Well, I’m in love. Yes, these petits fours are that good – they might even be the best dessert-type thing I’ve ever made. No joke. I’m realizing that these in fact may be 4 of my favourite ingredients; I’ve definitely combined them on more than one occasion! (Fyi, check out these peanut butter caramel brownies if you love chocolatepeanutbuttercaramel as much as I do). Next thing you know, I’ll pull a Maria and compose a song on the fly and dance around the kitchen with my mixer and whisk.
I’ve always been somewhat enchanted with the idea of petits fours: they’re just so cute and dainty! But all the ones I’ve seen look like such a lot of work, and it always seems most appropriate to have a variety, and then you get stuck making hundred of different tiny like delicacies, and really…I have a life. But these…these are perfect. You’re obviously not going to get a variety of different sorts of petits fours from this one recipe, but they’re quite rich and I find the caramel makes them a bit less dainty and more…assertive. Ergo if you had a whole plate of petits fours this one would probably drown out all the other ones because it’s so good, and you don’t want the other petits fours to feel bad, do you?
This recipe is super quick (under half an hour including cleanup), relatively easy, involves no baking, and maybe max 10 min of stove time. The worst part is that the caramel tends to solidify so you have to be relatively quick on your feet, but you’ll want to eat these right away anyway so no use just standing around!
*Note: the caramel is SUPER STICKY. So tasty, but my muffin cup method wasn’t really adequate to handle the stickiness situation. Be prepared for ooey gooey delights.
– chocolate wafer biscuits, crushed, about 1 cup
– 1/4 cup butter, melted
– 2/3 cup white sugar
– 1/3 cup brown sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1 Tbsp corn syrup
– 2-3 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk (with what’s left, make Vietnamese coffee!)
– 1 Tbsp peanut or nut butter (I used “nuts of the forest” coconut butter, whatever that means)
– 1 Tbsp bourbon
– 1 tsp butter, solid
– sea salt, for sprinkling (you can’t omit this, the salt is crucial to avoid oversweetness)
– mini muffin tin and muffin liners
1. Crunch up the biscuits in the food processor, or if you’ve had a really awful day, in a ziploc with your hands. Add in the melted butter in 2 additions and whir it around; you may not need all of the butter, so check after adding about 2/3 of it. You are looking for a texture of wet sand, damp and will hold together when squeezed but not dripping butter.
2. Put about 1 tsp of the cookie crumbs in each lined mini muffin well, and press it down with the end of a wooden spoon – you want this to be very compact. Put in freezer while getting on with the caramel. You could try to spray the muffin liners with Pam to avoid a sticky situation later with the caramel, or even omit the liners and spray the tin directly if you wanted. I didn’t do either and just got caramel all over my fingers (and face) when I ate this. Reasonable trade off to me :)
3. Put both sugars, the vanilla, the corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water in a pot and put on stove around medium-heat. Bring to a boil and, keeping a watchful eye, let it boil for about 5 minutes. You want this to become somewhat thick but it won’t be caramel-thick yet. You’ll know it’s ready for the next step when the bubbles start getting bigger and rising up the pot, like this:
4. Turn off the heat! Add the bourbon and 2 Tbsp of the condensed milk. If you really love condensed milk (like me!) add in the extra Tbsp. Turn the heat back on and whisk constantly for 3-5 minutes. It should be getting thicker. When the mixture starts to boil again, add in the peanut butter and continue whisking until it’s incorporated. Turn off the heat and be quick about this next step, because the caramel will start to solidify right away:
5. Take the muffin tins out of the freezer (should have been in there for about 10 min at this point) and fill each to the top with the caramel. There’s no cooking or expanding going on, so you can go almost right to the top. Sprinkle the top with a bit of sea salt, large size crystals are very pretty and go really well. Work quickly! The caramel will set super fast. Pop muffin tins in fridge if you are going to wait to eat them, or in freezer for about 20 min if you want them right away. If you leave them in the freezer too long, they will get too hard to eat so you don’t want to actually freeze them. However you do it, the caramel is going to be super sticky and luscious. :)
I know it sounds like a lot of sugar in the caramel, but there’s none added to the chocolate biscuits and the salt on top just makes it all come together. This is a sweet treat that will disappear right quick, I can guarantee – which is why it’s lucky that it’s an absolute cinch to make! No baking, minimal ingredients, minimal prep, ready in under half an hour (including clean up). My idea of the perfect dessert!
Give these a go the next time you are looking for a sweet treat or a dinner party dessert – as long as your guests are the kind who don’t mind getting their fingers a bit messy…or you could even serve it with a spoon. Can’t wait to see what you think! Stay delicious folks ;)