Peanut Butter Brownies, and a Lesson to be Learned

December 19, 2010

The peanut butter and chocolate adventures continue…

“ditto [previous comment about the magical combination of peanut butter and chocolate]. I love brownies, fudge, etc.”

Last year, to keep all my researched recipes together, I started writing them down in a notebook, and the following recipe for peanut butter swirl brownies was one of the first ones copied down. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to write down my source, so I have to apologize again if I blatantly plagiarize anyone.

I was excited to try a new brownie base recipe (consider this “Brownies: take two”, perhaps?), and was excited to practice marbling again. Maybe it was because I was super excited to make these brownies that I ended up a little disappointed in the end. Out of the oven and cooled, the brownies crumbled in my hands. They tasted cakey and dry and WAY too rich. I never use chocolate that I wouldn’t eat by itself in my baked goods, which is irrational because I suppose some recipes need unsweetened chocolate, so I took the foolish liberty of substituting super dark chocolate for unsweetened and semi-sweet chocolate and contributed to the brownies being too rich, but crumbly? This has never happened to me before.

Brooding over it made me realize that I kept the brownies in for the time suggested by the recipe, 40 minutes, instead of testing it five minutes beforehand. In my kitchen, with my super zealous oven, it’s brownie and cookie protocol to leave them under-baked when removed from the oven. Maybe that’s why they were dry and crumbly.

This mess upset me, and I didn’t share them with my co-workers, promising my co-worker something wonderful and delicious after the holidays, and feeling terrible about not being able to give her anything. I kept the brownies at home, in a sealed container, for about two days, and now, miraculously, they taste amazing! Still rich, and still a little crumbly, but almost like if it were peanut butter brownie fudge.

There is a point to this long-winded, boring story. Let your brownies sit before judging them!

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies


For the brownie batter:

8 tablespoons of unsalted butter

6 ounces coarsely chopped chocolate (Semi-sweet or the dark chocolate of your choosing, the original recipe calls for equal parts semi-sweet and unsweetened baking chocolate.)

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the peanut butter mixture:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

½ cup confectioner’s sugar

¾ cup smooth peanut butter (But I’m sure crunchy would have been delightful.)

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and butter an 8 inch square baking tin.

For the brownie batter:

2. Place butter and coarsely chopped chocolate into a double boiler, or make-shift double boiler (A heatproof bowl over a saucepan containing about an inch of simmering water works for me.). Stir the chocolate mixture until melted together.

3. Take the mixture off the heat once it is melted, and while it cools whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate mixing bowl.

4. Gradually whisk the granulated sugar into the melted chocolate mixture, then add eggs one by one, whisking until the mixture is smooth.

5. Stir in the vanilla extract.

6. Gradually add the flour mixture until your brownie batter is uniform.

For the peanut butter filling:

7. In a separate mixing bowl, stir together all the ingredients until the mixture is smooth.

To assemble:

8. Pour a third of the brownie batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly over the bottom.

9. Drop dollops of the peanut butter mixture into the pan, however which way you like. I used all the peanut butter mixture in this step, but you could save some to layer on top.

10. Pour the remaining brownie batter over the dollops of peanut butter (and then dollop the rest of the peanut butter mixture on top, if you chose to save some for this step).

11. Run a butter knife through the layered mixture in the prepared pan, length-wise, width-wise and diagonally, a few times.

12. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, though I would test it at the 35-minute mark. The tester should come out with just a few crumbs.

13. Let the brownies cool in the pan until lukewarm, then transfer the brownie square to a wire rack to cool completely.


There was someone helping me marble, which might be why they are so cute looking.

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