Make our ultimate chocolate chip PBJ sandwich

chocolate pbj sandwich

Make our double chocolate PBJ sandwich - Credit: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

Before we had salted caramel (in the mainstream anyway). Before we had miso caramel. Before we had anything salty and heart-stopping mixed into caramel for that matter. There was the PB&J sandwich.

For a generation (or two or three) it was the childhood gateway into that sweet sweet meeting of sugar and salinity. Plastic white bread, slathered with peanut butter...smeared with grape jelly (jam).

It's one of my son's favourite post-football, post-school snacks, but I didn't really cotton onto the alchemy of sweet/savoury until early adulthood. I think I was put off by my mum's insistence on adding chopped bananas to chicken curry. She loved it. My brother and I could detect and reject microscopic debris of the fruit a mile off. presumably mum had seen a recipe (we're talking the 90s here) with plantain in, and decided to make a, we would say, unwise substitution.

More recently, I remember being on holiday in Sintra, Portugal with friends. While I tucked into a hearty bowl of marinated pork and fried potatoes with a glass of red, the rest of my mates were face-first into ham salads layered with apple, orange, strawberries and other fruits which had no business being there.

They still look back with rose-tinted glasses at that meal. I reckon they were A: sun burnt and delirious and B: drunk.

It wasn't, I think, until I first tried American pancakes with maple syrup and golden rashers of smoked streaky bacon, cooked to crumbly crisp, that I was bitten by the salty sweet bug. 

This week's recipe is a very very naughty but nice take on a PBJ, elevating the simple lunchbox fodder into something a touch (OK a lot) more decadent. We're talking thick slices of homemade chocolate bread, freckled with chocolate chips, a salty white chocolate and peanut ganache, and rum-infused strawberry preserve. Served still-warm, it makes a superb dessert. Or make up the sandwiches, wrap well, and serve as a picnic pud. The bread, sliced, spread with the toppings, and covered in chocolate custard is probably one of the filthiest bread and butter puddings you could make. Give it a try.

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The ultimate PBJ sandwich 

(Serves 4 to 6) 

Ingredients 

450g strong white bread flour 

50g cocoa powder 

100g brown sugar 

2tsps dried yeast 

2tbsps butter or oil 

Pinch salt 

300-350ml warm water 

100g dark chocolate chips 

For the ganache 

200ml double cream 

100g white chocolate, broken into pieces 

2tbsps (heaped) dark roast peanut butter 

Salt to taste 

For the preserve 

Half jar good quality strawberry preserve (at least 50% fruit) 

2tbsps white rum 

Method 

Line a 2lb loaf tin. 

Put the bread flour, cocoa powder, sugar, yeast and salt in a bowl. Combine. Add the butter or oil and rub with your fingers until it disappears into the mix. 

Mix in the water with a knife until combined. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes. 

After 15 minutes, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface. Set aside for another 30 minutes. Knead again. 

Pop the dough in a large greased bowl, cover and place somewhere warm until doubled in size. 

Knock the dough back and knead in the chocolate chips. On a floured surface roll into a rectangle shape as long as a 2lb loaf tin. Roll the rectangle up and pop into your prepared tin. Set aside for 30 minutes somewhere warm. 

Heat the oven to 220C. 

Bake the bread for 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to 200C, cover with greaseproof paper and bake for another 25 minutes. 

Allow to cool. 

For the ganache, warm the cream in a pan. Take off the heat. Stir in the white chocolate and peanut butter. Mix to combine well. Taste, and add a pinch of salt. 

Mix together the strawberry preserve and rum. 

When the bread is fully cold, slice, and sandwich pieces together generously with the ganache and preserve mixture. You’re welcome!