Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

Warning! This makes a massive pie (which isn’t necessarily bad). Peanut butter and chocolate must be one of the best combinations ever discovered! I recently did them in two ounce plastic dessert tumblers which worked beautiful.

3 cups chocolate cookies crumbs (or grahams with sugar and cocoa)
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 pound cream cheese
2 cups sugar
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Chocolate Ganache Topping:
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
peanuts, toasted

For crust: mix chocolate cookie crumbs with melted butter, pat into greased 9-inch tart pan with 2-inch sides and a removable bottom, patting 2 inches up the sides.  Freeze.
For peanut butter pie: mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer till sugar is dissolved.  Add peanut butter, mix well. Add butter, mix well.
Whip 2 cups heavy cream to medium stiff peaks.  Fold into peanut butter mixture.  Spread into pie crust. Chill for at least 4 hours
For chocolate ganache: bring cream to boil.  Add chocolate and stir till smooth.  Add vanilla.   Chill till cool.
Spread chocolate ganache over peanut butter mixture.  Pat toasted peanuts around edge.  Chill.


Mini Apple Pies

The pictures were of the batch that actually didn’t work. We tried it twice, the first time we put crust up the sides, but ended up being too dry, way to much crust for filling. We made a different filling that was a little saucier and precooked and just put the crust on the bottom and top. This worked much better! 

2 1/3 cups (or 1 pound) shortening (Crisco)
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
enough water to make 3/4 cup combined with the lemon juice
1 egg
9 cups apples , peeled and sliced in 1/2 -1 inch lengthwise
4 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup cornstarch
5 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients. Blend shortening into dry ingredients until coarse. Add beaten egg and liquid and combine till dough forms. You will have extra crust dough, but just freeze it for a later use.
Toss apples with lemon juice. Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a pot. Add water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Add apples and simmer until apples are tender about 6-8 minutes.
Roll out pie crust and cut out circles just big enough to cover the base of the ramekins or muffin tins. Fill ramekins with cooled apple mixture. Lattice the top.
Bake till crust is golden and filling is bubbly.

Lava Cakes

I love these cakes because I can make them last minute because they’re served warm. Best served with ice cream and fresh raspberries, but caramel sauce, chocolate sauce or any other fruit is also good. 

1/2 cup butter
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter six 6 ounce ramekins or custard cups and put them on a baking sheet.  (The baking sheet makes it easier to move the ramekins in and out of the oven.)
Melt the butter, unsweetened chocolate and chocolate chips and set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until thickened and light in color, about 1 minute.  Mix in chocolate mixture a little at a time.  Add flour, mixing just until it is incorporated.
Divide batter evenly among the ramekins, a generous 1/3 cup in each.  Press 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips in the center of each. Use your fingers to press the chips lightly into the batter; it is not necessary to cover the chips.
Bake just until the tops look dry and a crisp top has formed, about 20 minutes.  Let cool for at least 15 minutes.
Top each with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve.

Tiramisu Cake

This is a delicious cake made moist by coffee and a whipped cream, cream cheese frosting. I made cupcakes, but the original recipe is for a cake.

1 package white cake mix
1 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature
4 egg whites
4 Heath candy bars (1.4 oz each) or equivalent Heath candy pieces
4 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup chocolate syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
1 Heath candy bar (1.4 oz) or equivalent Heath candy pieces

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9 inch round baking pans.
In a mixing bowl, beat the cake mix, coffee and egg whites on low speed until moistened.  beat on high for 2 minutes.  Fold in chopped candy bars.  Pour into prepared pans.
Bake at 30 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.  When cool, split each cake into two horizontal layers.
For frosting, in a chilled mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Beat in the chocolate syrup and vanilla.   Add the whipping cream.  Beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Place one cake layer on a serving plate; drizzle with 2 T. coffee.  Spread with 3/4 cup frosting.  Repeat twice.  Top with fourth cake layer.  Frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting.
Refrigerate overnight.  Garnish with chopped candy bar.  Store in fridge.

To make cupcakes:
Pour 1/4 cup of batter into each cupcake liner.


Just the basic cheesecake recipe….

1 3/4 cups (24 squares) graham cracker crumbs, finely crushed
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel, optional, finely shredded
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375.
Set ingredients at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
For crust, combine crushed crackers, walnuts and cinnamon.  Stir in butter.  Press mixture onto bottom and about 2 inches up sides of an ungreased 8 or 9″  springform pan.  Set crust aside.
For filling, in a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and sugar together well.  Add flour, vanilla and, if desired, lemon peel and beat until combined, but don’t over beat.  Add eggs and egg yolk all at once, beating on low speed just until combined.  Stir in milk.  Pour filling into crust-lined pan.  If desired, sprinkle with reserved crumbs.  Place in a shallow baking pan in oven.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until cheesecake as reached the internal temperature of 160 degrees. This won’t look done, but will continue to set after removing from oven.
Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Loosen crust from sides of pan and cool 30 minutes more.  Remove sides of pan and cool 1 hour.  Cover and chill at least 4 hours.  Overnight is better.

To make individual:
Cook in water bath for about 20 minutes or until temperature reaches 160.
Use the same crust as the Key Lime Pies if making the Key Lime at the same time.
Makes 16 individual.

Strawberry Lemon Trifle

This was more or less an experiment because I’ve never really made a trifle before. The lemon pudding/curd was so delicious with the strawberries and pound cake so I knew it was going to be a delicious combination. 

2 -3  pound cakes, cut into 1″ cubes
2 pounds Strawberries, sliced and tossed with a few tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup lemon juice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 package instant vanilla pudding , made with 3 cups of milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream, or Cool Whip or Ready Whip

Combine sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest in a pan. Gradually add water and lemon juice. Cook over
medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Cook 1 minute longer. Remove from heat.
Gradually stir 1/4 hot mixture into eggs; add to remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly. Cook over medium
heat for 1 minute or until thickened. Let cool completely.
Combine cooled lemon curd with pudding. This is more or less to taste. It should taste like a strong lemon
In a trifle bowl (or glass bowl, or wine glasses), layer half the pound cake. Top with some lemon pudding.
Top that with strawberries and then a layer of whipped cream.
Repeat layers but do not top with whipped cream till ready to serve.

Individual Key Lime Cheesecakes

These have become the ultimate favorite with my Mom’s friends. They crave them, hint for me to make them or just flat out beg. It is a super easy, no-cook recipe, so it is perfect for summer parties. I’ve made these for multiple events I’ve catered and they’ve been a hit wherever I go! I get little 2 oz. containers from Party City and small spoons, so there is no serving mess and they look mini and adorable. If you don’t want to buy the containers, lined muffin tins work well too, but make for a bigger serving!




3/4 cup graham cracker, crumbs
1/4 cup pecans or walnuts , chopped
3 tablespoons butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese (generic is fine), softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice (Nellie & Joe’s brand is best)
1 8 oz container  frozen whipped topping, thawed
lime slices
ready whip

Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Stir graham crackers crumbs, pecans and melted butter together and stir to combine. Spoon 1 tbsp. mixture into each liner (or 2 oz. plastic cups), pressing it down to a make the crust.
Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl till creamy. Add the sweetened condensed milk and key line juice and blend slowly. Add 1 cup whipped topping fold in.
Spoon evenly into liners (or pipe into 2 oz. containers). Cover pan with plastic and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving: peel off liners and serve with whipped cream and lime slices.