Peanut butter cup rocky road

Peanut butter is a pretty big deal in my house. I try and sneak some in to everything I bake. A certain other housemate likes to occasionally (very occasionally) eat it with a piece of chocolate as a spoon. And I definitely don’t judge, because if I had chocolate and a jar of peanut butter right now, I’d be doing it too.

For my birthday this year, I decided to go with an American theme for my party – largely driven by wanting to have loads of American-style food.

Reeses peanut butter cups feature heavily on a lot of the American blogs I read, so I knew they would have to be included somehow.

I bought a bag of mini regular peanut butter cups, and a bag of mini white chocolate peanut butter cups, and although I did briefly consider just putting them in a bowl for people to help themselves, I thought they could be put to better use in this twist on rocky road.

They’re joined by that other American sweet snack favourite, Oreos, to create a super chocolately, crunchy, sweet and salty bar, that was a HUGE hit with all the peanut butter lovers who tried it.

If you have a weakness for peanut butter and chocolate you probably shouldn’t make these to be honest, because they are so insanely addictive you will keep going back for more. But if you have a party to go to, you should definitely make them and instantly become the most popular person there!

Peanut butter cup rocky road

  • 150g milk chocolate
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 125g butter
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 225g Oreos
  • 1 bag mini milk chocolate peanut butter cups
  • 1 bag white chocolate peanut butter cups

Heat the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a heavy-based saucepan, stirring until all the chocolate has melted then set aside to cool. Bash the Oreos and stir these into the chocolate mixture, then chop the peanut butter cups into quarters and add about two thirds of them into the mix. Spread into a 9×9″ square tin, lined with foil, then push the remaining pieces of peanut butter cups on top. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, before cutting into squares and serving.

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Peanut butter m&m blondies

Peanut butter m&m blondies

A few weeks ago, one of my best friends from uni celebrated her birthday with a night out in her home town.

Obviously this is a fairly normal thing to do, but for me it was a pretty special occasion, as despite having been friends for 7 years I have never managed to visit her for her birthday.

I know that makes me sound like a bit of a bad friend, but every year something has come up that’s stopped me being able to go – for example, last year I was all set and looking forward to it, until my car decided to die on me a few days before. Perfect timing!

Anyway, this year I was determined that nothing would stand in my way, and although horrific traffic did it’s best and made me several hours late, I was there, and all was good.

Considering I effectively had 6 missed years of birthdays to make up for, I needed to make sure I had a good birthday present to give, and in my mind there’s no better gift to give than something baked with love.

I was a bit restricted by knowing that whatever I baked would have to survive a 5-hour car journey – so no towering layer cakes that could fall over, delicate cupcakes that could get squashed, or icings that could melt.

Based on a vague inkling that my friend liked peanut butter, I decided that either peanut butter cookies or peanut butter brownies were the way forward. I then spotted these incredible looking bars on Averie Cooks, and knew I was on to a winner.

The peanut butter blondie base of these bars is great on its own, and you could pretty much add whatever you like into the mix – as Averie suggests, it’s a great way of using up whatever half bags of add-ins you have lying around in the cupboard.

I wanted extra peanuttyness (I know that isn’t a word, but it should be) so I bought some mini peanut butter cups to go with the dark chocolate and m&ms I already had. I used plain chocolate m&ms, but if you’re a real nut lover I would definitely throw in some of the peanut ones as well, or even the peanut butter ones if you can get your hands on them.

I kind of intentionally bought a gift box that was too small to fit the whole batch of blondies in, meaning a few were left over for sampling – what a tragedy!

My new chief taster (my dad) was a big fan, despite regularly telling me how much he doesn’t like peanut butter, and I really liked them too – the base is chewy, sweet and nutty, the m&ms bring texture contrast with their crunchiness, the peanut butter cups and dark chocolate add nice bursts of slight saltiness and bitterness to counter all the sugar, and I think the brightly coloured m&ms also make them look a bit more ‘birthday’.

Another plus is that they kept really well for about 5 days, not drying out at all, so they’d be great if you need to make something a few days in advance of being eaten.

Whether you have 6 years of missed birthdays to make up for, or just want to treat yourself, I would highly recommend you give these a try!

Peanut butter m&m blondies (recipe adapted from Averie Cooks)

  • 125g butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 135g smooth peanut butter
  • 120g plain flour
  • 50g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100g m&ms
  • 100g Reeses miniature peanut butter cups

Beat together the melted butter, egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the peanut butter and beat again, then sift and fold in the flour. Finally, fold in 2/3 of whatever chocolate bits and add-ins you’re using and spread the mixture into a greased and lined 8×8″ square tin, then sprinkle the rest on top (this will make the bars look prettier!)

Bake at 170 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until golden and just set. Leave to cool in the tin for an hour or so, then remove and leave to cool completely before slicing into squares.