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Vanilla Ice Cream

When the weather finally turned into sunshine and spring a month or so ago, I jumped at the chance to make homemade ice cream. I love the rich vanilla flavor and super smooth texture of homemade ice cream. This is my hubby’s favorite vanilla recipe – Philadelphia-style, made with milk and cream, with no egg yolks (unlike my perfered French-style ice cream). While we each have our preferences, it doesn’t really matter which type I make – one batch will be gone before I have the time to make another.

Clearly I adored the photos I took of my little model, and had to include them in this post! I was astonished that she was so enthusiastic about the ice cream – up until now, she could care less about ice cream and when we got her to taste some, she spit out every single sprinkle that made it into her mouth.

Vanilla Ice Cream

I can’t help it – she’s just too cute. There’s a simple shot of just the ice cream below. There was quite a bit of hand-swatting to keep the little one away from it!   :)

Like this post? Come back on Friday to see a roundup of more than two dozen ice cream, sorbet, etc. recipes from other bloggers!

Vanilla Ice Cream, Philadelphia-Style

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebowitz (p. 25)

Makes 1 Quart

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. heavy cream (or 2 c. heavy cream + 1 c. whole milk)
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, combine 1 c. heavy Vanilla Ice Cream cream, sugar, and salt. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out seeds. Add both seeds and pod to pot. Cool, stirring regularly, until sugar is melted.

Remove from heat and stir in remaining heavy cream and vanilla extract. Allow to cool slightly before moving to a fridge to chill for a few hours.

Remove vanilla bean pods (reserving for other uses, if desired – see tip below) and transfer to ice cream make, processing according to manufacturer’s instructions. (My Cuisinart ice cream maker called for 15-20 minutes – I processed it for 20 minutes for a thicker consistency.)

Tip: Vanilla beans can be used a few times before completely losing their flavor. In this case, after using the vanilla bean pod, allow to dry on a paper towel and add to a container of sugar to flavor sugar. Or, add to an existing container of vanilla extract.

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Rosemary Walnut Baked Chicken

I found this recipe a few years ago and went through a phase of making it all of the time. I had forgotten about it until recently. I quickly added this old favorite back into our regular dinner rotation and vowed not to forget about it again. This baked, crispy chicken is healthy, flavorful, and an easy 30 minute meal for a weeknight dinner. Can’t beat that!

Recipe Notes & Tips:

  • I always slice my chicken cutlets thinly, so they tend to cook a little faster. I’ve also taken to prepping a bunch of chicken ahead of time, portioning it into our ideal cooking portions (enough for dinner + leftovers for lunch), and freezing. The chicken defrosts quickly and removes one step from my weeknight dinner prep.
  • I don’t typically have buttermilk on hand. I’ve used whole milk, half-and-half, or whatever cream I have in the fridge. I’ve also made my own buttermilk with milk and a little lemon juice. Take your pick on what you’d like to do.
  • I’ve made this recipe using both unseasoned breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs. Comes out great both ways. Again, just depends on what I have in the house.
  • I keep “fresh” rosemary in my freezer. At the end of every summer, rosemary plants are trimmed back. Leaves are removed from the stems, washed, given a rough chop, and frozen in an airtight container. This gives me “fresh” rosemary all year round, without having to purchase the costly containers at the grocery store.
  • This recipe is easily multiplied. I like to make a big batch of the panko-walnut breading and store it in the freezer to shave time off of weeknight dinner prep.

Rosemary Walnut Baked Chicken

Rosemary Walnut Baked Chicken

Adapted from Cooking Light

Serves 4

Ingredients for the Crust:

  • 1/3 c. panko breadcrumbs*
  • 1/3 c. chopped walnuts*
  • 2 Tbs. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (freshly grated, if you have it)
  • 1 generous tsp. minced fresh rosemary*
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

* See recipe notes and tips above.

Ingredients for the Chicken:

  • 1/4 c. buttermilk
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 4 chicken cutlets, trimmed of fat
  • cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a wire rack on a foil-lined baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Make Rosemary Walnut Crust: In a small skillet over low heat, toast panko breadcrumbs until golden, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Place panko breadcrumbs and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 5-10 times, until finely chopped. (You can skip this step if you can chop your walnuts small enough, but I found the finer consistency from a brief whirl in the food processor made for easier coating.)

Combine panko, walnuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, rosemary, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. (If making a large batch to freeze extra, portion out some for immediate use and store extra in an airtight container or ziplock bag.)

Assemble and Bake the Chicken: In a shallow bowl, whisk together buttermilk and mustard until combined. Add chicken to mixture, turning to coat. Dredge chicken through panko-walnut mixture, ensuring that both sides are evenly coated.

Place chicken on prepared baking sheet/wire rack. Spray top of chicken with cooking spray. Bake for approximately 13 minutes (less time for thinner slices, more for thicker), or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve hot.

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Note: This review has been written to avoid spoilers for the books later in the series. 

Daughter of Smoke & Bones Trilogy

{Book Review}

Daughter of Smoke and Bones Trilogy

By Laini Taylor

This trilogy consists of the following books: Daughter of Smoke & Bones (#1), Days of Blood and Starlight (#2), and Dreams of Gods & Monsters (#3). The trilogy tells the story of a blue-headed girl, Karou, who lives in Prague and was raised by monsters. Karou attends an art school and visits her monster family whenever Brimstone – the head of the family – needs her to collect teeth (or “run errands,” as she tells her human friends). But one day, black handprints start appearing on doors that lead to her monster family. The doors burn and Karou is cut off from the only family she’s ever known.

The burning of the doors throws Karou into a tailspin. She embarks on a search to find her loved ones and in the process, becomes a key player in another world, Eretz, a world of which she knew nothing. Karou is the only human in a world of angels (seraph) and monsters, or “creatures of mixed aspect” (chimera).* It takes an angel (Akiva) to introduce her to the world – to unveil the secrets of her past; shed light on a war in which she’d play a key role; and encourage her to dream of peace.

Review/Recommendation: I started this series because it seemed to be all over the place – I was seeing the trilogy in bookstore displays and it was regularly popping up in my Goodreads feed. I knew little about the trilogy until I picked up the first book and read the back, which actually read more like a mystery than it actually was. Even though it wasn’t what I expected, I was hooked almost immediately.

The Format: I listened to the first book in the trilogy but read the other two. I enjoyed both formats, but am really glad I listened to the first book. It helped immensely in learning the intended pronunciation of foreign and made up names and words that appeared frequently in all three books.

The Writing: For the most part, the writing was simple, clean, and easy to read. However, in Daughter of Smoke & Bones, something about the verbiage used made me think that Taylor was attempting to appeal to an older audience or was still finding her voice. This didn’t happen frequently, but the instances dwindled and eventually disappeared as the story progressed.

The Story & The Characters: I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline that traversed the trilogy. Taylor quickly engaged the reader, or at least me, making it difficult to put the books down. There is something in the series for everyone – a little mystery and intrigue, secrets and deception, betrayal and revenge, love, and a lot of hope.

All of the characters in the trilogy had strong personalities that evoked strong feelings for the reader – love them, hate them, be repulsed by them, whatever… all of the primary and secondary characters evoked a strong feeling for me as I was reading. There was a fairly wide spread of personalities – indisputable villains among both the seraph and chimera, quirky and witty human friends, Akiva’s strong-willed sister and gentle-tempered brother… the diversity kept the books interesting. I appreciated that both these major characters as well as other secondary characters showed the propensity for change, as they got to know other characters and the opposite species.

The story slowed down a bit towards the end (the second half of the third book), as things got a little more… philosophical, as the characters delved into discussions about the existence of space and time barriers. Interesting, but a very difference change of pace from the rest of the trilogy.

All in all, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this series, since I picked it up pretty randomly. If you haven’t read any of Taylor’s works and enjoy fantasy novels, I definitely recommend this one. For my part, I will most certainly be checking out Taylor’s other work very soon.

Grade: A

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I was super excited when this month’s What’s Baking? theme turned out to be Baking with Fruit, chosen by Jaida at Sweet Beginnings. The weather is beautiful and the local farms are opening up for picking. There’s nothing better than fruit fresh from the farm.

While it’s a little early for blueberry picking here, I had a stash in the freezer that I wanted to use up to make room for more farm-fresh fruit. While these bars called for fresh blueberries, my flash-frozen berries worked just fine. (I’d caution against purchased bags of fruit, which would have a higher water content than the flash-frozen ones I used.)

These bars were really out of this world – I don’t think I can say enough about them. The photos, with my messy cutting, don’t do them justice. The bars are super soft and just slightly sweet. I was surprised at the subtle sweetness of the crust/crumble and the bright, fresh blueberry flavor. These are the sort of dessert you can easily return to for seconds, thirds, and fourths. Which I did until I finally wrapped up several pieces to take to a friend.

In the future, I’d consider serving these warmed slightly, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Blueberry Shortbread Bars

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Adapted from All Recipes via Smitten Kitchen

Makes a 9×13 pan

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 Tbs. pieces
  • zest and juice of one lemon, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 4 c. fresh blueberries (4 pints)

Prep: Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.

Make the Crust/Crumble: In a medium bowl, combine 1 c. sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut butter, lemon zest and egg into the dry ingredients. Dough will be crumbly.

Make the Blueberry Filling: In another bowl, stir together lemon juice, remaining 1/2 c. sugar and cornstarch. Gently fold in blueberries.

Assemble: Pour half of flour mixture into prepared baking pan. Gently pat into an even layer. Top with blueberry mixture and sprinkle evenly with remaining flour mixture.

Bake for 40-60 minutes, until top is slightly browned.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before slicing. (Smitten Kitchen recommends chilling bars so that it’s easier and cleaner to cut)

Store, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature or in the fridge. At room temp, the bars kept fresh for at least 3 days (at which point I had eaten or gifted the entire pan).

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I realize that I post very little main dishes on this blog – a fact that I have been trying to remedy. It’s difficult though – we either eat the dish before I can photograph it or the photos don’t come out to an acceptable standard due to lighting or simply my inexperience. Nevertheless, I am trying.

I’ve made this particular recipe a few times now. The original recipe included a BBQ sauce to serve with it, but neither myself nor my hubby weren’t super impressed it it. It was a little on the sweet side and took away from the wonderful sweet coffee flavor of the rub. If desired, serve with your favorite BBQ sauce, or our personal favorite for pork and preferred accompaniment for this recipe, Saucy Susan, a peach-apricot “sauce” that’s more like a marmalade.

Coffee Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Coffee-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Adapted from Primal Grill

Serves 4

Combine the following ingredients to form the rub:

  • 3 Tbs. ground coffee
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander

Sprinkle over

  • 1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat

Drizzle with

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil

With clean hands, rub mixture all over pork so that it’s completely covered.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Cook in the oven or on the grill…

  1. Line a roasting pan with foil. Cook in a preheated oven set at 400F until pork reaches an internal temperature of 150-160F, 20-30 minutes. Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  2. Grill, set off direct heat, rotating occasionally, until pork reaches an internal temperature of 150-160F, 15-20 minutes. Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Serve with BBQ sauce or Saucy Susan, if desired.

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The_Rosie_EffectThis is the second book in the Don Tillman series. If you haven’t read the first one, this review may contain spoiler.

{Book Review}

The Rosie Effect

By Graeme Simsion

After completing both The Wife Project and The Rosie Project in the precursor to The Rose Effect, Australian genetics professor Don Tillman and wife Rosie move to New York where Don works at Columbia and Rosie is finishing her PhD and MD.

The pair are married less than a year. Don is still adjusting to the new way of life with Rosie – less planning, more spontaneity – when Rosie tells him that she’s pregnant. Don sets out to learn everything he can about pregnancy and being a father… hiding it from Rosie (who feels like he isn’t interested) and getting himself into a world of trouble in the process.

Review/Recommendation: I started The Rose Effect with high hopes. I loved The Rosie Project, but was disappointed in its sequel. I will admit that I had a hard time focusing on much of anything while reading this book – I was in the last weeks of my pregnancy and nesting; and my son was born when I was halfway through the book, adding fatigue and an influx of visitors to the mix.

All of that being said, I just wasn’t as into this book as I was The Rosie Project. Simsion introduced a new group of characters in this book – Don’s men’s group. Some of these characters appeared in The Rosie Project, but they have a larger role in the sequel. They are a sort of support group, offering advice (both good and bad) and sharing their lives. I enjoyed these characters, although I did feel that their role in the book surpassed that of Rosie.

For me, the Don-Rosie relationship was incredibly weak. Rosie withdrew from their relationship, and thus, her role in the story felt diminished. I have a hard time with the idea that one person in a committed relationship could withdraw so much, especially given that the couple were expecting a child, that they would scarcely be present.

I do wish that this book lived up to the expectations I had set, based on its predecessor. Have you read this pair of books? Am I the only one disappointed in the sequel? What did you think?

Grade: B/B-

 

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Today, I’m excited to welcome Maeghan from The Way to His Heart. Maeghan and I met a few years ago and have kept in touch ever since. It’s been a pleasure watching not only watching her own family grow, but also her blog. Maeghan takes gorgeous photos of family-friendly recipes and has had recipes featured by Cooking Light Magazine.

Maeghan, thanks again for posting today – Sophie and I can’t wait to try out your muffins!

Banana Chocolate Chip Bran Muffin 2When you’re expecting your second child you really focus in on what things to plan for. You’ve been down this road before and you know exactly what it will be like. I think the biggest part for me was making sure that my daughter was still taken care of and feeling loved while we welcomed her brother into the world. Back when I was expecting my son George, I took some time away from my blog, The Way to His Heart, to settle into our new life and other blogger’s helped out and wrote some wonderful guest posts. Now that Liz will be welcoming her son, she is doing the same and it is my time to return the favor.

I met Liz a few years back at the Mixed conference, along with chatting on a cooking forum. She was actually pregnant with her daughter at the time and I was away from mine for the first time. What I wanted to offer to her, and to you, is a great and delicious snack when she’s in a rush. These Banana Chocolate Chip Bran Muffins are absolutely delicious and my daughter and husband have no clue that they are remotely healthy for them. Not that clean eating needs to be hidden, but with the wonderful banana and chocolate chips, you may not even notice the oat bran, honey, and molasses. You can feel good about snacking on these and know that when you’re in a rush, like a new mother definitely can find herself often, you have something nutritious to snack on. The best thing is that these muffins can be frozen, so Liz can make them ahead of the baby’s arrival and pop them in the freezer, then grab a few at a time whenever she wants one.

I hope you enjoy these muffins as much as we do! Congratulations on the arrival of your son, Liz. I can’t wait to see and hear all about him!

Banana Chocolate Chip Bran Muffin 1

Banana Chocolate Chip Bran Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 3/4 cup mashed over ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 4 Tbsp miniature chocolate chips, divided

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F and lightly coat 10 muffin cups with a nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine oat bran, milk, banana, and vanilla extract. Set aside and allow to to soak for at least 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together.

In a glass measuring up, stir together the melted butter, honey, and molasses until thoroughly combined. Once the oat bran mixture has soaked long enough, add the honey mixture to it. Then, add the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in 3 tablespoons of chocolate chips.

Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips onto the tops of the batter and press them slightly into the batter.

Bake for 19-21 minutes, or until the tops bounce back from a slight touch. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool until cool.

Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze.

*For a vegan version, use coconut oil, non-dairy milk, and maple syrup or agave in place of the honey.

Yields 10 muffins

Source: Amy’s Healthy Baking

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Last time I was on maternity leave, I had all of these plans to accomplish so much – lots of cooking and reading and blogging; lots of time crafting; even some home improvement projects… and for the 3ish months I was at home, almost none of that got done. Don’t get me wrong, Sophie was a super easy baby. But between the constant flood of family and friends visiting, I didn’t get to touch most of what I had wanted to. And when I did have a moment of quiet, I was too restless to sit and read.

So this time around, I wanted to be prepared. While I really hoped for a quieter time at home, I didn’t want to leave you without a new book to check out. Thus, I asked Heather from  Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks to write a book review for me. Heather is an avid reader and cook – I have no idea how she manages to find the time to do everything while also working full-time, so if you haven’t visited her blog, I highly recommend you check it out. This post will give you a little taste of what you can expect.

Thanks for joining me this week, Heather! I’ve got Orphan Train on my to-read list, for that next quiet moment!

Orphan TrainOrphan Train

by Christina Baker Kline

Synopsis from Goodreads

The author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be delivers her most ambitious and powerful novel to date: a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.

Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from “aging out” of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.

Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

Review/Recommendation: The story follows two very different characters. Molly is a year old whose father died when she was 8 and whose mother is in and out of jail. She has been hopping from foster family to foster family for the last 9 years and she can’t wait until her 18th birthday when she’ll be free from the craziness. She can’t take the families that keep her for the money and want nothing to do with her.

Vivian is 91 years old and lives alone in a big mansion. On the outside it appears she has a wonderful life. She was married for 50+ years, she has an amazing house, money, and someone to help her keep the house.

Molly meets Vivian when she goes to her house to help her clean out her attic as part of her community service hours. She has to complete 50 hours from stealing a book from the library. When Molly and Vivian begin going through the boxes it’s clear that Vivian simply wants to reminisce and not really clean anything.

Molly finds herself fascinated by Vivian’s story. It turns out the old woman is much more like Molly then she could have ever dreamed. Vivian’s family came to America when she was just a child. When a fire kills her entire family Vivian is left alone. She is quickly sent to a home for orphan’s and begins her journey on the Orphan Train. As Vivian goes from city to city she both hopes she will be chosen by a family and fears it.

Molly learns that Vivian had her fair share of bad families. The two grow close as they recount the stories of their childhoods and growing up as orphans. It’s an unlikely friendship that blooms into something more as the two grow emotionally attached.

This is a beautiful story about a present day orphan and an orphan back in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The similarities and differences are startling. The journey that Molly and Vivian takes together is something that only the two of them could possibly share.

I found Molly to be an intelligent young woman who has a lot of great characteristics but is unfairly judged by many people, including the woman she is living with. She dresses like a Goth but inside there are deep emotions of a trouble teenager.

Vivian is lonely and longs for the days when she was happy. Her life started out rough and while she is now comfortable there is still something missing. Can Molly help her find the piece that is missing?

Rating: I give this book 4 ½ out of 5 stars.

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Almost two weeks ago, we welcomed Luke Jordan into our little family. Arriving more than two weeks early, Luke is a tiny little thing – 6 lbs. 12 oz. and 19 inches long (11% percentile in weight and 6% in height).

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Everyone is home – healthy and happy. Luke sleeps amazingly well and tolerates all of the loving his adoring big sister lavishes him with. Sophie is constantly looking for “my Luke.” She loves to hold “it,” cuddle him, and kiss him. She’s been helping Mommy burp the baby and bathe him, and is already trying to share her toys with him.

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We couldn’t have asked for a happier, more loving welcome for our sweet boy. We’re looking forward to creating new memories together as a family of four.

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If you’re looking to indulge, or simply to drool over some gorgeous photos of desserts, I highly recommend checking out Eva Bakes. I first teamed with Eva when she reached out about doing a bake along from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. She ended up with a perfectly formed rum cake. I ended up with one that fell apart and turned into a rum cake trifle. Since then, I’ve watched her post baked goods that I’ve consistently bookmarked and added to the stack of recipes I had to try.  Eva, thanks for joining me and my readers today! I can’t wait to try out this recipe as well!

 

This chocolate peanut butter pie was included in Food & Wine’s Best of the Best cookbook compilations. The creator of the pie says that this pie is always included in her restaurant, The Loveless Cafe in Nashville.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Hi everyone! My name is Eva, and I blog over at Eva Bakes. I want to thank Liz for allowing me guest post on her blog today.

I’m willing to bet that most of you reading this are peanut butter fans. Am I right? How about chocolate peanut butter? That’s supposed to be the ultimate peanut butter combination, as I hear. Well, I am one of those very strange birds that doesn’t like peanut butter. This has nothing to do with allergies. I just don’t like the taste or texture of peanut butter. That’s OK – more for you.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Anyway, my husband bought me a cookbook by Food & Wine called Best of the Best. It’s a compilation of the 25 best cookbooks they found in 2012 (yes, I know… I am making this recipe 3 years late. Sigh). Since I am a dessert blogger, I went straight to the dessert section.

Since my husband is a peanut butter fanatic, I wanted to make this pie for him. He was gone on a business trip for a few days, and my 4-year and I decided to surprise him with this pie. The pie was actually easier than I imagined to put together and didn’t take as much time as I originally thought. When my husband returned from his trip, he was excited to find this pie in the refrigerator and asked when he would be able to eat a slice.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

If you enjoyed this recipe or are a fan of sweets, I hope you’ll stop by my blog sometime and check out all my desserts!

Chocolate peanut butter pie

Crust

  • 1 cup graham cracker or vanilla wafer crumbs (you can use chocolate sandwich cookies too)
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (do not use natural or homemade)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

Ganache

  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped finely
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Directions

Make the crust: Process the crumbs in a food processor or high-powered blender. If you don’t have either of these, you can put the cookies in a zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin or other cylinder-like object (like a bottle of wine). Transfer to a medium bowl and add the sugar. Mix well. Then add the melted butter and mix until the crumbs resemble wet sand. Transfer the crumbs to a 9-inch pie pan and press the crumbs on the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Make the filling: In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, corn syrup, cream, peanut butter and vanilla until smooth and free of lumps. Add the eggs until well incorporated and pour the batter into the prepared crust.

Bake in your preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until the edges are puffy and the center is soft (it may appear underbaked, which is OK).

Allow the pie to cool while you prepare the ganache.

Make the ganache: Placed the chopped chocolate in a medium sized bowl. Microwave (or heat in a saucepan) the heavy cream until very hot. Pour over the chopped chocolate and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Whisk the cream and chocolate together until smooth. Pour this over the pie. If desired, garnish with chopped peanuts. Allow the pie to cool and the ganache to set completely. You can also serve with dollops of whipped cream.

Any leftover pie should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for several days.

Yield: One 9-inch pie, about 8-10 servings

Source: Slightly adapted from Alisa Huntsman, via Food & Wine: Best of the Best; pages 105-106

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