I think I told you guys that I spent the past week house sitting for Shane's parents. If not, I did :) I kept busy by cooking and baking up a storm the entire time I was there. You'd be surprised how productive you can be in the kitchen when you don't have to worry about cooking meals (I mostly ate raw veggies and a few things I'd made ahead of time to bring with me and stick in the freezer for quick dinners), running errands or cleaning (aside from the giant mess you make in the kitchen every day). Remember when I mentioned that my folder of draft blog posts was full of savory items, but shockingly low on sweet treats? Yeah, I remedied that problem big time last week. I now have so many delicious things to share in the coming weeks - honestly, it was tough to decide what to start with today.
But, in the end, the combination of peanut butter and chocolate won, as it so often does. The only thing better than combining peanut butter and chocolate dessert is putting them together in a coffee cake you can justify eating for breakfast :)
I made a giant 13x9 pan of this coffee cake instead of scaling back as I so often do. I kept a slice (or two) out for myself, wrapped the rest and stuck it in the freezer for Shane's parents to enjoy over time now that they're back. Needless to say, they'll be eating coffee cake for many, many weeks. Hopefully they won't mind, as this cake was fantastic! There's peanut butter in both the cake and the topping so it's not short on peanut butter flavor. The cake had a great light, tender texture, which was contrasted by the sweet, crunchy topping. My favorite part was easily the topping, but to be fair, I can't really remember a time when a sweet, streusel-like topping wasn't the best part of a cake for me. It is pretty rich, so it'd make a great dessert too if you prefer something a little lighter for breakfast.
I capped off my week at Shane's parents by attending his cousin's wedding. Shane had come down to meet up with me and his parents were home from their trip so we all went together. I don't usually talk about most of the weddings we attend, but we really enjoyed this one and most importantly, the food was fantastic! The wedding was held at a farm and had (what I would describe as) a great casual chic vibe that resonated through every detail. (excuse the iphone photo quality)
During the cocktail hours, hot hors d'oeuvres were passed and we ate so many I don't know how we had any room left for our meal. There were little slices of sweet potato topped with pulled pork, scallops wrapped in bacon, short rib sliders, and little mugs of chowder with a clam cake perched on top (among others!). No photos of them unfortunately, but they were beyond delicious. As for the meal itself, stations were set up and again, there was so much food we didn't get to try it all. I really wanted to sample the risotto, but after having visited the carving station as well as the salad one, it didn't happen. I hear it was good though!
The bride and groom skipped a traditional wedding cake and instead we were treated to a pie buffet complete with apple, blueberry, pumpkin and chocolate pecan. Vanilla ice cream too, of course. As if that weren't enough, as the night went on, the servers walked around with little nibbles to snack on, including red velvet whoopie pies, cheesecake pops and little shot glasses of ice cream topped with chocolate chip cookies. It's a good thing we did a lot of dancing to burn some calories because we definitely stuffed ourselves :)
As much as we loved the food, Shane's favorite part of the wedding was the whiskey and cigar table. Though it's a very occasional treat, he loves a small glass of scotch and a cigar, so this blew his mind. He was definitely kicking himself for not thinking of that for our wedding...
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
adapted from Suite101 (via The Food Librarian)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used a combination of milk chocolate and semisweet)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 13x9 baking pan with cooking spray.
To make the topping: Stir the brown sugar and flour together in a medium bowl, breaking up any lumps of brown sugar. Add the peanut butter and melted butter, stirring until the mixture is crumbly. Mix in the chocolate chips then set aside.
To make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the peanut butter and butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Add the brown sugar and continue beating on medium until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low alternately add the dry ingredients and milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and beating just until combined.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the cake. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.