So, apparently I didn’t think that our lives were chaotic enough, because last week we adopted a puppy from a local animal shelter! I surprised my daughter by taking her with me and not telling her where we were going. She was pretty excited when we got there. Although, I think the highlight for her may have been petting a bunch of cats. Her being having a big heart, she wanted to bring all the animals home (do I foresee a future problem?). Molly is a black lab mix, only 5 months old. She is such a cutie. She is settling in really well and quickly. Our other dog, Kujo, is loving the playmate! Everyone adores her.
In celebration of the newest addition to our family, I wanted to make this amazing dessert. I actually made it for my birthday “cake” some years ago, but haven’t made it again since. I am not really sure why because it is absolutely amazing. A frozen dessert that involves creamy peanut butter ice cream, chocolate AND peanut butter cups!? There is no way it can go wrong. I have been having a hard time staying away from it. The heck with there still being snow on the ground, I want me some ice cream! Making my own peanut butter ice cream, I am pretty sure, put this dessert over the top. Surprisingly, it isn’t really heavy. This would make all those peanut butter and chocolate lovers out there happy.
For the peanut butter ice cream
- 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 2/3 cups half and half
- pinch of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the graham cracker crust
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the chocolate ganache
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz. milk or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (chocolate chips work fine too)
For the topping
- 6 oz mini peanut butter cups, chopped
- To make the ice cream: Purée the peanut butter, sugar, half and half, salt, and vanilla in a blender or food processor until smooth. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Chill the mixture for 1 hour in the freezer before adding to the springform pan.
- To make the crust: While you wait for the mixture to chill in the refrigerator, butter a 9″ springform pan. Stir the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir with a fork until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. Turn the ingredients into the springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs over the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.) Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350ºF and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool completely.
- To prepare the torte: After the ice cream mixture has chilled in the freezer for 1 hour and the crust has cooled completely, stir the ice cream to loosen it a little then pour it into the crust. Smooth the top of the ice cream out with an off-set spatula. Move the pan to the freezer and free the ice cream until it is completely frozen, about 6 hours.
- Before removing the pan from the freezer, put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave the bowl over the water just until the chocolate softens and starts to melt, about 3 minutes; remove the bowl from the saucepan. Bring the 1/2 cup of 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 chopped peanut butter cups over the top and freeze to set the topping, at least 30 minutes. When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the springform pan. Keep the torte frozen until ready to serve. To slice, heat a sharp knife with hot water and slice through the torte.