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Bye-bye, pie

Local cooks offer alternatives for Thanksgiving

What is Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie? It’s like Thanksgiving without turkey, like the Fourth of July without fireworks, like Christmas without a tree.

But … what if you don’t like pumpkin pie?

The Fresh Market, on West Jefferson Boulevard, carries a number of desserts that sell well around the holidays, baker Jayne Miers says, such as red velvet cake and baklava. The store also has yule logs, a rolled chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

Elle Hinton of Fort Wayne makes a Chocolate Peanut Butter Fluff during the holidays, partly because it’s yummy and partly because it’s easy to make. Plus, on the scale of holiday treats, it’s on the “healthier” side.

Justin Gilbert, a Fort Wayne food blogger, says his mother always made Buckeyes for the holidays, and he names the chocolate and peanut butter balls as his favorite holiday treat.

“There have been a number of occasions in the past where I have single handedly wiped out an entire tray of them,” he writes.

The recipe below is adapted from the one his mother used when Gilbert was a child.

Elaine Gaff of Fort Wayne favors a chocolate stout cake she found on the food blog Smitten Kitchen. Last Christmas, she baked the cakes in mason jars and sent them out in gift packages.

“They stay fresh for about six months in theory,” she says, though “none lasted longer than a few days.”

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fluff

3 (3.4-ounce) packages sugar-free chocolate pudding

2 (8-ounce) containers light Cool Whip

1 (18 ounces) jar reduced-fat chunky peanut butter

Make pudding as directed. Mix with Cool Whip and peanut butter; chill.

– Elle Hinton


1 (18-ounce) jar creamy peanut butter

1 stick butter, softened

1 (1-pound) box confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 (12-ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 bar paraffin wax, divided

1/2 bag peanut butter chips (6 ounces)

In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter, butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla extract until well combined. Roll into 30 1-inch balls; place on a cookie sheet and insert a toothpick into each buckeye. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

In a sauce pan over boiling water or a double boiler, heat chocolate chips and 2/3 of paraffin until completely melted and runny. Stir often.

Holding toothpick, coat buckeyes in chocolate. Leave top of ball uncovered. Place each ball on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

In a saucepan over boiling water or a double boiler, heat peanut butter chips and the remaining paraffin until melted and runny. Stir often. Dip top of buckeyes in mixture, covering exposed peanut butter. Let cool, then serve.

Chocolate Stout Cake

1 cup stout (such as Guinness)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sour cream

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips

6 tablespoons heavy cream

3/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray a Bundt pan well; make sure you get in all of the nooks and crannies. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture, and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture, and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cake to rack; cool completely in the pan, then turn cake out onto rack for drizzling ganache.

For the ganache, melt the chocolate, heavy cream and coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over the top of cooled cake.

Smitten Kitchen. com

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