Thursday 5 July 2007

Peanut Butter Brownies

Last night my friend, Heather, visited for dinner and I wanted to make something American as a nod to it being Independence Day in the USA. I struggled to think of an American main course (stay tuned for my solution) but found it much easier to think of American desserts: pumpkin pie, boston bun, brownies.

I have long had my eye on a Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie recipe from Tara at Should You Eat That . Peanut butter in sweet food seems particularly American to me, as do brownies.

I have a particular love of peanut butter. As an adult student I shared a house with a sister of a primary school best friend. She told me they always had to have peanut butter in their house for me. Peanut stew, peanut sauce, peanut butter sandwiches. I love them all, and wish it wasn't so rich and calorie-ladden or I would eat them even more. I don't often cook with it in sweet food. But here was the perfect opportunity, thanks to Uncle Sam for the excuse. Of course it had to be with chocolate.

I looked for other brownie recipes with peanut butter in them and was overwhelmed, but I stuck with this recipe because it made a small amount, didn’t have many eggs, and I liked the idea of swirling peanut butter in brownie mixture in the baking tin.

I put them in the oven before I started on main course so they wouldn’t be too tongue-burning hot when we ate them after dinner. They were quite crumbly when I cut them hot. I had baking paper hanging over the edges and so we got them out of the tin using the paper (it took Heather and me each holding a side of overhanging paper to heave the brownie slab onto the wire rack still on the paper). They actually seemed to cut better once they cooled for a few hours.

The swirly peanut butter on top made an impressive marbled effect. The bottom was lovely rich chewy chocolate. I had thought it a bit odd that it used plain flour and no rising agent but this was not a problem. The main concern last night was that I found them a little crumbly on top where the peanut butter had been swirled, and you could taste the savouriness where it wasn’t quite mixed in. I wondered if this was because the peanut butter was an unadulterated one made with just peanuts rather than being full of oil, salt and sugar. Or maybe I had left them in a little long? Or maybe it was because I put in half a cup of peanut butter rather than three-quarters of a cup? Paranoia is so easy with a new recipe.

However tonight the peanut seemed to have fused with the chocolate mixture and they were chewy chocolate all through with a crunchy peanutty top. So I think they are better if they sit for a day. This will be a hard recipe to make for me because I like my baking fresh and warm from the oven but I think these are worth the wait. I would like to try a few more of the peanut butter brownie recipes I found, but I hope I will be making these again.

Peanut Butter Topped Chocolate Brownies
(From Australian Good Taste Magazine via Should You Eat That)
Makes 12-18

150g dark chocolate, chopped
100g unsalted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
215g (1 cup) caster sugar
75g (½ cup) plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
200g (¾ cup) crunchy peanut butter (I used ½ cup)

1. Preheat oven to 160ºC and line the base of a 16 x 26cm slice tin with baking paper. Let the paper hang over the ends so it is easier to get the brownies out once they are cooked.

2. Melt chocolate and butter in a medium-to-large mixing bowl. Microwave a minute. Stir. Then microwave in 15 or 30 second bursts til just melted. Stir til smooth. Add eggs and sugar to the chocolate mixture, and give a brief stir. Add plain flour & cocoa powder and stir until just combined (don't overmix). It makes quite a stiff batter.

3. Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Spoon peanut butter in dollops over the brownie mixture and create marbled swirls with the blade of a knife, a skewer or your fingertips.

4. Bake the mixture for 35-40 minutes. It is ok if slightly undercooked. Cool slightly before removing from pan. I think it would probably be ok to cool completely in pan and then cut but I would have to try this to be sure.

On the Stereo:
Songs from the South: Paul Kelly’s Greatest Hits: Paul Kelly


  1. I know what you mean about tasting the savoury-ness, every now and then you get a taste of salt - But I loved that bit of contrast. I think my sweet tooth has tamed a little in the last couple of years!

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  3. ooh...never tried making a peanut butter brownie before. Sounds very interesting.

  4. They look really moist and yummy!
    While I am here, I have tagged you for a meme, hope you don't mind! Let me know if you do join in!

  5. Yum Johanna.

    Must see if there's peanut butter in the pantry...

  6. OK, now I want peanut butter brownies! I might have to whip up a batch on Sunday.

  7. Tara - you are right about the contrast - I think it is one of the great things about these cookies - I used 70% chocolate so it was not overly sweet but was rich

    splash - will try and get a photo on the email for you - glad you like the blog

    thanks cooking ninja - these are worth a try

    holler - will try and get onto the meme - will keep you posted

    lucy and kathleen - hope you enjoy cooking some peanut butter brownies and have the patience to wait a day to eat them - it is worth it!

  8. Tried these, Johanna. I found that leaving them to cool in the pan was find, but then I like a chewy brownie. The peanut butter thing is a little odd, but not unpleasant. My mix was not stiff at all, but this made it easier to swirl the peanut butter through. The joys of slightly different ingredients.

  9. glad you enjoyed them Yrrw - I had expected them to be gooey but I enjoyed the chewiness - I think chewy is better with the peanut butter - they froze fine too


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