Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

I can probably count on one hand the number of treats I bake that hold absolutely zero temptation for me. What can I say, I love dessert! It’s one of the primary reasons that I look to get baked goods out of the house as soon as possible after I make them; rarely will I bake a recipe without a handoff strategy in place. Otherwise I wind up eating cookies for breakfast (and as an afternoon snack and maybe just one more for dessert) and then I have to double up on my Insanity sessions that day, which in turn helps me justify another cookie. It’s a vicious cycle :)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

But fudge? Meh, no thanks. It’s one of the handful of desserts that’s just too rich for me to enjoy. I made this chocolate peanut butter fudge twice within the span of a single week and I think I had maybe one and a half pieces, mostly just because I wanted to make sure the texture was right. Shane was happy to pick up my slack though – fudge is among his favorite desserts and, in his opinion, it doesn’t make nearly enough appearances in this house. He really loved this recipe, I lost count of how many times he raved about it to me.

I know the fudge is really dark but I think that’s just because I used a dark Dutch-processed cocoa powder. You’d never guess looking at it, but it really does have plenty of peanut butter flavor. Texturally, it’s softer and more creamy than many fudge recipes I’ve made, and Shane enjoyed it straight from the fridge. If you have a chocolate-peanut butter lover in your life, a tin of this fudge would probably be a very welcome gift this holiday season!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
adapted from Gale Gand via Food Network

2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used Dutch process)
1 1/3 cups whole milk
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides. Spray the foil with nonstick spray.

In a large saucepan (I’d recommend at least 4 1/2 qt – this will bubble up), stir together both sugar, the salt, cocoa powder, and milk. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the butter until it melts, then bring the mixture to a boil. Boil, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 238 F on a candy thermometer.

Add the remaining two tablespoons of butter, the peanut butter and the vanilla (do not stir to incorporate) and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to stir until uniform, then continue stirring vigorously until the mixture starts to lose its gloss – the fudge should be thick, matte and nearly set. This could take anywhere from 5-20 minutes (if you underbeat the fudge, it will be too soft when it cools).

Transfer the fudge to the prepared pan and smooth the top (you can do this with greased fingertips if necessary). Cool the fudge to room temperature then cover the pan and refrigerate overnight to allow it to firm up. Use the foil handles to lift the fudge out and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.