Peanut Butter Twix Cake

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Happy Birthday to my wonderful Paul!  For his birthday this year, he asked for a Peanut Butter Twix Cake. I decided to mix and match a few different recipe components to create this cake. It has four main components. A shortbread-like cookie crust, a fluffy peanut butter cake, a layer of salted caramel, and topped with chocolate ganache.
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He usually asks for variations on a Reese’s peanut butter chocolate cake. The fact that he asked for something different was a huge shock, and I knew that I wanted to make sure I knocked this cake out of the park. I used the base for my lemon squares (which I haven’t yet posted, but I will have to soon) as the shortbread crust, this recipe for the peanut butter cake (which I modified slightly), as well as using just the salted caramel from this tart recipe. Finally, I just made my own chocolate ganache with chocolate and cream. Perfection.
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This cake worked so well together. I was definitely a little hesitant when Paul asked for this, but after trying it, no more. Amazing. Not trying to brag, but this little creation of mine, I am quite happy how it turned out. Granted, I couldn’t have done it without the other components from my fellow food bloggers, but the combination is a wonderful mixture of crumbly cookie, moist cake, sumptuous caramel, and rich chocolate.
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As for the pictures, the caramel was deliciously oozy, and the ganache was also slightly soft in the center, but I just updated with some better pictures I got of the layers. To me, to really tasted like a peanut butter Twix bar, and that’s the feeling I was going for. Mission accomplished!
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Again, I am wishing a very Happy Birthday to Paul, and as for us, we are going to take a nice day trip to Calgary, and eat some Peanut Butter Twix Cake!
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Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 inch cake

For the shortbread crust:

1 c. softened butter
2 c. flour
½ c. sugar

For the peanut butter cake:

½ c. chunky or creamy peanut butter
¼ c. shortening
½ c. buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/8 c. flour
½ plus 1/8 c. sugar
½ plus 1/8 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt

For the salted caramel:

1 c. sugar
6 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
½ c. heavy cream, at room temperature
1 tsp. kosher salt

For the chocolate ganache:

½ c. heavy cream
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper on the bottom and sides.

For the shortbread crust, in a medium bowl, melt the butter, then add the flour and sugar and toss with a fork until evenly combined, and press into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then let cool.

For the cake, in a medium bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the peanut butter and shortening until well mixed. Once the peanut butter and shortening are well combined, alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients. Do not over mix.

Pour the batter over the pre-baked cookie crust, and spread evenly. Bake for 25-27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the salted caramel, in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, melt the sugar, stirring constantly until sugar has clumped up, and continue stirring and cooking the sugar until it has melted and turned brown. This can take 10-15 minutes, so be patient. When sugar has completely melted and there are no clumps, add in the butter. The mixture will bubble, but continue to stir until butter is completely melted. Once butter is melted, add in the cream and whisk until incorporated. Boil for 30-45 seconds longer, then take off the heat and let cool about 15-20 minutes, whisking occasionally.

To assemble cake, release springform pan sides, lift from the pan bottom and place on a cake stand. Once caramel has cooled, slowly pour over the cake. (My cake sunk a bit in the middle, so it created a perfect little well for the caramel to collect.) Refrigerate cake until caramel has solidified.

To make ganache, place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Heat cream until quite warm, almost boiling, and pour over chocolate. Let sit for a minute or two, then whisk to combine. If needed, microwave chocolate and cream together to combine until smooth. Whisk until smooth and glossy, then pour over cake in a smooth stream. Spread over cake in an even layer, until ganache is even and starting to cascade over the sides.

Refrigerate until ganache is slightly solidified, then sprinkle a small amount of kosher salt over the ganache. Slice and serve.

Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart

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I have been feeling in the mood for a simple, quick dessert that wouldn’t require much time or effort. Paul made us a fabulous roast lamb dinner, and I wanted to make a dessert that 1) didn’t take up a lot of time in the kitchen, and 2) would complement the delicious meal without overpowering it. This tart was just perfect. It’s an extremely simple recipe, that takes maybe 20-30 minutes from start to finish, including the time it takes to set up between layers in the fridge.

A simple, no-bake tart was the perfect solution to the great dinner. Yes, you heard me correctly. It is a no-bake dessert. So simple, but so worth it. An easy, chocolate graham cracker crust, topped with a peanut butter ganache, finished off with a chocolate ganache. That’s it. I used two bowls, a tart pan, a whisk, a spatula, and of course, measuring cups. Simple.
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Considering it is Paul’s birthday coming up (be sure to come back and see his birthday cake choice!), and he didn’t want the usual order of peanut butter and chocolate (he just wanted it jazzed up a bit instead of just the two flavours… you’ll understand when you see it!), I decided to make something peanut butter and chocolate a little in advance.

This tart was just the thing we needed, and it was the perfect end to an absolutely fantastic meal. Rich, and chocolatey, without being achingly sweet. The peanut butter helps balance it out. Delish. Try this out. If you have got a bit of time, and don’t want to turn on the oven, this is a fantastic alternative to a rich cake. I feel like Life, Love, and Sugar, the original blog I got the recipe from, is my go-to girl for anything peanut butter and chocolate. She’s definitely got the corner on rich and satisfying desserts, and I urge you to check her out. I have quite a few new pins from her blog (Amaretto or Smores Cheesecake anyone?) that I am dying to try. Like I said, I think she is my dessert soul-sister, and I didn’t realize how AWESOME she is. Check her out. My photos are nowhere near as beautiful as hers are (it’s my lack of professional camera), but this is a spectacular recipe to try.

Anyways, enough with the food-blogger promotion! We are all trying to grab a reader’s attention, and all food blogs deserve a little respect and love, and my way of doing that is telling you where I get the recipes I follow. No higher praise than food bloggers referencing other food bloggers’ recipes, in my opinion!
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Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 inch tart

1½ c. Oreo cookie crumbs
4 tbsp. melted butter
6 oz. Reese’s peanut butter chips
1 c. heavy cream, divided
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, halved or quartered

Place oreo crumbs in a medium bowl and add melted butter. Mix until evenly combined and press firmly into a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom, and set aside.

Place peanut butter chips in a small bowl. In a microwave-safe liquid measuring cup, pour ½ cup of the cream in the measuring cup, and microwave 45 seconds-1 minute, until cream is boiling. Pour cream over peanut butter chips, let sit about 30 seconds, then whisk together until smooth. Pour mixture into the formed tart shell and spread in an even layer. Refrigerate about 10 minutes, until set.

Place chocolate chips in a small bowl. In a microwave-safe liquid measuring cup, pour the remaining ½ cup of cream and microwave 45 seconds-1 minute, again until cream is boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips, and let sit about 30 seconds, then whisk together until smooth. Pour the chocolate ganache over the set peanut butter ganache, and spread into an even layer.

Chop the mini Reese’s cups into quarters or halves (whichever you prefer), and sprinkle over the top of the chocolate ganache. Refrigerate until completely set, about 1 hour. Slice and serve.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

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I have been in a cupcake mood lately. All kinds of cupcakes. My Pinterest board with desserts is full of recent pins of cupcakes all over it. Paul and I have even picked up a few funky cupcake holders lately. When I saw these Root Beer Float Cupcakes, I couldn’t resist. My parents actually sell Watkins (which is a fantastic company with some amazing extracts), and for Christmas last year (two years ago? I can’t remember now…) my parents gave us a HUGE order of Watkins products. Soup bases, vanilla, baking powder, cooking spray, and, my favourite, a couple of extracts. One of the extracts was actually a small bottle of Root Beer Concentrate.

I’ve been searching for a fun way to use some of this Root Beer Concentrate, and when I came across these cupcakes, I knew it was the perfect solution. Root Beer Floats are classic. The tang of the root beer paired with the creaminess of the ice cream, this cupcake emulates that. I found the original recipe here, and I couldn’t wait to make it.
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The recipe was extremely simple, and mixed up in one bowl in less than 10 minutes. I had all the ingredients on hand, and all together, it was about a 30 minute recipe from the start to the finish of the baking time. Super simple, with big rewards. A dozen Root Beer Float cupcakes to remind us all of summer days. What could be better?

I added a little extra of the concentrate because in my opinion, the cupcake should have a strong Root Beer flavour. A Root Beer float is essentially those two flavours, and I wanted to make sure that there was a nice punch of Root Beer flavour. For the frosting, I wanted something that emulated that perfect scoop of vanilla ice cream. Homemade whipped cream really helps with that light, creamy texture. I found a recipe for stabilized whipped cream frosting, where it holds up to days in the fridge, and on baked goods, which is perfect for me, because we don’t often eat all of my baking experiments in one day. I wanted something a little more stable because homemade whipped cream, when just the cream, can melt quite easily, and then how would that look on a cupcake? No, I wanted something that could stand up to a little tough love, and some piping.

If Root Beer Floats are your jam, try these out. Cupcakes and float flavours. Yes, please!
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Ingredients

Yield: 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1 c. Root Beer (not diet)
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
¾ c. sugar
1/3 c. Canola Oil
½ tsp. vanilla
1½ tsp. Root Beer concentrate, or 3 tsp. Root Beer extract
1 1/3 c. flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt

For the stabilized whipped cream frosting:

½ tsp. unflavoured gelatin powder
2 tbsp. cold water
1 c. heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp. icing sugar
½ tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a medium bowl, combine the root beer and the vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes. Add the sugar and the oil, and whisk until frothy. Add in the vanilla and the concentrate, and slowly mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Be careful not to overmix.

Fill the cupcake liners ¾ full, and bake in the preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cool in pan about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, place the cold water in a small bowl, and sprinkle gelatin over to soften. Scald 2 tablespoons of cream, and pour over gelatin, and stir until dissolved. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, until the consistency of an unbeaten egg white, then whisk until smooth.

In the cold bowl of a mixer, or in a regular cold bowl, whip the remaining cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Whip in the gelatin mixture, stopping to scrape down the bowl at least twice. Whip until stiff peaks form, about 10-20 seconds longer.