Peanut Butter & Chocolate Mousse Pie

It’s Pi Day! A day not only to celebrate the irrational number pi – 3.14 – but also a great excuse to enjoy a slice of pie or a slice from a pizza pie! Truthfully, it’s never crossed my mind to make pizza to celebrate the day. Maybe I should do that next year. For this year though I am bringing you a pie that is probably among the top 5 pies I have ever made. If you didn’t know, I am not a big pie eater. I love dessert, but I am not partial to desserts that are overly sweet or over the top (like those crazy milk shakes that were all the rage a few years ago) and unfortunately, I find a lot of pies to be extremely sweet. But this one I am bringing you today is just the right amount of sweetness and pairs two things that always go well together… peanut butter and chocolate. It’s a Peanut Butter & Chocolate Mousse Pie.

To begin I made the crust for the pie. In my food processor I pulsed 12 graham crackers into crumbs and then added in sugar and melted butter and pulsed everything together a few more times. I then transferred the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and pressed it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. I used the bottom of a glass to get the crumbs spread out evenly and the sides of the glass to press them evenly along the sides. I placed the pan on a baking sheet and then baked the crust in a 350 F preheated oven for 10 minutes. I then let it cool on a wire rack while I worked on the chocolate mousse.

To make the chocolate mousse I combined semi-sweet & bittersweet chocolate chips along with vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and instant espresso coffee in a small bowl. I boiled heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan and then poured it over the chocolate chip mixture and stirred everything together to melt the chocolate chips. I continued stirring until the mixture was smooth and then let it cool to room temperature stirring it occasionally, about 10 to 15 minutes. In a medium bowl I whipped additional heavy whipping cream along with confectioners’ sugar until it was stiff.

I then gently folded the cooled melted chocolate into the heavy whipped cream. I continued folding the two together until they were well incorporated and no streaks of either the whipped cream or melted chocolate remained. I made sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl as I folded.

I then spread the chocolate mousse into the cooled graham cracker crust and refrigerated it while I made the peanut butter mousse.

To make the peanut butter mousse I beat heavy whipping cream in a medium bowl until stiff peaks formed and I set it aside. In another medium bowl I beat together cream cheese, creamy peanut butter, vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth.

Then, I folded the two together just as I did the chocolate mousse, until no streaks of the peanut butter mixture or whipped cream remained, and once again I made sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl as I folded.

I then spread the peanut butter mousse over the chocolate mousse…

And placed the pie in the refrigerator overnight so both mousses could set.

Now, you could enjoy the pie as is, but I decided to spruce it up a little. I melted semi-sweet chocolate chips and creamy peanut butter in the microwave and put each in a piping bag, snipped off the end and drizzled each on top of the pie. I then made whipped cream and piped dollops of it around the pie using a Wilton 1M tip and finally I quartered 3 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and placed them on top of the whipped cream. By the way, I had no clue that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups had gotten so small. The packaging is still the same size, but I am sure the candy itself has shrunk a little since I was a kid.

I kept the pie refrigerated until about 15 minutes before slicing and stored the leftovers in the refrigerator. This pie is delicious. It’s the perfect amount of each the peanut butter mousse and the chocolate mousse. Both complement each other very well, as peanut butter and chocolate always do, and neither mousse overpowers the other.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Mousse Pie

Ingredients:

For the Graham Cracker Crust:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

 

For the Chocolate Mousse:

3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso coffee*

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

 

For the Peanut Butter Mousse:

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 of an 8oz. block)

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon milk

 

To Decorate:

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

 

*It’s not necessary to use the instant espresso. I had it on hand and coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate.

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

For the graham cracker crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a medium bowl and then press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack until ready to use.

For the chocolate mousse: Combine the semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate chips, vanilla extract, salt and instant espresso in a heatproof bowl. Stir together and set aside. In a small saucepan boil 1/2 cup of the heavy whipping cream. Pour over the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Beat remaining 1 cup of heavy whipping cream along with the confectioners’ sugar until stiff and then fold into chocolate. Spread the chocolate mousse into the bottom of the graham cracker crust and refrigerate while making the peanut butter mousse.

For the peanut butter mousse: In a medium bowl beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In another medium bowl beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and then the milk, beating until the mixture is smooth and everything is combined. Fold in the whipped cream. Spread the peanut butter mousse over the chilled chocolate mousse in the crust.

Refrigerate the pie at least 6 hours or overnight before decorating or serving.

To decorate the pie: In a microwave safe bowl melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring between each interval. Once melted transfer to a piping bag and snip the end (or a resealable bag and snip off a corner) and drizzle over the pie.

In another microwave safe bowl melt the peanut butter in the microwave 20-second intervals, stirring between each, until the peanut butter is a pourable consistency. Transfer to a piping bag and snip the end (or a resealable bag and snip off a corner) and drizzle over the pie.

In a medium bowl beat the heavy whipping cream and confectioners’ sugar together until it’s stiff. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large star or round piping tip and pipe dollops of whipped cream around the pie.

Slice and enjoy!

Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Mousse modified from Epicurious

Peanut Butter Mousse modified from Wishes and Dishes

Mini Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecakes

Mini desserts are the perfect-sized treats. You can satisfy your sweet tooth and not feel guilty that you may have served yourself too much of your desired dessert. For today’s pumpkin recipe I am bringing you a Mini Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake. And the title says it all, you have pumpkin, cream cheese and a hint of coffee. I made a few slight changes to the original recipe to use up items I currently had in my pantry… Instead of speculoos cookies (a spiced shortbread cookie) I used graham crackers and instead of regular instant coffee I used Bustelo Instant Espresso. While I am not a coffee drinker, I always have this in my pantry to make tiramisu and to make coffee to use in lieu of water for box chocolate cake mix. If you didn’t know, coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate cake.

To begin I made the crust. After rolling graham crackers with a rolling pin to make crumbs, I combined them with sugar. I then placed a tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of cupcake liners I placed in a muffin tin.

Next, after making the cheesecake batter, I spooned about 1/4 cup of the batter over the graham cracker crumb mixture.

I then baked the cheesecakes in a 325 F preheated oven for about 30 minutes. I ended up leaving the cheesecakes in the oven for a minute or two too long and they ended up cracking on top…

But once they cooled the cheesecakes deflated a bit and the cracks were gone. After letting them cool in the pan for a few minutes I removed them and transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely before refrigerating them.

I ended up leaving them in the refrigerator for about a day before topping them with a dollop of homemade whipped cream and sprinkling them with pumpkin pie spice.

Final verdict… YUM!!! They were super creamy and overbaking them had no effect on the texture whatsoever. The combination of coffee and pumpkin is delicious and the dollop of whipped cream on top was the perfect topping.

Looking for another recipe that combines coffee and pumpkin?  Then check out my Pumpkin Tiramisu recipe from a few years ago.

 

Mini Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecakes

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (12 graham crackers)

3/4 plus 2 tablespoons sugar

3 8oz. packages of cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

2 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon instant coffee

1 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

 

Directions:

Heat oven to 325 F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of the mixture to the bottom of each of the cupcake liners.

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese and the remaining 3/4 cup sugar with a hand mixer on medium until well blended. Add the pumpkin, 2 teaspoons of the pumpkin spice and vanilla extract, mix well. Add the eggs 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition. Mix until just blended. Stir in the coffee granules until completely dissolved. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the cheesecake batter over the graham cracker crust.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the centers are just set. Cool completely and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Beat the whipping cream and confectioners’ sugar together until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large piping tip and pipe the whipped cream over the cheesecakes. Sprinkle with the remaining pumpkin spice.

Recipe slightly modified from Kraft Foods

S’mores Cupcakes

Happy National S’mores Day! The day to celebrate the summer and campfire sweet treat. This year to honor the day I decided to make a S’mores Cupcake. It starts off with a graham cracker crust, followed by a chocolate cupcake and topped with a marshmallow whipped cream… YUM!

After lining a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners I made the graham cracker crust. I crushed a few graham crackers into crumbs by placing them in a resealable bag and rolled them with a rolling pin. I then combined the crumbs with melted butter and sugar. I placed a tablespoon of the crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner and then pressed them down with the bottom of a cup. I then baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for 6 minutes. Once they were done, I set the pan aside so the graham cracker crust could cool.

Next, I made the batter for the cupcakes. Now, you could make your cupcakes from scratch, but I decided to go the easy route and use a box mix of chocolate cake. I prepped the batter per the box directions and then filled each cupcake liner with a quarter cup of the batter. With the leftover batter I made a 6-inch chocolate cake so it wouldn’t go to waste. If you would like to make 24 cupcakes, you can easily double the ingredients for the graham cracker crust and use the leftover frosting to frost additional cupcakes. I baked the cupcakes for about 18 minutes and let them cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cupcakes were cooled, I made the marshmallow whipped cream frosting. Using a handheld mixer, I whipped heavy cream and vanilla extract together until soft peaks formed and then added in a 7oz. jar of marshmallow fluff (also known as marshmallow cream). I continued mixing until everything was well incorporated and the whipped cream was smooth. It was a bit lumpy at first, but, as I continued to mix it the lumps smoothed out.

I transferred the whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a round tip and piped the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and then topped them with graham cracker crumbs and shaved chocolate. The consistency of the frosting was a bit thin and I was concerned that it would be runny on the cupcakes, but it held up quite well. Definitely keep these in the refrigerator if making them on warm days.

And here is a pic of each layer of this delicious cupcake…

Looking for some more S’more inspired treats…

S’mores Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

S’mores Brownies

Malted S’mores Ice Cream

S’mores Icebox Cake

S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

S’mores Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 Cupcakes
  • Print

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Crust

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons sugar

 

Chocolate Cupcakes:

1 box chocolate cake mix along with the ingredients necessary to make the batter

 

Marshmallow Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipped cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

7 oz. jar marshmallow cream

 

Graham cracker crumbs and shaved chocolate for topping

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Make the graham cracker crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar in a medium bowl until well combined. Place a tablespoon of the mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down with the bottom of a cup. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 – 7 minutes, until set, and then let cool while making the cupcake batter.

Cupcakes: Prepare the cake mix per the instructions and pour 1/4 cup of batter over the graham cracker crust. Use the remaining batter to make a small cake. Bake the cupcakes for 15-18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting: Using a handheld mixer, beat the heavy cream and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Add in the marshmallow cream and continue beating the mixture until it’s smooth. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip and pipe dollops of the frosting onto each cupcake.

Top each cupcake with graham cracker crumbs and shaved chocolate and enjoy!

Lemon Ricotta Bars

So, even after I made the Ricotta Orange Pound Cake I posted about last week, I still had ricotta cheese left-over and I didn’t want to toss it. So, I decided to make Lemon Ricotta Bars. Lemon & ricotta go together so well… If you don’t believe me try making these bars, these pancakes I posted about a few years ago or these cookies I posted right before the holidays last year. All were delish!

Lemon Ricotta Bars

Ingredients:

For the crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (15 crackers)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

1 cup whole-milk ricotta

4 large eggs, beaten

1 1/3 cups sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons lemon zest

2/3 cup lemon juice, from 3 to 4 large lemons

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9x13x2 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

For the crust: Combine the ingredients for the crust in a medium bowl and mix until moistened. Press the mixture evenly in the prepared pan and about 1/4 inch up the sides of the dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until set, and then set aside to cool.

Reduce the oven to 325F.

For the filling: Whisk the ricotta, eggs, sugar and flour in a bowl until well combined. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice and salt and blend well. Pour the filling into the crust and bake until filling is firm, about 30 minutes.

Let the pan cool on a wire rack, at least 2 hours. Cut into desired sized bars with a knife, wiping the knife between cuts.

Recipe adapted from Food Network and Food52

Maple Walnut Cheesecake

You can pretty much find cheesecake in any flavor these days. Have you ever been to the Cheesecake Factory? Looking at their endless list of options can make you cross-eyed. While there is nothing wrong with the classic, whether you like yours made with ricotta cheese or cream cheese, sometimes you want a cheesecake with an extra hint of flavor and something a little different. Hence me trying out a recipe for a Maple Walnut Cheesecake. Those flavors just seem synonymous with the Fall season and with Thanksgiving just a few days away this may be a good option for you to serve for those guests who are just not into Apple or Pumpkin Pie.

I began by making the crust. I pulsed a sleeve of graham crackers – 9 crackers – in my food processor until they were crushed. I then added in walnuts and brown sugar and continued pulsing the mixture until it was finely ground. Finally I added in melted butter, salt and nutmeg and continued pulsing the mixture until it was combined. Following that I pressed it into the bottom and about an inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan that I wrapped with aluminum foil. I then baked it in the middle rack of a preheated 350 F oven. On the lower rack of the oven I placed a roasting rack filled halfway with water. Once the crust was light golden, about 10 minutes, I transferred the crust to a wire rack to cool. Once it was cool it was time to make the filling…

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To make the filling I began by creaming together 4 8 oz. packages of room temperature cream cheese in my stand mixer until it was smooth. I then added in maple syrup and granulated sugar. Following that 4 eggs, one at a time. And finally flour, heavy cream, lemon juice and vanilla extract. The original recipe called for maple extract, but, since the recipe only called for a quarter of a teaspoon I didn’t want to buy an ingredient that I was certain I wouldn’t use again anytime soon, if ever.

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Once the filling was ready I poured it into the cooled crust and then placed the cheesecake in the oven directly over the roasting pan with water.

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After baking for about an hour I transferred the cheesecake to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. I knew it was ready because it was set around the edges but slightly jiggly in the middle. After it cooled I covered it with aluminum foil and refrigerated it overnight.

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The following day before removing the springform ring I let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for an hour and then ran a knife along the edges. The ring came off without incident (i.e. no sides of the cheesecake were ripped). I couldn’t wait to enjoy a slice and while the cheesecake was perfectly creamy it didn’t have much of a maple flavor in my opinion. I’m not sure if that’s because I didn’t use the maple extract or because it is meant to be more of a subtle flavor as opposed to one that overpowers the cheesecake. One thing that did stand out was the walnuts in the graham cracker crust; it added a nice nutty flavor.

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Maple Walnut Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

1 sleeve graham crackers, 9 crackers

3/4 cup walnut pieces

1/3 cup light brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of Kosher salt

For the Filling:

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon maple extract*

*I opted to use vanilla extract

Directions:

Fill a roasting pan halfway with water and set on a rack in the lower third of the oven, position another rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil.

To make the crust; pulse the graham crackers in a food processor a few times until crushes. Add in the walnut and brown sugar and continue pulsing until finely ground. Add in the melted butter, nutmeg and salt and pulse to combine. Press into the bottom and about 1-inch up the side of the prepared springform pan. Bake until the crust is lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the filling; beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the maple syrup and granulated sugar and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each one. Increase the speed to medium high and beat in the flour, heavy cream and lemon juice and extract until the filling is smooth and silky, about 1 minute.

Pour the filling into the cooled crust and transfer the cheesecake to the oven directly over the water bath. Bake until golden and set around the edges and slightly jiggly in the middle, about 60 -70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 5 hours or overnight. Let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and remove the springform ring.

Recipe from the Food Network

Cheesecake… Is it a Pie or a Cake?

Well, for today the answer to that question is going to be pie in honor of Pi Day! Yes, it’s the day that Math lovers around the world celebrate in honor of Pi, the irrational number (meaning it cannot be written as the ratio of two integers) that begins with 3.14 and goes on infinitely. This year’s Pi Day is extra special though because it only comes around once every 100 years… The first five numbers of Pi Day is the date (3/14/15) and to go even further at the time 9:26:53 you will have the first ten numbers of Pi in sequence, i.e. 3.141592653. Okay, I’ll stop being a Math geek now and go back to the pie. The idea of cheesecake falling under the pie category isn’t too much a stretch, especially for this cheesecake. Pies tend to have a crust and this one has a graham cracker crust and they also have a filling, the cheesecake part. Okay, maybe it is a tad bit of a stretch, but, I really couldn’t think of a pie I wanted to make but I have wanted to make a cheesecake.

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I began by making the crust… Using a food processor I ground up 18 graham crackers until they were fine crumbs. I then added in a stick of melted butter, sugar and salt and pulse to combine them. Following that I pressed the crumbs into the bottom and approximately 2-inches up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.

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Next I moved on to make the actual cheesecake. Using a stand mixer I beat three 8-oz. bars of cream cheese with a cup of sugar until it was smooth. It’s important to use room temperature cream cheese to ensure you won’t have any lumps in the mixture.

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I then added in a cup of room temperature sour cream and a teaspoon of vanilla extract; beating until these two ingredients were well incorporated.

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And finally I added in three eggs, one at a time.

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Before pouring it into the crust, I gave the cream cheese mixture a few stirs with a rubber spatula to make sure all of the ingredients were blended together well. I tend to find that sometimes ingredients are left on the bottom of the bowl of the stand mixer untouched since the paddle attachment doesn’t fully hit the bottom of the bowl.

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After pouring the cream cheese mixture into the prepared crust I baked it in a preheated 325 F oven for about an hour; until it was set but still wobbly in the center.

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A few minutes before removing the cheesecake from the oven I combined a cup of sour cream, a few tablespoons of sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl. I was happy that the cheesecake didn’t have any cracks in it – that normally happens when I bake cheesecakes.

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I then spread this sour cream mixture over the cheesecake and then placed the cheesecake back in the oven for about five minutes.

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The cheesecake right out of the oven… I let it cool for a few hours before covering it and placing it in the refrigerator.

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I ended up leaving it in the refrigerator overnight and then added some sliced strawberries on top of it the following morning in the shape of the Greek letter used to represent “Pi.” I had to validate this being a Pi Day pie somehow!

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And how did it taste… It was perfectly creamy and not overly sweet! A winning combination for the perfect cheesecake!

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Classic Cheesecake

Ingredients:

18 graham crackers (2 sleeves)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar

3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups sour cream, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. In a food processor pulse the graham crackers until fine crumbs form. Add the butter, salt and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and pulse to combine. Press the mixture on the bottom and 2-inches up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar until smooth. Add 1 cup of the sour cream and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract and continue beating until combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and bake until just set (the center will be slightly wobbly), 50 to 60 minutes.

3. In a small bowl combine the remaining 1 cup of sour cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Spread over the hot cheesecake, then bake until set, 3 to 5 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature in pan, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Run a knife around the edge of cheesecake before unmolding.