Monday, November 19, 2007

Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart

Can anything with chocolate be bad? Honestly, you have to work pretty hard to make something with chocolate into anything less than delicious. Sure you could make chocolate covered brussel sprouts or even chocolate mousse filled pumpkins (I really don't like pumpkin), but overall, chocolate makes anything better.

Including breakfast. I know. Chocolate for breakfast?! But sometimes I just can't help myself. A coworker brought in bagels and pastries from Au Bon Pain this morning, and what do I choose? The healthy bagel? Nope. Chocolate covered and filled croissant. And this is by no means a first! On my European adventure this past summer, I had chocolate for breakfast 3 times in under 2 weeks! 1st, I had a chocolate covered fluffy pastry (sort of like a croissant) the first morning in Barcelona. 2 days later we had churros and chocolate for breakfast! So rich and delicious (and so bad for me!) If you are ever in Barcelona, stop by this little bakery in Plaza P for churros and chocolate and the best start to a morning you could imagine (such a sugar/fried food rush!). Then, on our first day in Rome, we were exhausted, lost, dirty and pissy. All of that was erased by the glory of a croissant/eclair mix. It was kind of a crossaint filled with cream and dipped in chocolate. It wasn't exactly a croissant, but that is the closest equivalent I know! So good, it made the horrible train ride disapear!

Anyway, point being, chocolate is my friend any time of day. So, it really shouldn't come as a surprise when I say I had a slice or 2 of this Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart for breakfast! LOL! I made this for one of my friend's birthdays. He has wanted to make a giant Reeses cup for ages, so I made this tart to imitate it for him. Chocolate graham cracker base, peanut better filling, chocolate coating. Yum-O.I made a test batch (the one I consumed) and a real tart to give as a gift. Through the test batch I learned to change the following:
1) increase the amount of crust ingredients slightly. I did not have enough crust material to come up the sides the first time, so I changed the crumbs to 1 1/4 cups and increased the other parts slightly as well
2)increase the peanut butter to almost 2/3 cup. I felt that only 1/2 cup was not peanut buttery enough for me, though my room mates were OK with it
3)for the glaze, I increased the chocolate while keeping the butter the same. Really, I want my topping chocolatey, not butter/fatty
4)take the tart out of the pan after chilling the filling layer, before covering in chocolate. If you add chocolate while it is in the pan it will rip the chocolate when you remove itThis made for a DELICIOUS 2nd tart. Birthday boy was so surprised and I think he really enjoyed it. Apparently it was 1/2 gone by the end of the night I gave it to him!

As you will note, this dessert is a TART! My first tart under my blog which is named "TART reform." Took me long enough, right? Well this timing is made even better by the Waiter There is Something in My...Topless Tart blog event. Thanks to Cook Sister for hosting.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart

Cookie Crust
1-1 1/4 cup finely ground chocolate wafers or chocolate graham crackers (I used chocolate teddy grahams ground in a food processor, because crushing them in a zip top bag did not get me small enough pieces)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 ounces (3 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, mix cookie crumbs and sugar with a fork until well mixed. Drizzle butter and mix until crumbs are moistened. Press crumbs evenly into a 9 1/2 - inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake crust for about 10 minutes until fragrant. Let crust cool completely before filling.

Peanut Butter Filling
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp salt
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 tsp all purpose flour
1/2 - 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cookie crust, baked & cooled (see recipe above)

3-6 ounces semi or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 ounces (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp light corn syrup

To make the filling:
In a medium saucepan, bring milk and salt to a simmer. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, brown sugar and flour. Whisking constantly, slowly ladle in half of the hot milk over the egg mixture. Pour mixture back into the remaining milk in the pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 4 minutes. Continue to cook, still whisking constantly, for 1 more minute. Remove pan from heat and whisk in peanut butter and vanilla.

Pour hot filling into cooled crust and spread evenly. Carefully press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the filling (to prevent a skin from forming). Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before glazing.To make the glaze and finish the tart:
Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler over medium heat. Stir corn syrup into the melted mixture until smooth. Remove plastic from chilled tart and remove tart from pan. Carefully pour the hot glaze over the filling and spread evenly to cover the filling. Refrigerate the tart for 30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Double Decker Confetti Brownies

Avoiding homework and law school applications has recently meant not avoiding an increased weight. Basically I have been baking in order to This is not going to end well.

Sometime last week I did just that. I broke out the "Treasury of Home Baking" and made the double decker confetti brownies. Brownie layer. Blondie layer. M&M layer. For fun, I put a peanut butter chip layer between the brownie and blondie, but will leave it out next time as I wasn't a fan of the texture or taste combo. Otherwise it's perfect. Everyone enjoyed my procrastination.

One warning: Putting down the brownie layer is hard. Very tough to even out, but it is possible. The blondie can also be hard, but going a little light on the extra flour helps.
Double Decker Confetti Brownies


1 1/2 sticks Butter, softened
1 c Granulated sugar
1 c Firmly packed brown sugar
3 Large eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups All purpose flour, divided
2 1/2 tsps Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/3 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
1TBSP Butter, melted
3/4 cup M&Ms


Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 13x9x2 pan; set aside.

In large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and sugars until light and fluffy; beat in eggs and vanilla.

In medium bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups flour, baking powder, and salt; blend into creamed mixture. Divide batter in half.

Blend together cocoa powder and melted butter; stir into one half on the dough.

Spread cocoa dough evenly into prepared baking pan.

Stir remaining 1/4 cup flour into remaining dough; spread evenly over cocoa dough in pan. Sprinkle with M&Ms.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until edges start to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely.

Monday, November 5, 2007

1/2 way there and WAHOOOO

1st: sorry, but life is really in the way of blogging. school work is full swing, as is law school applications. Add in work and you have an absentee blogger.

2nd: I am now completely done 3 law school applications (MD, FLA Coastal and UVA) and done the application part, but not scholarship part for 2 others (Georgetown and American). Basically 5 done. Depending on who I hear back from when, I intend to do between 8 and 11 apps total. I'm about 1/2 way done then! Hazah!...Still 3-6 left to do though.

3rd: WAHOO! No matter what I am going to school somewhere! I got my 1st acceptance letter this weekend! Florida coastal school of law accepted me and offered me a $20,000 per year scholarship!! WOOT! It's just a backup school, but I think this is a great start. I'm in somewhere! Weeee!!!