Peanut Butter Pie Jars

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One of Michael’s pet peeves with me is that I’ll perfect a recipe, and then move on to the next challenge. He claims that once a recipe is perfected, it’s never to be seen again.

I say that’s nonsense.
He’s completely mistaken.
Ok, yeah. He might be right..

This past summer, I wanted to recreate Mike’s favorite peanut butter pie that I buy for him from the patisserie at my beloved Wegmans. I thought that the whipped peanut butter filling would be my challenge, but it turned out that the crust was the challenge! I tried several different crusts (oreo, graham cracker, etc) before I actually got it right. Because this pie is for him, it was only right that Mike should be the taste tester, and as the pie recipe progressed, he was actually the one who chose the final crust. “You nailed it, mom”…was finally music to my ears!!

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I admit, I haven’t made it in a while, and he’s been asking for it on a weekly basis, probably for the last three months. I figured I better get it made before I prove him right!

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I think the best part of this dessert is that you can make it into the actual pie, or make it into a tartlet, a cake, mini dessert cups, or bake it right in individual canning jars for easy transport! Mike doesn’t care what shape or form it is when I make it, as long as I actually make it!!   He was just as happy with them in jars this time around, as he was with the tart shown above.  He didn’t even mention the missing Reeses cups!

Life is good. Life is “whipped peanut butter and a happy son” good.

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Peanut Butter Pie Jars

You can easily make this into a 9” x 13” pan by doubling the recipe for the crust, the whipped peanut butter, and the whipped cream.

Brownie Crust
3/4 cup all purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pan(s) or jars by spraying with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Pour into prepared pan(s) or jars. Bake for about 30 minutes or until toothpick, when inserted, comes out clean. Let cool completely.

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Whipped Peanut Butter
1 – 8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup peanut butter
1 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Transfer to another bowl, and set aside. In mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese , peanut butter, and vanilla. Fold in the whipped cream until it’s well blended.

Spread over brownie crust.

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Whipped Cream:
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 tsp sugar (or more, depending on how sweet you like your cream)
1 tsp vanilla

In a large mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Stir in the vanilla. Refrigerate until ready to use. Spread over whipped peanut butter.

Chocolate Sauce:
Note: Don’t make this until you have assembled the pie, and are ready to drizzle with chocolate sauce.

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-2 tbsp heavy cream

In a small microwave proof bowl, add the chips and one tablespoon of heavy cream. Cook on high in your microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave, and stir until all of the chips are melted. If it’s too thick to drizzle, add another tablespoon of heavy cream, and keep adding drops of heavy cream until it’s “drizzle” consistency.
Drizzle over whipped cream.

Assemble the Pie:
Brownie Crust
Whipped Peanut Butter
Whipped Cream
Chocolate Sauce
Mini Reeses Cups (Optional)

It doesn’t matter whether you’re making a pie, mini tartlets, a big tartlet, a cake, or individual jars, the crust is the first layer. You can keep it right in the pan that it was baked, unless you’re using a removable bottom tart pan.

Spread the whipped peanut butter over the crust. Top with whipped cream. Drizzle with the chocolate sauce. Garnish with a mini Reeses cup.

Enjoy!

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Spanish Bar Cake

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I’ve never been a fan of spice cake. Now, I say that I’m not a fan, but that does NOT mean that if you put a piece in front of me, I wouldn’t eat it. Quite the contrary, I would eat it, and I would most likely enjoy it. I know. It’s crazy. But it’s cake, and I love cake! Just not spice cake.

Having said all that nonsense, there are times that I’ll get a craving for Spanish Bar Cake. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking…. Spanish Bar Cake is basically a spice cake with raisins. But it’s so dense and moist at the same time, and with all of those plump little raisins in every bite, how can I resist?

I’m fickle.
I’m spice cake fickle.

Add cream cheese frosting to the insanity, and I’m over the edge. Throw some walnuts on top, there’s no going back, and you’ll find me heading for that second piece.

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Now ask me about spice cake.
And I’ll tell you I’m in love.

Fickle.

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Spanish Bar Cake

Just a quick note: I had to call my mom for this recipe, as she is the keeper of all things good. While she was reading her ingredient list to me, she said that it calls for two cups of granulated sugar. But then she said that there was a hand written note that said you could use one cup of granulated sugar, and one cup of brown sugar.

After thinking about it for about one-fifth of a second, she said: “I think that’s what you should do. The molasses in the brown sugar will bring such a great flavor to this cake”.

Mom was right. I love her.

Things to do first:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour a 9” x 13” pan

The Ingredients:
3 cups water
2 cups dark raisins
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp salt
2 cups sugar (~or~ one cup granulated sugar plus one cup brown sugar)
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
4 cups flour

In a large saucepan, bring the water to boil over high heat. Add the raisins, vegetable shortening, cinnamon, cloves, and coffee to the boiling water. Remove from heat, and let cool.

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In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar(s), and salt until well blended. Add the cooled raisin mixture and beat until well blended, about three minutes.

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Pour into prepared 9” x 13” pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely.

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NOTE: Baking time will most likely vary. While this recipe called for 1-hour baking time, it only took 45 minutes in my oven. Keep an eye on the cake while it’s baking.

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Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 – 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
½ cup softened butter
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Spread over cake, and sprinkle with chopped walnuts if desired.

Enjoy!

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Cream Cheese Filled Bananas Foster Pancakes

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I had such a craving for bananas last week.  You know, weeks and weeks can go by, and I don’t give them a second thought, but then all of a sudden, one day, I need a banana. Who knows why that is, but it is.  I tend to do that with fruit. Don’t get me wrong…I do manage to get my daily servings of fruit in (or try to). Oranges, apples, bananas, grapes… sometimes I can’t get enough of them, and other times, I forget all about them until the craving strikes.

Except black cherries and nectarines.
They’re my favorites, and I’d eat them everyday if I could get my hands on them.

So, last week I went a bought a bunch of bananas; and I ate a couple of them a day for about three or four days until I had my fill of them.  It seems that the rest of the family did not share my craving, because this morning I noticed that there were still three of them sitting on the counter, and they were in pretty rough shape.  I came really close to just tossing them, when the idea hit me…  Banana pancakes.

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I was just about to make breakfast anyway… which was going to be breakfast sandwiches, but now I had a change in menu. I started to gather all of the ingredients, and knew that I had half of a bag of pecans leftover from Christmas cookies. I thought that they would be really good in the pancakes too.  I opened the fridge to grab some eggs, and noticed a container of leftover whipped cream. With the pecans on my brain, and the whipped cream… another idea hit me… Bananas Foster pancakes.

Ok, so the plan was to make plain pancakes, and serve them with Bananas Foster drizzled on top with a dollop of whipped cream.  Sounds really good, doesn’t it?

Well…as I was digging through the fridge, I found a block of cream cheese. And of course, yet another idea hit me.  Stuff the pancakes with a cream cheese filling, Bananas Foster on top, and a dollop of whipped cream.

Perfect.
And they were.
And Delicious.

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Since I wanted to stuff the pancakes, I wanted them to be on the thinner side.  But not so much a crepe, because I still wanted the fluffy cake of the pancake, so I used my regular pancake recipe..and reduced the flour to two cups. I didn’t want the cream cheese filling too sweet, so that the pancake, along with the filling, helped to balance the sweetness of the bananas.  It all worked perfectly.

I just know you’ll love these pancakes, not only for their wonderful taste, but for the ease of preparation!

Cream Cheese Filled Bananas Foster Pancakes

The Pancakes
Makes 8 pancakes

Just a quick note…  Since these pancakes spread out in the pan, I used a larger frying pan, and cooked one pancake at a time.

There were four of us this morning, and I figured two pancakes per person.  Wrong.  One pancake per person is more than enough.  Well, for the normal eater, that is.  For a big eater, then I’d figure on two pancakes.

2 cups cake flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
Vegetable oil for greasing pan

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk and vegetable oil just until the ingredients are moistened and blended.

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Grease the frying pan with a little bit of vegetable oil, and heat over medium-low heat. It’s ready when a drop of water dances when splashed onto the pan. For each pancake, add 1/3 cup pancake batter to the pan. When the top of the pancake begins to bubble, it’s ready to flip. Cook for about another minute and a half. Remove from the frying pan to a dish. Repeat until the batter is gone.

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The Cream Cheese Filling
1 8 oz block cream cheese
1 cup whipped cream
½ cup powdered sugar

In a small mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese, whipped cream, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  Set aside.

Bananas Foster
I kind of winged it with the Bananas Foster, so I’m not even certain this can be called authentic. I know that whipped cream in the mixture sounds unusual, but I had so much leftover, I wanted to use it up.  Honestly?  It made the sauce on the creamy caramel side, and it really worked.  If you don’t have whipped cream, then use heavy cream.  I think it would work just was well.  It’s a pretty basic recipe, and you really can’t go wrong with the butter and brown sugar measurements. If you want a little more butter, go for it.  If you want it a little more caramelly, then add more brown sugar. The measurements in this recipe made the sauce a little on the thick side.

3 bananas, your preferred slice
½ stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup whipped cream, or heavy cream
3/4 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or even hazelnuts
1 tsp vanilla paste (extract will be just fine too)
½ tsp salt
¼ cup dark rum

Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the brown sugar and cook on low heat until the sugar melts into a caramel sauce.  Add the pecans, vanilla, salt, and whipped cream.  Simmer on low for about three minutes. Add the bananas and cook for about a minute.  Stir in the rum, and then CAREFULLY with a kitchen torch, ignite the sauce.  It will flame for about 45 seconds or so, and then will go out on it’s own.  I couldn’t get my camera to capture the flame, and that’s so sad, because it’s so pretty when it’s flaming.  Remove from heat.  Serve immediately on the pancakes (or ice cream, or French toast, or waffles, or on a spoon directly to the mouth… )

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Assembling the Pancakes
Fill each pancake with about 1/3 cup cream cheese filling, and fold in half.  Top with Bananas Foster. Add a dollop of whipped cream to the top, and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Enjoy!

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