I get nervous every time I buy something from a vending machine because I’m afraid that my purchase might get stuck in that little metal spiral. I stand there with my hands clasped, holding my breath, heart slightly pounding, until I see that my candy has safely dropped down to the compartment where I can pick it up. That’s also how I feel sometimes when I try a new recipe that I know has an above-average potential of not turning out right. I get that vending machine anxiety. I really need to take a chill pill.
A couple of weeks ago, my efforts at making a chocolate meringue pie resulted in epic failure – I underbaked the crust, the chocolate custard was too runny, the meringue was browned on top but still foamy underneath. It was a royal mess, and I was irked that I had woken up early on a Saturday morning for naught. Then I met a friend for an awesome outdoor brunch (we got to sit inside a giant cage!) and got a gorgeous handbag at Kate Spade, and my day was suddenly better. And I decided to put pies aside for the time being and make a different dessert instead.
That led me to this chocolate peanut butter tart. It has many things going for it. First, there’s the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. Really, I could just stop right there. Second, Cool Whip is folded into the filling. I love Cool Whip. I used to eat it with fresh strawberries all the time, and the ratio of Cool Whip to strawberry was always drastically off (guess in which way). In this instance, the Cool Whip makes the peanut butter filling so airy and smooth that I considered throwing away the chocolate cookie crust and just eating the filling out of the bowl with a spoon. It also lightens up the filling quite a bit, transforming what could have been a very rich dessert into one where you contemplate immediately cutting yourself a second slice. And third, this recipe caused me considerably less anxiety – and the finished product turned out wonderfully. Which leaves me free to devote all of my negative energy on those unpredictable vending machines.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Put Oreos into ziploc bag and crush into fine crumbs (alternatively, you can grind them a food processor). Pour melted butter over Oreos and mix thoroughly with a fork. Press mixture into a 9-inch tart pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until crust is set.
Let crust cool completely. You can speed this up by placing it in the fridge while making the filling.
Peanut Butter Filling
1 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
In a large bowl, eat peanut butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat. Add Cool Whip and beat until smooth and thoroughly combined, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.
Pour peanut butter filling into crust, smoothing top with a spatula or knife. Chill in fridge for at least one hour, until filling is set.
Chocolate drizzle (optional)
2 oz. (1/4 cup) semi-sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
Melt chocolate and butter together. Pour into ziploc bag, snip off a tiny bit of the corner, and drizzle over the filling right before you put the tart into the fridge.