oatmeal cream pies

oatmeal cream pie | wee-eats.com

One of my all-time favorite childhood snacks, hands down, is the oatmeal cream pie. Something about the pillowy-soft, chewy cookies and their sweet, creamy filling is absolutely irresistible.

You can find about a million recipes for oatmeal cream pies on the web, but the majority of them are either a> too complicated (for me), b> use buttercream (which is TOTALLY not what is inside of those things I ate as a kid), or c> too fancied up.  Continue reading

fluffernutter cake

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I already told you all about the Baked Sweet & Salty cake, and now the time has come to sing the praises of ye olde Fluffernutter Cake.

I will start by saying that I am surprised that there even was a fluffernutter cake, given the amount of cake batter I ate.

Peanut butter + cake batter is a dangerous combination.

Like, life-threatening.

I found this cake over on Faygie’s website (Life Tastes Good) and was immediately smitten. Anyone who has been on this site for more than millisecond probably knows that peanut butter is my one true love. Some of my earliest memories are when my uncle would come over with a small jar of Jif peanut butter and I would sit on the windowsill (with the curtain closed to conceal myself) and spoon it into my mouth over and over until the jar was gone.

Yeah, peanut butter and me, we go way back.

For those of you who DON’T know, a “Fluffernutter” is a sandwich composed of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. Part of everyone’s dietary requirements. It’s great because it can be lunch or dessert, or both at the same time! I know it sounds weird but I promise it’s delicious. Seriously delicious.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy a fluffernutter sandwich in your lifetime, now is the time. You’re (most likely) a grown up so go to the store with this list:

1. White bread. Like, Wonderbread white bread. This is a fluffernutter sandwich, let’s not try to get all high and mighty on your whole wheat train.

2. Marshmallow fluff. You’ve seen this stuff, it comes in a jar. Real marshmallows will NOT do, you need this super processed sugary spread. (Also great for dipping pretzels in, FYI)

3. Your favorite peanut butter.

Now assemble the ingredients like you’re making a PBJ but with fluff in place of the jelly. Congratulations, now you’re 5 years old again. You’re welcome.

So while I was (literally) laying in bed thinking about what kind of cake I wanted to have for my birthday… the thought occurred to try conjuring a peanut butter cake… I don’t know that I’ve ever actually consumed a peanut butter cake. Frosting, of course, but cake? I don’t think so.

Then, as fate would have it, the very next day our dearest Faygie posted this very same cake on her blog.

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Fate, people. FATE.

And who am I to ignore fate?

Generally speaking when you have a peanut butter cake (or brownie/blondie/cookie) a lot of the time it can end up just tasting like cooked peanut butter. It’s hard to describe, but almost like just slightly burned eau de peanut butter without having a real authentic peanut butter flavor.

I was thrilled to find that this cake (well, the cupcake version, which I ate fresh out of the oven) tasted like straight up cake filled with peanut butter flavor. As an added bonus, since my dream of double ovens has yet to come to fruition and I don’t believe in moving cakes once they are in the oven (sorry, I know I’m supposed to “rotate cakes halfway through baking” but that just sounds like someone trying to trick me into dropping a cake or shaking the bejeezus out of it until it falls – no thank you) I had to bake my cupcakes on the top third of the oven, which I assume is why they didn’t dome properly and instead had flat peanut-butter-cookie-like tops.

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It was seriously like someone baked a delicious soft and chewy peanut butter cookie and attached it to an amazingly tender peanut butter cake. I want to make it again just to see if I can make it happen on purpose…

I made my cake (as I do with most of my cakes) a week in advance and thawed and frosted it the day before serving, and stored it covered in the fridge. Whether it was just that the cake doesn’t hold up well to freezing, or perhaps just because the sides were left unfrosted (or likely the latter since the cupcakes seem to do fine), the served cake was definitely more dry than the fresh cake. The flavor was still great, but the texture definitely suffered. So, my tip to you, is to make this cake no more than 24 hours prior to serving (or to frost the sides, which may prove challenging with sticky marshmallow frosting).

**Update: I have eaten several of the peanut butter cupcakes after they were frozen and thawed and they were amazing. So, my advice to you is that if you want to assemble this cake in advance to MAKE SURE YOU COVER THE SIDES OF THE CAKE with plastic wrap or foil to keep the cake from drying out. Alternatively, you could frost the sides of the cake which will likely solve any potential dryness problems.**

Additionally, for the first time in probably ever, I ran out of vanilla extract when it was time to make this frosting. Even though the frosting recipe doesn’t call for extract, my intuition told me that it would definitely benefit from a little extra kick of flavor – and I was right. The marshmallow fluff, though delicious. would have definitely benefited from the extra boost of flavor that a bit of vanilla would have offered. Oh, and I toasted some of the frosting. Because toasting and marshmallows go together like peas and carrots … or … you know… something and something else that go together really well.

Below is the side-by-side I did to taste-test the cakes before serving them for my birthday. Just like the sweet & salty cake, though this recipe made layers, I only had two cake pans of the right size so I got 4 layers and a dozen cupcakes. Which works out well for me because now I have a variety of cupcakes stashed in my freezer (win!).

cupcakes 2

Without further adieu, Fluffernutter Cake (with my notes).

Fluffernutter Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Yield: One 8-inch cake (3 to 6 layers)

Ingredients

    Peanut Butter Cake:
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter(*)
  • Marshmallow Frosting
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Instructions

    For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans(*1) by lining with parchment and greasing. (I use Pam for Baking)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla until well combined.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and both sugars on low speed until combined. Add the softened butter and peanut butter, and mix on medium speed until the mixture is combined, it will be dry and crumbly.
  4. Add 1/3 of the milk mixture, and beat on medium speed for a couple of minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and add another 1/3 of the milk mixture, mixing well. Scrape the bowl down again, and the remaining milk mixture, and mix well, until smooth and creamy. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared pans (Faygie recommends a kitchen scale and I second her recommendation! I think each of mine were about 750g each, although my last "layer" was cupcakes so 3 layers may be different.)
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers of the cakes comes out clean, and the top of the cakes springs back when lightly poked, about 50-55 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn the layers out onto a rack to cool completely.
  6. For the frosting:
  7. Combine the sugar, egg whites, and salt in a heat-resistant bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water (think "double boiler" method here). Whisk constantly until the mixture is frothy and hot to the touch, about 5 to 7 minutes(*2). No, your arm won't fall off (though it will feel like it wants to).
  8. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed, using the whisk attachment. Continue beating until it gets fluffy, then add vanilla. Continue to beat on high until it’s thick, shiny, and bright white, and the bowl is cool to the touch. This took me about 7 minutes but that was using my Kitchen Aid Pro mixer, other mixers may take longer.
  9. To assemble the cake:
  10. Use a serrated knife to even out the tops of your cakes and cut each cake in half horizontally, as evenly as possible.
  11. Spread a 1/6 of the frosting onto the bottom layer of cake. Top with additional layer and repeat with the rest of the cake layers and frosting(*3), ending with the frosting.

Notes

* Generally speaking you don't want to use a "natural" peanut butter for baking. I always use Jif)

* I recommend baking this cake no more than one day before serving. If you intend to freeze the cake before serving, I recommend frosting the sides of the cake to help to keep it from drying out.

*1. I used two cake pans and poured the rest of the batter into cupcake tins and baked them separately. They took about 25 minutes to bake as cupcakes and served as a good deterrent to keep Future Husband from trying to attack the actual cake layers.

*2. If you want to be sure your mixture has reached the right temperature - you're looking to get to about 160 - 165F (this will kill any bacteria in the eggs) - if you don't have a thermometer it should be the temperature at which your sugar is completely dissolved. If you rub the egg white mixture between your thumb and forefinger it should feel smooth and not grainy.

*3. I used my hand-torch to "toast" my inner marshmallow layers for fun. It wasn't super noticeable flavor-wise. My ambition was to toast "Happy Birthday" into the top layer of frosting, but then I remembered that I suck at that - lacking both the handwriting skills and the torch skills to do so. If you have more skills (or are more brave) than I, it could be a fun embellishment.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/04/01/fluffernutter-cake-peanut-butter-cake-with-marshmallow-frosting/

[ Adapted from Life Tastes Good who adapted it from Piece of Cake]

easy cereal treats

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July will be over in two days, and with it so too will be my no-bake recipe streak.  At least that’s the plan.

These weren’t even part of the plan.  These were the result of me actually having cereal for breakfast on Sunday morning, and realizing that I have far too many boxes of cereal… and that the only option (aside form throwing them away) was to eat my way out (much like the Pop Tart in that new commercial).

Clearly, throwing out boxes and boxes of perfectly good cereal is not an option.  So, I made a plan to eat my way out of my cereal problem… With math!

Everyone knows that marhsmallows + cereal = delicious.  See?  Math!  So, I found my last two bags of marshmallows, picked my most promising (and full) two  boxes of cereal… and then… this happened.

See?  Easy.

And the winners?  Well, those were easy to choose.

      

Oh yeah, did I forget to tell you that this was a double feature?  Two recipes, one post.

Well, two cereals, the recipe is pretty much the same, hence the one post.  Cookies & Cream, and Cinnamon Roll.  Yeah, I know I just made oreo krispy treats, but these are different.  You don’t have to add any cookies to them, because the cereal is already full of delicious cookie flavor.

Of course, a few Oreos never hurt anyone, did they?

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BF liked the cookies n cream better, I liked the cinnamon roll better.  You will have to make both and decide for yourself.

As an added bonus, you can easily modify the recipe to your liking with any cereal of your choosing.  Think: Trix, or Peanut Butter Crunch, even Kix!

And now, with 2 boxes down, I’ve only got 7 more to get through before I can start buying more cereal…. I’m totally not exaggerating.

Cookies & Cream Cereal Treats

Makes one 9-by-13-inch pan

Printable Recipe

  • 6 cups cereal
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag mini marshmallows
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup vanilla or white chocolate chips

1.  Melt butter in a large pot over low heat.  Add marshmallows and stir until melted.  Remove from heat and add cereal, stirring to coat.  Add chocolate and vanilla chips.

2.  Press mixture  into 9 by 13-inch pan.  Cool completely and then slice into desired-size bars.

 

Cinnamon Roll Cereal Treats

Makes one 9-by-13-inch pan

Printable Recipe 

  • 6 cups cereal
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag mini marshmallows
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup cinnamon chips

1.  Melt butter in a large pot over low heat.  Add marshmallows and stir until melted.  Remove from heat and add cereal, stirring to coat.  Add cinnamon chips.

2.  Press mixture  into 9 by 13-inch pan.  Cool completely and then slice into desired-size bars.

rocky road ice cream

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Something about the summer, I just want to eat ice cream all day every day.

Possibly related to it being hotter than the sun outside.  I’m not sure.

So, recently I’ve been keeping cool with this delicious, decadent, deeply-chocolatey ice cream.  Swirled with fudge ripple, chocolate-covered peanuts, and marshmallows.  Home-made rocky road.

And don’t think that just because there are toppings mixed in, that you can’t make a sundae out of it.  See down there?  It’s got this whole S’mores-Rocky-Road hybrid thing goin’ on.  And it’s good.  Very good. You may remember it from such hits as “my way to use Jeni’s gravel” (below)

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I was never a fan of rocky road growing up… I’ve had a long-standing prejudice against nuts in my baked goods.  I still refuse to eat brownies with walnuts, but ice cream with peanuts (especially these ones, which are covered in chocolate) is something I have managed to make room for in my life.

To make this ice cream, you just use your favorite chocolate ice cream (I provided my favorite chocolate ice cream recipe below), layered with chocolate sauce, peanuts, and marshmallows.  Super easy.

If you have your own favorite chocolate ice cream recipe, feel free to use that one.  But, if you’ve never made Jeni’s, I highly recommend giving it a try.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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This ice cream is so good it’s even making itself drool.

Rocky Road Ice Cream

Makes: 1 pint

Printable Recipe

  • 1 recipe chocolate ice cream (recipe below)
  • 1 recipe fudge sauce (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate-covered peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, dutch-processed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

1.  Whisk all ingredients except salt and vanilla in a medium saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil, whisking constantly.

2.  Once it boils, continue whisking for 1 minute over heat.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt; set aside to cool to room temperature.  Once cooled, transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

3.  Sauce can be stored up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

For the base:

  • 1 C whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s 72% Dark, figuring it was close enough)
  • 1/4 C heavy cream
  • 1 C evaporated milk
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1. Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl (this is called “making a slurry”). Set aside.

2. Chop chocolate and put it into a medium bowl. Fill a separate large bowl with ice water.

3. Combine the remaining milk, the cream, evaporated milk, sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add the cocoa, whisking until well-mixed. Continue boiling for 4 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return to heat and bring back to a boil, stirring with a spatula, until slightly thickened (about 1 minute).

5. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the chocolate. Add salt and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

6. Pour mixture into a 1-gallon freezer bag and submerge sealed bag in ice water until cold (appx 30 minutes).

7. Pour bag contents into frozen ice cream machine and spin until thick and creamy (about 25 minutes in Cuisinart 2 gallon machine).

8. Layer ice cream in 1 quart storage container (those Ziploc ones work perfectly) – First spread a layer of fudge sauce, sprinkled with peanuts and marshmallow, then a layer of ice cream, then another layer of fudge sauce, peanuts marshmallows, etc… (see video for reference if this instruction isn’t clear) 😉  When done, press a layer of plastic or parchment against the top of the ice cream and cover with lid.  Place in coldest part of freezer for at least 4 hours, or until firm.

rocky road pin

[ ice cream base adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home ]

[ fudge ripple adapted from The Perfect Scoop ]

In Defense of Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day gets a lot of grief from an ever-growing anti-Valentine crowd.  The “nonbelievers” (as I shall call them) seem to think that it’s not a “real” holiday.  Another excuse is that you should show someone you love them every day and “not just on Valentine’s Day.”

So,  maybe Valentine’s Day has become overly-commercialized, unlike  St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras, which are “real” and happily-celebrated holidays (at least by the non-believers that I know).  And maybe it has been hijacked by greeting card and candy companies, unlike those other real holidays (I’m lookin’ at you, Christmas and Easter).

I happen to like Valentine’s Day.  Possibly because I have a severe medium addiction to chocolate and will happily celebrate any holiday that make it acceptable for me to receive an entire box of it, but also because it’s a pretty easy holiday.  I only have one gift to buy, only one other person to feed, and I don’t have to binge-drink 1,000 pounds of green food coloring.  (Red food coloring is way better for your health, true story*)

*Totally not a true story.  Just made that up to support my argument. 

Of course, Valentine’s Day is not about candy or presents, and you don’t need a special day to show someone that you love them (If you are only showing affection one day out of the year, there may be many issues at play there).  The BF and I do little things for each other every day, but going out of your way to not celebrate a day that is dedicated to the one(s) you love just seems like a silly concept.

To me, at least.

So, even if you do something special every day, why not do it on February 14th?  What did February 14th ever do to you?

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Even if you don’t have a sweetheart, you can spread the love to your friends and/or co-workers.   What’s wrong with having just one more day of the year that you can show the people you love (or just the people you spend your day with) that you care?

And, even if you’re still not convinced…  Even if you’re still set on being a Valentine Scrooge…

Even if you “don’t believe” in Valentine’s Day…

I’m pretty sure that you probably believe in brownies.

So, Scrooge, make these brownies on the 13th, or the 15th, or make them in April for all I care.

Make the frosting orange or blue or whatever color you want, crush up the hearts and sprinkle them on top, broken and shattered.

But please, don’t take your hatred of Valentine’s Day out on these poor, innocent brownies.  Don’t let your Scroogeness (totally a word) prevent you from trying these delicious, bite-size morsels.

So make these for your sweetheart, or your friends, or your co-workers, or yourself.

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Not super into the whole chocolate/strawberry combo?  The frosting recipe for this is like the easiest thing ever and infinitely adaptable.  You can just replace strawberry jam with the flavor of your choice:  Raspberry jam?  Peanut butter?  Nothing at all?  Whatever floats your boat.

After I made these, I totally realized that I did a strawberry and chocolate combo last year for Valentine’s Day, too.  What can I say, chocolate and strawberry is the BF’s favorite combo, and Valentine’s Day is all about him.

Well, for me it is.  Hopefully not for you.  That would just be silly.  (Plus I would totally fight you.*)

*Just kidding.  I love you.  It’s Valentine’s Day.  Have a brownie.

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Valentine Brownie Bites with Strawberry Marshmallow Frosting

Makes: 24 mini brownie bites with frosting

Note: Following the recipe from its source yielded WAY MORE than the 24 mini brownies that it claimed, I’ve provided the halved recipe below, which should give you enough for 24 brownie bites and frosting for each. 

Printable Recipe

For the brownies:

  • 1 cup  sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the frosting:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 7-ounce container of  marshmallow fluff
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup seedless strawberry jam
  • pink or red food coloring, if desired
  • decorations, if desired

Make the brownies:
1.  Preheat oven to 350°F and line a mini muffin tin with 24 of the cutest  mini paper liners you can find.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just incorporated.
3.  Spoon into 24 prepared mini paper liners and bake  for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes of baking, turn the heat off and leave pan in the oven for another 5 to 6  minutes.  Remove pan from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing individual brownie bites to a rack to cool completely.  The tops will be dry and slightly cracked.
(To make in standard muffin tins, bake for 19-20 minutes at 350°F, then turn off the oven and let sit for another 10 minutes before removing from the oven.  Cool in the pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to complete cooling.)

Make the frosting:
1, In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy.  Add marshmallow fluff and continue beating until combined.  Add the powdered sugar and mix to incorporate, then and the jam and continue beating until it is evenly distributed.
At this point the frosting will be a light pink or red color depending on the jam you used, you can beat in food coloring (I did) to achieve your desired color.

2. Top brownie bites with frosting and sprinkles.  I scooped the frosting into a gallon-size ziplock and cut off one of the corners of the bag making an opening between ¼ to ½ inch in diameter.  Gently squeeze frosting into the cupcake, creating a frosting “bubble”.

[ Adapted from: A Farmgirl’s Dabbles ]
If you like these brownies, you may enjoy these other romantic sweets:
dsc_5818small  mocha brownie thumb  chocolate cake thumb