That's us. A wild combination. Sometimes it's all about putting two and two together. At NELP, the first year I taught, we had the "Get out of your lunchbox" collective, that was all about unlikely combinations, taking a risk on strange sandwiches and ice cream toppings: Crushed potato chips, chocolate and bacon? Watermelon, crystalized ginger and mint? Peanuts, banana chips and sea salt? Some were hits and some were far misses, but the point was in the risk and experimentation.
I'm not sure who first came up with the peanut butter-chocolate-pretzel combination, but whether it was Hershey's or some mom in the Midwest, it's a real winner. Thanks to the power of Pinterest, I came across this recipe for a chocolate & peanut butter pretzel tart from Hot Polka Dot, and immediately added it to the dessert menu for the Dougherty family party (you'll see this tart on the dessert table). This wild combination features a pretzel crust (!!!) and a rich chocolate 'n' peanut butter ganache filling, mimicing chocolate-peanut butter covered pretzels (try them if you haven't...Trader Joe's has some, or dip your favorite co-op's bulk bin choco-pretzels in PB!). I altered the tart a little bit by adding additional salt to the crust, but I have a bit of a salt tooth, so you may want to salt to taste. The recipe calls for "regular" peanut butter--the sweetened and salted Jiff, Peter Pan or Skippy variety that you grew up with. But if you prefer using natural peanut butter, add sugar (and salt, if unsalted) to the filling.
Adapted from Hot Polka Dot
1/2 c. + 2 Tblsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c. confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 c. crushed pretzels
1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
1 1/2 c. flour
1 large egg
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (or use chocolate chips)
3/4 c. heavy cream
2 Tblsp. unsalted butter
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter (Use run-of-the-mill salted and sweetened peanut butter. If you use natural, make sure it's smooth, and you'll want to add sugar to taste--probably 1/2 c.)
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine butter, confectioner's sugar and half of the crushed pretzels until mixture is well mixed. Add the flour, salt, egg, and remaining pretzels until the mixture is well combined, but pretzel chunks remain.
2. Form dough into a flattened ball, wrap and plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour, and up to overnight.
3. Once dough is chilled, remove it from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, butter and flour a 12-inch tart pan and set it aside. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough between 2 pieces of wax paper, into a 15-inch circle. Transfer the dough to the tart pan and press into the bottom and sides to form a crust (it will be a little crumbly, so you may have to piece it). Fold the excess dough back over the sides to form a strong double crust. Roll a rolling pin over the top of the tart pan to ensure that the crust is level with the top of the pan. Pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork in several places and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove tart from freezer, once chilled. Butter one side of a piece of aluminum foil and place it buttered-side down on the inside of the tart crust. Place tart on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove tart from oven and let cool completely before filling.
1. Put chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and set aside. Combine cream and butter in a medium saucepan and place on medium heat until it just comes to a boil. When it begins to boil, pour it over the chocolate, cover the bowl, and let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Remove the lid and whisk in the chocolate until it is completely melted and has a ganache-like consistency. Pour it into the cooled tart shell and smooth with a spatula.
2. Meanwhile, warm the peanut butter in the microwave or on the stove until it is slightly runny. Pour it over the chocolate ganache, and drag a butter knife through it to create swirls. Chill for at least 10-15 minutes to set. Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!