graham crackers

A Flavor For August: Avocado Crème Pie

IMG 4906 Edited A Flavor For August: Avocado Crème Pie

Writing a blog provides the perfect excuse I need to make weird recipes. Pre-blog, I might have tucked a recipe for avocado crème pie away. But now, I bake pretty much whatever catches my eye. This is not always a good thing.

Fortunately, this pie was a good thing. The recipe began, “Although this may sound bizarre at first, it makes a lot more sense when you remember that avocados are actually fruits!” The author went on to ask, “You wouldn’t think twice about a banana crème pie right?” Well no, I would not think twice about a banana crème pie, but ah, I would also eat a banana in my car on the way to work. I cannot really say the same for an avocado.

Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of this avocado crème pie. More so than avocado, the citrus taste of the lemon really came through. The flavor was definitely unique to all of my previous avocado experiences.

IMG 4915 Edited e1346067482548 A Flavor For August: Avocado Crème Pie

This pie is the perfect dessert to take to a Wizard of Oz theme party. Not only does its lovely green color resemble the wicked witch of the west, it melts like her too. Once a piece is cut and on a plate, it rapidly loses its shape. Since Wizard of Oz theme parties are fairly rare, a better option might be to serve this dessert at a Halloween party, given its bewitching green color and all.

I would definitely eat this pie again, but I would look into variations first. Realizing cream cheese is a base in the pie, I would try to tweak the recipe to become more of an avocado cheesecake rather than a pie. That is likely just my preference for a heartier texture, but I wanted to throw it out there as an idea.

Alas, this is the final avocado recipe for the month. (Is that you rejoicing, I hear?) As we barrel into the last week of August, my desire to bake is slowly waking from its summer hibernation, which I hope is a good thing. Perhaps more importantly, my desire to bake “normal” recipes is returning with it. Have a great week!

IMG 4911 Edited A Flavor For August: Avocado Crème Pie

Avocado Crème Pie
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • For a Graham Cracker Pie Crust
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted
  • For the Avocado Pie Filling
  • 2 medium sized, ripe avocados
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces (one brick) cream cheese, slightly softened
  • ⅓ cup brown rice syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch
  • whipped cream for garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter or oil and mix until thoroughly combined.
  2. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and pat it into place.
  3. Bake at 350 F for approximately 15 minutes. The crust should be set and browned around the edges.
  4. Set aside to cool.
  5. While the pie crust cools, peel and pit the avocados. Cut them into chunks and place them into a blender or food processor along with the lemon juice.
  6. Puree until smooth, then add in the zest, vanilla, cream cheese, rice syrup, coconut oil and salt.
  7. Pulse to combine all of the ingredients. Set aside.
  8. In a saucepan over low medium heat, whisk together the sugar, milk and arrowroot or cornstarch. Be sure to break up any lumps.
  9. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture should be thick.
  10. Stream the sugar syrup into the blender or food processor while it is running and blend until very well combined. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  11. Pour the avocado filling into the graham cracker pie crust.
  12. Chill in the refrigerator at least six hours before serving.
  13. If desired, garnish with whipped cream immediately before serving.
Notes
Though this recipe came from a vegan cookbook, I have obviously de-veganed it by using butter in place of margarine, whole milk in place of soy milk, etc. Please use whatever substitutions are appropriate for your diet. Streaming the hot sugar syrup into my food processor was no problem because its lid has an opening for just this type of thing. I am uncertain how performing this step could cause anything less than a mess with a blender. The top of my blender opens in the center, but mixtures certainly like to shoot out of it when it is open. It may be best to use a stand mixer to accommodate this step.

 

Happy Anniversary: Prince William’s Chocolate Crunch Cake

IMG 3460 Edited Happy Anniversary: Prince Williams Chocolate Crunch Cake

From time to time, I look through my email folders for recipes I squirreled away many months ago. I like reading recipes I had forgotten about because it tells me a lot about where my head was at during a certain time. While doing so Friday, I came across a recipe for Prince William’s Chocolate Crunch Cake.

How ironic, I thought, to come across the recipe when one year ago the world watched the wedding on another Friday – April 29 to be exact. I filed the Chocolate Crunch Cake recipe away before I had even an inkling about writing a blog, so I knew I must have saved it because I really wanted to try it (as opposed to try it for the sake of blog content). So try it I did.

IMG 3465 Edited Happy Anniversary: Prince Williams Chocolate Crunch Cake

The original recipe calls for raisins and nuts, and I used golden raisins and walnuts. The 1/4 cup portions called for in the original recipe looked meager when added to an entire box of crushed graham crackers, so I added an additional 1/4 cup of each. I suspect the 1/4 cup portions would be fine if you made the cake with only two sleeves of graham crackers (three sleeves are found in a standard size box).

I consider this dessert more of a bar cookie than a cake, but to each his own. I’m also not sure why this is allegedly Prince William’s favorite tea time treat, but I am sure you can experiment to make it your own favorite. For example, you could add mini-marshmallows in place of the raisins and nuts for a quick s’mores treat. I would like to try the crunch cake with white chocolate melted on top next time.

IMG 3473 Edited Happy Anniversary: Prince Williams Chocolate Crunch Cake

How does it taste? Like chocolate covered graham crackers with an occasional burst of sweet fruit in raisin form. I couldn’t taste the nuts at all in the chocolate-topped version, but both the  raisins and the nuts had a chance to shine when competing with less chocolate in the bars I did not top.

How does it keep? At the time of this writing, my chocolate crunch cake is 24 hours old and still retains enough crunch to be satisfying. The cake is at its crunchiest, of course, when first made, but it makes a good treat to enjoy as a leftover as well.

If you would like to watch a video of some lovely Brits showing you how the real Chocolate Crunch Cake is made, click here. If you are like me and fell in love not with a prince but with the hats, you can learn to make you own royal wedding headpiece here. Whether its dessert or fashion, enjoy!

IMG 3477 Edited Happy Anniversary: Prince Williams Chocolate Crunch Cake

Prince William’s Chocolate Crunch Cake
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • For the cake
  • 1 box (14.4 ounces) graham crackers
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup nuts, chopped
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • For the topping
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. In a large metal bowl, crumble graham crackers into bite-size pieces.
  2. Add raisins and nuts.
  3. In a saucepan over low to medium heat, melt the chocolates, butter, and condensed milk. Stir frequently so the chocolate does not burn.
  4. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the crackers and stir until well coated.
  5. Line a 9 x 13 pan with waxed paper.
  6. Pour the graham cracker and chocolate mixture into the pan and spread evenly.
  7. Refrigerate for 2 hours until set, then apply the topping.
  8. For the topping, melt the chocolate and the butter in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Stir frequently so the chocolate does not burn.
  9. Spread the topping over the cake and return to the refrigerator to allow to set.
  10. Cut into squares to serve.

 

Go Buckeyes!

SAM 4569 Edited Go Buckeyes!

T.G.I.B.!  Thank God It’s Buckeyes! As a dismal football season draws to a close, perhaps T.G.I.B. better stands for Thank God It’s Basketball (Season). But it’s “That School Up North” week , so I simply must take this opportunity to acknowledge my alma matter. And make dessert, of course.

I announced my boycott of the 2011 football season last December. Why? I told anyone who asked that I was over the nonsense caused by the elevation of a game to god-like status. At the end of the day, it’s just a game. It’s not a cure for cancer. It’s not a solution for making sure everyone has enough. It’s just an escape in the form of a game.

SAM 4553 Edited Go Buckeyes!

As I stood in the kitchen last Saturday, wearing Ohio State sweatpants and an Ohio State t-shirt, rolling peanut butter balls and dipping them ever so carefully in chocolate, I contemplated just what to write for a buckeye post during a boycott. Throughout the day, I opened a beer with a bottle opener shaped like Brutus Buckeye. I ate popcorn from a large scarlet bowl with a gray block “O” in the bottom. I chopped vegetables on a cutting board adorned with another block “O”. I realized I had more Ohio State kitchen gear than I did Ohio State apparel.

I also realized my boycott wasn’t so much a boycott as it was a coping method. I needed to take a step away from tying my Ohio State identity to the success or failure of a football team. I set out to to boycott the nonsense, not the Buckeyes. Though I fear rooting for the Buckeyes this Saturday will be like going along with a lemming migration, unquestionable and sure to end in disaster, I bleed scarlet and gray.

SAM 4577 Edited Go Buckeyes!

My mom’s buckeye recipe consists of four simple ingredients: peanut butter, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla.  When reading Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito’s “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking Go Buckeyes!,” I came across a buckeye recipe that included cream cheese and graham cracker crumbs in addition to Mom’s four familiar ingredients. I combined the two recipes, adding a bit of cream cheese and graham cracker crumbs to the four base ingredients. The cream cheese added a bit of tang that my strictly sweet tooth did not particularly care for,  but I very much liked the subtle crunch of the graham cracker crumbs. I hope you’ll like them too.

Go Bucks!

SAM 4586 Edited Go Buckeyes!

Buckeyes
 
Author:
Recipe type: candy
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups peanut butter
  • ¼ cup cream cheese
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 12 ounces chocolate
Instructions
  1. Beat the peanut butter, cream cheese, butter and vanilla until well combined.
  2. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar and graham cracker crumbs.
  3. Form the peanut butter mixture into small balls and refrigerate until firm.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler set over hot water, stirring frequently until smooth.
  5. Spear each peanut butter ball with a toothpick, and dip its sides into chocolate. Leave a small section of peanut butter showing to mimic the look of a buckeye.
  6. Set the buckeyes on a piece of wax paper to allow the chocolate to harden.
  7. If desired, smooth over the hole left from the toothpick with peanut butter.
Notes
Mom’s original recipe calls for 1 cup peanut butter, ¼ cup butter, 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.