Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie

I have been baking. A lot. My husband had mentioned that his mom had tried to make a peanut butter pie once and it did not turn out quite right but that it tasted good so I made a mental note. He had one of THOSE days yesterday so I whipped this up because, you know, pie makes everything better. It is meant to be served cold but he could not wait and I have to admit it was really good warm out of the oven. I got the idea looking at different recipes and loosely followed a James McNair recipe. This has a very cheese cake type of texture. His recipe called for it not to be baked but I think this was an old recipe before raw eggs was a bad thing.

Ingredients

Crust

Use a food processor to make fast work of the cookie crumbs. Figure 8 ounces of cookies equals 2 cups.

2 Cups fine cookie crumbs, Chocolate Graham crackers
8 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. in a medium sized bowl combine cookie crumbs and butter. Spread into a buttered 9 inch pie pan. Press crumbs to pack evenly on the sides and bottom of pan.

Bake for 10 minutes to set crumbs. Set aside to cool

Filling

Cookie crumb crust
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 Cup smooth peanut butter
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 egg yolks
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Directions

Prepare crust and cool.

Combine cream cheese, peanut butter, butter and egg yolks in large bowl and beat until fluffy. Drizzle in condensed milk and beat until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour into the pie shell.

Cook for about 20 minutes at 350 or until inserted knife comes out clean.

Refrigerate until well chilled. You could serve this with warm chocolate sauce if you want to go over the top.

Spring Fritatta

Spring Fritatta

This is perfect for a spring brunch! You can make any vegetable variation. I used an 11 inch skillet.

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs, use 8 eggs for a 12-inch skillet
  • ¼ cup milk (or soy, rice, almond)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt, more for sprinkling
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli or broccolini
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 C cheddar cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 400.

Whisk eggs, milk and salt, set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 10 or 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat.

Add the broccoli, and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is tender but still bright green, 5 to 8 minutes.

Stir in the mushrooms and cook until tender.

Add the egg mixture and gently shake the pan to distribute. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until the eggs are set. Season to taste and serve.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

I made this as a frosting on a devils food cake but this would be wonderful on cupcakes. Those kind of cupcakes that are the size of your head and with a huge swirl of frosting. I have never been a huge cake fan and even less of frosting. But, full disclosure, I wanted to sit down with a spoon and eat this right out of the bowl. I had to throw out the left overs so I would not be tempted. My husband ate 2 pieces of this cake and I am convinced it was because of the frosting. From Sallysbakingaddiction.com

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (130g) creamy peanut butter*
  • 3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1–2 Tablespoons milk
  • salt, to taste

Directions

With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and peanut butter together on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and 1 Tablespoon milk. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Add another Tablespoon or 2 of milk if frosting is too thick. Taste and add a pinch of salt if needed. (I always add a pinch!)

Asparagus and Mushroom Pappardelle

Asparagus and Mushroom Pappardelle

Spring makes me think of fresh asparagus. I love it. Also my mom suffers from reflux so I am always on the lookout for pasta that does NOT contain tomatoes. I made the pasta for this but store bought is fine. You could also substitute zucchini or spinach in this recipe. This recipe was adapted from Delish.com. I served this with home made Rosemary Brioche Rolls. This makes about 5-6 servings.

INGREDIENTS

kosher salt

1 lb. pappardelle

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb. baby bella mushrooms or white, sliced into 1/4″ pieces

Freshly ground black pepper

1 c. vegetable stock

1 lb. asparagus, chopped into 1″ pieces

2 tbsp. butter

1 c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

1 c. freshly grated fontina cheese

1/2 c. fresh herbs

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring an 8-quart stock pot of water to a boil and generously season with salt. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water, and return to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add mushrooms and spread in an even layer; cook for 3 minutes before stirring to let the mushrooms brown. Add garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook 2 minutes more. Add stock and asparagus, then using a wooden spoon, scrape bottom of pan to remove the browned garlic and mushrooms. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add butter, pasta, and both cheeses, then gently mix with tongs. (If the pasta seems dry, slowly add reserved pasta water until desired consistency is reached.)
  3. Serve in skillet or transfer pasta to a platter and top with grated Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil and parsley. Serve immediately.
Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

I have been searching for the last couple of years for a recipe that recreates the hot cross buns I grew up with in New England. These are as close as I have ever come. They recall the Good Fridays of my childhood and the wonderful bakeries we had. I was going to make the white cross glaze but both grocery stores were out of confectioner’s sugar so I followed the recipe. These are always best out of the oven but they can be toasted or microwaved to warm up. It looks like a lot of steps but it really was easy. From www.recipetineats.com

Ingredients

BUNS:

  • 3 teaspoons instant or rapid rise yeast (9 grams), Note 1, CHECK still active!
  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) milk, warm , full fat or low fat (Note 2)
  • 4 1/4 cups (640g) bread flour (or plain / all purpose) (Note 3)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp All Spice OR Mixed Spice (Note 4)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (210g) sultanas (Note 4)
  • 1 – 2 oranges, zest only (Note 4)
  • 50g / 3.5 tbsp  unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg , at room temperature

EXTRA FLOUR FOR DOUGH

  • 1/4 cup (35g) Extra bread flour

CROSSES:

  • 1/2 cup (75g) flour (any white flour)
  • 5 tbsp water

GLAZE:

  • 1 tbsp apricot jam (Note 7)
  • 2 tsp water

Instructions

  • Place flour, yeast, sugar, all spice, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Briefly mix with stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  • Add butter, milk, egg, sultanas and zest.
  • Standmixer: Mix until a smooth elastic dough forms – 5 minutes on Speed 2 of standmixer. After 1 minute, add extra flour if required, just enough so dough comes away from side of bowl when mixing and doesn’t stick terribly to your fingers. (Note 5).
  • Hand kneading: Alternatively, dust a work surface with flour and knead by hand for 10 minutes.
  • Dough is kneaded enough when it’s smooth and does not break when stretched – see photos video for before/after comparison.

RISE #1:

  • Leave dough in the bowl, cover with cling wrap and place in a warm, wind free place to rise until doubled in size. This will take anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours depending on how warm it is – see Note 6.

FORMING BALLS:

  • Line a 31.5 x 23.5 cm / 9 x 13″ tray with baking paper with overhang.
  • Remove cling wrap and punch dough to deflate.
  • Dust work surface with flour, place dough on work surface, shape into a log – this will deflate the air. Cut into 12 equal pieces.
  • Take one piece and press down with palm, then use your fingers to gather into a ball, then roll the dough briefly to form a ball. This stretches the dough on one side and that’s how I get a nice smooth surface.
  • Place the ball with the smooth side up on the tray. Repeat with remaining dough. Line them up 3 x 4.

RISE # 2:

  • Spray a piece of cling wrap lightly with oil (any), then loosely place over the tray.
  • Return tray to warm place and leaver 30 – 45 minutes, until the dough has risen by about 75% (less than double in size).
  • Partway through Rise #2, preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (all oven types).

CROSSES:

  • Mix flour and water until a thick runny paste forms – see video for thickness required.
  • Spoon into a round 3 mm piping bag or small ziplock bag then snip corner.
  • Remove the cling wrap and pipe crosses onto the buns. Go slow so it hugs the curves.

BAKING/GLAZE:

  • Bake for 22 minutes, or until the surface is a deep golden brown. The surface colour is the best test for this recipe.
  • Meanwhile, place jam and water in a bowl, microwave for 30 seconds. Mix to combine.
  • Remove buns from oven. Use overhang to lift buns onto a cooling rack.
  • Brush with jam mixture while warm. Allow to cool to warm before serving.

Notes

1.  Yeast: Use any yeast labelled instant or rapid rise yeast. I use Lowan Dried Instant Yeast (red tube, sold at Woolies/Coles baking aisle). YEAST CHECK to ensure your yeast is still active (unless you just bought/opened a fresh bottle): mix 1 teaspoon yeast with 1/2 tsp white sugar and 1/4 cup warm water (40C / 100-110F). Leave 10 minutes. Foamy and creamy, smells yeasty = yeast is good. If no foam, it’s dead. Time to get another!Normal yeast / active dry yeast – same ingredients, but start as follows:

  • mix yeast, 2 teaspoons of the sugar and all the warm milk in the bowl, then leave 5 – 10 minutes until surface gets foamy;
  • add all the other ingredients (including remaining sugar minus the 2 tsp used above), then mix/knead per recipe; and
  • proceed with recipe as written.

Fresh yeast (comes in a block that crumbles, not powder like dry yeast) – use 27g/ 0.9 oz. Crumble it into the milk and let stand until it foams up, same as using active dry yeast per above.2. Milk warmth – Scalding hot milk kills the yeast. I heat it for 45 seconds on high in the microwave. The test is this: stick your finger in. If it was a bath, would it be pleasant? Good. It’s not too hot or too cold!3. Breads are also fluffier and more tender if made with bread flour rather than normal flour. However, this recipe works great with normal white flour too.Flour quantity – differs all year round, and with different flour brands. Start with 4 1/4 cups to be safe (better to start sticky and add more flour as required), expect to add an extra 1/4 cup. DO NOT add too much flour – results in dry dough = tough buns.4. Flavourings

  • Spices – All Spice is my default, but I also use Mixed Spice too and no one would ever know the difference. Sub with: 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp each cloves and nutmeg
  • Sultanas: Some recipes say to add sultanas after the dough has been kneaded or risen. If you do this, you’ll find it very hard to disperse them evenly throughout the dough. By adding them before kneading, some do get squished. But it’s not noticeable in the end result.
  • Orange – use 2 oranges if you want a more prominent orange flavour, or switch for 1/2 cup candied citrus peel.
  • Choc chips! Use 2 cups instead of the sultanas (any more and you end up with quite a gooey melted chocolate centre!)

5. Dough: Takes ~5 min, speed 2 with KitchenAide. Add the extra flour if required so the dough comes away from the bowl – the trick is to use the minimum to keep the dough soft so it rises easily (= fluffy buns), but just enough so the dough doesn’t massively stick to your fingers (should be bit sticky though). Tough dough from too much flour = tough buns!6. WARM PLACE for dough: This is what I do all year round – use my dryer. Laugh – but try it! Run the (empty) dryer for 1 – 2 minutes, then place the bowl inside. If you do that, the dough will rise in 40 minutes. Even if it’s snowing outside!7. Jam – sub with any jam to get the glossy finish. Apricot is best because it’s clear(ish). Red jams will have more colour. OR sub with honey or golden syrup (follow same amount and directions). Maple syrup – skip the water.8. STORING / MAKE AHEAD:

  • Make today, bake tomorrow – Do Rise #1 then follow steps to form the balls per the recipe and place in tray, ready to do Rise #2. Except put it in the fridge instead. Leave overnight. Then remove from fridge and put it in a very warm place. Once the fridge chill is gone and the dough is back at room temperature, it will then start the Rise #2 as per the recipe. It takes 2.5 – 3.5 hrs to finish Rise #2 after taking it out of the fridge. Then bake per recipe! (Bonus: They are even tastier if you make ahead because the dough develops flavour overnight!)
  • Best served on day it’s baked: As with all homemade bread, it is best served on the day it’s baked. Stays fresher and softer if you use bread flour.
  • For the day after, reheating makes all the difference to make them soft and moist again – 15 sec in the microwave! These freeze great, then just defrost. To reheat batches, I pop them on a tray and cover with foil (to avoid the surface getting too crisp), then reheat at 160C/320F for 8 minutes or so.

Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos

These really need no explanation. Super quick for a week night. We made this the meal as it was so filling we did not need the main dish!

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans (I used half a can)
  • 1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced black olives
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, or a combination (2 cups shredded or more)
  • 1 small jalapeño (optional)
  • 1 pound rotisserie chicken meat (from a 4 to 5-pound chicken) or cooked shredded chicken
  • 1 cup salsa (I used a combo of Chunky and Peach Salsa)
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag restaurant-style tortilla chips (I used Blue Corn)
  • Guacamole for topping

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Prepare the following, keeping them separate: Drain and rinse 1 can black beans. Drain 1 can sliced black olives. Thinly slice 1 small jalapeño, if using.
  3. Shred 1 pound cooked chicken into a medium bowl. Add 1/2 cup salsa and toss to combine, use the remaining to add where needed.
  4. Build the nachos: arrange about half of a 16-ounce bag of tortilla chips on the baking sheet in an even layer. Top with half of the seasoned chicken and a handful of shredded cheese and some of the beans. Layer the remaining chips on top, followed by the remaining chicken, beans and cheese as the last layer.

Apple Crumb Bars

Apple Crumb Bars

This came together quickly and is so wonderful. My husband had clients in and I had to make something quick
and this was perfect! Since I was in a rush I did not take a lot of photos. But trust me this is good!
Crumbly, buttery and perfect for a cold day or even breakfast. From the blog The View from the Great Island.

Ingredients

crumble

  • 3/4 cup ( 96 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (25 grams) old fashioned rolled oats
  • 6 Tbsp  (85 grams) unsalted cold butter, cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground walnuts (pulse in a food processor)

base

  • 3 Honeycrisp apples, peeled and thinly sliced, this will be under a pound after slicing
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) milk or cream
  • 1 1/4 cups (178 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F and lightly spray a 9×9 baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, if you like.
  • Put the streusel ingredients in a small bowl and blend everything together with your fingertips until there is no more raw flour.
  • Make sure to break down any large clumps of butter so there is a somewhat uniform crumbly texture. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.
  • Fold the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture, along with the milk or cream.
  • Spoon the batter in to the pan, and smooth out evenly.
  • Top with the sliced apples. There’s no need to arrange them precisely, but try to get them in an even layer.
  • Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the apples.
  • Bake for about 50 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Lay a loose layer of foil over the top if the crumble is browning too quickly.
Cranberry, Pecan, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cranberry, Pecan, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Valentine’s day is all about love. It can be romantic, or the love you have for family or friends. A week ago I got a package in the mail from a dear friend that included everything but the butter and eggs in these fabulous little packages. It made me happy and feel loved, and I was able to share the love with Hal’s co workers, the woman
who always helps me at the UPS store in Green Hills and Hal. Make sure to chill the dough at least 30 minutes and keep the cookie sheets chilled between making the cookies so they won’t flatten out. These are so yummy. Adapted from http://www.amodernhomestead.com blog. Make these and share some love. The game changer was the scooper
that she included in the photo.You can find one for yourself at: https://www.pamperedchef.com/pws/eatinwithe/shop/Kitchen+Tools/Baking+Accessories/Small+Scoop/2530

Ingredients

  • 2 cups butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 cups flour 
  • 1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips (or white chocolate**)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla. Cream the mixture until it is fluffy.
  • Next add eggs one at a time. Beat on high for at least 30 seconds after each egg. The mixture should look like butter cream icing at this point.
  • Add baking soda and salt. Mix briefly.
  • Add flour 1 cup at a time. Start very slowly to avoid kicking flour out of the bowl. Mix for 30 seconds after each cup.
  • Add chocolate chips, cranberries, and pecans. Mix until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Spoon them onto cookie sheet with a teaspoon and bake for 11-12 minutes.
  • The cookies may appear under done, but if baked for any longer they will be too crispy. (Each oven is different, so you may need to adjust the time by a minute or two.)
English Muffin Toasting Bread

English Muffin Toasting Bread

This is from a King Arthur Flour recipe. This bread comes together very quickly. About an hour and a half, start to finish. One of the easiest breads I have ever made and SO good. My friend Elizabeth shared this recipe with me. The fabulous thermometer shown below is one of her Pampered Chef items that I find myself using all the time. https://www.pamperedchef.com/pws/eatinwithe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Unbleached flour (King Arthur) 
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (9g) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon fast rising yeast
  • 1 cup (227g) milk
  • 1/4 cup (57g) water
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) vegetable oil
  • cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. Be sure to stir the liquid well before measuring its temperature; you want an accurate reading. If you don’t have a thermometer, the liquid will feel quite hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would be uncomfortable as bath water.
  3. Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. 
  4. Using an electric beater, or stand mixer with beater attachment, beat at high speed for 1 minute; the dough will be smooth and very soft. If you don’t have an electric mixer, beat by hand for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and starting to become elastic.
  5. Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.
  6. Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.
  7. Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it’s just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. When you look at the rim of the pan from eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn’t be more than, say, 1/4″ over the rim. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn’t very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  8. Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, till it’s golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.
  9. Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.
Thai Shrimp Soup

Thai Shrimp Soup

This is a fast and easy weeknight soup. Filling, full of flavor. I used Trader Joe’s frozen Argentinian pink and their package frozen organic rice which really made it quick. The store was out of red curry paste so I grabbed a jar of red curry sauce and it worked great in a pinch. We warmed up the leftovers and the soup got thicker and was even better the next day. This was adapted from the blog DAMN DELICIOUS.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
    (or 2 packages of Trader Joe’s Organic Basmati rice, prepared using directions)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoon red curry paste or half a jar of red curry sauce
  • 1 (12-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (full or lite)
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Juice of 1 lime
DIRECTIONS:
  1. In a large saucepan of 1 1 /2 cups water, cook rice according to package instructions; set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add shrimp, salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  3. Add garlic, onion and bell pepper to the stockpot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in ginger until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Whisk in curry paste or sauce until well combined, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in coconut milk and chicken/vegetable stock, and cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 8-10 minutes.
  6. Stir in rice, shrimp and lime juice.
  7. Serve immediately.