I have to admit this is not my ordinary blog post. There’s a reason I’ve gone over the deep end. I teach Middle School students who are a breath away from being teenagers and in the last week before summer vacation there are lockers to clean, finals to administer, and all kinds of other adolescent nonsense that thankfully still makes me smile.
There are things Middle School teachers know about basic survival needs that no-one else will ever be privy to. For me, one of them is accepting that during the last week of June it’s OK to just say, “Move over bread. Move over healthy eating. Bring on the sugar.”
A version of this recipe started nearly 25 years ago when my daughter, Cori, and I were constantly whipping up some little goodie or another to celebrate the birthdays of her Cabbage Patch Babies: Reba, Viola, and Melba. Sometime during my spring cleaning this year I ran across the notes scribbled on a scrap of paper and decided to dust off the recipe, too.
My new obsession with these started innocently. I’d made a rhubarb torte for my daughter-in-law’s birthday the previous week and, while she was gracious, I knew she probably would have preferred something chocolate.
With that in mind, I started mixing and matching ingredients and came up with these little treats to serve at our next Sunday get together.
Despite the fact that there were some mumbling around the table of, “I’m too full for dessert,” they gobbled down the entire batch (which surprised even me!) Since the first round disappeared so quickly and left me with no stash for the freezer, I made another batch. And then one more after that.
When I’d fine-tuned the recipe, I brought them to school and rallied together a range of taste-testers.
While there was one dissenter in the group who felt they needed something “like a little Gin or Vodka” to cut the sweetness, most tasters disagreed. “They’re really not too sweet, and I thought they would be!!”
“Can I call them Frozen Peanut Butter S’mores?” I asked.
The consensus was a definite “No.” While everyone agreed they had all the essentials: graham crackers, marshmallow and chocolate, they just didn’t taste like a S’more.
“They may not be S’mores but they taste like ‘Another Cup’ to me,” my teammate, Veronica, piped in.
The rest of these taster had lots of other opinions to add in. In the exchange that followed, it was obvious that most of them loved the middle part best but couldn’t imagine leaving off the chocolate topping.
Even though teachers as a whole tend to be great at brainstorming, we couldn’t identify an easy solution to showing off the layers so we did what any good educators would do. We took an optimistic approach. What if revealing the layers could actually be part of the fun of eating them?
And then that’s what we did……we ate them!
Beds of lettuce, kale, carrots, and peas were ready to harvest. I traded in my “cups” recipe for two favorite summertime ones: Grilled Balsamic Glazed Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms and It-Doesn’t-Get-Better-Than-This Grilled Chicken Sandwich then I exhaled the school year and inhaled summer. I even reread my post about Finding Balance.
My “sugar days” were behind me….or so I thought. In packing up my daughter for her upcoming move I asked how I could best help organize and manage food for the crew that was coming to help. It didn’t take much thought. “How about a batch of those peanut butter things?”
“Those peanut butter thing,” I agreed, “would be just perfect!”
Enjoy summer! Maybe just one batch of these couldn’t hurt?? If you have an opinion about what to call these “Another Cups” or “Those Peanut Butter Things” let me know!
Hope to see you around the bread bowl or by the garden gate soon!
“Those Peanut Butter Things”
1 sleeve graham crackers/8 whole graham crackers, made into crumbs
4 T melted butter
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups marshmallow cream
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
*6 T heavy cream (note the cream for the topping makes it a soft chocolate ganache; some of my testers liked just melted chocolate on the top so I skipped the cream. It hardens into a shell on the top as frozen chocolate would!)
Combine melted butter and graham cracker crumbs. Place about a tablespoon and a half into 12 muffin lined tins. Press gently.
Using the same beaters but a separate bowl beat together cream cheese, peanut butter, and marshmallow cream.
Meanwhile, make the chocolate ganache for the top. Put the cream and mini-chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat till the cream is very hot (30-90 seconds depending on your microwave) Start stirring even though it doesn’t look anything like a smooth, glossy chocolate yet! Keep at it and you’ll see it start to transform into a beautiful ganache! Top each cup with some ganache. Store in the freezer till ready to be eaten. They keep well if you can resist eating them all at once!