Peanut Butter Brownies

It’s almost time to go back to school. I’m savoring these last few days of freedom before I get inundated with work again. It has been slushy and snowy most of the week in New York, but at least one of my roommates came home this past weekend, so I haven’t been all by myself. Hopefully, I’ll keep finding time to bake when I get back into the swing of school. I’m going to try and make something at least once a week and update the blog accordingly. Let’s see how that turns out!

I was at Jack’s 99 cent store in Midtown the other day and discovered some glorious things. On the first floor, it’s all 99 cent items, pretty cheap, nothing special, but if one ventures up one or even two more floors, one can find all sorts of delightful things that are a little more expensive, but still incredibly cheap. I got 4 oz. bars of Ghirardelli’s baking chocolate that are usually 4 or 5 dollars at the regular supermarket for $1.99! I got a little over excited when I saw that they sold Pellegrino, but controlled myself by just getting the chocolate and some peanut butter.

When I got home, I realized that with my newly acquired purchases, I could make some peanut butter brownies. I was very impatient making these last night and didn’t let the brownies bake long enough, but the peanut butter frosting is still really delicious. If I were to make these again, I would either bake them longer or use a different brownie recipe with the same peanut butter frosting. The Reese’s on top are the perfect complement to some already peanut buttery brownies.

Peanut Butter Brownies

 

INGREDIENTS:

Brownie Layer

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chips or chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Peanut Butter Layer

  • 1 cup peanut butter (not natural or old-fashioned)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter Cups, cut into quarters

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 9 X 9 inch baking pan with foil and butter the foil.

2) Melt butter and chocolate in a double-boiler. Stir until chocolate is melted. Beat in the sugar followed by the eggs, vanilla extract and kosher salt.

3) Gradually add the flour and stir until combined.  Add the salted peanuts.

4) Spread the batter in the prepared pan.

5) Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 22-25 minutes.  Cool the brownies to room temperature.

6) While brownies are cooling, sing an electric mixer, beat together the peanut butter and 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter in medium bowl.

7) Beat in the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.  The mixture should be very spreadable.  If, for some reason, it isn’t, incorporate a little more milk.  Spread this over the cool brownies.

8 ) Top with Reese’s and enjoy 🙂

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The BAKED Brownie

Oh boy oh, is summer upon us! It was in the high 80s today and it’s supposed to get into the 90s tomorrow. Not that I don’t love the heat, I do, but it gets to a point where it’s just too hot. And with the humidtiy, I’m done for. I guess I can’t really complain though, since there’s nothing I can do about it. I do plan on getting to the pool/beach as soon as possible. I don’t understand why everything waits until Memorial Day to open, even though it’s clearly hot before then.

Anyway, as I’ve written many times, I’m much more of a cookie person than a brownie person. I think it’s easier to adjust baking times and ingredients with cookies whereas with brownies you have to bit a more careful. Than being said, I decided to make some the other night from the BAKED cookbook. Now these guys pride themselves on their famous brownie, so I had some high hopes. Obviously I should have read the recipe beforehand because as I was about half way through mixing up the ingredients I realized I didn’t have enough eggs – more like I broke two so was only left with four. But the ones I was left with were extra large so I figured it would be okay. My second gaffe was that I didn’t have the right size pan, but I procedeed anyway with a smaller and it actually made them even better in my opionion.

These are not your usual cakey sweet brownies. They are deep and rich with a hint of coffee and given my small pan, they were very fudgy. I upped the baking time a little because I knew they were a little thicker than the recipe called for, but not by too much because I still wanted them to be fudgy and chewy on the inside. It’s really essential to cut these into small squares because they are just so rich in any one bite. This will definelty bump to the top of list whenever I need to make brownies again, although I might try and find the right size pan next time.

The BAKED Brownie

(Adapted from BAKED: New Frontiers in Baking)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 11 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.

3) Put the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.

4) Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

5) Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.

6) Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then cut them into squares and serve.

7) Tightly covered with plastic wrap, the brownies keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Great Brownie Debate

For some reason, I’ve always been a cookie person. They’re easy to make, you can throw just about anything into them, and you don’t have to fuss too much over them once you put them in the oven. Somehow, brownies have always struck me as incredibly complicated and intimidating. I think it’s more my fear of over-baking them in the oven and having a dry, sticky mess of brown rather than beautiful squares of deliciousness that you find at BAKED. After reading an article that my lovely father sent me about the great brownie debate, I think my fear has deminished. You really just have to know what type of brownies you want – cakey, fudgy, gooey, etc. As long as you keep an eye on them in the oven and use top quality ingredients, I’ve discovered that it’s difficult to go wrong.

I decided on fudgy ones, because I figured they would be good to pair with a scoop of ice cream. They were actually incredibly easy to make – I didn’t even have to break out the mixmaster, I just hand mixed everything. I baked them for about 38 minutes and that seemed like good timing for a rich fudgy texture. With fudgy brownies, I think it’s hard to go wrong, because even if they are under-baked, they’ll still be thick and gooey and of course – fudgy. When melting the butter, make sure you use a large enough pot, because you’ll add all the ingredients to it. I nearly had a small catastrophe when my mixture almost came pouring over the sides of the pot. I brought them up to my brothers for dessert with two pints of ice cream. Yum Yum 🙂

RICH FUDGY BROWNIES

(Adapted from Finecooking.com)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter; more softened butter for the pan
  • 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pan
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt

DIRECTIONS:

1) Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch-square metal baking pan, tapping out the excess flour.

2) Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk or stir in the sugar, followed by all four of the eggs and the vanilla. Stir in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, starting slowly to keep the ingredients from flying out of the pan and stirring more vigorously as you go. Stir until the batter is smooth and uniform, about 1 minute.

3) Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing it so it fills the pan evenly.

5) Bake until a toothpick or a skewer inserted 3/4 inch into the center of the brownies comes out with just a few moist clumps clinging to it, about 40 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a rack.

6) Cut into 16 squares. Keep the brownies at room temperature, well wrapped.

Raspberry Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO! Okay, so this post has no relation to the lovely holiday that is being celebrated today, but I just thought I’d mention it. An exciting that that did happen today – well exciting to some – is that there was a mother of all storms this afternoon. Tornado watches, lightning, thunder, and the most intense rain storm ever. I was at work, at it’s a warehouse, which makes everything sound so much louder, and I seriously thought the building was going to fall down it was raining so hard.

Anyway, I actually made these brownies the other night, but I’m just getting around to posting them now. I was really really wanting to make cheesecake brownies and then when I saw this recipe, I knew it was going to be amazing because I LOVE raspberry jam. I have it on toast practically every morning.


They were pretty easy to make. I’m not going to lie, they looked rather gross when they came right out of the oven. The pockets where the jam was looked like oozing scabs, but once they cooled and I cut them up, they started to look much more appetizing. That evening when I ate them, they were delicious. Unlike some cheesecake desserts, the cheese wasn’t overwhelming and the raspberry jam was subtle yet delicious. I had a few left over and put them in the fridge, but for future reference, I highly recommend just eating them ASAP and not refrigerating them, because they certainly did not taste as good a few days later.

adapted from bakingbites.com

  • Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 2 ounces chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup raspberry jam (I guess you could really use any kind of jam you want)
  1. Preheat over to 350 Degrees. Line 8×8 baking dish with aluminum foil and lightly grease. (I used 9×9 because that was all I had – they were just a little thinner, but not noticable.)
  2. In a small bowl, melt chocolate and butter together. Mix until smooth. (I just microwaved) Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth.
  5. Sift flour, cocoa, and salt into the bowl and stir until just combined.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and set aside for the time being
  7. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar egg and vanilla until smooth. Drop big dallops into chocolate (already in pan). Follow by spoonfuls of the raspberry jam.
  8. With a knife, swirl cheese batter and raspberry around chocolate to give swirled look.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes until knife inserted into middle comes out clean.
  10. Cool completely before cutting.

Chewy Chewy Blondie Brownies

So in my rage of baking a many banana nut muffins to get rid of all the bananas we had that were going bad, I decided to try something besides fruit muffins, which turned into brownies. Not just ordinary brownies, but delicious chocolaty, chewy, blondie brownies. I got the recipe here, but I left out the nuts and the toffee bits and added an extra cup of chocolate chips. They were very very sweet and the lack of toffee was made up for by the coconut and chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter Brownies

One day while I was browsing the baking aisle at the supermarket, I saw that peanut butter chips were on sale, so naturally I bought a pack. I found a recipe for Peanut Butter Brownies from Hershey’s. They were very rich and peanut buttery. The top glaze was a little gooey, and I probably would just leave it off if I made them in the future.

INGREDIENTS

* 1-1/4 cups butter , melted
* 1-3/4 cups sugar
* 4 eggs
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2/3 cup Cocoa
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1-2/3 cups Peanut Butter Chips, divided
* PEANUT BUTTER CHIP GLAZE(recipe follows)

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

2. Stir together butter and sugar in large bowl. Add eggs and vanilla; beat with spoon or whisk until well blended. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture, stirring until well blended. Reserve 1/2 cup peanut butter chips for glaze; stir remaining chips into batter. Spread batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Prepare PEANUT BUTTER CHIP GLAZE; drizzle over brownies. Let stand until glaze is set. Cut into squares. About 32 brownies.

PEANUT BUTTER CHIP GLAZE

1. Combine 1/2 cup REESE’S Peanut Butter Chips (reserved from brownies), 2 tablespoons butter or margarine and 2 tablespoons milk in small microwave-safe bowl.

2. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 45 seconds; stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Gradually add 1/4 cup powdered sugar, beating with whisk until smooth. About 1/2 cup glaze.