Chocolate Peanut Butter Birthday Goodness!

Today is my birthday and birthdays call for yummy treats!  I love peanut butter, I love chocolate, and when you put them together - bliss!

I made these beauties with this recipe - one box of mix gave me over 40 cupcakes!  I just use my ice-cream scoop (or Pampered Chef Large Scoop) for uniformly sized cupcakes.  Instead of chocolate chips, I took a bag of mini Reese's peanut butter cups and diced them up.  Before I folded the peanut butter cups in, I tossed them lightly in flour to keep them from sinking in the batter while baking.

I could probably eat the cupcakes just by themselves, but to take them to that next level I decided to top them off with some peanut butter frosting!  I made this frosting and then at the end added 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter.

Ohhh these are soo tasty!!  Enjoy!


Basic Buttercream Frosting

I love this buttercream frosting recipe!  I have several buttercream frosting recipes, but this one definitely is my favorite!  I've added cocoa powder, peanut butter, flavoring, etc to change this up with great luck.


Buttercream Frosting

1 Cup Shortening (white, not butter flavored)
4 Cups Powdered Sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/3 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream (May need a few additional Tbsp to get desired consistency)

In mixing bowl, cream shortening until fluffy.  Slowly add powdered sugar until blended; then add salt, vanilla, and whipping cream.  Beat for 2 minutes until good and fluff.  Add a tablespoon of cream at a time to get frosting to desired consistency.


Chocolate Zucchini Cookies

These beauties are incredible!  No one (even your picky kids OR spouse) will taste the vegetables in these! They bake up soft and cake-y and have the most wonderful flavor. 

If you just grate the zucchini, it will be more noticeable in the cookie.  I use my food processor and grind it up a little more after grating so it's less visible.  Either way, you won't notice a texture difference in the cookie.


Chocolate Zucchini Cookies

1 Cup Grated Zucchini
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Butter, softened
1 Egg
1 Tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Cinnamon
2 Tbsp Cocoa
12 Oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts (Optional - I don't use them)

Combine zucchini, brown sugar, baking soda, and butter until blended.   Add egg and vanilla into zucchini mixture.  Add remaining ingredients - folding in chocolate chips and nuts (if desired).  Chill dough for 1 hour.  Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10 minutes.  Don't over-bake cookies, you'll want them soft to the touch, but not gooey in the middle after cooling.

Yields approximately 30 - 2" cookies.


Rainbow 12-Layer Jello

This is very time consuming, however it is not hard at all!  I like to do it on days I know I'll be around home in between other chores.  It's very much worth the time spent - so yummy and pretty!  You can certainly use whatever Jello flavors you want to get your own design (ie; red and green for Christmas, blue and red for July 4th, etc).  This definitely delights kids and adults!


Rainbow 12-Layer Jello

6 - 3oz Jello Packages
2 Cups Sour Cream
6 Cups Water

Add 1 cup boiling water to 1 package.  Stir until dissolved - divide in half. 
Add 1/3 cup sour cream to one half and stir until smooth. 
Pour into 9"x13" pan (I like to use my glass Pyrex pan).
Chill 25 minutes. 
Add 2 Tbsp cold water to remaining Jello and pour over first layer. 
Let set 15 minutes. 
Repeats steps for each additional flavor. 
When completely cooled and firmed, slice into squares and serve!