Monday, August 19, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Cookbooks are my favorite kind of book. I love looking at the pictures and reading through all of the recipes. It doesn't even matter if I am interested in making every one of the recipes; I just really like sitting down and reading through, from front to back, as if it was any regular book.  I have been getting cookbooks as gifts since I was about 12, which is where most of my collection come from, but every now and then I will pick up one myself that looks particularly interesting.  Even though I have this great collection of cookbooks, once I have read through them, I tend to set them on the shelf and I find myself gravitating towards finding most of my recipe ideas online. I mean, just try googling 'brownie recipe' and see how many results you get! It pretty much takes five seconds of browsing and you are on your way to baking up some chocolatey awesomeness.

A few weeks ago, my nephew D, was hanging out in the kitchen and he started looking through my cookbooks. He pulled out a book full of brownie recipe, sat down, and started leafing through.  After a few minutes I told him to pick out a recipe he liked and we would make it that weekend.  He was very excited about that idea and after careful consideration decided on chocolate peanut butter brownies.  A couple days later we got the cookbook back out and started assembling all of the ingredients.  He had a blast mixing these brownies up, especially since he got to make a mess running the mixer and got to throw little gobs of dough all over the baking dish, but I am pretty sure he had an even better time eating them! This whole experience was very nostalgic for me, bringing me back to making cookies with my mom, creating a giant mess, and getting ingredients all over the recipe card or cookbook!  This really reminded me that, in this technology filled world it is so easy to forget that sometimes it is a nice change of pace to take the time to flip through a cookbook and find that one recipe that really sounds amazing.

Most of the time, brownies are that one dessert that I actually still go to the box mix for because I have yet to find a recipe from scratch that produces that perfect chewy brownie with the thin crisp layer on top.  Although these brownies don't fit that bill because they are a bit different with their peanut butter base, they were a fantastic, easy alternative to the standard chocolate brownie.  They take less than 10 minutes to assemble and  you probably already have everything on hand to mix up these rich, chewy bites.

I would say these brownies lean more towards a creamy peanut butter blondie, than a regular chocolate brownie, but they are full of delicious chocolatey chunks.  Plus, the whole pan was topped off a couple of huge handfuls of mini chocolate chips which really bumped up the chocolate factor.  Whether brownie or blondie, these were the best peanut butter bars that I have had in a long time. Oh and as usual, I had to top the warm gooey brownie with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream, just know, balance everything out :)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
Recipe from Good Housekeeping  Brownies

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz dark chocolate, melted
6 oz mini chocolate chips (more or less per your preference)  

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line a 9x13 baking dish with aluminum foil. This will help easily remove and cut the bars once they have baked and cooled.  In a large bowl combine the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar.  Cream this mixture together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until everything is smooth.  Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until just combined.  The dough should be very stiff.  Place 1/3 of the dough  in a separate bowl and mix in the melted chocolate. Stir 1/3 of the mini chocolate chips into the chocolate dough.

Press half of the peanut butter dough into an even layer in the baking dish.  Drop small balls of the chocolate dough and remaining peanut butter dough on top of the peanut butter layer, in a random pattern. There should be enough dough left to make another full layer in the baking dish.  Pat this layer down with your hands until flat and top with remaining chocolate chips.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs (should not be wet.)  Cool for at least one hour and lift foil out of baking dish. Peel the foil back from the brownies and cut into as many bars as you desire. Store at room temperature in an air tight container.


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