Happy Birthday AiC, and an Easy Peanut Butter Chip Pie

A year ago today, I published my first post on Antics in Cooking, Spicy Sausage Pasta. Little did I think then I would still be doing this a year later. I started it as a way to chronicle many of the new dishes I was trying as I was really diving into cooking every meal, attempting to alleviate some of that stress from my wife. I was finding many of the recipes I was trying through similar blogs, which have been an immense help for me. 

I stand by the original description, still on the home page today, “…sharing terrible photos and awesome recipes, and having fun doing it.” I really have enjoyed it, and I still take really horrible pictures!

For the first birthday of the site, I thought I would share what I eat for my “birthday cake” for as long as I care to remember. I actually can’t remember when I had an actual real cake for my birthday. They do nothing for me. I started out many years ago making a Jack Daniels Pie (mix between a pecan pie and a chocolate chip pie) for my birthday. It was/is an amazing pie. Then one year, my wife made me this Peanut Butter Chip Pie. I have never looked back.

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I have a thing for peanut butter chips. Like, I will just eat them out of the bag for a snack. I much prefer them to chocolate chips. Anyway, the pictures here are what the pie looks like when my wife is done making it. When a slice gets to my plate, I will have grabbed the leftover chips and completely covered the top of my piece to where you can barely see the whipped topping through the chips. I highly recommend this technique!!

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Enjoy!

Easy Peanut Butter Chip Pie

Ingredients

3 oz cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips, divided

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)

1 cup cold whipping cream, divided

1 packaged chocolate or graham cracker crumb crust (I recommend graham)

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Beat the cream cheese and lemon juice in medium bowl on medium speed of mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Place 1 cup peanut butter chips and sweetened condensed milk in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 45 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred.

Add warm peanut butter mixture to cream cheese mixture, Beat on medium speed until blended, about 1 minute. Beat ½ cup whipping cream in small bowl until stiff; fold into peanut butter mixture. Pour into crust. Cover, refrigerate about 6 hours or until firm.

Just before serving, combine remaining ½ cup whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in small bowl. Beat until stiff; spread over filling. Garnish with remaining peanut butter chips. Cover and refrigerate leftover pie.

Recipe courtesy of the Hershey’s Holiday Collection cook book, 2002.

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Mom’s White Chocolate Pretzel Mix

It seems most people have a preference on eating a sweet, or salty snack. But most people I have found, no matter which way they lean, love them both together. This is one of those sweet and salty snacks (maybe treat is a better word) that both children and adults will love. And there are two healthy cereal’s in here so it can’t be too bad for you right?? This version came from my Mom, who would always have a big bag of this waiting for us when we would visit. And unless you are making this for an Army, I would recommend cutting the recipe in half.

The below pictures are from when it was cooling. I forget to take any after it was broken apart.

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White Chocolate Pretzel Mix

Ingredients

1 package (10 oz) mini pretzels

5 cups Cheerios cereal

5 cups Corn Chex cereal

2 cups salted peanuts

1 pound M&M’s

2 packages (12 oz each) vanilla chips

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

In a large bowl, combine first five ingredients, set aside. In microwave safe bowl, heat chips and oil for two minutes (or until smooth), stirring every 30 seconds or so. Pour over cereal mixture and mix well. Spread onto three wax paper lined baking sheets until cool. Break apart.

Almond Biscotti

I am now officially ready for the Fall! First, today I found my espresso tower cup set which had been packed up, and second, I learned how to make some wonderfully tasty Almond Biscotti! Again, I leaned on America’s Test Kitchen to teach me how, and they did not disappoint. It was relatively easy to moderate I would say. But if I can do it, anyone can!

One of the best things about biscotti is, it can be kept for about a month, if you keep it in an airtight container. Not that this batch has any hope of making it more than a week or so! But, as holidays get closer and cooking and baking picks up, this is something that can be made a week or so ahead of time, getting one more thing out of the way when time is of an essence.

 

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Two loaves headed into the oven.

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Out of the oven, and then once cooled for 30 minutes, sliced and put on a wire rack, which I then put in a rimmed baking sheet.

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Almond Biscotti

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) whole almonds, lightly toasted

1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, plus 1 large white beaten with pinch salt

1 cup (7 ounces) sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vegetable oil spray

Instructions

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Using ruler and pencil, draw two 8 by 3-inch rectangles, spaced 4 inches apart, on piece of parchment paper. Grease baking sheet and place parchment on it, ink side down.

Pulse 1 cup almonds in food processor until coarsely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses; transfer to bowl and set aside. Process remaining 1/4 cup almonds in food processor until finely ground, about 45 seconds. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; process to combine, about 15 seconds. Transfer flour mixture to second bowl. Process 2 eggs in now empty food processor until lightened in color and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. With processor running, slowly add sugar until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Add melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla and process until combined, about 10 seconds. Transfer egg mixture to medium bowl. Sprinkle half of flour mixture over egg mixture and, using spatula, gently fold until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and chopped almonds and gently fold until just combined.

Divide batter in half. Using floured hands, form each half into 8 by 3-inch rectangle, using lines on parchment as guide. Spray each loaf lightly with oil spray. Using rubber spatula lightly coated with oil spray, smooth tops and sides of rectangles. Gently brush tops of loaves with egg white wash. Bake until loaves are golden and just beginning to crack on top, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.

Let loaves cool on baking sheet for 30 minutes. Transfer loaves to cutting board. Using serrated knife, slice each loaf on slight bias into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Lay slices, cut side down, about 1/4 inch apart on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crisp and golden brown on both sides, about 35 minutes, flipping slices halfway through baking. Let cool completely before serving. Biscotti can be stored in airtight container for up to 1 month.

Mom’s Apple Tart

This is in fact my Mom’s Apple Tart recipe, and trust me, you must try it! She is the absolute best baker I know, and best overall cook for that matter too. This was my first attempt at it, and I am very pleased with how it turned out. It is easy enough for a beginner like me, as long as you follow her directions.

The recommendation on types of apples is hers. She lives in New England, and unfortunately down here in TX, I can not find any McIntosh apples right now, so I used Honey Crisp. They work well too.

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Can you imagine how great my house smelled when I pulled this out of the oven!!

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Cooled off a bit, and outer springform shell removed.

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Yum!!

Mom’s Apple Tart

Ingredients

½ cup butter

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup flour

1 pound cream cheese

½ cup brown sugar

1 large egg

2 large apples (I use McIntosh but Cortland would be good too)

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Cream the butter, ¼ cup sugar and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Stir in the flour until well blended. Press the dough onto the bottom and about 1 and ½ inches up sides of a 9” springform pan. Refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the cream cheese and brown sugar in a bowl and beat until fluffy. Add egg, and beat until smooth.

Peel, core, and slice apples into ¼ inch pieces. In a large bowl, combine remaining ½ cup sugar and cinnamon, add the apple slices and toss until coated.

Pour the cream cheese filling into prepared crust and cover with the sugared apple slices. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 40-45 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Use a knife to loosen the cake before releasing the spring and lifting the sides from the bottom of the pan.

Enjoy!!

Chocolate-Mint Cookies

It is amazing how time flies. My eldest son started Kindergarten today, and it seems like he was just born yesterday. To celebrate his first day, I made his favorite cookies. Chocolate cookies topped with an Andes mint. Oh so delicious. And honestly, I never really need a reason to make these; I LOVE them as does my wife.

One of the great things about these cookies as well is they freeze really well. I will keep a quarter of them out when I make them, and freeze the rest in quarter batches, and pull them out when needed.

Can you get more handsome than this??

Can you get more handsome than this??

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

With Andes mint added

With Andes mint added

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Finished product

Finished product

Finished product

Chocolate-Mint Cookies

Ingredients

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 ½ cups packed (10 ½ ounces) brown sugar

2 tablespoons water

2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

1 ½ cups (12 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour

1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

45 Crème de Menthe Andes Mints

Directions

Combine butter, sugar, and water in medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted, about 3 minutes. Add chocolate chips and stir constantly until chips are melted. Transfer mixture to bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle and let cool for 10 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in separate bowl. Add eggs to bowl with chocolate mixture and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, and mix until just combined. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 heaping tablespoon dough at a time, roll into balls and space them 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Bake until just set, 7 to 9 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Immediately place 1 mint in center of each cookie. Let stand until mint is softened, about 5 minutes, and then spread melted min over tops of cookies. Transfer cookies to wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough and mints. Let cookies cool completely before serving.

Recipe from Americas Test Kitchen Best Cookies Ever magazine.