Ritz Nutella Peanut Butter Brownies

When I was a kid, one of my favorite was Ritz crackers dipped in peanut butter and Nutella. You dip on cracker in peanut butter and one in Nutella and then smoosh them together. It was like heaven. Coming home from school and eating what was probably wayyy to many of those little sandwiches.

I still love the combination, I just don't have it as much because I've learned there are probably some healthier after-school snack options. And because my tastes have gotten a smidge moe sophisticated, I decided to turn the wonderful combination into a delicious baked good. And I think I succeeded. Because These. Brownies. Are. Downright. AH-mazing. 

I looked to the Momofuku cookbook for this, because I knew they had a Ritz crumb. And even a recipe to turn that into a Ritz crust. But there's was just plain. So I added peanut butter. because you can never have enough peanut butter. I just replaced some of the butter with melty peanut butter.

And then I chose these Nutella brownies that Molly found, and those things are good. They are like eating a slightly gooier form of Nutella. But still a brownie. It's hard to explain, but I shouldn't need to because you should just go make it yourself.

But the ganache situation is what I was most excited about. It's Ritz ganache. RITZ. GANACHE. I would never have thought such a thing possible. In the Momofuku cookbook, there was a recipe for graham crust ganache, so I just substituted Ritz crumbs for graham cracker crumbs and voila! One of the most delicious combinations since the Rtiz peanut butter Nutella sandwich itself.

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It really pulled it all together and made the Ritz the dominating flavro in these. Because my first attempt at combing these three flavors involved a Ritz Cracker cake. That was okay, but... It was kind of just like butter cake. It wasn't Ritz-y enough. There is just some quality to a Ritz cracker that is more than just butter. Maybe it's the salt. I'm not sure. But this ganache did it.

I served these for a party we were having at our house, and I'm pretty sure that literally every single adult had seconds. I had thirds. The only ones who didn't like it were the kids. Maybe it was just a little to out there for them? I'm not sure. It definitely appeals to your inner child, but maybe it appeals to that slightly-grown-up version of your inner child. like the inner child we have that's really how we view our inner child from our grown-up perspective. You know what I mean? maybe not. I'm trying to be too deep I guess. Maybe I should just end this be saying these were some of the best brownies I've ever eaten.

-Audrey

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Ritz Nutella Peanut Butter Brownies

For the Peanut Butter Ritz crust:

1 sleeve Ritz crackers

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup milk powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter, melted

3 tablespoons peanut butter, melted

For the brownies:

1 cup Nutella

2 eggs

10 tbsp plain flour

Pinch of salt

1 tsp instant coffee, finely ground

For the ganache:

1 recipe Ritz Crumb (below)

1/3 cup milk

1/2-1 teaspoon salt (depending on how salty you want it)

Directions:

For the crust:

Pour Ritz crackers into a bowl and crush them with your hands. They don't have to be very small and it's okay if the crumbs are uneven. Add the milk powder, sugar, and salt and toss to mix. Melt the peanut butter and butter together in the microwave and whisk together. Add the melted butters to the dry ingredients and toss to coat. Press into an 8x8 or 9x9 pan and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before putting brownie batter on it.

For the brownies:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a mixing bowl, combine the Nutella and eggs. Add the salt and coffee.

Mix in the flour until it is just incorporated.

Pour the batter onto the crust and spread it out evenly.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the center is just set and the edges begin to crack.

For the ganache:

Prepare the Ritz Crumb (recipe below) and then blend it with the milk and the salt until smooth and homogenous. Spread on the brownies when they are cool, and try to use quickly after making it, or store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

 

Ritz Crumb

1 1/2 cups Ritz cracker crumbs (about one and a half sleeves)

1/4 cup milk powder

2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted

1/4 cup heavy cream

Food processor the Ritz crackers until they are like graham cracker crumbs and very even. 

Toss the crumbs with the milk powder, sugar, and salt with your hands to evenly distribute your dry ingredients.

Whisk the butter and heavy cream together. Add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. Use immediately in the ganache recipe.

 

Crumb, ganache, and crust adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar; brownies adapted from Butter Baking