• No Bake Mini Peanut Butter Cheesecakes

    How to make No Bake Mini Peanut Butter Cheesecakes

    Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    I adore my mini cheesecake pan, but if you don’t have one you could use a muffin tin. Just be sure to line it with paper or foil liners, otherwise the graham cracker crust might crumble and the cheesecake might stick when you go to remove them.

    Ingredients

    For the crust:

    1 sleeve (9 cookies) graham crackers
    4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted

    For the cheesecake:

    8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/3 cup (90 grams) creamy peanut butter
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2/3 cup (157 ml) heavy cream
    4 ounces (113 grams) semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

    For the topping:

    1/2 cup (85 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
    1/4 cup (58 grams) heavy cream
    Mini peanut butter cups

    Directions

    Make the crust:

    Thoroughly grease a mini cheesecake pan. Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add in the melted butter and pulse until moistened. Divide the mixture among the cavities of the cheesecake pan, about 1 heaping tablespoon in each. Firmly press into the bottom of each cavity (a shot glass or other small object makes easy work of this). Set aside.

    Make the cheesecake:

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar on medium-high speed until creamy and well combined. Add in the vanilla and cream and continue beating until well combined and thickened. Pour in the melted chocolate and beat until combined. Divide the mixture among each cavity and cover with plastic wrap.

    Chill until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

    Make the topping:

    Place the chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan heat the cream just until simmering. Pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit for 3 minutes before stirring until the mixture is melted and smooth. Pour over each cheesecake, allowing to barely drip down the sides. Top each cheesecake with Reese’s. Serve or cover and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

  • Cheesecake Stuffed Baked Doughnuts

    How to make Cheesecake Stuffed Baked Doughnuts

    Yield: 6 doughnuts

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 10 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the doughnuts:

    1/2 cup warm water
    1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
    4 large egg yolks
    1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
    2 1/2 (319 grams) cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/4 cup heavy cream

    For the filling:

    8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    1/4 cup powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    For the topping:

    3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, melted
    Raspberry jam, for drizzling

    Directions

    Make the doughnut dough:

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the water, zest, vanilla, yeast, eggs, and sugar. Gradually add in the flour then salt, mixing until absorbed. Add the butter and cream and beat on medium speed for 6 to 8 minutes, or until a smooth sticky dough forms. Remove the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

    For the cheesecake filling:

    Meanwhile, make the filling.

    In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, cream, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.

    Finish the doughnuts:

    On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out 6 rounds from the dough. Place on a large parchment-lined baking sheet spacing far apart. Cover and let rise until puffy, about 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the doughnuts for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed. Let cool completely.

    In a shallow dish combine the cinnamon and sugar for the topping. Dip each warm doughnut in the melted butter, the coat in the cinnamon sugar.

    Remove the cream cheese mixture to a piping bag fitted with a long filling tip. Insert the tip into the side of a doughnut and squeeze the filling inside to fill. Repeat for the remaining doughnuts. Top each doughnut with a dollop of the cream cheese mixture then drizzle with jam.

    Doughnuts are best served the day they’re made.

  • Death by Chocolate Ice Cream

    How to make Death by Chocolate Ice Cream

    Yield: about 1 1/2 quarts

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 15 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the ice cream:

    1 1/2 cups whole milk
    1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar, divided
    1/4 cup (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process, sifted
    1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    8 ounces (227 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted
    4 large egg yolks

    For the fudge swirl:

    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
    2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
    1/2 cup (85 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
    1/8 teaspoon fine salt
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Directions

    Make the ice cream:

    Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and 1 to 2 cups of water. Place a medium bowl fitted with a fine strainer inside the ice bath.

    In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream, 1/2 cup sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla. Set over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is warm and begins to steam, about 5 minutes. Stir in the melted chocolate.

    Whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Carefully whisk half of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, one ladleful at a time, until the egg mixture is warmed. Whisk the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and registers around 175°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 to 7 minutes. Be careful not to boil the mixture.

    Immediately strain the mixture through the fine strainer into the prepared ice bath. Cool the custard in the ice bath until it reaches room temperature, stirring often. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the custard and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours or up to 1 day.

    Make the fudge swirl:

    Heat the cream, butter, and sugars in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips. Let stand for 3 minutes before stirring completely smooth. Stir in the salt and vanilla. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before using. Fudge swirl can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before using.

    Finish the ice cream:

    Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container in batches, spooning the fudge swirl in between layers of ice cream in a swirled pattern. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the ice cream and freeze until it is firm, about 3 hours, before serving.

  • Caramel Stuffed Peanut Butter Blondies

    How to make Caramel Stuffed Peanut Butter Blondies

    Yield: 9 larger bars or 16 smaller bars

    Prep Time: 2 hours and 25 minutes

    Cook: 35 minutes

    Ingredients

    1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
    1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    25 soft caramel candies, unwrapped (a little under 7 ounces)
    3 tablespoons heavy cream
    Optional Chocolate Drizzle: 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure to leave some overhang for easy removal. Set aside.

    Add the melted butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar to a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and mix together until fully combined. Then, mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt until just combined. Scoop half of the blondie mixture into the prepared baking pan (set the other half aside) and press it down into an even layer. Bake at 350°F for 12-13 minutes or until the top is set. Remove from the oven and set aside while you make the caramel filling.

    Add the unwrapped caramel candies and combine them with the heavy cream in a separate microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20-30 second increments, making sure to stir well after each increment, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Pour the caramel over the bottom half of the blondie mixture that you just baked, making sure to leave about 1/2″ of each side uncovered. Top the other half of the peanut butter blondie mixture on top of the caramel by taking pieces, flattening them a little with your hands, and gently laying it over the caramel. You want to make sure the pieces are overlapping and completely covering the caramel.

    Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until the top is set and lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 2-3 hours before cutting into the bars.

    If adding the chocolate drizzle, add 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20-30 second increments, stirring well after each increment, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Drizzle the bars with the melted chocolate as desired.

    Prep time also includes cooling time.

  • Cookie Butter Pudding Pie

    How to make Cookie Butter Pudding Pie

    Yield: 8 servings

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 22 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the crust:

    24 (1 7-ounce box) Speculoos cookies
    1 tablespoon light brown sugar
    7 tablespoons (99 grams) unsalted butter, melted

    For the cookie butter pudding:

    1 tablespoon (1 envelope) unflavored gelatin
    1/3 cup boiling water
    2/3 cup (132 grams) granulated sugar
    1/3 cup (33 grams) unsweetened cocoa
    1/4 cup (28 grams) cornstarch
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    3 cups milk
    3/4 cup (230 grams) cookie butter
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    For topping:

    Cookie butter, melted
    Crumbled Speculoos cookies

    Directions

    Make the crust:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    In the bowl of a food processor pulse the Speculoos cookies and sugar until finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until moistened. Use the bottom of a measuring cup, glass, or ramekin to press the crust mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake until fragrant and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

    Make the pudding:

    Put the gelatin in a small bowl, add the boiling water and stir until dissolved. Set aside.
    In a medium saucepan whisk the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Gradually add the milk, whisking until smooth. Set over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 10 minutes.

    Remove from the heat. Add in the cookie butter and stir until melted. Stir in the vanilla and reserved gelatin mixture. Pour the pudding into the pie crust. Chill the pie in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or preferably overnight, until well chilled and set.

    Drizzle with melted cookie butter. Garnish with the Speculoos cookie crumbles. Slice and serve!

  • Twix Chocolate Layer Cake

    How to make Twix Chocolate Layer Cake

    Yield: One 8 inch layer cake

    Prep Time: 1 hour

    Cook: 45 minutes

    Ingredients

    Chocolate cake

    2 cups (280 grams) plain flour
    1 cup (80 grams) cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 and 1/2 cup (300 grams) caster sugar
    1/2 cup (90 grams) brown sugar
    1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
    3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil
    2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3 large eggs, room temperature
    1 cup (240 ml) hot water

    Caramel frosting

    1/2 cup (115 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    2 and 1/2 cups (325 grams) powdered or icing sugar
    1/2 cup (120 ml) salted caramel sauce
    Twix bars, chopped
    Shortbread cookies, crumbled
    Extra caramel sauce for drizzling

    Directions

    Preheat your oven to 360 F (180 C). Grease and line two 8 inch round cake tins. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Then add the sugars. Whisk together. In a separate mixing bowl, add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla and eggs. Whisk together.

    Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Start to fold together, slowly pour in the hot water, and continue to mix until all the ingredients are incorporated. Divide the mixture into the two cake tins and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave for 10 minutes before gently removing the cakes from their tins and leave them to cool completely on a wire rack.

    To make the frosting, add the butter to a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered or icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the caramel sauce and continue to beat until creamy.

    To frost the cakes, you may need to trim off the dome of the cakes using a large serrated knife or a cake cutter. Then, add half the frosting to the top of one chocolate cake and then add the other chocolate cake on top. Frost with the remainder of the caramel frosting. Finally, top with chopped Twix bars, crushed shortbread cookies and drizzle with any extra caramel sauce.

  • Nutella Chocolate Covered Pretzel Milkshake

    How to make Nutella Chocolate Covered Pretzel Milkshake

    Yield: 1 to 2 servings

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    The sweetened condensed milk adds unbelievable richness, but feel free to use heavy cream instead. My favorite chocolate covered pretzels are the ones from Trader Joe’s!

    Ingredients

    For the milkshake:

    1/4 cup Nutella
    1 1/2 cups ice cream (chocolate, vanilla, or hazelnut)
    1/2 cup whole milk
    2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (or heavy cream)
    1/2 cup chocolate covered pretzels

    For topping:

    Whipped cream
    Nutella
    Crushed chocolate covered pretzels

    Directions

    Add all of the milkshake ingredients into the bowl of a blender and blend until just combined.

    Pour into a glass. Top with whipped cream. Drizzle with Nutella and sprinkle with crushed chocolate covered pretzels. Serve with a wide straw or spoon.

  • Perfect Carrot Cupcakes

    How to make Perfect Carrot Cupcakes

    Yield: 12 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:

    1 1/4 cups (174 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 cup (47 grams) canola oil
    1 cup (198 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1/2 cup (125 grams) unsweetened applesauce
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1 1/2 cups (148 grams) finely shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (42 grams) finely chopped walnuts, divided

    For the frosting:

    8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
    1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar

    Directions

    Make the cupcakes:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, and eggs. Stir in the applesauce, vanilla, and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the walnuts.

    Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake until a cake tester inserted comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

    Make the frosting:

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium-high speed until very light, creamy, and smooth. On low speed gradually add in the sugar and beat until fluffy.

    Frost cupcakes and decorate with remaining chopped walnuts, if desired. Serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

  • Baked Creme Brulee Doughnuts

    How to make Baked Creme Brulee Doughnuts

    Yield: 6 large doughnuts

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 10 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the doughnuts:

    1/2 cup warm water
    1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 teaspoons instant yeast
    4 large egg yolks
    1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
    2 1/2 (319 grams) cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/4 cup heavy cream

    For the filling:

    1 cup whole milk
    1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
    3 large egg yolks
    Pinch of salt
    2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

    For topping:

    3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
    2 tablespoons water

    Directions

    Make the doughnuts:

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the water, zest, vanilla, yeast, eggs, and sugar. Gradually add in the flour then salt, mixing until absorbed. Add the butter and cream and beat on medium speed for 6 to 8 minutes, or until a smooth sticky dough forms. Remove the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

    On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out 6 rounds from the dough. Place on a large parchment-lined baking sheet spacing far apart. Cover and let rise until puffy, about 45 minutes.

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the doughnuts for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed. Let cool completely.

    Make the filling:

    In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk and half the sugar. Place over medium heat to come to a boil.

    Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the yolks, salt, and the remaining sugar. Stir in the flour.

    When the milk boils, whisk a third of the boiled milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg mixture back into the pot. Continue whisking until the cream thickens and comes to a boil. Pour the cream into a heat-proof glass or stainless-steel bowl or pan. Press plastic wrap directly against the surface of the cream. Refrigerate until completely chilled.

    Remove the pastry cream to a piping bag fitted with a long filling tip. Insert the tip into the side of a doughnut and squeeze the filling inside to fill. Repeat for the remaining doughnuts.

    Make the crème brulee topping:

    Place the doughnuts on a wire rack over a baking tray. In a glass measuring cup, combine the sugar and water and stir until combined. Spoon the sugar mixture over each doughnut and allow to set for 5 minutes. Using a kitchen blowtorch, caramelize the sugar until amber. Serve.

    Inspired by Donna Hay issue #86