Sunday, February 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Heaven

I promised a recipe for honey roasted peanut cookies, and yes, you will find it here, as well as a chocolate peanut butter pie that I'm sure will grab your attention. But first, the cookies. The inspiration for this recipe came from a contest in the latest issue of Food Network Magazine. Each month, a secret ingredient is featured on the last page and the winner of the contest receives $500 toward a purchase. Since I sweeten some of my desserts with honey, I thought I would give it a try.

I have been meaning to try making a healthy peanut butter cookie, and since honey was the secret ingredient, and honey roasted peanuts are a popular snack, I came up with the title of the recipe- Honey Roasted Peanut Cookies before I even came up with the recipe itself!

These cookies are made with natural peanut butter, roasted unsalted peanuts, and of course, the secret ingredient, honey- which sweetens the cookie as well as the frosting. I made them chunky by adding some whole peanuts to the cookie dough. I was pretty happy with the turnout, and although I wouldn't call it outstanding, I'll send this recipe along to the contest anyway, just for giggles. Here is the recipe:

Healthy Honey Roasted Peanut Cookies
½ cup peanut oil
½ cup natural peanut butter
½ cup honey
½ cup natural cane sugar (Turbinado)
1 egg
1 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts plus more for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat peanut oil, ½ cup peanut butter, honey, and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg. On a piece of parchment or wax paper, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix dry ingredients into the honey mixture in thirds. Stir in ½ cup peanuts. Drop by tablespoons onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies lightly brown.

Honey Peanut Butter Frosting- Wisk 2/3 cup natural peanut butter with ½ cup honey until smooth. Add hot water a tablespoon at a time if necessary until frosting is spreadable. Spread each cookie with frosting and top with peanuts.

Makes 25-30 cookies

As I mentioned earlier, that is not the end of peanut butter heaven. I must tell you about a peanut butter luster pie that I have been making for years. It is a truly decadent dessert and it has been requested so many times by family members and friends. My friend Jason tried it for the first time recently and he sent me an E-mail saying, "That was honestly the best peanut butter pie I have ever had. I am nominating you for the Golden Apple Award (a local teacher award) for your baking skills alone." But I cannot take the credit for the recipe. I got it from a Pillsbury Classic Cookbook published in 1990. The originator is Helen Macinkowicz of Michigan. It is quite honestly an outstanding slice of heaven, however, as my friend Stacey says, "It's set-it-on-your-ass good." In other words, it's so fattening, you might as well just set it on your ass, because that's exactly where it's going! Quite true, with 680 calories and 50g of fat for a mere one twelfth of the pie.

And so, as you might imagine, I became inspired to create a healthier version of that much loved pie. I started off with the whole grain crust I've referred to in a previous post that can be found on the wholefoods website. Unfortunately, I was short on whole wheat flour by about a quarter cup. I decided to use a quarter cup of almond flour along with the cup of whole wheat pastry flour, figuring that a nut crust might go well with a peanut butter pie. Unfortunately, the crust came out way too crumbly, and I am not sure whether that was due to the almond flour or that my dough may have been too wet. The next substitution was the chocolate. The original pie called for a chocolate frosting to be spread along crust before filling it with the peanut butter layer. Instead of making a frosting, I melted dark chocolate and added some butter and just spread that on the crust. For the peanut butter layer I kept the butter but used raw cane sugar in place of the brown sugar. I used organic peanut butter instead of natural peanut butter because I have had a hard time finding a natural peanut butter that is creamy enough to bake with. The organic peanut butter I used had no trans fats and a very small amount of organic sugar. In place of the cool whip, I whipped up some heavy cream. Here's where I made another error. The original recipe calls for beating the cool whip into the peanut butter layer on low speed. When you do that with whipped cream it separates a bit- which is not good!! Next time, I will fold it in gently. I definitely should have known better.

As it turned out, the pie was beautiful to look at and according to my son Connor, tasted delicious, but the texture was not right at all. So it's back to the drawing board. If I manage a healthier version of the chocolate peanut butter pie that I am happy with, I will definitely pass along the recipe. But for now, you'll have to be satisfied with the set-it-on-your-ass version. It's worth some extra time on the treadmill!

Peanut Butter Luster Pie
from Pillsbury Bake-Off 34

15 oz. pkg Pillsbury All Ready Pie Crusts (I made an all-butter food processor pie crust)
Chocolate Layer:
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 T butter
2-3 tsp.water
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
12-oz container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 T butter
2-3 tsp. milk
1 1/2 tsp. corn syrup
Frozen whipped topping, thawed (I used real whipped cream)

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare pie crust according to directions. Bake at 450 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely.
In small saucepan over low heat, melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1 T butter with 2 tsp. water, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar, blend until smooth. Add additional water if necessary for desired spreading consistency. Spread mixture over bottom and up sides of cooled crust. Refrigerate.
In medium saucepan, combine 1 cup butter and brown sugar. Cool over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is smooth, stirring frequently. Refrigerate 10 minutes. In large bowl, beat peanut butter and brown sugar mixture at low speed. Beat 1 minute at med-high speed. Add whipped topping, beat an additional 1 minute at low speed or until mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour over chocolate layer, refrigerate.
In small saucepan over low heat, melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1 T butter with 2 tsp milk and corn syrup, stirring contrantly, until mixture is smooth. Add additional milk if necessary for desired spreading consistency. Spoon over filling, carefully spread to cover. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to set topping. Garnish with whipped topping and peanuts.


  1. Maria,
    I am desperately wanting that Peanut Butter Luster Pie! It sounds incredible!

  2. There are a lot of steps to making it Tana, but it's so worth it! If I lived near you, I'd make it for you and bring it over! :) Let me know if you try it.