the sweet bee sting

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Peanut Butter Brownies
11:53 AM

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I’m a peanut butter person, so any way I can work the spreadable, tasty little treat into a baked good, I try to.

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Plus, peanut butter and chocolate go so well together, I didn’t really need an excuse to make these and bring them into work, did I? As much as I love cupcakes, I think I’m a tad more partial to brownies, since they’re usually less difficult to eat – what with all that frosting and wrapper nonsense – and there’s almost always guaranteed to be chocolate involved [duh, that’s why they’re called ‘brownies’, Cristina!]

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I’ve been leering at this recipe for peanut butter brownies since I found Deb’s sit two years ago, and I finally got around to making them. They were lovely. Thick, rich and more cookie-like than I would have expected. And then there was the silky slick of chocolate ganache on top, just ‘cause. While they aren’t the traditional chocolate brownie, or anything like Katherine Hepburn’s recipe, [I never pegged her for a baker, how awesome is that?] I think they’re fantastic and easy enough to make just as often.

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Now, as much as I love brownies, I’m kind of picky about the brownies I eat. I don’t like edges; they’re too tough to enjoy, and I usually prefer my brownies without nuts; I think that addition changes the entire flavor of the brownie. Don’t get me wrong, I love nuts [yes, I’m giggling shamefully right now], but I don’t particularly care for them in my brownies. Although in this case I would make an exception, seeing as they’re peanut butter brownies and all.

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I have a whole slew of brownie recipes to bring you in the coming weeks. Maybe they’re not the best summery desserts, but I never tire of them. Speaking of summer, how is it going for everyone thus far? The summer solstice is coming up soon, and then the Fourth of July, and then several of my friends are having birthdays this summer. Last week, in between online bouts of Scopa, I got to see my little brother graduate from high school, and my father came up from Tennessee for a few days with my even-littler brother, so we had a great time together. I hope everyone is doing well!

Just a reminder to my book club gals that our meeting is coming up soon, on Saturday the 26th, so be there or be square!

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Peanut Butter Brownies

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yields 1 9x13 dish of brownies, cut however small or large you like

Next time I make them, I think I might even up the amount of peanut butter, and use half chunky, half creamy for a more interesting texture. Otherwise, I think they’re perfect the way they are.

For brownies
2 sticks of softened, unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups white sugar*
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

For ganache
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon of softened, unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x13 baking dish or pan and then line the bottom with a square of parchment cut to size. This will make removing the brownies from the pan than much easier. Butter the parchment.

Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in peanut butter until incorporated. Add in eggs, yolk and vanilla, then beat on low until smooth. Mix in flour until just combined with a rubber spatula. Mix in chocolate chips and then spread batter in prepared baking dish.

Bake brownies on a middle rack until they are golden and puffy, or until a toothpick comes out with some crumbs stuck to it, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool on a rack for about an hour. I didn’t have an hour for cooling, so I stuck them in the refrigerator for about a half of an hour and it worked just fine.

Make the ganache while the brownies cool. Put the chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small pan over medium-high heat and the pour over the chocolate chips. Let stand for a moment, and then whisk in the butter until ganache is smooth.

Spread ganache over cooled brownies and let it set for about 20 minutes, or do as I do and throw the dish back into the fridge.

Brownies will stay good in an airtight container for about 4 days.

* We just happened to have barely a cup of white sugar left that morning, so I replaced the rest with brown sugar, to no ill effect. Hey, I didn’t really want to have to go borrow a cup of sugar from my neighbor, all right?

Happy baking, my dears!
Love, Cristina

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