Don’t Hold The Wall

 Who loves pie?  I’m sorry, that’s a silly question?  What I should be asking is, who doesn’t love pie?  If you answered “OOh, me!  I don’t like pie!” – get out.  Just go.  For those of us left that love pie (because what human being doesn’t??), let’s talk.  When I think pie, I think summer fruit pies with whipped cream or ice cream.  Yet here we are in the middle of winter, still shoveling ourselves and our cars out of the two feet of snow that got dumped on NYC (34 inches in Queens!).  I also just recently celebrated by 3rd anniversary of Single Girl Cookies on the 17th.  Three years, over 6,000 chocolate chip cookies – what’s next?  Combine those two things and you’ve got an antsy, jonesin’-for-something-new-and-different Single Girl just dying to create.  

I got it in my head that I wanted to make something with a chocolate chip cookies crust but wasn’t sure what.  I thought maybe a cheesecake with a cookie bottom?  Or maybe a layered brookie (brownie/cookie combo)?  I also kept coming back to my favorite pairing with chocolate, which is peanut butter.  When I was a kid, my first job was as a busser at a local Mennonite influenced/themed restaurant, Miller’s.  And they made the best peanut butter chocolate mousse pie with the graham cracker crust that I used to buy a slices of with my hard earned, next to nothing busser tips, and take it home and label it with my name to make sure nobody else ate it.  It seemed only natural that my creation involve peanut butter mousse.  

I finally settled on pie form, thinking, “If this works, it’s going to be DA BOMB”.  Yes, it’s so good, I don’t even care that I still use outdated slang.  And it’s so good that I wanted to share the recipe with you so you could experience the amazingness for yourself!

  

Chocolate Chip Cookie Peanut Butter Mousse Pie

Using your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (you didn’t think I was going to give mine away, did you??), press a thin layer of dough onto the bottom and sides of a pie plate like you would a graham cracker crust.  Remember, this dough will rise slightly, so be sparing with your dough distribution. I used slightly less than half of my batch of dough and had quite a significant crust. I made cookies with the other half that I gave away to that week’s drop spot. I used a 9 inch vintage Pyrex pie plate, set the oven for the standard 350, and let it bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Never having done this before, I liked that it was clear glass and I could see when it was done.  I’d recommend making the crust a good 2 hours before you make the mousse.  

Peanut Butter Mousse

I used (read: modified and partially followed) a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, but didn’t follow all the fussy parts of the directions, like “using a chilled bowl and chilled beaters…”  Here’s what I did.

Ingredients

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 8 oz package cream cheese

2/3 creamy peanut butter

2 tbsp milk

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla
Directions

1. Using an electric beater, beat heavy cream in a small bowl until you start to see soft peaks form.

2. In a separate large bowl, beat softened cream cheese, peanut butter and milk until combined.  Add in vanilla and confectioners sugar, mix until combined.  Add in whipped cream until mixture is smooth (and delicious).  Now is a good time for beater licking.

3. Making sure your cookie crust is mostly cooled, pour peanut butter mousse into your crust, filling to the top.  Chill at least two hours, thought it’s best left overnight.  

4. Invite your friends over for pie!

  

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Bella Notte

Pizza. It’s such a “New York” thing, am I right? Not that pizza belongs to New York; it’s clearly everywhere you go. Even when I was visiting Brazil some years ago, the pizza there was incredible. Maybe the real root of all of this is that I love pizza. There, I said it. I LOVE PIZZA. I would eat it every time I wanted it if I didn’t also love being a functioning human being. Because if I ate pizza every time I wanted to, let me tell you what would happen: I would gain 50 pounds, never leave my couch (except to grab a few slices) and become a fixture in my living room instead of a functioning human being. Nobody wants that, least of all me.

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You can imagine my excitement when I learned that I was to visit Milkflower as next on my chain of kindness.  I’d heard such good things about these guys and was really excited to try them out.  I swung by one Thursday on my way to rehearsal and met Steven, a gentlemanly ginger who greeted me as I gave him the lowdown.  He seemed genuinely surprised and thankful for what I’m sure was an unexpected treat of a plateful of cookies.  I told him I’d be back for the plate in a few days and went on my merry way.

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I came back, practically salivating and ready to try their pizza.  I’d had recommendations from friends of which pizza to try (the one with Brussels sprouts), but I had a craving with a more classic flavor, so I went with the spicy sopressata with tomato sauce, fresh mozz, fresh basil and honey drizzle.

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OH.   MY.  GOD.

This pizza is easily in the top 5 of all pizzas I’ve had, including the ridiculously good pizza I had in Brazil (they seem to take what we do and make everything better – try the X Tudo at Pao de Queijo).  This pie came as a 6 slice, 14 (?) inch pie that should’ve been shared.  It was so good that I ate three slices while physically there, then ate the remaining three that I took home with me later that night.  Yep, that day, I ate A WHOLE PIZZA.   (it was worth it.)

Beyond the pizza, my experience with the gentlemen of Milkflower was a memorable one, as they are open, friendly, and charming men.  I chatted with Peter, one of the two owners, about the road that led he and his brother Danny, one of the other owners, to owning a pizza shop on Astoria.

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Both born and raised in NJ, Danny has been making pizzas in his uncle’s pizza shop since he was a teen, while Peter had a career in finance before opening up Milkflower.  Both of them had talked about one day opening up a pizza place, then saw that this space opened up.  It wasn’t something either of them were planning on when it happened, but they took the moment and ran with it.

And I’m glad they did! I’ve thought about that pizza many a time and finally went back to get another.  My only issue with going there or getting take out is that I know, without a doubt, that I will eat the whole pizza, by myself, in 6 hours tops.  It’s that good.  I just need to prepare myself and know going in that I’m going to eat an entire pizza, and not feel guilty when I actually do 🙂