Banana Nutella “Ice Cream”

Banana Nutella "Ice Cream"

About a year ago, I bookmarked the popular one ingredient banana ice cream recipe. I usually don’t let bananas get super ripe in my house, because we go through them fairly quickly, but a couple of weeks ago, we forgot that I purchased a bunch to eat, and they were far too ripe to just eat on their own. I was about to make banana bread when I remembered this idea.

If you’re on a diet and you miss ice cream, I can tell you the texture is spot-on. It’s soft, creamy, frozen and very sweet, since the bananas are ripe. Since I’m a dieting rebel, though, I added a few tbsp. of nutella to the soft serve mixture. It was like eating marbled ice cream…very yummy and not too too bad for you!

If you have ripe bananas and a few extra minutes on your hands, definitely try this banana “ice cream”. It’s just too easy not to!

Banana Nutella “Ice Cream”
Source: adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 very ripe bananas
  • 3 tbsp. nutella

Directions:

  1. Slice bananas into small bites and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  2. Freeze the bananas for 2-3 hours or overnight.
  3. Place the banana slices in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  4. Place the “ice cream” in a bowl and swirl in the nutella.
  5. Freeze for a couple of hours until set, if you’d prefer a scoop-able ice cream. Eat immediately if you prefer soft serve.

Black and White Cookies

Black and White Cookies

I remember the first time I tried a black and white cookie. It was at Starbucks, and I really had no idea what this cookie would taste like, but I knew it had chocolate and I was craving chocolate at the time! It was a pretty decent cookie, for a Starbucks snack. I really never had a desire to eat one again, and I had no idea where this cookie idea came from. I really thought it was a Starbucks idea. Whoops!

Fast forward a few years. I noticed my food blogger/Weddingbee buddy Serena of Big Apple Nosh would tweet a lot about these cookies and she’s in NYC. So, I got to googling and found out that these cookies are VERY popular in NYC. (Shame on me…never been to NYC.) So, when Serena offered to bring me an authentic black and white cookie when she came to NOLA, how could I say “no”?

I ended up bringing the cookie home to my parents’ house, and of course, I offered my family to try a piece. This is all that was left for me to try after they had their “piece”. Ugh…

The piece that was left tasted MUCH better than the OK cookie that I had at Starbucks a few years ago, and from what I was told, the cookie that Serena brought wasn’t even the BEST cookie in NYC (that bakery was sold out). Crazy..I thought that cookie was yummy!

Since I didn’t get an adequate amount of cookie, I decided I wanted to bake some up! So, being the baking addict that I am, I started searching for a recipe to make these myself. I came across this one on Epicurious, and I went to town.

This recipe only makes 8 cookies, but black and white cookies are HUGE cookies. They came together pretty quickly, and while they puffed up more than the cookie that I tried, they tasted really good! I think I need to make them again, actually. :-)

Black and White Cookies
Source: Gourmet

Ingredients:

For cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg

For icings

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a measuring cup.
  2. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Mix in the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down side of bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
  3. Spoon 1/4 cups of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet. Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack and cool, about 5 minutes.
  4. Make the icing while the cookies cool. Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in cocoa, adding more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as white icing.
  5. To ice the cookies, turn them flat sides up, then spread white icing over half of each and chocolate over other half. Allow the cookies to set for a few hours until the icing is completely dry.

S’mores for a Shower

Homemade S'mores

I really think the idea for virtual blog parties is so great. I sort of wish food bloggers could have real life parties/potlucks/etc., because it would be some SERIOUS good eats! I was so flattered when I was asked by Amy of Sing For Your Supper to participate in this virtual bridal shower for Kelsey of Apple A Day, but of course, the dilemma was what to bring?

I wanted it to be a simple finger food, but also something that is pretty familiar to most people. That’s when the idea of homemade s’mores somehow popped in my head. I’ve made marshmallows before, so I knew that wouldn’t be a problem and homemade graham crackers? How hard could that be?

Of course, my assumptions were wrong. While cooking my first batch of marshmallows, my candy thermometer somehow SHATTERED in the pot. And before you ask the obvious, no, the thermometer was not sitting at the bottom of the pot. Things like this only happen to me, heh. Because of this, I ran out of one of the ingredients while measuring out my second batch, so the marshmallow flavor was completely an accident. Mixed berry. Not a bad accident, though. I promise. :-)

To make the s’mores a little different, instead of using Hershey bars, I spread on a dollop of Nutella! Yummy…majorly…just sayin’.

If you’d like to check out the amazing food that other bloggers are making for Kelsey’s shower, check out Sing For Your Supper and Apple a Day!

Graham Crackers
Source: Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
  • 1/3 cup  mild-flavored honey, such as clover
  • 5 tablespoons milk, full-fat is best
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low to incorporate. Add the butter and mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and mix on low until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
  3. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and dust it lightly with flour, then turn the dough out onto it and pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch thick. Wrap it, then chill it until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  5. Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. Use a cutter to get the shape desired or cut into squares.
  6. Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer. Repeat with the second batch of dough. Finally, gather any scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and re-roll.
  7. Mark a vertical line down the middle of each cracker, being careful not to cut through the dough (again, this is for the traditional cracker shape). Using a toothpick or skewer (I like to use the blunt end of a wooden skewer for more dramatic dots), prick the dough to form two dotted rows about 1/2 inch for each side of the dividing line.
  8. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.


Mixed Berry Marshmallows
Source: mildly adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray, for pan
  • 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup seedless strawberry jam or jelly
  • 1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam or jelly
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • Dash of salt
  • Red food coloring
  • Cornstarch, for dusting

Directions:

  1. Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with vegetable oil. Line dish with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides; oil parchment. Set dish aside.
  2. Pour 2/3 cup cold water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle with gelatin; let stand until softened, 5 minutes.
  3. Stir together granulated sugar, jam, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Continue to boil until syrup registers 238 degrees on a candy thermometer (soft-ball stage).
  4. Add syrup to gelatin. Beat on low speed until slightly cooled. Gradually raise speed to high, beating until mixture is cool and peaks form, 10 to 15 minutes. Mix in red food coloring, one drop at a time, to achieve desired shade of pink.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared pan; smooth surface. Let stand, uncovered, until firm, about 3 hours or overnight.
  6. Dust a cutting board with confectioners’ sugar. Run a knife around edges of marshmallow to loosen; un-mold onto cutting board. Peel off parchment. Lightly coat a large sharp knife with oil; cut marshmallow into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces, coating knife with more oil as necessary. Dust with cornstarch; toss to coat completely. Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Best Fudge Ever!

Fudge

I’m sorry. I really am. Most of us are making resolutions to be healthier (myself included), and here I am posting a recipe that includes 5 cups of sugar. Please don’t hate me.

I will say, though, this is a recipe I need to share with y’all. This is the fudge that my Mom makes every holiday season. My Memaw makes a very similar version as well, except she swears by marshmallow cream instead of marshmallows.

I finally got the guts to give this recipe a whirl the week of Christmas, and I’m happy to say that I didn’t completely mess it up! I ended up slightly overcooking mine though, so it wasn’t quite as creamy as Mom makes it. I’m still working on getting better with candy making. :)

Mom’s Fudge
Source: My Mom

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 tbsp. butter

Directions:

  1. Mix cocoa and sugar in a dutch oven. Add both milks and mix.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil (to where the mixture almost bubbles over).
  3. Lower the heat and stir the mixture.
  4. Keep cooking and stirring occasionally until the mixture reaches soft ball stage or 235 degrees. (This video is EXCELLENT in helping you to figure out what soft ball stage is.)
  5. Remove the mixture from the heat and working quickly, stir in the butter, peanut butter and marshmallows.
  6. Pour the batter in a parchment paper lined 9×13 inch pan. Allow it to cool for 2-3 hours. Cut and enjoy!

Pumpkin Blondies

Pumpkin Blondies

If you read my Twitter, you might already know that I’m on a major diet. A 10 week weight loss challenge for my local YMCA to be exact. I slowly freaked out inside when they took my body fat % and weight…those numbers weren’t so pretty. However, I guess I should see this as more weight to lose and alas, a good chance to win this challenge. The prizes are pretty phenomenal, too. The hard thing? It’s 10 weeks….until December 16th.

I’m pretty hardcore when it comes to competition. Just ask my family…I get pretty extreme just to get that “#1″ feeling. So, I’m back to the gym 4-5x/week and back on Weight Watchers too to kick this challenge’s booty!

Before you panic about my recipes being ALL “skinny” again, I still intend to do my cold weather baking, because my urges to bake and create things are far too strong lately. The difference this year is that a lot of my husband’s coworkers (and maybe mine) will be getting to enjoy these treats moreso than I.

These blondies, actually, were made for my family. I went to visit them this past weekend and had a blast! I thought it would be nice to bring these blondies, and with a family of 6 in the house, the pan of these were almost GONE Sunday. I’d say the recipe was pretty darn successful, no? I did try a couple (small) squares of these, and yes, yes, yes! Majorly yummy and potentially majorly addictive. It took a lot for me to hold back. :)

Pumpkin Blondies
Source: Martha Stewart (adaptation found on Smells Like Home)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with foil.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.  Stir together and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.  Mix in the pumpkin puree.  With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Fold in the white chocolate and 1 cup butterscotch chips with a rubber spatula.
  3. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips over the top of the batter.  Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35-40 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.
  4. To serve, lift the cake from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board.  Peel off the foil and using a sharp knife, cut into 24 squares.

Berry Mash Bruschetta

Berry Mash Bruschetta

You know when people say, “OMG this is the best thing since sliced bread!”? Whenever someone says that, I always think about how sliced bread is actually pretty boring. Don’t get me wrong here, because I love a good sandwich, but sliced bread in a bag isn’t something (bread-wise) that I consider to be the “best thing”. In fact, the thought of sliced bread brings me back to school lunch days when I would push through trying to eat a soggy turkey sandwich, and growing envious of those who got to bring the fancy awesome Lunchables. (Mom, if you are reading this, I love you and realize how stupidly expensive Lunchables are now.)

A while back, Foodbuzz sent me some samples of Nature’s Pride bread. I wasn’t expecting to be really wow-ed by the bread, but I will say that this bread is sort of our staple now. I especially love the honey wheat and the wheat hamburger buns. They don’t have that gross, dry texture that other wheat breads in store have, and for that, we are a Nature’s Pride convert. :)

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker’s Program, Foodbuzz offered a coupon for a free Nature’s Pride product in exchange for making up a little ol’ recipe highlighting Nature’s Pride bread.  Six bloggers’ recipes will be chosen to be an ambassador for Nature’s Pride at this year’s Foodbuzz Festival! ::crosses fingers::

I think I would go happy-crazy if I were chosen. I’ve never been to California before, and I’d love to meet/greet other food bloggers! :D

Anyway, back to the post. I figured since I buy the bread every week, I’ll just make a recipe before the coupon comes in. :)

I definitely wanted to make sliced bread not-so-boring, so I kept the idea in my mind to make a recipe with sliced sandwich bread! I sort of just thought up this recipe in my head: cinnamon toast, cream cheese spread, fresh mashed berries and a nutella drizzle on top. What’s not to like?

This recipe is insanely delicious and sinful. The crunchy toasty bread and the juicy berries with chocolate and cream cheese made a perfect little dessert bite (or two). It’s also ridiculously easy. You could totally make this for a party, and impress the guests.

Berry Mash Bruschetta
Source: an original

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices Nature’s Pride Honey Wheat sliced bread
  • Unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 cup nutella
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup raspberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Slice the bread into fourths and place on the baking sheet.
  3. While waiting for the oven to preheat, mix the granulated sugar with the cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Mix the nutella and milk in another bowl to make the nutella drizzle. Set aside.
  5. Mix the cream cheese with 1 1/2 tbsp. of the cinnamon sugar mixture in another bowl. Set aside.
  6. Rinse berries and then place them in a bowl and mash them with a fork.
  7. Place the sliced bread pieces in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until a golden, toasty brown. Turn off the oven. Immediately add a thin layer of butter and then liberally sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Place back in the oven for an additional 2 minutes to ensure that the butter/cinnamon sugar set in.
  8. Take the bread out and let it cool for about 5 minutes.
  9. Now, assemble your bruschettas. :) Add a thin layer of the cinnamon cream cheese to the bread slice, add about 1 tbsp. of the berry mash on top (making sure not to avoid adding too much berry juice), and drizzle nutella on top! Enjoy!

Makes 24.

Note: You may have some berries leftover, but there’s nothing wrong with that, right?

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Banana Choc. Chip Bread

When I was a cashier in high school, we had to learn PLU (product look up) codes to ring up produce. The first code I knew was bananas (it is 4011 in case you are wondering…type that code in at a self check-out and see what happens). Why? Because almost every shopping cart has bananas. They are delicious, cheap and very nutritious.

Every week, I buy my husband and I a bunch of bananas. Most of the time, we finish them, but sometimes, I forget about them. Of course when I forget about them, they become this unappetizing brown color from overriping, but fear not, when they are that overripe, they are PERFECT for baking!

This past week, we had 3 bananas that got too ripe for snacking on, and I decided to made some banana bread. I’ve made it before, but decided to give Baking Illustrated’s version a shot, since they never steer me wrong. This was the winner. If you want to try a banana bread recipe from this blog, make this one first! It’s so unbelievably moist, flavorful and light (since I subbed the butter out for applesauce). Plus, this is another recipe that you don’t need the KA for. A simple wooden spoon and 2 bowls will suffice. Your breakfast will never be the same either.

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
Source: adapted from Baking Illustrated

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 very ripe, soft, darkly speckled large bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350°F (175°C) degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips together in a large bowl; set aside.
  3. Mix the bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Do NOT overmix! Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  4. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

Around noon yesterday, my heart was pounding as someone was talking over the PA system at work. I tried to play it cool, acting like my work had to be done, even though it was my lunch break. However, I could sense my coworkers were listening in with anticipation too. I entered this recipe in a dessert contest at work earlier that day, and the results were being announced.

 As they announced the winners of each category, I could feel butterflies flying around like crazy in the pit of my stomach. They announced the winners for cake, cookies, brownies, pie and then…miscellaneous. See,  I don’t know what this torte would be considered. Pie? Eh, kind of, but it didn’t LOOK like a pie. Cake? Nope, shaped like a cake, but not a hint of spongey cake texture. So, I just placed it in the miscellaneous category, since this torte is in a league all of its own. For category’s sake on the blog though, I’ll call it more of a pie.

This was the first time I whipped cream and the first time I made a ganache. As I was making these two components, I remember watching Food Network and seeing all of the flops associated with attempting these components. Overbeating cream to a butter, chocolate seizing, etc. I was a bit of a worry worm, because this was a contest and I couldn’t mess up! To be honest, I have no idea why I was scared. Whipping cream was kind of fun to watch, and watched the gananche come together was delicious. I admit, I came close to drooling right into that glass bowl of deliciousness (but I didn’t, I promise).

I loved making this dessert. Peanut butter and cream cheese are usually rather heavy components in recipes, and as I was folding in the whipped cream, it significantly lightened up the filling. The dessert looks deceptively rich and decadent but  because of the whipped cream, it is actually a fairly light feeling dessert. I think this dessert would be amazing for a nice ending to a summer dinner.

Oh, and tastewise? Well, this torte won first place in it’s category. I even have a little blue ribbon to prove it, and the bragging rights in the office. I think that speaks volumes on how amazing this torte tastes!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte
Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours (adapted by Annie’s Eats)

Crust Ingredients:

  • 32 Oreo cookies, finely processed into crumbs
  • 5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Small pinch of salt

Crunch filling Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups salted peanuts, finely chopped, divided (for the filling, crunch and topping)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. espresso powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Dash of ground nutmeg

Filling ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (not natural)
  • 2 tbsp. whole milk

Ganache ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I just used 4 oz. of the mini chips)

Directions:

  1. To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.  Combine the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl.  Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs.  Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and sides of the springform pan.  Freeze the crust for 10 minutes.  Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling.
  2. To make the crunch, in another small bowl combine 1/2 cup of the chopped peanuts, mini chocolate chips, sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Toss with a fork to mix and set aside.
  3. To prepare the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks.  Beat in 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks.  Scrape the cream into a separate bowl and refrigerate until needed. 
  4. Wipe out (do not wash) the mixer bowl, replace the whisk with the paddle attachment, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth.  Beat in the peanut butter, whole milk, and 1/4 cup of the chopped peanuts until well combined.
  5. Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about 1/4 of the whipped cream just to lighten the mousse.  Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream.  Scrape the mousse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.
  6. To finish the torte, put the chopped chocolate or mini chips, in my case,  in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.  Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.  Bring the 1/2 cup of cream to a full boil.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and, working with a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and smooth.
  7. Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing with a metal icing spatula.  Scatter the remaining peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, at least 20 minutes.  When the ganache is firm, run a knife along the side of the springform to ensure nothing is sticking, and then remove the sides of the springform pan.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies

Peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven. Brownies are simply amazing and easy. In fact, this is the one dessert where my KA stays in the cabinet. A simple bowl and wooden spoon are all you need, and wow, the results are nothing short of amazing.

With a potluck coming up at my work, I decided to make some delicious peanut butter cheesecake brownies. I’ve made this recipe before, but I wanted something sinfully rich. After seeing the words “triple chocolate brownies” on Annie’s Eats, I knew I had to use this for my brownie base. I still used the peanut butter cheesecake swirl in the original recipe, and the results were awesomely rich, as in be prepared to have a glass of milk handy…I’m not kidding.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies
Sources: Brownie Batter – Baking Illustrated (found on Annie’s Eats) PB Cheesecake Batter – Baking Blonde

Brownie Ingredients:

  • 5 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into quarters
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups (8¾ oz.) sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (5 oz.) all-purpose flour

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Batter Ingredients:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cups creamy PB
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 5-6 regular sized Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped

Directions:

  1. Place an oven rack in lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth.  Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth.  Set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt; whisk until combined, about 15 seconds.  Whisk in the warm chocolate mixture until incorporated.  Then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  4. In separate mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add egg and beat until just combined.
  5. Pour 2/3 of the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and spread with a spatula to make an even layer.  Then add 1/2 of the peanut butter cheesecake mixture on top. Using a knife, gently swirl the mixtures together. Add the remaining brownie batter, then the cheesecake batter and swirl again.
  6. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, about 45-50 minutes. Then, take out the brownie pan and add the chopped Reese’s cups to the top. Place it in the oven for a couple of minutes, until just melted.
  7. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.
  8. Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board.  Cut into squares as desired.  Store in an air-tight container.

Scotcharoos

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a local nestie GTG to meet up with some gals that I “talk” to on the forums. There was so much food to be had there, and I made sure to try a little bit of everything. One of the nesties brought these little bars, and WOW are these bars just amazing! She insisted that they were super easy to make, and boy, were they! I made a batch of these to include in the family holiday tins, and of course, snuck a few bars for me as well. :)

Scotcharoos
Source: MrsSpell of the Baton Rouge Nestie Boards

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1c. light corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 c. peanut butter
  • 6 c. rice krispies cereal
  • 1 – 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 – 12 oz package butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. In a large pot cook sugar, corn syrup, and butter over med heat. Stir until completely dissolved and mixture comes to a low boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add peanut butter. Stir until melted together. Add cereal and stir until coated.
  3. Spread mixture evenly into a greased 9 x 13 pan and pat down using slightly wet hands.
  4. Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips with the oil together in the microwave approx. 2 minutes stopping to stir every 30 seconds. Pour over the top of cereal treats and allow to cool for min. of one hour. Cut into squares and enjoy!