Peanut Butter Cup Tart

January 31, 2011

First thing’s first. I am borderline on whether I should blog on this Peanut Butter Cup Tart or not. Don’t get me wrong, it’s deliciousness is definitely not the problem. The problem is that the copyright on the book this recipe is from prohibits me from reproducing this recipe electronically. So I have to wonder if there is a point to blogging about something I can’t share with you all (at least over the internet. I’m happy to share a slice in person). It seems an awful lot like shameless bragging to me. However, I would like to use my blog to publicize the wonderful cookbook and chef this recipe came from. So I’m a little stuck, here, and I’d really appreciate feedback. Do you want me to blog about things I have made if I can’t share the recipe? Please comment on this post.

I don’t understand people who don’t have a sweet tooth. I have a MASSIVE sweet tooth. In particular, I have a chocolate tooth in the winter.

Spring, Summer, and Fall are perfect for crisps and pies. If the bounty of fresh fruit we get at my farmer’s market doesn’t make its way unadultered into my mouth, it practically stumbles into a baking dish and lathers itself in butter, oatmeal, and flour all on its own.

But winter… winter is time for chocolate. Winter is cold, and winter makes me want to spend my days indoors, baking. Winter is time not just for chocolate desserts, but for CHOCOLATE desserts. This Peanut Butter Cup Tart is a CHOCOLATE dessert.

The crust is a soft chocolate cookie. The middle is a mixture of peanut butter and white chocolate. The top is a rich, chocolate ganache. And the whole thing is topped off with a flurry of salt. Now that’s what I call dessert.

And this picture is what I call putting the foil too close to the top of the pie, so it makes an imprint on my otherwise perfect ganache. Gah, life is so hard.

There is only one possible accompaniment to a dessert like this.

Not only do I chill wine glasses, I chill MILK glasses. That is how very serious I am about chocolate desserts.


The book is Food & Wine’s Best of the Best: the best recipes from the 25 best cookbooks of the year chosen by the editors of Food & Wine Magazine (2004-2005). This recipe from from Pure Chocolate by Fran Bigelow.


I had a great Halloween this year. Our last few Halloweens were celebrated with costumes thrown together last minute. This time, however, we spent some perfecting our Halloween alter-egos. I forgot how much fun Halloween is when you’re so into it!

Here are Pauly D and Mary Katherine Gallagher. I think the bronzer is really what made Will’s costume. Will danced like Pauly D all night, talking with an accent and beating up the beat. I jumped around like a maniac yelling, “gym-NASTICS!” and also serenaded our friends singing “Sometimes When We Touch.” Our friends who hosted the party also turned their garage into a dance floor. There was a lot of singing along and at some point in the evening, we formed a conga line that danced to “Shots.”

Some may have even dropped it like it was hot.

What an insanely fun Halloween. Oh, wait, right, cookies.

Well these are quite good. They are a solid, crispy cookie. I suspect they’d be even better if you follow the original recipe and use peanut butter chips instead of chopped up honey roasted peanuts like I did (where can I find peanut butter chips??) If you can find PB chips, stick with Deb’s recipe. I believe that Deb’s original is the true Superstar.

PEANUT AND CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES (adapted from Peanut Butter Cookies at smittenkitchen. Original recipe from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (I used smooth)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped honey roasted peanuts
1/2 cup chocolate chunks

For sprinkling: 4 tablespoons sugar, regular or superfine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanuts and chocolate chips. Place sprinkling sugar — the remaining tablespoon — on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisss-cross pattern, but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Pauly D, Bernie from Weekend at Bernie‘s, and Kenneth from 30 Rock. It should be noted that Bernie acted “dead” in every picture to be in character. A+ my friend.

And then, there were these. I asked Will to pick a birthday cake of his choice. From the top on down: Brittle, then PB Frosting, then more brittle, then milk chocolate ganache, then chocolate cake. Did they take 5 HOURS to make? Yes. Did the cupcakes sink? Yes. Was the frosting a little too thin? Yes. Did anyone care? HELL NO. Because they are Chocolate Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting and Peanut Brittle. And they have rocked my world.

In the original recipe, the cake somehow fell apart completely on its own. So I decided to find a different chocolate cake recipe. During this search, I managed to find the BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE in the history of mankind. These cupcakes managed to sink (usually a problem that is the fault of either using too much leavening or baking at altitude). I attribute their sinking to the fact that while using eight 1/4 teaspoon measurements to attain 2 teaspoons baking soda, I stopped mid-count to belt along with the chorus of “Don’t Stop Believing” and then immediately lost count. I’m just being honest. It happens.

This actually turned out to be a very fortunate mistake. The cupcakes made little pools to collect milk chocolate ganache and brittle. Isn’t this the good part about cooking? Sometimes mistakes or lapses in foresight turn out more perfectly than what you’d hoped. The waffle cone, after all, was invented when a Coney Island Ice Cream Scooper ran out of bowls.

The last thing I will say about these cakes is that they were MESSY. I mean, seriously messy. So I would like to suggest that if you’d like to make these, they’d be best as a trifle. Instead of cupcakes, make 2 layer cakes and alternate the cake with the brittle, ganache, and frosting in a clear trifle bowl or glass bowl.

Summary: Make these if you really like cooking and don’t mind devoting a LOT of time to it. But they are ha-mazing.

Happy Birthday Will!

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH MILK CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING AND PEANUT BRITTLE (Cake from Double Chocolate Layer Cake by Deb at smittenkitchen, Frosting and Brittle (and idea) from Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter Frosting and Peanut Brittle at thebittenword)



* Vegetable oil
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup light corn syrup
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 cup chopped lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts
* 1 teaspoon creamy (smooth) natural peanut butter (made with only peanuts and salt)*
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


* 3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
* 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
* 3 cups sugar
* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
* 3 large eggs
* 3/4 cup vegetable oil
* 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
* 3/4 teaspoon vanilla


* 4 oz imported milk chocolate, chopped
* 5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
* 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
* 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
* 3/4 cup creamy (smooth) natural peanut butter (made with only peanuts and salt)*
* 3/4 cup chilled mascarpone cheese**



Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil; brush with oil. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes. Immediately stir in peanuts and all remaining ingredients. Scrape out mixture onto prepared sheet; spread out to about 13×9-inch rectangle. Cool completely. Coarsely chop enough brittle to measure 1 cup and finely chop enough to measure 1/2 cup. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Store in separate airtight containers at room temperature.


Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease cupcake pans. Line with cupcake tins

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.

Divide batter, filling each tin 1/2-3/4 full, and bake until a tester inserted comes out clean (13-18 minutes).

Cool cupcakes on racks. Cupcakes may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.


Place chocolate in medium bowl. Bring 5 tablespoons cream just to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Pour cream over chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Let stand until thick enough to spread, whisking occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Beat powdered sugar, 1 1/2 cups chilled cream, and peanut butter in large bowl just until blended. Add mascarpone; beat frosting just until thickened (do not overbeat).

Set out cupcakes. Divide milk chocolate filling evenly between them; sprinkle each cupcake with finely chopped peanut brittle. Spread with frosting. Chill 1 hour. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours before continuing.

Place coarsely chopped brittle over top of cupcakes and serve.


For this recipe, thebittenword used creamy (smooth) all-natural peanut butter. To make sure you’re buying the right stuff, check the label. There should be only two ingredients: peanuts and salt. This style of peanut butter may have a layer of oil (from the peanuts) on top. If it does, chill the jar for a few hours, then slowly mix until smooth. Don’t use freshly ground peanut butter: It can have inconsistent flavor and texture.

I have been somewhat of an absent blogger these days for three reasons 1) Spring fever. 2) Laziness 3) Exhausting my “old standard” recipes. You see many of my old posts were courtesy of things I’ve been making in my kitchen for a few years. If I didn’t feel like trying out a recipe or learning a new skill, I just photographed and wrote about something I make all the time (ie: pasta sauce, banana bread, oatmeal raisin coconut cookies, roasted vegetables, open-faced goat cheese and tomato sandwiches, strawberry + goat cheese + spinach salad, coconut chicken fingers, beet greens, roasted broccoli, and eggs-baked-in-tomato sauce). I am sure there are a few “old standards” I haven’t blogged about that have slipped my mind, but those are pretty much what I do when I’m too tired to learn new things.

Now it is apparent that in order to keep blogging, I need to expand my skills. Which is good and worked out well today. I had to buy lots of new things at the store I’ve never bought before: Fish sauce, sesame seed oil, rice wine vinegar, and teriyaki sauce. Some of you may be thinking, “Wow, these are really elementary things that she’s never bought!” Well, you’re right. I’ve never tried to cook Asian food before!

I pretty much adhered to the recipe. I only substituted hot chili powder for cayenne pepper (add a little at a time and taste as you go to make it just the right amount of spice for your personal taste) because I was out of it, and I used a grill pan instead of a Hibachi or indoor grill. Oh, and I forgot skewers. But despite all this it was still awesome. I’ll make the recipe for the Asian Slaw I made to go with it next post. I have loved Thai food and it was awesome to make it in my own apt! I highly recommend this.

BEEF SATAY WITH PEANUT SAUCE (adapted from Beef Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce by Emeril Lagasse)

Serves 4


1 lb skirt, flank, or sirloin tip steak, cut into thin, wide strips against the grain

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

1/2 tablespoon minced ginger, plus 1 teaspoon

1 tablespoon minced garlic, plus 1 teaspoon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

1/4 cup unsweetend coconut milk

3/4 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 teaspoon Thai fish sauce

1/8 – 1/2 teaspoon hot chili power

1/2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1/2 tablespoon chopped dry roasted peanuts


Place beef strips in a medium-sized bowl and pour teriyaki sauce over them. Add 1 tablespoon of ginger, 1 tablespoon garlic, and the salt. Swish beef around in sauce, then cover and place in the fridge to marinate while you make the peanut sauce.

In a small bowl, combine remaining ginger, peanut butter, and coconut milk and whisk together. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, fish sauce,  chili powder, and 1 teaspoon garlic to the bowl and whisk to combine. Place the sauce in a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro and chopped peanuts. To serve the satays, set up a Hibachi or indoor grill or grill pan (I used a grill pan on medium high heat). Remove beef strips from the fridge and use skewers to thread the meat. Grill 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side for medium rare. Serve with peanut dipping sauce.

Are you ready to hear this? I don’t like chocolate and peanut butter together. I love chocolate and I love peanut butter, but for some reason I just don’t think they’re that special together. But I made these cookies as a present for my friend Jacque who is a huge fan of the chocolate & PB combo, like most people. Now I love these cookies without the chocolate topping, but Will and everyone else who tried them are heavily in favor of a generous dose of chocolate on top. 

These cookies are super easy to make. They’re no bake! I did have one issue, which, in hindsight, I should have anticipated. I wanted to drizzle the chocolate over these cookies, but just melting the chocolate without adding heavy cream made it too thick to drizzle, so I just kind of plopped it on top. I’m not completely in love with the presentation, but I have to say that no one objected to a giant glob of chocolate on top of their cookie.

I’d definitely love to make this again. They only problem is that I didn’t make enough! I’ll just have to reserve a few extra of my beloved, outcast no-chocolate cookies for myself next time.

Hungry for more peanut butter and chocolate? Chocolate Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting and Peanut Brittle

Hungry for more cookies? Homemade Oreos & Oatmeal Raisin Coconut Cookies