Happy Birthday to Me (and the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Obsession Continues)


I’m here, I’m alive, I’ve survived another year! Go me! I know it’s been awhile since we’ve seen each other, but it’s been a busy year so it’s been hard to find time to sit down and blog. But, I’M BACK KIDS! It’s my birthday gift to me (and you)! For those of you who have been around awhile, you may be aware that every year I make my own birthday cake. This year was no exception. Previous birthdays included:

When I saw this cheesecake over on Smitten Kitchen, I just knew I needed to make it for my birthday. With layers of chocolate cookie crust, rich chocolate fudge, and creamy peanut butter cheesecake, all topped off with a chocolate ganache.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Ingredients

    For the crust
  • 9 oz (1 package) Nabisco chocolate wafers
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • For the fudge
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 13 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • For the cheesecake
  • 2 8-oz packages full fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup full fat sour cream, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the ganache
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter

Instructions

    Prepare the pan
  1. Cover the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with two layers of aluminum foil.
  2. For the crust
  3. Finely crush wafers in a food processor until they make fine crumbs. Add chocolate chips and brown sugar a pulse to combine. Add butter and continue pulsing until thoroughly moistened. (If you don't have a food processor, you can crush the cookies in a heavy duty ziploc bag using a rolling pin, then pour into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients).
  4. Transfer the crumbs to the springform pan and press them up the sides of the pan almost to the top (within a half inch) and into the bottom of the pan to form the crust. Place in refrigerator to chill while you make the fudge.
  5. Make the fudge
  6. Bring heavy cream to a simmer in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add the chocolate and peanut butter, whisking until smooth. Pour into pan and spread into an even layer. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes, until firm.
  7. Make the cheesecake
  8. Preheat the oven to 325°F
  9. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed.
  10. Scrape down the sides and add the sour cream, beating to combine.
  11. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated.
  12. Add vanilla and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides and bottom to ensure everything is evenly mixed. Pour cheesecake over the fudge layer.
  13. Bake in a water bath
  14. Place foil-wrapped springform pan into a roasting pan large enough to hold it.
  15. Fill the pan with enough hot water to come 1 inch up the side of the springform pan and transfer very carefully to the oven.
  16. If you don't want to use a water bath, you can bake it without a water bath as well, but the water bath is more gentle. To bake without a water bath, simply place your springform pan onto a baking sheet in the oven. (The baking sheet will make it easier to remove when the cheesecake is done).
  17. Bake the cheesecake for 75 to 90 minutes until the cake is mostly firm but will still jiggle a bit in the middle when poked. If you like to be more scientific, the center of the cheesecake should reach about 150-155°F on an instant read thermometer. The top will be a light golden brown.
  18. When done, allow to cool about 30 minutes on a wire rack, then transfer to the refrigerator for at 3 hours (or longer).
  19. Make the ganache
  20. Heat cream in a small saucepan until simmering.
  21. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and peanut butter, whisking until smooth and shiny.
  22. Pour onto the cheesecake and spread evenly across the top of the cheesecake.
  23. Return cheesecake to fridge for at least 30 minutes, until the ganache has set.
  24. Serve the cheesecake
  25. Run a small offset spatula or butter knife around the outside of the cake to make sure it doesn't stick to the pan. Unhinge the sides to remove the bottom piece containing the cheesecake.
  26. To cut the cheesecake, run a sharp knife under hot water and wipe with a warm damp cloth. Cut into thin slices, pressing firmly at the bottom to ensure you cut through the crust layer at the bottom, wiping the knife as needed.
http://wee-eats.com/2017/03/15/happy-birthday-chocolate-peanut-butter-cheesecake/

[ Recipe from Smitten Kitchen ]

Baked Occasionally December – Peanut Butter Butterscotch Cookies

peanut-butter-cookies-wee-eats

It’s already been a whole year of our Baked Occasionally series, can you believe it!? It’s only logical that we would close the year with a recipe from their Christmas Cookie selection. This month, we each selected our own recipes, with Shannon choosing the whipped shortbread cookies and me choosing these beauties.

These cookies bake of wonderfully soft and chewy, filled with butterscotch and topped with a sprinkle of fleur de sel they are the perfect balance of salty and sweet, and will make the perfect addition to your Christmas cookie collection.  Continue reading

baked occasionally october – peanut butter and jelly muffins

baked-occasionally-pbj-muffins

It’s no secret that Shannon and I are big fans of peanut butter and jelly.

Shannon’s pbj ice cream, and my pbj birthday cake, we can hardly get enough of the stuff. Hardly a week goes by where I don’t consume at least one of my favorite pbj sandwiches (Jif Natural, creamy of course, with Favorit raspberry jam, and maybe a couple fruit slices or potato chips stuffed in for crunch). It’s impossible to resist.

So, it should surprise no one that Shannon’s choice for October’s Baked Occasionally series was the Peanut Butter & Jelly muffins from Baked Occasions.

You will have some batter (and streusel) left over, don’t try to stuff it into the muffin tins (or, read that line after you’ve been stuffing, whatever). If you use the fancy leaf muffin liners, you can use more batter and streusel than normal because they are taller and will hold more. This, however, will also add a few minutes to your baking time.

Tender, slightly sweet peanut butter muffins, filled with just a bit of sweet, sticky jam and topped with crunchy peanut streusel. There’s really not a single thing wrong with these.

pbj-muffin

What I liked:

  • Easy to make – Despite being a filled and topped treat, these muffins were pretty easy to make, actually. I used a large scoop for the batter and a small scoop for the filling and it seemed to work out perfectly!
  • Not too sweet – The flavor melds perfectly with sweet filling paired with a peanut-buttery muffin and topped with sweet, crunchy streusel. The muffin itself isn’t too sweet, which is good because it helps to keep this recipe nice and balanced without being tooth-achingly sweet.

What I didn’t like:

  • The filling – Of course you need jelly for it to be “PB&J” and I didn’t really “dislike” the jelly, I just wasn’t sure how much it added to these guys. It felt like, if anything, it didn’t add enough jelly flavor for it to be worth the effort. I remember thinking that someone should invent “jelly chips” (like chocolate chips, but filled with jelly and without any chocolate!) and they would be great here because you could evenly dispense the jelly flavor. ANYWAY – If you weren’t up to the effort of dropping tiny spoonfulls of jelly into your muffin cups, you could definitely just serve it on the side, with the added bonus of everyone being able to choose their own jelly flavor!
  • One more super tiny note – Again, more of a ‘note’ than a “dislike” really. A couple of my peanuts burned while baking, so you could either tent the muffins with foil for the last five minutes or so of baking, or you can just leave out the peanuts, either way will work just fine.

The Verdict:

  • All in all? These are a winner! Bake some up for your next brunch or take them to work (your co-workers will thank you, trust me).

As always, my PIC (that’s “partner in crime”) Shannon has her own beautiful post right here where she shares her thoughts on the recipe, but with much prettier pictures. 🙂

wee-eats-pbj-muffin

peanut butter & jelly muffins

Ingredients

    For the Crumb Topping
  • ½ cup (75 g) salted, roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup (130 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1?3 cup (75 g) dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 ounces (¾ stick/85 g) unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • For the Muffin Batter
  • 1¾ cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (110 g) dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk, room temperature
  • ½ cup (115 g) sour cream (not low-fat), room temperature
  • ½ cup (130 g) creamy peanut butter
  • 1?3 cup (75 ml) canola oil
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1?3 to ½ cup jelly of choice

Instructions

    For the crumb topping
  1. Finely chop peanuts and put in a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk in the flour, brown sugar, and salt.
  3. Pour melted butter over the mixture and fold the ingredients together until the mixture is crumb-like. If you press some together inside your fist, it should form a solid piece. Set aside.
  4. For the muffins
  5. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Lightly spray each cup of a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and use a paper towel to spread the oil evenly along the bottom and up the sides of each cup. Alternatively, you can line the muffin tin with liners.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, both sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, until well combined. Be sure to break up any lumps of brown sugar.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, sour cream, peanut butter, oil, egg, and vanilla.
  8. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well.
  9. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.
  10. Drop about 2 tablespoons of batter into each cup of the prepared muffin pan. Use the back of a clean, lightly oiled spoon (or silicone spoon) to flatten the batter and make a slight indentation into the center.
  11. Place 1 rounded teaspoon of jelly onto the muffin batter in each cup, being careful to keep it in the center of the cup.
  12. Top the jelly with another 2 tablespoons of muffin batter to cover the jelly completely, using the back of a spoon to gently spread the batter into an even layer. It's best to start on the outside of the muffin cup so that you don't spread the jelly towards the outside. The muffin cups should be not quite full.
  13. Note: You might end up with excess batter. Do not try to force it into the cups; simply make one or two extra muffins.
  14. Cover the surface of each muffin cup with a small handful of crumbs, pressing the mixture ever so gently so that it adheres to the top. If you use the pretty muffin liners , you can probably fit a very generous amount of streusel onto the top of the muffin, but will likely have some left over.
  15. Bake muffins, rotating halfway through the baking time, until the crumb topping turns a golden brown, 14 to 18 minutes.
  16. Baking the muffins:
  17. If a toothpick inserted into a muffin near the edge (avoiding the jelly center) should come out clean (disregarding any topping or jelly that might stick), bake them for a minute more—these muffins might sink in the middle if not baked all the way.
  18. Let the muffins cool almost completely in the pan on a cooling rack.
  19. If you used the aforementioned liners, removal is easy peasy. Otherwise, angle the muffin tin slightly and use a small offset spatula or a butter knife to coax the muffins out of their tins. Place muffins on the cooling rack until completely cool.
  20. These can be stored in an airtight container for 1 day, or wrapped in saran and stored in the freezer for up to a month.

Notes

- You will have extra batter and streusel topping from this. You can make an extra muffin or two, if you like and save some of the streusel, refrigerated, for another use.

- If you don't feel like filling your muffins, I think jelly would be just as good if not better served alongside these muffins, rather than filled.

- If you notice your topping browning a bit too quickly, tent the muffins with foil for the last 5 or 10 minutes of baking.

http://wee-eats.com/2016/10/03/baked-occasionally-october-peanut-butter-and-jelly-muffins/

Bake along – Get the book here!

Check out Shannon’s post here.

This post contains an affiliate link – purchasing through this link will help to support the existence of this blog. 

thursday things

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DREAMS REALLY DO COME TRUE – after a lifetime of eating Jif peanut butter they finally acknowledged my existence 🙂 Of course, I’d love some free peanut butter but nothing will work just as well. For the record – the Cinnamon Jif tastes like Teddy Grahams and Maple tastes like deliciousness.

In case you haven’t heard, Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg are making their own cooking show.

Some disgruntled Pizza Roll purchasers inspired the most romantic love story ever (involving pizza rolls).

Oreo finally made a flavor that I have no desire to try.

Godzilla isn’t winning a gold medal for soccer anytime soon.

A college in Ohio has the first ever pizza vending machine.

Science has finally done something useful with itself by cracking the code to keep avocados green!

Will someone please tell me where I can find a cucamelon? Seriously. I need this in my life.

This fall, Starbucks will be offering almond milk in your pumpkin spice latte.

In case you need a new Twitter account follow, allow me to recommend 100% Goats, offering 200% goats 300% of the time!

a momofuku-inspired peanut butter & jelly birthday cake

pbj_cake_wee_eats_1340

It’s become a tradition around here where every year I bake my own birthday cake. It’s my gift to myself every year that I challenge myself a little bit to come up with a recipe and execute it.

It started with the chocolate peanut butter cake, from there I moved on to fluffernutter cake, sweet & salty cake, and then the Momofuku themes with confetti cake, and last year’s chocolate chip cake. This year I fulfilled my childhood dream with my very own peanut butter and jelly cake. Continue reading