I realize that you might have been expecting something green, rainbow-ed or four-leaf clover-ed or filled with beer, cabbage and potatoes today. But sometimes life presents bigger exigencies, needs that must be addressed tout de suite, wrongs that cannot wait for the ideal slot on the calendar to be righted. What I mean is: I really wanted a chocolate and peanut butter brownie the other day and realized I’ve never, in 10-plus years of showing up here a couple times a week, made time for these. This is reprehensible.
I found a version I’d worked on a few years ago in the mines of my disorganized laptop. I’ve always thought that peanut butter is perfect complement for cream cheese; the sharp creamy flavor brings out everything that often puts peanut butter to sleep in other recipes. But I hadn’t noted why the recipe had underwhelmed me, only remembered that it had so I had to — woe is me — make them again. They weren’t right; the peanut butter was too muted. So, I made them again sans cream cheese and they were better, but there were marbling issues. And then, fully drowning in chocolate peanut butter brownies but unable to quit now, I made them one last time and now I need you to come over and take these away. No human being should have to face down dozens of sea salt-flecked crisp-edged, fudgy-centered peanut butter swirled brownies every time they open the refrigerator — these are amazing cold, by the way, just do it — to get a grapefruit or avocado or apple, any of the other foods I used to sustain myself with before this week began.
You will, however, have to get through my husband and kids first. They did not consent to sharing them.
One year ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart
Two years ago: Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie
Three years ago: Double Chocolate Banana Bread
Four years ago: Coconut Bread
Five years ago: Carrot Cake Pancakes
Six years ago: Sally Lunn Bread
Seven years ago: Breakfast Pizza and Irish Soda Bread Scones
Eight years ago: Layer Cake Tips and The Biggest Birthday Cake Yet
Nine years ago: Almond Biscotti and Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza
Ten! years ago: Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Chocolate Pavlova and Homemade Merguez with Herby Yogurt
1.5 Years Ago: Zucchini Rice and Cheese Gratin
2.5 Years Ago: Cauliflower Slaw
3.5 Years Ago: Fudgy Chocolate Sheet Cake
4.5 Years Ago: Roasted Apple Spice Sheet Cake
Peanut Butter Swirled Brownies
I realize that the sugar level seems high here but promise it won’t taste excessively so. Unsweetened chocolate requires a lot more sugar than sweetened would, and the peanut butter volume here is substantial enough that it needs to be sweetened as well. Don’t forget the salt, however; it brings out the flavor of the peanuts and adds a great accent to the whole pan.
Peanut Butter Batter
- 3/4 cup (190 grams) smooth peanut butter
- 2/3 (135 grams) cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extra
- A few pinches of flaky or coarse sea salt
- 3 ounces (85 grams) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup (115 grams or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
- 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon flaky or heaped 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt
- 2/3 cup (85 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (40 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment and coat the bottom and sides with nonstick cooking spray or butter.
Make peanut butter batter: Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
Make brownie batter: In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together until only a couple unmelted bits remain. Off the heat, stir until smooth and fully melted. You can also do this in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour with a spoon or flexible spatula.
Assemble brownies: Spread a thin layer of brownie batter (about 1/3 of total batter, but no need to be exact) in bottom of prepared baking pan. Dollop peanut butter batter all over in big spoonfuls. Dollop remaining brownie batter in pan, aiming, if you can, between the peanut butter dollops. Use a butter knife to swirl the batters together in loose figure-8s. Sprinkle chips all over.
Bake: For 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out batter-free.
To keep: Brownies keep well at room temperature, in the fridge or freezer.