No-Bake Chocolate Oat Bars

This summer has been a hot one! I haven’t wanted to turn on the oven at all (can you blame me?) because we don’t have air conditioning. Every time I turn on the oven, the whole house heats up and becomes some sort of hellish heat-sink.

These are a great alternative to a baked dessert. They don’t take a lot of time to whip up, and they are delicious, and simple. Mine didn’t turn out exactly like the original post, because I overestimated the amount of oatmeal, and put a bit too much on the bottom, so there was a thin layer of oatmeal on the top.

I’m not going to waste your time in this heat wave! Go make these, because they are easy, quick, and taste amazing!

Ingredients

Yield: 12-16 bars (depending on cut size)

1 c. butter
½ c. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. rolled oats
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. chocolate chips
¾ c. chunky peanut butter

Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla. Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves.

Add the oats, cinnamon, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes. Take off the heat.

Pour half of the oat mixture into the pan, spread out evenly, and press down.

In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and peanut butter. Microwave on 20 second increments, stirring constantly, until smooth and combined. Pour 4/5 of the chocolate mixture over the oatmeal.

Top with the remaining oats, then drizzle the remaining chocolate over the top of the oats. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or until set, then slice, and serve.

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Peanut Butter Smore’s Cake

Well, April has flown by. It’s crazy how fast the month passed. It probably helped a bit that in the middle of the month, I had a week off of school for Easter holidays. The week off was fantastic, mainly because Paul and I spent it in Jamaica! It was our six-month-delayed honeymoon.
Ahh, it was fantastic. Sun, sand, and all the jerk chicken we could eat! Paul even brought jerk spices home so he could try to replicate the Jamaican Jerk flavour. It’s smoky and spicy and absolutely delicious. Either way, the day after we got back was Paul’s birthday! We didn’t do too much the day of, just went to brunch with a friend, but I didn’t get a chance to make Paul a birthday cake last week.

THIS week, however, I had some time, and when I asked Paul earlier in the week what he wanted as a birthday cake (I had been asking him regularly for the last month and a half) he said “I’ve had lots of time to think about it, and I’ve decided I want a Peanut Butter Smore’s Cake.” The matter was settled.

I decided to go straight to Pinterest, because I had quite a few pins on my various dessert boards, and settled on this recipe for a Smore’s cake. I did make a few changes of my own, and it turned out FANTASTICALLY. I added peanut butter into the cake batter, which made it a little thicker, but still worked. I also made homemade peanut butter and chocolate marshmallows to use as garnish (those recipes are coming, I promise!). Paul was so excited about the concept I came up with he refused to even try the marshmallows, which were finished first. He said he didn’t want to ruin the whole cake experience.

So, this cake is a peanut butter graham cracker cake, a whipped chocolate ganache filling, homemade marshmallow fluff frosting, chocolate ganache drizzle, and homemade peanut butter and chocolate marshmallows. Of course, I also toasted the marshmallow frosting and the marshmallows on top, because smore’s. I’ll put everything below except for the marshmallow recipes, because I’ll post those a little later.

Okay, I won’t torment you any more. To cake!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch triple layer cake

For the cake:

2¼ c. flour
2¼ c. graham cracker crumbs
1½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. salt
1 c. peanut butter (creamy or crunchy works, I used half and half)
1½ c. butter, at room temperature
1½ c. brown sugar
¾ c. sugar
6 eggs
1½ c. buttermilk
3 tsp. vanilla

For the ganache filling:

12 oz. milk or semi-sweet chocolate
6 oz. heavy whipping cream

For the marshmallow fluff frosting:

1/3 c. water
¾ c. sugar
¾ c. light corn syrup
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
½ tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla

For the ganache drizzle:

10 oz. milk or semi-sweet chocolate
5 oz. heavy whipping cream

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line cake pans with parchment paper or Miracle Cake Release.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and peanut butter until combined and fluffy. Add the sugars and beat again. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, beating after each addition.

Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk in small increments to the wet ingredients, beating after each addition. Begin and end with flour additions. Beat to combine, but do not overmix. Separate the batter evenly between the prepared pans, and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing from pan and cooling completely.

To make the whipped ganache filling, chop chocolate and place into a heat-proof bowl. Heat the cream, on the stovetop or in the microwave, until hot, but not boiling or scalded. Pour the cream over the chocolate, let stand for 2-3 minutes, then whisk together into a smooth consistency.

Place the ganache in the refrigerator until cooled and thickened, but still soft. Transfer to a mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, and whip until the ganache gets fluffy and lightens in colour, about 2 minutes.

To make the marshmallow fluff, combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan with a candy thermometer attached. Whisk to combine, and heat over medium-high heat. Do not stir the mixture any more.

In a completely grease-free mixer bowl with the whisk attachment, place the egg whites and cream of tartar. When the sugar syrup reaches 225° F, start whipping the egg whites to soft peaks.

When the sugar syrup reaches 240° F, take it off the heat and slowly start adding it to the egg whites in a thin, steady stream. Once all of the syrup is added to the egg whites, turn the mixer to medium-high and continue whipping.

Continue to whip for 7-8 minutes, or until the mixture looks stiff and glossy. Add the vanilla and whip until the fluff has cooled.

 

To assemble the cake, trim all uneven edges or tops to flat layers.

Place one layer of cake on a cake stand, then top with half of the whipped chocolate ganache. Spread the ganache evenly, then top with the second layer of cake. Cover the second cake layer with the rest of the chocolate ganache, and spread evenly. Top with third layer of cake. Put in the refrigerator for the ganache to firm up.

Once the whipped chocolate ganache is firm, spread the marshmallow fluff over the top and sides of the cake. It is okay if it looks messy, because it will be topped with more chocolate and torched.

After the marshmallow fluff is on the cake, torch the fluff with a brulee torch so it looks toasted.

Drizzle the chocolate ganache sauce over top of the marshmallow fluff, and top with chocolate and peanut butter marshmallows for garnish. Toast the marshmallow garnish if desired.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake

Well, I’ll admit it. I’ve never really liked PB & J sandwiches. Not sure why. I like peanut butter. I like jelly or jam… if it’s raspberry or strawberry flavoured. But I’ve never had the inclination to put them together.
I celebrated my birthday last week, and had the day off today, so I figured that I’d make myself a cake. From the get-go, I was planning a Cannoli Cake. I know, sounds AMAZING. But, I found myself on a Sunday where I really – and I mean really – didn’t want to leave the house to go get any ingredients I was missing. I was missing quite a few as well, so I decided to store the cannoli cake for another day, and look for something a little more… accessible.


I was scrolling though Pinterest and saw this Peanut Butter and Jelly cake, and thought, heck, why not give it a try? After all, it’s in cake form, and I do love cake. I changed a few things… The original recipe has all white sugar in the cake. Well, my sugar bucket was running low, and I’m not QUITE strong enough to lift up my 20kg bag of sugar and balance it just so to fill up my sugar bucket without getting sugar all over the kitchen floor. That being said, I substituted half a cup of white sugar for brown, and I’m so glad I did, because it made the cake and the frosting match in flavour just that much more.


This frosting though. Oh. My. Gosh. Sooo good! A brown sugar peanut butter swiss meringue buttercream. Oh yeah – wrap your head around that. I was definitely licking the bowl… and the spatula… and the beater… yeah, you get the picture. It was knock-your-socks-off good.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 6-inch cake

For the cake:

2¼ c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ c. butter, softened
½ c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla

For the frosting:

¾ c. brown sugar
3 egg whites
1½ c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
6 tbsp. creamy peanut butter

To assemble/garnish:

Jam or jelly of your choosing (I used strawberry jam)
Chopped peanuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 3 six inch pans or 2 8 inch pans. (I used my miracle cake release.) Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until combined.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add in the sugar, and mix until well incorporated. Add in the eggs and vanilla, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add in half of the flour mixture, and turn the mixer on low. Drizzle the milk into the mixer bowl slowly, until all the milk is incorporated. Add in the other half of the flour mixture, and mix until combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Tap on the counter a few times to make sure the batter is level. Bake in the preheated oven for about 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, whisk together the sugar and the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer set over a pot with 2 inches of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the mixture reaches 160°F. When the egg mixture reaches the correct temperature, take off the simmering pot, and whisk on high speed until a thick meringue starts to form. Mixture should reach stiff peaks. Beat in the soft butter, a few tablespoons at a time. Add in the vanilla, and the peanut butter, and beat until combined into a thick, fluffy frosting. It will come together.

To assemble the cake, level the cakes so they are flat. Place one cake on the serving dish. Pipe a dam of icing around the outside edge of the cake, then spoon the jam or jelly into the middle of the icing. Place the second cake on the icing/jam. Repeat with the next layer of cake.

Once all three layers of cake are stacked, frost the sides and top of the cake, reserving some icing to decorate. (I had a lot of icing left over – I just slathered it on the trimmed cake tops for a little snack for Paul!)

If desired, pipe a border around the bottom of the cake and around the top of the cake. Fill the space in the top of the cake with another layer of jam. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts on top and around the cake, if desired.

Store in the fridge, but serve at room temperature.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

 

It’s been really hot lately. Too hot to turn on the oven. So I wanted a dessert that wouldn’t take too long and wouldn’t heat up the house unnecessarily.
These peanut butter bars are just the ticket. A thick layer of peanut buttery goodness, topped with a smooth chocolate layer. The best part is, there is only a small handful  of ingredients, and you probably have them in your kitchen right now.

I wanted to try and emulate the Reese’s peanut butter cup flavour, so where it calls for peanut butter in the recipe, I added a few tablespoons of Reese’s peanut butter chips as well as the called-for peanut butter.

Go ahead, make these. They are simple, and take more time to chill and set up than they do to make.  Enjoy them, and not turning on the oven for a big reward!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 inch pan

For the peanut butter layer:

2½ c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. butter, melted
2 c. icing sugar
1 c. creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp. Reese’s peanut butter chips (optional)

For the chocolate layer:

3 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
2 c. chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
2 tbsp. Reese’s peanut butter chips (optional)

Line a 9 inch pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. In a large, microwave safe bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, icing sugar, peanut butter, and peanut butter chips (if using). Pour into the lined pan, and spread into an even layer.

In a small microwave safe bowl, mix the peanut butter, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips (if using). Microwave at 15-second increments until smooth. Pour over the peanut butter layer and smooth into an even layer.

Place pan in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours before serving. Once set up, bars can be sliced and served.

Black-Bottomed Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

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It was Paul’s birthday on Saturday! As per tradition, I wanted to make him a fabulous birthday dessert. Usually, he requests some kind of cake, as long as it has peanut butter and chocolate.

Last year he changed it up with this cake, if you remember… this year we changed it up again! It’s not even cake! But it is an extremely luxurious pie. It has a graham cracker crust, a layer of silky chocolate ganache, then a peanut butter mousse over top of that. To finish it, I added chopped mini Reese’s peanut butter cups and homemade salted caramel was drizzled over the whole thing… So I definitely jazzed up the original version that I found.
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I may have also put mini Reese’s in between the layer of chocolate ganache and peanut butter mousse… because there’s no such thing as too much chocolate and peanut butter, right?

All things considered, the pie is very simple to make. I made the crust first, because it has to bake and cool. While the crust was in the oven, I made the caramel sauce (which is the same caramel sauce used in my Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars!) and let that cool, then made the chocolate layer, and while it was setting up, made the peanut butter mousse. Super easy! Let it set in the fridge for at least an hour, then BAM! A decadent dessert that will please any dessert/peanut butter/chocolate/pie lover!
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Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch pie

For the pie crust:

1¼ c. graham crackers
¼ c. butter, melted
2 tbsp. sugar

For the chocolate ganache:

1 1/3 c. chocolate chips, bittersweet or semi-sweet
2/3 c. heavy cream
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

For the peanut butter base:

6 oz. (1 cup) peanut butter chips (I used Reese’s of course!)
¾ c. heavy cream
2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter (do not use chunky)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. heavy cream*
2 tbsp. sugar

* Not a mistake. The peanut butter mousse calls for cream two ways – the first measurement is to make a peanut butter ganache. The second measurement is whipped until thickened (but not whip cream), then folded into the peanut butter ganache.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 inch pie plate with cooking spray.

For the crust, in a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar. Mix to combine, then press into the pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden and set. Let cool.

For the chocolate ganache, in a medium microwave safe bowl, place the chocolate chips, cream, corn syrup, and vanilla. Microwave for 30-40 seconds, until chocolate is melty. Whisk together to form a smooth ganache. Pour into the cooled crust, and freeze for 10-15 minutes.

For the peanut butter mousse, in a large microwave safe bowl, place the peanut butter chips, cream, and vanilla. Microwave for 15-20 intervals, until peanut butter chips start to soften. Whisk together to form a smooth ganache. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of a mixer, place the 1 c. of cream and the sugar. Whip until cream is thickened, but not forming peaks yet (stop it just before whipped cream consistency). In three additions, add the thickened cream to the room-temperature peanut butter ganache, folding in gently with a spatula, not stirring or whisking in. With the last addition, the mousse should be light and fluffy. Spoon the mousse onto the cooled and set ganache.

Garnish as/if desired (again, I used chopped mini Reese’s and homemade salted caramel), and chill for at least 1 hour, or overnight. Slice and serve.