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Freezer Cooking in an Hour: Apple Butter Muffins, Peanut Butter Pancakes, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

Once again this week, I split up my freezer cooking plans over two days because I didn’t have an hour block available. While this isn’t quite as efficient, it’s manageable — and at least it means that some things got made and made it to the freezer.

The winner recipe of this week was definitely the Apple Butter Muffins. So good — and they froze very well, too.

The Peanut Butter Pancakes were so-so. Very fluffy, but not as delicious as some of our other favorite pancake recipes. (And make sure not to let them cook too long — yikes on that burned one!)

And I was so sad to be disappointed by the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies. They were just really dry. Part of me wonders if they would do better if they had a full stick of butter in them instead of a half stick? Or if I cooked the brown sugar/butter mixture too long?

I followed the recipe exact as written (yes, truly, I did — believe it or not!) but my bars were much more dry than shown. Anyone have ideas as to what might have been my problem or what might “fix” the recipe?

Recipe links:

Apple Butter Muffins
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies
Peanut Butter Pancakes

Did you bake or cook anything for the freezer this week?

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  • Charity says:

    Aww, I’m sorry about the brownies. It’s always such a bummer when a new recipe doesn’t turn at as well as your hoping it will. But as my husband reminds me, “you don’t know until you try!”.

    These are our favorite Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies…easy, and addictitive!!

  • Brandi @ Savvy Student Shopper says:

    Nice pictures!
    The muffins look yummy!

  • Thanks for the pictures, recipes, and review. It’s nice to see & hear of recipes that others try. I will definately make the Apple Butter Muffins. They look delicious! Hope you have a warm and wonderful weekend~

  • When I went back and read comments on the blog where you got the peanut butter blondies recipe, there were other people who had the same issue as you…and some who did not. You may or may not find some tips in there. 🙂

  • Becky says:

    I checked the original recipe and sure enough it called for 1 stick of butter. Maybe they would taste better with that? I don’t want to lose hope in chocolate and peanut butter combos!

  • Ashley B says:

    Crystal, I made the brownies this week, and they were WONDERFUL!!! Did you boil the brown sugar/butter mixture or just melt it? I just melted it. Your picture does make the dough look a little dry. Hmm. Also, did you use fresh ground flour? I did, and I used pastry flour. These little babies disappeared in less than 2 days!

  • Felisha says:

    I made the brownies yesterday too, and they turned out great. I made mine in a glass dish though, and I tried to get the flour measurement as exact as possible. I’m sorry yours didn’t come out right!

    • Crystal says:

      Well, my kids thought they were great. So it’s not like I had to throw them out. They just weren’t the gooey, soft brownies I was hoping for!

      SO glad they turned out for some of you — yay!

      • Whitney says:

        If you like gooey, soft brownies, have you ever tried making black bean brownies? You just take a box of brownie mix, and add a pureed can of black beans, with liquid. If you are worried about sodium, you can drain the beans, but then you need to put them back in the can and fill it to the top with water before pureeing because you need the extra liquid. Mix the bean puree and brownie mix (don’t add eggs, water or oil) and bake per the instructions. If you’re using a small pan, you might need to add 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.

        Each brownie will be soft and chewy, and packed with fiber and protein! There are no crispy edges, but we’re a “middle of the brownie pan” type of family, so it’s perfect for us. I made these for a friend’s kids who had only eaten “regular” brownies and they gobbled them up without a word.

  • K says:

    I eat peanut butter on my whole grain pancakes instead of pancake syrup or powdered sugar. In fact, that’s lunch today!!

  • Erin says:

    My little guy & I just made the Apple Butter Muffins, & they are fabulous! We’ll see if they make it to the freezer!

  • Amy H. says:

    For the blondies I would guess it’s either to much flour or the PB you used didn’t have as much oil as the PB she used. You could try sifted flour, that would add a little air and lightness to the flour, using less overall. Or add a little oil or try a different brand – one of the authors said she used a brand similar to Jiff.

    • Crystal says:

      Oh, that’s a good point! I used all natural peanut butter and it was thick.

      • Sara says:

        I would agree about the pb. If you try the recipe again with the natural pb try using a whole stick of butter it may make the difference. :). Love cooking series!

        • Lydia says:

          Adding some butter or milk might help. I had the same problem with granola bars once. Or just serve them with milk (to dunk) 🙂

        • Jamieanne says:

          Hi, Jamieanne here – the one who wrote the post where you found the recipe for the peanut butter chocolate chip blondies (not brownies, by the way – blondies!)!

          No, no! Don’t add a whole stick of butter to it! Only if you’re making the full recipe for a 9×13-inch pan do you want a whole stick of butter. I once made the recipe, which is halved from the original, and accidentally used a whole stick. The result was not pretty! It was super greasy/oily; luckily I realized this before I put the blondies in the oven! Had to start over! 🙂

          • Crystal says:

            Thanks so much for the input — and my apologies on getting the recipe name wrong. I think that’s what it was called somewhere on Pinterest and it just got stuck permanently in my head. 🙂

            If you have any suggestions for how to make the blondies more soft and gooey like yours look, I’d love to know. I’m sure I did something wrong somewhere but I can’t figure out. And I really, really wanted the recipe to work!

  • You know I never thought of it as “Freezer Cooking in an Hour,” but I do make a batch of muffins almost every week and we eat half for breakfast and then enjoy the other half later in the month. I’ve found that if I do it just 3 weeks of the month, we have a really nice selection of muffins! Here is my latest favorite:

  • Michele says:

    I made the peanute butter chocolate brownies this week, too. And they also came out dry! I noticed when I mixed them up that they seemed very thick. I thought perhaps I put in a bit too much flour since I used a 1 cup meaurement, so I estimated the 1/4 cup, but even with that, I couldn’t have been too off! I agree, there needs to be more butter or less flour or something. I made mine in muffin tins. They tasted okay. I threw them in the freezer, so when I give them to my kids, I microwave them first to soften them up a bit. 😉

  • Heather says:

    Is that really how you cook pancakes!!!? ONE at a time?
    You need to get a big electric griddle that can do six at a time! I like my Presto brand one. Kohl’s will sometimes have them on special for $20. Very worth it in time saved. Although, if you are trying to avoid nonstick coatings, I understand. There are also cast-iron ones that sit on your stove top, but it looks like you have a smooth cooktop like I do.

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, I know, it’s very inefficient. 🙂 The electric griddle is on my list of things I hope to buy one day… but I have yet to convince myself that I need it enough to find the space for it in my kitchen and the money for it in the budget.

      • Joy says:

        Oops! Sorry. I see someone else posted the same time I did about the electric gridle.

        • Joy says:

          I store my griddle on top of my cabinets covered in a pretty bag to keep dust off. It’s worth the space it takes up. 🙂

      • April says:

        Oh gosh, you need one! 🙂 I have a tiny kitchen in my 1939 house (9×9!) and I would never live without one! Pancakes are on the menu once a week for breakfast at my house (and sometimes for dinner) and it’s 8 times faster for me to use my electric griddle than a pan, since I can cook 8 at a time. They’re also awesome for cooking grilled-cheese sandwiches (6 at once!). I only have 2 cabinets in my kitchen, and mine lives under the cutting boards in one of them.

      • lyss says:

        You don’t have to have a whole separate appliance like an electric griddle. Just get a square griddle pan that goes on your stovetop just like any other skillet. I have an 11 inch square griddle. It can cook 4 medium sized pancakes or sandwiches at a time. I use it for salmon patties, frying eggs…anything you’d flip with a spatula. It’s nice and flat, so it’s much easier to flip pancakes than a regular skillet with taller sides. I just looked on Amazon and they have nice ones between $20 and $30. I have a calphalon nonstick, though I saw a lodge cast iron one, too, that would be nice…

    • Whitney says:

      I have a non-stick double burner stovetop griddle similar to this one:–10-Inch/dp/B00008CM4V/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1361569560&sr=8-3&keywords=stovetop+griddle and I LOVE it. I guess I never understood the purpose of an electric griddle, unless you regularly need to use your stovetop and your griddle at the same time. A double burner griddle pan take up less than an inch of vertical cupboard space if you stack other pans on top of it, though I use it so often it’s usually the pan I keep on top. I can do 6-8 pancakes at a time, or four grilled cheese sandwiches, or two enormous quesadillas, etc. …. I’d say the time saved cooking and running the stovetop make it an extremely worthwhile pan to own.

      • Crystal says:

        Okay, you guys almost have me sold — especially with this stovetop griddle idea!

        So, does it work just like an electric griddle as far as cooking things evenly?

        Thank you to you and everyone for their input and for wanting to help me be more efficient in my kitchen!

        • Sarah says:

          To each his own, I guess, but I had a stovetop griddle and I hated the darn thing. I waited, and waited, and waited until JCPenney’s Black Friday sale a couple of years ago and bought their Cook’s brand electric griddle for $20 with a $10 mail in rebate. $10 and it was probably the best kitchen appliance I’ve ever purchased. Mine lives out in my garage on a steel shelving unit that we have dedicated solely to larger appliance storage since my kitchen is so very small. My mixer, crockpot, rice cooker, griddle, etc. live out there. But really, it is an appliance I will never be without again.

        • Joy says:

          Can you use the stove top griddle on a smooth top? I know you can’t use cast iron. I have a smooth top and you can’t use cast or copper on mine/.

        • christine says:

          the large pan is usually griddle on one side, grill on the other. But it only works if you have a gas stove, it doesn’t work on electric ranges!

        • Whitney says:

          Personally, I have a gas stove and the grill pan cooks very, very evenly, even in the space between burners. I never thought about not being able to use it on a smooth top, but multiple Amazon reviews mention using different ones on theirs with good results. Some of the pans specifically say they are not to be used with the smooth top ranges, and others specifically say they are fine to use. I think it has to do with whether or not it’s completely smooth and flat on the underside (some have ridges or feet, which would be a no-no).

          Another perk of a double burner griddle (if you can use one) is cooking two different foods at the same time (like sausage and eggs) and only cleaning one pan!

        • Sarah T. says:

          Another one here who didn’t see the need till my mom bought one for me so she could use it when visiting. We do quesadillas on it, pancakes, bacon (I’ll never go back!), hamburgers. It resides in the cabinet above the fridge where I can’t reach anything else, but can grasp the front and pull out. In our old house it fit on top of the fridge but below the cabinet.

  • jennifer says:

    Those brownies look like cookie dough instead of brownie batter…bummer recipe.

  • Joy says:

    Girl, you need to get yourself an electric non-stick griddle so you can make tons of pancakes in less time and so they won’t burn. LOL. You can make 6-8 pancakes at once.

    • Stephanie says:

      An electric griddle is the only way I can make pancakes and not burn them. I’ve had a tiny kitchen and tiny budget, but the time and money saved when making pancakes is so worth it– we always go through a double batch of pancakes.

  • Colleen says:

    It seems like very little moisture (butter, egg, peanutbutter) for the amount of dry ingredients (flour and sugar). Either increase some of the wet ones or decrease the dry ones.

  • Colleen says:

    25 minutes also seems like a long time for these brownies. I would think 15-20 min.

  • Jamieanne says:

    Hi, Jamieanne here – the one who wrote the post where you found the recipe for the peanut butter chocolate chip blondies (not brownies, by the way – blondies!)!

    As it seems that you did mostly everything right in making the blondies, I can only give the advice that perhaps your oven temperature is off a bit (on the high side), or the blondies were overbaked. It’s easy to overbake blondies. They’re supposed to be really gooey, and sometimes that can fool people into thinking that they’re not done, so they bake them longer. The longer you bake them, even for a couple of more minutes, the drier they’ll get.

    There are heaps of comments on my blog post – some had success and some did not. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you. Thanks for the link, however, and for sharing your experience! 🙂

  • alissa says:

    I tried them also and they where also very dry. I used almond butter and thought maybe that was the reason, but maybe not…

  • Mei-Lyn says:

    That’s interesting that your brownies didn’t turn out. After you linked them, I decided to give ’em a try, though I was very doubtful. I usually don’t like blondies, and things with peanut butter often aren’t my thing. Boy was I wrong! They were awesome, and not at all dry.
    I read the comments on the link before making them, and since multiple people commented on the dryness, I erred more on the side of wet than dry. When I measured my butter, for instance, I measured generously, and I really packed down my brown sugar. I didn’t ‘cook’ the butter/brown sugar so much as just melt it together, I think that might make a difference. Someone else mentioned peanut butter types, and that may be a source of disappoint. I didn’t use a natural peanut butter (just plain ol’ creamy Jiff), so I bet it had more oil than homemade or natural. Anyways, don’t give up! They really can turn out splendid.

  • Rachel K says:

    I just made them for dessert tonight. I didn’t know the were up for this week’s freezer cooking in an hour. Anyway they turned out great but I was neverous after reading the comments on that blog about them being dry so I added and extra 2 tablespoons butter and used 1/3 heaping cup peanut butter. We had guests and ate almost the whole pan. Gooey, soft but a little crumbly. They aren’t making it to our freezer :).

  • Cindy says:

    If your recipe came out dry and you followed it exact, then I would say there could be two things wrong. First, your oven might be a little to hot or you cooked them a little to long. When I bake, I always check a new recipe about 10 minutes before it should be done and see what it looks like. Everyones oven is different and what might take 40 minutes in one oven might only take 30 minutes in someone elses. Just an old Grandma’s opinion, but I have years of experience behind me! Cindy

  • Ashley says:

    As soon as I saw the PB chocolate chip brownies, I ran to the kitchen! My 4 yr old son and I made them. We doubled the recipe and used a 9 X 13 dish and cooked it for about 5 minutes longer. My 3 kids loved them ( and so did my hubby and I) I had to practically hide the rest overs! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • Dessica says:

    I didn’t read the other comments so maybe someone suggested this already, but if you use actual natural peanut butter, it tends to be thinner than store-bought peanut butter. That might make the difference.

  • KaryanStratton says:

    You could buy an electric griddle on Amazon using Swagbucks 🙂

    The peanut butter chocolate chip blondies do look delicious! I would try using only 3/4 cups flour and 2 eggs. I would make them with (safflower) oil instead of butter, starting with 4 tablespoons, possibly as many as 8 tablespoons of oil. You can throw in a tablespoon of Karo syrup for extra gooey-ness. And lastly, I would turn the temperature down to 325 degrees if using a glass pan. 🙂

  • Kayla says:

    I made the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies and they turned out good, they weren’t dry, I did add extra peanut butter I think I used 1/2cup instead of 1/4cup, I also used a glass pan. My husband and I ate the whole pan in one day 🙂

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