Peanut Butter and Chocolate Heaven…cake

Today is one of my favorite days. It’s I Love Reese’s Day! Okay, seriously, I love Reese’s EVERY day but today I get to celebrate it loud and proud. AND, calories don’t count today! Woot! (Yes, I made that up. It’s cool. Roll with it.)

So, because I’m a total nerd and I have this day marked on my calendar, I’ve been planning how I was going to celebrate. I didn’t want to just eat a Reese’s – which would have been FABULOUS! – but, seeing as this is Thing 1’s last weekend home before she heads off to boot camp (!), I really needed to go big. It’s not every day your firstborn sets off to chart her own course. (Yes, pun intended. Remember, I’m a nerd.) ūüôā I decided to make my own version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in cake form. Yeah, you read that right. It’s ON up in this joint!

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I found quite a few recipes for peanut butter chocolate cakes – CLEARLY, I am not the only fan of that combination! – and I decided to mesh two together. I already had a recipe for an amazing chocolate cake – Devil’s Food Cake – thank you Food and Wine magazine! That would be the jumping point for my creation. Add peanut butter mousse and a chocolate peanut butter ganache (found the recipe on Serious Eats and it comes from Yvonne Ruperti) and you’ve got heaven on a plate.

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Peanut Butter and Chocolate Heaven … Cake

Classic Devil’s Food Cake
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk or sour cream, at room temperature

Peanut Butter Mousse
8 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 cup heavy cream

Peanut Butter Ganache
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

1 bag Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup minis, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the paper.

2. In a bowl, sift the cake flour with the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluggy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, then beat in the vanilla. Stir in half of the dry ingredients, then the buttermilk. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients until just blended.

3. Scrape 1/3 of the batter into the one pan and 2/3 of the batter into the other prepared pan and smooth the surfaces. Bake the cakes for 20-30 minutes, respectively, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then turn out the cakes and let them cool completely.

4. For the Peanut Butter Mousse: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese with sugar, peanut butter, vanilla, and salt on medium speed until creamy and light, about 5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Switch to whip attachment and beat cream on high speed to stiff but not dry peaks. Fold cream into peanut butter mixture. Keep chilled until ready to use.

5. Slice the larger of the two cakes into two layers. Place on serving plate and stack cake layers with peanut butter mousse. Keep chilled until ganache is ready to use.

6. For the Peanut Butter Ganache: Using the microwave or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, heat the chocolate and cream until melted and smooth. Gently whisk in peanut butter. Chill until just firm enough to frost, about 30 minutes. Frost cake and serve.

7. No, you have not died and gone to heaven. ūüôā

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– jennifer

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cookies

So, it’s a rainy holiday Monday and, since I’m stuck inside, what better way to pass the time than by making some cookies?! Thankfully, it was lovely this morning and I was able to get my run in before the cold and rain started. We’ve got a cold front pushing this way and we’re supposed to have a 30 degree difference between temperatures last night and tonight. Phew! I better make sure we’re loaded up on Vitamin C because that’s a cold-inducing temperature change! Of course, we need something sinfully delicious to snack on while those cold breezes blow outside and it seemed the perfect day to make a recipe I recently found on one of my favorite blogs – Sweetpea’s Kitchen.¬† Reese’s peanut butter cups chopped up and baked in a chocolate chocolate chip brownie cookie? ¬†Are you kidding me?! ¬†It’s no wonder I couldn’t make it past a week without making some! ¬†Seriously, my husband tried one and immediately decided that we (being me and Things 1 and 2) should not eat any and that he would do his duty as man of the house and eat them all up for us. ¬†He also said they tasted like “love and biscuits.” ¬† Ha! ¬†Now, that’s a rave review if I ever heard one. ūüėÄ

Now, you may have noticed the words “brownie” and “cookie” in the title. ¬†Yep. ¬†I’ve turned a brownie into a cookie. ¬†It’s quite possibly the most amazing thing ever. ¬†The result is a dense, decadent brownie-like cookie chock full of chocolate and peanut buttery goodness. ¬†Wait, ¬†you haven’t started making these yet? ¬†Seriously, you MUST. MAKE. THESE! ¬†NOW! ¬†Don’t forget to pour yourself a glass of milk. ūüôā

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels, divided

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon espresso powder

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cups Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.  In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter, 1 1/2 cups semisweet chips and unsweetened chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly; set aside.  In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla at medium speed until combined. ¬†Add flour mixture; beating well. ¬†Add chocolate mixture and beat until combined. ¬†Stir in remaining 1/2 cups semisweet chips and chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

3. Drop dough by 2 tablespoonfuls, spacing 2 inches apart, onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are dry and the centers appear cracked, about 9-10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through cooking.  Cool the cookies on the baking sheets about 3 minutes.  Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.