Sunday, 26 June 2011

Two Ways With.....

Peanut Butter and Chocolate

People often have things constantly in their fridge or store cupboard that only get used in the conventional fashion. This new regular slot is aimed at offering readers alternative or new ways of using up ingredients. The first post has also helped in my ambition to improve my baking skills and try cooking new treats.

Peanut butter is something that is constantly in the cupboard and is generally only used to spread on toast. Chocolate is certainly a regular item in my cupboard (never fridge) and I generally indulge in the normal way, breaking off a piece, enjoying, and then breaking off a few more until the bar's finished.

The first item I'd been keen to experiment with for a few weeks, since my birthday afternoon tea, a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownie. I found a recipe on BBC Good Food and have adapted it ever so slightly, adding in some coarsely chopped dry roasted nuts for a bit of crunch and added flavour, and a smidgen of booze too.

I used a jar of Whole Earth Crunchy Original Peanut Butter as it has no additives or nasties and I used two 100g bars of Asda Dark Chocolate. Most recipes tell you you must use chocolate of over 70% cocoa solids, however in baking, where chocolate is not the main or only ingredient, this isn't essential by any means. This chocolate is 60% cocoa solids and I can vouch that is did the trick beautifully here.

Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Brownies
225g Crunchy Peanut Butter
280g Light Brown Sugar
200g Dark Chocolate, broken up
3 Medium-Large Eggs
100g Self-raising Flour, sifted
1 tsp Amaretto
50g Dry Roasted Peanuts, coarsely chopped (chop inside baking parchment to avoid mess)

Pre-heat the oven to 180C and line a baking tin with baking parchment and grease with a little butter to avoid sticking.

In a pan, over a low heat melt 180g of the peanut butter, 150g of the chocolate and sugar until it has all melted and formed one consistency.

Turn off the heat, and beat in each egg one-by-one with a wooden spoon then gently stir in the flour.

Add the amaretto and the chopped nuts, mix and then pour into the baking tin.

In a new pan melt the remaining peanut butter and drizzle over the brownie base.

Bake for 30 minutes until the peanut butter on the top forms a crust.

Melt the remaining chocolate and pop in a piping bag (if you don't have one handy just snip a small slit in the corner of a sandwich bag and drizzle chocolate over the brownie and leave to cool.

Leave in the tin to cool and then gently remove and cut into squares ready to eat. These are incredibly tasty and go particularly well with either a dollop of cream or vanilla ice cream.

The second, and equally simple recipe is for Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies. The base for this recipe comes from the Australia Woman's Weekly; The Cake Stall, a book I was kindly sent recently. I will be trying out a recipe or two from each section of the book and then reviewing here. Again I adapted this slightly, mainly in adding in the chocolate, and in my opinion improving the biscuits.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

125g Butter, softened
70g Peanut Butter
165g Light Brown Sugar
1 Egg
225 Plain Flour, sifted
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
70g Dry Roasted Peanuts, chopped
70g Dark Chocolate, chopped into chunks

Pre-heat the over to 180C and line two baking trays with baking parchment, and grease.

Beat the butter, peanut butter, sugar and egg till smooth.

Stir in the sifted flour and baking soda and then the nuts and give a good mix.

Roll a tablespoon of the mixture into a ball and place onto the baking sheet. Repeat placing each cookie at least 5cm apart.

Using a floured fork flatten each ball and bake for 10-12 minutes.

So here are two very easy recipes, both with a delicious outcome using two cupboard staples. I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

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