#header-inner {background-position: center !important; width: 100% !important;}

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mini Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Cheesecakes

Pin It
It should come as no surprise that when Christina and Cindy invited me to participate in Project PB&J in celebration of National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day (coming up on April 2nd), my mind immediately went to ice cream.
I love peanut butter and jelly, and I love ice cream, so combining the two was a no brainer! My creation started with strawberry cheesecake ice cream, a recipe adapted from Epicurious, which I discovered was perfectly amazing on its own. However, I then filled mini peanut butter graham cracker crusts (inspired by the crust on my no-bake Nutella pie!) with the ice cream. To finish it off, I topped the mini ice cream cheesecakes with a mini pb&j sandwich: strawberry jam and cream cheese sandwiched between peanut butter cookies.

The end result tasted as good as it looked! I was so excited to share these with friends...I already knew I loved peanut butter and jelly in dessert form, but adding ice cream to the mix took this up a notch. As much as I love eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, this might be my new favorite way to eat the classic combo.
How fun would these be for a birthday party or a summer picnic or a back to school celebration? Although the mini cookie sandwiches on top are a nice touch, you can just as easily omit, or top with a store-bought peanut butter cookie!

What's the most unconventional way you've ever eaten pb&j?!

Two Years Ago: Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Mini Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Cheesecakes

for the ice cream:
-3/4 pound fresh strawberries, green tops removed
-3/4 cup sugar
-8 oz (1/3 less fat) cream cheese
-1 cup half and half
-1/2 cup milk
-pinch of salt

for the peanut butter crusts:
-1 cup (about 9 full crackers) graham cracker crumbs
-1/4 cup peanut butter
-1/4 cup butter, melted
-1/8 cup sugar

for the cookie toppers:
-1 egg
-1 cup peanut butter
-1 cup sugar
-2 tbsp strawberry preserves
-2 tbsp cream cheese, at room temperature

1. First, make the ice cream. In a blender or food processor, puree all ice cream ingredients until smooth. Pour into ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions.
2. While ice cream is churning, make the crusts. Line a muffin-cup baking sheet with 12 paper baking cups. Lightly spray each cup with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter, butter, and sugar (I combined in my food processor). Mix until mixture comes together. Divide crumbs evenly amongst the 12 baking cups, pressing crumbs into the bottom to form a crust. Bake at 375F for 6-7 minutes, until lightly browned.
3. Once ice cream has finished churning, spoon ice cream into each baked crust, filling to the top (note: you will have a few cups of leftover ice cream..I'm sure you won't mind!). Place muffin tin into the freezer so ice cream can set.
4. While ice cream is freezing, make the mini pb & j sandwich cookies. Combine the egg, peanut butter, and sugar in an electric mixer until smooth. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form dough into small balls (half the size of a golf ball). Use a fork to create the criss-cross in each cookie. Bake cookies for 4 minutes at 350F. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire baking rack to cool completely.
5. Once cookies are cool, mix strawberry preserves and cream cheese in a small bowl. Spread a small bit of the mixture on twelve cookies and top with another cookie to create a sandwich. Garnish ice cream cups with mini cookie sandwiches (note: you will have at least a dozen extra mini cookies!).