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Apr 19

Moose Munch Peanut Butter Cookies {visiting harry & david}

Do you love caramel corn? What about peanut butter cookies?

Now think about putting the two together. Mind boggling, right?

It’s the best kind of mind boggling – because it’s amazing. Throw some Moose Munch (aka Caramel Corn) into easy gluten-free peanut butter cookies and you have some of the BEST cookies ever!

Moose Munch Peanut Butter Cookies | crazyforcrust.com

This post is super photo heavy. Don’t hate me, mmkay? If you really, really want the recipe first, it’s waaaaaay down there at the bottom. But my pictures are super pretty, so I hope you’ll stay to look. ๐Ÿ™‚

Last week I had the absolute pleasure to visit Harry & David in Medford, Oregon. You know about Harry & David, right? You’ve probably heard about their famous Royal Rivieraยฎ Pears that are grown in the Rogue River Valley in southern Oregon. Almost 80 years ago they started their mail-order fruit basket service, which has grown to include candy and truffles and so many more food and beverage options, 80% of which they make, bake, or grow themselves.

One of the other things Harry & David are famous for? Moose Munch. A delightful combination of caramel corn, nuts, and chocolate. And they make so many versions your head will spin. It’s so good they’ve made over 5 million pounds of it!

When I got home from Oregon, I brought about 8 bags of Moose Munch with me. I have So. Many. Recipes. I want to make with it but the first thing I wanted was cookies. Did you know you could add caramel corn to peanut butter cookies?

Best. Decision. Ever!

Moose Munch Peanut Butter Cookies | crazyforcrust.com

On our first day visiting Harry & David, we got to go on an orchard tour. We missed full bloom by about a week, but some of the trees still had some of the gorgeous pear blossoms on them. Many of their pears are grown right on site in the Rogue River Valley, and are packed and harvested right in their plant in Medford.ย At the peak of harvest, about 750 tons of pears, picked by approximately 320 pickers were delivered to cooling facilities each day of harvest, which normally lasts between 25-30 days.

Isn’t it pretty? I kind of want to live in Oregon after taking in these views!

H_D Orchards

We started out our day with lunch at the gorgeous home of Sandy from Reluctant Entertainer. She has a gorgeous home filled with gardens and fruit and vegetables. Her husband was building a greenhouse for her while we were there.

{Remind me never to have Sandy over to my back yard, ha!}

She made us these delightful mini pavlovas, topped with lime curd from Harry & David.

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We took lots of group shots during our three day visit. This one was taken in the orchards with Matt Borman, the Orchard Director.

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That’s the fabulous group of bloggers I got to travel with. From left to right: Jackie from The Beeroness, Cathy from Noble Pig, Heather from Heather Christo, Tracy from Shutterbean, Sandy from Reluctant Entertainer, and me.

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After our Orchard tour we got to have some snacks made by the executive chef at Harry & David, Tim Keller. He made the most amazing mixed nuts and he made moose munch chocolate chip cookies, which inspired this post. We got to try some pears, of course.

That evening we had a delicious 4 course meal at a local restaurant in downtown Ashland, The Alchemy Restaurant. I tried ceviche (and scallops) for the first time. The meal was fabulous, capped off with an outrageous chocolate dessert.

On day two, I got to live one of my dreams: make candy in a fabulous candy kitchen!

H_D Candy

We got to go behind the scenes in the Harry & David Bakery and Candy Kitchen and make our own chocolate. It being close to Easter, I made some pretty painted chocolate eggs. That man there is Charlie, Harry & David’s own chocolate factory guru. He filled my eggs with chocolate and didn’t spill a drop!

{Not sure how, when I work with chocolate it goes everywhere. I’m not the only one that finds drips on the cabinets a month later…right?}

H_D factory

On the tour of the Bakery & Candy Kitchen we got to see cakes being made (now THAT is a funnel) and the moose munch too. They were making S’mores Moose Munch that day and it smelled amazing in there.

{BTW, if you’re in Medford on a trip you can tour Harry & David and see the behind the scenes too.}

Then we got to pack our own basket and tower full of pears and truffles and yummy goodies. I’m not telling who I shipped the basket too…in case she hasn’t received it yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I also learned I’m woefully inadequate when it comes to cardboard folding. Our instructor had to help me just assemble the box. Don’t get me started on the bow tying. I will not be getting a job in the Harry & David wrapping plant anytime soon!

That evening we got to have dinner prepared by Tim, the Harry & David chef, at a local vineyard, Dancin Vineyards. There was no shortage of wine at dinner.

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And people. I ate an oyster!!!! #neverthoughtidsaythat

#ilikedit #neverthoughtidsaythateither

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As the sun set, we took one last group photo.

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I had so much fun meeting those girls and touring Harry & David. The company is celebrating their 80th anniversary this year, and I can see why. It’s like one big family!

On the way home I broke into my first bag of Moose Munch: S’mores. It didn’t last very long…

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And it made me want cookies again. So when I got home, I made some.

I made my easy peanut butter cookie recipe…but I added crushed Moose Munch to the dough before baking.

Moose Munch Peanut Butter Cookies | crazyforcrust.com

It’s fabulous! I’ve made peanut butter caramel corn before and loved it, so I knew that I’d love this too, and I wasn’t wrong.

The caramel corn adds a little crunch and texture to the cookie. I also made sure to add a little bit of the munch to the top of the cookie before baking, to make it look prettier. That’s a food blogger trade secret: always save some mix-ins to press on the top. Your cookies will look 100% better!

The cookie base is super easy and gluten-free. One cup of peanut butter, a mix of brown and white sugar, some baking soda, and one egg. No flour! If you’ve never made easy peanut butter cookies like this, you’re missing out. The lack of flour and and butter makes them a little better for you…and it ups the ante on the peanut butter flavor. These cookies punch you in the face with peanut butter!

You can use your favorite mainstream peanut butter for these cookies. I’ve never made it using a natural (stir) peanut butter, so I recommend using a regular blended brand. I always use Skippy Naturals for these cookies, which is a no-stir peanut butter that’s a little more natural than regular mainstream ones. Use your favorite!

Just don’t forget the moose munch!

Moose Munch Peanut Butter Cookies | crazyforcrust.com

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Moose Munch Peanut Butter Cookies

Yield: About a dozen

An easy gluten-free peanut butter cookie filled with caramel corn (aka Moose Munch)!


Ingredients:


  • 1 cup peanut butter

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 3/4 cups Moose Munch (any flavor), divided


Directions:


  1. Preheat oven to 350ยฐF. Line two cookie sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.

  2. Mix peanut butter, egg, sugars, and baking soda with a wooden spoon or hand mixer.

  3. Place moose munch in a large ziploc bag and use a rolling pin or similar object to lightly crush it. Add 1 cup to the dough and stir to incorporate.

  4. Scoop balls of cookie dough onto your prepared cookie sheets. We used a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop for this step. Use the tines of a fork to gently flatten each cookie.

  5. Press a little bit of the remaining crushed moose munch on the top of each cookie.

  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool before removing from cookie sheets. Note: these cookies can be crumbly so be careful when picking them up or packing them in lunches.

  7. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days. The caramel corn doesn't get soft or mushy! I don't recommend freezing these because that would make the caramel corn a little funky.


If you can't find Moose Munch or don't want to wait for a shipment from Harry & David, you can use regular caramel corn. If your caramel corn doesn't have chocolate in it, reduce amount in the dough to 3/4 cup and add 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips.


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Thanks for reading!