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  Yes, it’s so good, I don’t even care that I still use outdated slang.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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My Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

When I was growing up, my mother would bake all the time. I mean, all the time.  That’s how our Famous Heitmann Cookies got to be so famous.  They went everywhere with us, to every function.  And if they didn’t, well…there was some hell raised, or at least a half-joking-but-not-really comment like, “What, no cookies this time??  Come to find out, my mother bakes as a form of stress relief.  That is how she unwinds after a long and stressful day.  Is it a coincidence that I recall a big spike in cookie making around my adolescent years?  I think not.

For me, baking has always been a fun thing to do, although not necessarily a stress reliever.  The dishes, the clean up, the having to have self control to not eat everything… you know how it goes.  But yesterday, I finally got how my mother feels about baking being stress relief.  I had just come from the post office in an attempt to retrieve some packages that I’d been waiting on.  I’d elaborate, but I’m sure I need to say no more – you’ve all been to the post office before.  When I got back home, the only thought in my head was “MAKE VANILLA CUPCAKES”.  So like any Single Girl that has her priorities straight, I made myself a nice ice cream sandwich, ate that, then got down to business. 🙂

A week or so ago, I posted a many-tweets-long recipe for vanilla cupcakes which is my go to recipe.  Along with that tweet, I promised to publish a blog post with the recipe in a concise format, not spread throughout 6 or 7 tweets, haha.  I love a good, rich vanilla anything – ice cream, cupcake, pastry, etc.  Vanilla often gets a bad rap for being bland, but before that, we had practically nothing!  Vanilla was an exotic spice at one time, and was used not only for food consumption, but also as a beauty product.  Women used to dab a bit of vanilla behind their ears when perfume was too expensive.

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I found the base to this recipe on allrecipes.com and like I do with everything, I tweaked it a bit.  This recipe is the one I go to for making my cakes.  It s perfect on its own, does well with fun additions like fruit, sprinkles, or whatever else comes to mind.  It’s also SO super easy, and just as easy as making a box cake, yet a thousand times better.  Enjoy, happy baking!

Single Girl’s Go-To Vanilla Cake Recipe

1/2 cup butter (one stick)

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup whole milk/half and half/heavy cream

Mix the first four ingredients together, adding one at a time.  Because I’m a time saver (read: lazy and don’t want to wash extra dishes; but then again, I am saving water by not adding more dishes, so I’m also a doing good things for the planet!  Go me!) I don’t bother with mixing my dry ingredients in a separate bowl, especially when there are only two.  For this I put both of them on top of what’s already in the bowl, then I make sure I mix really well.  Now, for the last ingredient, I like to se whatever is richest on hand.  Today it was half a half.  I’ve used heavy cream (my favorite) and whole milk (also very good).  Mix that in, pour into 12 cupcake liners and bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes.  You can also use a 9 inch round pan and bake at 325 for about 25 minutes.  Ovens are so tricky, so it’s best to keep an eye on it and test when you think it may be done.  Your tester or knife should come out mostly clean when checking in the middle.

Let them cool and frost!  I like to use my buttercream on these, and the recipe is below.  This is a good thing to whip up while the cupcakes are cooling after you’ve done all your dishes.

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Vanilla Buttercream

Half stick of butter (softened)

1 lb bag of confectioners sugar

3 or 4 teaspoons of vanilla (to taste)  I like mine strong

Sometimes I add a little bit of water to get things going when mixing.  Mix ingredients together and hope you don’t make too big of a mess!

And of course the last step is to share with friends and enjoy!  So easy, right?  Shoot me a message one any one of my social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) – I’d love to see photos of your finished creations and hear how your baking experiences went!

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