My June recipe and a rule change

First up, a rule change for my 2012 Cooking Challenge. Yeah, I know, this probably qualifies as cheating. But at the rate I’m going, I’d have to cook THREE recipes this month. And there’s no way that’s going to happen as I’ll be out of the country for two weeks. Which means I’ll have to cook FOUR recipes in September. And it’s not like I haven’t been cooking, it’s just that I haven’t been cooking from the Kitchen and Back to Basics. I have been cooking from other cookbooks, so I figured I might as well include them in the challenge.

So I formally include Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa cookbook

and Dorie Greenspan’s iconic Baking: From my Home to Yours (yes, also the source of the most wonderful cheesecake EVER) in my 2012 cooking challenge. It’s not like anyone will complain anyway, since this is my personal challenge.

And with that, I present to you my June recipe: Dorie Greenspan’s Peanut Butter Torte. My sister chose it for her birthday cake as I gave her free reign to choose whatever she wanted from the cookbook, provided all ingredients in the recipe she chose were easy to find. Given my sister’s tastes, it’s no surprise that she picked a recipe that required Oreos, chocolate and peanut butter.

While the recipe was not hard, per se, it was A LOT of work. This recipe is probably the most labor intensive thing I’ve ever made. It’s just a lot of prep work: chopping up peanuts and chocolate, crushing Oreos, building that crust, emptying out the mixing bowl, etc. And once you’ve popped the thing in the fridge for four hours, the work ain’t over. You still have to make the ganache topping. This is the type of recipe that makes you think, after making it, “This better be good.”

Well, it certainly looked good:

Peanut butter torte

I seriously considered not making the ganache topping anymore, since I came home from work late and still had to make it. But I am so glad I made it because it made the torte look awesome. Without it, the torte would just look like a huge mass of speckled beige mousse. With it and the peanuts, it’s just that more visually interesting and delicious-looking.

And it IS delicious! The cream cheese and peanut butter mousse is thankfully light and delightfully nutty. The crunchy mix of chopped chocolate, salted peanuts, cinnamon and nutmeg provide a great contrast from all that creaminess, both taste-wise and texture-wise. And that dark chocolate ganache and the sprinkling of salty peanuts not only makes the torte look that much prettier, but it also provides another contrasting layer of flavor and textures.

Packed with cream cheese, cream, peanut butter and Oreo goodness, it’s probably a good thing that this Peanut Butter Torte was a lot of work anyway. At least I burned some calories while making it, to offset the ones I get from eating it. Maybe that’s how it was planned all along. Nice one, Dorie.

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