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birthdays, baking, and bonding

We’ve been busy around here!  We’ve had a revolving door of visitors and events, travel and moving more stuff–which means unpacking and attempting to minimize our chaos.
It’s been wonderful to have so many friends and family (and some new friends,too) sharing our home.  My cb girl and her hubby visited early in the fall.  It was quite relaxing, as they hit a lot of the places they wanted to see in the area during their visit last year.  For the most part, we hung out and enjoyed just being together.

Of course there were a few places to explore.  One of them was this beautiful waterfall.

It was a bit harrowing to get to the bottom of the trail.  The path is quite steep, with a natural stair effect from the tangles of roots.  Toward the end, there is a rope to aid in the descent. You can’t get a true feel for it from the pictures; but, trust me, it is frightful in places! At times you are reaching around trees to grasp a new section of rope while your feet have little more than a toe-hold between the path and the edge of a deep ravine.  Truly, the destination was worth it–despite the fact that we had to go back up that crazy trail!

It just so happened that my cb girl was here on her birthday and we were able to celebrate together.  As per her request, we feasted on the best fried chicken in the east; and we tootled around to enjoy the fall colours and peek in a few shops along the way.  We then came home to to a peanut butter cup birthday cheesecake.  Yum!   (I know it’s not terrible pretty, but it was delicious. For whatever reason, the ganache was too thick.  I’ll share the recipe at the end of this post.)
It’s a good thing we did some walking and hiking…because we did a lot of baking.  My Love has been missing butter tarts.  It’s really not such a big thing here.  In Ontario, there are entire festivals devoted to butter tarts! Scrumptious bakery tarts are available at most convenience stores and gas stations.  Not so much here. He begged my girls to try a couple of recipes and also tried his hand at one himself.

There are several types of butter tarts.  I like an oozy, slightly runny butter tart, but my Love likes it firmer.  Some have pecans, some have raisins.  I think that plain is best.  As we researched recipes, we noticed that there were a couple of other distinctions:  some called for vinegar (or lemon juice) while some did not, and some called for syrup (corn or maple) and others did not.

Our cb girl made no-fail pastry to use in all of the recipes to keep things consistent.  At this point we were focusing on the filling.  The first recipe, Best Butter Tarts from Canadian Living had vinegar in the recipe.  The vinegar was somewhat noticeable…that wasn’t great.  Also, the sugar crystallized quite a bit on the pastry.  I believe the second recipe was for Award Winning Butter Tarts at  These were delish…with just the right amount of ooziness. My Love made the third batch, and I’m not sure what recipe he used.  They had wonderful flavour, but were a little too runny. 

The colourful fall foliage made us feel quite autumn-y, so we tried a couple of pumpkin recipes:  Pumpkin Spice Truffles (we used ginger snap crumbs instead of graham cracker crumbs) and Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer (we also made a non-dairy one with almond milk for my df girl).  Both of these recipes were just okay…nothing particularly special.

We had a delightful time checking out a few more spots:

As promised, here is the recipe for the decadent Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake.  I combined a couple of recipes to make this:  Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake from Taste of Home and Peanut Butter Cheesecake from Handle the Heat.

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Start at the bottom:

  • Process 20 Oreo cookies in a food processor
  • Melt 6 tablespoon of butter
  • Mix together
  • Press into a 9 inch springform pan (I lined mine with parchment)
  • Bake at 350 for 10 minutes

Prepare the secret layer:

  • Warm 1/4-1/2 cup (depending on how peanut buttery you want it) of natural peanut butter over low heat
  • Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of butter
  • Mix in a tablespoon of powdered sugar
  • Carefully spoon onto crust (I rushed this step and it wasn’t so pretty), spreading as best as you are able

Fill ‘er up:

  • Cream 3 packages (8 oz.) of cream cheese (it should be room temperature)
  • Beat in 1 cup brown sugar (you could use white)
  • Mix in 1/4 cup of natural peanut butter
  • Beat in 1 cup Greek yogurt (you could substitute sour cream)
  • Add 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Add 3 large eggs, one at a time
  • Mix until smooth
  • Stir in 3 packages of chopped Reece’s Peanut butter cups
  • Pour onto crust
  • Bake at 350 for about 1 hour, until centre is almost set
  • Cool and remove to serving plate

Over the top:

  • Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate, but semi-sweet would be fine)
  • Slowly add 1/2 cup cream (I used whipping cream, in hind sight, I probably needed a little extra, as it didn’t pour as nicely as I would have liked)
  • Mix well
  • Pour over cheesecake
  • Top with more chopped pb cups
  • Enjoy!

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Joining the fun here:

Home Matters #209 @ Life With Lorelai


2 thoughts on “birthdays, baking, and bonding

  1. Pingback: kitchen mishaps

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