Friday, September 25, 2009

Stick It To 'Em

We had a bakesale to raise money for Habitat for Humanity at work yesterday, so I made a couple of batches of biscotti - its my go-to cookie for these kinds of things: easy & cheap (like me!) and keeps well for many days (maybe not so much like me...)

Because it's been well established that I'm a big show-off AND, I wanted to offer a great presentation that would really bring in the bucks for a fabulous organization, I packaged the cookies in these cute little bags:

The bags are little cello bags I got at the Mrs. Grossman's warehouse sale. I folded over the top a couple of times, and stapled in the center.

Then I cut a piece of pattered scrapbook-type paper into a 3.5" x 3.5"-ish square and folded it in half. I put this little "tent" over the top of the folded bag, and gave it two staples on the side.

The cute cut-out on the top is a Mrs. Grossman's Slice of Life: Homemade Cardstock Sticker. When I worked at Mrs. Grossman's, I learned that if you put a little baby powder on the back of a sticker - it takes away the stick and you can pop them off the edge - fun!

This is a short video that show other ways you can use this powdering technique for stickers:

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Pat's PB Pie

My KGO Colleague Pat Thurston is an inspiration on many levels. She's a proud armed forces vet, intelligent and entertaining talk show host, a tireless and loving mother to triplets (that's right, triplets) she had in her 40s, and a talented and generous baker.

On the occasions I get to work with Pat I get to enjoy not only her lovely company - but a home made treat like lemon bars, brownies or this insane Peanut Butter Pie.

When Pat serves it, she says, "You HAVE to put whipped cream and chocolate sauce on it otherwise you can't have any."

Now THAT's a rule I can live with!

Pat's PB Pie
(with a little adaptation by Lara)

For Crust

11 whole graham crackers (one of the three packs in the box)
6 T butter, melted
1 T sugar

Preheat oven to 350

Grind the crackers in a food processor until fine. Add the melted butter & sugar and pulse to combine and get all of the crumbs wet
(for my money the smell of melted butter and graham cracker is one of the best in the world)

Dump the crumb mixture into a 9" pie pan, press it down and up the sides with a wooden spoon.

Bake for 6-8 minutes to set the crust, then let it cool while you make the ganache.

For Ganache

3 oz bittersweet chocolate (1/2 cup chocolate chips)*
1/2 cup whipping cream

Heat the cream in a small pan over medium-low heat until its just bubbling on the edges. Add the chocolate, stir a few time, then put the lid on the pot & let the mixture set for about 5-10 miniutes. Then stir until smooth. Spread the mixture over the graham cracker crust.

Cool the coated crust in the fridge while you make the filling.

For Filling:

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

2 T melted butter

1 cup whipping cream

1 T vanilla

Beat cream cheese until fluffy, slowly add sugar, peanut butter and melted butter and beat until blended and fluffy.

Whip the 1 cup cream in a separate bowl. Add vanilla. Fold the whipped cream into the PB mixture until it is blended in - no white streaks showing. Pour it into the pie shell and chill for about 3 hours. You can pop it in the freezer to speed up the chilling.

Whip the 1/2 cup cream you'll have left after making the ganache and the filling and use it to decorate the top of the pie - pipe it with a pastry bag if you're feelin' fancy, schmear it with a spatula if you're not.

*In the spirit of full disclosure, when I made this particular pie I messed up and made the ganache with unsweetended chocolate (It was TJ's brand and I guess my brain associated that wrapping with their "Pound Plus" bars) I added some sugar and a little butter and it tasted fine. A little grainy, but had a good dark chocolate flavor that was a nice contrast to the sweet, fluffy filling.

Also, the pie is super easy to make, but does mess up a lot of dishes (two big bowls, a pan, the food processor, etc) so promise to make it for your family if someone else promises to do the dishes - it worked for me :)

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