Peanut Butter Pretzel Parfait
Creamy, crunchy, gooey, and chewy. Sweet, salty, dark, yet light. Chef Zach’s peanut butter pretzel parfait is easy to throw together, but the results are wide-ranging. It is so rich, but it’s difficult to put down the spoon.
• For the caramel sauce:
1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups of vanilla’d white sugar (sugar that has been stored with scraped vanilla bean[s])
2/3 cup of water
1 tbs. of vanilla extract
Combine water and sugar in a heavy, thick-bottom saucepan. Heat on medium-high for 7-9 minutes until you achieve a medium to medium-dark amber color. Do not stir during these 7-9 minutes.
Stirring constantly now, slowly add the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the hardened caramel is smooth and dissolved, and the sauce starts to thicken.
• For the chocolate ganache:
12 oz. of dark chocolate
8 oz. of heavy whipping cream
Scald the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until a skin forms on top of the cream and the cream is hot. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate in a bowl. Let sit for 2 minutes to start to melt the chocolate. Stir with a whisk to combine and make creamy.
• For the peanut butter filling:
28 oz. of creamy peanut butter
16 oz. of cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 cup of vanilla’d white sugar, plus 1/4 cup
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 tsp. of vanilla extract
In the bowl of a stand mixer, put the peanut butter, cream cheese, 1 cup of white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
Mix on a medium-low speed until well combined. Set aside.
Whip together whipped cream with the remaining sugar until soft peaks form. Fold half of this cream into the peanut butter mixture to lighten it up. Once that’s well folded, fold in the remaining cream. Set aside.
• For the crunchy layers:
One 7 oz. bag of pretzels
1 cup of roasted peanuts
Pulse the pretzels in a food processor, not to turn them in to complete dust but to break them up. A tip is to use the freshest pretzels possible, so look at expiration dates. Crush the peanuts similarly, but do not mix the peanuts with the pretzels.
• To put it all together:
In your serving vessel of choice, begin with a layer of crushed pretzels. Spoon on caramel, followed by chocolate ganache and sprinkled with peanuts. Add a liberal amount of peanut butter filling, to be covered with more pretzels. Put on a bit more caramel, then some more peanuts, and a final layer of ganache. For more defined layers, let sit in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before adding each new layer. Chill before serving, but no longer than 2-3 hours so that the pretzels maintain their texture.