May 14, 2013

Reese's Fudge Pie

My mom was slightly offended I turned town her offer to make my birthday cake. I think she got over it somewhat when she tasted this. It's not that I don't like my mom's cooking. Her chocolate ice cream cake remains one of my favorites. The problem is I have so many recipes bookmarked to try and not nearly enough occasions to justify making them.

This version I found on Miranda's Recipes. It's a modified version from another blog, and I modified it more to suit my ingredients. This is definitely a repeat recipe whenever I want a decadent (and remarkably easy) dessert.

Reese's Fudge Pie
15-18 Nutter Butter cookies, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
3 cups dark chocolate chips
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup Reese's Pieces
Peanut Butter Mousse
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1 1/2 cups Cool Whip, thawed
1/4 cup melted dark chocolate for drizzle

Mix together finely crushed cookies and butter. Press evenly into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan.

Mix all ingredients besides the Reese's candy into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Fudge will be thick. Spread over crust. Gently press Reese's Pieces into the fudge.

Mix peanut butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar together in a mixer until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread over top of fudge. Drizzle with melted chocolate.

Chill for at least an hour before serving. Makes a 10-inch pie that's sufficiently decadent to serve 16.


I borrowed (permanently) the Cooking Club of America's The Art of Bread from my mother. It has a number of good recipes, and yesterday I baked the stromboli with my son. At 20 months, he's quite the helper. And by that, I mean he eats the bread dough, eats the cheese, eats the meet and smashes the dough the wrong way with the rolling pin. I maintain that making homemade bread is not difficult ... unless you have younguns in the house.

Tastes quite delicious. The original recipe calls for 7 oz. smoked mozzarella and 7 oz. mozzarella cut into cubes, but I used 8 slices of Spanish salami and 8 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese. Here's my version:

1 cup warm water
2 tsp. dry yeast
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. shredded Cheddar
8 slices Spanish salami
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. rosemary

Add the yeast to the water in a measuring cup. Stir to dissolve, and let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add water, and mix until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms. (You will likely need to add up to 1/4 cup additional water, but only add about 1 Tbsp. at a time.) Knead dough until it is smooth, silky and elastic. Place dough in a clean, oiled bowl, and cover with a dish towel. Let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Punch down dough, and chafe for 5 minutes. (Chafing is gently pushing downward on the ball of dough while rotating it in your hands--essentially smoothing it into a ball continuously.) Cover with a dish towel, and let rest 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Roll dough into a 14 x 8 inch rectangle, cover with a dish towel and let rest 10 minutes. Spread the filling ingredients evenly on the dough. Roll up, jelly-roll style), starting on a long side. Place loaf on a Silipat-lined baking sheet. Brush with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and sprinkle with seasonings.

Bake one hour, until golden. Brush with remaining olive oil. Serve warm for best flavor. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Makes 1 large loaf.

May 13, 2013

Snickers Icebox Cake

Icebox cakes are supposed to be simple since they require no baking. The concept is to stack something absorbent like graham crackers with something gooey like pudding. The moisture from the pudding softens the crackers into a cake-like consistency. This icebox cake from Bakers Royale is not so simple because everything except the graham crackers and the snickers are homemade. That makes it a bit putzy. You could simplify it by using storebought rather than homemade versions for everything.

End result is pretty tasty. Not tasty enough to keep my family away from my birthday peanut butter pie, which will be posted soon. For that reason, I deem this recipe a failure since it was the decoy dessert to give me peanut butter pie all to my lonesome. (Well, I'd share with my inner child, of course. That's my favorite phrase while I'm pregnant.)

Snickers Icebox Cake
16 whole crackers
8 fun-size Snickers, chopped
2/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
6 cups cold whole milk
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. water
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
2/3 cups dark chocolate
1 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
4-5 Tbsp. water, warm

To make the pudding, combine cornstarch, sugar, salt and milk in a bowl, and whisk vigorously. Transfer mixture to a heat-proof bowl, and place over (not on) simmering water for approximately 20-25 minutes stirring occasionally. Pudding is ready when it it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and leave ribbons when pudding is drizzled on top of itself. Add vanilla. Split mixture in half, and add chocolate to one half. Whisk to combine. Add peanut butter to remaining half, and whisk to combine. Set aside to cool slightly.

While preparing the pudding, make the caramel sauce. Place sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat, and stir the until sugar has dissolved. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high. At this point do not stir the mixture directly. Now and then, using the handle, give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute or so. Once the mixture starts to turn a light golden shade, add the butter and heavy cream. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Set aside to cool completely.

To make the ganache, place chocolate and heavy cream in a bowl over simmering water. Let chocolate and cream sit for 2 to 3 minutes to melt without stirring. Then slowly stir mixture to combine. Add powdered sugar and mix to combine. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until pouring consistency is reached. Set aside and let sauce cool to warm.

To assemble the cake, line an 8 x 8 pan with foil with a 1-inch overhang on each side. Place graham crackers side-by-side until bottom of pan is covered. Spread a thin layer of chocolate pudding on top. Place second layer of graham cracker on top of chocolate pudding. Spread a thin layer of peanut butter pudding on top. Continue alternating layers with chocolate and peanut butter pudding while separating each pudding layer with a graham cracker layer. Pour cooled caramel sauce on top. Pour cooled ganache sauce on top, and add chopped Snickers on top. Finish with caramel and chocolate drizzle.

Place cake in refrigerator or freezer for at least 8 hours to set or overnight. (Freezer will create a pudding texture closer to ice cream). Makes one 8 x 8 cake.

May 6, 2013

Giant Peanut Butter Blossoms

The trend lately is mini desserts. Mini cupcakes. Dessert shooters at restaurants. Call me old fashioned, but I think a normal candy bar is way more fun than a fun-size candy bar. That's why I was completely intrigued when I saw giant peanut butter blossoms made giant with the use of a normal peanut butter cup rather than a dainty piece of chocolate or miniature peanut butter cup. I don't recall where I originally saw the idea, but I replicated the recipe from Cookies and Cups when I made my version.

I made 14 giant cookies because my bag of peanut butter cups contained 14 pieces of candy. I smushed the rest of the dough into a silicone bread pan (for easy removal) and tossed in leftover Hershey kisses from Easter. Success.


Giant Peanut Butter Blossoms
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla
Additional 1/2 cups sugar
14 (or more) peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream butter and sugars together on medium speed. Add peanut butter, and mix. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix until combined.

Slowly add dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Chill dough for at least 2 hours (or close to one hour in the freezer if you're impatient like me).

When dough is chilled, shape into balls using about 1/4 cup of dough. Roll each ball in reserved granulated sugar.Place each rolled cookie on baking sheet. Smush down slightly to start the flattening process.

Bake 9-10 minutes until bottoms gets slightly golden and tops just start to crack. As soon as they come out of the oven, quickly press peanut butter cups into the cookies. Cool on the cookie sheets until the cookie set, at least 15 minutes. Carefully transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes at least 14 cookies ... depends on what you do with the remainder of your dough.

Crunchy Quinoa Granola

I still think my favorite homemade crunch granola is this Chocolate Hazelnut Granola, but this version from How Sweet It Is is pretty tasty as well. Granola is easy to make and provides a healthier alternative than many other snacks ... however, I'm pretty sure that when I dip my bananas in chocolate, roll them in this granola and freeze them that they will be delicious but not extremely healthy. This inner child of mine has completely shredded my willpower.

Crunch Quinoa Granola
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, quinoa, flaxseed, cinnamon and salt. Stir well to combine.

Add butter to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Whisk constantly until brown bits appear on the bottom, about 5-6 minutes, then immediately remove from heat and set aside. Stir in honey and vanilla extract.

Pour butter/honey over the oat mixture, stirring with a large spoon until the entire thing is equally moistened. Spread evenly on the baking sheet in one layer.

Bake for 10 minutes, toss and then bake for 10 minutes more. Toss again, then bake for about 10 more minutes, stirring every 3 minutes or so until the mixture is golden.

Remove and let cool for about 10 minutes. Pour chocolate chips over top, and stir in gently. Let cool completely for at least one hour before eating. Makes about 4 cups.