It has been really good to feel like things have been settling down recently. Don’t get me wrong, we have still had a lot going on; but in general I feel like we have been back to our normal life rhythms. Which has also meant I’ve been back in the kitchen cooking and trying to new recipes, which has felt really good. (Example: I pulled out my new pressure cooker for the first time the other night, which was a bit intimidating but turned out well.)
One thing I have known about myself for a long time is that I am a person who thrives on a routine. I like knowing what to expect. I like being able to know when I’m going to have time to get certain things done, what the plan for dinner is. I have the same routine every night after Evelyn goes to bed. I go to the grocery at pretty much the same time every week. Sometimes I wonder what this says about me, if perhaps it means I am indeed the most boring person in the world. But it’s also nice to feel self-aware about this. When I am feeling out of sorts, as I was a couple of weeks ago, it’s nice to be able to trace it back to my external circumstances (i.e. being out of town too much, not living in our normal weekly patterns) and know that once a season of upheaval is over, we’ll settle back down and I will feel back in place again.
I don’t think I’d baked a dessert in a month until last week. And what better thing to go back to than chocolate and peanut butter combined. This is a tart that is so easy to make. It’s just three easy layers, only one of which has to bake. And while the recipe says it take a total of like 2 hours, most of that is time chilling the fridge. Which means it’s perfect for right now, because even though has calmed down relative to last month, I’m still not ready for a giant kitchen project.
I don't need to tell you that there is no better combination than chocolate and peanut butter. I've made just a few changes to the original recipe, not because there was anything wrong with it but because I prefer a thinner crust and a slightly sweeter peanut butter filling.
- For the crust:
- 1 1/2 (5.5 oz) packages shortbread cookies
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- For the filling:
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the topping:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a 9-inch tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Begin by making the crust. In a small food processor, place the shortbread cookies and process until finely ground. Place 1 1/2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs in a small bowl. Add the sugar, salt, and butter and stir until all of the crumbs are moistened. (You can also mix this up in the food processor.)
- Dump the crumb mixture into the tart pan and spread out evenly, pressing them down so you have a thin layer on the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
- Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and allow to cool completely. About 1 hour.
- To make the filling, in a large bowl combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Then scrape the filling into the tart shell. Spread it out evenly, and then chill for at least 10 minutes.
- To make the topping, place the cream in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, just until it is hot and begins to bubble around the edges. While it is heating, place the chocolate chips and salt in a medium sized bowl. Once the cream is warm, pour it over the chocolate chips. Let sit undisturbed for 1 minute, and then stir until smooth.
- Pour the topping over the filling and spread it out evenly. Then chill for about 1 hour, until the topping is set. Then slice and serve.
adapted from Smitten Kitchen