Friday, January 20, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares
Makes about 25 small squares


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.

**Note: When making this recipe, I suggest using more butter than the recipe calls for when making the crust.

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