This post is sponsored by the National Peanut Board.
It’s been a while since I shared a dessert cocktail recipe, and lately I’m all about that magical combination of sweet + salty. And the first thing that pops into my head when I think sweet and salty heaven is chocolate and peanut butter!
When I was a kid, there was no better treat than peanut butter cups, and to this day, they’re my favorite candy and first choice topping on ice cream. I’ve been blogging a lot about flavors lately, and particularly about enhancing them, balancing them, and understanding the relationships between contrasting flavors. If you’ve ever done any baking, you know that a pinch of salt is so important for enhancing the sweetness of a recipe, and the same is true even in cocktails. Sweet and salty flavors amplify one another and make for a more flavorful experience, which is probably why we love them together so much!
Today I’m mixing up a creamy treat in the style of a Brandy Alexander. The Brandy Alexander is a classic cocktail that combines equal parts cognac or brandy, cream, and crème de cacao. It’s the ultimate in decadent, chocolate cocktails, but I find it benefits quite a bit from a modernized approach to the ratio of ingredients (a boost in the quantity of cognac). Chocolate and cognac is a magical thing, but we’re kicking things up a notch and adding a homemade salted peanut butter syrup.
This syrup is amazing in dessert cocktails, but you could also drizzle it over your ice cream, brush it on a layer cake, or even put it in your morning coffee. I definitely recommend swirling it in combination with chocolate syrup into any coffee or espresso-based beverage.
To make the peanut butter syrup, simply combine equal parts white sugar and hot water and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Then add a hefty scoop of natural peanut butter and mix it really well. I recommend using an oil-free one with an ingredients list of just peanuts and salt. Once mixed, you can strain out any particles with the same fine mesh strainer you’d use to strain a cocktail. This syrup is delicious and it’s a fun way to add a little of that salty, peanut buttery flavor to an otherwise ordinary Alexander.
Peanut Butter Alexander
Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep time: 10 minutes
2 oz cognac
1 oz heavy cream
.5 oz peanut butter syrup*
.5 oz crème de cacao
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a peanut butter wafer cookie (dipped in chocolate ganache, if desired! You can easily make chocolate ganache by mixing equal parts real chocolate chips and heavy cream. Microwave the mix for 30 second intervals and stir until you reach a smooth, dippable consistency.)
*Peanut Butter Syrup
½ cup sugar
½ cup hot water
¼ cup salted natural peanut butter (I used smooth, all natural, just peanuts and salt!)
In a mason jar, add ½ cup of sugar and ½ cup of hot water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add ¼ cup of peanut butter and stir until incorporated. Screw the lid on the mason jar and shake hard to fully combine. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove any larger particles. You can strain through cheesecloth for an even silkier end result. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to two weeks.