Ditch the candy bar and indulge in a piece of my delectable Peanut Butter Fudge! The naturally smooth texture of this universally loved pantry staple gets transformed into a decadent sweet-tooth fix sure to please any lover of our precious peanut.
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We all have our favorite snacks – maybe it’s a handful of salty popcorn, a bag of chocolatey M&Ms, or some crisp, cheesy crackers. Personally, I love to sneak into the silverware drawer, reach into the pantry, and dive into a jar of peanut butter with my spoon.
There’s nothing quite like the sweet, creamy texture of this lunchbox legend, and it makes me sad to think about all the generations of kiddos who missed out on this wonderful peanutty spread before it was invented.
Peanut butter has actually been around a long time, like since the Aztecs, at least in the form of crushed peanuts.
In 1895, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (yes, the cereal guy) patented a process of making peanut paste as a way of providing a protein-rich alternative for his patients who struggled with solid food. It also ended up being a pretty handy protein source for soldiers.
The version of the delectable stuff we like to slather on bread or use as a dip for chocolate bars was introduced in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair.
Over the years, peanut butter has gotten smoother, and more homogenized, and today roughly three jars of this wonderful spread are sold every second. (By the way, November is National Peanut Butter Lover’s month, in case you need another reason to enjoy a spoonful.)
I think it’s safe to say peanut butter is very popular in households across the U.S., with the only division being along the lines of the “crunchy” vs. “creamy” camps.
There’s only one other thing that satisfies quite like a spoonful of peanut butter, and that’s a generous piece of my easy microwave Peanut Butter Fudge.
If you’re used to an old-fashioned peanut butter fudge recipe, with multiple ingredients including milk, sugar, and corn syrup, you’ll be shocked by how easy my version comes together. It has more peanut butter than many of the old recipes (which is a win in my book), a much shorter ingredient list, and you can let that candy thermometer continue collecting dust in your kitchen drawer.
If you haven’t tried microwave fudge before, it’s truly a culinary miracle, a tried-and-true method to produce a smooth, buttery confection that satisfies your sweet tooth in the most perfect way.
My recipe is a 4 ingredient Peanut Butter Fudge that’s ready for the fridge in just about five minutes and designed to maximize the peanut flavor.
There are other, possibly simpler recipes, like the easy peanut butter fudge marshmallow creme version, and even a 3 ingredient peanut butter fudge recipe (if 4 is just too many, I suppose). The latter uses condensed milk, peanut butter, and white chocolate chips which is undoubtedly a creamy concoction, but I don’t like the way the milky, almost caramelized cocoa butter flavors compete with the peanut butter. The 3 ingredient version is also a little firmer than the delicate fudge my recipe produces.
Fewer ingredients isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Most chocolate fudge recipes use milk, either in the whole, evaporated, or condensed variety, but you can make this Peanut Butter Fudge without milk.
Don’t get me wrong. Dairy produces great results, and many of my own fudge recipes start with condensed milk, but you don’t have to make microwave peanut butter fudge with sweetened condensed milk.
One of the main functions of milk in fudge recipes is keeping the sugar crystals that form during the cooking process nice and small, ultimately yielding the characteristic smooth texture that’s the hallmark of a brag-worthy fudge.
As an ingredient, milk is super important when you’re using chocolate, but it’s not necessary when you’re using naturally creamy peanut butter.
To make beautiful, silky smooth Peanut Butter Fudge sweetened condensed milk isn’t required, and that means one less ingredient in my recipe (and less time from microwave to mouth).
I also prefer not to make my microwave Peanut Butter Fudge with granulated sugar. It’s definitely another standard ingredient in fudge recipes, but it can be particularly challenging for a microwave version. We love how fast this fudge comes together, but it means there’s less time to make sure the sugar granules get dissolved completely.
Making Peanut Butter Fudge with powdered sugar eliminates that extra level of care in making this candy and makes the recipe a little more fool-proof. (Powdered sugar also has a little anti-caking agent in it that binds the fudge mixture a bit and makes it even creamier.)
This recipe makes a nice soft fudge, basically with just enough powdered sugar to keep the peanut butter in finger-food form, so it’s best stored in the fridge and served cold. You can also double it easily, for sharing and/or gift-giving, and press the Peanut Butter Fudge into a (prepared) 9” x 13” pan. This is particularly useful info if, like me, you plan on hoarding a bunch for yourself.
Butter – I like regular (salted) butter in this recipe because it works so well with the peanut butter. Since this recipe doesn’t contain any milk, you can also substitute margarine or vegan butter to make a dairy-free treat.
Nuts (if you must) – I like to use creamy peanut butter in my quick and easy Peanut Butter Fudge recipe because I don’t want any crunchiness to get in the way of its heavenly texture. You can add some crunch, though, if you want. Just stir in ¾ cup of chopped peanuts along with the vanilla and powdered sugar, or press some into the top of the fudge before placing it into the fridge.
Ganache – Hey! You got chocolate in my peanut butter! Since this fudge works best served right out of the fridge, you might as well take advantage of that and bump up the richness with some chocolate. Combine 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chips and ½ cup of cream in a double boiler and heat until the chocolate is melted. Stir in a teaspoon of vanilla, then pour over the fudge. This will make a nice thick layer of chocolate – leaving you with something similar to buckeye balls and let anxious candy consumers enjoy the wonderful pairing of sweet peanut butter and slightly bitter chocolate.
Source: Alton Brown
Peanut Butter Fudge
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cups smooth peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 pound powdered sugar
- Line an 8X8 inch pan with aluminum foil, overlapping the edges of the pan 2 inches. (This will make for easy removal and clean up). Spray nonstick cooking spray on the foil. Set aside.
- Add the butter and peanut to a large microwave-safe bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Poke holes in the plastic to vent steam. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Carefully pull back plastic and stir to combine. Recover with plastic and microwave for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and powdered sugar to a bowl and stir to combine, until the mixture becomes dull and loses its shine. Don't overbeat. Spread in prepared pan, use a rubber spatula to even out the top of the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set. About 2 hours. Cuts best when it's been out of the fridge 10-15 minutes.
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