Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pancakes

pbcc pancakes

Enough said! You had me at peanut butter! When I got up this morning, I thought of my usual bowl of no frills oatmeal and knew I could do better. I was very hungry and needed something a little more substantial and self-indulgent, so I thought pancakes! Then as I was getting out my ingredients, and after a head-sized cup of coffee, it came to me…chocolate chip pancakes! Then as I was getting out my mini morsels, I caught a fleeting glance of a jar of peanut butter. We hadn’t even made eye contact, but I knew he was going in too! Then I saw the perfect topper…bananas! Okay, I said to myself, I better stop there, otherwise there might be a temptation to add other pantry items, like Cheez-its, popcorn, or…never mind, I don’t want to ruin your appetite!

Now I know this is supposed to be more of a baking blog, and I’m not really sure that pancakes fall into that category, since I’m not using an oven. HOWEVER, they have the word “cake” in them, and that’s good enough for me!

So, this is a very simple recipe, because what else could it be at 6 a.m.? This recipe made only 6 large pancakes, but can be easily doubled, or just make smaller pancakes!

Here’s the easy recipe and don’t forget the syrup!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

1 egg

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

3/4 cup milk

1 heaping Tablespoon peanut butter

2-4 teaspoons water

1/4-1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Put your dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl. Make a well in the center for the egg and oil, then gradually pour in milk while whisking.pancake milk

Whisk together just until combined. You don’t want to over mix because you’ll have tough and chewy pancakes. Nobody wants that!

Put the heaping tablespoon of peanut butter in a small bowl, stir adding just enough water to make it the same smooth consistency as the batter, which may be up to a tablespoon of water.pb for pc

As you can see in the photo above, my peanut butter is ready to be whisked into the batter, which I have put in a glass measuring cup for easy pouring. Add mini chocolate chips, just stirring them in.

Now, just preheat your favorite pancake griddle surface. I like to spray it with just a spritz of non stick cooking spray for the first pancake at least, depending on the pan you’re using.

Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into your preheated pan on medium low, and wait until the edges of the pancake begin to look dry and small bubbles appear, then you are ready to flip it, flip it good!pancake edgesflipped pancake

Voila! You did it! Now you want to give your batter a little stir from the bottom each time you begin a new pancake to get those chocolate chips floating around more evenly.

I like to use a little sliced banana for garnish, and a little butter (not for garnish, for eating) and don’t forget the syrup!whole pc

You, too, can pie!

whole pieEven though this blog is called Love, Joy Peace of Cake, (because I adore cake) pie comes in next as one of my favorite desserts. It just seems so cozy and comfy! It just seems like something you have to sit down and relax with, not something you can really eat on the run. For me, pie says home! Not my home growing up, (my mom never made a pie in her life, but she was the queen of lasagna)! On the other hand, I have been making pies, for what seems like forever.

My early pies were pretty okay, but it has taken me about 40 years to perfect, what I think is, the perfect crust. Now I’m sure there are other great pie crusts out there, but if you’re looking for THE flakiest crust in the history of flake, this is it. Honestly! Just look at it: (I said, “Look at it!”)close up pie crust

It doesn’t just look good, it tastes buttery and tender and it will not be left on the plate, as most crusts are when the pie is gone! Just follow the recipe below and you, too, can be flaky! I must warn you, gird your loins, as this post is rather long! But because pie crusts can be temperamental, I’ve included lots of details and pictures.

Please note: this recipe is for the crust only, good for most pie fillings, especially fruit.

Another extremely important note: All ingredients must start out cold and stay cold! This is definitely not one of those times in baking where you want everything room temperature, or you will end up with a big, gooey, melted mess! The cold, hard bits of butter are what produces the flake!

Here’s how it looks along the way, more pictures to follow after the list of ingredients.

shortening tip

The photo above shows the flour, salt, and cut up cold butter in the large bowl, and I’m measuring my chilled shortening. (A great easy way to do this, is line your measuring cup with a piece of plastic wrap, add shortening, then just lift it all out of the cup and the shortening comes right off the wrap, into your bowl, and no mess)!

As with all recipes, please read through the entire recipe first, get all your ingredients  and tools ready, and then proceed with joy in your heart!

So at least an hour, or more, before you start, make sure your butter is nice and cold and refrigerate your shortening, taking them out just before you use them.

Flaky Flaky Pie Crust (for a 2 crust pie)

2 1/4 cups bleached flour (bleached flour helps to stop chewy, tough gluten from forming)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter flavored shortening, chilled

6 Tablespoons butter

1/4 cup–1/2 cup ice cold water

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (I know that sounds weird, but it makes the crust extra                 flaky and does not taste of vinegar at all!)

Put your flour into a large bowl. Cut up the butter into about 6 pieces, add it to the bowl, along with your chilled shortening, cutting it in. (That simply means, making the bits of butter and shortening smaller with either a fork or a pastry cutter–pictured).pastry cutter

Then, your dough should look like this:IMG_0148

Add the 2 teaspoons of vinegar to the 1/4 cup ice water  and add this mixture to the flour butter mixture about 1 Tablespoon at a time, mixing it in and adding more as needed (I usually use about 1/2 cup water total), just until it all holds together:pie dough

Now you’re ready to turn it out onto a very lightly floured board (I like to use a marble board because it keeps everything cold, but if you don’t have one, it’s okay) and just kind of knead it a tiny bit, just until it is all together like this:

pie dough to frig

You want those bits of butter, so try not to work it too much, or the heat from your hands will melt those lovely bits and will make your dough tough.

At this stage, cut your dough in half, form into disc shape (one for lower and one for upper crust) and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill at least 30 minutes. Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and then a plastic zippered bag, dough can be frozen at this point, if using at a later date.

After the 30 minute chilling, put your dough onto a lightly floured board, one disc at a time, to roll out (leaving other disc in refrigerator). With a floured or cloth covered rolling pin, roll out the disc, rolling from the middle, until about 1/8″ thick, trying not to stretch the dough:rolling pin

Now you’re ready to gently place your dough in your pie pan. If you’re making a one crust pie, cut edge to trim excess. (Snowman optional)trim dough edge

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for another 30 minutes. If you are making a double crust pie (top and bottom crust), you should prepare the filling at this point.

TIP: Don’t put your filling in the bottom crust until you have rolled out the top crust. Nobody wants a soggy bottom!

After the 30 minute chilling session, your pie crust is ready to bake or fill. To bake for creamy type fillings, such as lemon meringue, chocolate cream, etc. line your dough in the pan with foil or parchment paper, fill with pie weights (can be purchased or I use dried beans or raw rice)which keeps it from getting all puffed up, and bake for 10 minutes or so at 400 degrees.

To use for a double crust fruit pie, (I used apple) as pictured at the top of this post, after this second 30-minute chilling, put in your already prepared fruit filling evenly into your dough lined pan and cover with top crust. Trim the edges and seal: I put my fingertips in a little bit of water, touching the bottom crust and pressing down the top crust on it to seal the edges, so no filling leaks out. You can also, if desired crimp the edges decoratively.wet to seal

Now I like to make the upper crust (not of society!) nice and pretty. I just brush the top of the pie with a little milk and sprinkle on some sugar (about 1 Tablespoon). You could also brush it with a little beaten egg, for a shiny brown top.

IMPORTANT!: Cut a few slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape, otherwise it could be PIE_OCALYPSE in your oven….kaboom!

For an apple pie: Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 and bake at least 45 minutes until fruit is tender and crust is nicely browned and juices are bubbly.

Helpful Hint: When your pie is about halfway through the cooking time, make sure the edges of the crust are not getting too brown. If they are, cover edges with foil or see picture below (cut out the middle of an aluminum (cheap!) pie pan, making a ring, and it will cover just the edges nicely and can be re-used)!pie ring

Let cool completely for filling to set, or before you add your creamy piece of pie

Be proud of your pie! If I can do it, you, too, can pie!

Cinnamon+ Chocolate = True love

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choc cinn rollsIs there anything better than the smell of cinnamon wafting through your house on a cold, wintry morning? I think not! Oh wait…how about some ooey, gooey chocolate to go with it? If you’re like me, you can never get enough of either. And because nothing says love, joy and peace like cinnamon rolls (well almost nothing) I just had to put them all together in one celestial being!

Now I did get up pretty early to start this transcendent creation, around 5 a.m., but it was totally worth it! With a little trial and error, and fuzzy recollections of some chemistry lessons, I got there. So even at 5 a.m., after my precious, bigger than my head cup of coffee, I arrived at Cinnamon Chocolate Station….all aboard! Okay, maybe I need decaf.

You want to start with room temperature ingredients if you can. Butter usually takes at least a half hour to soften, depending on the temperature of our kitchen, and eggs take from 20 minutes, but never leave eggs out of the  refrigerator for more than 2 hours.

So let’s put on our cocoa hats and get started!

First we put our milk in a pan with our butter and shortening to just get warm and cozy. No boiling please!! Just easy melting…adding the sugar.butter and milk

Get your dry ingredients ( 2 cups flour, cocoa and salt) together in a large bowl. And “proof” your yeast! Which means sprinkle on top of your small bowl of warm water, add the teaspoon of sugar and think sweet thoughts while you wait five minutes for it to get all bubbly.dry ingredients  bubbly yeast

I like to add the yeast mixture to the cooled, but still warm milk mixture and add that to dry ingredients, giving it a good beat-down! Please DO NOT add your beaten eggs all at once, like I did the first time, just add them a little at a time!

It should look like this at this stage:dough

Don’t worry, I know it looks a little gooey, but you’ll be adding more flour later. Now here’s the recipe and by all that is holy, your cinnamon rolls will be warm and delicious and true chocolate love will be yours!

Celestial Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls


1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/4 cup butter flavored shortening

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 3/4-3 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 warm water (not over 80 degrees)

1 (1/4 oz.) pkg. instant dry yeast

1 tsp. granulated sugar

3 large eggs, lightly beaten


1/3 cup salted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon


1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

2 Tbsp. salted butter, softened

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

2-3 Tbsp. milk


For the Dough:

Warm the milk , the 1/4 cup butter, and shortening in a small saucepan on very low heat, watching carefully, just until butter and shortening has melted. Off the heat, add the 1/2 cup sugar and stir to dissolve. Set aside.

In small bowl put in warm water, then sprinkle on yeast and add the 1 teaspoon of sugar and stir once or twice, then let set (untouched) for 5 minutes until bubbly.

In large bowl combine 2 cups all purpose flour, the 1/3 cup cocoa and salt.

Making sure the milk mixture is just warm to the touch, add the yeast mixture to it and stir. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir vigorously.

In small bowl beat eggs just to combine, then add a little at a time to the dough beating after each addition. Don’t be afraid to stir the dickens out of your dough–you want to get a “rise” out of your gluten!

Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise, until doubled, about 1-2 hours. At this point, if you prefer to start the day before, you can cover with wrap and let rise in the refrigerator overnight.

Remove plastic wrap and give your dough a punch in the face to release some air. Add about a 1/2 cup flour and stir it in—develop those arm muscles! Now you need to knead! Turn out your dough onto a floured board and knead with the heel of your hand, for about 5 minutes, adding just a little flour at a time, until it is just a little sticky. If you add too much flour, your rolls may be dry. Put your dough into a clean, slightly oiled bowl, cover again and let rise again until doubled, about 1-2 hours.

Remove your dough from the bowl and turn out onto a board and knead just a couple of minutes to get it back into shape.

Now, instead of flouring your board with flour, for the final rolling out stage,  use a little cocoa powder on your board to keep the dough from sticking. (Cocoa because it’s chocolate dough!) Roll out with a rolling pin until you have a large rectangle, approximately 18″ x 8″.

For the filling:

Spread the 1/3 cup softened butter gently on the rolled out dough. Combine the 1/2 cup granulated sugar with the 2 Tbls. of cinnamon and sprinkle generously over the butter. Starting with the long side of the rectangle , roll up the dough, then cut across, making 1″slices of cinnamon goodness, and placing your rolls on a small cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.

And people, we must rise again!! Okay, just your rolls, but never fear, this is the last rising. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours.

Now take your rolls, don’t forget to remove the plastic wrap, and place rolls in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-2o minutes. Keep watch because it’s hard to see when chocolate is burning, so check the bottom of your buns!

For the Icing:

In small bowl mix together powdered sugar, the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and the 1 teaspoon cocoa powder.  Stir in the 2 Tbls. softened butter (as best you can-will be lumpy). Stir in the vanilla and 2-3 Tbls. of milk, depending on how thick you like your icing. I used about 2 and 1/2 Tbls. for mine. Stir until smooth.

Spread icing on rolls while they are still warm, but not hot.

Makes 10-12 rolls.

Results may vary.