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.

Salted Caramel Brownies

Granted, this is not an original idea in any way at all. Salted caramel brownies have become so popular that you’d be hard-pressed to find a bakery that doesn’t sell them. Salted caramel, unlike scores of other food trends (I’ve still not really got a handle on that whole cronut/cruffin/duffin situation, to be honest), has proven itself to have some serious staying power – probably because it’s stupidly tasty. Put it with chocolate, and you’re pretty much guaranteed a moment of happiness.

So I’m not really bringing anything new to the party with this recipe. And yet, brownies are the thing I bake the most regularly, and salted caramel is now the most requested flavour. I did a quick reckoning, and realised that I only have three brownie recipes on this blog which, considering I have been doing this for nearly two years, is actually pretty restrained. If you are thinking that this is not at all restrained, then probably you have not met me.


Anyway, it’s my little corner of the internet, and thus I have decided I am completely within my rights to swerve ‘pioneering’ and ‘original’, and land with a flump on ‘probably passé as food trends go but delicious enough to justify its own existence’. So here is my version of salted caramel brownies.

Notes: I have rattled on about why I think brownies are magical enough on this website and I don’t think I should really revisit the thesis. They’re still magical, though.

Obviously, feel free to skip or substitute where the white chocolate is concerned, but I really love it here. There’s something glorious about the light, sweet white chocolate against the bold density of the dark chocolate brownie and the salty complexity of the caramel.

The salted caramel recipe here will make about double the amount you will need for the brownies. I like to have spare on hand if I am going to the trouble of making it because I will always use it in something, but if you don’t want any extra then halve the quantities.



200g good quality 70% dark chocolate
140g butter
2 large eggs, plus 1 extra yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g golden caster sugar
100g good quality white chocolate
100g plain flour
1 tsp salt

for the salted caramel

200g granulated sugar
90g salted butter, cut into cubes
120ml double cream
2 tsp sea salt


  1. First, make the salted caramel, so that it has time to cool and thicken a little before use. Heat the sugar in a pan with a fairly large surface area (I use a frying pan) over a medium heat. Resist the temptation to stir it – you can shake the pan a bit. Keep an eye on it. Nothing will happen for ages, then the base of the sugar will start to melt. Gently swirl the pan around, moving the sugar about, until it’s all melted into a lovely golden coppery liquid.
  2. Now whisk the butter into the sugar, a few cubes at a time, until it’s all incorporated and completely melted. Don’t worry if the mixture looks split at this stage. Now drizzle in your cream while continuing to stir the caramel – be careful, as the mixture will bubble and hiss. Boil the mixture for one minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the salt. Taste (carefully) and adjust as needed, then let cool.
  3. Now, for the brownies. 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 and leave them to melt, stirring occasionally. Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 20x20cm square tin.
  4. While your chocolate and butter melt, mix your eggs with your extra yolk and your vanilla, and weigh out your sugar. Chop or break your white chocolate into chunks. 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 and salt to the mixture and beat that in too. Stir through your white chocolate chunks.
  5. Pour the mixture into the tin, smooth the surface, and then dollop your cooled 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.
  6. 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. Finish with a sprinkling of sea salt, if you like.