Three-Layer Whipped Peanut Butter Bars

Whipped Peanut Butter Dream Bars

Three layers of delicious: these ultra-decadent peanut butter bars are a guaranteed crowd pleaser. The base is a crunchy, buttery graham cracker cookie, the middle is a generous layer of creamy whipped peanut butter and the top is silky chocolate ganache sprinkled with chopped roasted peanuts. Get ready to perform some crowd control.

Emily’s story

A couple of weeks ago, I was working on a list of ideas for treats Matt and I might make for the fifth annual For Goodness Bake sale (an amazing event, hosted by our lovely friends, Kristen Pratt and Tara Tornello). This thing is a big deal and our fellow Beaconites go all out, making all kinds of delicious cookies, cakes, tarts, cupcakes and savories, all to sell for a good cause. It’s kind of like the Great British Baking Show, but without a tent and with a lot more cursing (we are Americans, remember). 

So I’m reading the list to Matt who, to be fair, has spent a long day fixing computer whatsits and thingamajigs (technical terms), so he’s on the Playstation, drinking a can of beer, and barely paying attention to what I’m saying. “Brown Butter Hazelnut Blondies” get a shrug. “Lemon and Rosemary Tarlets” get a pout and narrowed eyes. “Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bars”: a huff and a raised eyebrow.

“Whipped Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate–“

“That one,” he interrupts, throwing the game controller aside, suddenly as focused as a lion in Sainsbury’s that just spotted a shepherd’s pie in the sale bin. I described my idea, a buttery cookie crust studded with crunchy peanuts. Whipped, almost airy peanut butter buttercream. Chocolate ganache topped with chopped roasted salted peanuts. Yeah, now he’s paying attention. 

Three Layer Whipped Peanut Butter Dream Bars

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Easy Baked Brie With Honey And Pistachios

Easy Baked Brie with Honey and Pistachios

Offering maximum impact with minimal effort, a baked Brie turns a mild-mannered cheese into the superhero of a gathering: a warm, gooey communal comfort food. This version keeps things easy and delicious—it’s baked simply, then topped with pistachios and honey.

Serve it with crackers, sliced apples or good bread.

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Baked Brie en Croûte With Apple and Pear Compote

Baked Brie en Croûte with Spiced Apple and Pear Compote

Offering maximum impact with minimal effort, a baked Brie turns a mild-mannered cheese into the superhero of a gathering: a warm, gooey communal comfort food. This version wraps the cheese in a shell of flaky puff pastry, along with two sweet-tart layers of apple-pear compote.

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Baked Brie en Croûte With Thyme and Fig Jam

Simple Baked Brie en Croûte with Thyme and Fig Jam

Baked Brie en Croûte With Thyme and Fig Jam; A warm, gooey wheel of brie or camembert cheese, topped with sweet fig jam and wrapped in golden brown, flaky puff pastry. 

Offering maximum impact with minimal effort, a baked Brie turns a mild-mannered cheese into the superhero of a gathering: a warm, gooey communal comfort food. This version wraps the cheese in a shell of flaky puff pastry, along with a sweet-tart layer of fig jam and fresh thyme leaves.

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Baked Brie – A Primer

Baked Brie en Croute with Fig Jam
Baked Brie en Croute with Fig Jam

A Baked Brie can turn the standard cheese board into a highlight of a gathering: a warm, gooey communal comfort food.

A party without cheese is like Valentine’s Day without chocolate, and, while a well-curated cheese plate will likely do the job for any occasion, a wheel of baked Brie will deliver maximum impact with a minimum of effort. Especially at a winter party, it can turn the standard cheese board into a highlight of a gathering: a warm, gooey communal comfort food.

Making a baked Brie (or a baked Camembert, Brie’s soft-rind cousin) can be as simple as tossing the cheese in the oven with some kind of drizzled topping, or you can go all out by serving it en croûte—wrapping it up in puff pastry with any number of store-bought or homemade sweet condiments.

Note: This Baked Brie series is also available on Serious Eats!

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Red Cabbage Salad with Roasted Cipollini Onions

Red Cabbage Salad with Roasted Cipollini Onions

When the weather turns cold, you want a salad that brightens your table and can stand up to all those stews and roasts you’ll be serving. 

Note: This recipe is part of our series for Serious Eats. You can also find the recipe and many others on their site.

Once the weather turns cold it becomes harder and harder to keep salads interesting. Most of our favorite add-ins are a distant memory (I’m looking at you, glorious heirloom tomato).  A trip down the produce aisle, or even the farmer’s market, can feel more like a challenge than an inspiration. But this is when, with a little creative thinking, great combinations are born.

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