So, yeah. Hi. (tries to smoothly blow off the dust on this blog) How have you been? (casually yanks down the canopy of cobwebs) It’s been a while, huh? (offhandedly kicks the scuttering colony of spiders into a corner) What’ve you been up to?
Ok, ok. I am overtly dramatic. I might be exaggerating a weeny teeny minuscule little itty bit. After all, I haven’t been gone that long…right?
In my defense, I’ve had school. Ah, school. Have you ever been forced onto a grassy knoll or field for PE and made to participate in some form of ball game and all of a sudden you see this round hurtling object with aim and purpose practically cleaving the air in its determination to sock you right in the forehead? Yeah, that’s school for me. Several things–many things, including one VERY VERY important class–are currently treacherously and precariously hung in jeopardy. I’m not doing the greatest, and it’s been tiring. The sort of tiring that goes beyond what chocolate can fix (see, when even chocolate can’t do much for ME you know it’s gotta be bad). Sure, chocolate brings a temporary, sweet and blissful amnesia–but the truth, like above metaphoric PE demon ball, will hit you in the face sooner or later. So I’m taking a step back from things. I’ve decided not to HARANGUE MYSELF TO POST WEEKLY FRIDAY LINK LOVE when I have a major test the next week and a massive project looming, or to comment on everyone’s photo with something nice/something to thank them on the #tbcbreakfastbonanza tag. It’s quite painful–I want to thank everyone who’s participated in my little hashtag project in one way or another personally, but priorities are priorities. School is first. Oh, school. O! school (in Lia fashion–if you do not get what I mean, see this post written by my extremely talented and mystical friend. O! let’s make this the latest fashion).
But at any rate. I will continue trying to keep my head above water. Paddle, paddle. That’s what I can do. And even if I get a few breaths of salty brine seawater smack into my mouth sometimes, it will be gross but it will be okay. All that matters is that I paddle.
Alright, enough of my overly metaphoric and mostly talking-to-self-style waffling. Are you still here? Good. Let’s talk cookie dough, and caramel, and peanut butter, and chocolate. Ooooh. Now I remember how I started blabbering about school! It was the result of a very battering school day, like above metaphoric PE demon ball, but on steroids. I came home. I wanted to melt into the sofa. But no–I had to study for a math test. A math test I had to take because I failed an earlier math test. Do you see what I mean now? Anyway, because I obviously am capable of utilising my time to the fullest of my ability to study, I slouched into the kitchen feeling utterly steamrolled over and defeated. I think my spine was a total C shape of :C (turn your head to the left if you can’t see the face). Comfort foods–chocolate. Also math requires peanut butter, because peanut butter. Caramel, because I had some leftover from an experiment to use up and who’s gonna refuse a little more sweetness, right? I’m not too sure what type of information my brain was processing.
But anyway. I sloped around. Blitzed up some nuts and oats, dumped in peanut butter and some maple syrup, kneaded my mathy frustration out till the crumbly chunks of roasty fragrant nuttiness became a dough. Dumped in cacao nibs for good measure. Flattened that out into the base of a springform tin, dolloped on a generous amount of date caramel. Into the freezer for some time-out–and so did I. Well, math might as well be a freezer, the way it numbs my brain. So both the dessert and I chilled out. I actually got some math done!
Then once the dessert and I were solid as rock (ow…my brain…is being allergic to math a thing?), I went back into the kitchen. Stood by the oven, which gives me warmth even though it’s not turned on (have I ever told you how I name my kitchen appliances? No? Well that story’s for another day. Anyway, I love them very much). Sent soaked cashews, some ripe banana, peanut butter, some Bareblends sacha inchi cacao and maca and a splash of soy milk for a whirl. Licked the extra peanut butter off the spoon. Cut up the remaining banana into beautiful little creamy moons and layered them in the mini springform tin on top of the caramel. Scooped out peanut buttery loveliness on top and made sure everything was level, and then popped that back to chill while me and my just-defrosted brain had to go back to the grind. Ah, sigh.
Now, do you see the sheen on top of the chocolate layer? I tell you, I’m stupefied. That was the result of pure laziness–I originally wanted a layer of raw chocolate, made from coconut oil+maple syrup+cocoa powder but because of sheer slovenliness, I decided to just melt Lindt and slather it on top and call it a day. And then because I am a klutz, I accidentally knocked in some hot water from the bain marie the chocolate was melting in on top of the melted Lindt. You know what happens when water meets chocolate? It’s not pretty–it seizes. The chocolate dulls, the mixture thickens to wet cement, you get gloppy kind of curdled chocolate. But then was I going to waste my Lindt? No! So being an absolute chocolate stingy Scrooge, I added more water…and it gradually relaxed, loosened its stiff muscles, and became a grudgingly smooth and thick ganache. Being worried it wouldn’t set, I then added about a tablespoon of coconut oil and–BAM! Instant shine. Beautiful, glorious shine, and a creamy velvet seductive consistency like you wouldn’t believe. And that, my friends, is the story of the Exceptionally Shiny Ganache. It wasn’t some artful chefly dance of cream and chocolate to get the beautiful lustre. It was the result of laziness, sloppiness, and uh, hasty chocolate stinginess.
So, if you’ve suffered through my long rambling…I basically created this baby out of mistakes, trips, oops, brain-numbing and math procrastination. Not a bad mix of genes, if you ask me.
We all have those days. Or weeks.
I’m still cackling at that ganache layer. Such a trickster. Did it fool you, too?
This was delicious. First you get the impersonater ganache, which certainly tasted like the real deal–smooth, silky and mousselike, a velvety fudgy melt with the intense hoarse hit of Lindt. Then it’s set in with the peanut butter cream–a bit salty, a wonderful punch of roasty creaminess that just lights you up from the inside with the toasty peanut flavor and the full, rounded richness on your tongue. And you get mellow coins of gentle banana too, that simply dissolves in a smooth gradient across your palate. After the caramelly golden sweetness, on top of a layer of simply amazing cookie dough. I swear, the base bound everything together–a solid, smooth, soft fudgy nutty brown layer studded with the crunch of cacao nibs and infused with wonderful peanut butter flavor.
Unf. Serving size is one slice. I won’t tell if you don’t decide to cut the cake at all…there’s one slice for you ;-) And if you don’t have a mini springform tin, you could always double the recipe. Or triple. Or quadruple.
cookie dough, caramel and peanut butter cake
(makes 1 4-inch mini springform tin)
For the peanut butter cacao nib cookie dough:
-3 tbs almonds
-3 tbs oats
-1 tbs peanut butter
-1/2 tbs honey/maple syrup/whichever liquid sweetener
-a drop of vanilla extract
-cacao nibs/chocolate chips/chocolate chunks
Line your mini springform tin’s base with a circle of parchment. Pulse the almonds and oats in a nut grinder/mini food processor compartment till you get a meal like, floury consistency. Add the peanut butter, sweetener and vanilla and pulse till everything starts clumping together. Dump the dough out into a bowl and add water, 1 tsp at a time, till it comes together in a slightly sticky but smooth dough. Knead in a generous amount of chocolate. Plop the dough on top of the parchment lined base and press it out till it covers the base in an even layer.
For the date caramel:
-(I did not measure my recipe because it was a trial! I blended about 8 medjool dates, 1 cup of water, a dribble of maple syrup and 2 tbsp of peanut butter till everything was combined and used some caramel from that. This may not be a reliable estimate, so this date caramel recipe works just fine–just replace the coconut oil with peanut butter for a peanut buttery-er version, or add some in addition to the coconut oil)
Dollop about 3 heaped tbsp of your date caramel on top of the cookie dough, or enough to form a generous layer. Smooth it out till it’s all even, and place the tin into the freezer to chill for about an hour at least or till it firms up.
For the peanut butter cream:
-1/4 cup cashews, soaked for at least 3 hours
-2 heaped tbsp peanut butter
-1/2 banana (save the other half!)
-1.5 tbsp milk of choice
-1/2 tbsp coconut oil
-Optional but very good: 1/2 tbs Bareblends sacha inchi (mountain peanut), cacao and maca
Blend everything together until smooth. Use the remaining half banana and layer it on top of the chilled date caramel and spoon over the peanut butter cream. Smooth to even out the layer, and then return it to the freezer for about 1 hour again or more, till firm.
For the accidental chocolate ganache:
-4 squares Lindt dark chocolate
-a certain amount of warm bain marie water
-1 tbsp coconut oil
Melt the chocolate over the bain marie. Accidentally tip a little in–about half a tbsp. Stir this in until it starts looking like a disaster, and then add more water half a tbsp at a time until you get a loose, thick chocolate ganache consistency. Stir in the coconut oil and pour over the solidified peanut butter cream layer. Freeze till firm, up to 1 hour again.
When ready to serve: let defrost slightly, remove the outer ring, slide the bottom off the parchment and serve! Store any leftovers in the freezer.