Friday, March 20, 2015

Peanut Butter Crunch Bonbons

Today is the first day of Spring!  For me, that means flowers and gorgeous fruit in abundance.  Strawberries are appearing and soon there will be a burst of the bright color of stone fruit in our markets.  After months of the brown earth tones of nuts, spice and chocolate, we have the promise of some bright and beautiful pastries up ahead.

Sweet and salty snacks in the form of peanuts, pretzels and chocolate always appear high on the list for Americans.  So why not put them all together into one gooey little bon bon?

What is a bon bon, anyway?  The term bon in France simply means “good.”  And in France a bon bon refers to just about any little candy.  But in America, they are usually a confection of some sort dipped in chocolate or small scoops of ice cream dipped in chocolate.

This recipe rolls together the happy combination of peanut butter and pretzels with the help of some brown sugar and vanilla.  Then it’s a quick dunk in melted chocolate and voila!  You have a very simple and delicious little bite that can be stored in your freezer for whenever the snacking mood strikes.

Bench notes:
- This is a bit of a messy process.  But that’s what makes it kind of fun.  Keep the filling well-chilled at all times so it doesn't get super sticky.
- I portioned the bon bons with a truffle scoop. 
- I like dark bittersweet chocolate (72%) but use semisweet (62%) for a sweeter version.
- Let the melted chocolate cool just enough so it won’t melt the peanut butter filling when you dip them.
- Garnish the tops of the bon bons with crushed peanuts or a light sprinkle of salt.  

Peanut Butter Crunch Bonbons
Makes about 42 truffle-sized bonbons

1 cup (3 oz) salted pretzels
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) salted peanuts
3/4 cup (6 3/4 oz) peanut butter  
3 oz (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter @ room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (2 3/4 oz) dark brown sugar, packed                           
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
9 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment.

Crush the pretzels into smallish pieces and coarsely chop the peanuts.  Set aside.

Combine the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth and fully combined.  Fold in the pretzels and peanuts.  Chill until the mixture is very firm.

Scoop or shape the peanut butter mixture into 1” balls.  Chill.

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of about 1" of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.  As the mixture melts, stir to combine.  Remove from heat and cool for just a couple of minutes or so.  Using a fork, dip each bon bon in the melted chocolate, letting it drip for a moment and scraping the bottom of the fork against the edge of the bowl to remove excess.  Place on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet to set up.  Chill until firm.

Place the bon bons in a single layer in an airtight container and store in your refrigerator or freeze for longer storage.


Kate said...

Mm, need these little beauties!
Love the combo... if it weren't even messier a dunk in some caramel would be welcomed here too!
Happy Spring!!

pastry studio said...

I like the way you think, Kate. I thought to use dark brown sugar to elicit some caramel notes, so we're on the same page!

Thank you and a very happy spring to you as well!

pastry studio said...
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Susie said...

Another winner from Pastry Studio. I made these last night and you were right: messy, but fun to make. And essentially, very simple. I have "warm" hands and found putting the dough in the freezer from time to time really helped. Thanks so much for a great recipe.

pastry studio said...

Bravo, Susie! I also have "hot hands" as we say in the professional kitchen, which is a sort of curse when working with pastry but the freezer works a charm in situations like this. Thrilled you enjoyed the fruits of your labor and thanks very much for your feedback.

Happy spring!