Peanut Butter Oreo Ice Cream Pie.

The movie: The Parent Trap
The recipe: Peanut Butter Oreo Ice Cream Pie
The story: Growing up, there were certain movies that I could just watch over and over. Even though my family owned a decent selection of VHS tapes, somehow there were always a few that got more use than others. The Parent Trap was easily a household favorite, at least for my sister and me.

The movie showcases Lindsay Lohan in her prime, fake British accent and all. It also features Maggie Wheeler, aka Janice from Friends, which is fun to see. And for a kids’ movie, The Parent Trap has a pretty fantastic soundtrack. There are a few of those songs that still make me picture the corresponding Parent Trap scenes in my head.

In the movie, Hallie introduces to the pairing of Oreos and peanut butter to Annie and, in turn, to me. This combination is one of my absolutes favorites in baking, and the dessert I prepared in honor of The Parent Trap is a great example why.

I found this recipe for Peanut Butter Oreo Ice Cream pie on the blog Kevin & Amanda. With such an easy ingredient list, this recipe doesn’t require you to go to the store for a million things before you make it. To start, make a basic crust by combining the crumbs of 25 Oreos and 6 T. of melted butter in a pie pan.

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Crumbly crusts are a pet peeve of mine, so I ended up adding an extra tablespoon of butter to the pan. While the recipe called for a 9-inch pie plate, I found this to be way too small for the amount of crust I had. Instead, I used a 9.5-inch pan, and that still wasn’t big enough. You’ll see why in a minute…

Next, combine a 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk, a teaspoon of vanilla, and a half cup of peanut butter.

2014-07-25 18.01.32In a separate bowl, whip 2 cups (a pint) of heavy whipping cream until it becomes whipped cream. If you whip it for too long it will turn into butter, so be careful! I’m always afraid I’m going to make that mistake, so I watch it very closely. Once it is light and fluffy, you’re good to go.

2014-07-25 18.14.51Next, fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture until they are well combined. This filling tastes exactly like peanut butter custard, and could easily be a dessert all on its own. To assemble the pie, pour half of the filling into the crust.

Warm up a jar of hot fudge sauce, and drizzle half of it on top of the filling. Pour the rest of the filling on top of that, then finish with the rest of the fudge sauce. Crush the remaining Oreos in the package, and sprinkle them on top. If you’re wondering why I don’t have any pictures of these steps, it’s because my version was somewhat disastrous at this point.

As I alluded to earlier, my pie crust was much too small for the amount of filling I had made. When I tried to do the layering steps, the hot fudge that went on top made the filling run out of the pan and down the sides. Before I was able to add the Oreos on top, I had to put it in the freezer for a while to become more solidified.

2014-07-25 18.30.58Luckily, this was easy to clean off, and was unnoticeable when it was served for dessert. For once, I planned ahead and made the pie a day in advance, as it needs to freeze for at least 6 hours.

When I pulled out the pie the next day to serve I was worried it would be too hard to cut, which ended up not being the case! With extra care to cut through the thick crust, the pie came out just fine.

2014-07-26 18.30.05The pie was extremely rich, but very delicious. I would highly recommend cutting small pieces. I definitely hope to make this recipe again, hopefully with a bigger pie plate.

Can’t get enough peanut butter and Oreo? Me neither. Check out some other great recipes below.

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Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

The recipe: Peanut Butter M&M Cookies

The story: For the Fourth of July, I was (naturally) assigned to be in charge of the baked goods my family supplied. These cookies were the perfect choice for me to make–not only did they come together in a flash, they also were a huge hit at my family’s potluck.

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Unlike other peanut butter cookie recipes out there, this one had plenty of actual peanut butter in the dough. It called for 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, making for delicious flavor even without the M&Ms. This recipe could also be made with any type of M&Ms, making it extremely adaptable! If I made this recipe again, Pretzel M&Ms would be my first choice to try.

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Like plain peanut butter cookies, these barely spread when baking. I love this about them, because it keeps them so puffy and soft. Hope you enjoy this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction as much as I did!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups M&Ms

Directions:

Cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed in a large bowl, using stand mixer with paddle attachment.

Mix in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla (in that order). Slowly mix in the baking soda and flour. Do not overmix.

Fold in the M&Ms with a wooden spoon. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop chilled dough by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet or silicone baking mat. I pressed a few M&Ms on top of the dough balls.

Press the balls down (only slightly) since they won’t spread much while baking. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Cookies will be soft and may appear undone. They will firm up as they cool. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy!

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Added Tip: To keep cookies uniform try using a medium-sized cookie scoop, like this one from Pampered Chef.

Three-Ingredient Mini Chocolate Croissants

The movie: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The recipe: Sinfully Easy Chocolate Croissant Recipe

The story: Yesterday was Audrey Hepburn’s 85th birthday, so today I am sharing a recipe inspired by her, in my opinion, most famous role as Holly Golightly. I always loved the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey Hepburn is first seen window shopping at 6 a.m. in an evening gown on an empty Fifth Avenue while eating a croissant and sipping coffee.

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This scene perfectly captures the personality and quirkiness of Audrey Hepburn’s character, all without her having to say a word. When I realized I had left over puff pastry from making Banana Tarte Tatin, my mind immediately jumped to this movie. I had no idea using puff pastry to make croissants was this easy! Using the recipe I found, all I needed to do was wrap up puff pastry triangles with some chocolate inside, and brush them with a wash of egg and water.

You probably could even skip the egg wash and make this a two-ingredient recipe, but the croissants would just come out less shiny. These were perfectly bite-sized and delicious! I would definitely make these again, and have already thought about the variations of fillings that are possible (basically any type of candy). Check out the recipe inspiredtaste.net!

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Summer Bucket List

As the end of the spring semester is (somehow) rapidly approaching, I have found myself constantly telling myself I’ll do things over the summer. “When I actually have free time, I definitely want to…” is a phrase I feel myself saying more and more frequently. The following is a list of TV shows, recipes and books I want to get through when I have some time off from school and extracurricular responsibilities.

  1. Watch: The Wire. I have only heard great things about this show. As someone who loves mob and mafia movies (hello, Goodfellas), I’ve been told I would be obsessed with The Wire.
  2. Read: The rest of the Game of Thrones books. Well considering how long they are, that might be ambitious. I at least want to  start reading them again. Last summer I read the first book, and simply didn’t have time to dive into the second. Now that the show is back, I would love to get ahead of the TV storyline! 
  3. Make: Hi-Hat Cupcakes. This was a goal of mine last summer. I actually wanted to make them for my own birthday, but struggled with the meringue frosting. Luckily the cupcakes still tasted good, I just gave up on doing the dipping part. There are so many tutorials and tips on how to successfully coat the frosting in chocolate, I’m hoping I can finally make these!
  4. Watch: Breaking Bad. Now that the obsession has died down over this show, I think I can truly enjoy it. Hearing people freak out over what was going on in every new episode was pretty standard when it was still on, but I had no idea what any of the things people were talking about meant. Starting from the beginning, I know I won’t remember any of the spoilers people said. I can’t wait!
  5. Read: The Monuments Men. I actually started reading this book over winter break in hopes of finishing before the movie came out, which was clearly unsuccessful. I enjoyed the book, I just didn’t have time to keep up with it.
  6. Make: Bread from scratch. I don’t have a particular recipe in mind just yet, but the thought of using yeast has always intimidated me. I know once I use it once I’ll get over it and be fine! To me, making a perfectly cooked loaf of bread would be a great achievement.

Bacon mushroom spinach crustless quiche.

This recipe also has no real backstory, but the name does. There are certain food words that I find very unappetizing, even if I like the food itself. I hate the word meat, but am not a vegetarian (despite the beliefs of many). Two others words I hate are eggs and casserole. Eggs reminds me of a bad smell, but I eat them all the time. I immediately associate the word casserole with a canned cream of something soup, which is not appealing to me.

So even though most people would call this recipe an “egg casserole,” I refuse to give it that name. I do, however, love the sound of a quiche, so that’s what this has become. Since quiches are defined by having a crust, we’re just going to get around that by labeling it a crustless quiche. Way more appealing than an egg casserole.

I made this while I was home last weekend for Easter. When figuring out what to make for brunch, I did things Chopped style and only used ingredients we had on hand. While I looked at other recipes for guidance on quantity, cooking temperature and time, the ingredients weren’t based on anything other than what sounded good to me at the time. That’s the beauty of a crustless quiche–it’s very adaptable based on your personal preferences. It also would be a great make-ahead breakfast, as one batch makes enough for at least a week and a half.

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Ingredients

  • 9 eggs
  • 3 cups spinach, chopped
  • 8 slices of bacon, cooked, chopped and divided
  • 1/2 cup white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used swiss), divided
  • Salt and pepper, if preferred

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease an 8×8 baking dish.

Scramble eggs in a large bowl, and add spinach, mushrooms, 1/2 cup cheese, 6 slices of bacon and salt and pepper if desired.

Pour egg mixture into baking dish, and top with the remaining cheese and bacon.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cheese is slightly browned.

Enjoy!

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Tres Leches Cake.

This recipe, sadly, has no movie/TV story behind it. In trying to meet the particular requests of my brother when choosing a dessert to make, I hunted for a poke cake recipe that would gain his approval. This is regular sheet cake that is drenched in sweetened condensed milk (and sometimes other things too) and topped with whipped cream. They are gooey and sweet, and almost always taste better the day after they are made. Last summer, my mom made a Butterfinger poke cake that was gone in less than 24 hours.

The food blog world LOVES poke cakes, because they are so easy to customize. As I searched for the perfect one to make, I came across S’mores and White Chocolate Caramel versions that both looked great. My brother was not as excited by these choices as I was. As I continued searching, I came across this recipe for Tres Leches Cake. I have had this before, and somehow I never realized that it’s just a more impressive version of a poke cake. Not only do you make the cake and whipped cream from scratch, there’s also three different milks that get poured over the cake instead of just one.

The first layer is just a basic sponge cake. Really it just serves as a base for the milk mixture to be absorbed. It has a teaspoon of cinnamon, which, even through the rich sweetness of the milks, was noticeable. The milks gave me the most trouble in making this recipe. Per Sweet Pea’s Kitchen‘s recipe, I microwaved the sweetened condensed milk in a large bowl with plastic wrap covering it. I guess my version of “low power” was not low enough, because it bubbled over two times. Somehow after the first time getting drips of sweetened condensed milk all over the kitchen I did not learn my lesson. I’m pretty sure the bottom of my microwave will have a nice sugary coating for a little while.

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After thickening what I had left of the sweetened condensed milk, adding the heavy cream and evaporated milk was simple. Once everything was combined, I realized it was far too much liquid for the cake. The recipe recommended letting the cake soak for a maximum of 24 hours, so maybe this would have made the difference. Much like my cheesecake, I did not start baking early enough for the cake to have the proper amount of time to sit. The recipe called for at least 3 hours, I think I maybe gave it one.

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Stiff peaks!

Stiff peaks!

Once the whipped cream was made, I had to spoon out a lot of the excess milk mixture. Even though the cake didn’t sit for as long as it should have, it still tasted great! My family agreed this recipe is a keeper. If you want to try it out for yourself, head over to Sweet Pea’s Kitchen!

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Favorite Things II

(see link below for this recipe)

Dark chocolate coconut macaroons from Smitten Kitchen. These look so easy!

This chicken and vegetable pot pie from the magazine Real Simple. I’m planning on making it for a future post, so keep an eye out for it in the near future.

A review of Mad Men’s seventh and final season from Vulture. Can’t wait for it to come back tomorrow!

The news that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be playing sisters in a new movie. I am automatically going to love this.

Toffee and milk chocolate peanut butter cookies from Averie Cooks. The ingredients in these are so simple (and gluten-free)!

Love and Olive Oil’s goat cheese and brussels sprout skillet pizza. I love everything involving both of those things, so I’m sure this would be a hit.

This peanut butter mousse from Minimalist Baker is only three ingredients AND vegan! Looks perfect.

These are links to great recipes and interesting pop culture-related articles. Just a few of my favorite things!

Beef and Barley Stew

The show: Game of Thrones

The recipe: Beef and Barley Stew

The story: I love Game of Thrones’ complicated stories, and am so glad the fourth season began last night. In honor of the show, I checked out the official food blog of Game of Thrones, The Inn at the Crossroads. Game of Thrones fans are so intense, they have created an official cookbook and corresponding blog! Yet another reason for me to love the show.

I chose this recipe in an attempt to branch out in my cooking. I rarely prepare meat, and I have never made any kind of soup or stew. While the blog had tons of recipes to choose from, I figured I would rather have this stew than some other options like boiled beans or venison pies.

This stew comes from the North of the Game of Thrones realm, where it is always cold. According to the recipe. the stew is supposed to thicken with the barley, which my version didn’t do very well. I added flour to try and compensate, but it still wound up being more of a soup than a stew. Nevertheless, it still tasted good! I was pleased with how it turned out.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into small pieces
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 1-2 carrots, sliced small
  • ~10 whole pearl onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 6 cup water
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbs. each butter and flour for roux (optional)

Put half the butter into saute pan, and brown the beef. Set aside. Add the rest of the butter, along with the mushrooms, carrots, onions, and garlic.

Saute for just a few minutes until the mushrooms are soft, making sure that the veggies get completely covered with butter.

Combine the meat, vegetables, and all other ingredients in a large pot. Simmer over medium heat for at least an hour, adding extra water or broth as the barley soaks it up. The starch from the barley will thicken the soup somewhat, but if you’d like it thicker, add a roux.

Melt the butter, and add flour. Stir to combine as the mixture until the color is golden. Add a ladle of broth, stirring all the while, then pour the whole mixture into the main pot.

 

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Sumbitch Cookies {How I Met Your Mother Series Finale}

The show: How I Met Your Mother

The recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (with my own addition of caramel)

The story: It’s hard to believe that the How I Met Your Mother series finale is tonight. After nine seasons, I still don’t feel tired of the story or the plot. For a lot of shows, it feels like the last season should have happened years ago, but to me that isn’t the case here. To How I Met Your Mother’s fans, there are still so many questions that need to be answered.

With its interesting method of storytelling, How I Met Your Mother references previous episodes and jokes constantly. Whenever I’m talking to one of my friends about the show who has never seen it, I always tell them to watch it from start to finish, or else it just isn’t as good.

The only bad thing I have to say about How I Met Your Mother is that there are not very many food references made throughout its 208 episodes. I knew I wanted to make something for the series finale, but there was just nothing that jumped out at me. I thought about making something with pineapple, cupcakes, or burgers, but none of them seemed important enough for the finale.

With the whole last season focused around the discovery of “The Mother,” I decided that a recipe from the season premiere, in which she’s first revealed, would be perfect. When the mother first appears, she and a distressed Lily are seated next to each other on a bus. In an act of stress eating, Lily and the mother go through an entire container of chocolate, peanut butter, and caramel cookies, which they dubbed “sumbitches.”

 

To make these, I started with a chocolate peanut butter cookie recipe from King Arthur Flour and stuffed them with baking caramels cut in half. While mine don’t look like the cookies they had on the show, the key ingredients are all there. After I made these, I realized their context within the show is perfect for tonight. I’m not ready for How I Met Your Mother to be over. As I watch the series finale tonight, I will most definitely eat one of these cookies to lament the end of one of my favorite shows.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (with Caramels)

Total time: 27 to 37 minutes      Yield: 30 cookies

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

16 baking caramels, halved

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.

Beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter in another bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and water, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.

Flatten about 2 tablespoons of dough into the palm of your hand, and place a caramel half in the center.

Wrap the dough around the caramel, sealing all edges. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they’re set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

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Stuffing cookies with other desserts is always a good idea.

Bacon Banana Pancakes

The show: Gilmore Girls

The recipe: Banana Bread Pancakes (with one addition)

The story: My sister and I didn’t discover our love for Gilmore Girls until I was in middle school and she was in high school. In a pre-Netflix time, Sharon and I were forced to watch the entire series, disc by disc, through Blockbuster’s mail DVD delivery service. It took us over a year to get through all of the seasons, and it was so worth it. By the end, it just became a habit for us to sing the intro song as a duet.

Gilmore Girls is so unique because of its fast-paced dialogue and constant pop culture references. As we started each episode, I always had the expectation that I wouldn’t understand the majority of the references made by the characters. Another distinct characteristic of Lorelai and Rory was their eating habits. They both drink black coffee constantly, and neither of them knows how to cook. This leaves them eating the majority of their meals at Luke’s Diner in their town, Stars Hollow.

Luke is the on-and-off love interest of Lorelai, and his diner serves typical breakfast and lunch foods. In honor of Luke’s, I decided to make pancakes and bacon, but somehow things took a turn. The original recipe can be found here, but as the following pictures will show, breakfast got a little experimental in my ode to Gilmore Girls.

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