Friday, January 2, 2015

No-Bake Triple Layer Pretzel Squares

My first blog post for 2015! 
My Inspiration
Bill just happened to come home while I was watching Trisha Yearwood cook on her show, Trisha's Southern Kitchen. Trisha was making her layered dessert, No-Bake Chocolate-Pretzel-Peanut Butter Squares. You already know what happened next. 

My sweetie says," Boy, that sure looks good! Honey, do you think you could make that?" I am chuckling as I write this because he didn't know all of the ingredients were sitting on the pantry shelves.  

Shopping Tip
In November and December, I always stock up on holiday sale ingredients such as: pretzel rods, mini-pretzels, semisweet chocolate chips, cream cheese, and a variety of instant pudding mixes. 

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
In the original recipe, the chocolate layer is made with milk chocolate chips. However, I thought semi-sweet chocolate chips would give a slight hint of bitter to contrast with the crunchy, creamy, banana, and peanut butter flavors. 

A Banana Cream-Cream Cheese Layer
In my triple layer version of Trisha's dessert, the top layer is banana cream pudding and cream cheese. How decadent does that sound?

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted
  • 1/2 stick of butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups of pretzel rods, crushed plus about 1/4 cup to use for topping
  • 2 1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 -3.4 oz package of instant banana cream pudding
  • 1-8 oz. package cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup of undiluted, evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp. clear vanilla extract
Directions
  • Break pretzel rods into pieces and measure with a dry measuring cup. I used a mini-food chopper to crush the pretzels. Put the crushed pretzels into a medium bowl. 
  • Add 1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, 1 1/2 sticks of melted butter, and 1 cup of creamy peanut butter.
  • Stir the pretzel mixture until it is blended well.
  • Put the pretzel mixture into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch casserole dish. You do not need to grease the dish because of the butter in the pretzel mixture.
  • Spread the pretzel mixture into an even layer in the bottom of the casserole dish. Do not worry if you think the mixture is too loose, or thin. The mixture will tighten up, or thicken, on it's own.
  • Next, put the semi-sweet chocolate chips and remaining 1/4 cup of peanut butter into a microwavable bowl.
  • Microwave the chocolate chips and peanut butter for 30 seconds, then stir. 
  • Microwave the chocolate chip mixture for another 30 seconds, then stir until the mixture is smooth and blended.
  • If the mixture will not become smooth after stirring 2-3 minutes, microwave for 10 seconds. The mixture should be nice and smooth this time.
  • Spread the chocolate peanut butter mixture evenly over the pretzel layer, using light pressure.
  • Cube the room temperature cream cheese and 1/2 stick butter into a medium size bowl. 
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until it is blended and smooth.
  • Add the 1/2 tsp. clear vanilla, 1 cup undiluted, evaporated milk, and 1 cup of powdered sugar.
  • Beat the mixture until it is just blended, then add the package of instant banana cream pudding to the bowl.
  • Beat the cream cheese/pudding mixture on low until it is smooth and thick. 
  • Spread the cream cheese/pudding mixture evenly over the chocolate peanut butter layer.
I crushed a few more pretzels and sprinkled the crumbs as a topping.You can see this in the first and last pictures of this post. 
  • Cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

Bonham Taste Test

1. Bill and I each ate a piece of the triple layer pretzel squares after it had been refrigerated for an hour. 

2. We loved the crunchy, chocolate, peanut butter flavor, but the peanut butter in the pretzel layer and the chocolate layer overwhelmed the banana flavor

3. We ate another square the next day. The peanut butter flavor had mellowed, and the banana flavor was much stronger. 

Taste Test Conclusion
The Triple Layer Pretzel Squares need to be refrigerated overnight to let the banana cream flavor develop fully, and to let the peanut butter flavor mellow.
Adaptations for Next Time
I like peanut butter, but the amount called for in the original recipe was too much for me. This is just my personal preference. There is not anything wrong with the recipe. I am just adapting it to suit my own taste buds next time. 

1. Decrease peanut butter to one cup. Put 3/4 cup in the pretzel mixture and 1/4 cup with the chocolate chips. 

2. Sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on top of the chocolate/peanut butter layer. Again this is a personal preference. I wanted to taste a little more salt and I like sea salt and chocolate together.

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