Killer Crack Peanut Butter Fudge

The title isn’t mine. I’m just repeating the title Cookie Baker Lynn gives this delight. I suppose you-will-never-fit-into-your-old-pants-again peanut butter fudge was just a little too long.

I’ve never really made fudge before (I have made a microwave “fudge” with condensed milk but that’s as close as I’ve come), so I have no idea how traditional or not this recipe is. And after tasting it I don’t care at all – the recipe could be the most bastardized thing of all time and I’d still want to make it again and again. Yes, it’s really that good. The texture is AMAZING.

Isn’t it pretty in the pan?

I sacrificed my favorite scraper to the cause. It was in poor shape, but the fudge did it in. Just like it did in any shred of self-control I thought I might have.

Pretty, isn’t it? I don’t usually bother with presentation like this, but we had company. Which is a good thing because I hate to think how quickly we would have finished off this batch of fudge. Just between the two of us.

I’m kinda scared to make this again, but I’m also having to restrain myself from dashing to the kitchen to make another batch. I’m alone in the house so no one would have to know – it could be all mine.

Thanks for the recipe Cookie Baker Lynn. I think. I’ve got my eye on several other of your recipes, but I’m a little scared to try them.

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Macaroni & Cheese, Take 2

So as I updated in the last post, my most recent attempt at mac & cheese left me thinking my search was over, I had found mac & cheese nirvana.

I still think that’s possible, although I don’t suppose it’ll necessarily keep me from trying additional versions. Maybe there’s a secondary nirvana that’s even greater than the first.

This version contains no Velveeta, so it kicks the pants off the first version right from the start. It is more complicated to make however, so there is that. But if all I cared about was how easy it is, I’d probably never stray from the boxed stuff.

The recipe is barely modified from the cookbook Saveur Cooks Authentic American. And “barely modified’ means I left off the bread crumb topping. Because I didn’t have any fresh bread crumbs and was too lazy to make them. It’s easy to be lazy when you’re not crazy about bread crumb topping anyway. And I upped the pepper amounts too but I always do that.

So, ingredients.

  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 6 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. cayenne (1/2 tsp in the original version)
  • salt & freshly ground pepper (white pepper in the original version. I didn’t care about it defacing the appearance of my food to use my regular peppercorns. Plus I don’t own any white peppercorns & I wasn’t about to go shopping just for that.)
  • 3 3/4 cups hot milk. Mine was warmish.
  • 4 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided. I used sharp, and grated it myself. That would be 16 ounces if I did my math correctly.
  • 1 lb pasta, cooked. I used penne I think.
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream.

Melt butter & whisk in flour & cook for about 4 minutes. Stir in seasonings. Whisk in milk a little bit at a time and cook until sauce thickens, whisking constantly (or not quite constantly if you’re me and are doing other things at the same time as this is going). Reduce heat to low & stir in 2 cups of cheese, and cook until cheese melts. Add pasta to cheese sauce.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over the bottom of a large baking dish. Put 1/3 of pasta in the dish, top with 1/2 cup cheese, and repeat layers two more times. End with cheese. Pour cream over the casserole and bake in a 350F oven about 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Directions are slightly abbreviated for typing ease.

This stuff is good. Rob said it was fantastically creamy. Well, he said it was creamy, but I know he meant “fantastically creamy.”

Super Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

(The little black speck in the picture above is black pepper. Really, it’s not dirt in my macaroni. Just course-ground black pepper.)

Macaroni & Cheese

I absolutely adore macaroni and cheese. It’s up there with my favorite dishes ever. Now if I could only find the ultimate recipe for cheesy goodness.* I am not very good at getting cheese sauces to be smooth instead of grainy so that always hinders my mac & cheese making.

So this time, I cheated. I used some Velveeta in an attempt to guarantee smooth-and-creaminess.

And guess what? It worked! Hallelujah & pass the mac & cheese.

oh, perhaps my new technique helped as well.

While water for some macaroni (actually penne rigatoni) was heating, I set up my make-shift double boiler. Which is just a metal bowl set into a pan with some water, which, while not as convenient as a true double boiler (the lack of handles would prove troublesome), had the advantage of being available.

Chopped and/or shredded cheese into the bowl. A lot of it. It’s about half velveeta, and then the other half is a combo of cheddar and cheddar with peppers. And this cheddar with pepper cheese is AWESOME. Just sayin’.

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Add milk. Maybe 2/3 of a cup? I just poured until it looked good.

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Then whisk away as the cheese melts and turns into a luscious sauce.

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Once the sauce is creamy and melted, add the cooked pasta and stir together.

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Pour into a baking dish and put into the oven for 10 minutes or so. I probably had the oven at 350.

Eat and enjoy. Super creamy, luscious macaroni and cheese. I love this stuff. This is not my ultimate mac & cheese however. I don’t like using Velveeta and I think that’s what caused this to be almost impossibly sticky.

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UPDATE!!! This recipe was made much earlier than it was posted, due to me being a slacker and taking forever to get the pics off the camera. But, I made mac & cheese following a different recipe last weekend (just after posting this) and it may have become my ultimate recipe. Not as simple as this one, but so much creamier and tastier. I’ll try to get it written up and the pictures ready to go ASAP.

Chipped Beef.

I am almost ashamed to admit how much I love creamy chipped beef. I grew up eating the Stouffers version – just pull out of the freezer, nuke for a few minutes and enjoy over toast.

Then I got older and learned about things like preservatives and hydrogenated fats and excessive amounts of sodium. And I started to try to avoid eating foods that had a string of ingredients that I can’t pronounce. Not that I’m completely successful, but I’m trying. So anyway, Stouffers had to go.

But how can I survive without my comfort food of creamed chipped beef? That’s right, by finally figuring out that it’s not that hard so I’ll just have to learn to cook it myself.

And so I have.

I’m almost embarrassed now at how easy it is. And I feel so accomplished. I can make a roux and a white sauce! Yay me!

No amounts are given because it all depends on how many people you’re serving. It’s easy to make for one or two or whatever you need. Ok, I’m guessing it’s still easy to make for more than two, but two’s all I’ve ever served with this.

So, to begin. You’ll need butter, flour, milk, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Tabasco too if you’re feeling brave. And some dried beef (Budding type). And some toast of course when you’re ready to eat.

Melt butter in a saucepan deep enough to hold the finished product. Add an equal amount of flour (i.e. 1 tablespoon of butter? use 1 tablespoon of flour). Whisk together and let cook until the roux gets ever so slightly beigy. That’s a real word you know. In my world anyway.

Whisk in the milk, slowly incorporating it so as to integrate the flour and milk.

Add seasonings to taste.

Meanwhile, chop the beef into small bite-sized pieces. When the sauce is thick and luscious-looking, add the beef. Adjust seasonings as needed and serve over toast. Eat and enjoy. Feel oh-so-comforted.

chipped beef