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Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Oatmeal PB Pie

Hello Baking Fiends,

I have another creation that I think you’ll enjoy! I had another birthday at work (yes, apparently Summer was the time to be born to work in our group!) and was requested to do something with oatmeal or peanut butter for them as a treat.

Of course, I was thinking about doing an array of cookies, and then decided that this was the perfect opportunity to expound out and try something new. So… I found peanut butter pie recipes, and decided to use an oatmeal cookie crust instead of graham cracker for the base!

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Pie, Oh My!

My inspiration was this Peanut Butter Silk Pie recipe, however (surprise!) I changed a couple things around quite a bit to make this one happen!

CRUST LAYER:
I took a box of basic Oatmeal Cookies and crushed 18 of them to make the crust. The box had 24 cookies, and they were each about the size of an average palm – to give you a reference. Anyways, my Magic Bullet Blender was my friend to crush these to smithereens, and ended up looking like this:

How The Cookie Crumbles!

Next, I added 1/3 cup of sugar to this mix. Now, instead of using the expected butter, I recently came into possession of (aka I purchased) some Butter Flavored Olive Oil. Smells and tastes like butter, and it’s geared towards substituting for real butter even. So of course I had to try it here! I used 1/3 cup + 1 teaspoon of Butter Olive Oil in lieu of 1/2 cup of melted unsalted butter. YUM!

It’s Crust Magic!

Finally, for the crust, I patted the crust into a sprayed-with-Pam 13×9 baking pan, in this case of the aluminum foil variety for easy travel. Bake this for 8 minutes at 375 to set the crust so it won’t completely crumble on you. Remove from oven and let cool completely – I put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Crust Complete!

FUDGE LAYER:
While your crust is cooling, remove your 17.75 jar of hot fudge sauce from the fridge and let come to room temperature. I used the Smuckers Special Recipe Hot Fudge one, and you will use all but 2 tablespoons of this for the 13×9 pan just as a heads up for you…

Once your crust has cooled completely, and your fudge sauce has gotten pretty soft (you can microwave it for 20 seconds if need be), stir it up good and then spread it all over the crust layer until you cannot see anything but fudge sauce! Stick this back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, until chilled (fudge will harden up a bit)!

Warning: The fudge sauce may be tacky and put up a fight with you about laying down on the crust, so just know that you WILL win the battle, and conquer the hot fudge!

MMMM Fudge!

Peanut Butter Filling (two versions):
Okay, so through trial and feedback, I wanted to give you two options for this filling. If you like super-sweet, creamy, and thick fillings, follow the way I did it. If you prefer lighter, airier, and not as heavy – then substitute ONE of the cream cheese packages for ONE Cool Whip “No Sugar Added” container. Trust me on this! ūüėČ

Okay, so back to business. Here is what I did for the filling:
Combine 2 8-oz packages of 1/3-less fat Cream Cheese (softened) with 1 cup Whipped Peanut Butter. Once this is fully mixed, add in 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Mix until fully combined. To this next add, one at a time, 1 8-oz Cool Whip Free (thawed) container, and 1 8-oz Cool Whip Extra Creamy (thawed) container! You will mix this until your arms are in pain, but it will be worth it!

Peanut Butter Filling!

Once this is nice and creamy, take your crust-fudge layers out of the fridge and spread this topping evenly over top of it all.

Peanut Butter Topped Dessert!

Once it’s spread evenly, I would make little waves in the topping, just for fun, like this (with a spatula):

Peanut Butter Waves!

Now crumble up 3-4 of the leftover cookies from your box of Oatmeal Cookies from the crust, and sprinkle those evenly over top of the waves of filling.

Oatmeal Crumble Topping!

Finally, take the leftover fudge sauce in the jar, add 1 teaspoon of milk, and microwave for about 40 seconds until nice and thin. Drizzle this over top of the oatmeal crumbles, and you will have a gorgeous dessert! Refrigerate this at least 2 hours, preferably overnight though, before serving to let all the flavors soak in!

Beautiful Fudge Drizzle!

Let me know how you enjoy this, and which version you use!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Strawberry-Lemon Icebox Pie

Hello Baking Fiends!

I had a special request from a friend to make a Lemon Icebox Pie for dessert. So I looked up a bunch of recipes and found these three that I really wanted to base my pie off of: AllRecipes’ Lemon Icebox Pie III, Emeril’s Lemon Icebox Pie, and Papa’s Lemon Icebox Pie.

So, typical me, I basically combined some elements from all of these recipes, added a Strawberry twist of my own, and came up with my own creation! Shocked? I figured you would be!

Strawberry-Lemon Icebox Pie!

What you’ll need:
1 box of Vanilla Wafers (you’ll use all but maybe 12 wafers)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 quart of fresh de-stemmed strawberries, divided
3 lemons
zest from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 8oz package 1/3-less fat cream cheese, softened
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 8×8 cake pan or 9×9 pie pan (preferably with a lid)

What you’ll do:
First, using a food processor, a blender or a rolling pin (and some repressed anger or frustration), make the wafers into a cookie powder-like mulch. You laugh or cringe now at that description, but just do it, I dare you. Dump the cookies into a bowl.

Next purée about 5 of the small strawberries (should be a small handful in total) until it looks like a smoothie. While that is going, melt your butter in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Dump the strawberries and butter in with the wafers.

Making the crust….

Once this is mixed together really well, and it will look more like cookie dough at this point, dump the crust mix into your sprayed-with-Pam pan (I used an 8×8 cake pan), and spread it out evenly along the bottom and up the sides.

Crust to bake….

Bake your crust at 350 for 15 minutes, remove from oven and pat the bottom down (spreading it back out evenly) if needed, then bump the oven up to 425 to bake for an additional 8 minutes. Turn the oven off and remove, letting it cool.

While that is baking, in a bowl (I just used the crust bowl again) dump in the softened cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, condensed milk, juice of 3 lemons, zest of 1 lemon, and the pulsed (not fully puréed) remnants of another 5 small strawberries. Mix really well with a whisk until fully incorporated.

Making the filling….

And now pour the filling into the crust and spread it evenly all up the sides. Slice the remaining 4-5 strawberries into quarters, and place on top of the filling. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy!

Voilà: Strawberry-Lemon Icebox Pie!

Verdict on this was “delicious” across the board. This was definitely very lemony, so if you don’t like as much lemon, I would maybe only juice 2 lemons instead of 3. However I was impressed with how well the crust turned out, and think it would be fun to try other fruit pur√©es in them, maybe even in place of the butter! Hmmm. Mmmm. ūüôā

Craft You Later,
Beth

Brunch Stuffed French Toast

Hiya Yummy-Brunch Fans,

I did a brunch with some friends awhile ago, and we all pitched in and brought something ‘to pass’. There were only 4 of us, so we kept it simple. Mimosas, Crab Quiche and Stuffed French Toast. I made Stuffed French Toast because it’s a go-to recipe I have used for years, and it is one of my favorite brunch items to make. It’s simple, delicious, and pretty cheap to make too. All three of these are great things in a recipe!

Cooking Light’s Stuffed French¬† Toast¬†recipe is a stand-by staple that you can make without feeling all the guilt that usually comes (for me at least) along with making something so decadently delicious. I rarely alter this at all, though I do have a couple things I change, more for personal taste than anything, though!

Ingredients to Serve 8-16 people (depending on how hungry everyone is):
16 slices cinnamon-raisin bread (I use Pepperidge Farm)
Cooking spray
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 cups egg substitute, divided
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 teaspoons fresh-ground cinnamon, divided
1/8 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened

Directions:
1) In one 13×9 cake pan, or 2 8×8 cake pans, sprayed with cooking spray, arrange 8 pieces of cinnamon raisin bread evenly along the bottom of the pan(s).
2) Combine 3 cups milk, 1 1/2 cups egg substitute, 1 cup half-and-half, and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Pour half of milk mixture over bread in dish(es).
3) Combine 1/2 cup egg substitute, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla, 1 tspn nutmeg, 1/2 tspn allspice, 1 1/2 tspn cinnamon, and cream cheeses in a food processor or blender, or you can mix by hand if you want some good exercise; process or mix until smooth.
4) Pour cream cheese mixture over moist bread in dish(es). Top with remaining 8 pieces of cinnamon-raisin bread. Pour remaining milk mixture over bread, spreading evenly.
5) Cover and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight.
6) Uncover, place in cold oven, set oven to 350¬į, and then set the oven timer (where it turns your oven off afterwards) for 55 minutes. Let bake completely, and let sit in cooling oven 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
7) Mix remaining 1/8 cup sugar with 1 1/2 tspn cinnamon until fully incorporated, then sprinkle evenly over tops of stuffed french toast. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving or covering.

Note: This works beautifully if you are wanting to take a dish to pass, because you can slice the bread and literally come out with stuffed french toast sandwiches to serve everyone easily! Whole or half sandwiches, they slice easy and serve very prettily!

Glaring Changes:
– I obviously add in the cinnamon and allspice, you don’t need to do that.
– I fully intend to make the next one with a reduced fat flavored cream cheese, in lieu of the 1/3-less fat cream cheese, to add some flavor. Then top with sliced flavor-of-choice fruit or veggies. We shall see how that turns out!
– I have before sprinkled the top instead of cinnamon-sugar, with powdered sugar, or a sugar-cocoa powder mix. Both are just as delicious.
– When layering my bread, I don’t stack it like in the CL picture, because I realized (finally) that laying them flat makes easy-to-cut sandwiches as a result! SO, you can layer it, but I recommend you use a loaf of 24 pieces of bread instead, and use 12 on top-and-bottom instead of the 8 I used! Just so you know!

Enjoy this wonderful and simple brunch with sides of fruit, tea, mimosas or bloody mary’s!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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