Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie in a Pretzel Crust

This blog post was original a dramatic complaint about how my life isn’t perfect.  I just re-read it, and I feel dumb, capricious and immature.  Because I realize all the things I worry about are trivial.  There are far more serious things in life than the fact that I have a pile of student loan debt, a mean comment from a reader or a little bit of back pain.

Last week, I thought I was having a terrible week.  Things kept going wrong, or so it seemed.  But I was wrong.

This week is far more terrible, because terrible things didn’t happen to me.  They happened to my loved ones, and that is a million times worse.

So in those moments when I feel like my life is crumbling, like a pie crust that doesn’t have enough water to help it stick together, food is important.  Those moments are when pie is essential.

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Really though.

Even if you don’t eat it, because by now I know turning to food when things aren’t going well is wrong, make the pie and give it away.

Give it to a loved one who isn’t having the best day, or a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time.

Pie doesn’t heal all wounds, but it helps.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie in a Pretzel Crust

1 1/4 cup of pretzel crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth natural
4 oz cream cheese, softened
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp strawberry jam

First make your crust by mixing together pretzel crumbs, butter and sugar.  Press into a 9” pie dish and place in the freezer until ready to use.

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Next, beat together peanut butter, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk.  Beat 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream until if holds firm peaks.  Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture until combined.  Set aside.

Beat remaining 1 cup of whipped cream.  Once it start to form peaks, add in 3 tbsp of strawberry jam.  If you want to avoid clump, blend your jam before adding it to the whipped cream.  Set aside.

Next assemble the pie.  Spread half of the jam on the bottom of the pie crust.  If it’s hard to spread, feel free to add a little water or blend it to make it smooth.  Next spread on half the peanut butter mixture, then another layer with remaining jam. Top with remaining peanut butter mixture.  Transfer whipped cream to piping bag and pipe strawberry whipped cream onto the pie, alternatively you can just spread it.

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Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight and serve cold to someone special.

This is comfort food to the max, because sometimes we need a little comfort and a big hug.

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Caramel Surprise

Who doesn’t love a surprise?  Especially around the holidays.

Okay so the surprise is caramel.  I gave it away.  I’m terrible at keeping secrets.  And let’s be honest sometimes it’s not even a surprise but a gooey caramel mess.  You can’t really go wrong.  Either way, I’ll keep calling them a surprise cookie.  I sounds more enticing that way.

Caramel in a sweet and salty cookie.  I know, it’s exciting. Definitely surprise-worthy.

You’re probably going to want to make these for your next Holiday gathering and/or potluck.  They work for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa; clearly, they’re really equal opportunity cookies.

Did I mention they’re fun to make? And more importantly fun to eat.

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Caramel Surprise

1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp heavy cream, room temperature
pinch of salt
3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups pretzel pieces

First make the caramel filling.  Put 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan.  Turn heat on to medium and wait til the sugar starts to melt.  Carefully keep stirring until all the sugar is melted.  If you get clumps, smash them with your wooden spoon.  Push them to edges, they’ll melt faster.  Once your sugar is a light brown color, remove from the heat and quickly stir in the butter.  Once the butter is incorporated, add the pinch of salt and stream in the cream and you stir.  Keep whisking/stirring until it’s one thick, uniform texture.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream together 3/4 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Next add try ingredients  (including chocolate chips and pretzels).  The key is to work the dough as little as possible.  It’ll be a little sticky but that’s okay.

By now, your caramel should be pretty cool.  If it’s not then hang out for a few minutes until it’s cool enough to put in a ziploc bag.  Once you can, put it in a ziploc bag and cut off a bottom corner so you have a make-shift piping bag.

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper and get ready to assemble your cookies (note: the dough will be pretty sticky!  This is sort of a messy cookie making extravaganza, but get into it!  It’s fun!).

Grab a small amount of dough and sort of flatten it into a disk shape.  Using your finger, make a small well.  Pipe about a tsp of caramel into the well. Then fold the edges around to cover the caramel.  Put some more dough on top to make sure the caramel is completely coated with cookie (you might have to use bits of dough to patch up holes).  Repeat until you have 36 dough balls (depending on how big you make them) or you run out of dough.

Bake for 12 minutes or until golden around the edges.

Then surprise your fella, co-workers, siblings with these cookies.  They’ll appreciate them.  Mine did.  I can almost guarantee yours will too.

Who doesn’t love surprises?  Especially ones that involve chocolate, pretzels and caramel.

That’s what I thought.  Get to the kitchen!