Emily Luchetti’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares
In creating her ideal chocolate peanut butter square, Waterbar pastry chef Emily Luchetti finds the perfect marriage of texture and taste “without being gooey, so it is easier to eat.” The recipe also appears in The Fearless Baker (Little, Brown and Company spring 2011).
Makes about 64 one-inch squares
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate (58-62 percent cocoa), chopped or broken into 1-inch pieces
1 c. dry-roasted peanuts
1 c. cornflakes, crushed
½ c. smooth peanut butter
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1. Spritz the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square cake pan with a little nonstick cooking spray. (This is just so the plastic wrap adheres to the pan; don’t obsess about coating it well.) Line the pan with a piece of plastic wrap, making sure it runs evenly up the sides of the pan, and press it neatly into the corners, so it doesn’t get folded up into the chocolate mixture.
2. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (or use your fancy double boiler if you have one). Stir and scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is smooth and evenly melted.
3. Put the peanuts and cornflakes in a large bowl; add the peanut butter and salt. Using the rubber spatula, pour in the melted chocolate and stir so all the peanuts are coated, and everything looks well combined.
4. Again, using the rubber spatula spread the chocolate mixture in the pan, and with a light touch, smooth the top so it’s even.
5. Let the pan sit at room temperature for at least 3 hours or until the mixture’s firm. Using the sides of the plastic wrap as handles, lift the whole chocolate square out of the pan. Peel off the plastic and place the chocolate on a cutting surface. With a sharp, thin-blade knife, cut into even 1-inch squares. (If you want a really professional look, or if you’re the kind of person who straightens hanging pictures in other people’s homes, use a ruler for perfect squares.)
6. The little bites can be stored in a covered container at room temperature for several weeks — but only if you hide them.