Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Crunch Cake

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Crunch Cake

Recently I was invited to enter a recipe challenge sponsored by the folks at Walkers Shortbread. And, since shortbread is my favorite kind of cookie, I was pretty excited about it. To jump start our creativity, Walkers sent each of the entrants a sample box with many of their flavors including some that I'd never seen before. Chocolate and vanilla and lemon and orange and ginger...oh, my... So Brian and I sat down to sample all the flavors. Some we had to sample several times due to...um...complex scientific research needs. And while we were stuffing our faces with shortbread scientifically researching, my mind was racing with all the possible recipe options.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Crunch Cake
In the end, Brian's favorite was the Quadruple Chocolate Chunk Biscuits while I tend to be a Pure Butter Vanilla Shortbread girl. But what flavor to pair with the shortbread? Hmm...how about my very favorite, most beloved flavor...peanut butter! Chocolate and peanut butter together? Of course.  But I wasn't trying to create a peanut butter cup nor had I ever been a fan of the silky smooth textures of peanut butter pies. Something about all that sameness gets a little tiring. No, I wanted to make something with texture and crunch. Something sweet and salty and a little over the top because, after all, it is a recipe challenge.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Crunch Cake
So I made my first recipe test and both of us fretted over the incredibly rich dessert that was being created. We agreed that we would taste it to check the recipe and then give it away to the neighbors. Hahahahaha. The first version was quite good and only needed some minor tweaks. The following weekend we were invited to a party so it seemed the perfect opportunity to make the new version and bring it to the party. The new version was perfect. Did we bring it to the party? Hahahahaha.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Crunch Cake
Seriously, though, this may not be an every day treat but when the occasion calls for a luscious, lip smacking, finger licking, just one more bite because it's that good dessert, this wins our vote by a landslide. Now I just have to find an excuse to make it again... Enjoy!






Ingredients

Crust:
1 Package Walkers Quadruple Chocolate Chunk Biscuits (8 cookies)
1 Package Walkers Pure Butter Vanilla Shortbread Cookies (16 cookies)
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
1/4 Cup peanuts

Filling:
8 oz. Cream cheese, at room temperature
1 Cup crunchy peanut butter
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1/8 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup sugar
4 oz. Prepared whipped topping (I used Cool Whip)
1/2 Cup peanut butter chips

Chocolate Crumb Topping:
3/4 Cup sugar
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
Dash of salt

Although there are a number of steps to make this cake, I actually broke down the method using a food processor without having to wash the bowl in between the steps.

Step 1:  Add the peanuts to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until they are coarsely chopped. Place the chopped nuts in a small bowl and set aside.

Step 2:  Tap out any remaining nut pieces from the bowl but don't worry if there are some bits left. Make the crumb topping by combining the flour, sugar, salt and cocoa powder in the work bowl. Pour in the melted butter and pulse until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, stir the mixture and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Step 3:  While the chocolate crumb topping is baking, tap out any remaining crumbs from the food processor bowl but don't worry if there are some bits left. Make the crust by adding the chocolate and vanilla cookies to the work bowl and pulsing until they are completely broken down into crumbs. Add the tablespoon of peanut butter and continue pureeing until the crumbs come together to form a paste. This will take a few minutes so be patient.

Place the paste into a 9" pie plate, 10" spring-form pan lined with parchment paper or 9" square baking pan. Using your knuckles or the back of a spoon, spread the paste out to cover the pan. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts over the crust and refrigerate.

Step 4:  Tap out any remaining crumbs from the food processor bowl but don't worry if there are some bits left. Make the filling by adding the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla to the bowl and processing until completely combined and smooth. Add the peanut butter and pulse until combined. Add the whipped topping and pulse until combined. Add the peanut butter chips and pulse once or twice just to distribute the chips into the batter.

Step 5:  Pour the cream cheese mixture over the crust and spread out evenly. Sprinkle the chocolate crumbs over the top and refrigerate for about an hour to set the mixture. Remove the cake from the refrigerator approximately 15 minutes before serving. Makes about 10 servings.

Step 6:  Try not to trip over dog who has smelled the peanut butter and parked herself an inch from your feet.

21 comments:

  1. This is just screaming my name! I'll take a HUGE slice please!

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  2. yuuum! I'm obsessed with shortbread and my guy loves PB, this would be a winner!

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  3. Ooooh yes! Those chocolate biscuits are INSANE! This cake is ridiculous. So good. COME OVER TO MY APARTMENT AND BRING THIS PLEEEEEEASE!

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  4. Worth every minute of preparation.

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  5. Amazing those are my favorite cookies store bought now this will be my favorite cake I am sure! AWESOME!

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  6. Girl, if you don't win, tell me where to send the complaints!

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  7. Dreaming of a slice. I love peanut butter so much. Plus chocolate. Plus plus crumble crunch topping. Heaven. Just pure heaven on a plate (or in my tummy!).

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  8. Are you kidding me?!?!? Someone sent you boxes and boxes of lucious Walker's Shortbread? You have some really good karma stored up, huh? These are my all time favorite cookies!! Then you make it into Cheesecake. So - I want to make sure you win. you better win because I'm a subject matter expert on this!

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  9. Oh, this looks amazing!!! It wouldn't be safe in my kitchen though....I'd be cutting slivers just for quality control...too much temptation!!! Perfect cake to bring to a party!

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  10. Ohhhh Anita! I absolutely adore shortbread! And your recipe looks completely addicting. I'd have to send the whole thing off immediately after making it or else I'd get myself into some serious crunch cake trouble!! :) Great dessert to take to a holiday dinner!

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  11. My husband favorite - we have tons of Walker's here :) Great recipes - just dangerous!

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  12. Such a gorgeous dessert and mouth watering dessert. Chocolate cookies, PB , and cheesecake. so rich and decadent. I have never seen some of those shortbread varieties either, but I'll start looking.

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  13. Oh my! I have my work cut out for me Anita! This is amazing, AH-MA-ZING!!! Seriously, awesome. And yeah, while my heart will always belong to the butter shortbreads those chocolate biscuits are to die for.

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  14. I meant to get over here all day yesterday and make a comment on this awesome dessert! WOW, what a keeper and fabulous pairing of flavors. Great job!

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  15. Oooo yum!!! This looks ridiculous good. That cake would not be safe in my kitchen - would be gone in 5 seconds :)

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  16. Gosh this looks good! I'm pinning it to my sweets board. Thank you for sharing it.

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  17. Oh my, this sounds easy and so so delicious!
    Thank you for sharing them at Foodie Friends Friday, come back Sunday to vote :)

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  18. Anita, you must have been thinking of me when you made this! I love that you used both the Chocolate chunk and the vanilla wafers in the crust. I don't blame you for keeping this cake all to yourselves and if you'r still looking for another occasion to make this, how about just making it and sending it my way, for research purposes, you know ;-)

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  19. thanks for sharing.

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  20. Oh my goodness!!! How did I miss this first time around?? I adore that shortbread... I have to buy a package for my recipe and another for me to nibble on. I think this has to be one of the best recipes I've seen all season... fabulous!!

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