Peanut Butter Pie with a Spicy Twist

peanut butter pie, take one

I originally wasn’t going to post this recipe, but when I put the above picture on my Tumblr a friend got so excited I had to do it.  But I did it a little different.  It’s not my typical, all day long life-stopping recipe.  This recipe will take you 30 minutes to throw together, and will take even less if you use a store-bought graham cracker crust like I did, but I’ve included a graham cracker crust recipe if you want to make a smidge of extra time and effort.

it was a big hit

I came across a peanut butter pie recipe while looking for no-bake desserts and was intrigued, but I’m not super crazy about peanut buttery sweets.  So it wasn’t until a friend requested a peanut butter birthday dessert that I broke out the recipe.

peanut butter pie redux feat. cayenne, cinnamon, and banana

It was a hit at his potluck and even caused an argument or two because people didn’t want to share.  So if you’re cooking for more than 4 people, you might want to plan on making more than one pie.

peanut butter upside down pie...i say oops a lot

The mexican twist was inspired by the enchilada dinner I was gearing up for on Tuesday.  Adding spices to chocolate desserts is a very easy way to make an easy dessert slightly more exotic and intriguing – ice creams, cakes, ganaches, you name it.

this one was a big hit too

Peanut Butter Pie with a Spicy Twist

Crust Ingredients

Ten 4 3/4-by-2 1/2-inch graham crackers, broken into pieces

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling Ingredients

3 oz. milk chocolate – if you are using bar chocolate, it will need to be chopped

1 cinnamon stick

1 whole dried cayenne pepper, de-seeded (to deseed a dried pepper, hold it gently but firmly between 2 fingers, cut side down, and flick it)

1 3/4 cups heavy cream, divided

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

4 oz. (1/2 cup) cream cheese

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 banana, thinly sliced

Method

  • Crush up the graham crackers.  A food processor works magic, but if you don’t have one, put the crackers in a plastic bag and do some good ol’ fashion stress relief.  Transfer to a medium bowl, and add the melted butter. Stir with a fork until thoroughly combined.
  • Put crumbs in your pie pan and press them up the sides of the pan to form the edge and then evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place in the refrigerator while making the filling.
  • Put 1/2 cup cream, cinnamon stick, and chile in a small saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Remove the cinammon and chile and pour over chocolate, and set aside for 5 minutes to yield chocolate ganache. Whisk to combine and set aside to cool, whisking occasionally.
  • Remove the crust from the refrigerator and pour ganache into the bottom of the crust, tapping gently to settle.  Top ganache with the sliced banana.
  • Meanwhile, whip 3/4 cup heavy cream to soft peaks. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the peanut butter, cream cheese, and sweetened condensed milk until smooth and fluffy, then add the whipped cream and whisk until combined.
  • Remove the almost-pie from the refridgerator and spoon the peanut butter mixture into the pan, smoothing the top.
  • Place in refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.  Before serving the pie, top with whipped cream and chocolate curls, if desired.

If you’re timid about spice, feel free to omit one or all of the spices, the pie will still be delicioso.

Hot Chocolate Bombs with Cinnamon Marshmallows

At Christmas I made hot chocolate on a stick posted at The Giver’s Log.  It was just about the easiest and most appreciated kitchen related gift I’ve  ever done.  I had ambitions to make marshmallows to go along with them but it just got too hectic.

But not this time, baby.  For Christmas I did peppermint hot chocolate on a stick.  I’m not going to lie to you.  I had to try it a couple of times to get it to look like how I wanted – ask my neighbors and co-workers.  They all got what looked like a gift from Spunky – cat s#!t on a stick.

who, me?

This time around I decided to forgo the sticks entirely, and read up on how to temper chocolate so that they wouldn’t look all dried out.  Turns out it’s pretty easy.  So I got some really cute Valentine themed mini cupcake papers and got crackin.

Hot Chocolate Love Bombs

yields about 16 one ounce bombs

Ingredients

16 oz. chocolate – bittersweet, milk, semi-sweet, and (gag) white chocolate all work.  I used what I had lyin around, which was semi-sweet.  16 oz is about a bag and a bit more.

3 packets of your favorite hot cocoa mix

cupcake wrappers

Ziploc bag (for piping)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp (or pinch) chipotle or cayenne powder, I used chipotle

Method

  • Set your separated cupcake papers on a baking sheet.
  • Bring a bit of water to a simmer in a sauce pan, and place a glass or non-reactive metal bowl over it, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.
  • Put most of your chocolate (the bag, saving the other bit) in the bowl and let it melt, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the chocolate is melted, turn off the heat and remove the bowl from the sauce pan, making sure not to drip any condensation.
  • Put your hot cocoa packets, spices, and remaining chocolate in the bowl and return to the bowl to the saucepan, stirring to mix.
  • Once it looks all mixed up, open your plastic bag and scoop the chocolate into one corner (like you would with frosting).
  • Cut a smallish hole in the corner of the bag, and pipe chocolate into your awaiting papers.  Once all papers are filled, top with adorable tiny heart sprinkles.

You might want to tap the baking pan against a flat surface to even out the tops of the bombs, but I thought they were cute with a little piped swirl on the top.  If giving as a gift, make sure to include instructions, which are:

  • Drop one chocolate bomb into 6-8 oz (one regular sized mug) of hot milk.  Water does not work, the chocolate will not melt properly.

Cinnamon Marshmallows

Ingredients

3 packets unflavored gelatin

2/3 c. water, divided

1 c. light corn syrup

1 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp cinnamon extract (or vanilla, or banana, or whatever)

1/4 tsp gel food coloring (if desired)

powdered sugar for dusting

Method

  • Lightly oil an 8×8 pan with Canola oil and generously coat with powdered sugar.
  • Pour 1/3 c. of the water into a bowl, sprinkling the gelatin over it, and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, off the heat, combine the remaining 1/3 c. water, corn syrup, and granulated sugar.
  • Place the pan over medium-high heat.  Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and cook the mixture until it reaches 240*, avoiding the temptation to stir.
  • Every now and then, brush the sides of the pan (on the inside) with a pastry brush dipped in water to wash away residual sugar crystals.
  • With the mixer on low speed, very carefully add the lava hot syrup to the gelatin.  Add the cinnamon (and food coloring, if desired) and increase the speed to medium high.  Beat for 8-13 minutes, until the mixture becomes opaque and stiff.
  • Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, and spread around using a lightly oiled spatula.  Let sit for one hour, or until firm and cool.

pink gloop

  • Once the mallows are set, sift powdered sugar into a shallow bowl.  Run a wet knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the mallow sheet and remove it from the pan.  Cut into squares and toss each square in powdered sugar until completely coated.

    fluffier than any you'll find at the store

    Happy sipping folks!

Granola

So I have a new kitchen obsession, and it’s granola.  I have never been able to find a granola in the store that I found was worth the money, not to mention the calories.  Oh yes, don’t be fooled.  That stuff in the fancy packaging has some serious sugar and packs a lot of calories into quite a small amount.

clumpy

Admittedly, this recipe is not as healthy as the last one I made.  But it is so much better.  I enjoyed the last one.  It was crunchy, nutty, not too sweet, and delicious by itself or with yogurt.  But this takes that and cranks the volume to 11.  Full disclosure, I had a really hard time sharing this with my neighbors.  I did, but it was an inner battle for me.  Also, while I was home I got a lot of compliments on the photography on here, but my neighbor Tim takes the photos you guys are oohing and aweing and drooling over.  His granola was much deserved.

Olive Oil Granola

Makes about 9 cups.

adapted from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/dining/151arex.html

Ingredients

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 C roughly chopped pecans

1 C pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

½ C slivered almonds

3/4 C pure maple syrup

1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tspish kosher salt

1/2 tspish ground cinnamon

1/2 tspish ground ginger

3/4 C chopped dried apricots

1 C dried cranberries

Method

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, pepitas, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

2. Allow to cool a bit and then break up the clumps to whatever consistency you like, then toss in the apricots and cranberries.

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