July 6, 2017

Peanut Butter Twix Pie


Our old church in Denmark had its summer picnic every year. The goal for me and my husband was to see how many pieces of this incredible peanut butter pie we could snag in a given year. Someone made a wickedly good pie, loaded with peanut butter and chocolate.

This is not that pie. But this pie is still tasty. My topping didn't turn out nearly as pretty as shown in the pictures in the post on Crazy for Crust. I think in the future I'd make some sort of ganache as the topping for the pie instead. This is an easy recipe with pretty simple ingredients. And no bake is what I should be doing today when it's nearly 90°F instead of baking cupcakes.

Peanut Butter Twix Pie
2 cups of shortbread cookie crumbs, about 30 cookies
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
12 oz. Cool Whip

Combine cookie crumbs and butter. Press into 9-inch pie plate. Chill while you make the filling.

To make the filling, beat together cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar and vanilla. Fold in 8 oz. Cool Whip. Spread filling into pie crust.

Melt chocolate in 30-second intervals in the microwave, stirring between each increment. Stir in remaining Cool Whip. Spread evenly over the pie. Chill pie at least 4 hours before serving.

Serves 8 (or more). Pie can be served chilled or frozen. Either way is delicious.

S'mores Cheesecake Pops

These cheesecake pops from Buzzfeed are tastily addictive. I'd imagine if you fully dipped them, like the pictures in the original post show, that they'd be fine stored in the refrigerator. If you halfway dip them like I did ... because it's a challenge to fully dip something for me ... then they are stored in the freezer.

These are delicious and perfect for summer. You could probably use a bit more marshmallow to add to the toasted marshmallow flavor, but these were fun to make and more fun to eat. These are worth repeating ... and maybe then I'd get a picture before we eat them all.

S'mores Cheesecake Pops
10 graham crackers
1/2 cup butter, melted
16 oz.cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups mini marshmallows
4 oz. white chocolate, melted
16 oz. dark chocolate, melted
2 tsp. coconut oil (optional)
16-30 cake pop sticks or lollipop sticks

Crush graham crackers. Combine with butter, and press into to an 8x8 baking dish lined with parchment paper. Firmly pack it down to form the crust. Freeze until the cheesecake mixture is ready.

While the crust is freezing, combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Spread the marshmallows a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silipat. Broil the marshmallows for about 1-2 minutes, watching closely to make sure they brown but don't burn. (I used a kitchen torch to finish toasting the ones that weren't quite toasted. Any excuse to play with that torch is worth it.)

Carefully scrape the marshmallows from the sheet into the cheesecake mixture. Mix thoroughly. Transfer the toasted marshmallow cheesecake mixture into the baking dish on top of the crust, and smooth until even. Freeze at least one to two hours until the mixture is firm enough to cut.

Remove the set cheesecake from the dish, and cut into even square shapes, depending on how big you want your pops. (Cutting into 20 makes fairly large pops, hence my dipping difficulties. Smaller pops would be easier to dip. Larger pops mean you don't eat as many in one sitting.) Dip each stick in melted white chocolate, and place into each cut square. Freeze until solid, at least 10 minutes.

Microwave the dark chocolate in 15 to 30 second increments to melt, stirring thoroughly each time. Add coconut oil if the chocolate seems too thick for dipping.Dip the set pops into the chocolate and stand upright to set or place on a cookie sheet. (A cardboard box or piece of styrofoam works best if you don’t have a stand.)

Decorate with the remaining white chocolate and crushed graham crackers if desired. Makes 16-30 pops.


Strawberry Hibiscus Jam

I fought through the droves of mosquitoes to pick our latest batch of strawberries and ended up with enough for a small batch of jam. Let me tell you, I'm not sure why the word quit is in the word mosquito because those buggers don't quit even when I'm covered in bug spray. They're horrible in our backyard this summer!

Anyways, it was worth the effort to pick the strawberries for this jam. I wanted to try something a bit different and toyed with the idea of strawberry lime jam (because I have limes not lemons in the fridge) but then remembered I had a bunch of dried hibiscus flowers. So I googled strawberry hibiscus jam and hit the jackpot with this recipe from Love & Olive Oil.


The hibiscus adds a bit of extra oomph to the jam, not enough to be easily identifiable but something to make it just a little special. Can you tell how much AJ loves homemade strawberry jam?

Below is my adaptation.

Strawberry Hibiscus Jam
2 lbs. strawberries
3 cups sugar, divided
1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 package liquid pectin

Wash and hull berries. Toss with 1 1/2 cups sugar in a large bowl. Cover, and chill for at least 2 to 3 hours or up to 72 hours.

Place hibiscus flowers in a heat-proof bowl or glass measuring cup. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over flowers. Let steep for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain, pressing out as much liquid from the flowers as possible. (I found that squeezing out the flowers using a flour sack towel worked really well.) Discard flowers (or reserve for another use).

Prepare 4 half-pint mason jars and lids.

Pour the berries and all liquid into a large saucepan along with remaining sugar and hibiscus liquid. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and add the lemon juice. When the jam is thicker and syrupy, add the liquid pectin. Bring to a boil, and boil 3 minutes.

When jam has reached the desired consistency, remove from heat and skim off foam (if necessary). Ladle hot sauce into jars, leaving 1/4-inch of headspace. Wipe jar rims and threads. Screw on lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes

Makes 2 pints jam.

June 20, 2017

Loaded Peanut Butter Brownies

This brownies from Crazy for Crust caught my eye because chocolate and peanut butter is my favorite flavor combination, far surpassing chocolate and mint in the recent years. They come together quickly in a single bowl, and the add-in options are adaptable depending on whatever you have stockpiled. (Or am I the only one who squirrels away baking supplies, cookies and such in the freezer to have handy for whatever creation I want to make?)

These were good, especially warm with vanilla ice cream. The brownie base itself wasn't my favorite, lacking a bit of depth. Perhaps dark chocolate cocoa powder would make the difference in a future version. Still, for a one-bowl brownie, these top store bought brownies any day. My family and our friends certainly didn't complain.

Below is the recipe with my adaptations based on my sugar stash.

Loaded Peanut Butter Brownies
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
5 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 1/2 cups mini peanut butter cups
1 cup peanut butter chocolate chips
1/4 cup Reese's Pieces

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in eggs and oil until completely mixed. Stir in all the add-ins except the Reese's Pieces. Spread evenly in the pan. Sprinkle with Reese's Pieces. Bake for 20-26 minutes or until brownies are set (a toothpick inserted comes out clean, except for melted chocolate and peanut butter chips). Makes 24 brownies.

June 12, 2017

Crazy (Vegan) Cucpakes

When Teddy's running buddy accepted our offer to stay at our house during her visit here, my first thought was, "I have no idea what to feed someone who is vegan!" I basically told her I'd need her help to figure out what to make for meals, but at least I had this cupcake recipe from Sweet Little Bluebird ready to try for vegan cupcakes. (And the name of the cupcakes does not imply vegans, or vegan cupcakes, are crazy. It was the popular name given to a cupcake (or cake) that had no eggs, butter or milk.)

These cupcakes were moist, delicious and a hit with everyone. I wasn't as confident in my frosting as the cupcakes themselves, but the mixture of peanut butter, coconut cream and powdered sugar turned out rather well. I think next time, I'd look to do a raspberry jam and coconut cream frosting. I think the raspberry flavor would play well with the coconut notes.

Crazy (Vegan) Cupcakes 
1 1/2 cups flour
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
5 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 cupcake tins with liners, and set aside.


In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients well. Make 2 small divots and 1 larger divot in the dry ingredients. Pour the vinegar and the vanilla each into separate small divots. Pour the oil into the larger divot. Add the water, and stir together with a fork. Divide mixture evenly among cupcake liners. 

Bake 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes 12 cupcakes.