Chocolate Peppermint Pie

Choc Pepp Pie

So, as I referenced in my previous post about preserving & ‘marinating’ apples while making apple pie, my family celebrates Pie Night.

This year I wanted to make something new along with my usual apple pie. I searched and searched until I found an acceptable starting point for a chocolate peppermint pie. Then I put my own twist on it. I wasn’t sure how it was going to come out, but let me tell you, I wish I had made TWO! I will next year, that’s for sure. This is simply delicious, and also very easy and not a whole lot of actual hands-on time. Maybe 20 minutes to make everything, then 2 hours chilling in the fridge. Also you need to chill your whipped-cream-making equipment in the freezer or fridge. Just a heads up, because this isn’t really in chronological order. Caution: Read the recipe all the way through before you start! 🙂
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The easiest way to think of it, for me, is that there are 4 parts or layers to this pie. Here’s the breakdown, from the bottom up!

Step 1, Crust: Start with your crust. I bought an Oreo Cookie Crust from the store. Because I’ve tried to make a homemade Oreo crust and it is not pretty. Nope. So I didn’t even stress about it this time. Make your life easier: just get a store-bought one. Done? Okay, let’s move on 🙂

Step 2, Middle Layer: In a saucepan, pour 1 package (4-serving size) chocolate pudding and pie mix. What this is not: Instant Jell-O mix. What this is: a box that looks almost exactly like the instant pudding mix, but it says “pudding and pie mix” on it instead.
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Stir together with 1 1/4 cups milk and cook as directed on package. *NOTE: the package says to use 2 cups milk. Don’t.* Once it starts to thicken, turn the heat to low and add in 1 cup Hershey Special Dark Chocolate chips (or other brand) until they are melted and all the lumps are gone, stirring constantly. Add in 1-3 drops of peppermint oil (again, to your taste). Set aside to cool.

Step 3, Top Layer: This is your homemade whipped cream. MM! First chill your bowl (stainless steel works best) and beaters in the freezer for about 10 minutes or so. A little more is better but not necessary. I like to use my hand mixer to make whipped cream, even though you can’t multitask like you can with a stand mixer, because I have a better handle (ha! literally, I do – no pun intended) on the whipped cream. I can tell if the consistency is right or if I need to whip it longer. And that’s the hardest part – knowing how long to whip, and when to stop. So once you have that down, you’re golden – this is a CINCH. Measure 1 cup heavy cream into a bowl. Beat on low at first for 1-2 minutes, then at medium speed, and whip together with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar. That’s it. It pretty much whips itself. It’s finished when the cream forms peaks. Cool, huh? Did you ever know that making homemade whipped cream could be this easy? 🙂 Now set aside.

Step 4, Bottom Layer: Your bottom layer is going to be almost like a cheesecake. You need 4 ounces of cream cheese (softened) and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Beat them together with about 7-10 drops of peppermint essential oil. This stuff is strong, so start with 7 drops, and then add one at a time until you reach your desired pepperminty-ness. 😉 Fold in 1/3 cup of your homemade whipped cream. Now add a few tablespoons of Andes baking mints. I used about 3. Again, start with 2, then add another if you feel like you want more for texture. Use a baking spatula to scoop this mixture into the Oreo crust, then smooth into an even layer. Do this carefully and be mindful that you don’t break up the Oreo crust!

Step 5: Again using the Spatula, spread the chocolate mixture over top of the cream cheese layer.

Step 6: Spread the Whipped Cream over top of the Chocolate layer.

Now for garnish and crunch, you can add more Andes mints to the top of the pie:

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This is the only picture I have. Because it was eaten too fast to get any others! 🙂

Now dig in! And try not to eat more than one piece 😉

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Next year, I’m making TWO.

PS – if you have leftover whipped cream, use it to top off this Peppermint Mocha!! (At least… that’s what I do … 🙂 )

 *Note: if you don't have peppermint oil, you can use peppermint extract - but since my OHI was peppermint oil, I used that instead. Plus, it's more potent drop for drop and completely natural. See the original recipe (link above) for details. I also omitted the food coloring so everything was more natural and homemade.
I’m loyal to one specific essential oil company, because I’ve found their purity stands far above the rest and their educational support is second to none. To learn which one is my favorite, use my contact form and I’ll reply with details.

Adult Ice Cream Sundae

Raspberries were on sale for $1 this week, so we got 5 containers. I opened my freezer last night and saw that my  parents must’ve left ice cream when they babysat last night – Breyers Vanilla. It’s kind of a weakness of mine! I immediately thought of the Bailey’s I have in the back of my fridge and a sundae I made one time with Bailey’s “Hint of Mint”.

So I started thinking… and made a really yummy adults – only sundae!

I originally envisioned drizzling the Bailey’s, then a fresh, red raspberry sauce drizzled over the ice cream, and some chocolate chips. But when I was making the raspberry ‘sauce’ I had another idea… ***I added it spontaneously, so I’m adjusting the recipe from exactly how I did it…***

First preheat a small skillet or saucepan over medium heat.  Melt a little pat of butter, then add your raspberries – I probably used about 10. This is a GREAT way to use any of those raspberries that are a little mushy.  Roll the raspberries around a bit in the butter, then add a couple splashes of Peach Schnapps – I’d say more than a teaspoon but less than a tablespoon. Let it simmer until the juices have turned pink/red. Now add some chocolate chips and simmer for a minute or so until the chips melt. Roll the raspberries in that sauce until they are covered in it. Turn off the heat.

Scoop your ice cream into a bowl (I used 3 scoops!) and drizzle a bit of Bailey’s over it. Then, using a spatula to get all the sauce off the pan, pour the chocolate raspberry sauce over the ice cream and add a few chocolate chips for texture.
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Eat immediately, because that sauce will melt the ice cream quickly! It was REALLY good!

Here’s another variation I’m going to try:
– Use vanilla Greek frozen yogurt, omit the chocolate chips and add another berry (blueberry or strawberry) to the sauce

Here’s how I made the Adult Thin Mint sundae:
– Drizzle some Bailey’s Hint of Mint over Breyer’s Vanilla Bean ice cream, and crush some Thin Mint girl scout cookies over top. (Yeah. It’s good.)

My last tip is, wait until after the kids are in bed to enjoy these treats!

What is OHI? Plus Banana Oat Cookies -only 3 ingredients!!

Something you should know about my cooking skills: When I first started making meals for my family, I had NO IDEA what I was doing. I followed every recipe to a T because I knew NOTHING. I’m not kidding. Before we had our eldest daughter, it was just me and my husband in a tiny 500 sq ft rental house. I had to call my mom to ask how to boil water.
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(I’m mentally pausing for you to have time to laugh at my ignorance. It’s okay, I’m laughing too – don’t feel bad.)
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Now that we’ve all had a good laugh, I can tell you that with practice, I was able to take certain factors into account in order to change recipes to my family’s liking. These are:
1. Budget – like most families, we don’t have unlimited money pouring out of our closet or randomly falling off our tree in the front yard. I plan our meals before I strategically plan my weekly shopping list, which is most times based in part off of the grocery ad / what’s on sale.
2. Pantry/Fridge/on-hand ingredients (I think from here on out I’m going to just abbreviate and say, OHI. Because I can foresee myself blogging about this a lot from here on out!) – I keep a pretty good mental inventory of what we have at home and what possible ingredients are substitutable (is that a word?!? …it is now!) for ones I find in a new recipe. So, I will define OHI as fulfilling these things: 1. you already have it in your kitchen; 2. something that is expiring soon that you don’t want to waste by throwing away; 3. a similar ingredient to what’s in a recipe but that you know you or your family would prefer.
3. My family’s taste – I learned quickly that my husband Alex is a pretty simple guy. I’m talking frozen pizza – hot dog – salami/bologna sandwich kinda guy. And if I tried to do something fancy he wasn’t having it. I’m pretty sure he’s actually said to me before, “Why are you trying to make it all fancy? Stop trying to complicate things.” I was probably adding shredded cheddar to leftover mac n cheese, since that’s one of the few things I understood how to make at that point. And everyone knows reheated mac n cheese is not the greatest. I was so proud of myself for figuring out a way to freshen it up the next day (a splash of milk and a little shredded cheese actually DOES do wonders.) Once we had kids I had to learn how to adjust meals to be kid-friendly. I’m going to have to work in a post about what constitutes ‘kid-friendly’ in my house.
READ THIS NEXT: I do NOT feed my kids different dinners than what I make for Alex and I. And I do NOT make different meals for each child. I am blessed enough not to have to worry about allergies or special diets, so I take full advantage of that!
4. My cooking style – this includes anything from my time constraints, equipment limitations, availability of ingredients, and my own personal preferences.

So why am I talking about this??? To tell you this: I am about to share with you what might possibly be THE best recipe I have ever come across (and I made a small substitution that would have prevented me from making it at all when I first started cooking). Here’s why:
– It can be eaten in place of any meal: breakfast, snack, with lunch, dessert… ok maybe not fulfilling enough for dinner, so ALMOST any meal.
– The recipe includes 3 ingredients. YES I said 3. And they’re probably things you already have at your house!!! (remember OHI?!?! This is a slam DUNK in the OHI department)
– It is indulgent. It is sweet. It has chocolate. It has texture. It is served best warm. It pairs well with a hot cup of tea or coffee. It checks all my boxes in terms of a good dessert.
– My kids love them. They can help make them. Heck, Aubrey can practically make them on her own (as long as an adult does the oven part of course)
– The clean-up is super fast and easy. No worrying about cross contamination from raw eggs or having to soak really messy mixing bowls.
– IT IS HEALTHY! (And the crowd goes wild!!!!)

Here’s what you’ll need:

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2 large bananas, 1 cup oats, about 1/3 cup baking chips

The first time I made these, my bananas were not that large, so if you only have what can be categorized as medium or small, you’ll probably be fine. Just use a little less oats. HERE COMES THE SUBSTITUTION: The recipe called for “quick oats”. In my OHI all I had was “Old fashioned Oats”. I have no idea what the difference is. But I figured I’d try it and see how it came out. (If you’re wondering, they were amazing) And as for the baking chips, I’ve seen versions where people use white chocolate or peanut butter chips. In my house we use straight up semi-sweet chips for most things. (I’m kind of a former chocoholic.)

All you do is mash up the bananas and oats together:

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The first time I did these we mashed the bananas and then added the oats. This time I just put both ingredients in at once and mashed the bananas together. I found this way, the oats are incorporated with much less effort. Next add the chips:

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Lastly put them on a greased cookie sheet to bake for 15-18 minutes at 350º.

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DON’T SKIP THE GREASING PART! I’m not saying load your sheet up with butter, but use some non-stick spray or maybe a parchment sheet. I don’t have a sil-pat, but I’m sure that would work too. There is so much moisture in the bananas that they will surely stick otherwise.
The ‘cookies’ don’t look much different after 15 minutes. Just test them to be sure they’re springy and not mushy.  After picture:

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Enjoy! They are most definitely best warm. Eat quickly (I’m telling you, that won’t be a problem).

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I’m thinking the peanut butter chips will be worth a try, but I’d have to need them for another recipe to justify buying a bag. And I’m also debating if they’d be good with some chopped nuts, or maybe some dried pineapple?! I bet if you used the pineapple, then the white chocolate would be good. Otherwise the sweetness of banana + white chocolate = too sweet for me (I found this out when making banana muffins and tried white chocolate chunks). Yes, I can see many variations in my future 😉