When I was about ten years old, I received a gift of a jar of cookie mix. The idea was that it contained all the dry ingredients to whip up a batch of cookies (just add eggs and butter), but I ended up eating the mix myself (some things never change!) So when the amazing Harvard Common Press sent me a copy of Desserts in Jars, I was really exciting – I assumed it would be a collection of cookie mix recipes. I was surprised to find that, in addition to cookie mixes, there were several recipes for amazingly lovely and creative desserts to be served in jars. There’s a wide variety of the desserts – everything from vanilla cupcakes to fried ice cream to Indian rice pudding.
One thing I was a bit concerned about was the wide variety in jars that are used – various sizes and shapes – so I decided that I’d do my own test to see if the recipes were easily adaptable if you didn’t have the right jars – and I have to be honest, I was pretty happy with the results!
Peanut Butter Cup Cake (adapted from Desserts in Jars)
2 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups plain flour
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking power
1 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3/4 cup coffee
Ingredients (peanut butter filling)
3/4 cups smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
Ingredients (chocolate topping)
6 ounces of chocolate
Mix together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
Sift in the dry ingredients (plain flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder).
Mix in coffee.
You have two choices here. You can either make several peanut butter balls to place in the cake or you can (as I did) hammer the easily moulded peanut butter layer into a long, thin layer to slip into the cake.
Bake the cake at 170C for about 25 to 30 minutes (or until you can stick a knife into it and it comes out clean.) Let the cake cool completely. Next, melt the 6 ounces of chocolate. I use my amazing, wonderful (I can’t express my love enough!) Wilton Chocolate Pro Electric Chocolate Melter, but you can use a double boiler (but seriously? Look into getting one of these. It’s amazing.)
The final texture will be a bit like diving into a peanut butter cup – a thick chocolate layer on top with some peanut butter cake underneath. It was quite a big success, which would lead me to say that this book is worthwhile, even if you’re not willing to invest in a complete and varied set of jars.
The Harvard Common Press provided me with a free copy of Desserts in Jars, but all opinions are my own.