Peanut Butter Cream Pie

Peanut Butter Cream Pie

Wait, wait, wait – hold up!

Did I really suggest Thanksgiving dessert ideas yesterday and NOT include anything with chocolate?????

Quick! Someone check my temperature!

 

Peanut Butter Cream Pie

But fear not, dear friends. There’s still PLENTY of time to make this luscious Peanut Butter Cream Pie and your loved ones won’t even know it was a last minute addition.

Because it’s a known fact that Peanut Butter and Chocolate are a match made in heaven.

Foodie Heaven.

 

Peanut Butter Cream Pie

I had actually made this beauty a few weeks ago when one of my besties and I had gone over to a friend’s for dinner. Because I can never go to someone’s house empty-handed, I offered to bring a dessert and turned to this fabulous pie courtesy of Joy the Baker.

Instead of the graham crackers that the recipe calls for, I opted for Oreo cookies because mo’ chocolate is always mo’ better! As for the filling, you can’t beat the light, fluffy, peanut-buttery center that is then layered with whipped cream. And to go that extra bit over, top it with whatever your heart desires! I kind of went to infinity and beyond by topping the pie with a drizzle off melted chocolate, crushed salted peanuts, itty-bitty mini chocolate peanut butter cups AND chopped up chocolate covered pretzels.

Yea….I have no self control.

Want the recipe? It can found in Joy the Baker’s new book, Homemade Decadence. Or, you can find it HERE at the Candid Appetite’s site.

So once again, HAPPY THANKSGIVING FRIENDS!!! And now, you have no excuse to leave out the chocolate :)

Bella’s Golden Birthday & Peanut Butter-Carob PUPcakes!

Bella's 5th Birthday

My Bella turns 5 today! Woo Hoo!

Yes, my little puggle can be quite mischievous and well–rather rascally. But at the end of the day she’s my super cuddly and loving little gal. Yup. She’s the Best Pup Ever. True Story.

Peanut Butter-Carob PUPcakes

To celebrate her golden birthday, I wanted to make her a few PUPcakes! After all, a mama has to indulge her little one from time to time….and well, because I somehow became one of those obsessed puppy parents ;)

Since chocolate is a definite no-no for dogs, I opted for both melted and whole carob chips in the batter along with peanut butter, honey, shredded carrots, and jarred baby food. That’s right–baby food! Organic chicken to be exact. It may sound odd but it’s a hit with the pups. And lastly, I dipped the pupcakes into a carob “ganache” and topped them with carrot sprinkles.

Bella's 5th Birthday

Needless to say, Bella loved them! Although I must admit that it was torture for her to wait until her mama finished snapping pics before she could dive into the pupcakes. She is much less concerned with documenting her Foodventures than I am but was such a good sport nonetheless.

And with that….HAPPY BIRTHDAY BELLA! Love ya to pieces!

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Peanut Butter-Carob PUPcakes
Makes 1/2 dozen pupcakes

Ingredients:

Batter
½ cup carob chips, divided
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 ounces organic pureed baby food (chicken or beef)
¼ cup smooth peanut butter
¼ cup shredded carrots

“Ganache”
½ cup carob chips
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey

Garnish
shredded carrots
carob chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in a muffin pan.

In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup carob chips and honey. Using 15 second intervals, microwave the chips and honey until melted and smooth. Be sure to stir every 15 seconds to avoid burning the carob. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk the egg, vegetable oil, baby food, peanut butter and melted carob until thoroughly combined. Stir in the dry ingredients and then the carrots and ¼ cup carob chips. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners until they are about 2/3 filled. Bake the pupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on racks.

While the pupcakes are cooling, prepare the “ganache”. In a bowl, combine ½ cup carob chips, peanut butter and honey. Using 15 second intervals, microwave the items until melted and smooth. Check and stir every 15 seconds to avoid burning the “ganache”. Working with 1 pupcake at a time, carefully dip each cake top in the warm “ganache”, twisting your wrist as needed to ensure the pupcake top gets completely coated. Allow the “ganache” to set 1-2 minutes and decorate with shredded carrots and carob chips. Repeat with the remaining pupcakes.

Pupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

A Peanut Butter Pie for My Loved Ones

Peanut Butter Pie

 

 

For some time now I’ve remarked about the truly amazing community amongst food writers and bloggers. In the short time I’ve joined this special “fraternity”, I’ve experienced and witnessed such open support, generosity, collegiality, and celebration.

Quite extraordinary considering the majority of us will never have the opportunity to meet face to face.

But through the shared love of food and stories (which, really….are inseparable) we have created somewhat of a food society. We revel and congratulate each others successes and reach out to support each other during times of challenge and pain. And the latter was so greatly experienced nearly 2 weeks ago when Jennifer Perillo of In Jennie’s Kitchen suddenly and tragically lost her husband.

I met Jennifer for but a moment in Chicago earlier this summer at the Wilton Food Blogger Workshop. It was such a quick, jammed packed weekend that I didn’t get the chance to get to know her but quickly added her on Twitter when I got back home to San Diego. Her writing is so inspiring and quick-witted that it didn’t take me long to become a big fan of hers. So when I heard the news, my heart just broke.

No –I don’t really know Jennifer. But through her writing she became a kindred spirit and I was overcome with sadness for her and her little ones.

In a heartbeat, the food community from all over the world came together to envelope Jennifer with love and support. When asked what people could do to help her, she answered by asking us to make a peanut butter pie (her husband Mikey’s favorite) to share it with our loved ones.

 

 

Peanut Butter Pie

In addition to honoring Jennifer & Mikey, my Peanut Butter Pie is for:

  • My grandpa Ôn— who was gentle-hearted, loved WWF wrestling and our peanut butter cookies;
  • My grandma M– for her thunderous laughter and spirited soul;
  • Dad– who carried the weight of his entire family on his shoulders and for always pushing us to be better;
  • Mom– who taught me everything;
  • My eldest sister Ngọc – who can remain level minded during times when I fly off the handle and who won’t “waste” calories unless it’s for desserts;
  • My elder sister Phooey– who is stronger than she sometimes gives herself credit for and is our ultimate foodie;
  • My brother Việt– who taught me everything I know about electronics and who had to put up being the only boy amongst 4 sisters;
  • My sister Tường– who, for better or worse, is exactly like me…..fiercely loyal and isn’t afraid to say anything;
  • My in-laws Curtis, Liezl, & Rick — for willingly jumping into our crazy family;
  • My nieces & nephews (Nina, Nini, Maya, Lucas, Luna, Baby Nguyen)– for being such smart, loving and kind kids;
  • My Bella– for being the cuddliest, crazy, peanut butter lovin’ puggle ever;
  • And for the rest of my Family and Friends— for being exactly who they are. Entertaining, hilarious, adventurous, and above all–loving.

Thank you Jennifer, for reminding me to take time out to appreciate and acknowledge my loved-ones. Here’s a big virtual hug to you.

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Peanut Butter Pie
Serves 8
Slightly adapted from In Jennie’s Kitchen

For the Crust:
8 ounces chocolate graham crackers or chocolate wafer cookies, crushed into fine crumbs
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup chopped peanuts, plus 2 more tablespoons for the top

For the Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs.  Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well.  Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. (I used a tart pan)

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave.  Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula.  Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form.  Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use.  Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar.  Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.

Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream).  Fold in the remaining whipped cream.  Pour the filling into the prepared  pan. Sprinkle the tops with remaining peanuts and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.


Reese’s Pieces-Peanut Butter Cookies

Reese’s Pieces-Peanut Butter Cookies

E.T. was the first movie that I have actual memories of watching.

And I’m not embarrassed to admit…..it scared the BEJESUS out of me. No joke.

Sure, to some, he may be a cute little extra-terrestrial that was just trying to phone home. But to a 4 year old, he was a scary little creature scampering about and hiding in stuff animals.

No bueno.

Reese’s Pieces-Peanut Butter Cookies

But you know what, that little guy had some great taste in candy—–Reese’s Pieces to be exact. Lately, my co-workers have fallen into some Reese’s Pieces kick so I took it upon myself to make last week’s “Smart Cookie Award” with these delish peanut butter candies.

By tweaking my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe (courtesy of Cooks Illustrated) with a hefty amount of Reese’s Pieces, my co-workers were super happy campers!

And although I can’t say for certain, I’m pretty darn sure, E.T. would approve. :)

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Reese’s Pieces-Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

2½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Peanut Butter
2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Reese’s Pieces Candy

Adjust oven rack to low center position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.

In bowl of electric mixer or by hand, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes with electric mixer, stopping to scrape down bowl as necessary. Beat in peanut butter until fully incorporated, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Gently stir dry ingredients into peanut butter mixture. Add candies and stir gently until just incorporated.

Working with 2 tablespoons dough at a time, roll into large balls, placing them 2 inches apart on a parchment-covered cookie sheet. Gently flatten each dough ball with the bottom of a glass. Bake until cookies are puffed and slightly brown along edges, but not top, 10 to 12 minutes (they will not look fully baked). Cool cookies on cookie sheet until set, about 4 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 7 days.

“Tagalong” Cupcakes….Peanut Butter and Chocolate Perfection!

"Tagalong" Cupcakes

Not one year goes by when I don’t jump at the chance to pick up my favorite Girl Scouts Cookies…..Tagalongs®! And how can you blame me? Peanut Butter…. Chocolate….a Buttery Cookie. It just doesn’t get any better!

"Tagalong" Cupcakes

I’ve seen so many cupcakes inspired by Chocolate Chip Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Oreos and even Thin Mints—that is was high time I paid homage to Tagalongs®. I used one of my basic chocolate cake batters and paired it with a lightly salted, peanut butter frosting. But the surprise ingredient was a whole Tagalong® cookie at the bottom!

"Tagalong" Cupcakes

I was SOOOOO happy with the end results! The peanut butter frosting and chocolate cake mimicked the flavors of the cookie so well. And the Tagalong® held up beautifully in the baking process and acted like a “crust” for the cupcake.  So Yummy!

"Tagalong" Cupcakes

Needless to say, these little cuppies had me doing my “happy dance” from the very first bite.  And if you love the peanut butter and chocolate combo like I do, you absolutely MUST snag a box of Tagalongs® and make these!

On that note—-Have a wonderful Easter Weekend, Friends!

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“Tagalong” Cupcakes
Makes 12 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
¼ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Cups All Purpose Flour
¾ Teaspoons Baking Soda
¼ Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Cups Granulated Sugar
2½ Ounces Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
½ Cup Buttermilk
½ Cup Strong Brewed Hot Coffee
½ Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Large Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
12 Tagalong® Cookies (or other peanut butter & chocolate cookies), additional for garnish

Frosting:
1 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
½ Cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons Lowfat Milk
2 Cups Confections Sugar
1-2 Pinches Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper liners in muffin pans and put one cookie on the bottom.

Place finely chopped chocolate in a bowl and pour hot coffee over it. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit for a few minutes. Remove plastic and stir until smooth. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. In a mixing stand, beat egg for a few minutes until it becomes pale yellow. Beat in oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and slowly add the chocolate. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Pour batter into the lined cups–about 3/4 way. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cooling racks.

Prepare the frosting. In a standing mixer, whip the butter and peanut butter for several minutes until light and fluffy. Slowly add half of the powdered sugar a few spoonfuls at a time until incorporated. Drizzle in milk and add the rest of the sugar (spoonfuls at a time). Add sea salt and mix until combined.

Fill a pastry bag and pipe frosting on top of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with ½ a cookie or other adornments.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Rice-Cereal Treats

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Rice-Cereal Treats

 

When nostalgia knocks, I answer—with open arms :)

So when I was in need of goodies for some wonderful neighbors, I appealed to everyone’s inner child and whipped up some Rice-Cereal Treats. Of course, I needed to up the ante a bit and added creamy peanut butter to the melted marshmallow and drizzled the tops with chocolate. Why Not, right? Because let’s be honest–what’s better than PB and Chocolate!?

Needless to say, they were DEE-LISH! And although I wish I could take full credit for them, a recipe can be found on the side of any box of rice cereal. But hey–no one seems to mind when they are taking a big ol’ bite of a rice cereal treat. :)

So here’s to having great neighbors and nostalgic-yummy treats!

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Peanut Butter & Chocolate Rice-Cereal Treats
Adapted from Any “Rice Cereal” Box  :)

Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
½ Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
10 Ounces Packaged Marshmallows
7 Cups Rice Cereal
¾ Cup Milk Chocolate Chips

Grease 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray.

In large saucepan slowly melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter until melted and smooth. Add rice cereal and stir until well coated. Quickly transfer rice cereal mixture into pan and pat down evenly. Cool for one hour.

Place chocolate chips in a microwaveable bowl. Melt chips in the microwave using 20 second intervals—be sure to stir in between each heating. When chocolate is melted and glossy, drizzle melted chocolate over the rice cereal treats. Cool for a minimum of 30 minutes and cut into large squares.

ENJOY!

Big, Super-Nutty Peanut Butter Cookies

Growing up in Minnesota, I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandparents. Not only would they would watch over me while my folks were at work but they were my playmates since my elder siblings were way too cool to hang out with their baby sister :)

Sure, I admit it now; I was somewhat the quintessential baby sister feigning hurt feelings and tears when I was left out from my older siblings’ adventures. And what were the results? Comfort in the form of kind words from my grandparents followed by secret consolation treats like Fig Newtons and Andes Mint Candies—which I happily accepted. In fact, many foods have childhood memories directly associated to them.

One, for example, are Peanut Butter Cookies. They were my grandpa’s (who we called “Ôn”) favorite sweet treat that my sisters often baked for him. Sometimes they even let me make the traditional tracked prints on the top with a fork—a HUGE honor and joy for a 6 year old. To this day, I can’t eat a Peanut Butter Cookie without thinking about Ôn. And this particular recipe from Cooks Illustrated would have pleased him greatly. First discovered by my sister, this recipe has made its way as one of my favorite cookies to make. A tad laborious (like all Cooks Illustrated recipes!) but the end results are second to none and pack HUGE peanut butter flavors. Super buttery, great texture from the chopped nuts and crunchy peanut butter, slightly crisp on the outside, chewy on inside….yummy.

Delicious on its own and also as a vessel for ice cream sandwiches, I know any Peanut Butter fanatic will just L-O-V-E these.

This one’s dedicated to my gentle hearted, WWF wrestling-watching grandpa. We miss and love you, Ôn!

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Super-Nutty Peanut Butter Cookies
From Cooks Illustrated
Makes approximately 30 Large Cookies

Ingredients:

2½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ lb. Butter, salted
1 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar
1 Cup Ganulated Sugar
1 Cup Extra-Crunchy Peanut Butter
2 Large Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Roasted Salted Peanuts (ground in food processor to resemble bread crumbs)

Adjust oven rack to low center position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.

In bowl of electric mixer or by hand, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes with electric mixer, stopping to scrape down bowl as necessary. Beat in peanut butter until fully incorporated, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Gently stir dry ingredients into peanut butter mixture. Add ground peanuts; stir gently until just incorporated.

Working with 2 tablespoons dough at a time, roll into large balls, placing them 2 inches apart on a parchment-covered cookie sheet. Press each dough ball with back of dinner fork dipped in cold water to make crisscross design. Bake until cookies are puffed and slightly brown along edges, but not top, 10 to 12 minutes (they will not look fully baked). Cool cookies on cookie sheet until set, about 4 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 7 days.