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Brown Butter Peanut Rice Crispy Treats


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By Life Pastry - September 29, 2020

 




Brown Butter Peanut Rice Crispy Treats


With Peanut Butter Ganache

Makes 12 huge or 24 more normal-size treats


I’ll let you in on a secret: I don’t like peanut butter. I know, I know, WHO doesn’t like peanut butter? Peanuts and peanut butter have an off taste to me, so I’ve always avoided the two. Until this treat. I adore our brown butter–rice crispy treats. When we make them at Flour and trim the edges, you can find me standing next to the pan waiting for the little scraps. Adding peanut butter and peanuts and covering the whole thing in peanutty ganache actually makes them taste better. I never thought I would love a peanut butter treat, but here you go. If you love our rice crispy treats, wait until you try these.


1 cup/2 sticks/225 grams unsalted butter

Seeds scraped from ½ vanilla bean

Two 10-ounce bags/560 grams regular-size marshmallows

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 cups/160 grams crisp rice cereal

2 cups/300 grams salted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Peanut Butter Ganache (recipe follows)

 

Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, spray it with cooking spray, or line it with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the butter over low heat. Add the vanilla seeds and heat until the butter is melted. Once it has melted it will start to bubble and crackle—if you lean in and listen it will sound like an audience of people clapping their hands politely (in anticipation of these treats!).

Watch the butter carefully and you’ll see it slowly browning; as soon as the bubbling subsides, after about 5 minutes, the butter will be fully browned and it’s ready for the addition of the marshmallows. Add the marshmallows right away at this point or the butter may burn, which you don’t want. Keeping the heat on low, use a wooden spoon to stir in the marshmallows and salt. Stir well until the marshmallows are completely melted and the vanilla seeds are evenly distributed.

Remove the pot from the heat and add the cereal and peanuts. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Pat the mixture into the prepared pan. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

While the treat is cooling, make the ganache. Spread the ganache evenly over the top. Let cool until firmed up. Cut into 12 or 24 pieces.

The treats can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Peanut Butter Ganache


Makes about 2½ cups

10 ounces/280 grams semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (about 1⅔ cups)

1 cup/260 grams creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie or in the microwave. Whisk in the peanut butter a few tablespoons at a time until the ganache is smooth. Whisk in the salt.

Peanut butter ganache can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Beat with a wooden spoon, or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment before using.

 


Billionaire’s Shortbread







Makes 18 bars

My husband is a junk food aficionado. There isn’t a salty chip or nutty, chocolatey candy bar that is not on his list of favorite foods. High on that list of favorites is the almighty Twix bar: sweet caramel on top of a crunchy cookie, covered in milk chocolate. I wanted to re-create this for him and after some research discovered it is similar to the popular British cookie called millionaire’s shortbread, made with the same components. I start with the most tender, buttery shortbread you can make, top it with a thick layer of slightly salty, chewy caramel, and cover the whole thing in dark chocolate ganache. It’s so rich and luxurious I call it Billionaire’s Shortbread.


¾ recipe/1½ cups/375 grams Master Ganache

1 recipe Rick’s Master Shortbread

1 cup/200 grams sugar

½ cup/120 grams heavy cream

½ cup/1 stick/115 grams unsalted butter, cut into 4 or 5 pieces

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ cup/25 grams cocoa nibs or chopped almonds

 

Make the ganache and set it aside at room temperature. Make the shortbread dough and refrigerate it.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center of the oven.

Remove the shortbread dough from the refrigerator and let it sit for about 30 minutes to soften. Roll it between two large sheets of parchment paper into a 9 x 13-inch rectangle. Trim the edges so you have a fairly neat squared-off rectangle. It should be about ⅓ inch thick. Carefully peel off the top sheet of parchment (place the whole thing back in the fridge for a few minutes if the dough sticks to the parchment). Transfer the dough, still on the bottom sheet of parchment, to a rimmed 9 x 13-inch quarter-sheet pan. Trim the parchment so that it fits the baking sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway through the baking time, until the shortbread is light brown, about the same color as maple wood. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

While the shortbread is cooling, put the sugar in a medium saucepan and carefully add about ¼ cup/60 grams water to moisten it. Be sure the sides of the pan do not have any sugar crystals on them; if they do, use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash the sides down of any clinging sugar. (This helps prevent crystallization of the sugar as you are caramelizing it.) Bring the sugar syrup to a boil over high heat. Do not move the pan as the syrup is coming to a boil. (Sometimes when sugar syrup is jostled while caramelizing it causes enough disturbance that the sugar starts to crystallize, and then you can’t use it. If this does happen, you’ll need to clean out the pot and start over again.) Once the syrup starts to color slightly to a pale brown, it is safe to gently swirl the pan to even out the caramelization. It will take 3 to 4 minutes for the sugar to start caramelizing and another 30 seconds or so for the color to even out. When the sugar is golden brown, turn the heat down to medium and carefully pour in the cream. It will sputter a bit and get clumpy; whisk occasionally with a long-handled whisk and continue to cook on medium heat until the clumps of caramel have entirely melted, about 1 minute. Whisk in the butter until melted and combined. Bring the heat back up to high and whisk constantly until the caramel reaches 230°F on a candy ther­mometer. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and salt. Pour the caramel directly on top of the shortbread and let cool to room temperature.

 

If the ganache is not liquid, warm it up gently on the stove or in the microwave until it is pourable. Pour it evenly on top of the caramel and let it cool at room temperature. Let stand until the ganache is completely firm, then cut the shortbread into 18 rectangles, about 2 x 3 inches. Sprinkle the cocoa nibs evenly on top.

The shortbread can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or at cool room temperature for up to 5 days.



Peppermint Kisses




Makes about 10 dozen kisses

Every holiday season, one of my favorite things is walking into our production kitchen and watching an army of bakers piping tray after tray of these stunning, simple treats. Meringue is spiked with a touch of peppermint extract and then deftly piped into little kiss-shaped cookies. The pastry bag is striped with a touch of red food coloring, which streams down the sides of the cookies, creating a lovely striped kiss. Packaged in little plastic bags tied with ribbon, they will become your go-to holiday gift.


8 large egg whites (about 1 cup/240 grams), at room temperature

1 cup/200 grams superfine sugar

1 cup/120 grams confectioners’ sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1¼ teaspoons pure peppermint extract

1 tablespoon red food coloring gel

 


Preheat the oven to 175°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Whip until the wires of the whisk leave a slight trail in the whites. Test for soft peak stage by stopping the mixer and removing the whisk from the whites and lifting it up; the whites should peak and then droop.

With the mixer on medium, add the superfine sugar in three increments, whipping for about 1 minute between additions. Meanwhile, sift the confectioners’ sugar and salt together and set aside. Once you’ve beaten all the superfine sugar into the egg whites, increase the mixer speed to medium-high, add the peppermint extract, and beat for about 15 seconds more. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the confectioners’ sugar and salt.




Place a ¾-inch round pastry tip in an 18-inch pastry bag. Fold back the pastry bag about halfway down and cuff it over your hand. Dip a wooden skewer or chopstick into the red food coloring and paint 4 long stripes, starting as close to the tip as you can all the way up the side of the pastry bag. Fill the bag halfway with the meringue (don’t ever fill a pastry bag more than halfway or you’ll create a mess) and pipe kisses about 1 inch wide and 1 inch tall (around the same size as a Hershey’s Kiss) onto the prepared baking sheet. To do this, hold the pastry bag about an inch above the baking sheet, squeeze the meringue out of the bag, release pressure on the bag, and pull up to create the top of the kiss. Pipe kisses about an inch apart and fill up the baking sheet, piping onto a second baking sheet as needed. Add more red food coloring to the inside of the pastry bag as needed when you refill the bag with meringue and pipe until you have used up all the meringue.

Bake the kisses for about 4 hours, rotating the baking sheet a few times, until the kisses are completely dried out inside and out (break a few open to check). Turn off the oven but leave the kisses in the oven to dry out overnight.

The kisses can be stored in an airtight container. If the weather is not humid, you can store them for up to 1 month. Otherwise they are best eaten within a few days.

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