Good news, friends! It is impossible to eat too much chocolate and peanut butter. I know this because I’ve eaten obscene amounts of it in my day and I’m still here to tell you about this chocolate peanut butter pretzel tart — which is basically a giant, no-bake peanut butter cup with a pretzel/graham cracker/secret ingredient (oooooh, suspense!) crust.
This tart was inspired by two things: One, my aforementioned obsession with chocolate and peanut butter, and two, a very similar tart I had at a local place called Cafe Latte. If you’ve ever been, you know they are well-known for their desserts (including that tres leches cake that I inhale every time I order it). And if you’ve never been there, well, just know that they make some amazingly delicious desserts. The last time I was there, I ordered a peanut butter tart and I kid you not when I say that was months ago and I’ve thought about it nearly every day since, it was so good.
And so, last week I decided enough was enough. I needed that tart in my life again and I could not wait one more day. And in just a few hours, it was so. Except I amped up the crust a bit to make it all salty/savory/SECRET INGREDIENT-y because… well, is there any reason to justify this? I think not.
If you follow along on my baking/life adventures on the Snapchat (follow me! → stephmwise), the suspense is lost on you because you already know what goes into this dessert. But if you don’t, I’ll tell you: It’s brown butter, y’all. I mixed it into the crust along with some pretzel and graham cracker crumbs and I think I will never make a graham cracker crust any other way again. In fact, I have started to put brown butter in almost anything that calls for melted butter. It’s an addiction (much like that one I have for chocolate and peanut butter. Maybe I need to seek help? Or maybe just another slice of this tart). But how can it not be, when it turns everything it goes in to something nutty, caramely, buttery and incredibly flavorful? Again, no justification necessary.
Another pro to this recipe is that it’s entirely no-bake, which makes it perfect for just about any occasion — dinner parties when you need the oven to make dinner, summertime gatherings when the last thing you want to do is turn on your oven, random weeknights when your husband is working late and you need a dessert to eat in bed while you watch Scandal (ahem) — anything at all. You simply make the crust, freeze it while you make the fluffy peanut butter filling, pour it into the crust and let it chill while you make the fudge-y ganache topping, spread that on top and then sprinkle it with peanuts and return it to the fridge to chill for a few more hours or overnight, if you can stand it.
You can slice it up and serve it cold or at room temperature, or don’t even bother with the slicing and just go at it with a fork. Heck, maybe we don’t even need the fork — we can just eat it like the giant peanut butter cup it is. I fully endorse any and all methods of getting this tart from plate to mouth.
Sooooooo this counts as breakfast, right?
- 8 double graham crackers (the ones that measure 5 by 2½ inches)
- 25 small pretzel twists (I used Rold Gold Tiny Twists)
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
- ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- ¾ cup cold heavy cream
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- Spanish peanuts, for topping (optional)
- Pulse graham crackers and pretzels in a food processor to a very fine crumb. You should end up with about 1¼ cups crumbs.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until butter foams and then begins to turn brown. Keep stirring until butter is a deep golden brown.
- In a small bowl, stir crumbs with butter until well combined. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press mixture firmly and evenly into bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Transfer pan to freezer while you prepare filling.
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, blend cream cheese, peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk until well combined.
- In a separate medium bowl, beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture until well combined.
- Spread peanut butter mixture evenly on top of crust in tart pan. Transfer to fridge while you prepare ganache topping.
- In a small saucepan, bring heavy cream to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips in a small bowl. Stir vigorously until smooth and glossy. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Use a spatula to gently spread ganache over top of tart. Sprinkle Spanish peanuts around edges of tart, if desired. Chill in fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.