Monthly Archives: November 2013

Peaunt Butter, Chocolate, Candy Pie






Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Candy Pie

There are perfect times in life for treats like this one.  It’s the food of celebration –  I just graduated, got the job, won the prize, and finished the project, feel good food.  It’s also I bombed the test, lost my dog, crashed the truck, got pelted with rocks and garbage, drown your sorrows food.   Often times when you put too many good things in one dish it ends up not good . . .  this is not one of those times.  I do caution you however, if you are one of the people in this world that doesn’t want any “heavy desserts” or if you feel “a delicate short bread cookie is all you need to feel satisfied” you may want to skip this one.  It’s sweet, childish, rustic, a bit heavy, undelicate (I made a new word), and perhaps even uncouth.  It’s also really, really good! One bite will put a smile on your face.

This is a dessert that will remind you of pot lucks, holiday dinners with the family, and being a kid.  Chocolate, peanut butter, candies, and whipped cream . . . awesomeness.


Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Candy Pie

Makes one 10 Inch Pie


For the crust

2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs (made by smashing 8 ounces of Oreos)

5 tablespoons butter, melted


For the filling

8 ounces cream cheese (softened at room temperature for 1 hour)

5 ounces peanut butter (creamy)

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup sugar

6 oz chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups (not too fine, rough chop)

4 oz chopped Heath bar (not too fine, rough chop)


For the chocolate topping

6 ounces chocolate (I like a nice darker chocolate)

6 ounces heavy cream

3 oz sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla


For the whipped cream topping

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chopped candy for garnish (snickers, whoppers, Oreo)

Begin by making the crust in a 10 inch pie tin

If you have not crusted your Oreos yet, a good way to do it is in a freezer bag with a rolling pin.  While you are taking out your aggressions on the Oreo’s you can melt your 5 tablespoons of butter.  Put the Oreo crumbs in a bowl and mix well with the melted butter.  Press these into the bottom and sides of the pie tin.  Put in the refrigerator to harden.

Make the filling by whipping the ½ cup of cream with the sugar until it has nice stiff peaks. Put the cream cheese in a mixer and soften further with the paddle.  Add the peanut butter and combine well.   Remove from the mixer and using a rubber spatula fold the whipped cream mix into the peanut butter mix until mixed well.  Try not to over mix though you want to keep the air as much as possible.  Spread the mix evenly into your pie crust.  Top with the roughly chopped Reese’s and press them into the peanut butter mix.  Sprinkle on the chopped Heath bar.  Put it in the refrigerator for at least a half hour to firm up and chill.

To make the chocolate topping chop the chocolate into small chunks and put in a bowl with the sugar.  Bring the cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate, wait 30 seconds then stir with a rubber spatula until melted.  Pour over the pie starting in the center and working your way around and to the outside.  The pie should be covered completely in chocolate.  Put the pie back in the cooler for at least an hour or two to fully set and chill.  Overnight is perfect.

I like to serve this with fresh whipped cream topping.  Take the cup of cream and mix it with the powdered sugar and vanilla.  Whip in a mixer until nice peaks form.  Put a dollop on each slice of pie and put some of your favorite chopped candies on top.  Some of my preferred candies are: snickers, Whoppers and Oreos.  I could see myself in the future also adding little tiny marshmallows and perhaps a Carmelo that has been just broken enough to allow the caramel filling to start running out.  I’m definitely looking forward to the future!

Thyme is on your side,


Brown Butter and Sage Mac and Cheese – Venison Frito Pie



Brown Butter and Sage Mac and Cheese – Venison Frito Pie

Everyone loves chili.  Chili is also a hot topic of controversy.  A spicy melting pot of opinions, demands, facts, lies and recipes! Here in Texas, where the dew falls first from Heaven, we do not use beans, we do not use too much tomato, and we do not over complicate the chili.

In its truest form I believe Texas chili is meat, either ground or diced, seasonings, and a chili sauce made from dried chilies . . . a classic “bowl of red”.  Red refers to the brick red sauce that gloriously presents its self with you puree rehydrated dried chilies.

In this version I have added some beer, which with its bitterness and hoppy flavor, brings some good things to the pot.  I use some tomato, which adds in combination of the sautéed onions, brings a natural sweetness.  The masa harina adds an earthy corn tortilla like flavor . . . love it.

Speaking of chili that is sweetened with sugar or sweet chili sauces, please do not get me started on that immoral process.  Wrong is wrong.

As for Mac and Cheese, what can I say?  The dish is a catalyst for all things happy.  The sauce is the back bone of the dish and for me, its very important.  The ratio of sauce to pasta must be high – almost pasta in velvety cheese soup.  The selection of cheeses is really up to you.  I always add the mascarpone for creaminess.  Also, once the cheese is in the sauce, don’t boil it.  It will ruin the texture.

Why put this chili together with Mac and Cheese?  Why not.  Chili Mac is good, a childhood classic, Frito Pie too.  Sometimes when you are cooking, things like this just happen, one thing leads to another and next thing you know you have something like Brown Butter and Sage Mac and Cheese – Venison Frito Pie. . . Say what!

I was lucky enough to get to make this dish on a demo today at the Travel and Adventure Show here in Dallas.  I was invited by my friend Jim White, who together with his wife Vicky are the masterminds of Savor Dallas.  If any of you live in the area I highly recommend checking out Savor Dallas!  Awesome events.

Venison Chili

Serves 4 to 5


1/8th cup bacon fat (or olive oil)

1 pound ground venison (or your favorite meat)

1/2 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup tomato sauce (or puree diced tomatoes)

4 ounces beer

4 pasilla chili pods

2 cups chicken stock or water

2 tablespoons cumin

2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon masa harina dissolved in cool water (optional)

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

More cumin and oregano to taste

  1. Remove stems and seeds from dried chili pods. Cover peppers with hot water for 15 minutes, drain and puree with a small amount of water to a smooth chili sauce.   It should be the consistency of a smooth marinara.
  2. Heat bacon fat in large skillet. Add meat and sear (you may need to do this in batches).  Remove meat. Add onion and garlic and sauté in bacon grease until you get a bit of color.  Add meat back. Stir in the beer and reduce a bit.  Add spices and mix well through the meat, add the tomato.  Hit it with a pinch of salt.
  3. Pour dried chili sauce into kettle with meat, dissolve the masa in a small amount of cold water and stir that in too.  Simmer for 1 hour, or until the chili is at proper thickness.  You can spice up with some cayenne, tobacco or even some slices of jalapeno or habanero at the last minute (or early on with the onions).  Season with salt a little during the cooking process, taste as you go.

Brown Butter Sage Mac and Cheese

Serves 4


3/4th quarts half and half

1/8 cup butter

1/8 cup flour

1 tablespoons sage, fresh, chopped

½ cups cheddar, local, shredded

½ cups Swiss shredded

½ cups cotija cheese

½ cup mascarpone

1/8 cup butter you will be browning this at the end and using as a flavoring

Salt, pepper and lemon

4 cups of cooked pasta, I really like shells because they hold the cheese

½ cup of extra cheese to put on top if desired

¾ cup bread crumbs to put on top if desired

  1. Using a thick pot, put the butter in first and turn on high heat.  Allow the butter to cook until it takes on a nut brown appearance  and a nutty smell.  Be careful, at this point its very hot. Remove from the heat and quickly add the flour using a whisk which the flour and the butter together.  This will be your brown butter roux.  Add ¼ of the half and half and whisk well to remove all lumps.  Then return to the heat whisk and add the remainder of the half and      half.
  2. Simmer for 15 min to cook the  flour taste out.  Add all remaining  ingredients and whisk well.  Adjust seasoning with salt pepper and lemon.

To assemble, mix the warm mac and cheese sauce with the pasta, heat gently and adjust seasonings again.  At this point you have a few options, but first you must make a decision if you are serving everything separate or made into a finished dish.  You can just serve as is in all its creamy glory.  If you are in a casserole frame of mind you can pour the mac and cheese in an oven safe serving dish or dishes, top with the optional cheese and bread crumbs and bake in a 350f oven for 10 minutes until brown and bubbly.

Keep in mind Fritos, sour cream, extra cheese, chives or scallions are ideal companions to this dish.

Thyme is money,