Crunchy Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Blocks


I subscribe to the Nike school of thought when it comes to entertaining:Just Do It. Or Just Send Out An Email, and by hitting send you’ve instantaneously committed yourself to having people show up at your door, and you’ll figure it out, and everyone will have a great time even though you haven’t managed to tidy up the dust and dog hair rhinos that have collected in every corner and on the sides of each hardwood stair. Because really, no one cares about that stuff. And I’m convinced that everyone else will feel a little bit better about themselves if they see what a disaster my house is.

The point is, if you wait until you have time, or worry about schedules and menu planning and all the things that might stress you out about having people over, it might never happen. So although I should have been working on my manuscript today, I knew much of the neighbourhood would be out chipping in for the community clean-up, and would be hungry afterward. And isn’t life all about the people in it? Isn’t this the important stuff? Says the girl who is neglecting all her friends equally.

And so a few days ago I sent an email telling everyone to come over this afternoon for a bit of a barbecue. As it turned out, the temperature hovered around ZERO all day. We woke up to wet snow, and it came down until around dinnertime. By mid-afternoon we were all wet, cold and tired, having spent hours pitching in to give the community its spring cleaning. My sister suggested that instead of the barbecue, I throw a big pot of chili on the stove, and fill the oven with baked potatoes. I did. To bake a potato: wash it, poke it with a fork and bake right on the oven rack -you don’t need to wrap it in foil- at 350F for about an hour, depending on its size. It’s easy to tuck a few potatoes in the oven along with whatever else is baking, regardless of whether or not you’ll be eating them right away. Leftover baked potatoes make great, fast skillet fries or hash. Today they would have come in handy tucked into our pockets, to keep our hands warm. Sheesh.

Mike made me promise not to spend much time cooking, and I didn’t. I knew we’d need something sweet, and although a big batch of cookies or brownies would have been easy enough, I wanted to streamline it even further. I had a bag of letter-shaped pretzels I had bought for the occasion, and so smashed some up and stirred them into melted chocolate chips and peanut butter, then chilled the lot and cut it into blocks. A little too addictive, but dead easy. Especially when you need something to fill that chocolate void.


Crunchy Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Blocks

Recipe link


May 29, 2010

They're a little like homemade chocolate bars - you could add chopped toasted nuts and/or dried fruit in place of the pretzels if you like, but I love their crunchiness and salt.


3 cups chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)

1 cup peanut butter

1-2 cups small pretzels, coarsely crushed in a ziploc bag


1In a medium bowl, melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter in the microwave or over a pot of simmering water, stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in the pretzels and pour into an 8" or 9" square pan. Chill in the fridge until set. Let sit at room temperature for a bit to make them easier to cut into bars or blocks. Makes lots.


I picked up an orange pound cake from Rustic Sourdough Bakery on 17th Ave. Love the domed oval shape. W loves the little candy orange wedge on top.

Cathy made tiny potato, bacon and cheese frittatas that we ate like popcorn, and Jenn baked bread. And taught me how to take the top off a cupcake, then flip it upside down to sandwich the icing inside.

Altogether too much carb loading, and only one of us is running a marathon tomorrow. (Not me.) But we had lots of laughs around the kitchen table, and no one even mentioned the dust and dog hair rhinos.


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19 comments on “Crunchy Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Blocks

  1. Shannon
    May 29, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    OMG I had THE SAME cupcakes for dessert tonight as well. AND had people over for dinner. And I don’t even live in your ‘hood. Enjoy the weekend!

  2. Julie A
    May 30, 2010 at 12:04 am

    I, for one, find myself desperately wishing I lived in your ‘hood. Lucky neighbors! Those frittatas look pretty darn fantastic too….

  3. robin
    May 30, 2010 at 7:26 am

    i saw that cupcake demonstration recently on the food network and have been wanting to try it! haha sounds like a wonderful evening…. glad you made the time!

  4. Joni
    May 30, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Yum! We NEED to know how to make those fritattas. Think Cathy will share her secrets?

  5. Fiona
    May 30, 2010 at 10:41 am

    My friend Sam always eats her cupcakes like that. Funny!

    Yesterday was nasty indeed – sounds like you all found a great way to warm up.

  6. Sarah G
    May 30, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Love those easy peasy chocolate pretzel thingies.

  7. JeCaThRe
    May 30, 2010 at 11:58 am

    I have dust rhinos too, and I agree with your philosophy entirely. I just need to act on that philosophy more often. (And hey, people will definitely feel better about themselves after they’ve been to my house.)

  8. Cathy D (Calgary)
    May 30, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    We had such a good time, thks again! I think B has a wee man crush on M :) And I have a wee crush on the brownies and the bread.

    Hey Joni here’s the recipe:

    4 cups of shredded hash browns (thawed)
    1 cup of crumbled cooked bacon
    2 small roasted red peppers finely chopped
    4 or so green onions finely chopped
    4 eggs
    3-4 Tbsps of milk
    1 cup of shredded old cheese (+ some to throw on top)
    Lots of S&P
    Tbsp of red pepper flakes

    Heat oven to 400. Combine everything in one bowl except the milk and eggs – whisk them together in a separate bowl then mix in to large bowl. Grease mini muffin cups and fill up. Bake for about 12 – 15 minutes and then broil for 2-3 minutes to brown them a bit. Toss some cheese on them when you remove from the oven. Makes about 4 dozen.

    Then….get friend who takes amazing pictures to make them look good. HAHAHAHAHA.

  9. Stephen Roden
    May 30, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    I was just debating on what to put in the girl’s lunches for dessert. The “block” might do the trick!

  10. Colleen
    May 30, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Hi Julie,

    Just wanted to let you know I made your mushroom soup and sour cream ice cream tonight. My husband loved the soup and after three bowls told me he just might finish it, so none for my lunch tomorrow. The ice cream is still in the freezer but we shared a small bowl with strawberries and it was yummy.

  11. Jan (Family Bites)
    May 30, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Hello, yumminess! My kids will adore these (giving me an excuse to make them and try them myself)

  12. Donna
    May 30, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    The chocolate peanut butter pretzel bit squares were a big hit here tonight – and so easy.

  13. Glenda
    May 30, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    I have made a similar chocolate square for years … usually when I have a craving and nothing else will do. So easy, and it hits the spot every time. When my daughters were little, we’d mix in cherrios if we didn’t have pretzels. And now that they’re adults, they make their own when needed. I’m not sure that’s the best kind of recipe to pass on, but for a family of chocoholics, it’s perfect :)

  14. Barb
    May 31, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Here here Julie. You said it. Many things are more important than a sparkling house.

    I’m afraid to try the bars. They sound too good.

  15. Stacey
    May 31, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I’m making these at home tonight…or here at the office if I can sneak out to the store to get supplies…they look like the heaven my mom used to make for bake sales at school in the 3rd grade, only she added marshmallows. And like the things the coffee lady up the street sells, and I lie when I buy several and tell myself that I’ll share with my little people…I never do…they’re all for me, and that’s OK.something about peanut butter, pretzels, salt….here comes the drool!

    I also need to find a cupcake…almost 40 years on this planet, and I’ve been licking it off the top, when it could have been oozing thru the middle…

    Oh happy day!!!

  16. molly
    May 31, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    LOVE the idea of these chocolate bars. LOVE it.

  17. Dawn
    June 4, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Those chocolate bars were YUM!!

    thanks for doing what you do

  18. Ashley
    June 9, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Definnnnitely going to have to make the chocolate peanut butter blocks! I love chocolate covered pretzels. Very good point about having people over. I’m always stressing about it but need to just go for it!

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