Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

A few months ago, I came across this recipe in the world of food blogs. A fellow food blogger lost her husband, Mikey, very suddenly, and in his memory asked that people make his favourite pie and share it with their loved ones. I didn't have a chance to make this pie then, but I finally made it a couple of weeks ago. I made it for my guy's father. It was his birthday and he adores peanut butter and chocolate. We ate this pie together the day before his birthday. I thought of Mikey as we ate it and how grateful I am to have such a wonderful guy whom I love so much. This pie was amazing and perfect for sharing with those that you love.

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
Serves 10-12

8oz chocolate cookies (I used Oreos after scraping out the cream filling)
4Tbsp butter, melted
4oz finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

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

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

Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a small bowl and store in the 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 the speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extact 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. Then, fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan. Drizzle melted chocolate on top and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.

Recipe barely adapted from In Jennie's Kitchen

Owl Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Now that I am living back in America, I get to do all the things had to miss out on whilst living in England. One of those things is going to my bestfriend's annual Halloween party. I knew I wanted to make cupcakes for his party and found these. I thought they would be the erfect choice because he LOVES owls! These were certainly a lot of work and took almost an entire day. The cupcake is really cholocately, light and moist. The frosting is very rich and creamy. I bought some Valrhona cocoa powder to use in this recipe and the investment was well worth it! The chocolate flavour was really intense and super yummy! This will definitely be my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe! These cupcakes didn't turn out as beautiful as I had hoped, but they tasted AMAZING!!

Owl Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
Makes 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp hot water
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks + 1 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream

For the Frosting:
1 lb. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6Tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
6Tbsp boiling water
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

For the Owls:
Pack of Oreos
Pack of mini Oreos
Brown Mini M&Ms
Junior Mints
Yellow/Orange Peanut M&Ms
Yellow/Orange Reeses pieces


Preheat the oven to 350*F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners (use mini cupcake pans with mini liners if making mini cupcakes). In a small bowl, combine the hot water and cocoa and whisk until smooth. In another medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk to blend.

Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan set over a medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth and the butter is completely melted. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, 4-5mins. Add the eggs, one at a time, mising well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing each addition until just incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in teh centre comes out clean, about 18-20mins, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Let cool in the pan about 5-10mins and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Set aside to cool until just barely warm. Meanwhile, combine the cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until the cocoa has dissolved.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and confectioner's sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3-4mins. Add the melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1-2 mins. Beat in the cocoa mixture until well blended. If the frosting is runny at this point, let it cool longer before frosting the cake.

To assemble the cupcakes, frost the cupcakes. Separate the Oreos and mini Oreos so that the cream filling is on one cookie and the other cookie has no cream filling. Cut the cookies without the cream filling in half. The mini oreos are used on mini cupcakes if you have made them. Place the cream coated cookies on the frosted cupcakes. These are the eyes. Place the cookie halves above the eyes so that the curves are on the inside and they are tilting out. Cover with frosting so that they look feathered. Using frosting, attach the junior mints onto the large Oreo eyes and the brown mini M&Ms on the mini Oreo eyes (these are the pupils). Place the peanut M&Ms on the larger cupcakes for the nose. Use the Reeses pieces on the mini cupcakes for the nose.

Cupcake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

Frosting recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

Owl design adapted from Hello, Cupcake!