You can’t blame me for shoving more chocolate in your face.
I mean, I guess you can. Actually I’ll totally take the blame. I will do that for you, friends, because this is really more of a public service announcement: you all deserve to try these brownies, free of guilt. (By the way, whoever invented the idea of “feeling guilty” about eating should seriously re-evaluate their lives. I call bullshit.)
These brownies are right up there with Rick Katz’s brownies for Julia, Ina’s Outrageous brownies from her cookbook, and even the infamous Baked brownies. They’re moist, fudgy, and chewy, and of course, they’re deeply, deliciously, melt-in-your-mouth chocolatey, with peanut butter for added nuttiness and richness. I went lighter on the peanut butter because I didn’t want the chocolate flavor to be overpowered, and I’m glad I did – this way, the lightly salted peanut butter balances out the intensely bittersweet chocolate: like a dance partner whose beauty accentuates that of the other.
So get ready, because you’re going to want to make these as soon as you can. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to hectically blunder about to get all the ingredients in one place, frantically stumble into your kitchen, and then pull the batter together in a hurried clatter of dirty dishes, probably getting chocolate on yourself in places chocolate should never be. Then you’re going to bake them up, take one bite, and fall into chocolate-peanut butter bliss.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
With cocoa powder, unsweetened chocolate, and some semisweet chunks (for good measure), these are triple chocolate fudge brownies – definitely not for the faint of heart. Think you can handle it? Good.
This recipe was born out of necessity: roughly three years ago, my roommate and I were desperate for some brownies, but I only had a stick and a half of butter in my fridge (outrageous, I know). I did, however, have some heavy cream. So this recipe basically asks you to make ganache – cream and chocolate, and in this case some espresso powder – as the base of the batter. You’ll be rewarded with brownies that are extra moist and stay just a little softer than they otherwise would a day after baking, if they last that long.
Also, don’t skip the espresso powder – it’s such a small amount that you won’t taste it, but it really does enhance the chocolate’s flavor.
One final note: I used an all-natural peanut butter that has only two ingredients, peanuts and salt, because it’s my favorite. Use whatever you prefer, but just know that if you’re using the usual stuff that has oil added, then use 2 Tbsp less butter to account for the extra fat. I’ve made ‘em plenty of times with both types of peanut butter, and they’re equally delicious.
Peanut Butter Brownies
By L., adapted from Cheese and Chocolate
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
12 Tbsp (6 oz) butter
1/4 cup peanut butter (see note above)
1/3 cup cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 oz semisweet chocolate chunks (or roughly chopped)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9”x13” baking pan with parchment paper, or butter it up. Measure out your flour and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In either a small saucepan or the microwave, melt the butter. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the 1/4 cup peanut butter until homogenous. Whisk in the cocoa powder, then set aside.
In a small saucepan (the same buttery saucepan will work fine), heat the cream and espresso powder until it bubbles at the edges. Remove from heat and throw in the unsweetened chocolate. Swirl the cream around it for about 30 seconds to let it melt, then whisk it together. (If it still won’t all melt, return it to a verrrry low heat, whisking constantly until it’s totally smooth). Transfer this ganache to a large mixing bowl.
Add the cocoa powder-peanut butter-butter mixture to the ganache and whisk until all combined. Add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, then toss in the vanilla. The batter might start losing its smooth look, but have faith.
Whisk in all the sugar, then slowly fold in the flour. When there are still a few streaks of flour in the batter, fold in the semisweet chocolate chunks. Try not to eat all the brownie batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, gently spreading it evenly to all the edges. Use a fork or spoon to dollop the remaining 1/4 cup of peanut butter haphazardly across the pan, then go back and use a swirling motion to spread the peanut butter across the entire surface. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, then pop it in the oven for 30-40 minutes. When the top is slightly cracked and a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs, they’re done. (For brownies, a good rule of thumb is to take them out earlier rather than later if you’re uncertain – the worst thing you can do is over-bake them).
Let them cool for about an hour if you’d like them to be easier to slice. But who are we kidding.