Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Peanut Butter Brownies for Valentine's Day

Peanut Butter Brownies
It’s only fitting that for Valentine’s Day, this post includes two of my long-time loves, peanut butter and chocolate. The two are a perfect pair, like rainy days and a great book, Kate and William, and bagels and lox.

Both ingredients are heavy players in my diet; peanut butter and bananas, peanut butter on toast, hot chocolate, dark chocolate before bed; there typically isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t have either chocolate or peanut butter.  

I typically eat chocolate and peanut butter separately, but admittedly Reese’s are my favorite drugstore candy item, and I recently fell in love with McConnell’s Double Peanut Butter Chip ice cream. Why not combine the two into brownies?

Peanut Butter Brownies

These peanut butter brownies are perfect for sharing at work, sharing with your Valentine on a hike, and turning into a hot fudge brownie sundae for eating by yourself (which admittedly is me this year as Z is out of town skiing).

My Valentine’s Day will start with laying in bed all day a springboard Pilates class (I’m slowly but surely becoming stronger) and hopefully a massage (thanks to the amazing company Soothe). In the afternoon, I’ll whip up a batch of these brownies again for post-dinner ice cream sundaes.

The first time I made these brownies, I checked to see if they were done, but I was more focused on Downton Abbey  multi-tasking and accidentally dropped a pan of half-cooked brownies on the floor. Oops. So, don’t make the same mistake I did and try to keep up with the Crawley Family while making peanut butter brownies.

Peanut Butter Brownies 

From Cook’s Illustrated
Makes about 16 brownies

Note: do not use a natural peanut butter (one where the oil separates from the butter itself). While I never eat Skip or Jiffy, this is the recipe to use it in.

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup peanut butter, room temperature

Adjust oven rack to middle position, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 8-inch baking dish with foil and coat foil with cooking spray. 

Melt the chocolate and butter in small bowl in microwave, or in heatproof bowl set over pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally to combine. Cool mixture for several minutes. 

Whisk sugar, baking powder, table salt, eggs, and vanilla together in medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk in chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in flour until no streaks remain.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Drop peanut butter in 10 small dollops spread out evenly across the batter. Without touching the foil lining, run pairing knife through batter to create swirls.

Peanut Butter Brownies

Peanut Butter Brownies

Bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center of pan comes out clean, 25 to 27 minutes. Cool brownies on wire rack for 1 hour. 

Peanut Butter Brownies

Using foil, lift brownies from pan to cutting board. Slide foil out from underneath brownies, and cut brownies into 2-inch squares.  

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