Happy March everyone! I know we skipped our February post last month, but we’ve had a lot of recipe testing and food photography going on. If you haven’t seen our Instagram feed lately, take a look at our new aesthetic featuring lots of delicious treats.
This recipe has been a long time coming because it’s the dessert I get the most orders for, hands down. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll see why. A crunchy, buttery crust filled with light and fluffy peanut butter cream and topped with a thick layer of dark chocolate ganache. Anyone drooling yet? It’s like the best peanut butter cup you’ve ever had, only giant.
Tips for this Tart
While this recipe can certainly be made in a pie plate, or any other similarly sized dish, a tart pan is going to work best. Tart pans have a removable bottom that make slicing and serving this crumbly treat much easier.
Finely ground graham cracker crumbs will yield a tighter crust. I pulse a food processor on high for a few minutes until it resembles coarse sand. You can also buy a full box of graham cracker crumbs (already ground) to make life easier.
Don’t go overboard mixing your filling. When folding the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture, be gentle to avoid deflating. The filling should be light and fluffy.
Ganache can seem tricky, but this version is simple. The key is to make sure the cream is hot enough to fully melt the chocolate, or else you’ll be left with chunks. If this happens, just simmer some water in a saucepan, place the mixing bowl on top and keep whisking while it heats up and melts more. You know your ganache has come together when its smooth and has a shine.
Refrigerate overnight before serving! Everything about this tart will be better if it’s cold and firm. If it gets to room temperature, the filling will ooze when you try to slice and its a huuuge mess.
All-Star Cocoa Brownies
- 10 tbsp butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, cold
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- In a medium heatproof bowl, place the butter, sugars, cocoa powder, and salt. Set the bowl atop a small pot of boiling water. Stir the mixture occasionally until the butter is melted and you can't keep your finger in the batter when dipping to test.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and allow to cool until warm. The batter will look gritty, this is normal and will smooth out once the eggs and flour are added.
- Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing very well after each addition with a wooden spoon.
- Add the flour and mix until no longer visible. Then beat vigorously for 40 strokes.
- Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes our slightly moist, about 20-25 minutes. This took exactly 27 minutes for me, so keep an eye out starting at the 20 minute mark.
- Cool completely before cutting. For clean edges, firm the brownies in the fridge or freezer. I also found it helpful to clean the knife when too much brownie stuck to it.
- 1 3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
- 8 T unsalted butter (melted)
- 1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
- 4 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 c. whipped cream (fresh)
- 1 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
- 1/3 c. heavy cream
- 2 T butter (room temperature)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- sea salt flakes (optional)
- Heat the oven to350 °F
- Combine fine graham cracker crumbs with melted butter in a medium bowl, stir to evenly distribute butter.
- Dump mixture into 9 inch tart pan and press evenly along base and up sides. Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned.
- To make the filling, beat peanut butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer until smooth and light. Add in powdered sugar a bit at a time.
- Take 1/4 c. of the whipped cream and stir into peanut butter mixture. Then add in the remaining whipped cream and fold in gently until evenly combined with no streaks.
- Scoop filling out onto cooled crust and evenly distribute with an offset spatula.
- To make the ganache, add the chocolate and butter to a medium bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until simmering. Remove from heat and pour onto the chocolate, then add vanilla. Cover and let sit for 4-5 minutes.
- Whisk the chocolate and cream mixture vigorously until a smooth, shiny ganache forms. Pour onto tart and smooth out with an offset spatula.
- Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight for best results. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes if desired.
Keep covered refrigerated for up to 1 week.