Peanut, Banana, and Caramel Brownies

I would be exaggerating if I said my favourite thing about our trip to Seville was the peanut, banana, and toffee brownie I ate at Regadera. But it was definitely among my top five favourite things of the holiday. That and the kitten we met. And, uh, the architecture. Obviously.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to recreate it exactly at home. Part of the joy of that particular dessert was delivered in the form of an incredible banana ice cream, and I don’t have an ice cream maker. But I couldn’t get the idea of a peanut, banana, and caramel brownie out of my head. Yes, it seemed like a lot of ingredients to throw at a brownie. But I know that chocolate and banana are good together. And that banana and peanut butter are good together. And that banana and caramel are good together. I mean, it at least didn’t seem like a terrible idea.


I’ve made chocolate banana bread many times before, so I was hoping that the bananas in brownies idea would work in a similar way – that the bananas would make the brownies even more moist, dense, and fudgy. And, happily, this is exactly what they did.

These brownies are undoubtedly a bit much for some people. There are plenty of purists who like their brownies plain, perhaps with one addition if they’re going wild. But, as you might be able to tell if you’ve read this blog at all, I’m not really one of those people.



If this is all a bit much for you, you could skip out one of the peanut/banana/caramel triumvirate. But I promise it’s tasty.

Brownies keep really excellently well in the freezer. You can make a batch, cut them, freeze them, then whip one out and microwave it for thirty seconds every time the brownie urge strikes.


200g 70% dark chocolate
140g butter
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g plain flour
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
100g roasted peanuts
3 tbsp peanut butter
5 tbsp salted caramel (buy in a jar or make your own)


  1. Break your chocolate into pieces and chop your butter into rough cubes and place them both in a glass or metal bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Leave them to melt, stirring occasionally. Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 20x20cm square tin.
  2. When your chocolate and butter have completely melted, beat in your sugar (I use an electric hand whisk), followed by your eggs. Add your flour to the mixture and beat that in too. Mix in your bananas, then stir through your peanuts and peanut butter.
  3. Pour the mixture into the tin, smooth the surface, and then dollop your salted caramel on top of the batter and swirl it around with a knife or skewer. Bake for around 25 mins – the salted caramel will sit in a liquidy way on top of the batter and make you think the brownies are not done, but they will firm as they cool.
  4. Normally I advocate eating brownies warm from the pan, and while you absolutely can do that here, they will be very gooey. If I need to slice these neatly or take them anywhere I normally let them chill and firm in the fridge for a couple of hours first.

The Taste Test: Peanut Butter

I’ll be the first to admit that I got a bit carried away with this taste test. It’s peanut butter, okay? It’s special. Some of you will understand and agree, and some of you will think I’ve lost my head. Never mind. We can’t all be right. James is a bit lukewarm about peanut butter, which is probably a good thing, really. His restraining influence is what stops me from having peanut butter at all three meals in a day. I mean, it’s a miraculous ingredient when you think about it. It can be used to good in savoury or sweet dishes. It’s also perfectly lovely on its own. Eaten by the spoonful. From the jar. No, you have a problem.

Anyway. Apart from liking crunchy peanut butter (because obviously), I’m not massively loyal to one particular brand. I like trying out new varieties. This is probably why I got a touch carried away and ended up buying, um, eight samples instead of the usual five. I just kept seeing jars of the stuff everywhere and thinking ‘Ooh, I’ve not tried that one yet!’ I am, unfortunately, a greedy and impulsive food shopper.

It was actually a great call for a taste test though (thanks Phoebe!) because there’s so much variety between different brands of peanut butter. Who knew!? Considering peanut butter is basically just blended peanuts, there’s a lot of different ways to make it, depending on ratios of peanuts to oil to salt. By the end of this taste test, I was slightly lost in the peanut butter wilderness. But very happily so.

As before, I feel I need a rambling disclaimer: obviously, I am doing this in my kitchen and not in a lab and I am not a scientist. These are the opinions of one person – that said, one person who has been trained to taste for quality. Also, the products used in this series are just examples – obviously each supermarket has, say, eight or nine different types of peanut butter or whatever the product may be, and I’m not going to try every single one because what am I, made of money?

Finally, I should highlight that I tasted all the products blind, and at the time of tasting and making my notes I didn’t know which product came from which shop. I sat in one room while my glamorous assistant (er, my husband), prepared the samples in another. Any notes added regarding packaging and so on were only done after blind tasting, when I learned which supermarket had made A, B, C, D, or E.

The Blind Taste Test: Peanut Butter


Peanut Butter
per 100g
Whole Earth
Pip & Nut
Grandessa – Aldi

A – Whole Earth – 8/10

  • Very firm, reasonably dark in colour. Not separating. Crunchy, but with very small pieces of peanut – flakes rather than lumps. Includes little pieces of peanut shell, which give it a nice roasted flavour. Good level of saltiness. Nice peanut butter. Maybe a bit too thick.

B – Sunpat – 7/10

  • Much more golden and visually a bit chunkier than A. The bigger bits of peanut and suspended in a much lighter, creamier mixture, while A was almost a paste. Doesn’t coat your mouth or taste claggy – melts away. Flavour not as nice as A, could be saltier, but lovely texture.

C – Pic’s – 6/10

  • Quite separated – oil puddling on the spoon. Mixture left holding together well. Coats your mouth. Small-ish chunks of peanut. Not quite as much flavour as A and B, not salty enough.

D – Grandessa – Aldi – 7/10

  • Dark golden in colour, holding itself together very well – very firm texture. Creamy, with a nice saltiness. Not too claggy but not disappearing or melting away. Good chunks of peanut. A nice middle ground.

E – Tesco – 6/10

  • Very pale, maybe the palest. Holding itself together well, no separation. Big chunks of peanut. Quite salty, but also a bit sweet, compared to the others. Fairly creamy. Stays in your mouth a little, but not claggy.

F – Pip and Nut – 5/10

  • Interesting – looks completely different to almost all the others. Not just separation, but a very loose texture altogether. The peanuts taste really good, but it’s too runny – you want it to stay in the mouth more. Peanut butter needs more heft than this!

G – Waitrose – 6/10

  • Golden, quite dark, holding itself and keeping shape on spoon well. Both creamy and light, with a good mouth-feel. Not as good a flavour as some of the others, but a nice texture.

H – Meridian- 4/10

  • Big chunks of nut, quite a lot of separation, quite dark. Very claggy, coats the mouth. Not very much flavour – doesn’t taste salty enough, or even strongly enough of peanut.


So my winner here was Whole Earth – near the middle of the road, pricing wise – with honourable mentions to cheaper Sunpat and much cheaper Aldi. I was worried that with eight samples I would be completely overloaded and lose track, but actually, they were all incredibly different.

The interesting thing to note is that, for me at least, this was not a taste test where the most expensive products excelled. Generally, the pricier peanut butter has much nicer packaging, and also boasted more natural ingredients. However (sadly?) healthier here did not equate to tastier. Whatever they put in cheap peanut butter – lots of salt and oil, I’m afraid – just tastes better to me. Maybe I have an unsophisticated palette, but something like Pip and Nut, which had a great flavour, let itself down by being almost watery. You can see very easily from the sample on spoon F – you’d need to ladle this stuff onto your toast rather than spreading it.

Meanwhile, the stuff I thought tasted best – A, B, and D – all held its shape well on the spoon. I don’t know if this is a controversial opinion (I might get comments crying ‘no!’) but I actually like my peanut butter to coat the mouth a bit, and have a bit of weight and texture. If it just melts away then, well, you don’t get to enjoy the delicious peanut taste for long. And that’s sad. In a world so full of disappointment, let’s enjoy the things we do still have power over. Let’s get the cheap, sticky, delicious peanut butter.


The Bake Off Bake Along: Chocolate Peanut Butter Fondants

Ah, pudding week. Always a great time for the bake off bake along, particularly as we come into autumn. The temperature outside is dropping, and staying inside with a fluffy blanket and a selection of puddings seems only right and proper. I am a big fan of the steamed pudding, and I was all set to make one of those. Until the technical challenge came along. And it was chocolate fondants. Or molten chocolate cakes, or whatever Paul is calling them these days. (We’re not even going to talk about the showstopper, obviously).

Anyway, I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to make a chocolate fondant. They are one of my absolute favourite things. And filled with peanut butter? Does life get any better? Don’t answer that. If sitting cross-legged on the living room floor in my pajamas eating chocolate fondant for breakfast at 9am on a Sunday morning is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.


I’m becoming pretty attached to this year’s crop of bakers now. Sophie is adventurous and awesome. She was in the Army and she’s training to be a stuntwoman! Who wouldn’t want to be friends with her? Liam is adorable and funny, and I’m always rooting for him to do well. I adore Julia and I love the unique perspective she brings to things, having been raised in Russia. Yan’s flavours always sound great and I really admire her scientific approach to everything. James seemed like a lovely guy, and I was sad to see him go, but it did feel like his time.


But on to chocolate fondants and the bake off bake along. Sometimes people make a big fuss about chocolate fondants being difficult (especially on MasterChef), but really, they’re just undercooked chocolate cakes. As long as you’ve got a good recipe and you know your oven, you’re golden.

On the show, they made their cakes with peanut butter centres, which I am all for. Chocolate and peanut butter are a winning combination. However, I also had some salted caramel left from last week, so I thought I’d do half the fondants with peanut butter and half with salted caramel. I did not regret this decision. I also added some simple berries to bring a bit of contrast and sharpness to the dessert.

Happy, happy days, my friends. Happy days. It’s times like this when I love the bake off bake along.



My favourite recipe for these is from the great Nigella, and I’ve not changed a great deal because her ratios are perfect.


You can skip the contrasting centres and the berries if you like, but both are excellent if you have them lying around

You will need 6 individual pudding moulds, or darioles, for this recipe. It’s really not a tricky thing to bake, but I appreciate that not everyone has darioles. Sadly, I don’t think normal ramekins would work for this, because they’re not as deep, so the puddings would be likely to cook through and you wouldn’t get the molten centre. Darioles aren’t expensive though, if you’d like to have a go at this recipe and you don’t have any to hand…

You can also serve these with cream or ice cream, but honestly, with the liquid centres I don’t think you need anything extra.

This recipe makes six individual puddings. If you don’t need six at once, keep the spares in the fridge until you want to eat them, and cook when you’re ready.



350 grams good dark chocolate (I like Green & Black’s 70% for this)
50 grams soft butter (plus more for greasing)
cocoa powder, for dusting
150 grams caster sugar
4 large eggs (beaten with pinch of salt)
1 tsp vanilla extract
50 grams Italian 00 flour if you have it, or plain is fine if you don’t (I have tried both and prefer the texture from pasta flour)
6 tsp smooth peanut butter or salted caramel (or both!)
a handful of fresh or frozen mixed berries


  1. Pop your chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water to melt, and stir it occasionally. Preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and pop a baking sheet in there to heat up (unless you are cooking the puddings later). Butter your six darioles, line the base of each with a little circle of baking paper, then dust them with cocoa powder and tap out the excess.
  2. When your chocolate has melted, take the bowl off the heat to cool a little. In another bowl, cream together your butter and sugar until well-combined. Gradually beat in your eggs and salt, and then your vanilla. Sprinkle the flour over the batter, and then mix again until well combined. Add your melted chocolate, then mix again until well combined and smooth – you should have a fairly thin, glossy batter.
  3. Divide two thirds of the batter between your six darioles, until they’re each around two thirds full, then add a generous teaspoon of peanut butter (or salted caramel) to each. Divide the remainder of the batter between your darioles, covering the filling, and smooth the tops.
  4. If you’re cooking them later, pop your moulds into the fridge until needed. If you’re cooking right away, pop them in the oven for 10 minutes (12 if cooking from the fridge). If you’re serving with frozen berries, just microwave them for one minute until they’re warm and releasing their juices. To serve, turn each pudding out onto a plate, top with a spoonful of berries, and eat immediately.

The Bake Off Bake Along: Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Biscuits

How are we all doing? Are we all settled in to the new season of Bake Off yet? What do we think? Everyone up for some chocolate peanut butter sandwich biscuits for today’s bake off bake along?

I am definitely enjoying the show, and I will keep watching, but I have to say I don’t think it’s quite where it used to be. I caught a bit of a old season four episode when I was channel-flicking the other day, and the show was really in its prime then. Although I do like Sandi and Noel, and think they’re doing a great job, they obviously haven’t got the same chemistry as Mel and Sue, who worked together for so many years before Bake Off. I am also finding the ad breaks more and more annoying. There are so many of them! I rarely watch stuff on live TV, so I’m not really used to the constant interruptions, and it’s a pain. Also, for some reason, I haven’t quite gotten attached to any of this year’s bakers yet. I’m having trouble remembering all their names, which I haven’t done in previous seasons, and I haven’t particularly picked out any front-runners.

Anyway, enough of all that. You don’t need to hear my rambling opinions about the show. Let’s get on to the baking.


One of my friends, who also does the bake off bake along, messaged me a couple of days ago, telling me she had had hours of trials and tribulations trying to do the technical this week, only to come out with some funny looking fortune cookies and burnt fingers. I am totally not even attempting fortune cookies. She is far braver than I. The technical challenges are really hard this year, and we’re only in the second week! Also, obviously I am not making a biscuit board game. Remember last week, when I said I was going to be taking the path of least resistance with these bakes? That definitely rules out biscuit board games.

So, sandwich biscuits it was.


Chocolate peanut butter sandwich biscuits just sound like a win, don’t they? Unfortunately, not so much. I mean, don’t get me wrong. They tasted fine. But they were such a surprising hassle to make. Sandwich biscuits, usually, shouldn’t be. For these, though, everything kind of went wrong early on. I pulled it back, but I did almost chuck the biscuit dough in the bin at one point. I know a bad workman blames their tools, but for this, I am definitely blaming the recipe.


So where is this recipe?

There isn’t one. I mean, there was one. But the base recipe I was working from was so flawed that I’m not going to share it here, because I don’t want anyone going through the same amount of hassle that I did. The biscuit dough was entirely the wrong texture and literally impossible to shape into a log and slice as directed. I ended up rolling it out and stamping out rounds, and even that was tricky. The biscuits are therefore overworked and completely the wrong texture. Still perfectly edible with a peanut butter filling (which I also ended up improvising because the quantities in the given recipe were way off), a drizzle of chocolate, and a pinch of salt. But not as they should be.

Normally, I’d keep tinkering with the recipe and try out new versions until I got it right. Unfortunately for these chocolate peanut sandwich biscuits, I did not have the time to do that this week. Working and commuting full time has made my baking sessions pretty much non-existent. Making batches and batches of biscuits in a quest for perfection simply wasn’t happening.

So, a pretty poor attempt at the bake off bake along from me this week! Sorry gang. Hopefully I’ll be back on form next time. And if anyone has a good recipe for chocolate peanut butter sandwich biscuits, give me a shout.