Monday, March 19, 2012

Peanut Butter and Chocolate, and more pb and chocolate

We don't like peanut butter or chocolate in my house.

JUST KIDDING.  I think it is our favorite combo ever.  I love to add caramel to it too but we don't have any sugar free caramel right now.  If i wouldn't die of horrific nutritional deficiencies i would probably live off bowls of a mish mash of peanut butter, chocolate, marshmallow, and caramel all gooed up together, and french fries (not mixed in of course).  So it stands to reason that since we are eating nuts/legumes again i am going to be making a lot of peanut butter and peanut butter-chocolate things.  The squirrels are digging up my patio garden anyway so what else do i have to do to busy myself?

The first thing i made was Candice's Low Carb Ultimate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies so that i could also make Candice's Low Carb Individual Peanut Butter Cookie Brownies.  In my haste i neglected to flatten down the peanut butter cookies so they stayed in rounded lumps but were tasty nonetheless.  I used some valencia chunky peanut butter with flaxseeds stuff from trader joes for the peanut butter and i chopped a couple of squares of the Simply Lite dark chocolate bar i had on hand in place of the chocolate chips.  My peanut flour also came from trader joes.  And i made sure to remember to reserve some of the uncooked dough for the brownies.

 Above are the baked cookies, below are the individual brownies with the pb dough inside.  Uhh, we forgot to take pictures of the middle of the brownies before we ate them all.  In my defense david ate them all.  But in his defense there were only 6 and he brought two to his parents.  I had one and i think i overcooked the brownie because while the cookies above were moist and delicious the brownie was too cakey for me, i was expecting something a little denser and it may have just been my baking time since i am mostly used to baking with regular flour.  I don't think that i added enough or big enough chunks of chocolate to the pb cookies so i would have just preferred them without any chocolate but i remembered too late that i have a giant bag of mini sugar free peanutbutter cups from NutsOnline that i could be adding to this stuff to make it amazinger.
The pb dough inspired me to create my own pb dough snack, so for the next couple of days i would just mix some peanut flour with a little water and splenda to the consistency and sweetness i desired at that moment, and then folded in some sea salt flecks and ate it off a spoon.  Very good and will probably become a staple in my diet.

As you might know, saturday was st. patrick's day.  I kind of hate it and think it's a dumb holiday (as much as i love drinking).  I don't like irish food, i am not huge on just drinking beer, whiskey is pretty good but i drink more american bourbon whiskey than irish, wearing green in my current state of paleness makes me look extra sickly, etc. plus for health reasons i am dry for a few months (no i am not pregnant!!!).  While david went out I stayed in for a perfect night of brownie experimentation that i have been looking forward to for a while.

I gathered my ingredients.  I have been on the lookout for as many coconut flours that i can find because Candice from tickle my sweet tooth is in canada and uses some crazy exclusive coconut flour specific to her area or something ridiculous that even the grocery store where she buys it will not even sell it and send it to me and she has noted in her blog that many people have claimed using another brand of coconut flour has resulted in baked goods that do not resemble what candice makes.  So in effort to find a local match I rounded up what i could, which was a pitiful three kinds since the aloha-nu is indefinitely out of stock.  All of the stats vary slightly and none of them match with what candice claims her coconut flour stats are so i didn't really know what to expect.
 I started with the green bag of coconut flour and while those were in the oven i began to make another batch with the canister coconut flour, when i realized this called for a LOT of cocoa powder and i had gotten a new kind of cocoa powder from trader joes instead of my usual cacao powder whateverness i have in the pantry because it boasted richer flavor and it also had less carbs so i was like what the heck.  Well i did not have enough to make a third batch so i couldn't make any with the bob's red mill coconut flour.   Also i had only one box of unsalted butter and one box of salted so i used half and half in my recipes for the sake of keeping everything exactly the same.  I usually use regular salted in ALL of my recipes but occasionally i buy unsalted and this recipe just happened to call for it.  By the way the recipe i used is this one.
 The green bag and the canister had very similar stats and surprise surprise they came out exactly alike.  Since only a few Tablespoons of actual coconut flour are used in the recipe the overall stats were virtually the same as well.  Probably not the best coconut flour experiment recipe to use, i should probably test with a coconut pound cake or something that uses more coconut flour.  I cooked the brownies for exactly 18 minutes in an 8 x 8 pan and cut them into 16 squares.
 Below you see side by side they are identical.  The only problem is, and i asked candice this already but she is sort of busy with a new baby so i don't expect an answer soon, that i think she uses kosher salt in all of her recipes, not just the ones that specifically say kosher salt.  I used regular table sized sea salt and i felt they were far too salty, and i like salty-sweet combos.  I know i did use half salted half unsalted butter in the recipe but that would not cause it to be that salty.  It wasn't like biting into a salt lick or anything, and i actually had to eat a couple to tell whether i liked them or not, but it kind of overpowered most of the sweetness i imagined it should have had, it was just enough salt to make me question its brownie palatability.  However, i had enough cocoa powder to make a half batch using all unsalted butter with a little bit less salt than called for as well, and they were still a little "hmmm."  It actually could be something small just exacerbated by the new cocoa powder i used for the first time, like maybe it is more bitter chocolate than either she or i thought it would be and it just needs more sweetener?  I meant the texture is divine--gooey and melty and creamy and cakey all in one and i am certain if you baked it a couple minutes longer you could make it an even more cake-like brownie because the edges were more cakey than the center, so there is no problem there at all.  I will certainly try it again with different ingredients and salt measurements to make it perfect for me.
At first i was a little desperate, not wanting to have made two batches of brownies that were practically inedible so i tried to frost them with a sweet cream cheese frosting but that only made the brownie taste saltier in contrast to the sweet frosting.  So I set them on paper towels and stuck them in a ziplock bag to see if david thought they were salty too.  Super strangely, the next night (after a lot of grease from the butter had soaked up into the paper towels) they were not as bad as i initially thought.  David thought they were good.  I think my tongue just needed a reset?  Maybe it was the butter that was part of the problem?  They still had a slightly pure-cocoa flavor so i think next time i will add more splenda for sure but i ended up eating like six of them in one sitting so whatever happened was good.  Maybe i just need to eat them when i am really tired.  I put them in the fridge and will try them again in a couple of days since this whole thing is just so weird how it's salty then it's not so bad and maybe it will be salty again? Maybe i am crazy?

Anyway since i didn't have enough cocoa powder to complete my experiment i made peanut flour brownies too.  I used half almond butter half pb just to mix things up because i was feeling creative.  And i chopped up some Simply Lite milk chocolate bar to sub for chocolate chips.  This thing came out looking like a giant peanut butter cookie.
 But the texture and flavor was absolutely delicious.  A+ but i am still remorseful i didn't remember to use the mini sugar free peanut butter cups instead of the chopped chocolate!  These were much softer in texture than the pb cookies i made earlier in the week so there was an obvious cookie recipe and a brownie/cake recipe.  hmmm i should probably practice practice practice with more of her recipes to get the hang of all of the nontraditional ingredients.  Or i should probably not because then i will end up eating most of them like usual.
I figured out the stats for my own ingredients.  I don't count carbs or calories in granualted Splenda so for the pb chip cookies they were 100 calories; the individual brownies were 170 calories; the regular chocolate brownies were 165 cals and 3 carbs each, and the peanut butter chip brownies were 125 cals and 2 carbs.  All rough estimate, and overestimated to be on the safe side as usual.

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