Apple Pie With Peanut Butter Crumb Topping

It’s National Pie Day!  Not to be confused with Pi Day, which is coming up soon.  Any reason to make pie is fine by me.  I made this a few times during the holiday season, but the perfectionist in me never got a satisfactory picture.

It’s interesting how food cues my nostalgia.  Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I love cooking.  This pie is a family tradition.  It’s now a part of our Thanksgiving tradition as well.  My sister makes it every Thanksgiving when she has dinner with friends. My dad always made it the night before, and I remember him every time I make this pie.  I see him leaning on the counter in his Budweiser apron, waiting for the pie to finish baking.  He would watch something on t.v., usually an old sitcom or some stand-up comic.  He loved watching things that made him laugh.  The peanut butter topping is the best part.  Anytime I mention to my sister that I made an apple pie, she immediately asks if it has this topping.  And my answer is always, “of course!”

 

Adapted from Baking from My Home to Yours
By Dorie Greenspan

Apple Pie with Peanut Butter Crumb Topping

Apple Pie with Peanut Butter Crumb Topping

This recipe fits a deep dish pie. If you're using a regular size pie plate, reduce recipe by a quarter.

Ingredients

Pastry for a single-crust pie
Filling
6 very large apples
¾ c sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
2 Tbs quick-cook tapioca
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbs graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
Crumb topping
1 c flour
½ c peanut butter, creamy or chunky
6 Tbs butter, softened
½ c packed light brown sugar
¼ tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Roll out pastry and fit into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Flute the edges. Chill the pie plate in the refrigerator until ready for use.
  2. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Peel, core, and slice the apples into ¼ inch slices. Put the apples in a large bowl and add the sugar, lemon zest, tapioca, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss well.
  4. In a medium bowl combine all the crumb topping ingredients with a pastry blender until crumbly. Set aside.
  5. Remove the pie plate from the refrigerator. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs evenly over the bottom of the crust – this will help keep it from getting too soggy. Turn the apple mixture and the juices into the crust. Pat it into an even mound (apples will heap over the top of the crust). Dot the apples with the bits of cold butter. Sprinkle all the crumb topping over the top of the apples, forming an even layer.
  6. Bake the pie until juices bubble up through the surface, about 70 minutes. Check the pie after 30 minutes. If the crumb topping is turning too dark, loosely cover the pie with foil. Let the pie cool on a rack until just barely warm or room temperature
http://kokocooks.com/2013/01/apple-pie-with-peanut-butter-crumb-topping-2/

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Chex Mix


This is the “Plex” mix I made for my son’s Yo Gabba Gabba party. Since chocolate and peanut butter is one of my favorite food pairings, I was all for it. I thought it would be a popular snack for the youngsters, but it was equally popular with the adults. We now have a gigantic bag of m&m’s that are missing all the yellow candies. Oh, what to do with them???

adapted from Chex.com

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chex Mix

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chex Mix

Ingredients

4 c Rice Chex cereal
2 c Wheat Chex cereal
1 c vanilla baking chips
½ c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c peanut butter chips
1 c chocolate candies (like M&Ms)
2 c mini marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Line two baking sheets with waxed paper. Spread both cereals in an even layer on both sheets (mix up the cereals on the baking sheets.)
  2. Melt vanilla baking chips over the stove in a double boiler or in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Drizzle over the cereal.
  3. Repeat with the semi-sweet chips, and then with the peanut butter chips.
  4. Let the cereal cool and harden.
  5. Break the cereal into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the chocolate candies and mini-marshmallows, and toss. Store in an air-tight container.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/09/chocolate-peanut-butter-chex-mix/

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Peanut Butter Cups – August Daring Bakers (part 1)

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com/ offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

I’m not sure how “creative” it was to make peanut butter cups, but wow, were they good!

Our task for the Daring Bakers was to make chocolate candies and to temper the chocolate. Tempering chocolate allows the chocolate to develop that shiny exterior and soft texture that chocolate candies are known for. It is important to use high quality chocolate. I’ve tempered chocolate using regular chocolate chips, and baker’s chocolate, and it didn’t quite work. The chocolate was soft at room temperature, and melted as soon as I touched them with my fingers. Those types of chocolate do not have a high enough cocoa butter content to temper properly.

Tempering the chocolate sounds tricky, but it is really easy. It’s just a matter of keeping a close eye on the temperature while you’re heating and cooling and reheating the chocolate. I have a feeling these candies will make a reappearance in my holiday goody boxes.

For part 2 of the Daring Bakers challenge, I made gummy frogs.


filling adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Peanut Butter Cups – August Daring Bakers (part 1)

Peanut Butter Cups – August Daring Bakers (part 1)

Ingredients

8 oz high quality milk chocolate
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
3 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
3 Tbs powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Temper the chocolate: Break the chocolate into small chunks. Melt 2/3 of the chocolate the the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Gently stirring constantly, bring the chocolate to 113º F. Remove the double boiler from the heat. Add small amounts of the reserved chocolate bits to the hot chocolate, stirring to melt. Keep adding small amounts until the chocolate reaches 80.6º F (a digital instant read thermometer is extremely helpful for this). Return the chocolate to the simmering water and heat until the chocolate reaches 86º F. It is important to keep the water simmering and not boiling, as the chocolate heats very quickly. It is also important to keep the chocolate free of water drops, or it will seize and turn dry. The chocolate is now tempered and ready to use.
  2. For the peanut butter filling: beat the peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, and salt together until smooth. Place filling in a pastry bag fitted with a medium sized round tip.
  3. Place mini-cup liners in a mini-muffin pan (or use chocolate molds without any liners). Fill cups about 1/2 way full. Using a small popsicle stick, or a lollipop stick, or a chopstick (you get the picture) paint the sides of the cups, making sure sides and are coated with chocolate. Chill the cups for about 5 minutes. Take out of fridge, and fill cups with peanut butter filling until about 3/4 of the way full. Tap the muffin pan on the counter to remove all air pockets, and to level the filling. Pour more chocolate into the cups, filling to the top. You can let the chocolate set either at room temperature, or in the refrigerator. Once set, remove chocolates from muffin pan.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/08/peanut-butter-cups/

 

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6187/6072340011_592f35428f.jpg

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PB & J Bars

Peanut butter and jelly is one of my favorite sandwiches. In high school, it was what I made for lunch when I was in a hurry, and it still is. I go through phases where I HAVE to have a pb&j every day. I eat it mid-morning because lunch is too long a time to wait.

Because of my deep love of peanut butter, these bars are right up my alley. The are reminiscent of the sandwich. I also love them because they are 1) easy to make, and 2) easy to make a double batch of. This came in very handy when I was making goodies for Hubs’ private students. I only had enough time to pass them out to about half his students, but I plan on catching up with the other students very soon.


And because you can’t talk about peanut butter and jelly without bringing up this, here you go.

Adapted from Christmas Cookies 2010
By Better Homes and Garden

PB & J Bars

PB & J Bars

Ingredients

¼ c (1/2 stick) plus 2 Tbs butter, softened
¼ c shortening
¼ c creamy peanut butter
1 c packed light brown sugar
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ plus ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 c all purpose flour
Filling
10 oz jar grape jam (or whatever flavor you like)
Topping
¼ c packed light brown sugar
¼ c rolled oats (not instant)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
  2. With a hand held mixer, beat the butter, shortening, and peanut butter in a large bowl until combined. Add the brown sugar, baking powder, salt, ½ tsp cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Beat in flour until just combined. Press 2 cups of the cookie dough into the bottom of an ungreased 13x9” baking pan.
  3. Bake the crust about 10 minutes until set. Spread jam carefully over the hot crust; make an even layer. Add the oats, brown sugar, and ¼ tsp cinnamon to the remaining dough. Use a pastry blender or a fork to cut in the remaining 2 Tbs butter. Mixture will be crumbly. Sprinkle over the jam.
  4. Bake until the top is lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. When cool, cut into bars.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/01/pb-j-bars/

 

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Peanut Butter Popcorn

For me, M&M’s come in 5 colors – orange, yellow, green, tan, and brown. None of this red and blue stuff. These are the M&M colors of my childhood. Yes, I know red used to be an original color. Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I miss the tan ones.


I thought I’d be able to find them at the M&M World at a nearby mall. They have a wall of candies in virtually every color. Except for tan, as I found out. The purpose of using tan ones was to fit into the fall color scheme I was going for. I had to settle for gold, which was a poor substitute. (picture from gosightsee.com)


Onto the popcorn…OMG, this is so easy to make, and so easy to eat! Hubs and I downed half a batch while watching the “Clash of the Titans” remake. If you’re a fairly regular reader, you’ll know I have a thing for peanut butter. This a must for any fan of the stuff.


Adapted from Hot off the Garlic Press

Peanut Butter Popcorn

Peanut Butter Popcorn

Ingredients

½ c popcorn kernels
½ c creamy peanut butter
½ Tbs butter
Couple handfuls of chocolate candies (like M&M’s®)

Instructions

  1. Pop the popcorn using your desired method (I do mine in a pot on the stove.) Pour popped corn into a large bowl.
  2. Place peanut butter and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat until melted, about 30-45 seconds. Stir to combine. Drizzle the peanut butter mixture over the popcorn and toss well. Spread popcorn onto a sheet of wax paper and let set. Toss popcorn with chocolate candy and enjoy.
http://kokocooks.com/2010/10/peanut-butter-popcorn/

 

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Banana Whoopie Pies with Peanut Butter Filling

 

Whoopie pies seem to be one of the current rages on the blogosphere. The Wicked Whoopie website has a long list of flavor combinations, each more yummy sounding than the last. Gingerbread, maple, and orange creamsicle all sound good right about now.


I originally saw a banana-peanut butter whoopie pie on Abby Sweets. Peanut butter on banana is one of my favorite snacks – why not make it into a cookie? I liked the idea of a peanut butter filling, but didn’t think one that was cream cheese-based would work for me. Martha’s recipe for the cookie looked amazing, and I already had all the ingredients on hand.


There was a slight incident between Hubs and I over the banana. There were 2 ripe bananas left and I asked him to save me one. I got home from work, ready to whip up cookie dough, only to discover no ripe banana. Instead, there was a new bunch of green-tipped bananas perched on the counter. I almost went ballistic, when he texted that he hadn’t eaten the last ripe banana, and would bring it home so I could use it for the cookies. This meant that I was up until 11:00 making whoopie pies, but they were totally worth it.

 

adapted from Martha Stewart

Banana Whoopie Pies with Peanut Butter Filling

Banana Whoopie Pies with Peanut Butter Filling

Ingredients

Whoopie Pies
2 c flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ c mashed banana (about 1 large banana)
½ c sour cream
½ c butter (1 stick)
½ c granulated sugar
½ c packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
Filling
1 c creamy peanut butter
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 c powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. For the whoopie pies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.
  3. Beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add flour mixture and banana mixture in alternating additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  4. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with a large opening. (I used a number 12). Pipe batter into 1-inch rounds, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Let cool a few minutes and then transfer cookies to a wire rack.
  5. For the filling: Beat peanut butter, butter, and vanilla into a medium bowl. Beat in the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until mxture reaches desired consistency. There may be some sugar leftover.
  6. To assemble cookies, spread or pipe filling onto the bottom of half the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies.
http://kokocooks.com/2010/09/banana-whoopie-pies-with-peanut-butter-filling/

 

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S’mores Bars with Peanut Butter Cups

These bars are one of my new favorites. They’re a cinch to throw together. I made them countless times during the holiday season and gave them as gifts. They are very mail-friendly. Hubs has a love-hate relationship with them. We are simultaneously sad when they’re all gone, and relieved that we won’t turn s’mores-devouring monsters anymore. Try them for yourself, and see how long they stick around.


One note: I experimented a lot with getting the marshmallows perfectly toasted. The broiler method toasts them very evenly. I also had good results with our little kitchen torch, although it was a bit more labor intensive, and required careful watching. The flame was very strong, and I frequently had to blow out marshmallows that accidentally ignited.

S’mores Bars with Peanut Butter Cups
Adapted from Cuisine at Home, Holiday Cookies

1 stick (1/2 c) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 c graham cracker crumbs
1/3 c flour
Pinch of salt

15 mini-peanut butter cup candies
2 c mini marshmallows
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13×9 inch baking bap with nonstick spray.

Cream butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer. The mixture will look curdled. Stir in graham cracker crumbs, flour, and salt. Reserve 1/4 c of the mixture.

Press remaining mixture into the pan. The layer will be very thin. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden around the edges. Remove from oven, and set oven to Broil.

Top the hot base with peanut butter cups, marshmallows, and chocolate chips. Press lightly to adhere. Sprinkle the reserved graham cracker mixture in clumps over the top. Broil just until the marshmallows toast – only a minute or two.

Cool bars for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Coat knife with some nonstick spray to keep it from sticking when cutting.

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Peanut Butter Cookies, and an unexpected arrival


To continue on Hubs’ nesting/baking, he made peanut butter cookies. I have spent a good deal of time searching for a favorite recipe. My idea of the perfect pb cookie is soft, chewy, and very peanut buttery. Most are crispy, crunchy, or overly-buttery and not enough peanut bettery. My favorite batch was from grad school, when I made them with my friend Jenn. She sent me the recipe, but it didn’t taste the same.

I told Hubs of my ideal cookie, and he set about finding a recipe to fit. He found one on epicurious.com, and added a few extra scoops of peanut butter. I loved them! I came home from my regular Sunday church gig, starving (as usual), and walked into the house to the aroma of peanut butter. Despite the considerable size of the cookie, I scarfed down two. It was all I dreamed of and more.


This ended up being the last baked good that Hubs was able to bake. That evening, we ended up at the hospital because I went into early labor. Maybe I was in denial, but I was thinking the whole time that it was nothing (I didn’t feel any different), and that we’d be able to go home. Turns out, our little guy wanted to meet us 5 weeks early. Monday morning my water broke, and since he was in a breech position, I was scheduled for an immediate c-section. Two hours later, our son made his entry into the world. He weighed 4 lbs, 13 oz, measured 18 inches, and amazingly enough, was in perfect health. We named him Tyler. Despite his premature arrival, he did not need any additional care, and spent my recovery time in the hospital in the room with us.

Since we were expecting him in mid-October, we were caught quite off guard. I hadn’t even had a baby shower yet. Friends and family have stepped in to get us things that we needed, and to lend their love and support as we had a crash course in baby care. We are now settled in at home, I am tying up loose ends at work, and we are spending many sleepless nights as new parents. Tyler is a wonder. I didn’t think I could love my husband more than I did, but seeing him with Tyler melts my heart every time.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies
from Bon Appetit
January 1998 (also found on epicurious.com)

3 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 c peanut butter (creamy or chunky, but not freshly ground)
2 tsp vanilla
1 c packed brown sugar
1 c sugar
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat butter, peanut butter, and vanilla. Beat in both sugars. Scrape down sides of bowl. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the mixture. Add eggs, 1 at a time, stirring well after each addition. Mix in remaining dry ingredients.

For each cookie, roll 1 heaping tablespoonful of dough into a ball. Arrange dough balls 2 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using the back of a fork, flatten the dough balls and form crosshatch design on tops. Bake cookies until dry on top and golden brown on bottom, about 14 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer cookies to racks and cool completely.

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