This past Friday night, I went to the monthly dinner party hosted by one of my friends at work. It’s always a total blast getting together with my co-workers and seeing how we act when outside the confines of our cubicles. I’ve found that a group of friends made up of people you work with have many different personality types and quirks, so there’s hardly ever a dull or unfunny moment. Usually, we have a set activity that is planned for us to do like playing Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Family Feud, or Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader. Sometimes we’ll even watch umpteen Mary Tyler Moore episodes in a row which draws much criticism from all in attendance… which completely surprises the host of the party (and I love every minute of it). This last time a girl brought over her Wii for all of us to try out. I’ve seen it and heard about the Wii but had never played it myself. Turns out I’m quite the Wii All Star Athlete. We played Soccer, Baseball, Bowling, Tennis, Golf, Bull Riding and a few other things. I thought the Wii Fit was interesting, although I’m not sure how great of a workout it would actually be. I entertained the thought of getting the Wii Fit for myself. I mean, with all these desserts like this that I’ve been churning out in the last few months, a girl’s gotta do something.
Anyway, Tammy of Wee Treats by Tammy chose Dorie’s Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie. Sure, I’m a big fan of brownies but I’m not that big of a fan of peanuts (or any kind of nuts) in desserts so I was kind of lukewarm about this one. I was more interested in making my own caramel for this than anything else, which I gloriously burned to black on my first attempt and smoked up the house in the process. Go me! My second attempt I decreased the temperature and kept a close eye on it and everything turned out ok.
I totally forgot to add the heavy cream to the caramel topping mixture. Me? Forget something? No way! So my topping got hard really quick and I didn’t figure it out for a while what the problem was. I was eating (awesome tasting) peanut brittle on top of a semi-dry cake. It tasted good, but probably would have been better had I not scaled the recipe down into a quarter and left out a crucial ingredient from the main component. At any rate, I’m glad I made it. Note to self: cannot watch television anymore while baking as it causes too many problems with burned/missed ingredients.
Thanks go out to Tammy of Wee Treats by Tammy for selecting the Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake! Please stop by her blog to check out the recipe and to see what she thought about her choice. For next week, Gretchen of Canela & Comino has chosen Lenox Almond Biscotti. Yee ha!
This post is dedicated to my new nose ring.
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection was Peanut Butter Torte chosen by Elizabeth of Ugg Smell Food. I was really looking forward to making this one because I absolutely love peanut butter. Unfortunately, I can only handle the taste in small doses now that I’m an adult. Man, growing up really is NO fun sometimes.
Anyway, this torte was super easy to make. And it tasted great, too. The peanut taste wasn’t overwhelming at all. I read that some of the other TWD members thought it was a little salty, but I left out the pinch of salt the recipe called for and used “lightly salted” peanuts instead of regular and didn’t have any issues. It never fails though, I forgot something on this recipe too. And I was so careful about checking off each step as I went along to make sure I got everything. I’m in my 30′s now, you would think i could follow a simple set of directions…. but noooooo. What I forgot was to butter the pans before I pressed in the crust. I was a little worried about this and how it would play out in the end, but I had no problems when it came time to remove the sides of the springforms. One of these days I’ll get everything right.
I haven’t bought a package of Oreos in forever. I forgot how good they are.
I’ve decided that I can’t cut a cake, a pie and now a torte. I’m ok with that. Really.
I had fun this week. This was my favorite recipe out of the three I’ve made so far. Check out other Peanut Butter Tortes from all of TWD’s talented and amazing members here.
See you next Tuesday for FLORIDA PIE (yay!) chosen by Dianne of Dianne’s Dishes.
adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
1 ¼ c. finely chopped salted peanuts (for the filling, crunch and topping)
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder (or finely ground instant coffee)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
½ c. mini chocolate chips (or finely chopped semi sweet chocolate)
24 Oreo cookies, finely crumbed or ground in a food processor or blender
½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt
2 ½ c. heavy cream
1 ¼ c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ c salted peanut butter – crunchy or smooth (not natural; Dorie uses Skippy)
2 tablespoons whole milk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
Getting ready: center a rack in the oven, preheat to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch Springform pan and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Toss ½ cup of the chopped peanuts, the sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate chips together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Put Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in another small bowl and stir with a fork just until crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan (they should go up about 2 inches on the sides). Freeze crust for 10 minutes.
Bake crust for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack and let cool completely before filling.
Whip 2 cups of cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in ¼ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Scrape cream into a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Wipe out (do not wash) the bowl. Beat cream cheese with remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until cream cheese is smooth. Beat in peanut butter, ¼ cup of chopped peanuts and the milk.
Using a spatula, gently stir in one quarter of the whipped cream, just to lighten the mousse. Then stir in the crunchy peanut mixture and gently fold in remaining whipped cream.
Scrape the mousse into crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight; covering with plastic wrap as soon as the mousse firms.
To Finish The Torte: put chopped chocolate in heatproof bowl and set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan.
Bring the remaining ½ cup cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate, gently stir together with a rubber spatula until the ganache is completely blended and glossy.
Pour ganache over torte, smoothing it with a metal icing spatula. Scatter remaining ½ cup peanuts over the top and chill to set the ganache, about 20 minutes.
When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the Springform pan; it’s easiest to warm the pan with a hairdryer, and then remove the sides, but you can also wrap a kitchen towel damped with hot water around the pan and leave it there for 10 seconds. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
What I DID/CHANGED/THOUGHT:
This was a great choice and I think I would make this again in the future.
I used two 4 x 1 3/4 mini springform pans and halved the recipe.
Used Lightly Salted peanuts, regular Oreo’s, instant coffee granules and smooth Jif peanut butter. Left out the pinch of salt the recipe called for.
I had issues with the crust and getting it to do what I wanted it to do.
Forgot to butter the pans but this did not create any problems for me.
Didn’t use a hair dryer or a hot kitchen towel, just soaked the pans in a little warm water bath before removing the sides.