Lately I’ve been revisiting recipes I made awhile ago. One of those recipes comes from my first Nigella Lawson cookbook, How to Be a Domestic Goddess. I remember when her first television program, Nigella Bites, started airing on the Style Channel. Being an Anglophile I was immediately intrigued but what I loved most was the way she’d effortlessly throw together meals for friends and families. She didn’t seem pretentious or fussy and did things in a way that I wish I could. These Peanut Butter Squares are easy to make, intensely rich treats. The most difficult part is waiting for everything to set up in the fridge.
There is no actual baking required, barely any cooking really. The bottom layer is a mixture of peanut butter, sugars (brown and powdered), and butter pressed into the bottom of a pan. A mixture of milk and bittersweet chocolates and a bit of butter are melted together then poured over the top of the peanut butter layer. That’s pretty much it – just waiting for everything to firm up before cutting and serving.
When I made them this time I used natural peanut butter (the type you store in the fridge) and I found it made the peanut butter layer less firm. It definitely seems to soften much more quickly than I remember. After cutting them into small squares – they are very rich so resist the urge to cut large pieces – I kept them in the fridge until just before serving.
To excuse my less-than-delicate abilities I often say that I make “rustic” things, especially desserts. However, I like the homemade look of these squares – the slightly uneven layers, the rough edges. Perfect or rustic, these squares are delicious!Print
This recipe from Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess celebrates the classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter.
For the base
Scant 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Scant 1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
For the topping
7 ounces milk chocolate
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Butter a 9-inch square pan. Lay one piece of waxed paper – just wide enough to lay flat on the plan, long enough to hang an inch over the edges of the pan – this will make it easier to remove from the pan.
Stir all the ingredients for the base together until smooth using the paddle attachment of a mixer or creaming the mixture together using a wooden spoon in a bowl. Press the sandy mixture into the pan. Make the surface as even as possible.
To make the topping, melt the chocolates and the butter together (in a microwave for ease, for a minute or two on medium) and spread on the base. Put the pan in the refrigerator to set.
When the chocolate has hardened, use the waxed paper to lift it out of the pan. Cut into small squares.
From How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking © 2001 by Nigella Lawson
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Inactive Time: 4 hours
- Category: candy
- Cuisine: British
- Serving Size: 1 square
- Calories: 71.17
- Sugar: 4.45 g.
- Sodium: 20.23 mg.
- Fat: 4.88 g.
- Saturated Fat: 1.97 g.
- Carbohydrates: 5.97 g.
- Fiber: 0.80 g.
- Protein: 1.51 g.
- Cholesterol: 3.36 g.
Keywords: chocolate, peanut butter, Nigella Lawson