June 10, 2013

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies

The other night I was craving brownies. My husband suggested a trip to the grocery store to pick up some bakery brownies. My response, "But my brownies are better than those at the store." Maybe that sounds egotistical, but comon', homemade trumps storebought the majority of the time. I started preheating the oven but then determined it would take way too long to make the brownies to enjoy them yet that night, so we settled for homemade chocolate pudding.

The next day, however, I promptly made these brownies. I took one of the better brownie recipes I've found and combined it with some ideas I found on Cookies and Cups. The result: decadent brownies that are much better than those sold at the grocery store's bakery. My husband might have eaten an entire row of brownie in one evening ... proof positive. (Notice how I don't comment on how much I might have eaten during the course of the day.)

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 package fun-size peanut butter cups, chopped
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chocolate chips
Bonus Topping
1 cup Reeses' Pieces

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13-inch glass or light-colored baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together. Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in a large bowl, and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, and then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.

Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture, and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs, and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla, and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, and then cover with chopped peanut butter cups.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt together the sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips. (I used a combination of chocolate chips to clean up my chip supply a bit.) Stir often, heating until the mixture is smooth. Pour and spread over the top of the brownies. Top with Reeses' Pieces, and lightly press those into the brownies. Place in the refrigerator for about 2 hours to set the fudge.

Lift the brownies out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve. Store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap for up to 3 days.

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