Posts tagged ‘peanut butter’

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake

One of the many reasons I love baking is being able to share my creations with those I love, my friends and family, and spread the love. So, when my bestie, Eliza (who is still in school – poor her!), invited me to celebrate her birthday with her at college, I jumped at the chance to bake her a cake.

Eliza and I have a lot in common. For one, we both love peanut butter and chocolate, especially in the form of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup! That’s why her cake of choice was a Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake.

Since I also made a second cheesecake (White Chocolate Raspberry – recipe to come!), I wanted an easy recipe that didn’t require too many ingredients. After some research, I compiled this recipe from a few difference sources (listed below). What I created was a rich, flavorful cheesecake filled with yummy peanut butter cream cheese filling and topped with chocolate ganache and peanut butter frosting. It’s like a Reese’s cup in cheesecake form!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, Confections of a Foodie Bride and Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life

Ingredients

Crust

  • Homemade or store-bought graham or Oreo crust (9 inch) – I used Ready Crust Reduced Fat Graham crust because I couldn’t find an Oreo crust and buying a crust saved me time.

Peanut Butter Filling

  • 12 oz cream cheese, at room temp – I used 4 oz Neufchatel (1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese) and 8 oz nonfat cream cheese.
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Chocolate Topping

  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped – I used chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1/6 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp cup milk (plus more to achieve desired consistency)

Any additional decorations – I used semisweet chocolate chips and a Reese’s cup

Method

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

For the peanut butter cheesecake filling

Beat the cream cheese and peanut butter together on medium speed until smooth.

Add the sugar and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly combined.

Reduce the speed to low and add eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition.

Pour filling over crust.

Bake until the sides of the cheesecake are set and the middle just slightly jiggles, about 35-40 minutes.

Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool to room temperature (at least 1 hour).

The edges of mine browned a bit because my oven doesn’t bake very evenly (and I forgot to turn the cake half-way through baking). Yours don’t need to be browned like mine.

While cooling, the raised, “puffy” cheesecake filling sunk in a bit. This is normal. After cooling, it looked like this:

For the chocolate topping

Put chocolate, butter and cream into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second bursts until hot, stirring (or whisking) in between each burst until smooth.

Pour the chocolate evenly over the tart. Do so slowly, so the chocolate doesn’t pour over the sides.

Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.


For the peanut butter frosting

Using the amounts outlined in the ingredients, follow the instructions for the frosting from my Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes w/Peanut Butter Frosting recipe.

Decorate as you wish. Be creative! I used the frosting, semisweet chocolate chips, and a Reese’s Cup.

I made this cake two days in advance, and it travels really well (especially thanks to the plastic crust “saver” that came with the store-bought crust).

This slice is 1/16 of the cake.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe. Please leave a comment. I love hearing from you! If you try this recipe, tell me how it goes.

Question: What is your favorite type and flavor of cake?

My favorite “traditional” cake is probably moist chocolate cake with raspberry filling and lots of chocolate frosting. I am also a huge believe in the power of sprinkles. Sprinkles make anything better! My favorite flavor of cheesecake is, you guessed it, peanut butter and chocolate!

May 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm 10 comments

Checking In + Faking Freshly Baked

Hello Everyone!

(Natalie Dee)

Story of my life.

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been pretty busy. Well, sorta. My last day of classes was Thursday. Finals officially start on Tuesday, but my three finals are this Friday and Saturday. So, I have a week off to study and pack. The good news? Plenty of time to study and pack. The bad news? I’m not home.

I seriously cannot wait to get home! The suspense/wait is killing me. There are so many things I’m looking forward to at home: friends, family, home-sweet-home, home-cooked meals, eating at restaurants, relaxing, baking (!), and so much more! Of course, I’m seriously looking forward to anything food related!

I having a bit of a blogger’s block right now. All I can think about what I will make and blog about when I’m home but not here, right now in Boston. I’m also pretty busy studying and packing and doing other end-of-stay activities. So, this is me checking in. Hello! I fly home Saturday night, and I’ll have some new recipe posts soon after!

(Natalie Dee)

However, I don’t want to leave you now without anything food related. So here is a quick story and tip:

One food I’ve been missing with all my heart is freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. That fresh-out-of-the-oven flavor and texture (for one thing, because of the melted chocolate) seriously can’t be beat! Since I have no access to an oven here, I can’t get them here – except for the occasional Deep Dish Sundae from Uno Chicago Grill: vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream atop a giant chocolate chip cookie freshly baked in a deep dish pan. All I can say is foodgasm x 100!!

Any who, I recently found a way to not only get that freshly-baked flavor in the comfort of my own dorm but also in a healthy way! All you need is a Larabar and a microwave. My favorite Larabar flavors for this are  Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Peanut Butter Chocolate. Chip.

(Source)

First, remove the wrapper from the Larabar and microwave the bar on a napkin or plate for about 15-20 seconds. Then, enjoy!

It’s as simple as that, but it makes an amazing treat! The bar gets warm and doughy, the chocolate chips get melty, and the Larabar goes from good to amazing! Tastes very much like a freshly baked cookie! I sometimes only microwave a small chunk at a time, so each bite is ‘freshly-baked.’

Question: What’s your favorite type of cookie? What’s your favorite type of Larabar?

May 8, 2011 at 8:24 pm 12 comments

Friday Favorites: April 29

Happy Friday!

Do you know what that means? Yes, the weekend, but also another installment of my Friday Favorites! I’m running short on time because I have special plans after school, so this will be a short post. Thank you for understanding!

1. foodgawker.com

If you love food porn, you’ll love this website. Foodgawker is a photo gallery that allows you to visually search and discover new recipes submitted by food bloggers. The editors at Foodgawker select the best of the best of the hundred of submissions they get a day. And do you know what that means? Glorious photos of deliciously amazing, drool-worthy food! In other words, food porn at it’s best. I can literally spend hours on their site looking through photos. I’ve found amazing recipes and blogs through it. 🙂

2. Clif Bars

I love all the products and lines that Clif Bar offers, but lately I’ve been all about the traditional Clif Bars. I love the Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch and Crunchy Peanut Butter. I eat them for lunch sometimes with a big side salad. Yum!

3. Sunny Weather in Boston

<– That’s the temperature right now here in Boston! Love it! I can’t believe it’s warm here. It feels like it was only a few weeks ago that it was snowy and freezing here in Boston. Oh yah, that’s because it was only a few weeks ago. I love how people in Boston can adjust to the weather so quickly. They go from wearing jeans and winter jackets one day and then flip-flops and short shorts the next day. 🙂

But you know what’s even better than this? The fact that, in two weeks, I’ll be enjoying California’s beautiful weather!

*****

Question: What are your Friday Favorites?

I just wanted to give a shout out to all my new readers out there! Thanks for meandering over to my corner of the blog-o-sphere. I’ve been getting a lot of great comments, and I really appreciate it. I love my readers. 🙂 If you have any questions, post requests for me, or anything else, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you!

April 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm 12 comments

Food Fashion Friday

I love food. You love food. We all love food. So, why not show our love for food in addition to eating it?

In this fun little post, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite food related shirts that I found while scouring the internet. I hope you enjoy – and maybe even buy one yourself!

Please note, most of these shirts are available in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes plus girls and guys cuts!

Love tofu, froyo, or sushi? Show it with these adorable shirts from TheShirtDudes on Etsy. (The photos are close-ups of the designs.)

I love cookies and milk!! This “Cookie Loves Milk” shirt from Threadless is adorable.

I know Katie from Healthy Diva Eats would love this next shirt from Hot Topic. (Katie, we can pretend the hamburger is a veggie burger, okay? Haha.)

It’s on sale but only available in XL and XXL. It would make for an adorable, comfy PJ shirt after a day of delicious eats. 🙂

Eating local and homegrown veggies rocks. They taste better and are better for you (and the planet)! Show your support of Eating Local Greens (left shirt by joeseppi on Etsy) and Growing Your Own Food (right shirt by happyfamily on Etsy) with these shirts.

PB&J is one of my favorite food combos, so I’m in love with these two shirts: the left shirt is from Hot Topic and the right one is from Vintage Pop Tees on Cafe Press.

(Below left) I’ve added this shirt (from I Love Sriracha on Cafe Press) to the list in honor of my brother, who is in love with Sriracha and all things spicy!

(Below right) I love peanut butter and I’m a princess (my mom told me so!), so this shirt from Princess Gifts, Apparel and Decor at Cafe Press.

When I visited Vietnam (and Cambodia) during winter vacation 2009-2010, I ate some good Pho! Here is a cute and funny shirt from TheShirtDudes to honor all the delicious Vietnamese food I enjoyed during my travels! Gà means chicken. Now you know. 🙂

[TheShirtDudes have a bunch of other awesome food related shirts, so check them out!]

This shirt from theboldbanana declares “Baking is Sexy.” Heck yes, it is!!

Eating salad (and other healthy foods!) is the new black. Walk around looking cool with this Mr. Salad shirt from Threadless.

(Below left) Here is a shirt by nonfictiontees for you science-y (and eco/health?) types.

(Below right) This shirt, “Keep Calm and Carry Chocolate” shirt by redbrickwall, is very smart! Chocolate is a health and mood booster as well as oh-so-delicious and the perfect de-stresser! So follow my advice to follow this shirt’s advice!

And last but not least, the shirt that pretty much summarizes my life: the  “I run so I can eat Ice Cream” shirt by The Fan Cafe at Cafe Press. If only it said “…and Chocolate and Peanut Butter and a Sense of Accomplishment,” then it would be the perfect definition of me. 🙂

Question 1: Which one is your favorite?

Question 2: What do you run (or exercise) for?

April 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm 22 comments

Chocolate PB Cup Cupakes w/PB Frosting

I’m in love… with a cupcake!

Who needs men when I have chocolate and peanut butter, my two of my favorite things? As soon as I found this recipe on Sweet Tooth Sweet Life, I knew I had to make these cupcakes asap. Once you finish reading this (and drooling a lot), I know you will want to make them, too!

These are absolutely one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had or made. Chocolate cupcake + hidden Reese’s surprise + PB frosting + more Reese’s = foodgasm x 100!

So, without further ado, the recipe…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes w/Peanut Butter Frosting

Adapted from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:


Cupcakes

  • 1 box Devil’s Food cake mix
  • 1-1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (or oil)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 small bag small Reese’s peanut butter cups, unwrapped

Frosting

  • 1/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk (plus more to achieve desired consistency)

Note:

  • If you are allergic to peanuts (or don’t like them), feel free to sub in another nut butter or sunflower seed butter.
  • If needed, you can sub in another candy, like Hersey’s Kisses or another candy cup, for the Reese’s.
  • Using apple sauce instead of the oil called for by the baking mix is a great way to cut extra fat. In this case, it worked super well and the cupcake was still moist. Score!
  • To “healthify” the cupcakes even more, smear on some pure (pea)nut butter instead of the frosting.

Instructions:

Mix the cake mix, water, apple sauce, and eggs. This should take about 2 minutes on medium speed with an electric mixer.

Put liners into a muffin/cupcake pans and fill 2/3 the way full with batter.

Bake according to directions on package. My box says 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. It took me about 16-18 minutes since I used apple sauce. Remember: if the baking time is for a full cake, the actual time for these cupcakes will be shorter since they are smaller, so keep an eye on them.

Let cupcakes cool for about 10 minutes. While you wait, take 24 of these lovely bits and unwrap them.

Gently press an upside down Reese’s cup (fattest part on top) into the center of the cupcakes. Make sure the cupcakes are still slightly warm, so this can be done easily, but not too warm, so the Reese’s cups don’t melt completely.

Now comes the hard part, letting the cupcakes cool. I know it’s hard to resist a warm cupcake, but trust me, it’s worth the wait. Among other reasons, it’s easier to ice the cupcakes when the chocolate isn’t melty.

But I won’t blame you if you sneak a warm cupcake. 😉

Once the cupcakes have cooled, it’s time to make the peanut butter icing, aka icing of the PB gods.

Frosting: Blend the PB, powdered sugar, and vanilla (in the amounts from the frosting ingredient list). Add the milk and mix on medium speed until smooth and creamy. If needed, add a bit more milk at a time to reach the desired consistency.

This is a great frosting that can be used for all sorts of recipes!

If you like to keep things simple, use a knife to frost the cupcakes. If you like to be fancy, you can use a pastry bag. If you are somewhere in between and like easy clean up (like me), put all the frosting in a medium-sized plastic bag and cut a small piece off of one the bottom corners. Squeeze out the contents slowly as you make whatever frosting form or design you desire.

Now, frost to your heart’s content!! Be creative with it!

Little swirls of heaven!

If you so desire (and why wouldn’t you?), use remaining/extra Reese’s cups as extra toppings. Cut one in half, and top each cupcake with either one or two halves.

That looks absolutely divine!

Since I made these cupcakes for a potluck I attended, I transferred the cupcakes to baking pans for easy transportation!

And there you have it: chocolate PB cup cupcakes with PB frosting!

You’re welcome. 😉

Now go out and make them. I demand you!

… And feel free to ship me some (since I’m back at school with no oven). 😉

Question: What is your favorite kind of cupcake or cake?

March 29, 2011 at 8:56 am 14 comments

Fueling My Addiction: No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

Hi, my name is Lara, and I’m a peanut butter addict.

Don’t try to cure me. I can’t be fixed. If loving peanut butter is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

When I stumbled across these No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies on How Sweet It Is, I knew I had to make them as soon as I could. By the way, I am also addicted to no bake recipes. My parents had a party a few days back, and I took that as the perfect opportunity to make these. They are so easy (like most of my recipes, haha) and out of this world delicious! They aren’t the healthiest things ever, but they are so satisfying (thanks to the peanut butter) in moderation!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

Makes about 20 cookies – I doubled the recipe and made almost 60 smaller cookies.

  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 + 1 tablespoon cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup – I used agave syrup. You can sub corn or maple syrup.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of ginger – I didn’t use this because I didn’t have any.
  • Optional: chocolate (for drizzling)

Instructions:

Step 1: Make graham crackers into crumbs.

I did this by putting the grahams into a plastic bag and smashing the bag with a peanut butter jar.

This worked pretty well, but I should have done it longer because there were still some larger crumbs.

You want a flour-like consistency, or else forming the cookies will be hard. I also suggest using a food processor or Vitamix to get this consistency.

Step 2: Add the rest of the ingredients.

Pool of peanut butter and agave syrups = makes me drool!

Vanilla river.

Final “layer” of ingredients.

Step 3: Mix it all up! The mixture will be crumbly. It may take a while for the mixture to come together, but it eventually will.

Step 4: Form dough into uniform balls.


x2

The original recipe suggests 1-inch balls. I made them a bit smaller (maybe 3/4-inch). It’s really up to you and your preferences. Since these are no bake, the size won’t affect the “baking” outcome.

If the balls are sticking together well enough, add a bit of peanut butter or agave. I didn’t have to do this.

Drool!

Step 5: If you want cookies (and not balls), either flatten first with your fingers and then indent with fork or flatten with fork while making indentations. I did the latter.

They look like true peanut butter cookies and taste like them, too, but they are no bake! Yay!

Step 6: If you want to “ice” with chocolate, melt the chocolate and drizzle on top.

You can either melt the chocolate in a double broiler… or be lazy like me and do it in the microwave.

Drool… Boy, my keyboard is getting dirty. 😉

I topped 1/2 of the cookies in chocolate just in case some of the party guests didn’t like chocolate. But who was I kidding? Who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter together? Stupid people.

And there y’all have it! No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies, with a chocolate topping option!

Now, go out and make them. I promise you won’t be sorry!

Question: What is your favorite flavor combination in cookies or other baked cookies?

I love PB + chocolate and PB + J.

(Source)

If only… Haha.

March 18, 2011 at 3:20 pm 6 comments

No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

I am very happy. I “baked” in my dorm. I made something “baked” with my two hands.

Okay, so I didn’t actually bake anything. I “no baked” something, oatmeal bars. The only appliance I used was a freezer (part of the MicroFridge in my dorm). The great thing about no-bake baked goods is that they are ready in no time. They are fast. You can eat the dough straight out of the mixing bowl (no need to wait for it to bake in an oven), or you can shape and refrigerate them for an anytime treat. They also require little clean up. The only tools I used was a (small) bowl, spoon, and sandwich-sized plastic bags.

To make my No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars, I started with a recipe by Averie from Love Veggies and Yoga for Vegan No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bars and adapted it to my resources (my “pantry” foods, utensils, bowls, etc).

Here is what I ended up with:

No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Ripe Banana
  • 3/4 c. Oats
  • 1/4 c. Shredded Coconut (I used unsweetened)
  • 1/4 c. Raisins
  • 1/4 c. Chocolate chips (I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1/4 c. Honey
  • 1/4 c. Peanut butter
  • Optional: 1/8 c. Virgin Coconut Oil (Helps solidify the bars and adds healthy fats.)

Instructions:

Step 1: Mash half a banana in a bowl.

Super ripe (brown) bananas are perfect for this recipe because they are very sweet and their mushy texture doesn’t matter since they get mushed up anyway.

Squishy + mushy = Smushie! Banana + smushie = Delish!

Step 2: Add the rest of the ingredients all at once and mix! Or, you can add them in in groups and mix after each set of additions.


I may or may not have snagged a few chocolate chips before adding the rest into the mix. 🙂

It’s already looking delicioso!

That white stuff is coconut oil. It’s rich in essential fatty acids, which are the “good fats” that doctors recommend, and is free of cholesterol and trans fat. Learn more about it here. It’s an optional ingredient but helps solidify the bars because it’s solid at room temp.

Now, you have a decision to make. Give in to temptation, and eat it all as is. (Super yum!) Or, go onto step 3. (Double yum!)

Step 3: Put into a sandwich-sized plastic bag and flatten. (If you double the recipe, you can flatten it into an 8×8 pan.) Then, stick it into the freezer, or fridge, for a few hours.

Step 4: Take out of the freezer and remove the plastic bag.

Step 5: Cut into equal-sized bars. I cut 8 rectangles. I suggest you use a sharp knife, if you have access to one. I used a dinner knife, which didn’t cut very cleanly.

Sorry for the bad lighting in the photo (and other photos). I took them on my desk where the lighting isn’t very good.

Step 6: Wrap them up individually in plastic wrap or plastic bags. Or, put a few in a bag together. Store in the fridge/freezer.

These bars came out way better than I’d hope. They are moist and chewy. Peanut butter is the strongest flavor and is wonderfully complimented by the other additions. They make a great snack, pre-workout energy boost, or post-meal sweet treat. They are great alternatives to store-bought oatmeal bars because they are made of wholesome, natural ingredients and they are not filled with preservatives.

These bars are also extremely customizable. Instead of making bars, you can also shape them into cookie or ball shapes. You can also add different ingredients to them or switch out ingredients for others to suit you likes. Some suggestions: add 1-2 scoops protein powder; add 1 tbsp flax or chia seeds; switch raisins for another dried fruit; switch chocolate chips for butterscotch, white chocolate, or carob chips; switch PB for another nut butter; add chopped nuts.

Just be creative with it! You really can’t go wrong.

Question: What’s your favorite no-bake recipe? What’s your favorite add-in combos?

February 13, 2011 at 2:25 pm Leave a comment

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