Last week, in three consecutive nights, I had a total of 9 hours of shut eye. That’s about how much sleep you’re supposed to get in ONE night. Although I was super exhausted and didn’t look especially hot, consuming copious amounts of sugar, caffeine, and oatmeal kept me fairly alert and functioning pretty well – or so I thought.
Last Thursday was Yoon’s birthday, so I wanted to bake him something for the occasion. Yoon is a peanut butter and chocolate fanatic, so for his birthday last year, I made him a simple chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. It was good, but nothing really special. I’m a little more confident in my baking skills now, so this year I decided on a Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte that I saw on Annie’s Eats a while back, and have been dying to try.
This dessert is not difficult to make, but a little more involved and time-consuming, so not the best choice when you are extremely sleep deprived. I guess my brain was pretty much dead by the time I started baking because I had the hardest time counting out the correct amount of Oreos for the crust (it took me 3 tries). Then I sprayed myself with heavy cream by turning on the electric mixer to high speed too quickly, and I also forgot to sift the powdered sugar and managed to get it EVERYWHERE.
In addition to making a mess in the kitchen, I bought all of the wrong ingredients. For some reason, I thought the recipe called for honey roasted peanuts instead of salted and I completely forgot about the espresso powder. Also, instead of bittersweet chocolate squares, I got mini chocolate chips because they looked so much cuter… but later realized that it didn’t matter since they were going to be melted anyway. Like I said, my brain wasn’t working.
Somehow, this torte was ended up being incredible anyway. And it looked exactly like the one in Annie’s photo! Yoon raved about it, so I guess he liked it a lot. 🙂 I really enjoyed it too, but it’s much too rich to have more than one small serving. You don’t even want to know how many calories are in each slice! 🙂
Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte
Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats, originally from Dorie Greenspan
For the crust:
- 32 Oreo cookies, finely processed into crumbs (I used reduced fat Oreos)
- 5 1/3 tablespoons melted butter, melted and cooled
- small pinch of salt
For the crunch:
- 1 1/4 cups salted peanuts, finely chopped, divided (for the filling, crunch and topping) (I used honey roasted peanuts)
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons sugar (I omitted this)
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (I used 3/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
For the filling:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted, divided
- 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (not natural)
- 2 tablespoons milk (I used nonfat)
For the topping:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips)
1. To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet. Combine the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl. Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs. Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and 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.
2. To make the crunch, in another small bowl combine 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.
3. To prepare the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 2 cups of the cream until it holds medium peaks. Beat in 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar and whip until the cream holds medium-firm peaks. Scrape the cream into a separate bowl and refrigerate until needed.
4. Wipe out (no need to wash) the mixer bowl, replace the whisk with the paddle attachment, and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup (I used 3/4 cup) of confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the cream cheese is satiny smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, milk, and 1/4 cup of the chopped peanuts until well combined.
5. Using a large rubber spatula, gently stir in about 1/4 of the whipped cream just to lighten the mousse. 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 mousse firms.
6. To finish the torte, 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.
7. Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing with a spoon or rubber spatula. Scatter the remaining peanuts over the top and chill to set the topping, at least 20 minutes. When the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the springform pan. Refrigerate until ready to serve.