Sunday, March 9, 2014

Peanut Butter Ganache Cookie Bars

It's been 7 posts since I last gave you a peanut butter and chocolate recipe.

I reckon that's 7 posts too many.

Let's put life back in balance with these Peanut Butter Ganache Cookie Bars

They have two layers and two types of chocolate. The base is where we get the crunch - a buttery crunchy play on shortbread. On top of that sits a silky smooth peanut butter-white chocolate ganache. I mean it - you'll never experience something as satin and silky as this stuff. It's about as smooth as buttah! Then a drizzle of bitter dark chocolate to make everything OK.

You know... I never used to be a huge fan of squares or bars, or "slices" as they're known here in Oz. And now that I think about it... I'm not quite sure why.

Maybe because I considered them too easy, and I'm a sucker for a challenge? These are my issues... most of the time I do things the hard way. Like how when I bake I manage to occupy every piece of countertop real estate leaving no room to move. Dirty bowls, clean bowls, whisk, spoon, mixer, spatula, baking soda, cocoa, chopped chocolate (everywhere!), saucepans, 1 cup measure, Pyrex cup, egg shells, wait... I can't find my spatula...1/4 cup measure, parchment paper roll, baking pan, butter block, sieve.... chocolate fingerprints all over the fridge door handle! This is my life.

I'm constantly fighting with myself and if I just slowed down and put things away or moved them aside after using them, I'd probably be able to work more efficiently. I know this. But, I don't do this.

Let's just say I need someone to knock some sense into me!

I would've put squares in the "casserole" category. I've never met a casserole that I liked and I've never even come close to making one. Let's face it - there's next to no technique required.

I think now I'm a changed woman. I've learned to like them (slices, NOT casseroles) and maybe it's the Aussie influence because they really are popular here. But I think I get it - it's the different layers, different textures and different flavours. Oh, and it's because they're usually easy to make - Aussies like fast and simple, and anything with the word "pudding" in it.

You won't see me running into the kitchen to make a mushroom, ham, broccoli and Velveeta (or whatever you put in them) casserole any time soon though. I promise.

There's also a bit of a cookie vs. slice thing here Down Under. Cookies are totally "American" and too time consuming around here. The idea of individually spooning out dough and baking in batches is far too much work. A "slice" involves one pan and a single baking time.

Cookies will always have my heart, but I can at least say I'm sold on slices. If you can relate to this, then I bet these will win you over too.

Plus they're triangles, so they're way different.

Peanut butter ganache is the new salted caramel (even though salted caramel is forever). It's a combo of white chocolate, cream and smooth peanut butter. It just glides past your taste buds. If this is your first time meeting each other, then prepare to be smitten. You're welcome.

Peanut Butter Ganache Cookie Bars
Makes about 18 triangles

For the base:
1 cup (142 g) all purpose flour
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup (55 g) packed brown sugar
6 tbsp (84 g) melted unsalted butter

For the peanut ganache:
170 g/6 oz pure white chocolate
¼ cup (60 ml) whipping cream (35% milkfat) 
pinch of salt      
1/3 cup (80 ml) smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts      

85 g/3 oz melted dark chocolate for drizzling

Preheat your oven 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.

To make the base, whisk together flour, coconut, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Mix in brown sugar, breaking up any lumps. Add melted butter and stir to combine evenly. Gently press mixture into base of prepared pan and bake 15-20 minutes, until golden and slightly firm to the touch. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make ganache, place white chocolate, cream and salt in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until blended. Stir in peanuts. Once base is completely cool, pour ganache over top and spread it out evenly. Refrigerate for 1 hour until firm. Slice into triangles and drizzle with dark chocolate.

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