Peanut butter is pretty popular in this house. Peanut butter from the jar with a spoon for dessert is not unheard of around here.
But peanut butter accompanied by marshmallow and chocolate might be way more interesting. Think Peanut Butter Buckeyes go wild and meet up with a gaggle of gluten-free pretzels or Rice Chex, a few soft marshmallows and go partying in a big pan with lots of chocolate.
Quite by accident this turned into an episode of fancy dessert. A happy accident, really. I ran out of clean square baking pans during the experimenting and was reduced to using a springform pan. When I removed the sides from the chilled “bars in the round” it was so awesomely artsy that we went with that version. Sure, you can make ordinary bars, but why not make this retro treat as a dinner party dessert tart?
Use the best tasting roasted peanuts and peanut butter you can find. It is the star of the show and the flavor will matter. I like Skippy natural or just plain Skippy. I’d leave out the liqueurs if you are making this for kids, but for adults, you can add a few sloshes. Or more. Some tasters preferred crushed pretzels and others liked the GF Rice Chex. Either one is tasty.
Get good quality milk chocolate in a bar because it is superior in every way to chips. In a pinch, get a good brand of milk chocolate chips. Don’t forget to chill the tart or bars thoroughly before taking it out of the pan (while cold). But serve it at room temperature. It will be a little bit melty so serve small slices with forks.
This recipe is inspired by both Bravetart’s Peanut Butter Nutella and Brown Eyed Baker Peanut Butter Cup Bars. After making the Peanut Butter Nutella several times I’ve made a few modifications for this recipe:
- The brittle weighs in at 16 oz. once completed (even snitching a piece or two). You can replace that portion of the recipe by purchasing a pound of peanut brittle from the store. I tried it both ways and it works just fine, however homemade brittle is easy and more delicious than store purchased (and less expensive by far).
- I heated the sugar mixture to 300 degrees and that was plenty brown and hot to turn it into brittle. 340 (on my stove) would have burned the mess and have been yet another carbon experiment.
- I used 1 teaspoon kosher salt rather than 1/2 teaspoon.
- Use vanilla bean paste rather than a bean. It is faster, easier and has great flavor (I’m lazy and too cheap to use a bean).
If you love peanut butter and chocolate, and a few good marshmallows – you are going to really love this.
|Peanut Butter Rocky Road Tart, Gluten Free||
- 60 grams gluten-free salted pretzels or gluten-free Rice Chex, crushed in a food processor(about ¾ cup total- crushed)
- 1 teaspoon salt (reduce to ½ teaspoon if using salted pretzels)
- 300 grams (about 1 cup) Bravetart (see post for link and recommended changes) Peanut Butter Nutella
- 85 grams or 3 oz. (about ⅓ cup) Skippy crunchy or smooth peanut butter (or mix it up)
- 150 grams (about 1.25 cups) powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon Kahlua
- 1 tablespoon Creme de Cacao
- 1 bag mini marshmallows (you’ll probably use about 2-3 cups, loosely packed)
- 150 grams good quality milk chocolate, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 57 grams heavy cream, scalded (about ¼ cup)
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup roasted, salted peanuts, chopped coarsely (by hand)
- Prepare an 8×8 pan by lining it with foil that hangs over two sides (so you can pop it out of the pan once set). Or place a piece of parchment in the bottom of a 6″ to 8″ springform pan. The square pan will allow you to cut bars and the round pan will allow you to make the servings look a little more formal. A smaller diameter pan will make a taller tart and the wider pan will make a shorter tart. Spray the pan with nonstick vegetable spray (GF). Set aside.
- Crush the pretzels or Rice Chex in a food processor (easiest) until you have almost a cup’s worth of powdered crumbs. In a medium-sized bowl weigh the crushed crumbs. Add the salt. Weigh in the Bravetart Peanut Butter Nutella filling. Weigh in the peanut butter and powdered sugar. Pour the melted butter on the mixture along with the flavorings and mix with a fork. You may need to mix with clean fingers to finish getting everything incorporated. It will be greasy but should not be terribly sticky gooey wet. Press into the prepared pan making the top as even as possible and making sure it is filled to the pan edges.
- Heat oven to 350. Top the peanut mixture with mini marshmallows in one sparse layer. You may have leftover marshmallows. Place in oven until marshmallows begin to swell and melt. You want them to look like the stay-puff marshmallow as it melts, but you don’t want them toasted or to lose their form. It should take about 5 minutes or less. (while the marshmallows are succumbing to the heat, make the topping) Remove from oven and with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, gently flatten them slightly. Try not to smoosh them so that they stick to the spatula – just a tiny little-bitty flattening will do.
- Scald the cream and butter in a saucepan or in a microwave safe container. Place the chopped chocolate into a bowl and pour the scalding hot cream over it. Let it sit without stirring for about a minute and then begin to stir to incorporate and melt all the chocolate. Make sure you stir gently so that you don’t create air bubbles. Once it is all melty and smooth, pour quickly over the marshmallow topping. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, move the chocolate evenly over the top without disturbing the marshmallow layer. You might see some marshmallow white peaking through. Don’t panic. Sprinkle a nice layer of the chopped peanuts on top and press into the chocolate very gently. That will cover any hint of those marshmallows. Refrigerate at least 4 hours hour before cutting and overnight is even better.
- Remove from the square pan using the foil/parchment handles and cut into bars. Or remove the springform side and place the peanut butter cup marshmallow “tart” onto a serving plate and cut into thin slices. Be sure to bring them almost to room temperature before eating (cutting is easier while it is cold).