Until yesterday I worked at a great Italian restaurant where I live. It is Americanized Italian and absolutely delicious but I decided waitressing just wasn't for me. Though I love meeting people and I like the restaurant environment, I'm not a fan of working nights during the school year. I did take a lot away from working there though, I think working at a restaurant is something that everyone should experience. Overall people were great, as always some people weren't but hey, that's life.
Anywho, the restaurant had a fantastic black bottom peanut butter mousse pie called the "Millionaire Pie" which was a customer (and server) favorite. I couldn't find a good recipe in any of my cookbooks so I checked online and decided there were two that I liked different parts of. So here is my combination of a Black Bottom Peanut Butter Mousse Pie recipe and another Peanut Butter Mousse Cake recipe, both from the Bon Appetit recipes on Epicurious.
It was different than the Millionaire pie, but still delicious. I liked it better after having it chill in the fridge overnight, it gave the chocolate and crust time to harden. The best part about peanut butter mousse is that it takes a thick ingredient, peanut butter, and makes it really light. Granted, a slice of this pie will still fill you up for hours but I love to justify unhealthy foods and the lightness is my justification.

Had I for once in my life been patient, the chocolate on top may have turned
out better. So don't forget to give it time to cool!

Black Bottom Peanut Butter Mousse Pie
Adapted slightly from Bon Appetit

8 whole graham crackers, coarsely broken
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
Chocolate layer on bottom
1 1/3 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (about 8 ounces)
2/3 cup chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 18-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 cups chilled whipping cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

(From Recipe #1)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish with nonstick spray. Blend graham crackers, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in processor until moist clumps form. Press crumb mixture over bottom and up sides of prepared pie dish. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine chocolate chips, 2/3 cup cream, corn syrup, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium heat until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Whisk until melted and smooth. Spread chocolate mixture over bottom of crust. Freeze 10 minutes.
(From recipe #2)

Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter and cream cheese in large bowl to blend. Add powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons vanilla extract and beat until well blended. Using clean dry beaters, beat 2 cups whipping cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form; fold into peanut butter mixture in 4 additions. Spoon filling into prepared crust.

Combine 1/2 cup cream, 1/4 cup sugar and espresso powder in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until espresso powder and sugar dissolve and mixture comes to simmer. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cool topping 5 minutes. Spread topping evenly over filling. Refrigerate cake until cold, about 4 hours. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover cake and keep refrigerated.) Serve cake chilled.

(sorry about the poor quality pictures, I was working with a bad camera here)

Since I purchased Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours, I've oggled over every page at least 15 times. I've baked 5 or 6 recipes from it, needless to say all of which were delicious. The book is failproof. But this basic chocolate chip cookie recipe I hadn't tried yet. My favorite in the book is a blueberry crumb cake that I will undoubtedly post once I find some cheap berries but for now I decided to stick to something new and simple.
I polled the roommates on which recipe I should try, a chocolate chip cookie one or the chunky oatmeal and peanut butter chipsters, and they all answered the peanut butter cookies.. apparently I had already picked out which one I wanted based on the fact I didn't choose the chipsters though, whoops! I think I have a tendency to ask for people's opinions when I already know my answer. I had a chocolate craving and the others required 2 hours of fridge time so voila, Dorie Greenspan's "Best Chocolate Chip Cookies" with cocoa powder to give them the extra chocolate I was craving. These turned out perfect and all in under 20 minutes.

Dorie Greenspan's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour *
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder*
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped into chips, or 2 cups store bought chocolate chips (I used a mixture of bittersweet and semi-sweet which worked fine too)
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

*The original recipe calls for 2 cups of ap flour, but if you would like to make chocolate chocolate chip cookies you can sub 3/4 cup cocoa for 3/4 ap flour

Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well blended. Beat in vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed t low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with spatula, mix in the chocolate and nuts. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen. If you'd like, you can freeze rounded tablespoonfuls of dough, ready for baking. Freeze the mounds on a lined baking sheet, then bag them when they're solid. There is no need to defrost the dough before baking-just add another minute or two to the baking time)
Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.
Bake the cookies--one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point--for 10-12 minutes. They may still be a little soft in the middle, and that's just fine. Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, then carefully using a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.

Repeat with the remainder or the dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.

Grab a cold glass of milk and enjoy!!!

I discovered the recipe for this chocolate chip cookie tart about 2 weeks ago and I've made it three times since. I found it in Elinor Klivans' the essential chocolate chip cookbook, and it's so good that even though it's the only thing I've made from the book, I feel confident in saying this cookbook is amazing. I love a good cookie cake but I almost always encounter some sort of problem with them. The cakes always get crispy on the outside and by the time the inside cooks it's either burnt on the bottom or the whole thing dries out in a day (the latter of which is just one of the many good reasons to eat things straight out of the oven).
Anyways, since I've made this recipe twice already straight from the book I decided today to give it a little Halloween twist since I absolutely love Halloween.
I meant to go by the store and buy some orange food coloring but it was one of those days when I went to Harris Teeter and bought just about everything but what I intended to buy so I stuck with the black and white color scheme. The recipe normally calls for a layer of whipped cream on top of the chocolate filling but today I made a white chocolate filling instead and did my best attempt at creating a spider web design.
The cake with the whipped cream topping is amazing but the white chocolate on top adding the extra frosting is pretty darn delicious too. This recipe is a must try! It comes out perfectly every time and you can also do different variations for the topping on the cookie base, can't get better than that.

Chocolate Chip Cookie and Cream Tart
Elinor Klivans
Mixing time: 20 minutes for crust, filling, and topping
Baking: 350 F for about 17 minutes
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup packed ligh brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (6 ounces ) semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2/3 cup (4 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make the crust
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 10-inch springform pan.
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smoothly blended. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until it is incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips.
Use your fingers to spread the dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake just until the top begins to turn golden but the center is still soft, about 17 minutes. Cool the crust in the pan on a wire rack.

Make the filling
In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and butter over low heat until the cream is hot and the butter melts. The mixture should form tiny bubbles and measure about 175 F on an instant read thermometer. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove pan from heat, add chocolate chips and let mixture sit for 30 seconds to let chips soften. Whisk chocolate together smoothly and add vanilla. Let the mixture cool and thicken at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Spread sauce over crust leaving a 1-inch edge uncovered, refrigerate for about 30 minutes to firm the filling.
If making a spider web design, cut around the edges making semi circles, if not leave as is.
Topping (this is where I changed it around)
For regular tart:
In a large bowl beat cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until firm peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the chocolate filling, mounding it slightly in the center. Serve or cover carefully and refrigerate. Serve cold.
For spider web:
Repeat the filling instructions but with white chocolate chips, use piper (or do it on the college student budget and cut the end off of a ziploc) and make your best spider web possible-add fake spiders if you want!


I've been meaning to make a blog to follow my baking for about a year now but am just now, at 3:15am the night before a 9am midterm, getting around to it. It's funny the things you decide to do when there are a million other things you should be doing. Although I don't have a recipe to post at the moment, my last midterm is tomorrow so there will definitely be some celebratory baking going on. I have a feeling I would be baking even without this being the case though seeing that the unhealthy to healthy food ratio in my apartment right now is way off for my taste. I've got lots of favorite recipes and no pictures yet but this blog should motivate me to bake more so I can get them all up! 

Thanks for reading!