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Hot New Dessert: Peanut Butter!

Chefs have been having fun with peanut butter.

Bon Appetit magazine has just named the childhood favorite its dessert trend of the year, and Contributing Editor Dede Wilson brought some of her favorite goodies to The Early Show Tuesday.

Also, 12-year old aspiring, and already accomplished food critic David Fishman tasted the peanut butter delights and offered his thoughts on them.

Peanut butter is an inexpensive staple that, when given the chance, can really make your desserts stand out in the crowd!

Wilson's choices:

  • Peanut Butter and Jam Shortbread Wedges
  • Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
  • Chocolate Layer Cake with Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting and Peanut Butter Brittle
  • Peanut Butter Caramel Honey Nut Tart with Ganache Glaze
  • Two Layer Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate Striped Puddings

    RECIPES

    Peanut Butter and Jelly Shortbread Wedges

    Ingredients

    Nonstick vegetable oil spray
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
    1/4 cup creamy (smooth) natural peanut butter (made with only peanuts and salt)
    1/2 cup sugar
    Large pinch of salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
    1/3 cup blackberry jam

    Method

    Spray bottom of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with nonstick spray.
    Beat butter and peanut butter in large bowl until smooth, about 2 minutes.
    Add sugar and salt and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add flour; beat on low speed just until blended. Transfer 1/3 cup dough to work surface. Shape into 1/2-inch-thick disk, place on plate, and freeze until hard, about 1 hour. Press remaining dough evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Spread jam over dough in pan, leaving 1/3-inch plain border. Refrigerate while dough disk freezes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Using large holes of box grater, grate frozen dough evenly over jam. Bake shortbread until dough edge is deep golden and grated dough on top looks dry and baked through, about 50 minutes. Cool shortbread completely in pan. Release pan sides. Cut shortbread into wedges. Store airtight at room temperature.

    Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

    Ingredients

    Brownie layer:
    Nonstick vegetable oil spray
    8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup all purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Cheesecake layer:
    1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
    1/3 cup creamy (smooth) natural peanut butter (made with only peanuts and salt)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 large eggs
    2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
    2 tablespoons all purpose flour
    2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

    Method

    Brownie layer:
    Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Spray 9-inch square metal baking pan with 2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray; line bottom with parchment paper. Stir chocolate and butter in medium saucepan over low heat until smooth; cool 10 minutes. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, eggs, and vanilla in medium bowl until very fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture on low speed, then beat in flour and salt. Spread batter in pan.

    Cheesecake layer:
    Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and vanilla in medium bowl until smooth. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in cream, then flour. Transfer 1/3 cup cheesecake batter to small bowl and reserve. Spread remaining cheesecake batter over brownie layer. Place chocolate in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on low power in 10-second intervals until chocolate begins to melt, then stir until smooth. Mix chocolate into reserved 1/3 cup cheesecake batter. Drop chocolate batter by heaping teaspoonfuls atop cheesecake layer. Using chopstick or wooden skewer, swirl chocolate batter in figure-eight pattern through white cheesecake layer. Bake brownies until edges of cheesecake layer are puffed and center is set, about 36 minutes. Cool brownies in pan on rack. Cover; chill at least 1 hour. Cut brownies into 25 squares. Using narrow spatula, transfer brownies to platter. Serve cold.

    FOR THE REST OF THE RECIPES, GO TO PAGE 2.

  • Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate-Peanut Butter Frosting and Peanut Butter Brittle

    Ingredients

    Brittle:
    Vegetable oil
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup light corn syrup
    1/4 cup water
    1 cup chopped lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts
    1 teaspoon creamy (smooth) natural peanut butter (made with only peanuts and salt)
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Cake:
    Nonstick vegetable oil spray
    3 cups all purpose flour
    2 cups sugar
    2/3 cup sifted natural unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted, then measured)
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 cups water
    2/3 cup vegetable oil
    2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    Filling and frosting:
    4 oz imported milk chocolate, chopped
    5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
    2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
    1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
    3/4 cup creamy (smooth) natural peanut butter (made with only peanuts and salt)
    3/4 cup chilled mascarpone cheese

    Method

    Brittle:
    Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil; brush with oil. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes. Immediately stir in peanuts and all remaining ingredients. Scrape out mixture onto prepared sheet; spread out to about 13x9-inch rectangle. Cool completely. Coarsely chop enough brittle to measure 1 cup and finely chop enough to measure 1/2 cup.

    Cake:
    Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Line pan bottoms with parchment paper. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into large bowl. Whisk 2 cups water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla in medium bowl to blend. Gradually add water mixture to dry ingredients, whisking until batter is smooth. Divide batter between prepared pans (scant 3 cups each). Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs still attached, about 28 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Cut around cakes and turn out onto racks. Peel off parchment and cool.

    Filling and frosting:
    Place chocolate in medium bowl. Bring 5 tablespoons cream just to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Pour cream over chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Let stand until thick enough to spread, whisking occasionally, about 30 minutes. Beat powdered sugar, 1 1/2 cups chilled cream, and peanut butter in large bowl just until blended. Add mascarpone; beat frosting just until thickened (do not overbeat). Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread milk chocolate filling evenly over; sprinkle with 1/2 cup finely chopped peanut brittle. Spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Cover with cake dome and chill 1 hour
    Sprinkle 1 cup coarsely chopped brittle over top of cake and serve.

    Peanut Butter-Honey Tart with Ganache Glaze

    Ingredients

    Crust:
    Nonstick vegetable oil spray
    1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
    5 tablespoons sugar
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
    1 large egg, separated
    2 (or more) teaspoons ice water

    Filling:
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
    Pinch of salt
    1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    1/3 cup honey
    1 cup lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts
    1 cup powdered sugar
    1/3 cup creamy (smooth) natural peanut butter (made with only peanuts and salt)
    2 tablespoons plus 1 to 2 teaspoons milk

    Ganache glaze:
    6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    3 tablespoons lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

    Method

    Crust:
    Spray 9-inch square or 10-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom with nonstick spray. Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor 5 seconds. Add butter and blend until coarse crumbs form. Add egg yolk and 2 teaspoons ice water. Blend until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into square or disk (depending on shape of pan). Wrap and chill 1 hour. Soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out. Roll out dough to 11- to 12-inch square or round.
    Transfer dough to prepared pan. Cut off all but 1/2 inch of overhang. Fold overhang in, creating double-thick sides. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake crust until pale golden, checking every 5 minutes and pressing bottom if bubbling and pressing sides up with back of fork if slipping, about 28 minutes. Beat egg white in small bowl until foamy. Brush some white over hot crust to coat inside. Bake 1 minute longer. Cool on rack. Increase oven temperature to 375°F.

    Filling:
    Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in brown sugar and salt, then cream and honey. Bring to rolling boil, swirling pan occasionally. Boil 1 minute. Whisk in 1 cup peanuts. Pour filling into crust. Bake tart until filling is bubbling thickly, about 15 minutes. Cool on rack until firm, about 2 hours; freeze 15 minutes. Beat powdered sugar and peanut butter in medium bowl until blended. Gradually beat in 2 tablespoons milk, then more by teaspoonfuls to thin slightly; spread evenly over peanut filling. Refrigerate tart while preparing glaze.

    Ganache glaze:
    Place chocolate in medium bowl. Bring cream to simmer in small saucepan; pour over chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Spread glaze over tart. Sprinkle chopped peanuts around edge. Chill tart until glaze sets, at least 1 hour.
    Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving. Using tip of small knife, gently loosen crust from pan. Push up pan bottom, releasing tart.
    Cut square tart in half and cut each half crosswise into 7 or 8 slices or cut round tart into wedges.

    Peanut Butter-Milk Chocolate Puddings

    Ingredients

    Peanut butter pudding:
    1/2 cup sugar
    5 teaspoons cornstarch
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 3/4 cups whole milk
    1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    1/2 cup creamy (smooth) natural peanut butter (made with only peanuts and salt)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Chocolate pudding:
    6 tablespoons sugar
    2 tablespoons cornstarch
    2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
    Pinch of salt
    1 1/2 cups whole milk
    1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    4 ounces imported milk chocolate, chopped
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Topping:
    1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
    1 tablespoon powdered sugar

    Method

    Peanut butter pudding:
    Whisk first 3 ingredients in large saucepan to blend. Gradually whisk in milk, then cream. Whisk over medium heat until mixture comes to boil. Then boil until thick, whisking constantly, about 30 seconds. Whisk in peanut butter; boil until thick again, whisking often, about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla. Divide pudding among six 1-cup glasses or dishes (generous 1/3 cup each). Chill uncovered while preparing chocolate pudding.

    Chocolate pudding:
    Whisk first 4 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk, then cream. Whisk over medium heat until mixture comes to boil. Boil until thick, whisking constantly, about 30 seconds. Add chopped chocolate. Boil until chocolate melts and pudding is thick again, whisking often, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat; whisk in vanilla. Cool pudding 5 minutes.
    Spoon atop peanut butter pudding, dividing equally (about 1/3 cup each). Chill puddings uncovered until cold, at least 2 hours.

    Topping:
    Whisk cream and powdered sugar in medium bowl to soft peaks. Spoon topping onto puddings and serve.
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