Ask Anna – Baker’s Block Breakthrough – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

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My good friend Danielle reached out last night. “I want to bake a treat (something sweet) but I have very minimal ingredients.” She was suffering from a bit of Baker’s Block – think Writer’s Block, but with butter and sugar.

I said, “Hit me!”

She had the following on hand:

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • Vanilla
  • Eggs
  • Peanut Butter
  • Two sticks of Butter
  • Unsweetened Bakers Chocolate
  • Godiva Hot Cocoa Mix
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Crisco

She felt she did not have much, but she had enough ingredients for just about any classic drop cookie (Chocolate Chip, Sugar, Snickerdoodle (assuming she had cinnamon), etc.) She also could do classic Peanut Butter Cookies and even Peanut Butter Blossoms (the yummy ones with Hershey Kisses). One suggestion I had was Peanut Butter Blossoms, but done like thumbprints (melt baker’s chocolate and mix with vanilla, powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt) and fill the thumbprint with the chocolate mixture. The other would be to take that same mixture and drizzle over classic peanut butter cookies. I also felt the hot cocoa mix blended into baker’s chocolate would be fun.

Inspired by wanting to use the hot cocoa mix, she settled on a classic peanut butter cookie with hot cocoa mix in the dough. The result was a semi-soft, slightly chewy and slightly sandy cookie – a bit sweet but balanced from the salty peanut butter – a great combo all around!

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Danielle’s delicious pantry creation 🙂

 

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

We can’t take credit for this delightful recipe! Follow this Classic Peanut Butter Cookie recipe from All Recipes, sifting one packet of Hot Cocoa Mix with the dry ingredients, and follow the rest as directed.

 

 

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

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My boyfriend just celebrated his birthday this past week. Like many men, getting an answer out of him in terms of what he wanted for a birthday cake and what he wanted to do to celebrate his birthday was like pulling teeth. Through a painful text message conversation, I narrowed down that he’s not a big cake person, is anti fruit flavored cakes, not a big ice cream fan, likes cheesecake, and said that anything that combines chocolate with peanut butter is good.

So I narrowed it down to a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. I brainstormed some ideas – peanut butter flavored cheesecake with fudge, peanut butter cheesecake with peanut butter and chocolate swirl, cheesecake with peanut butter cups, etc. The only thing I was certain was that it would have an Oreo crust, as opposed to graham cracker or another type of cookie.

In recent months, I have become a fan of the mini peanut butter cups, the ones that are a bit larger in size than an M&M. It came to me that it would be fun to fold those into cheesecake, almost like chocolate chips, and in lieu of chopping up full sized peanut butter cups. So finally I had the cake narrowed down – vanilla flavored cheesecake with an Oreo crust, mini Reese’s mixed in, the top decorated with hot fudge and full sized peanut butter cups. Since, you know, nothing says love as much as making the most fattening cake imaginable.

And of course in doing so, everyone wanted the recipe, so here you go…

PEANUT BUTTER CUP CHEESECAKE

For the filling:
3 8-ounce blocks cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 bag Reese’s Minis

For the crust:
20-24 Oreo cookies, crushed fine in a food processor
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

For topping:
1/2 cup hot fudge, room temperature or warmed slightly
About 8 full sized Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, cut in half

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9-inch spring form pan with a bit of cooking spray.
  3. Combine crushed Oreos, melted butter and sugar until well blended. Press mixture evenly into pan, both on bottom and about halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake about 10 minutes. Remove and cool. Lower oven temp to 325 degrees.
  4. Meanwhile, using a hand mixer, mix cream cheese and sugar until well incorporated. Add eggs and mix in thoroughly. Then blend in sour cream and vanilla.
  5. Fold in mini peanut butter cups. Add filling to pan with cooled crust, and bake for about 50 minutes to one hour. Top of cheesecake will crack slightly. Cheesecake is done when you can dip a toothpick in the center and it comes out mostly clean (do not over bake – if top of cheesecake is golden brown, it is overdone).
  6. Remove cheesecake from oven and allow to cool at room temperature for one hour. At this time, you can evenly spread the fudge in the center to decorate. After the hour, place the cheesecake in the refrigerator and chill for a minimum of three hours, up to overnight.
  7. When the cheesecake is cooled, decorate with the full sized peanut butter cups. Carefully remove from spring form pan and transfer to a plate – enjoy!

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