Have you ever had a brilliant idea? Like something just pops into your head, and you go, “Wow! Why didn’t I ever think of that before?” That happened to me the other day. It wasn’t of the “end world hunger” or “create world peace” type of brilliant ideas, but I thought it was pretty good. I had the idea to make chocolate peanut butter shortbread by using my millionaire’s shortbread recipe and substituting peanut butter for the caramel.
Great idea, right? I thought so, too. (Although if I could figure out how to end world hunger or create world peace I’d be really happy.) The next step was finding a suitable recipe to borrow the peanut butter filling from. At first I thought I might use the filling from the buckeye brownies that I had made. But I started looking through my to do list, you know, that list of recipes you accumulate when browsing the internet that you want to make one day. You have one too, right? Well, in that list I found a better candidate. The ingredients were easier, and it had a great tip about making sure the peanut butter layer stuck to the other layers, something the buckeye brownies had a problem with. The recipe was similar to millionaire’s shortbread anyway, so I figured it would be a good fit.
So I started off making the shortbread. I’ve done it like a million times ( 😉 ), so easy peasy. While that was baking I made the peanut butter layer. I decided not to use a mixer for it, but rather to do it the old-fashioned way and mix it by hand. (I know, roughing it.) It was pretty straightforward. To make the mixing easier, I mostly melted the butter instead of just softening it. Then I just mixed all the ingredients together and put it in the fridge to chill.
Back to the shortbread recipe, I needed to melt some chocolate. The recipe I use calls for 190 grams of chocolate. But the secret from the other recipe for gluing down the peanut butter layer was to use more melted chocolate.
I went with 240 grams. Why 240? I used a very complex scientific principle called… eyeballing it. (Super extra bonus points if you get the reference.) That recipe needed 1/4 cup of chocolate for gluing it down, so I figured I needed 1/4 cup extra. I looked at how much chocolate might fit into 1/4 cup and I weighed it.
Then I melted the chocolate as per usual. I ended up spreading about 2-3 tbsps of the melted chocolate on top of the shortbread as the glue. Then I spread the peanut butter on top, partially using utensils, partially using my hands. The other recipe called for refrigerating it after adding the chocolate glue layer, but before adding the peanut butter layer. I didn’t do that. I just added the peanut butter right away. So some of the chocolate oozed up a bit from underneath. I wouldn’t know till later if it stuck properly.
After I put the peanut butter layer on, I spread the rest of the chocolate on top. I forgot to take a picture after the peanut butter layer, so I took one as I was just starting to put the top chocolate layer on. Then I put it in the fridge overnight, as it was already late.
Overall, it was fairly easy to make. Two thirds of it were the same as the millionaire’s shortbread. And doing the peanut butter instead of the caramel didn’t make it any more challenging.
So the next night we tried it. I took it out of the fridge to let it get to room temperature before cutting it. I love the shapes in the corners caused by the bunching up of the parchment paper. When I started cutting it up, I realized that it looks kinda like a candy bar with a big fluffy center. I also noticed that there was a lot of peanut butter filling in comparison to everything else.
And how was it? Well, first of all, it was delicious. And second of all, the peanut butter is the star of the show. In the millionaire’s shortbread it’s complementary, with all three layers working together. But in this one, it’s all about the peanut butter. It overpowered the other layers, to the point where I didn’t taste much of the shortbread or chocolate. It was delicious, but it was basically a vehicle for the peanut butter. And the chocolate seemed to work well as glue, as the whole thing stuck together well.
My wife described it as either a “Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on steroids” cookie, or as a softer and creamier quadruple decker Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on top of shortbread.
If I made it again, I would put in less of the peanut butter layer (probably half as much). I would also probably add a little bit more chocolate. I think if it was more evened out, the three layers would work better together. As it is, the other two layers are kinda jealous of the peanut butter, and that’s not good for anyone.
So, I encourage you to try this recipe. The first reason is that it’s delicious, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. The second reason is a little more selfish, in that I hope you’ll iron out the kinks. In any case, let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear your results. And if you have frankenstein creations of your own that you want to share, feel free to let me know that, too.