Which kind of brownie-lover are you? Is your favorite high and cakey? Or skinny and fudgey? Sicky-sweet? Or rich with cocoa? There are so many different kinds. Personally, I like a bittersweet chocolate brownie. I like them fudgey, but not undercooked. I don’t like too much sweetness. I adore the additions of sea salt and espresso alike.
This recipe takes my favorite plain-ole brownies and dresses them up with natural peanut butter. I made them for a party recently and a friend commented that they reminded him of Thai food. If you execute the swirling technique properly they look like a beautifully striped tiger.
Peanut Butter Brownies
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup natural, dark roasted peanut butter
Preheat the oven to 325
Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and butter the foil
Set a medium-sized heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water on a medium-low heat
Put the butter in the bowl along with the chocolate and stir until they are melted- be careful to not overcook or to leave too long without stirring as the chocolate will scorch, then remove the bowl from the pan
Using a whisk stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture
Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition
Add the vanilla and whisk again
Stir in salt and flour
Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the foil-lined pan and smooth to the edges
Dollop peanut butter by the teaspoonful over the top of the batter and use a butter knife to swirl
Bake for 30 minutes, then transfer the pan to a rack to cool completely
Once cooled, turn the loaf out onto a cutting board, peel off the foil, and flip over for cutting: you’ll get 16 even squares
If peanut butter’s not your thing, a dark berry jam would do nicely for swirling- raspberry or blackberry or bilberry.
So when I’m complaining in March about my weight while running up hills in the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Road Race, some please remind me about these cookies and my decision to make them… and to eat them….
You see, my neighbor has been wonderful this winter in helping me with snow removal. He has a plow on a truck where as I have only a strong back and a shovel since my snowblower is out of commission currently. He comes over and plows the drive, and I show up at his door minutes or hours later with fresh baked goods. But I’m also looking out for his best interests- I try to make healthy desserts for him and his family so that come spring time they don’t shoot me dirty looks/thoughts while working off winter pounds. So when I remembered that they really like peanut butter cookies that seemed like the logical gift to bake next. While reaching for the ginormous bag of brown sugar and tub of Crisco I had a flashback to a healthier recipe that I’d seen for the ever-loved peanut butter cookie. Something a little more hippy-dippy. And something that I had all of the ingredients for already in the house 😉
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup organic, chunky natural peanut butter
1 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate larger bowl combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, olive oil, and vanilla. Stir until combined. Add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture and stir until just combined. Let sit for five minutes and give one more quick stir.
Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes – but don’t over bake or they will be dry. Let cool five minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.
Make 3+ dozen cookies.
Personally, I enjoyed these as an afternoon snack with a hot mocha latte after filing and paying my taxes. What a perfect combination.