Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

Makes 25 squares

I really hope that this isn’t the first recipe of mine that you see, not because it isn’t good (oh, it’s good) but because it’s so decadent that if this is your first impression of what I am feeding my family you will probably call the authorities. In short, this is rich, fattening, and a total indulgence—meant to be served in very small portions on rare occasions or as a no-fail deal maker at bake sales.

The whole chocolate and peanut butter thing is pretty compelling.

The whole chocolate and peanut butter thing is pretty compelling.

There are certain foods that have an immense “first bite” potency, as in the first bite is so amazing that about 47 percent (give or take) of the pleasure of that particular food resides in that initial mouthful. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups embody that quality for me, not that I’m not happy to keep going, mind you. This is an easy and homey version of that enduring, mouthwatering candy, and you will want to cut them into small squares since they are rich, rich, rich. The variation offers a chance to make adorable individual portions in little ruffled cups, should you be in the market for that kind of thing. I will warn you, this version is a bit of a pain in the rear.

Print

  • 6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, 
plus butter for greasing the baking pan (optional)
  • Nonstick cooking spray (optional)
  • 1⁄4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1⁄4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3⁄4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1⁄4 cup graham cracker crumbs (see Note)
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet or milk chocolate chips, 
or a combination of the two

1. Lightly butter a 9-inch-square baking pan or spray it with nonstick cooking spray (or use a nonstick pan).

2. Place the brown sugar, confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, and 5 tablespoons of the butter in a medium-size bowl and beat with an electric mixer until well combined but still a bit crumbly, about 1 minute (it won’t get totally smooth; that’s okay). Press the peanut butter mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan in a thin layer, about 1⁄4 inch thick.

3. Place the chocolate and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan over very low heat and melt, stirring frequently until smooth, about 7 minutes. You can also do this in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds 
or so, until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes in all. Let the chocolate mixture cool briefly, then while still hot, using a rubber spatula, gently spread it over the peanut butter layer. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, until the chocolate has firmed up, about 1 hour. Cut into 36 small (roughly 
1 1⁄2-inch) squares.

Make Ahead:

You can make the Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares up to one week in advance. Keep them tightly sealed in the fridge and let them come to room temperature before serving.
What the Kids Can Do:

Pounding graham crackers into crumbs is great fun. They can do all of the basic measuring and press the peanut butter mixture into the pan.

Note:

You can either buy graham cracker crumbs or make your own by putting graham crackers into a zipper-top bag and pounding it gently with a rolling pin or the bottom of a pan or a can of beans or anything sturdy with some weight to it. Four graham cracker squares make about 1⁄4 cup of crumbs.

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