No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Pie

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Needing a quick but delicious contribution to ladies Bunco night in our neighborhood, I opened my cupboard and fridge to see what I had available. What I found was an open package of Oreo cookies with about 25 cookies left, so even though they were a bit stale (of course I had to taste them), they became my main ingredient. After scanning for other items, I found what I needed to make this no-bake, four-ingredient, chocolate peanut butter fudge pie. It is quick and easy to make, forgiving of what you use (like stale cookies), can be served anytime, uses only four ingredients (many people keep them on hand), and costs less than $10 to make. Also, this pie can be made in either a vegan or non-vegan version. (See the Note for non-vegan substitutions.) And, if made in a square baking pan (lined with wax paper) instead of a round pie pan, it can be lifted out whole then cut into large squares or bite-sized pieces to serve more or fewer people.

Note: The two leading brands of peanut butter are vegan. So are the Classic versions of Duncan Hines frostings. In addition, Oreo cookies (currently and unless the manufacturer decides to change the recipe) are vegan.

Step 1: Ingredients + Tools

For the crust

4 - 6 ounces Butter (non-vegan) or coconut oil (vegan)
25 Oreo cookies (any flavor filling is fine, but I chose the cookies with the original filling)

For the filling

16 ounces chocolate cake frosting (for vegan version see the previous Note)
16 ounces crunchy or creamy peanut butter

Tools

Blender or Food Processor (or plastic bag, hand towel, and something heavy to crush cookies by hand)
Pie plate (or square baking dish)
Mixing spoon
Bowl

(Optional) Wax paper to line the square baking dish if you want your pie squared.

Step 2: Preparing the Filling

1. Open the frosting mix and remove any foil or plastic covering. Melt in microwave on high for one minute.

2. Carefully pour the melted frosting into a bowl.

3. Open the peanut butter and measure out an amount equal to the frosting mix. Place in a microwaveable dish and heat it on high for one minute. (I usually just fill the now empty frosting mix container with peanut butter to get equal measures, and then microwave it in that.)

4. Carefully pour the melted peanut butter into the bowl with the melted frosting.

5. Stir together the frosting and peanut butter until well blended.

6. Set aside the filling while you prepare the crust. (If you prefer, you can prepare the crust first. It doesn't really matter, but since the filling takes me a bit more time to prepare than does the crust, I make the filling first.)

Step 3: Preparing the Crust

1. Run your Oreo cookies (filling and all) through your food processor or blender until you have very fine crumbs. In my heavy-duty blender, it takes less than thirty seconds to do this, but yours may take longer.

Note: If you don't have a blender or food processor, put the cookies into a resealable bag, cover the bag with a towel, and beat the cookies with a rolling pin or anything you have handy that will do the job without injuring you or cutting open the bag. Just make the crumbs as fine as possible (sort of like ground coffee). Hmm! Maybe (disclosure - I've never tried it) your coffee grinder could work?

2. Pour the cookie crumbs into a bowl.

3. Put the butter (or coconut oil for a vegan crust) into a microwave-safe container and microwave the butter or oil until it is liquid. Depending on the temperature of the butter or coconut oil to begin with, less than thirty seconds is often more than enough. Some microwaveable-safe containers get very hot in the microwave, so use hot pads to remove the container from the microwave.

4. Pour the butter or coconut oil into the cookie crumbs and stir until blended.

5. Dump the Oreo mixture into your pie plate (which should take you less than 3.14 seconds) and using a wooden spoon, spatula, or your clean fingers, work the crust down and around the pie plate until it looks fairly even. (If choosing to make the square version using a baking pan instead of a pie plate, first line the baking pan with waxed paper so you can lift out the pie in one big piece and cut it into squares or bite-sized pieces.)

Step 4: Putting It All Together

1. Pour the filling into the Oreo cookie crust. (No need to let the crust set up or to bake it first. See. It's as easy as 3.14 to make this pie.)

2. Smooth it around with your spatula or spoon until the filling looks reasonably level.

3. Place the pie into the refrigerator for one to three hours until it hardens enough to cut it.

Note: If you are in a real hurry, you can harden the pie in the freezer in about an hour, but keep an eye on it so as to not freeze the filling, which is still tasty but challenging to cut up. In this case, you will skip straight to serving and eating your pie once it has hardened.

OPTIONAL

I wanted to put a design into the top of my pie, so I went from smoothing the filling into the Oreo cookie crust (step 2 above) to the following (step 4) and continued from there.

4. Place the pie in the freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Remove the pie from the freezer and using a butter knife, carve a design into the top of the filling. The close-up picture shows the Pi design I carved in, but because it is so hard to see any design drawn into the top before it sets up (especially in a chocolate pie), the next step also is important.

6. Fill the carved design with something of your choice, such as coconut shreds (which is what I used), chopped cherries, peanuts, or white chocolate chips - anything that makes your design stand out.

7. Finish chilling the pie until it sets up into a soft fudge like texture. You can put it back into the freezer for a little while longer (another 15 minutes), and then transfer it to the refrigerator, or just put it into the refrigerator. Let it set up for anywhere from one to three hours, but try not to freeze it (unless you like your pie that way).

Step 5: Vegan Versus Non-Vegan

Whether you've chosen to make the vegan version (substituting coconut oil for butter and using the Duncan Hines Classic frosting - Oreo cookies are vegan) or the non-vegan version, they both will look and taste great. And, once your pie hardens, it will cut like fudge and be as tasty as fudge. I don't cut the slices too big though because it’s also as filling as fudge.

Now, enjoy and share! Remember, pie isn’t just for cooks and mathematicians.

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