What do you do when all the pistachios are gone? You start seeing other nuts. The first to catch my eye was the hazelnut. A round nut with an elegant sharp tip. I made delicious financier cookies out of it. My second date was with the peanut. It turned out a little square. To spice things up, I added chocolate and got a wonderful peanut butter mousse cube.

To be honest, for a moment I thought I had invented the wheel. After the first bite I realized that I had recreated a Snickers ice cream bar. Not only did I put homemade peanut butter inside, I also added peanut praliné, which means I had to make caramel, add peanuts and grind it all together. So tasty!

I’ve been asked a number of times to publish a recipe for a mousse without eggs or the need for a candy thermometer. So here you go. My first eggless, thermometer-free mousse. The peanut mousse cube sits on a delicious peanut studded brownie (which does contain eggs). This fudgy gluten-free brownie recipe comes from a wonderful cookbook called “Nourish Cakes”. I coated the mousse in milk chocolate with chopped peanuts. I’m sure the pistachio version of this will come soon enough.


Nutty Notes


* The peanuts need to be roasted beforehand. All I could find at the supermarket was salted roasted peanuts. I removed the peanut skins in a matter of minutes.

* I made the mousse from combining natural peanut butter (100% peanuts) and peanut praliné. It might be possible to make the mousse from just peanut butter or peanut praliné only. The combination worked excellently for me so I didn’t try the other options.

* I made the coating from chocolate, peanuts and oil. In retrospect, I should have used cocoa butter instead of oil to get a crunchier coating. That’s what you’ll find in this recipe. If you still want to use oil, add 25 g vegetable oil (2.5 tbsp) instead of cocoa butter. The coating will be softer, but still tasty.

* Don’t have a silicone cube mold? Leave the brownies in the baking ring (preferably 3-4 cm high). Pour the mousse over the brownies before cutting and keep it in the freezer. Once it sets, cut into 3×3 cm squares. Dip in the coating.


Peanut brownies
Cutting brownies
Peanut brownies
Peanut butter mousse
Mousse cubes
Dipping mousse cubes in chocolate coating
Peanut Butter Mousse Cubes
Peanut Butter Mousse Cubes

Gelatin mass
5 g gelatin powder
25 g water

Peanut brownies
1 sweet potato (at least 200 g)
50 g peanuts
20 g pitted dates
(Medjool is best)
75 g dark chocolate 70%
20 g canola oil
15 g raw tahini
56 g eggs
(1 large)
55 g dark brown sugar
Pinch of coarse salt

Peanut praliné
100 g roasted peanuts
20 g water
75 g sugar
Pinch of salt

Peanut butter mousse
90 g natural peanut butter
65 g peanut praliné
65 g milk
19 g gelatin mass
160 g heavy cream

Coating
250 g milk chocolate
50 g cocoa butter *
55 g roasted peanuts

Equipment
Square baking ring, 20×20 cm
Parchment paper
Aluminum foil
Silicone cube mold, with 15 sockets
(3.4×3.4×3.4 cm each)
Pastry bag
Ruler
Toothpicks
Cooling rack

* Can be substituted with 25 g canola oil (2.5 tbsp). The coating will be less crunchy, but still tasty.


The recipe makes 15 peanut butter mousse cubes


Gelatin mass

Sprinkle gelatin powder over the water, mix well and keep in the fridge for at least half an hour. Cut into small pieces before use.

Peanut brownies

Preheat oven to 200 °C / 390 °F. Place the sweet potato on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes until the center is soft. In the meantime, chop peanuts coarsely.

Lightly oil the inner sides of the baking ring. Place a layer of aluminum foil on a baking tray, followed by a layer of parchment paper and set the square ring on top. Fold the edges of the paper and foil to the sides of the ring and tighten them so that the batter won’t spill out of the bottom of the ring.

Remove the sweet potato from the oven when ready and lower the heat to 180 °C / 355 °F. Let the sweet potato cool a little bit. Slice the sweet potato in two and weigh 75 g of potato without the peel.

Grind the dates in a food processor. Add sweet potato and grind together to a smooth texture. Melt chocolate on a double boiler while mixing all along. Add the sweet potato mixture to the melted chocolate and mix until uniform. Add oil and tahini and mix again. Keep aside.

Put eggs, sugar and salt in a bowl. Whip them at medium-high speed for about 2-3 minutes, or until you get a foamy mixture. Add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture gradually and mix gently until uniform. Fold the chopped peanuts into the batter.

Pour the batter into the baking ring and flatten the surface. Place it in the oven and bake for about 18-20 minutes until it rises and the surface looks dry. Remove from oven and pass a knife around the cake. (Keep the brownies in the baking ring). Let the brownies cool at room temperature for about half an hour and then keep it in the freezer for another half an hour.

Remove the brownies from the freezer and release it from the ring. Cut the brownies into squares the size of 3×3 cm. (How? Using a ruler and a small knife, mark a little mark every 3 cm around the brownies. Using a big sharp knife, cut the brownies following the markings). Keep in the freezer.

Peanut praliné

Make caramelPut water and then sugar in a saucepan. Place on medium heat. Stir the sugar with a spatula to dissolve it. Once the water starts to boil, stop stirring and remove the spatula. Keep on medium heat until you get an ember – light brown color. (You may slightly tilt the saucepan now and then to get a more uniform heating).

Important (!) The more you cook the caramel, the darker the color will be. The caramel might become bitter.

Once you reach the desired color, remove the saucepan from heat. Immediately add peanuts and salt to the saucepan. Mix until all peanuts are covered in a thin layer of caramel. Pour the caramelized peanuts and all the remaining caramel onto a baking paper (no need to separate them just yet). Let them cool at room temperature.

Break the chunk of peanuts into smaller pieces and transfer to a small food processor. Grind in short pulses until you obtain a powder and then grind again at high speed until you get a creamy hazelnut paste. Scrape the sides occasionally. The process could take up to 10 minutes. Weigh 65 g of praliné and put it in a bowl. Keep the rest in the fridge for some other use.

Peanut butter mousse

Add peanut butter to the praliné and mix until uniform. Keep aside.

Bring milk to a boil. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mass and mix to dissolve the gelatin. Pour the milk on the peanut mixture and mix until you get a smooth and uniform cream. Let cool at room temperature (the temperature should be about 35-40 °C / 95-105 °F before you can add the heavy cream – You may check with your finger if it reached body temperature).

Whip heavy cream to a texture that resembles thick fluid like yogurt (beware not to over whip). Transfer a third of the whipped cream to the peanut cream and mix until uniform. Add the rest of the whipped cream and fold gently. Fill a pastry bag with the mixture. Place the silicone cube mold on a tray or a cutting board.

Cut a small opening (about 1 cm) at the edge of the pastry bag. Fill the sockets in the mold almost to the end (about ½ cm from the edge). Make sure the mousse has spread to all corners of the cube. Remove the brownies from the freezer. Place a brownie square on each mousse filled cube and push it inside a little bit. Flatten the surface and clean the mousse excess from the mold using a small spatula.

Keep the mousse cubes in the freezer for a good few hours until the mousse has set. When the mousse is firm and ready for coating, stick a toothpick in each cube and release from the mold. Keep in the freezer until the coating is ready.

Coating

Grind peanuts in a food processor in short pulses until you get coarse pieces of peanuts. Sift the peanuts to get rid of the powder. Melt chocolate and cocoa butter on a double boiler. Remove from heat. Add peanuts and mix until uniform.

Transfer the chocolate coating into a narrow cup. Dip a peanut mousse cube in the coating up to its edge (without the bottom). Remove and let the extra coating drip back into the cup. Turn the cube over and place it on a cooling rack. Remove the toothpick from the bottom. Keep in the fridge in an airtight container.

Peanut Butter Mousse Cubes
Yum

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