peanut butter sandwiches. for dessert.

when i was young i think i knew exactly one person with food allergies. it was a kid at camp who couldn't eat the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that got packed for us when we went on field trips. if i recall correctly, no one made a big deal of it. least of all the poor kid with the peanut allergy. a few years later i remember reading about how some airline was banning the sad little bags of complimentary peanuts that used to get handed out before the airlines started making travelers pay $9 for bags of food that have to be rationed exceptionally well to make them last the length of any given flight. by my calculation, one would have to eat approximately 2 1/5 pretzels an hour to make the provisions last from NY to LA. anyway, according to the story i read, peanuts were being banned because someone with a serious airborne allergy to them inhaled peanut air on an airplane and nearly died. or something like that. yikes.  

but it's not just peanuts. it's gluten, too. i don't think i even ever heard the word gluten until i was 16 years old, and i absolutely can't recall knowing anyone with an allergy to it. don't get me wrong, i'm extremely sympathetic of people who suffer from allergies. as a lifetime seasonal allergy sufferer, from a family of lifetime seasonal allergy sufferers, i get what it's like to feel tired and runny and puffy as soon as the winds change. i also know what it's like to have a serious allergic reaction to an unidentified substance i may or may not have ingested. this happened to me at two, yes, TWO different weddings, both of which, coincidentally (?) took place in ohio, and once on a tuesday in NY. the NY one was scariest of all and i ended up in the hospital for however many hours they make a person wait after being shot with an epipen because i had experienced full-on anaphylaxis, my tongue had swelled so much it had obstructed my breathing, and my blood pressure had dropped dangerously low. the single bright note of all of these horribly terrifying and inconvenient experiences was the effect on my lips, which looked sumptuously angelina jolie-like for about two days after each incident. so sympathy for allergies, i've got. what i don't have is information. what on earth is happening to kids today?! why do so many children have so many complicated allergies?! i work at a community center with a preschool and afterschool and i don't think i can begin to count the number of children with food related allergies. this one can't eat chocolate. that one can't have dairy. no eggs for this one. peanuts and nuts are banned from the facility entirely. and gluten? forget about it! you can only imagine what the preschool bake sale was like last year...

i actually pride myself on accommodation baking. i love coming up with delicious desserts for my vegan friend josh that don't involve flax seeds, and i've even gotten pretty good at gluten free treats for my friend andy, like flourless chocolate cake and celiac friendly "oreo" truffles. but every once in a while it's nice to just go all out. to use good old fashioned, thick, creamy, velvety peanut butter. and not worry about killing anyone.

today i went to a really delicious, lovely brunch to celebrate my friend sean's 30th birthday. since he's well within the range of the generation not afflicted by peanut allergies, i thought it was safe to make these indulgent little treats for him.

1 cup smooth peanut butter
2 1/2 tbs. butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (i used light brown)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 bag chocolate chips (i used a combination of milk and dark)
to make the pretzel bites:
1. melt 2 tbs. of butter and add mix it with the peanut butter.
2. add both sugars and the vanilla and beat with a hand mixer. the consistency should be kind of paste-like and dry enough to make little balls out of. if it's seems to wet and sticky after adding all the ingredients, slowly add a little bit more of both kinds of sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
3. roll the peanut butter into teaspoon-size balls and press down in between two pretzels to create a sandwich. freeze the mini sandwiches for about 20 minutes.
4. cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. melt the chocolate chips with 1/2 tbs. butter. when the chips are fully melted and smooth, dip the mini sandwiches in so they're halfway covered with chocolate then place each one flat on the parchment paper and return them to the freezer until the chocolate sets, which takes about an hour.

alternate endings:
1. bring out the salty side of peanut butter by sprinkling some sea salt on the chocolate before it sets.
2. prevent yourself from eating the leftover melted chocolate by pouring it into a plastic bag and cutting a little tiny piece of the corner off the bag before squeezing the it over the pretzels to make fun squiggly designs.
3. get really fancy by doing alternative ending 2 with white chocolate.


  1. Nani --these look amazing! I am definitely trying this recipe as soon as possible. Love your blog too! PS Want to come over and meet Izzy Rose sometime soon?

  2. yay!!! and yes! i really really want to meet gansta izzy rose!! i'm around and not working on weds and thurs...

  3. AMAZING! (plus...they can be done with gluten free pretzels and soy "peanut" butter for both Andy and me!) ;-)

  4. definitely! i made these for andy's birthday last year using gluten free pretzels and i'm sure soy butter will work beautifully!!!


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