Thanks very much to Pillsbury for sponsoring this post and for providing Pillsbury products for me to have some fun with.
We spend most Thanksgivings at my husband Jon’s childhood home, which allows us the luxury of reverting to “kid” status: we eat all the food somebody else made for us while Grandma spoils the kids, and then go home with a bag full of leftovers.
It’s a pretty sweet deal.
However, this year I’ve felt a twinge of guilt over the arrangement. Is it really fair that my mother-in-law makes everything? Does showing up with a bag of ice and a bottle of wine really count as contributing?
So this year, my husband Jon and I decided to make a dessert to bring along to the Thanksgiving festivities. We wanted it to be simple enough that the kids could help us make it, a little different, decadent, special. It only took me about two minutes of searching the Pillsbury site to figure out what crowd-pleasing, gut-busting concoction we were going to bring:
Yes, you read that right. CANDY BAR TARTS.
I have already professed my love for prepared pie crusts, but until I looked through the lists of recipes at Pillsbury.com and PillsburyBaking.com, it never occurred to me how much you can do with them. I liked that this recipe was relatively simple but still had enough “to do” to keep the kids busy and active. Plus, obviously, I like that it combined two of my very favorite treats: pie and candy bars.
The ingredients are things you might have in your house already: frozen pie crusts, sour cream, peanut butter, cream cheese, eggs, sugar, milk chocolate chips, whipping cream, and something the recipe refers to as “milk chocolate-covered peanut, caramel, and nougat candy,” which in our house is referred to as “Hey, who ate my Snickers?” (If you don’t have whipping cream on hand, I think the recipe would be almost as good without the chocolate drizzle garnish…or you could make a chocolate glaze that doesn’t call for whipping cream.)
Okay, on with the tart-making.
First, you roll out the crust and cut out 3-inch circles. Owen, my five-year-old, took on that job.
Next, the dough circles go into a mini-muffin tin. At this point, my husband and I had a conversation that went like this:
Him: Where is our mini-muffin tin?
Me: I don’t know…it has to be around here somewhere.
Him: Do we even have a mini-muffin tin?
Me: Of course we do….don’t we?
Him: I’ve never seen one.
Me: It just seems like the sort of thing we ought to have.
Him: I think you made it up in your head.
Me: Be right back.
A quick run to the kitchen store downtown, and we were back in business… and by this time, the oven was good and preheated to 450. One circle went in each cup, with a bit of extra dough at the top to keep the contents in later. Into the oven for 7 minutes and the tart shells came out golden brown and ready for the fillin’s.
They weren’t perfectly even, but when you’re baking with kids, what’s ever “perfect”?
At this point we turned the oven down to 325.
Next, my 8-year-old William and I started to mix up the rest of the ingredients. First, we mixed 4 ounces of softened cream cheese and 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar. When smooth we beat in an egg, and finally added 2 tablespoons of sour cream and 2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter.
William manned the stand mixer while I headed over to see what Jon and Clara were up to. While Dad filled the tart shells with chopped-up Snickers, Clara “helped” clean up the leftovers.
Then I spooned a couple teaspoons of the cream-cheese mixture over the candy bar in each tart and popped it in the oven at 325. After about 22 minutes it had set up nicely and the tarts came out to cool for a half-hour.
Time to make the chocolate drizzle! Just get a tablespoon of whipping cream nice and hot in a saucepan over medium heat, remove from heat, stir in 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips, and keep stirring until they’re melted and smooth.
After this, you will need to dole out chocolate chips to all the kids who noticed there is still most of a bag left.
Then drizzle a little chocolate over each tart, sprinkle with leftover candy bar pieces, and…
At this point, you’re supposed to put the tarts in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Good luck keeping them away from the kids that long!
We brought these along to our mother-in-law’s for Thanksgiving, and so far the consensus is: “yum”. Decadent, chocolately, candy-pie goodness, perfect for a holiday party.
What are you waiting for?