Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares
Before we get to the Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares, a big thank you to everyone who sent in a cookie recipe for the Le Creuset Holiday Cookie Contest! The winning cookie will be featured next week, so we can all look forward to adding another great holiday cookie to our repertoire. (Btw, today is the last day for submissions so it’s not too late!)
Now, on to the treat at hand. When it comes to sweets, I’ve learned that you cannot make people much happier than when you combine chocolate and peanut butter. In fact, I don’t know anyone who could resist these indulgent little squares…with a crumbly chocolate wafer crust, a rich and creamy peanut butter layer, and smooth-as-silk milk chocolate topping, they’re absolutely irresistible.
They’re also pretty easy to make…
You start with the crust: simply combine Nabisco chocolate wafers (which you can find in the cookie aisle at most grocery stores), butter and sugar in a food processor and blitz to blend. Press the fine crumbs into a pan and bake.
Next, make the peanut butter filling by combining peanut butter, butter, confectioners’ sugar, dark brown sugar and salt in a mixer.
Melt the chocolate and cream gently in the microwave. When working with chocolate, always go easy on the heat so it doesn’t scorch.
Finally, put it all together: spread a thin layer of chocolate over the cooled crust (this “glues” the peanut butter layer to the crust, otherwise it won’t stick); spread the peanut butter mixture into an even layer over top; then cover with the remaining chocolate.
That’s all there is to it! These bars freeze beautifully so you can make them well in advance; simply defrost them in the refrigerator the day before you plan to serve them.
Be sure to cut them in small fudge-like squares…they’re very rich. Enjoy!
For the Crust:
22 Nabisco FAMOUS Chocolate Wafers, finely crushed (about 1⅔ cups crumbs)
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
For the Filling
6 firmly packed tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 cups Confectioners’ sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1⅓ cups creamy peanut butter (I like Skippy Natural “No Need To Stir”)
Pinch of salt
For the Milk Chocolate Ganache Topping
1-11.5 ounce bag Ghirardelli (or similar best quality) milk chocolate chips
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Make crust: Combine chocolate wafers, sugar and butter in bowl of food processor fitted with blade attachment and pulse until cookies are finely crushed. Press mixture firmly into prepared baking pan (I spread it with my hands first, then use the bottom of a measuring cup to even it out). Bake for 8 minutes. Set on rack to cool completely.
3. In the meantime, make peanut butter filling: Combine all ingredients together in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix at low speed until just combined (do not whip). Set bowl in refrigerator while you prepare the rest.
4. Make chocolate ganache topping: Combine milk chocolate chips and heavy cream in microwave safe bowl and cook in microwave at medium power (50%) for 1-1½ minutes. Stir until bowl no longer feels warm. Continue heating at 15-30 second intervals, stirring until smooth and melted. Do not overheat.
5. Put it all together: Use an offset icing spatula (see photo above) to spread about ¼ cup of chocolate mixture evenly over cooled crust; place pan in freezer until chocolate is set, about 5-10 minutes. Spread peanut butter mixture into even layer over chocolate (if it’s firm, you can use your hands; if it’s soft, use a butter knife or spatula). Give chocolate ganache a quick stir to smooth any lumps, then spread evenly over top of peanut butter layer. Cover pan with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 1 hour to set (or, if you’re not in a hurry, you can just leave it in the refrigerator for a few hours). When firm, use a sharp knife to cut into squares (make them small as they are very rich!). Keep refrigerated and serve cool.