I don’t want all my chef friends out there to think I just checked out and entered a Sandra Lee cult. I do realize this is the second ‘no-bake’/’convenience food’-based dessert that I’ve posted in the past month or so…remember the Oreo-Chocolate Pudding one? That one was totally short cut filled. And funny enough, it has become one of my most popular recipes. But to all my friends who live in the ‘only from scratch world’, it may seem like I’ve lost my mind a bit. But let us not forget the Salted Caramel Banana Pudding Cheesecake, which didn’t come from a box, the Spaghetti with Champagne, Prosciutto and Fresh Mozzarella, the Gluten Free Black Bean Burgers, and the most recent, Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese. All of those are ‘real food’ recipes that occurred in the past couple of months, so at least I’m posting a well balanced spread.
But here’s the deal. I clip coupons, which means I get a plethora of packaged convenience snack foods for free that frankly, we don’t eat a lot of. I donate a lot of it, but often I’m left with quite a bit that I use for parties or baking. Plus, no-bake desserts like this are just plain fun I think. Like I’ve said many times before, sometimes I feel like turning my oven on and making a custard over an open flame, and sometimes I feel like opening a container of cool whip. Today, and for the next 4 days, as I play the role of single-stay-at-home-mom* with two small kids, all three of us quite sick, I really enjoyed opening that container. You can quote me on that.
But back to the matter at hand. This is such an easy dessert to make. It takes less than 20 minutes to prepare, and then you just put it in the fridge for a few hours. There are only a small handful of ingredients used, and it’s a great thing to make for a party because it just gets better the longer it stays in the fridge. I wrote this one for those of you who cannot resist a peanut butter cup. (Mom, Dad, I’m talking to you. Don’t think I didn’t know of all the times you stole my Halloween Reese’s cups.) I tried to keep the filling itself on the simple side because I top this dessert with pieces of peanut butter cups, which provide all the sweet and richness you could ever wish for. Plus, if any of you know my recipes, you know that I don’t like super sweet stuff. You can really taste the peanut butter and cream cheese, which I really love. (Side note- This filling makes an unbelievable frosting for chocolate cakes or cupcakes. Making the amount below would frost 2 round cakes, 24 cupcakes, or 1 9×13 inch cake, but I like to double it to make sure I don’t run out and so I can really mound on the frosting. And if you’re making cupcakes, place a secret peanut butter cup inside each cupcake before baking!)
I think this would be a great dessert to make around Halloween when everyone goes to candy-crazy. But by all means, don’t wait til the Fall to make this. I say make it now.
*Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
-In the bowl of your food processor, place 8 ounces total of chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Oreo’s) and chocolate chip cookies (such as Chips Ahoy) if you have them. (This is about 20 cookies.) You could use 8 ounces of just the chocolate sandwich cookies or 8 ounces of just the chocolate chip cookies, but I had both of them and decided to use a bit of each. Add 1/4 tsp of kosher salt and process your cookies until they turn to crumbs. Pour in 6 TB of unsalted butter, melted and pulse until all your crumbs are wet. Dump into a greased deep dish pie plate and press down firmly along the bottom and up the sides a bit. Set aside.
-In a medium mixing bowl, place an 8 ounce brick of neufchatel cream cheese, softened, and 1/4 cup of sugar. With an electric mixer, mix well until creamy.
-Add 1 cup of smooth/creamy peanut butter** and a splash of vanilla. Beat well until everything is fully incorporated.
-Add the contents of an 8 ounce container of whipped topping (such as Cool Whip) and beat well until completely smooth.
-Dump this into the center your prepared crust and spread towards the sides of the pan with a spatula. Spread evenly.
-Break with your hands or cut up 20 mini chocolate peanut butter cups (such as Reese’s) and sprinkle over the top of your pie.
-Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow the crust to harden and the filling to set up.
(*No, my husband didn’t leave me. He’s just out of town on business.)
(**I always use natural peanut butter to feed my family, but keep a container of the cheap stuff on hand for baking. If you’re using natural, unsweetened peanut butter, then increase the sugar amount in the filling to 1/3 cup)