It’s no secret I’ve baked for the Godfather at request throughout our relationship. He doesn’t request very often, but when he does, I find a way to make it happen, no matter what else is going on. It’s one of “our” things, like trying to have breakfast together every morning before starting the day. I know desserts aren’t a need, you really don’t need a rich chocolate peanut butter brownie still slightly warm from the oven to survive, but it does feed the soul, and sometimes, that’s just as important. So when he requested a peanut butter chocolate brownie when he came home from his last business trip, I was happy to acquiesce.
I don’t remember what inspired the request, but part of me thinks he was just feeling homesick. Peanut butter and chocolate are such a comforting combination, and I think he needed something homey when he returned. Princess started to say a few new words and master a few new tasks while he was gone, and I know he wished he were home to experience it firsthand. He doesn’t travel often, and the trips are never long, but the timing for this one just happened to coincide with a lot of domestic activity. Thankfully, a happy homecoming with a peanut butter chocolate treat fixes all that. 😉
These brownies are thick, they’re not quite cake brownies, but not quite fudge brownies either. There’s just over half a pound of chocolate in each batch, they’re definitely chocolate-y, and perfect for sharing. I like to cut them into larger squares, about 3×3 inches, and then we split one between the three of us. This size is also really great for gifting, and I always keep a couple 4×4″ treat boxes around so I can share brownies with friends or neighbors. The boxes fit 3-4 brownies stacked beautifully with a slip of parchment paper in between.
The brownie batter is easy to make, and I usually mix it by hand. I melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave, and then combine the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl. I think it’s important not to over-mix brownies in order to get the best texture, and I can control that best when mixing by hand. The pretty peanut butter swirls are easiest to achieve when you microwave the peanut butter a few seconds first to soften and pipe lines of peanut butter onto the brownie batter using a plastic bag with the corner snipped off or a piping bag. A butter knife or chopstick dragged perpendicular to the piped lines makes the swirl bakery-perfect.
- 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter 1 stick
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp neutral-flavored oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350 and butter an 8x8" square baking pan. Line with a sheet of parchment paper slightly larger than the pan and folded so there are "handles" sticking up from the pan after you pour in the batter. This helps to cleanly transfer the brownies from the pan for cutting.
In a microwave safe bowl, combine the unsweetened and semisweet chocolate and the butter. Microwave at 50% power for 1 minute, then stir. Repeat at 30 second intervals at 50% power until the chocolate has completely melted into the butter. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stir well.
Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Once the chocolate is incorporated, add the flour and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
Warm your peanut butter in a microwave safe container for 5-10 seconds to soften. Use a plastic bag with the corner snipped off or a piping bag to pipe rows of peanut butter across the surface of the brownies. Drag a toothpick or butter knife across the lines to make a pretty swirled pattern. Sprinkle the dark chocolate chips over the batter.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges look just set. The center will still look under-done, but it will set during cooling.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes and then use the parchment paper handles from your liner to carefully transfer the brownies to a cooling rack to cool completely (about 1-2 hours). Cut into squares and serve. Store at room temperature in an airtight container up to 3 days. The brownies also freeze well.