We are happily sitting in bed and writing this post from the comforts of our own home and, more specifically, a home with lights.
This week we learned a little lesson that we think was potentially a tad unnecessary and that is; don't take electricity for granted. Or heating. Or hot water. Or fridges and freezers. Or washers and dryers. Or garage doors that open with a clicker thing. Thankyouverymuch, Mother Nature.
That's right, gang, we were without power for 4 whole days. Like, for reals. Seriously. WHAT YEAR IS THIS?!?! How is it possible that it took 72 hours to fix some freaking power lines?!?! For the love. Have we not progressed past this kind of lame infrastructure challenge? Next thing you know we will be fording rivers because no one can build a bridge that stays up...oh wait.
Whatever. We are over it.
But, of all the creature comforts we missed, you'll be shocked to hear that we bakers mostly missed the oven. (Yes, it is gas, but how do you light a gas oven with a match? Er, scratch that, we don't want to know because we would def stick our heads in the oven which would NOT end well.).
A whole 4 days without baking was torture! We would totally rather listen to Chumbawumba on repeat for 13 hours (which happens to accurately describe the time spent on a high school road trip to a state basketball tournament...no, we were not players, just fans).
So, obvy the first thing we did upon returning to this century was bake a little something. Because, while the power being restored was a pretty sweet birthday pressie...birthdays, by the way, lost their fun factor for us approximately 7 years ago so we typically like to ignore them. Only our own though! We love other peoples' b-days...YAY candles and cake!!
Wait, where were we? Oh yes, the best pressie this year, better than basic human requirements like lighting, was the giant, delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte that we whipped up as soon as the oven was functional. We've had our eye on it for ages now after spying the treat on the marvelous Annie's Eats blog and it seemed appropriate given there was just so much to celebrate...heating, hot water, fridges, freezers...
Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte
Adapted from Annie's Eats
For the Crust:
32 Oreo cookies (about a 15.5 ounce package with some extra to snack on)
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt
For the Crunch:
1 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped, divided (for the filling, crunch and topping)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of ground nutmeg
For the Filling:
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups powedered (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (not natural, we used Jif)
2 tablespoons whole milk
For the Topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper (to make it easier to slide the cake off the bottom and serve on a pretty plate) and place it on a baking sheet. Combine the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in a food processor until finely ground and well combined. Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. Freeze the crust for 10 minutes. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling.
To make the crunch, in a small bowl combine a 1/2 cup of the chopped peanuts, mini chocolate chips, sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss with a fork to mix and set aside.
To prepare the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 2 cups of the heavy cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Scrape the cream into a separate bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Wipe out (do not wash) the mixer bowl, replace the whisk with the paddle attachment, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, whole milk, and 1/4 cup of the chopped peanuts until well combined.
Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about 1/4 of the whipped cream just to lighten the cream cheese mousse mixture. Still working with the spatula, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, then gingerly fold in the remaining whipped cream. Scrape the mousse into the crust, mounding and smoothing the top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight; cover with plastic wrap as soon as the filling firms up a bit.
To finish the torte, put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave in 30 second increments until the chocolate is almost melted. Stir vigorously between heatings and be careful not to burn the chocolate...the hot cream will melt the chocolate further. Bring the 1/2 cup of heavy cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and, working with a rubber spatula, very gently stir together until the ganache is completely blended and smooth.
Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing with a metal icing spatula. Scatter the remaining peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, at least 20 minutes. When the ganache is firm, use a very sharp, short knife and run it along the sides of the pan to loosen the crust a bit. Then, very gently remove the sides of the springform pan. Slide the torte off the springform pan base very carefully onto a serving plate. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.