When I found the recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake on the Smitten Kitchen website, I knew that it would be what I made Alex for his birthday. And I did, a little late, in 2014. It turned out beautifully, perfectly, but I never got around to blogging about it. So this year again, I baked for his birthday.
This is a fantastic cheesecake. The chocolate cookie crust was delicious, as was the peanut butter cheesecake, as was the chocolate fudge layer hidden beneath the cheesecake layer. Chocolate ganache covers the entire thing (and hides any cracks or flaws you might have, though mine surprisingly didn’t crack). The peanut butter cheesecake was smooth and creamy; it paired perfectly with all the chocolate. Overall this was a dense and rich cheesecake. I needed to cut slices very thin – about as thin as I could with a cheesecake – in order to be able to finish a slice. The only downside was that the crust was a little dense and hard in the corners where the sides met the bottom; that was the case two years ago as well, and I wish I knew how to fix that.
Given the separate layers, I find this an impressive dessert to make. No layer was particularly difficult to make. It took a little time and planning, but I didn’t have trouble making it with my toddler watching me (though it helped that she snacked on chocolate animal crackers in the meantime). I had it done in a morning, aside from the ganache on top.
If you love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, this is definitely a dessert for you.
I didn’t have a lot of motivation for Bread Week 35, so I decided to take the opportunity to use up a few extremely overripe bananas in a Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Banana Bread recipe that was on the back of the bag of whole wheat flour I bought at Target.
I realize that it’s been a few weeks since my last blog post… I was caught up with finally reading the Hunger Games trilogy, the beginnings of softball season since I’m playing on a rec league, finishing up taxes, and then catching up on the rest of life that I put off for the first three. I’ve made a few delicious recipes that I’m looking forward to showing you over the next couple of weeks.
I’m not always a big fan of peanut butter, but on Saturday I came across this recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies and decided I needed to make them. Perfect thing for a movie night at home.
Very easy recipe to make. Mix together flour, baking soda and powder, and salt. Separately, cream softened butter (I accidentally melted mine) and peanut butter. Add brown and granulated sugars, then beat in one egg, vanilla, and milk. Add flour mixture, and stir in peanut butter and chocolate chips. The instructions say to drop teaspoonfuls of dough into sugar to coat them, but Alex didn’t want them rolled in sugar. I did that to a few of them, and the rest we just rolled into balls. We placed them (probably about 2 inches apart) on Silpat-lined baking sheets, and put the characteristic criss-cross pattern on top of each cookie with a fork, trying sure not to flatten them much. They were perfectly done after 10 minutes in a 350F oven. This recipe yielded 54 cookies for me.
These were pretty good. They had soft centers with crisp edges. I’m sure the brown sugar helped with that. I enjoyed the peanut butter and chocolate chips in them, and I only wish that I’d added more chocolate chips (I was a little short). Some cookies had more chips of both flavors, and Alex thought that was fun – it was like having two kinds of cookies, one that was just plain peanut butter cookies, and one with something extra. I honestly wasn’t that impressed with the sugar-coated ones – the sugar didn’t add anything for me. Are these better than other peanut butter cookies? I can’t really compare them. I don’t usually eat or make peanut butter cookies, but they’re always delicious when I do. If you do like peanut butter cookies, by all means give this recipe a try to see how you like it!
Ever since I found the recipe for Chocolatey Peanut Butter and Banana Bread in my Better Homes and Gardens 1998 Recipes Cookbook, Alex has been telling me I should make it whenever I’m not sure what to make. It sounded pretty awesome and special, so I didn’t want to make it without sharing it. Our friend Karen was staying with us for a few days, though, so I finally had the perfect opportunity to make it!
Chocolatey Peanut Butter and Banana Bread
1 cup mashed banana
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
2 cups self-rising flour (or 2 cups AP flour plus 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp baking soda)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped peanuts or pecans (which I omitted)
Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of 2 8×4 loaf pans. Mix together eggs, bananas, sugar, peanut butter, and milk. Stir in flour until just moistened. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Spoon into prepared pans and bake in 350F oven about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove loaves from pans. Cool completely on wire rack. Wrap and store overnight for easier slicing.
At first I was going to use natural peanut butter, so I added a little extra sugar. Then I discovered I didn’t have enough – but Karen to the rescue! She had just moved out of her apartment, so she randomly had an unopened jar of peanut butter packed away in a box since she didn’t want to throw it away. I got to keep it instead, and use it to feed her! I didn’t have self-rising flour, so I added leavening (as explained in the ingredients section). I think I baked these the full 45 minutes, but I may have baked it a little less. We had it for breakfast the next day.
This was pretty good. I’m not a big peanut butter person, but I did enjoy this. The chocolate chips really added something, too. It was very satisfying for breakfast, and made a good snack. It’s a much more special version of banana bread so I’d make it again to take in to work or to share. Give it a try!
Alex always wants to buy one of the giant bakery tubs of cookies when we go grocery shopping. I always say no because I can make just as many cookies at home for much less. I also know I can only eat about a bite of a store-bought cookie before I realize how disgusting they are. Store-bought cookies often look good, and may have a good texture sometimes, but I feel like I can taste the preservatives and filler that they have to add to make them shelf-stable. I do like a good shortbread or sugar cookie from the grocery store bakery, or Oreos, but otherwise I just try to stay away from them all.
I told Alex that we’d make cookies instead, since I hadn’t made a recipe for the day. On the drive home, Alex said that I should make him peanut M&M cookies. I never said that I’d make whatever cookie he wanted, just that I’d make cookies as my recipe of the day. I didn’t want to just toss peanut M&Ms in cookie dough because then I wouldn’t be able to write about it here. He’d have to look up a new recipe for them. We went on about this for a while, and once home I beat him to the punch by finding a recipe before he did.
I expected that I’d make a drop cookie recipe (and I did find one), but what I made was ultimately better and more complex. Specifically, I found a recipe for Chocolate-Peanut Butter Peanut M&M Cookies. I never specifically want peanut butter cookies, but they’re always surprisingly yummy when I have them. This recipe involved making a peanut butter dough, splitting it to add cocoa to one half, adding peanut M&Ms, and forming logs of dough to press together so that you have half-chocolate half-peanut butter cookies which are rolled in crushed M&Ms.
My slight changes: I buy natural peanut butter (without sugar or anything else added – the kind you have to refrigerate), so I used that rather than normal creamy peanut butter. I don’t think it affected the recipe. I chilled the dough in the refrigerator, and it takes longer to chill that way than the directions said (although the time is probably correct if you freeze it). I was impatient, so I simply dealt with pretty sticky dough. Also, I didn’t cut the logs as thinly as I was supposed to. I baked 26 cookies – the recipe’s supposed to yield 36. Even so, we baked them for 14 minutes, the minimum baking time.
This was a pretty tasty cookie. I haven’t made that many two-toned cookies, but this is the best one by far that I’ve ever made. They look very pretty. I’m a little sad that I didn’t get them smaller so that I could have experienced a more classic crisp-edge soft-center cookie. My 26 cookies were very soft and tender. The dough expanded a lot while it baked, and although I’m not very good with describing food, I think I’d call the ones I made cakey.
I don’t make log cookies very often because they’re a little more work, but I think this is one such recipe that’s worth making. I just won’t make it very often because of the time involved. I’m looking forward to this recipe for work events or cookie exchanges, because they’re visually appealing in addition to being delicious.