The Verdict? This recipe needs to go on a diet and chill out!

The October 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living features several recipes for adult desserts that mimic childhood favorites so you don’t go dipping into your kids candy bowl.  There is a Malted Milk Creme Brulee, a 100 Grand inspired cake, and the Peanut, Caramel and Chocolate Tart made to taste like a Snickers that I decided to make.

Normally I read cookbooks and recipes like a story – in full before deciding whether I’ll make them. But Martha couldn’t lead me wrong, right? I’m a sucker for Snickers and the picture, complete with oozy caramel, won me over.  It doesn’t help that a lot of magazines have started showing the eye candy early and then making you flip to the very end of the magazine to actually see the recipes. (Does that annoy anyone else?)

I heard a new-to-me saying the other day on a cooking show that made me laugh out loud:

“What doesn’t kill you, makes you fatter.”

That is certainly fitting for this recipe!   This sucker has, count them, *3* cups of heavy cream. Not to mention creme fraiche, a whole stick of butter, cream cheese, and a honkin’ gob of peanut butter. I think Paula Deen just fainted! In all seriousness, a king-size Snicker’s bar has 537 calories and 27 grams of fat.  Martha suggests this baby serves 10.  I actually calculated it all in a handy Excel spreadsheet and at a whopping 943 calories/slice (68 g of fat, 31 sat. fat) you’d be better off eating 13 fun size snickers bars!!!!

I tried, really hard, not to modify the recipe the first time around so I would know what it SHOULD taste like. Martha’s recipe, even after refrigeration was loose and almost savory because of all the salt and peanut butter.To get it to look like the picture, I had to freeze it! It actually tasted a thousand times better after that because it made the peanut butter flavor more subtle.  At almost 1000 calories a slice, I felt betrayed having to doctor (no pun intended) this thing up.

One of my other favorite magazines is Cooking Light and they take our favorite fattening recipes and figure out substitutions to make them more nutritious.  Stay tuned for my next blog post where I will makeover this ungodly recipe into something delicious that you and I can actually eat. For now, check out Martha’s recipe complete with my sarcasm commentary in blue, but read quickly so you don’t absorb the calories!

PEANUT, CARAMEL, AND CHOCOLATE TART (Martha’s Version)

Active time :35 min
Total Time: 2 hrs 30 min
Makes 1 9-in tart
Serves 10

For the Chocolate Crust

1 box (9oz) chocolate wafer cookies, finely ground  (Amazon had to tell me what this was…)
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
Salt (umm..how much?)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted (yowza!)

For the Caramel Sauce

1¼ c. granulated sugar
¼ c. water
1 c. heavy cream (cup #1)
1/3 c. crème fraiche (because a vat of heavy cream wasn’t enough?)
1 c. roasted salted peanuts

For the Peanut Butter Mousse

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
½ c. confectioners’ sugar
salt
1¼ c. smooth peanut butter (aka creamy)
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. heavy cream (cup #2)

For the Chocolate Ganache

7 oz. semisweet chocolate (preferably 56% cacao), chopped
1 c. heavy cream (yep, cup #3)

1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Make the chocolate crust: Combine cookie crumbs, granulated sugar and 1/4 tsp. salt in a bowl (why not include the measurement in the recipe? weird).  Stir in butter. Press mixture into bottom and 2 1/2 in. up sides of a 9 in spring form pan. Bake until dry and firm, 8-10 min.  Let cool.

2. Make the caramel sauce: Heat granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming., until medium amber, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, and carefully add heavy cream (mixture will bubble and steam).  Return to heat and bring to a boil, making sure caramel that seized up when cream was added melts. (sounds violent.. and it is!) Transfer to a bowl, and stir in creme fraiche. Refrigerate until cool but still pourable, about 45 minutes. Fold in peanuts. (This is the most dangerous  recipe for caramel I’ve ever made. It pops and splatters molten caramel lava all over the place.)

3. Meanwhile, make the peanut butter mousse: Beat cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in 1/2 tsp. salt. Add peanut butter and vanilla, and beat until combined. Whisk heavy cream in a separate bowl until medium-stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into peanut butter mixture. Fold in remaining whipped cream in 2 additions.  (REALLY? Why do we need this many steps!)

4. Assemble the tart: Pour caramel sauce into cooled chocolate crust. Gently spread peanut butter mouse over caramel in an even layer, making sure they don’t blend together. Refrigerate 30 minutes. (or 24 hours if you want it to turn out right)

5. Make the chocolate ganache: Place chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl. Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour cream over chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Whisk to combine. (Use immediately) (as opposed to letting it re-harden?)

6. Remove tart from refrigerator, and pour in ganache to cover surface. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (and by that I mean a lifetime)

Make ahead: Caramel sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water before folding in peanuts.

Storage assembled tart can be refrigerated overnight. (In fact, you have to do this or you’ll just end up with a pile of goo. Better yet, put that baby in the deep freezer.)