Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Mr. Goodbar Pie

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

At school, I have a “work husband” named Mr. Williams.  We teach the same students, but different subjects.  He’s my partner in crime and has been an amazing mentor to me these last two years.  He’s patient with me, answers all my questions, and complements my strengths and weaknesses exactly perfectly.  He takes care of me.  So obviously, I take care of him.  But I’m not nearly as good at the whole knowing what to do in completely unpredictable situations thing.  I’m good at the cooking thing.

So I bake him muffins, cookies, brownies, whatever.  Because he deserves to be treated right.  Especially on his birthday, which was earlier this week.  And while Mr. Williams loves every kind of food (no really, I sometimes take him recipe fail rejects, and he eats them up happily), I wanted to make him something he would really enjoy.  I know that his favorite candy bar is Mr. Goodbar.  … so I set out to make a Mr. Goodbar inspired pie.

Creamy chocolate custard is layered on a crunchy peanut crust.  If you’ve never made a nut crust for a pie or cheesecake, you should really get on it.  It’s a great gluten free alternative to a graham cracker crust, and honestly, I think it’s substantially tastier.  Gluten-full folks just think you’re incredibly creative and don’t miss the gluten in the slightest.  You also don’t have to spend all that money on gluten free graham crackers.

And if you think that any recipe that requires you to separate eggs is high maintenance (I’ll admit it, I totes did until just a few years ago) and a recipe that calls for only the egg yolks OR the egg whites but not both is completely out of reach, I really want you to reconsider.  Really, it’s just an excuse to make key lime pie with the egg whites.  Who doesn’t love a good excuse to make key lime pie?  The egg whites can go into a ziploc bag and into the freezer until you’re ready.  Then you just thaw and use like you normally would.

Really and truly, this whole thing took me about half an hour to whip up, although it was in a couple different stages.  Don’t be afraid.

Mr. Goodbar Pie

Teacher birthday parties tend to happen on tables littered with math homework and pencil boxes.  Don’t mind the background of the photo.

So let’s get to this recipe.  I made two 8-inch pies, but I think it would go great into a large spring form pan instead.  Bottom line is… it makes a lot.  Feel free to half the recipe according to your needs/desires.

Mr. Goodbar Pie

For the crust:

  • one 12oz. container of roasted, unsalted peanuts (or about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 T. unsalted butter, melted

In a food processor, pulse peanuts until finely chopped.  Add the sugar and pulse until combined.  Pour in the butter.  Pulse until mixture resembles wet sand.  Press into the bottom of two 8-inch greased pie pans and up the sides.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until just starting to brown on the edges.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool while you put together the filling.

For the filling:

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or baking chocolate roughly chopped)
  • 2 cups cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.  While that’s slowly melting, whisk the egg yolks until pale yellow.  Then mix in the sugar, vanilla, and 1 cup of the cream.  Set aside.

At this point, your chocolate is probably well on its way to getting all melty.  When it’s thoroughly melted, mix in the remaining 1 cup of cream.  Slowly pour some of the egg mixture into the chocolate cream mixture, whisking constantly.  Now pour the egg/chocolate mixture into the remainder of the egg mixture, again whisking constantly.

At this point, I like to pour the whole mixture through a fine sieve, just to ensure a thoroughly creamy texture with no chocolate chunks or eggy bits.  I suppose you could skip this step, if that’s not really a thing for you.

Pour into the prepared peanut crusts, and bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until the middle of the pie is no longer wobbly.  If you choose to bake this in something other than 8-inch pie pans, cooking time will vary.  Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before topping.

For the topping:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 T. powdered sugar
  • 1 T. chopped Mr. Goodbar

Using a mixer (or a very dedicated arm), whip up the cream and powdered sugar until you reach stiff peaks.  Spread evenly over cooled pie.  Sprinkle Mr. Goodbar pieces over that.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

And then get ready… because people are gonna lurv you.

I don’t know

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

When I was little, I knew everything.  I argued with adults because I thought I knew better.  I thought people getting hired for a job because they had more experience was nonsense.  The few times I didn’t know better, I played like I did.  ”Oh, uh… yea… I was about to say that.”  I wasn’t.

Somewhere in college, I learned how to say “I don’t know”.  I didn’t use it very often because hey, I still knew most everything there was to know.  I felt like I deserved to have a multi-page resume because I was just so great.  Since then, every day seems to teach me only one thing: I know less than I thought I did.

I used to create recipes and think that I was the bee’s knees.  Look at this pasta I made.  Aren’t I fabulous and special?  No.  Cooking requires experience.  The more you do it, the better intuition you have.  The more recipes you see combining certain ingredients, the more willing you are to go off script to create a combination you’ve seen before.  I like cooking.  I think that what I cook is usually pretty tasty.  But it’s not nearly as original as I thought it was when I was in high school.

… so this morning when I wanted doughnuts that combined chocolate and peanut butter, that wasn’t exactly a fresh idea.  I already have a tried and true chocolate doughnut recipe (see this cookbook).

Doughnuts in Morning Light

And peanut butter frosting just made sense to me.  I was a little nervous about how to go about that, though, because I wasn’t about to go shopping for whatever ingredients I was missing in any of the recipes I found.  … and then I thought about peanut butter pie.  That glorious creamy peanut buttery combo topping ground Oreos.  And the recipe for that is pretty simple.  Peanut butter + cream cheese + cream + sugar = amazing.

… but let’s make this simpler given the ingredients I actually have on hand: Peanut butter + dairy + sugar = amazing.  And so it did.  I used Yoplait vanilla greek yogurt because I have a Costco sized amount of it that’s going to go bad next week.  But let’s not kid ourselves, this recipe is hardly rocket science.

Doughnuts by Window

My sister requested that she be awoken when breakfast was ready, so I served her bedside with doughnuts and hot cocoa.  She kind of loves me a lot.

Peanut Butter Frosting:

  • 1/4 c. peanut butter (I used creamy, but I think crunchy would be grand)
  • 1 5.3oz. container yoplait vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c. powdered sugar

Mix ingredients until creamy.  Chill.  Frost doughnuts immediately before serving.

 

Fat Cottonwoods

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Southern New Mexico is a pretty familiar place for me.  My parents both grew up here.  Both sets of grandparents still live here.  Numerous aunts and uncles live nearby.  I’ve spent a lot of time here.  No amount of familiarity could ever make this view any less breathtaking.

White Sands

White Sands National Monument is a supremely under-appreciated experience.  There are views of the mountains surrounding you, and the white sand seems to go on forever.  The dunes are giant and absolutely amazing to sled down.

IMG_0089_small

I just love feeling the cool evening breeze.  And coming home to eat this peach cobbler afterwards?  It’s just too much!

IMG_0005_small

I cannot tell a lie.  I based this almost entirely off of Smitten Kitchen’s recipe.  I gluten-freed it with Cup-4-Cup.  I may have used more pecans than it called for.

This recipe was stolen from Smitten Kitchen, but inspired by 2-lbs-for-a-dollar peaches and the pecan tree in my grandmother’s back yard.  Please make it.  It’ll make you happy.  Promise.

Sideways Recipes

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

I’ve been reading Sideways Stories from Wayside School to my fifth graders.  On Thursday, we read my absolute favorite chapter: Maurecia.  It’s all about this little girl who hates everyone/thing except for ice cream, but eventually gets tired of all the different flavors.  Her amazing teacher Mrs. Jewls ends up making Maurecia-flavored ice cream which Maurecia can’t taste, but all the other children think is amazing.  The teacher realizes her mistake: Maurecia ice cream is the flavor that Maurecia tastes when Maurecia isn’t tasting anything.

Debbie-flavored ice cream

Debbie-flavored ice cream

I’m no Mrs. Jewls.  But this is Debbie-flavored ice cream.  At the very least, it’s inspired by her existence.  This blackberry white chocolate chip ice cream is positively amazing.  Sometimes, when you want to make birthday ice cream for somebody, you should really just wander around the grocery store and pick up ingredients.  You’re playing with cream and sugar.  What can go wrong?

Once I had already purchased the blackberries and white chocolate, I went online and started looking for a recipe.  This is backwards.  I’m pretty ok with that.

I came across this recipe, but it wasn’t working for me.  For one, I didn’t have half-and-half.  I also (whoops!) had only purchased one pint of blackberries.  … so I kind of made things up, basing my methods loosely on the Pioneer Woman’s and loosely on what I do every time I make ice cream.  What happened was amazing.  Check it.

Natural light is important!

Natural light is important!

…so I take pictures of my food on the railing of my front porch…  No bigs.

Blackberry White Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

loosely adapted from the Pioneer Woman

  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • 1 Tablespoon lime/lemon juice (I used lime because I had it, but I doubt it matters)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Make the blackberry “syrup” by combining the first three ingredients in a saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes.  Press through a strainer to get as much juice as possible.  Set aside.

Pour white chocolate chips into a food processor.  Pulse a few times to create smaller chunks, but not so much it turns into a powder.

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I’m a firm believer in 1% in ice cream, although all recipes call for whole)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups cream

Pour the cream into a bowl, place mesh strainer over top.  Whisk egg yolks together in separate bowl.  Combine milk and sugar in saucepan.  Cook over medium/low heat until hot and steamy.

Whisk a small portion of the milk mixture into the egg yolks.  After tempering the egg yolks, add to the milk mixture.  Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly.  Pour through mesh strainer into the cream.  Whisk to combine.  Mix in the blackberry syrup.  Chill thoroughly in an ice bath or in the refrigerator.

Right before freezing, mix in the white chocolate chips.  Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

Key Lime Pie-ish

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

You just said ‘whoopsie daisy!’ No one’s said that for 50 years, and then it was just little girls with blond ringlets!

Mistakes are the stuff of life.  I don’t mean like the best part of life or anything like that.  But they just happen.  Mistakes are what makes life seem real.

One of the cabinets in my kitchen opens on the wrong side.  I’m fairly certain it was a mistake.  I try to open it from the wrong side every single time.  But you know… that’s real life.

Real life is sleeping through your alarm, accidentally quitting a program without saving your work, biting into a Ferrero Rocher without realizing you’re totally allergic to the little wafer inside it.  It’s all of these things and more.  Mistakes happen.  They just do.  But sometimes, mistakes turn into this:

totally sweet mistake

totally sweet mistake

I like these kind of mistakes.  And due to an unfortunate mistake and an overabundance of egg whites in my fridge (thank you, ice cream), this bad boy isn’t even too bad for you.  I opted for a crust-less lime custard of sorts.  Inspired by key lime pie, but certainly not the same thing.  You could put all of this in a pie crust, but GF graham crackers are not cheap, and honestly, I’m not such a huge fan of the crust in the first place.  The custard with whipped topping was perfect.  You could also add in a bit of lime juice if you prefer something more tart.  I’m a wimp, so this is how I like it.  Anyway, here’s how it went down.

Key Lime Pie-ish

Filling:

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 4 teaspoons lime zest (from about two limes)
  • 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup lime juice (you could juice your own here, but I cheated – true fact)

Topping:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325.  Mix the egg whites and lime zest until the egg whites have a greenish tint to them.  Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and the lime juice.  Now pour into custard dishes.  Place filled custard dishes in a water bath and bake for 15-20 minutes or until set.  Let cool in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours.

When ready to serve, whip the cream with the powdered sugar.  Scoop on top of the filling and serve with a little grated lime zest on top.