Honey & Peanut Butter Ice Cream

The other day I was doing some dishes went I felt something hard poking against my foot.  I looked down hoping some sort of large insect wasn’t investigating my toes (I saw a HUGE beetle in the basement, like with pincers and everything, so I’m not crazy) but thankfully my surprise was pleasant, not horrifying.  It was my furry little friend Izzy keeping me company in the cutest way possible.

She has taken to sitting or lying by me nearly every time I do dishes and I think it’s because of the mirco fiber mat we got.  It’s quite soft, so she likes it a lot compared to the hard kitchen floor.

But oh my goodness.  How is it that August is almost upon us and I haven’t posted about ice cream in….quite a bit.  *cough cough* beginning of June.  My apologies.

So let me remedy the situation.  I originally made this ice cream so I could stir in chunks of chopped up peanut butter cups, but then it looked so pristine churning in the ice cream maker that I decided to enjoy it as it was.  Don’t worry, those peanut butter cups came in handy later.

This ice cream is amazing just the way it is.  We already know that I’m a big fan of the peanut butter and jelly combination, but I’d gladly substitute in honey any day.  The idea of a grape-flavored ice cream sounded weird to me.

So let’s stick to honey when dealing with ice cream.  It results in such a pleasingly mellow flavor, and the peanut butter swirl running throughout provides great contrast.  I used a natural chunky peanut butter for even more of a contrast, but you can use creamy if you’d like.  Either way, this is one great bowl of ice cream.

Honey & Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Adapted from Love & Olive Oil

Makes about 1 quart

2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp-1/4 cup honey
pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter

Pour 1 cup of the heavy cream into a heat-proof bowl and place a fine mesh sieve over the top of the bowl.

In a medium saucepan, combine remaining cream, milk, sugar, honey, and salt. The amount of honey you use will depend on its color.  Use closer to 3 Tbsp if you have a darker honey, or closer to ¼ cup for a lighter honey.  Cook gently over medium heat, stirring regularly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture just starts to steam. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks. Slowly whisk in some of the warm cream mixture, about 1/3 cup at a time, until about half of the cream mixture has been incorporated.

Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spatula, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until it reaches approximately 165 to 170ºF. Do not allow it to boil. Pour mixture through sieve into cold cream, discarding any solids. Add vanilla extract and stir.  Let the mixture come to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap, carefully pressing wrap down onto the surface of the cream mixture. This will prevent a skin from forming on top of the custard. Refrigerate until completely cool, at least 6 hours or overnight if possible.

Just prior to churning the ice cream, spoon peanut butter into a piping bag fitted with a medium size round tip or you can drizzle it in with a spoon.

Churn ice cream according to manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is the consistency of soft serve, squeeze or drop in the peanut butter, swirling it evenly throughout the ice cream, then transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for a few hours or overnight until firm.




Peanut Butter & Jelly Coffee Cake

I am thoroughly convinced that I have the best fiancé on the planet.  Yesterday he emailed me a link to a line of clothing he thought I might like.  If you should know one thing about me and clothing it’s this: I hate shopping.  I loathe, despise, abhor it.  If I do ever go shopping, I have to be in the right mood, otherwise, well, let’s just hope I went alone.

I had to admit though, some of the dresses on the site were cute.  Another thing you should know about me: I am a bargain shopper to the core.  So when I saw that those cute dresses were outside of what I felt comfortable paying, I tried to put my foot down and say no.  The conversation went like this.

“Luuuuuuke (I can’t felt but feel like Aunt Beru everytime I say his name like this), these dresses are tooo expensive.”

“But you need something to wear to the rehearsal dinner.”

“I know…but can’t we go to like Marshall’s or something.”

“You are not getting your rehearsal dinner dress at Marshall’s.  Even if you go to the mall, you probably won’t find a good dress at this price.”

“But there are two I really like, and I can’t decide between them…”

“Then get both.”

“At that price?!?!  Two!??!!  Are you insane?!!?!”

“Sweetie, either you get them now, or I’ll buy them for you tomorrow.” Hands over his credit card.  See what I mean?  You’d think I would have baked him something special to show my gratitude.  Well, I’ll get to that soon.  This one’s got my name written all over it, since someone says they don’t like coffee cake.

I’ll leave that comment alone for now, even though I don’t think it’s humanly possible.  This coffee cake is a spectacular presentation of the peanut butter and jelly variety.  A peanut butter flavored cake gets kissed by a swirl of grape jam and topped with a crunchy peanut butter crumble.

It’s THE breakfast for the p& j enthusiast.  (i.e. me)

Peanut Butter & Jelly Coffee Cake

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Makes one 8×8” pan

For the cake:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup grape jelly (or jelly of your choice)

For the Peanut Butter Streusel Topping:

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup crunchy peanut butter

¼ cup honey roasted peanuts, chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

First, make the peanut butter streusel topping. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Mix with a spoon until there are no big brown sugar clumps. Add the peanut butter, melted butter and chopped peanuts, stirring until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. In a large bowl, beat the peanut butter and butter together until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and mix until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract.  Alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Don’t over mix; beat until just combined.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Spoon grape jelly evenly over the cake. Take a toothpick or butter knife and gently swirl in the jelly. Sprinkle the peanut butter streusel over the cake. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire cooling rack and cool completely. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Hummus

We have our first houseguest this weekend!  It’s my dear friend Diego, spending some quality time with us before the wedding.  Which is officially less than a month away.  Holy crap.

Let’s not think about that, even though I think I’ve been pretty calm through the whole process.  Luke’s friends ask if I’ve turned into bridezilla yet.  I pretend I’m not offended.  Me, bridezilla, seriously?  Have they met me?  I am the most laid-back wedding planner ever.  We had our 4-6 week pre-wedding meeting at our venue earlier this week, and we finished the usual 2 hour meeting in one.  That’s how relaxed I am.

I feel like telling you about how un-stressed I am makes me sound more stressed.  But I swear I’m not.  Things are good.

Things are running as smooth as this hummus.  Things are as easy as making this hummus.  Things are as tasty as this hummus?  Ok, maybe that one didn’t work.  But things, and this hummus, are good.  The peanut butter taste is very subtle, and works amazingly well with the earthiness of the chickpeas.  Also, anything containing smoked paprika is automatically delicious.

I used chunky peanut butter from Trader Joe’s, where Diego and I will be heading today.  Huzzah!

Peanut Butter Hummus

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Makes about 2 cups

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 heaping Tbsp natural peanut butter, nothing with added sugar

¼ cup olive oil

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

½ tsp smoked paprika

Shell chickpeas if you wish.  This will make your hummus creamier, though it does take time.  Add chickpeas to your food processor and process until finely ground. Add peanut butter and mix until combined. With the food processor on, stream in olive oil through the top. You may need to add more to meet your desired consistency. Add salt, pepper and paprika and mix.

Garnish with a sprinkling of smoked paprika if desired and serve with veggies and pita chips.


Caramelized Banana Peanut Butter Cake

This cake is an obvious showcase for my love affair with bananas and peanut butter.  That being said, let me make it clear that I enjoy peanut butter with only the one fruit.

‘What about apples and peanut butter?’ you ask.  Well, that may be a thing, but it’s nothing to me.  Hah, I crack myself up.  Something about the crisp yet juicy flesh of a good apple seems counterproductive when paired with the salty slickness of peanut butter.  The two practically separate in my mouth, leaving me wondering why I didn’t just pick one or the other.

Baking apples and peanut butter together is perfectly acceptable, but only because both parties lose the inherent qualities that make them like matter and anti-matter in my mind.  Ugh, all this talk of apples makes me crave fall.  Is it September yet?

Ok ok, I’m getting to the cake already.  We’ve got caramel, bananas and peanut butter all wrapped up into one shiny package.  How can you say no to that?

I had been waiting to make this cake ever since I bookmarked it, and I was pleased with the result.  For some reason, my first batch of caramel seized like crazy, but the second one was fine.  The cake is dense and moist, and the bananas smothered in their caramel casing are sweet, but not overly so.  Very scrumptious, and highly recommended.

Caramelized Banana Peanut Butter Cake

Adapted from Scientifically Sweet

Makes one 8” cake (about 10 servings)

For the caramelized banana layer:

2 medium ripe, but firm bananas, peeled and sliced into ¼” thick pieces

1/3 cup sugar

¼ tsp white vinegar

¼ cup heavy cream

For the cake:

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup whole wheat flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

1 medium banana

½ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

¼ cup peanut oil

1/3 cup whole milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line or grease an 8” round cake pan and set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, spread the sugar in an even layer and drizzle 1 Tbsp of water over it.  Cook, without stirring, until it begins to bubble.  Swirl the pan periodically for even heating.  Continue to cook until the sugar liquefies and turns golden amber.  Remove pot from heat and carefully pour in cream while stirring constantly.  Add sliced bananas and return caramel to the heat for 20 seconds.  Pour bananas and caramel evenly into the bottom of your prepared pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Add the bran left in the sieve from the whole wheat flour.  Whisk it all together to blend evenly; set aside.

In a large bowl, mash the banana.  Whisk in the brown sugar until there are no lumps.  Whisk in peanut butter until smooth.  Add the egg and whisk until blended.  Whisk in oil, milk and vanilla until well incorporated.  Fold in dry ingredients until just combined.

Pour the batter over the bananas in the pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 40 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes or so, then carefully invert the cake onto a platter.  Peel off parchment if you used it.  (I greased my pan with cooking spray and nothing stuck to the bottom.)  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups

I have noticed this strange phenomenon around the food blogosphere where many peoples’ posts this week have welcomed the advent of summer.  I do not understand these people.  I honestly think about going north for the summer.

Growing up in a home without central air-conditioning, and living in an apartment without even a window ac, I guess summer and I have never been friends.  Not even close, in fact, we may even be enemies.

Summer knows that it makes me sweat wayyy too much, it knows how uncomfortable I find bathing suits, and how devastating cooling off can be when you’re overheated (jumping into a cold pool even when I’m hot is like nails on a chalkboard for me).  Warming up, on the other hand, is always pleasant.

But, I’m pretty far north, so I guess I’ll just have to deal with these occasional heat waves.  Maybe we’ll be putting central air in the new house, then I can actually use the kitchen on days when it breaks 90 degrees.  Let’s just say the last few days have made me very sad, staring at my kitchen longingly.

So I keep a few of these babies in the fridge to cheer me up.  They’re like a Reese’s peanut butter cup, except the filling is a chocolate chip peanut butter cookie dough.  Yeah, pretty awesome, I know.  The next time we have a predicted heat wave, I’m definitely going to make like 4 batches of these beforehand.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups

Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Makes 24 cups

2 ½ cups milk or semisweet chocolate chips

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

¾ cup powdered sugar

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

¼ tsp salt

½ cup mini chocolate chips

In a small saucepan, heat butter until melted. Whisk in brown sugar until dissolved, then let it bubble for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter. The mixture will be liquidly. Whisk in vanilla. Let cool completely, about 20 minutes.

Line a mini muffin with liners. Melt 1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips (you can use the microwave, heating on full power for 20 seconds, stir, 30 seconds again, and stir until melted, or in a small heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water). Drop 1/2-1 teaspoon of chocolate into each liner, then use a pastry brush or the back of a spoon to brush chocolate up the sides of the liner.

Place in the freezer for 20 minutes. By this point the butter mixture should be cool. Whisk in powdered sugar, salt and flour, until combined and few lumps remain. Fold in mini chocolate chips. The dough will be wet, so put it in the fridge for 15 minutes to harden.

Remove muffin tin and cookie dough, and place 1 teaspoon of cookie dough into the chocolate cups. Place back in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Melt the remaining chocolate chips, then cover each cookie dough top with chocolate, smoothing with a spoon. Freeze again for 15-20 minutes. These are fine out in room temperature for a few hours, though they might soften, or in my current kitchen, melt.  I think they’re better stored in the fridge, just in case.

Thai Pumpkin Peanut Hummus

Even though it’s pouring, today’s gonna be a good day.  How can I be so sure you ask?  Well, let me tell you.  Today Luke and I have another cake tasting!  Yippee!!!

I know, I know, didn’t we settle the cake business like a month ago?  Yes and no.  Yes, we put down a deposit at a particular bakery, but on a second perusal of their menu, we realized there was wayyy too much cake that we didn’t taste the first time around.

And if we’re going to order a wedding cake, I best be able to taste any flavor I’m even remotely interested in, just to make sure I’m, I mean we, are getting exactly what we want.  So bring on the cake!

Which is a great segway into hummus.  But this isn’t just any hummus.  This is probably one of the most amazing hummuses (?) I have ever tasted.  The name might sound strange, but the complexity of the flavors is incredible.  Pumpkin, peanut butter and scallions might seem like weird ingredients for hummus, but trust me, it works.  It works so well I never want to eat a different kind of hummus again.  Well, almost never.

Needless to say, this has definitely become my go-to hummus recipe.

Thai Peanut Pumpkin Hummus

Adapted from Cara’s Cravings

Makes about 2 cups

1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and peeled (last step optional but so worth it)
1/4 cup all natural peanut butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp ground ginger
2 large scallions, chopped
2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt

 Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.  Add water 1 Tbsp at a time if the hummus looks too thick.  Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro if desired and store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.  The hummus will keep for up to three weeks.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Pudding

Since I was late with my Hop Day pictures last week, I’m going to give you a double dose this week.  It’s always a fortuitous moment when I go to photograph Izzy while she’s lying in her bed and she stirs and gives a huge stretch.  I’m not sure why bunny stretches amuse me so much, especially since they’re kind of weird looking.

Here’s a shot of her being cozy in her bunny bed.  She’s been lying down in the evenings more as the weather gets warmer, and it’s freakin’ adorable.  She’ll even lie down in her litter box.

I promised myself I wouldn’t gush about our bunny for too long on this post, because there’s bread pudding to talk about!

I love me some bread pudding.  I don’t remember when I first tried it, but for some reason I’ve always been drawn to it.

I like to buy this really rich cinnamon swirl bread at Lyman Orchards that makes the most fantastic bread pudding (and french toast) but I didn’t have any on hand when I made this recipe, so I used challah, which is still a wonderful bread that I would have eaten in large chunks if this bread pudding wasn’t made.

Bananas and peanut butter are one of my favorite afternoon snacks, and I’m surprised it’s taken me so long to work it into a dessert.  The custard is laced with melted peanut butter and mashed bananas, and then I upped the ante even more by adding sliced bananas throughout.

Just be warned that if you put bananas on top like I did, they will oxidize and get darker.  They still taste good, but they aren’t the most attractive pieces of fruit to look at.  With that in mind, Happy Hop Day!

Banana Peanut Butter Bread Pudding

Adapted from Imagelicious

Makes one 9X9” pan

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2/3 cup peanut butter

2 cups milk

4 large eggs

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

6 cups cubed challah, or other sturdy bread

2 medium bananas, one mashed, one sliced

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease an 8X8” or 9X9” square pan and set aside.
Melt peanut butter and butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat until fluid.  Remove from heat and whisk in milk, then whisk in eggs, sugar, vanilla, mashed banana and some of the banana slices.
Toss mixture with diced bread and let sit 10 minutes.  Spoon the mixture into prepared pan place remaining banana slices over bread, if desired.  Bake for about 50 minutes, until golden on top and set.  Let pudding sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.