Peanut Butter Cups Grow Up

Many years ago (don't ask how many), when Halloween came around and you'd ask me what my favorite candy was, there was no hesitation: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. The combination of chocolate and peanut butter was irresistible. It's a flavor combination I've used to good effect in desserts over the years and one of my go-to options when I don't have anything else in mind. But sometimes, you want to dress it up a bit. Well, that's what this post is about.

Imagine a tart that combines crushed pretzels and sweet shortbread in a crust. Now imagine filling that crust with a luscious combination of dark chocolate ganache and a swirl of creamy peanut butter. It's a dessert that's both absolutely delicious and truly breath-taking to look at. It's definitely the kind of dessert that you want to bring to the table at the end of a lovely dinner with family and friends. Then, just sit back and enjoy the oohs, ahhs, and thank yous!

I highly recommend making this recipe as described. The only tweaks I'd safely suggest are pressing the crust into a square pan instead of a round one with removable collar and you could also replace the semi-sweet chocolate chips with milk chocolate chips if you aren't a fan of dark chocolate. Me? I love the dark chocolate and, for presentation, being able to offer a slice of the tart is just a bit more classy. For a backyard picnic or casual Sunday dinner, I might make this in a square pan and cut them into bars. However you enjoy it, make sure you have a glass of milk, cup of coffee, or your favorite beverage to wash it down! Enjoy.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart

For the crust:
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup crushed pretzels
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg
For the filling:
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

Preheat the oven to 375º F and position a rack in the center.

For the crust, beat together the butter, powdered sugar and half the crushed pretzels in a large bowl with an electric mixer until it's creamy. Mix in the flour, egg and remaining pretzels. Spray either a 12-inch tart pan or springform pan with cooking spray and press the pretzel dough evenly in the bottom and about half an inch up the sides of your chosen pan.

Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake it for 30 – 35 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown. Transfer the crust to a rack and let it cool completely before filling.

To make the ganache put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it aside. In a small sauce pan combine the cream and butter and heat it on medium heat. When it comes to just a boil pour it over the chocolate, cover it and let it sit for 3 – 5 minutes. Whisk in the chocolate until it all melts and you're left with a smooth pudding like consistency. Pour it into the cooled tart shell and smooth it out with a spatula.

Melt the peanut butter slightly in the microwave until it's runny. Pour it over the chocolate ganache and drag a knife through it to create swirls. Chill it for 10 – 15 minutes to set the filling. Enjoy!

  • Yields: 1 - 12 inch tart
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour