Saturday, March 17, 2012

Peanut Butter Brownies Recipe

Peanut butter has to be one of my all time favorite foods, which is why it makes it especially unfortunate that I now work in a nut free environment! Peanut butter is still a staple in my cupboard and it must literally always contain it. However, I rarely get to eat it due to work and the  fact that my husband loathes it (how did I marry this man when we are divided on such an important issue I am sure you are wondering); therefore I have to plan my baking attempts with peanut butter carefully to cater to my audience. Fortunately I had the opportunity this week at a game night with coworkers. Multiple cheeses, crackers, peanut butter brownies, and plenty of yelling with Catch Phrase = a good time. This is another favorite from Smitten Kitchen and I apologize for redundancy in recipe selections but I simply adore the clean yet engaging way that she discusses food. Not to mention she has skills I may never possess in the ability to alter and improve recipes! She waxed nostalgic about Reese's peanut butter cups being one of her few weaknesses when it comes to store bought candy. I will not profess to have that few weaknesses, but I certainly agree with one addition. I sincerely believe that holiday Reese's are far superior due to an improvement in the ratio of peanut butter to chocolate. Back to the subject at hand though, I thought that these brownies were delicious and would highly recommend making them. One person actually groaned while consuming his first bite! As someone who enjoys feeding others not much regarding food could make me happier. Disclosure do not expect any caloric information regarding these, as far as I am concerned none of us want to know!

Peanut Butter Brownies

Adapted from Butterwood Desserts, West Falls, New York via Gourmet, October 2007

Makes 32 brownies, more or less, depending on how you cut them

These “brownies” are more blondie than cakey, with an excellent peanut butter-chocolate contrasts and fantastic edges, for those of you into that sort of thing. Have a glass of milk handy.

For brownies
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used half whole wheat and half all purpose with great success)
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (9 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt, see note

For ganache
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (9 ounces)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

Make brownies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in middle. Butter a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan, then line bottom of pan with parchment paper and butter parchment.
Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until mixture is light and fluffy, then add peanut butter and beat until incorporated. Beat in whole eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Reduce mixer sped to low, then mix in flour until just combined.

Mix in chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups) then spread batter in baking pan, smoothing top. (It will be thick, almost like cookie batter.)

Bake until brownies are deep golden, puffed on top and a wooden pick inserted in center come out with some crumbs adhering, 40 to 45 minutes.

Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 1 1/2 hours.

Make ganache: Put chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups) in a heatproof bowl.

Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over chocolate chips and let mixture stand for one minute.

Gently whisk in butter until it is incorporated, chocolate is melted, and a smooth mixture forms.

Spread ganache on cooled brownies and let stand until set, about 15 minutes.