So I had this leftover bag of Reeses mini peanut butter cups sitting in my cupboard… taunting me. Well we can’t have that, so it’s time to mix up some major chocolate peanut butter action to kick off the very first brownie post at Making Life Delicious.
These are brownies the way I like them, fudgy & moist. They strike a balance between rich chocolate flavor and peanutbutteriness as well as the sweet and the salty. When my friend Susan ate one, she said “These are amazing!” …thus the name.
To create these decadent brownies, I started with one of my “go to” brownie recipes, cut back on the sugar and added roasted salted peanuts. For the next layer, I modified my peanut butter frosting and then paired it with a really creamy chocolate frosting because I find that peanut butter tastes better when paired with a chocolate that isn’t too dark. Lastly…the Reeses. If you want to be really Martha, you can make your own Peanut Butter Cups, but that wasn’t happening today.
- 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
- 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
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 cup Peanut Butter Cups, cut into quarters
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 9 X 9 inch baking pan with foil in such a way that the foil extends up two sides a couple of inches above the pan on either side. Later, you can use this extra foil sticking up as handles to lift the cool brownies out of the pan. Butter the foil. Melt butter and chocolate in a double-boiler (aka a heatproof bowl suspended over barely simmering water without touching said water).
Stir until chocolate is melted. Then beat in the sugar followed by the eggs, vanilla extract and kosher salt. Gradually add the flour and stir until combined. Then add the salted peanuts. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about
22-25 minutes. Take care not over bake becausethat is the cardinal sin of brownie making.
Cool the brownies to room temperature. If you’re worried that maybe you baked them a little too long…like I was, you can put the pan containing the brownies in an ice bath to cool them down quickly. Just take care not to let water drip on the brownies…like I did (oops, that’s the dark spot on the photo). Alternatively, you can put the pan out in the Winter cold or even in the fridge or freezer to cool it down quickly. NOTE: Not too worry, my brownies were not, in fact, overcooked. Whew!
Once the brownies are completely cool, its time to make the peanut butter layer and the chocolate frosting. I love this part because you have to taste the peanut butter and chocolate to make sure the flavor is right. You have to. I’m pretty sure its the law! Using an electric mixer, beat together the peanut butter and 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter in medium bowl. Then, 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 peanutbuttery goodness over the cool brownies. Then put the pan in the refrigerator while you make the chocolate frosting.
To make the chocolate frosting, beat together all of the ingredients in a medium size bowl. I use my mixer for this, but it could be done by hand. When the frosting looks like frosting, spread it over the peanut butter layer. Sprinkle the top of all this decadence with quartered Peanut Butter Cups. Cut into squares and serve. Wow! These are really good. They can be stored at temperature for 24-36 hours. In fact, they were just as good, if not better, the next day.