Peanut Butter Mousse Brownie Pie. (Making do with what you have.)

So. It’s been a looooong time since I’ve posted. I’m now less than a week away from Vegas, from my goal, from running a half-marathon. Yeah. Wow. And perhaps the strangest part is that I feel ready. Well, as ready as I’ll ever be. I haven’t done my training perfectly, I don’t have all the perfect gear, and I definitely don’t have a perfect understanding of what I’ll need to do on race day. But I’ll make do with what I have.

And from that simple sentiment comes the best dessert ever. Peanut butter. In a mousse. On top of a brownie. Yeah. Wow. Warning: cut the pieces small. Really small. Otherwise you might get diabetes. But as Andy and I discovered, oh, this is worth it. So, so worth it.

I’m going to post the recipe as it was written on this blog, because to be quite honest, I don’t really know exactly what I ended up doing. There was a bit of improvising because I don’t always have the perfect technique, the perfect equipment, the perfect ingredients. But again, I made do with what I had. Because that is life (especially when you’re young and poor).

As examples of the improvisation (I prefer to think of it as ingenuity as opposed to desperation), check out the photos below:

“mixing bowl”

“Gallon-sized” “piping” bag. Lol.

“Whisk” – I’d like to give all the credit to Andy for this feat of engineering.

As yet another example of making do with what I had, these pictures were taken on my phone because I didn’t have my camera with me. Hey, they do the job 🙂

So there you have it. Making it work without mixing bowls, a hand mixer, a whisk, measuring spoons, or exact amounts of some ingredients. (I’ve said this before, but I think baking is more about love and sugar than measuring exactly.) Alright, without further ado…

Peanut Butter Mousse Brownie Pie (the. best. dessert. ever.)

Ingredients

For the Brownies:
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped (some of mine had almonds in it – just make sure it’s all chopped well)
1 stick butter, cut in cubes (mine was salted, so I omitted the salt below)
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 fingered pinch of salt
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour

For the Peanut Butter Mousse:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, do NOT use natural or crunchy! (I used the natural kind that you don’t have to stir or refrigerate)
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream, very cold

For the Ganache:
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Method

Make the Brownies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8- or 9-inch cake round.

Melt the chocolate with the butter, either in a double boiler (if you’re an over-achiever), or in the microwave (if you’re lazy like me). Cool slightly.

Put the eggs in a mixing bowl. Whisk (or use forks taped together…ahem). Next add the vanilla, salt, sugar and brown sugar to the bowl. Whisk thoroughly. Add the chocolate butter mixture then whisk again. Gently fold in the flour to the brownie batter until just combined.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test. Remove from oven and cool completely, at least 1 hour.

To remove from pan, carefully slide a knife around the edges to loosen. Place a a plate over the brownies then invert the pan. Brownies should easily flip out.

Make the Mousse:
While the brownies are baking/cooling prepare the mousse.

Place the peanut butter, cream cheese, vanilla and milk into a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Set aside.

Place whipping cream into a separate mixing bowl. Beat until whipped cream holds stiff peaks. I promise you, it is absolutely possible to do this by hand with nothing more than a fork. Because I did it. It just took a while.

Working in batches, gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to form a light, airy mousse. Use a very light hand or you will deflate the mousse! Scrape the mousse  into a gallon-sized sealable plastic bag. Place the mousse into the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour.

Assemble the pie:

Remove the mousse from the fridge. Cut about 1/4 inch of the bottom corner off of the sealable plastic bag. Evenly pipe the mousse over the brownie in large spirling cirles beging on the outside and ending in the middle. Use all of the mousse. With a rubber spatula, smooth out and the top surface of the mousse. Place the brownie and mousse into the refrigerator. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Make the Ganache:
While the layered brownie and mousse are chilling, make the ganache. Place 1/3 cup whipping cream into a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Let chocolate and cream sit for about 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth and shiny. Leave at room temperature until ready to finish pie.

Finish the pie:
Remove the pie from the fridge. Drizzle with ganache. Sprinkle with any chopped chocolate, Reese’s cups, or other garnishes. This pie must be served chilled or the mousse will deflate. Enjoy!

NOTE: This “pie” is better after sitting in the fridge for a day. The extra moisture from the mousse seeps into the brownie and gives it a fudge-like consistency. So. Yummy.

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