Desserts

Super Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

The Starving Artist is gonna keep this post real simple. Sometimes your day just blows up, and all you're thinking is, "Screw it, I need some f-ing cookies." So you prowl through the cabinets, scrape together whatever ingredients you have on hand, and end up with these Super Simple Peanut Butter Cookies. Sometimes life sucks, but these cookies don't.

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Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set this aside, too. Life kinda sucks today, so we're setting a lot of things aside.
  3. Now, setting aside whatever is pissing you off, grab a large mixing bowl, and using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar for 1-2 minutes until well combined.
  4. Next, add in the peanut butter and continue mixing until well combined while contemplating a more peaceful state of mind, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, then mix in the egg and vanilla extract until fully combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Now that you're feeling a little better, place the 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in a small bowl. Scoop out a golf ball sized wad of dough from the bowl, roll into a ball, and coat in the granulated sugar. Place each ball of cookie dough on the prepared baking sheet, making sure to leave a little room between each one. Gently press down with a fork on the top of each cookie to make a small criss-cross pattern.
  6. Finally, bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies are set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  7. And Boom! You're in a better mood, and you also have cookies.

Double Chocolate Chipotle Cookies

One of the most surprising aspects of life as a starving artist is the near complete absence of female companionship. I mean, come on, the whole reason you get into the starving artist racket is to leverage your deep, brooding, artistic sensibilities to attract the ladies WITHOUT having to go to all the trouble of learning to play the guitar and sing, or God forbid, hold down a real job. The sweet kiss of a lovely, devoted lover was supposed to be the payoff for a life lived in near poverty committed to bringing life to the beauty and depth of the human condition. Hah! Someone sold me a bill of goods. The only sweetness in the starving artist's life these days comes from these Double Chocolate Chipotle Cookies. Just like that longed for lover, they're sweet at first blush, bring a little heat later on, but best of all, they don't hog the sheets.

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 & 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white sugar

Directions

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Place the dark chocolate in a double boiler and heat until the chocolate is warm and smoothly melted. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. While your chocolate melts, in a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, brown sugar, 1 & 1/2 cups of white sugar, cocoa powder, and chipotle pepper until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each egg into the mixture before adding the next, then beat in the vanilla extract and water.
  4. Next, mix the melted chocolate into the butter mixture, then gently stir in the flour mixture until incorporated. Finally, mix in the chocolate chips. Cover the bowl, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. When the dough has cooled enough to handle, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Place 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Roll the cookie dough into small balls, then roll the balls in the sugar to coat. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. I roll them up A bit smaller than a golf ball, and put them 6 at a time on a standard cookie sheet.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until cookies are set, 12 to 14 minutes. Allow to cool on the sheet for a minute or two before removing to racks to finish cooling. Keep on baking until your dough is gone, and you're desperate to taste the sweet, spicy taste of romance.

Cranberry Merlot Brownies

I'm gonna keep this short and sweet. One of the Starving Artist's New Year's resolutions is to dip his toe into the world of dating again after years of avoiding contact with the fairer sex. And there's no better way to a woman's heart than wine and chocolate, right? So, excuse me ma'am, have you tried my Cranberry Merlot Brownies, and what are you doing Friday night?

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup merlot
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), plus extra for greasing
  • 6 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 & 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix the red wine and cranberries together and allow to sit for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the cranberries look plumped. While the cranberries soak, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease and flour an 8 by 8 inch pan.
  2. Mix the flour and sea salt together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl over boiling water, heat the butter and chocolate until just melted and mixed together.
  4. Remove from the bowl from the heat and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the sugar and cocoa powder and mix, then add the flour and mix well. Finally, mix in the red wine and cranberries.
  5. Pour the mixture in the baking pan and bake for about 50-55 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan for about 30 minutes, then remove to cool completely on a wire rack.
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Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch Cookies

Someone once told me that the sound Rice Krispies make is actually Morse code for "grow the hell up and make an omelette." These days, I've pretty much given up breakfast cereals and embraced a "coffee for breakfast" lifestyle, and I'm way too lazy to make an omelette at 6:00 a.m. But on rare occasions – especially during the holidays – I develop a sweet tooth, and start craving sugar in the morning. Since I'll never put sugar in my coffee, these Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch Cookies are my solution.

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Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (sift before measuring)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 & 1/2 cups Cap’n Crunch cereal

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix brown sugar with butter and whisk to combine, the add the peanut butter and whisk until well mixed. Whisk in the egg and the additional yolk, one at a time, then whisk in the vanilla. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Next, add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Add cereal, mixing until evenly distributed. Be careful not to overmix or overcrush cereal. Refrigerate dough for at least 20 minutes.
  5. While your dough chills, preheat oven to 325 degrees, with racks in lower and upper thirds. Line two half-sheet baking pans with parchment paper. Form the dough into balls about the size of whole walnuts. Roll each in the cinnamon sugar mixture before placing 2 inches apart on baking sheets.
  6. Finally, bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until edges are light brown and centers are still soft; don’t overbake. Immediately transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Let cool before serving.

No-Churn Espresso Ice Cream

As a single artist/blogger/trainwreck with no children, every day is Independence Day. Too much wine by 4:00 p.m.? No problem. Just blow off laundry and settle into a night of wine, cheese, and Netflix. Up too late working on a new print? Then sleep in. Who's gonna care? Only the dogs. Still don't wanna do laundry? Walmart sells a 4-pack of boxers for $9.95. Wanna bring ice cream to the 4th of July picnic? Then do it. No one expects practicality from an artist. But they do expect good taste, and this delicious No-Churn Espresso Ice Cream will not disappoint. But good luck keeping it cold for three hours at the park. Like I said, no one expects practicality from an artist.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 teaspoons instant espresso, plus 2 & 1/2 teaspoons warm water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. If you're not ready to wear out your elbow and forearm, use a standup mixer instead of a hand whisk.
  2. Next, dissolve the instant coffee granules in warm water, and stir it into the heavy cream mixture along with the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract.
  3. Finally, pour the ice cream mixture into a Pyrex or metal loaf pan, and freeze for 5-6 hours to get a soft-serve consistency, or overnight for truly frozen ice cream.