureed soups left me fantasizing about biting into a juicy cheeseburger or a fish taco or anything with more than a singular taste and texture. I haven’t graduated to caramel apples or chips and salsa yet, but I’m glad to report we made perfectly medium-rare grassfed burgers on the grill last night and I was able to satisfy my craving quite successfully.

And here I am now, on a gray Sunday morning taking in the sounds of robins welcoming spring: cheerily, cheer up, cheer up, cheerily, cheer up and a pot of oatmeal amiably bubbling away on the stove (make that burning away on the stove, oops.)

Today’s recipe is for cookies I shared at dietetic student “eat and greet” (we organized as the dietetics club board a couple weeks ago). Sharing an hour of conversation with smart and dynamic women was a welcome respite from the harried school week. But I think maybe it was the promise of these cookies that auspiciously brought us all together. 😉

Oat-tastic Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found the recipe in a cookbook I borrowed from the library: The Kinfolk Table. It calls for vegetable shortening rather than the more commonplace butter. The payoff is a denser, more robust chew that preserves the luscious, fat-coated crumb of classic oatmeal cookies.

The oatmeal to flour ratio in these bad boys is 3:1, perfect for cookies that are both acceptable breakfast fare and nearly-guiltless nighttime snack. I switched out the AP flour for whole wheat pastry, my MO for most all baked goods. The vegetable shortening I use is a non-hydrogenated, organic palm oil made by Spectrum, who quells my fears of being an accomplice to orangutan murder with this pleasant blurb: “we craft our shortening from sustainably harvested organic palm oil sourced from dozens of small family farmers in Colombia.” (Palm oil has a rather complex reputation which you can read about here.) That said, if you’re leery of the ingredient you can certainly use butter, the texture will just be slightly different, as noted by the original recipe’s author.

Kinfolk Table cookbook

The recipe note also recommends combining all ingredients by hand, stating that using an electric mixer will alter the intended texture. (I gather the texture is paramount to the success of these cookies.) I must disclose I still used my Kitchen Aid to cream the butter and sugars, but the rest of the ingredients I mixed in manually.

The dough should be refrigerated for at least one hour before baking to ensure, you guessed it, optimal texture. For a fascinating NYT read on how cookie outcomes improve as dough is allowed longer fridge time, click here. Well, this post has taken me almost two hours to write, so I’m just going to get down to the recipe now, which is what you came here for anyway, right?

Oat-tastic Cookies with Semisweet Chocolate Chips

adapted from Julie Pointer’s recipe in The Kinfolk Table
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup organic vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, beaten
1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
3 cups whole rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Oat-tastic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Method:

In a large bowl, combine the sugars and shortening and mix until creamy. Add in the vanilla, salt, baking soda, and eggs, and stir until just combined.

Combine the flour, oats, and chocolate chips. Incorporate these into the wet ingredients in three or four additions, stirring until mixture is more or less uniform. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour until the dough is chilled and firm.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a spoon, or in my case a melon-baller, scoop the dough into approximately 2 tablespoon spheres and place them on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Press the dough down gently with your fingertips.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the cookie edges just begin to brown, rotating the sheets halfway through if your oven bakes unevenly.

Transfer the baking sheets to a rack and cool for 5 minutes then transfer the cookies directly to the rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes (eat at least three before they cool).

Serve or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Oat-tastic Chocolate Chip Cookie // funkybeetss