“Pretzel Peanut Butter Pie” from “Flavour: Eat What You Love”

I have to admit that when I stumbled across this recipe when browsing through the book, my very first thought was, “Colour me intrigued!” My second thought was, “When can I make this?”

In the introduction, Ruby said her inspiration for this came from the Candy Bar Pie at Momofuku in New York. Maybe that’s why I felt an immediate need to try this out: it spoke to me in a very deep way because of my American roots.

A flavour combination like this can only go one of two ways: wonderfully or horribly. There is no middle ground when it comes to this sort of combination. But given that this entire family is a fan of the peanut butter and chocolate combination– again, I blame the American in our DNA– I figured we had nothing to lose if we threw in some pretzels, too.

I am thrilled to report that this was wonderful.

But Pretzel Peanut Butter Pie isn’t going to work if you don’t like chocolate and peanut butter together, or indeed chocolate covered pretzels, or even the sometimes odd sweet-salty pairings that are available. (When Googling that exact phrase, I found something called a “Doughnut Burger,” which literally made me shudder. But on the same list from Buzzfeed, I found a listing for Chocolate Covered Bacon and I thought, “Yup. I’d try that.”)

I think the true test of any baked good is how long the leftovers last sitting around the kitchen. With two hungry teenage boys in the house, good things don’t last long. This pie, for example, was gone within 24 hours.

That tells you everything you need to know.

If you’re brave enough and are a fan of peanut butter and chocolate– with pretzels thrown in for good measure– click through this paragraph to find the recipe from The Guardian. 

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“Pretzel Peanut Butter Pie” from “Flavour: Eat What You Love”

“Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake” from “A Year of Good Eating”

IMG_8147As soon as I read the title of this recipe, I knew I would be eating this in January.

What better way to cheer up a drab month with atrocious weather, grey skies and no holidays to celebrate? For what it’s worth, I’ve dubbed this month my Not Dry January. Unlike the legions of others who’ve decided that this will be the month they give their liver a rest and try to eat more healthy, I’m doing the opposite.

An American by birth– though not by location at the moment– I absolutely love the ambrosia that is the chocolate-peanut butter combination. After all, I was raised thinking that when it came to candy, there was nothing better than a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. In fact, I still think that.

I made this for a dinner party where we would be joined by fellow expat Americans (and a few random Brits). I made it the afternoon before, as per the instructions, as it needs an overnighter in the refrigerator to set.

It did not disappoint. In fact, the only disappointing thing about the experience was because I wanted to be a polite and thoughtful guest, I left behind the remaining 1/4 of the cheesecake to my hosts. But I certainly missed not being able to have seconds the next day.

Yum.

If you’d like to make this yourself, click through this sentence to find the original recipe in The Guardian.

“Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake” from “A Year of Good Eating”

“Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes” from “John Whaite Bakes at Home”

CBAMPBJCupcakes

Maureen: I was excited to make these for you. As an American, I always felt it was my patriotic duty to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for you. Now we have peanut butter and jelly cucpakes! What do you think?

Andrew (14): They’re…. [pause to select adjective] interesting.

Maureen: Good interesting or bad interesting?

Andrew: I’m not sure.

Maureen: I’m surprised you’d say that, since you’re a PB&J veteran and you love them.

Nicholas (10): I think there’s too much peanut butter.

Andrew: I agree. I was trying to nail down what it was that I wasn’t sure about, and that’s it.

Nicholas: There’s too much peanut butter in it, and not enough jelly. They’d be really good if you made the balance equal.

Maureen: Or, alternatively, make the cupcake chocolate rather than peanut butter flavoured, and then put a little chocolate in the middle of the icing, just like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Andrew: If you balanced out the peanut butter and jelly, they would be good.

Maureen: How many stars would you give it?

Andrew: 3 stars.

Nicholas: 2.99999 recurring. You can put a line over the last nine, and then people would know it’s recurring.

Maureen: I don’t have that symbol on my keyboard, but thanks for the tip.

The recipe for this can be found by clicking through this sentence, but be sure to replace the Stork called for in the recipe with butter. Everything is better with butter.

“Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes” from “John Whaite Bakes at Home”

“Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies” from “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was a weekend treat for us. And when I say “treat,” I really mean it.

These cookies were unbelievably delicious. But also, given that they took two days to make, they were a labour of love. I’m sure I could have completed them in one afternoon, but spreading the process over two days seemed to make it easier somehow.

First I had to make the peanut butter cookie batter. That was a pretty straightforward process, but then they had to set in the freezer. Rather than doing that, I put them in the refrigerator overnight. I would have used one of my reliable cookie cutters to make shaped cookies, but my 10-year-old helpers weren’t so keen on the labour intensity of that task, so we just cut the cookie logs instead. They shapes weren’t uniform, but they were close enough, and that’s a much easier way to do that step.

After baking, you then have to fill them with the chocolate (yum). I thought it was much easier to do this with a piping bag, but if that seems too challenging for you, just use some teaspoons. The end result is beautiful, if I do say so myself, and tastes even better.

For anyone who loves Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (and I’m going to enthusiastically raise my hand here) these cookies could be described as heavenly. But after 15 years of living in the U.K., where Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups do not enjoy the same adulation as they do in the U.S., I know that they are an acquired taste.

 

“Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies” from “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook”

“Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cookies” from “The Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home”

The Pre-Bake Pep Talk:

Maureen: OK. Let’s make some cookies.

Nicholas (9): Are we making chocolate chip cookies, like we always do?

Maureen: Nope. We’re tying something different. Peanut butter and chocolate.

Nicholas: Yum. Sounds like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, in a cookie.

Maureen: We’ll see.

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The Post-Bake Debrief:

Maureen: They’re much flatter in the book. These are all puffy.

Nicholas: You’re right. They don’t look like the ones in the book at all.

Maureen: Also, I just realised that while they had vanilla in the ingredients list, they forgot to include it in the instructions. So there’s no vanilla in these, even though there should be.

Nicholas: I can definitely taste that there’s no vanilla.

Maureen (laughing): No way. I don’t believe that. It does make me worry that the book hasn’t been proofread, which might be a problem down the line. What do you think of them?

NIcholas: They’re delicious. They’re like the peanut butter cookies you make, but with chocolate too. I really like them.

Maureen: They might be best straight out of the oven when the inside is still all soft and warm.

Nicholas: Maybe next time when we make them, we should criss-cross them with a fork, like we do with regular peanut butter cookies.

Maureen: Good idea! That would make them flat, like they are in the book.

Nicholas: We should definitely make them again, though.

Maureen: Yes. For sure.

“Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cookies” from “The Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home”

“Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie” from “Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days”

I apologise but there is no dialogue for this recipe. The reason is quite simple. We were having too good a time for me to start writing it all down. It’s also possible that while we were eating this dessert the conversation stayed from the quality of the pie to more important topics, such as the leap of faith required to rely on the public bus system in the Lake District.

We all loved the pie, though, but you should know that the crowd consisted of a majority of Americans– three native born Americans, four boys with dual American-British citizenship and the small minority of one native born British person. The boys ate it all, quickly and enthusiastically. I do think the chocolate-peanut butter combination, which is the root of the beauty of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup– might be an acquired taste, and one that is particularly American.

Continue reading ““Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie” from “Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days””

“Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie” from “Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days”