July 15 is our youngest son’s birthday, and when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday he requested Peanut Butter Pie. He developed a fondness for this cool, creamy dessert 30 years ago when he went with his best friend’s family to visit grandparents in Pennsylvania and Grandma Eshbaugh made it. When he got back home, he asked me to make a Peanut Butter pie and through the years I have tried several versions. This one seems to most like the Pennsylvania Grandmother’s recipe. There are dozens of variations to be found in cookbooks and online, but this one is found in an old church cookbook given to us by friends in 1981. It has very simple ingredients, is quick to put together, and if you like peanut butter you are going to love this pie.
Peanut Butter Pie
2 chocolate cookie crumb crusts ( make your own from chocolate wafers if you prefer, but I purchased Keebler crusts at HEB)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 can Eagle Brand milk
2 cups Cool Whip (I used the extra creamy style)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
With electric mixer, cream peanut butter and cream cheese. Add lemon juice and vanilla and mix, then fold in Cool Whip. Pour into prepared chocolate cookie crumb pie shells, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with a spoonful of Cool Whip. Add grated chocolate on top if you like.0
There are certain family favorite recipes that are connected with people (Iris’ Toffee, Mother’s Lemon Icebox Pie), some with holidays (Christmas -Crusty Fennel Potatoes, Thanksgiving – Cornbread Dressing, others with places (Singapore Chili Shrimp, Indonesian Nasi Goreng), and even some that come from restaurants where we first enjoyed the dish (Tino’s Flautas, Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscano). But I have one category of family favorites that came from simple snacks we enjoyed making with children in Vacation Bible School. The star of that collection is the sweet, crunchy confection shown here.
I still work in VBS at our church each year. We don’t cook with the kids, but I have as much fun as they do. Now, over 30 years later, we are very careful about serving peanut butter or anything with high fructose corn syrup to the children. But I suspect our family will never stop making this treat. Recently our youngest son invited us to join him and his wife for a Saturday night dinner. This was the dessert he asked me to bring!
Special K Crunch
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
Bring to a boil and add:
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
4 cups Special K cereal
Mix well and quickly spread in buttered 9 inch square pan. Cool and cut into squares.
There are many Christmas goodies our family has included in traditions of foods we cook together and enjoy at this time of year. Due to Joe’s surgery and hospitalization in the past 2 weeks I have baked very little. When Maddie and Jordann arrived and wanted to bake Christmas cookies, I needed to implement a Plan B recipe – one that didn’t involve as much time in the kitchen but would still be a tasty treat. So I passed up old favorites like German Butter Balls and Candy Cane cookies. Making roll out cookies to frost and decorate was their first choice, but they quickly decided this just might be even better. These cookies barely qualify for a written recipe because the ingredient list is so short and the directions even shorter. But at least one cookie expert at our family gathering last night declared them the best cookies she ever ate. We used the leftover melted chocolate for dipping marshmallows and dried apricots.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites
Ritz crackers (we used regular ones; bite size really make “bites”)
Creamy Peanut Butter
Chocolate for dipping (we used Ghirardelli dipping chocolate)
Spread the inside of one Ritz cracker with peanut butter, top with another. Dip into melted chocolate and place on baking sheet until hardened.