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Favorite flavors warm up winter recipes

(BPT) – When you think of favorite winter dishes, what comes to mind? Do hearty soups and bold coffee seem like the best sources of warmth to sustain you through winter’s chill? For dishes that create comfort and warmth, don’t rule out one of the most-loved American flavors: peanut butter. Peanut butter adds flavor and flare to many dishes, from baked treats to main courses and everything in between.

Another secret staple of American cooking that adds rich flavor to dishes is sweetened condensed milk, a delicious blend of milk and sugar. This versatile ingredient provides a fool-proof base to favorite pies, fudge and more.

Peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk were front and center in two award-winning recipes from the recent 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off(R) Contest. Brenda Watts of Gaffney, South Carolina, was named the Jif(R) Peanut Butter Award Winner for her Macaroon-Peanut Butter-Chocolate Tartlets, and Barbara Estabrook of Rhinelander, Wisconsin was the Eagle Brand(R) Signature Recipe Award Winner for her Peanut and Pretzel-Peanut Butter Thumbprints.

Both recipes are simple to make and require little preparation time – a definite bonus during cold winter days. Try these recipes for a comforting treat this winter:

Macaroon-Peanut Butter-Chocolate Tartlets

by Brenda Watts of Gaffney, South Carolina

Prep time: 30 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups flaked coconut

1 roll Pillsbury(TM) refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough

2 8-ounce containers mascarpone cheese

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons Watkins(TM) Coconut Extract

1 cup Jif(R) Whips Whipped Peanut Butter and Chocolate Flavored Spread

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 F. Line 20 regular-sized muffin cups with Reynolds(R) Foil Baking Cups. Line cookie sheet with Reynolds(R) Parchment Paper and spread 1/2 cup of the coconut on the cookie sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove to a plate to cool.

Place the remaining 1 1/2 cups of coconut in a shallow bowl. Shape the cookie dough into 20 balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll each ball in the coconut, pressing the coconut lightly into the dough. With floured fingers, press the dough balls into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the muffin cups. Bake for 10-16 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 3 minutes. Remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes, and then remove the foil baking cups.

In a small bowl, use a whisk to beat 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of the mascarpone cheese, 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of the coconut extract until smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the remaining 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) of mascarpone, chocolate spread, remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon of coconut extract for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the chocolate mixture into each cookie cup. Top with 1 teaspoon of the mascarpone mixture, sprinkle with the toasted coconut. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Yield: 20 servings

Peanut and Pretzel-Peanut Butter Thumbprints

By Barbara Estabrook of Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Prep time: 30 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Ingredients:

1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand(R) Sweetened Condensed Milk

1/2 cup Jif(R) Creamy Peanut Butter

1 teaspoon Watkins(TM) Pure Vanilla Extract

1 roll Pillsbury(TM) refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough

2/3 cup chopped, unsalted, roasted peanuts

1/2 cup coarsely chopped mini-pretzel twists

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 F. In a 1-quart, heavy saucepan, heat condensed milk and peanut butter over medium to low heat for 8-10 minutes, stirringly frequently, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla until well blended. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes or until thickened.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, break up cookie dough. Add peanuts and pretzels, and mix with a wooden spoon or knead by hand until well blended. Shape dough into 30 balls about 1 1/4 inch in diameter. Place dough balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 5-10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately place an indentation in each cookie by pressing in the center with the back of a teaspoon. Cool for 2 minutes and remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 20 minutes.

Place peanut butter mixture into a large, resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut off a small corner of the bag. Squeeze the bag to pipe about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into the center of each cookie to fill the indentation.

In a small, microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips uncovered on high for 40-60 seconds, stirring once, until chips can be stirred smooth. Place melted chips in a small, resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut off a tiny corner of the bag and squeeze the bag to drizzle melted chips over the cookies. Let stand 10 minutes. Store covered.

Yield: 30 servings

For more great dinner, dessert and appetizer recipes, visit www.bakeoff.com.


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