Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

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It’s been a couple of weeks since Ben and I moved into our new home, and yet I still feel like I’m surrounded by boxes. Making a new space feel like your space takes time, and a lot of late nights. But things are coming along.

The biggest challenge of our new flat is having a smaller kitchen. Not so much in size, but in countertop and storage space, so we’ve had to get a bit creative in our kitchen storage, and make sure to keep everything super organised.

So my first bake in our new home is an old favorite for a site called Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. I first started making it when I moved to the UK, before I could find Reese’s cups anywhere. As I’m sure you all know, I’m pretty much obsessed with chocolate and peanut butter.

This pie is so easy, and requires minimal baking. The hardest part is waiting for the pie to chill before you can eat it!

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Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups chocolate cookie crumbs ( I used Oreos and removed the filling)
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar 
  • pinch salt
For the filling:
  • 6 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
To decorate:
  • 1 oz semisweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter

Directions

1. First make your pie crust: Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) . Stir together the cookie crumbs, brown sugar, and salt. Pour over the melted butter and use a fork to blend into a wet mixture. Press this mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Place the pan into the fridge for 15 minutes to set, then put into the oven to bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.

2. Next, make the filling: In the bowl of your mixer, beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar, and salt. Before you add in the salt, taste your peanut butter. If your peanut butter is pretty salty to begin with, you won’t want to add any more to the filling, because it’ll make it wayyyy to salty. I find that the Tesco own label peanut butter has enough salt already and usually leave it out. Skippy peanut butter seems to work the best! Once the mixture has been beaten well, add in the peanut butter and vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes until it’s all blended together well.

3. Put the whisk attachment onto your mixer, then in a clean bowl, whisk the heavy cream until it is light and fluffy. Take about 1/3 of the whipped cream and add it to your cream cheese mixture by hand to help lighten it. Then use a spatula to gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream until all of stripes are gone and it’s evenly blended.

4.  Pour the filling into your cooled pie crust, then place in the freezer to chill for 4 hours. If you want to freeze it longer, make sure you cover it with plastic wrap.

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5. To decorate, melt the chocolate and peanut butter separately (You can melt the peanut butter on low heat on the stove top), then put each into a ziploc bag. Snip the corner of the bag, then quickly zig-zag across the top of your pie. Don’t worry about being precise, the faster you do it, the better it works!

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The Elvis Cupcake

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We had a couple of bananas sitting in our fruit bowl this weekend that were looking pret-ty ripe. They were leftover from Ben’s last week of marathon training, as he ran the London Marathon last weekend!  So instead of baking last week, I was standing on the sidelines, cheering on thousands of runners as we waited for Ben to pass. He did really well and finished in 4:09:32, not bad for a first marathon!

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Back to the bananas…Their depressingly faded yellow peels covered in brown freckles were just begging to be put out of their misery. Instead of tossing them, I decided to make an old favorite: Elvis cupcakes.

Why Elvis? Because apparently the man loved peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Only these cakes take it a step further with a chocolate buttercream frosting. You may now be wondering where the peanut butter is if it isn’t in the frosting and the answer is the best surprise of this cake: a creamy peanut butter center!

While the flavor combination sounds like a strange amalgamation, you’d be amazed at how good these cakes taste!

Ingredients

For the cupcakes (makes 9):

  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons flour (preferably cake flour, if you have it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 whole overly ripe banana
  • 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup (58 grams) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons + 1 1/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 egg

For the peanut butter filling:

  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons icing sugar

For the chocolate buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) butter, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5/8 cup icing sugar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350° F (approx 175°C). Place cupcake liners into the pan.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a smaller bowl, mix the vanilla and buttermilk.

3. In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg. Once everything is incorporated, mash in the banana and mix well.

4. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients, alternating each addition with the buttermilk mixture. Make sure everything is blended in and smooth before adding the next addition. Once the batter is completely mixed, fill your prepared cupcake pans – filling each cup about 2/3 full.

5. Bake the cakes for about 17 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Rotate the pans halfway through the baking time. Once they are ready, let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. To make the peanut butter filling, beat the peanut butter and butter together until creamy.  Sift the icing sugar into the bowl and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Cut a hole into the top of each cupcake and spoon the filling into the hole, or using a piping bag with a filling tip (my method of choice).

7. To make the chocolate buttercream, melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler until no clumps remain, and it’s completely smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool while you prepare the rest (about 5 – 10 min).

8. In medium sized bowl, beat butter for 3 minutes, until very very creamy.  Add the milk and beat until smooth.  Add the cooled melted chocolate and beat well. Add vanilla and whip for 3 more minutes.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until it’s nice and airy, then fill a piping bag and pipe onto the cakes.

Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cake

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Usually when I get a craving for chocolate and peanut butter, I make something with it, stuff my face, and the craving subsides. However last week’s cookies didn’t seem to subdue my cravings, as they carried into this weekend. I was wondering what I should make, and I kept trying to think of how I wanted to marry these two amazing flavors.

And then I found it.

I was perusing one of my favorite baking blogs, Sprinkle Bakes, when I found this recipe for her peanut butter cup brownie cake: three dense chocolate brownie layers separated by creamy peanut butter. I couldn’t resist. I had to make it.

And boy was this a monster! This cake was so tall that the Reese’s cups on top were scraping the top of my cake carrier, easily crowning it as the tallest cake I’ve made to date. But it was delicious and it totally cured my craving.

Sprinkle Bakes recommends very thin slices (25 slices per 9-inch cake), and that was seriously correct. In fact, the richness of this cake lended itself to making it one of the few of my bakes to last two days in our office – and that’s quite an achievement.

So if you decide to bake this cake, proceed with caution. And if you get a massive sugar rush, don’t say I didn’t warn you! 🙂

Ingredients

For the brownie layers:

  • 1 1/2 cups (345 grams) butter
  • 6 ounces baking chocolate, chopped
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
For the peanut butter layers:
  • 6 cups icing sugar
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup double/heavy cream
For the chocolate frosting and decorating:
  • 1 1/2 cups (345 grams) butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons brewed coffee
  • 8 peanut butter cups, cut in half
  • chocolate shavings

Directions

1. First make the peanut butter layers. In the bowl of your mixer, blend together the icing sugar, peanut butter and melted butter until it forms a crumbly mixture. Add the cream 1 Tablespoon at a time until it forms a thickened dough that you can work with (like sugar cookie dough). It should hold together if you squeeze it into a ball. Line two 9-inch cake tins with parchment and butter the pan. Then divide the dough evenly between the two pans, and press it firmly into each tin to form the peanut butter layers. Place them in the freezer to set while you make the brownie layers.

2. Next, make the brownie layers. preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease 3 9-inch cake tins, line with parchment, and flour each pan.

3. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring until smooth. Once everything is melted, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar, followed by the eggs. Stir in the flour, salt, and baking soda.

4. Divide the dough between the three prepared cake tins and bake for about 25 minutes until they’re done. Allow them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out to cool on a wire rack completely.

5. Once everything is cool, prepare your frosting. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter and icing sugar together. Switch the attachment to the whisk, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat again until light and creamy.  Next, add in the cocoa powder, vanilla, and coffee. Mix on high until everything is incorporated and the mixture is light and airy.

6. Now you’re ready to assemble. Place your first brownie layer on the base and coat with a very thin layer of your frosting. Next, turn out one of your peanut butter layers and place in on top of the brownie layer. Coat the peanut butter layer with a small amount of coffee, then repeat. Your layers should be: brownie, peanut butter, brownie, peanut butter, brownie.

7. Once all of your layers are assembled, coat the top and sides with another thin layer of frosting, Place the rest of your icing into a piping bag and use it to pipe 11 rosettes around the top rim of the cake, and 4 more in the middle. Place each Reese’s cup half into each rosette. To finish it all off, sprinkle some chocolate shavings over the top of the entire cake.

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(Just ignore the slight leaning of my cake. It still tasted good!)

Double Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

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In my continued theme of quick and simple bakes, I made double chocolate and peanut butter cookies. To make these, I used a bag of Reese’s peanut butter chips that I brought back with me from the States after Christmas (However, I did see these on Amazon for those of you in the UK). I think next time I made these, I want to try them with Reese’s Pieces, just to get the color added in. The oranges and yellows would look awesome against the dark chocolate color of the cookie.

I adapted this recipe from the one provided with the chips, but I added in more chocolate (of course!). It makes a TON of cookies – I got nearly 5 dozen out of it – so you’ll have plenty to share!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup (288 grams) butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 package Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In the bowl of your mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vinall and mix well.

4. Add in the flour mixture and beat well. Finally, stir in the peanut butter chips and chocolate chips.

5. Place rounded tablespoons of the cookie dough onto a baking pan. (As usual, I used my favorite tool – the cookie dough baller!) Bake them for 8-9 minutes. Allow them to cool on the pan for about 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, and after missing baking last weekend, I was really looking forward to getting back in the kitchen today.

Last week, Ben and I went to the (hopefully) final wedding of the year. Three within about three month is quite a lot, considering Ben was best man in two of them! It was a wonderful weekend in Dorset, where we stayed in a B&B in a village called Shitterton (I kid you not). I think one of the best parts of the wedding day was the wedding cake. The couple, whose last name is Cheesman, decided to go with a stack of different kinds of British cheeses as their tiered wedding cake. It was such a great idea! They had real wedding cake as well, but it wasn’t the focal point. Needless to say, I tried quite a few types – including one wrapped in nettles!

This week was Independence Day in the US, but while my friends and family back home were celebrating by lounging poolside and having massive cookouts, I was busy running my first-ever 5K along with some of the other ladies from the office after a long day at work. It was for a great cause though, and gave me a bit of a boost in wanting to get back in shape! And while there were no beers, hot dogs, or fireworks, it was a great day!

Originally I wanted to bake something to celebrate Americana in honor of the 4th, but then I do that just about every time I bake. So instead, I decided to celebrate my personal achievement by making something with my all-time favorite flavor combination: peanut butter and chocolate. I figured I’d then squeeze in the Americana bit by making it in brownie form.

So off I went to find a recipe, but surprisingly not that many recipes came up! I found plenty of cheesecake brownies, and other flavor brownies, but the only one I came across for peanut butter and chocolate used a box-mix for the brownie batter. And while I have no problems with a good Betty Crocker box mix, I’m determined to make everything for my blog by scratch. It was time to experiment.

This recipe comes from combining two other recipes and making a few adjustments. What came out was a rich, decadent brownie that just begs to be eaten with a tall glass of cold milk. My only caveat was that I wish I had swirled in the cheesecake batter a bit deeper, as the brownie batter rose quite a lot – but otherwise I’m happy.

Ingredients

For the brownie mixture:

  • 200 grams dark chocolate, chopped
  • a bit over 1 cup (250 grams) butter
  • 1 3/4 cup (300 grams) brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/3 cup (200 grams) flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk (or buttermilk)
For the cheesecake mixture:
  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, just barely softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup, plus 1 Tablespoon smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons milk

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350° F (approx 175°C). Butter two glass 8×6-inch baking dishes, line with baking paper and grease the baking paper as well.

2. First make the brownie mixture. In a heat-proof bowl over simmering water, place the chopped chocolate and butter and gently mix until everything melts and the mixture is smooth.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted chocolate, eggs, and sugar until combined. Then add in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until smooth then distribute the batter evenly between your two prepared dishes.

4. Next make the cheesecake mixture. Beat together the cream cheese, eggs, and both types of sugar using an electric mixture. Add in the peanut butter, then add in the milk as needed to make the mixture smooth, but still thick. Finally, add in the vanilla and salt and stir to combine.

5. Drop spoonfuls of the cheesecake mixture over the brownie batter,and use a butter knife to swirl it into the batter.

6. Bake the brownies for approximately 40 minutes, until the center is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan by lifting the baking paper and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.