Peanut Butter & Chocolate Crunch Cake

This tray bake is for anyone who really likes peanut butter, just like my boyfriend, who can eat it with a spoon from the jar, instead of lunch, occasionally. The bake has both peanut butter in the cake mixture and also in the contrasting chocolate layering, which will swirl by itself when in the oven. For extra texture, you can scatter some chopped peanuts on the chocolate layer. I used crunchy peanut butter for the filling and smooth for the base mixture. The cake is dense, so better serve with cream or even  ice cream, to take it to the next level.

This recipe is taken from ‘Baked in America’ book, which I found rather good. It is full of exiting recipes that I never heard of, like Pennsylvania Dutch spice loaf or Nutmeg coffee cake. I’m not a massive fan of cheesecakes but the Almond Cherry one caught my attention. And I am intrigued to try the author’s version of Apple Cake which he suggests to serve with lemon curd.

The one thing that slightly concerns me however is that the majority of their recipes have a shocking amount of sugar. For instance, this one required 450g of sugar. I’m afraid I had to cut down more then half and it was just fine.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Crunch cake

PEANUT BUTTER AND CHOCOLATE CRUNCH CAKE

Ingredients:

For the chocolate/peanut swirl:

150g semi-sweet chocolate

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

For the crumbs & batter:

3 cups plain flour

3/4 cup light brown sugar

200g butter, softened

1 cup smooth peanut butter

3 eggs

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

cream/ice-cream for serving (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter a 30 x 23 x 5 cm baking tin and line with the parchment paper.
  2. To make the swirl, in a small pan melt the chocolate and peanut butter over a gentle heat, stirring often until all melted and smooth. Set aside.
  3. Then, in a big bowl, combine together flour, sugar, butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer until coarse crumbs form. Take away about 3 cups of the mixture and set aside for the crumb topping later.
  4. Then add the eggs to the base batter, one at a time, followed by milk, vanilla, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix well until the batter is smooth.
  5. To assemble the bake, spread half the batter in the prepared tin. Drizzle with the half of the chocolate mixture, then cover it with the remaining batter, followed by the remaining chocolate.  Finish it with the reserved crumb mixture over the top and gently press the crumbs onto the chocolate/peanut butter swirl.
  6. Bake it for 50-60 minutes or until the wooden stick comes out clean from the centre. Let the cake cool in the pan before cutting into squares. Serve it with cream or ice-cream.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Crunch cake

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Crunch cake

 

Chocolate Shortcakes with a Peanut Butter Filling

A fiend of mine suggested baking together from time to time, so we did, our first session. It was more chatting than baking, but it seems more fun that way, especially when there’s G&T involved.

We decided to bake two things: something savoury (we choose Zucchini Cheese Cake) and something sweet, like these Chocolate Shortcakes from Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home book. Both bakes were absolutely delicious and I highly recommend.

Chocolate shortcakes with Peanut Butter filling

CHOCOLATE SHORTCAKES WITH A PEANUT BUTTER FILLING

Ingredients:

Shortcakes:

340g plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
80g caster sugar
65g unsalted butter
85g milk chocolate chips
60ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
20g demerara sugar

Filling:

280g full fat cream cheese
60g crunchy peanut butter
60g icing sugar

Method:

  1. Line a tray with baking paper.
  2. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and then add the caster sugar. Rub the butter into the ingredients and then add the chocolate chips.
  3. Mix the double cream, vanilla extract and two eggs in a jug and pour this into the flour mixture. This will form a rough dough when you stir it.
  4. Lightly flour a surface and pat the dough down onto it to a thickness of about 3-4cm. Cut out small discs using the cookie cutter (about 6-8 discs).
  5. Place the cakes onto your tray and put them into the freezer for 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Remove the cakes from the freezer. In a small bowl beat the last egg and brush the tops of the cakes. Sprinkle the demerara sugar onto each cake and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  7. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese and the peanut butter until it’s smooth and then add the icing sugar.
  8. Once the cakes are baked and cooled, cut them in half and spoon a few teaspoons onto the bottom halves of the cakes and sandwich the cakes together.

 

Peanut Butter & Jam Pinwheel Biscuits

This recipe comes from the Hummingbird Bakery book and is fun, both the process and the result. The flavour combination is classic and one of my favourites, and I love the idea incorporating this into cookies. Taste wise, they are not quite crunchy, they are more on cake side. Somewhere between soft cookies and shortcakes. They are absolutely delicious, but next time I would like to replace raspberry jam with a cranberry one, maybe.

Peanut Butter & Jam Pinwheel Cookies

PEANUT BUTTER & JAM PINWHEEL BISCUITS

Recipe came from the Hummingbird Bakery book  ‘Home Sweet Home’

Ingredients:

60g raspberry jam

1 tsp cornflour

100g unsalted Butter, softened

100g crunchy peanut butter

100g Sugar

1 egg

2 tbsp whole milk

340g plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp Salt

Method:

1. Cut two sheets of baking paper to 38 x 25cm and set aside.

2. Mix the jam & the cornflour in a small bowl and stir until the flour has dissolved. Leave aside until needed.

3. In a large bowl with an electric whisk mix together the butter, peanut butter & the sugar until light & fluffy. Then add in the egg and the milk and mix until fully incorporated.

4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda & the salt. Then, a spoonful at a time, add the flour to the peanut butter mixture until it forms a dough.

5. Now get the 2 baking paper sheets you cut out earlier. Place the dough mix onto one of them and press down into a rough rectangle. Then place the second sheet on the top and roll it out so the dough reaches the edge of the baking paper. Gently roll out the dough until it reaches the edges. Take off the top sheet and smear the jam mixture to cover the dough.

6. Now for the tricky bit. Carefully roll up the dough using the baking paper as a tool to help you. Roll it as tight as you can, you don’t want any gaps between layers. Take your time with this, you don’t have to rush it. When you’ve reached the end, make sure you seal the seam on the bottom then wrap it up in cling film.

7. Leave this in the fridge for at least a couple of hours, or better yet, overnight. It makes it far easier to cut into slices & it will bake better too. (When the dough is cold it won’t spread too much so the biscuits will keep their shape.)

Once the dough is completely chilled, Preheat your oven to 170°C/Fan 150°. Cut the log into 2cm thick slices and place onto a baking tray. You may need to cook them in batches so as not to overcrowd the tray, or use multiple trays.

8. Place into the oven and bake on the middle shelf for about 12-13 minutes until they’re a light golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before consuming.

West African Peanut Butter & Sweet Potato Stoup

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Inspired by a fellow blogger, I finally cooked a long desired West African Soup, however, I chose to call it ‘stoup’, as it was thicker than a soup, thinner then a stew. It is full of rich flavours, has a kick and it is a perfect autumnal dish. The only thing, I didn’t have tomatoes, cabbage or cashew nuts on hand when I made this, so I compensated by increasing the quantities of some other ingredients.  As suggested by Sophie I served it with brown rice and added a chilli flat bread, made by Mark 🙂

WEST AFRICAN PEANUT BUTTER & SWEET POTATO STOUP

Ingredients:

2 onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 red & 1 orange peppers, diced

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced in cubes

scotch bonnet or other preferred chillies to taste

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons tomato paste

8 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter

1.5 litre water

2-3 tablespoons oil

salt/pepper to taste

 Plus brown rice to serve

Method:

1. Heap up the oil in a large heavy bottom pan, add the onion, garlic, chillies, sauté until golden brown and translucent. Add the bay leaves, coriander, tomato paste, add a few tablespoons of water and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.

2. Then add diced peppers and sweet potatoes, peanut butter, salt and pepper, cover everything with water (or stock, if you prefer), bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes or until sweet potatoes are cooked through and liquid thickened, stir occasionally (otherwise the peanut butter can settle on the bottom of the pan).

3. Taste it, adjust the seasoning and turn off. I cooked this a day before we ate it, like suggested and I absolutely agree, it tastes even better the next day, all the flavours became even more vivid. Serve it with fresh bread, brown rice or bulgur.

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Mighty Granola

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I don’t really like any type of breakfast cereals, maybe because I didn’t grow up with it, we never even heard of cereal when I was young, this came to our country only recently. I never heard of granola either until I moved to the UK. But I always liked oats hence I decided to try granola for breakfast one day. I tried it and I did fall in love with it instantly. I believe it came from US originally but it strongly grows in popularity all over.

I’ve tried all sorts of variations and for a long time my favourite was always plain granola topped with almonds , dried apricots  and figs. But recently I saw a recipe by Jack Monroe and had one of those moments when you think, “Why I didn’t think of that myself?’ The recipe is so simple and straightforward with only one twist in it – peanut butter (taking in account you like peanut butter, of course). However, variations are endless. She (Jack) recommends just with strawberry jam on top or banana – classic combinations! My recent addiction is just with lightly sweetened soya milk and fresh blueberries. Anything goes really when you have a good base.

I only twigged the quantity of oats because Jack’s recipe is super budget friendly and I wanted my granola to be a little bit richer and coated more with peanut butter flavour.

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PEANUT BUTTER GRANOLA

Ingredients:

25g butter

4 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter

4 tablespoons honey

200g rolled porridge oats

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. In a heavy saucepan/ovenproof dish on a low heat melt the butter, peanut butter and honey until incorporated.

3. Add the oats and mix together well until all oats are well coated.

4. Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring once half way through, until it becomes a golden brown but avoid it burning.

4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before transferring into airtight container, where you can keep it  for a few weeks. (In our house it doesn’t last longer than a few days 🙂

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