Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

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If you don’t like peanut because due to allergies or a mental illness then this recipe isn’t for you, man. It’s chock full of peanut buttery goodness and the perfect amount of milk chocolate– simply divine.

When you think of perfect food combinations, what comes to mind? Peas and carrots, meat and potatoes, wine and cheese . All of these are significant flavor profiles that we understand, growing up here in America. But what about the best combination of all —chocolate and peanut butter? Not only is this the best of flavor concoction known to man, but it’s the mix I never stray from at Pinkberry.

I really don’t buy the whole romantic idea of chocolate finding peanut butter by a chance, clumsy collision between a dude with a chocolate bar and a lady sashaying with a spoon and a jar of Jif. That was just a cheesy commercial! In fact, most accounts of history award the founding of this famous combination to Harry Reese, who began working for Milton Hershey’s Pennsylvania chocolate factory in 1917. Talk about a flavor fusion that endured! Mr. Harry Reese invented the peanut butter cup, the one and only REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup!

I was a bit weary of mixing peanut butter and cream cheese, the core ingredient of cheesecake. If you’re anything like me, the thought of cream cheese and peanut butter intentionally mixed probably gives you a bit of pause… I don’t know cheese plus sweetened peanuts? That can’t be right! Well, I was wrong. They are a perfect match. The tangy/saltiness of the cream cheese help the peanut butter hit all the right notes.

Oh, and just a random site note– don’t you hate it when recipes don’t call out brand names? For goodness sakes a “chocolate sandwich cookie” is an OREO. A ” chocolate peanut butter candy” is a REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUP. Phew, glad I got that off my chest.

Ingredients

Crust:

  • ·         1 cup crushed Oreos ($1.25)
  • ·         2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted ($.10)

Cheesecake:

  • ·         2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened ($2.50)
  • ·         1/2 cup creamy peanut butter ($1.00)
  • ·         1 tbsp all-purpose flour ($.03)
  • ·         1/4 cup half & half ($.20)
  • ·         2 eggs ($.40)
  • ·         2/3 cup sugar ($.10)
  • ·         1 tsp vanilla extract ($.05)

Chocolate Ganache Topping:

  • ·         1 cup chocolate chips ($1.00)
  • ·         1/2 cup heavy cream ($1.00)
  • ·         1 cup mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped ($2.00)

Total: $8.28

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the Oreos and melted butter with a spoon. Place muffin liners into each cup and add about 1-2 teaspoons of the crumbled graham crackers to the bottom of each cup. Bake for 5 minutes.
  2. While the crust is baking, prepare the cheesecake batter. In a bowl combine the 2 packages of softened cream cheese with the peanut butter and sugar. Mix well. Add the flour, half & half, and vanilla extract and mix until just combined. Finally, add the eggs and stir until incorporated.
  3. After the Oreo crusts have been removed from the oven, lower the temperature to 350. Spoon the cheesecake batter into the muffin tin. Fill the cups almost to the top. Bake for about 15 minutes in the preheated oven. To test, gently shake the pan. The center should barely jiggle when done.
  4. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecakes to slowly cool (this will help prevent the cheesecakes from cracking). Open the oven door a few inches to allow the heat to escape. Once the cheesecakes are near room temperature, place them into the refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours.
  5. Once the cheesecakes are cool, prepare the ganache. Add water to a large pot and bring to a simmer. Place a heatproof glass bowl over the pot and add the chocolate and heavy cream. Slowly stir with a spoon until the chocolate has melted, careful not to incorporate too much air. Once melted, remove from heat.
  6. Spoon 1 tsp of chocolate ganache over the cheesecakes. Sprinkle with chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups.

 

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Shake

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First off, I apologize for my 3-week hiatus. Between vacations, visitors and pure laziness I have been neglecting my blog.

About 6 months ago I splurged and bought a VitaMix machine. Honestly it was a spur of the moment/ impulse decision (online shopping), and I initially had serious buyer’s remorse. Who pays $400+ for a blender? This girl. I always see it demonstrated at Costco and Whole Foods and it’s one of those things that has been on my wish list for years. During one of my temporary health kicks I decided that I HAD to have it so I went online in the middle of the night and ordered it. Don’t you just hate how easy Amazon makes it to spend all of your money? That whole one-click shopping thing is dangerous.

Anyway, my guilt went away shortly after receiving the Mercedes Benz of blenders. This thing is seriously worth it. Have you ever watched YouTube videos about it? The thing can blend BRICKS. My lights literally flicker on and off when I use it and my dog always runs under my bed when I turn it on. You can use it for so many different recipes too– soups, dressings, smoothies, shakes, ice cream…the list goes on.

Enough blender talk. I’ve always wanted to find a post-workout protein drink that wouldn’t require me to plug my nose and chug. I can’t believe some of the stuff people force themselves to drink. Most of them make me gag. I set out to find something I could actually tolerate and after reading many reviews and talking to a few experts I decided on About Time 100% All Natural Whey Isolate (chocolate flavor). It was a little more than I wanted to spend ($37 bucks for 32 servings), but I was willing to pay for a better taste. It’s also much more natural than other protein powders out there– it has 5 ingredients and is sweetened with Stevia.  For a post-workout drink I would just blend with water, but for a meal replacement shake I made this awesome recipe below.

Active women need on average about 50-60 grams of protein per day and my shake will take care of half your daily protein needs. Even better– one serving of this tasty treat will only set you back about 220 calories.

Ingredients

Servings: 1

  • 1/2 banana ($.10)
  • 1.5 tbs natural creamy peanut butter ($.10)
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 8 oz water
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder ($1.09)

Total: $1.29

Instructions

Put all ingredients in blender and blend 15-20 seconds

 

Victory Cake

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Raise your hand if you know what Victory Cake is. Well, let me re-phrase that. Raise your hand if, to you, Victory Cake is a layer of milk chocolate frosting sandwiched between two layers of Devil’s Food cake then smothered with Dream Whip topping. *Raises Hand*. This is another one of the pirated desserts from my mother’s blessed (and food stained) recipe book. It’s the cake that I always ask for on my birthday. Nobody else in my family likes it as much as I do, and that’s fine by me…more for Katie. My birthday is May 28th and being from Florida, this time of year tends to be quite warm in the sunshine state. The thing I love about this cake is that you actually serve it cold, straight out of the fridge. It’s the kind of dessert that is always better the next day. The other thing I love about it is that it’s a “doctored” boxed cake recipe—it’s so stinkin’ easy and you will trick your guests into thinking you slaved for hours in the kitchen.

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I am not exaggerating…this cake is ridiculous. It’s a triple threat—Devil’s Food cake, chocolate frosting center AND chocolate pudding mixed in?! Swoon. Chocolate is a life-giving elixir. I’m not sure if I could imagine a life without chocolate in it. Sure, we’d all fit into our jeans a little easier, but rest assured we would not be as happy. There are proven studies out there that say chocolate has a positive effect on mood disorders and mild depression. I’m not saying to go and gorge yourself on king-sized Butterfingers when you have a case of the Mondays, but the research does show that a small amount can help. To me, this suggests that maybe, somehow, in some other era, chocolate was an essential component needed to maintain psychological homeostasis. Too bad we went and ruined everything when we introduced the Big Mac and chili cheese fries into our diets…our poor bodies are confused. With that said, let’s take a step back. Give your body the fuel it needs and reward yourself with this pure and unadulterated goodness.

My roommate Jackie and I have the same birthday. 26!
My roommate Jackie and I have the same birthday. 26!

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 box Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake mix ($2.00)
  • 4 eggs ($1.00)
  • ½ C vegetable oil ($.50)
  • 1 C Whole milk ($.50)
  • 5 oz INSTANT Chocolate Pudding mix ($1.00)

For the frosting:

  • 1 container Duncan Hines Classic Chocolate Frosting (center) ($2.00)
  • 1 Box dream whip ($4.00)
  • 1 C whole milk ($.50)

Total: $9.50

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.

Mix together cake mix, oil, eggs, milk and instant pudding with electric beaters on high. Blend until all lumps are out and thoroughly combined.

Pour equal amounts in two round cake pans and bake for 26-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cakes cool at least 30 minutes.

Flip one of the cakes over on to platter or large plate. Frost only the top with chocolate frosting and place the other cake on top, round side up. Let cool another 30 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, put a glass or aluminum mixing bowl and beaters in freezer for 30 minutes. In the cold bowl, combine BOTH Dream Whip packets along with 1 C of milk. Blend on high for about 4 minutes or until peaks form.

 Using a butter knife, generously front the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve cold.