Pascale's Kitchen: Peanut butter treats

Now that my children are grown, I no longer prepare sandwiches for them in the mornings. But they do still yearn for this magical chocolate-and-peanut-butter combination.

Peanut butter treats (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Peanut butter treats
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
When my children were young, I would send them off to school every morning with a healthy and nutritious sandwich, just like all the other parents. Many times, when I would ask them what they wanted that day, they would request peanut-butter-and-chocolate sandwiches. It didn’t matter that I would explain that, although the combination was indeed tasty, it was not the most nutritious, and I couldn’t let them have this treat every day. We finally reached a compromise, and every once in a while, I would make these coveted chocolate-and-peanut-butter sandwiches for them.
Now that my children are grown, I no longer prepare sandwiches for them in the mornings. But they do still yearn for this magical chocolate-and-peanut-butter combination. So I love preparing one of the three recipes below when I know they’ll be coming home for a visit.
When my youngest son, Shai, recently came home from the army for Shabbat, he did his regular round of lifting up the cover of each pot to see what was simmering on the stove so he could inhale the heartwarming aromas he longs for all week long. When he saw the fresh chocolate babka resting on the counter, he immediately cut himself a huge piece. Then he turned to me and said, “Hey Ima, you know those peanut-butter brownies you used to make when we were kids? Can you make those for Shabbat, too?”
Below, you will find three of my favorite recipes for chocolate-and-peanut-butter treats. The first one is for peanut-butter cups, which can be made pareve, or with a little sweet cream for a dairy version. The second recipe is for luscious brownies with surprise globs of peanut butter hidden inside. The third recipe is for no-bake peanut-butter-and-chocolate marbled squares that are made with petit beurre crumbs.
The only difficulty here is picking which of the three recipes to try first!
CHOCOLATE PEANUT-BUTTER CUPS
You can make these treats any size you want. I like making small bite-sized cups. You can use paper cupcake liners, but I find that I get the best results using silicone trays instead.
Makes 30 small or 15 medium cups.
Outer layer:
230 g. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 Tbsp. (60 ml.) coconut oil or cocoa butter, melted
Filling:
60 g. butter or coconut oil
3 Tbsp. demerara sugar
1-2 drops vanilla extract
150 g. peanut butter
100 g. crunchy peanut butter
3 Tbsp. powdered sugar, sifted
Place the chocolate pieces in a bain-marie (a bowl sitting on a bowl of boiling water). Melt the chocolate until it’s smooth. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate a few seconds at a time in the microwave. Add the coconut oil or cocoa butter and mix.
Put cupcake liners in your muffin pans. Using a silicone brush, cover the cupcake liners with the melted chocolate (or the muffin pan itself if you’re not using liners). Brush on a second layer and then put the pans in the freezer for 10 minutes so the chocolate can harden.
Melt the butter in a small pot. Add the demerara sugar and vanilla, then mix. Add both types of peanut butter, mix well and cook while continuously mixing and bring to a gentle boil. Remove the pot from the flame, add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Let the mixture cool.
Take the muffin pans out of the freezer, add a teaspoon of peanut butter filling to each one and flatten. Pour more of the melted chocolate on top until it’s completely covered. Put the muffin pans back in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to let the chocolate harden. Carefully peel off the cupcake liners and store the treats in an airtight container in the fridge.
Level of difficulty: Medium.
Time: 90 minutes.
Status: Dairy or pareve.
Chocolate and peanut butter cups (Credit: Pascale Perez-Rubin)Chocolate and peanut butter cups (Credit: Pascale Perez-Rubin)
PEANUT BUTTER BROWNIES
You can make these brownies dairy or pareve. Also, if you want the peanut butter flavor to be even stronger, you can add another ½ cup or more of peanut butter.
Use a 27 cm. x 33 cm. pan.

200 g. bittersweet chocolate
150 g. butter or margarine (or ½ cup oil)
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup silan
¾ cup roasted peanuts, chopped
4 eggs
1 cup whole wheat or whole spelt flour, sifted
½ cup milk or soy milk
1 tsp. orange zest
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. baking powder
2-3 chocolate bars, broken up, or ½ cup chocolate chips
¾ cup peanut butter
Icing:
½ cup powdered sugar or ½ cup roasted peanuts, chopped
Add the chocolate, butter, brown sugar and silan to a bowl and melt a few seconds at a time in the microwave or over a bain-marie.
Remove from the flame or microwave and mix well. While stirring quickly, add the peanuts and the eggs. Mix well. Slowly add the flour, milk or soy milk, the orange zest, orange juice, baking powder and chocolate chips. Mix well.
Pour mixture into a baking pan that has been lined with a sheet of baking paper and flatten. Take a tiny spoonful of peanut butter and push it inside the brownie mixture. Continue doing this until you’ve used up the peanut butter. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180°C for 20-25 minutes.
Let the brownies cool and then sprinkle with powdered sugar or sprinkle with roasted peanuts. Cut into squares and transfer to an airtight container or place in cupcake liners.
Level of difficulty: Medium.
Time: 40 minutes.
Status: Dairy or pareve.
Peanut butter brownies (Credit: Pascale Perez-Rubin)Peanut butter brownies (Credit: Pascale Perez-Rubin)
CHOCOLATE & PEANUT BUTTER SQUARES
Use a 24 cm. x 24 cm. tray.
Bottom layer:
200 g. Petit-Beurre crumbs
3 Tbsp. ground almonds
70 g. butter or coconut oil, melted
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Chocolate-and-peanut-butter layer:
200 g. bittersweet chocolate (60% cocoa), broken into pieces
1 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil
125 g. sweet cream
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
Peanut mixture:
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
5 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Baking paper
Place the Petit-Beurre crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the ground almonds, melted butter and vanilla. Mix well. Line a baking tray with baking paper and form a layer with the Petit-Beurre mixture. Press down to flatten crumbs. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes. Place the chocolate pieces in a glass bowl. Add the butter and cream. Melt in the microwave a few seconds at a time or heat over a bain-marie. Mix well and then add the peanut butter. Mix again.
Pour the chocolate peanut mixture over the layer of Petit-Beurre and flatten. In a separate bowl, mix the peanut butter with the water and vanilla until smooth. Pour on top of the chocolate layer. Take a toothpick and drag it through the mixture to make a marble-like design. Put in the fridge for 2 hours.
Remove the cake from the pan by pulling it up with the ends of the baking paper. Cut squares that are 5 cm. x 5 cm. or 6 cm. x 6 cm. Store in the fridge until serving.
Level of difficulty: Medium.
Time: 60 minutes.
Status: Dairy or pareve.
Chocolate and peanut butter squares (Credit: Pascale Perez-Rubin)Chocolate and peanut butter squares (Credit: Pascale Perez-Rubin)
Translated by Hannah Hochner