Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Peanut Butter Squares: Treats For a Soldier.

My friend Hayley. You've met her haven't you? So you'll know how fab she is, and if not, well I will tell you. She is bright and breezy and beautiful and just downright unstoppable when it comes to having fun. She is also the person with whom I shared the majority of my baking experiences through college and university; fudge being our 'specialty' (you can infer from the apostrophes that it was the thing we made most consistently, rather than success being the most consistent occurrence).

So again, she is fab. But here's the thing, since I last saw her at Christmas, Hayz has been rather unfeelingly whisked away to Sandhurst, where she is learning to save the world. Of course all of us Hayley fans are uber proud of her; when I say 'whisked away', what I really mean is that she spent many an hour runningrunningrunning up, over, under as well as swotting up on classical music and politics so she could impress on rather intense and numerous army 'auditions'.

But hearing what she's getting up to on a daily basis is nothing short of gut-wrenching. It seems to go a bit like this: up to a watery breakfast at 5am, shoutyshouty, pushuppushuppushup, shoutyshouty, bed at 1am. Oh and she has to eat 5000 calories a day. FIVE THOUSAND! Don't get me wrong, I'm sure on each of our baking days we each consumed that in sugar alone, but I don't thiiiiiiink the British Army feed you millionaire's shortbread.

So little Miss Hayley is in need of some treats- big time. Utterly delicious sweet treats with a hint of nostalgia (we used to make peanut butter millionaire's shortbread). But if you're not in the army and doing a squillion push ups a day, no worries, just think of these as homemade Reese's Cups...enough said. With Love and Cake.

Peanut Butter Squares
From Nigella (oh how I love her)'s How to be a Domestic Godess

A few notes:
  • These are soooooo much easier made in a food processor, so do that if you can. If that's not an option though, no probs, you can use a good old fashioned bowl and spoon, it'll just take a little more time and burn a few more calories, but that way you can eat more...hurrah.
  • If you prefer you can roll the sandy peanut butter mixture into bite-sized balls, pop in  mini cupcake cases and drizzle the chocolate mix over. I guess you could say that they look slightly more elegant that way, especially if topped with a silver ball or star.
  • Feel free to mix up and chop and change the proportions of different types of chocolate depending on what you prefer or just what you have around.
Makes 30-40
You will need

a small-ish square, loose bottomed cake tin, lined

For the base
50g dark muscovado sugar
200g icing sugar
50g soft butter
200g smooth peanut butter

For the top
200g milk chocolate 
100g dark chocolate
around 1 tbsp butter

  • So let's do this. Pop all the ingredients for the base in a food processor and whiz to a sandy, clumpy mixture or do the same by hand in a bowl. Don't worry if the muscovado sugar remains a bit nubbly, it even looks like that in Nigella's picture.
  • Tip the mix into your tin and press out to as even a layer as poss with your hands or a spatula.
  • To make the topping, melt all the ingredients together slowly, without too much stirring, in a microwave or in a bowl over a just-simmering pan of water.
  • Pour over the base and pop in the fridge to set.
  • When you're ready, turn out the slab of joy from the pan and chop into squares, or any size you fancy really. 
  • Eat without doing any push ups. Ever.

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