Earlier this week, I touched on some pretty heavy topics. And while some of those topics might come up again in the future (they certainly aren’t issues that are going away anytime soon AND I think it important to maintain an open dialog), today we’re going to keep things light and cheery. Because above all else, this is a food blog. And I think it’s important to honor that.
So let’s turn all of our attentions to these beautiful Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies with Raspberries.
When I decided to make this recipe, I was all like “I got this. I’m just going to whip these babies up in no time. Easy peasy.” But boy, was I wrong.
The first batch of brownies I made was so terrible that I had to THROW AWAY THE ENTIRE PAN! Like, completely in-edible. I honestly don’t know what happened. I mean, how badly can a person mess up peanut butter and chocolate that it’s so gross it becomes trash? I don’t know. I made them at 6:00 am, so I’m wondering if in my sleepy haze I completely forgot a major ingredient or something. I never really figured it out.
The second batch was good (and edible), but not great. The texture was a bit odd and I overcooked them slightly (note: those are actually the ones in the photos, so yours will probably look a little less dry when baked). But by the third time, I nailed it. I brought them to the brewery and all my friends gobbled them right up. And I even received a marriage proposal as a result of these Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies with Raspberries. Are you impressed yet?
Spoiler alert: I’m still happily single.
So here are a couple things that I learned during this process. First, I got much better results when I used a big brand name peanut butter (like Skippy or Jiff). The brownies I made with my natural peanut butter didn’t have the smooth texture I was ultimately looking for. If the idea of those big brands really turns you off and you want to use your favorite natural/organic brand of peanut butter, go right ahead. But please be aware that you’ll likely have to add in a little more salt and sugar to make up for the fact that those natural/organic brands usually contain less to start with. The second thing I noticed is that the temperature of the two layers is related to how “pretty” your swirls will come out. The brownie batter should be warm already (since it gets started on the stovetop). But if your house/kitchen is cold, you might want to microwave the peanut butter layer for a few seconds to help loosen it up.
The raspberries were a last minute addition, because it’s almost Valentine’s Day and I wanted to throw in a little bit of pink flare. If you’re one of those individuals that isn’t down with fruit in your brownies, then just skip them. You might not get a marriage proposal, but I can guarantee they will still taste amazing.
Recipe adapted from my Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
You know that avocado ripening trick that involves placing unripe avocados in a brown paper bag with bananas? Yes? Well, I had heard of this hack many times, but I had never actually done it myself, until about 2 weeks ago when I purchased eight rock-hard avocados that needed a quick fix. I figured I had nothing to lose, so I slipped them into a big brown grocery bag with two bananas, folded over the top and waited. And HOLY SH*T IT TOTALLY WORKED! Within two days, I had the most perfectly ripe avocados ever. My excitement runneth over.
I must admit that I was skeptical about the efficacy of this ripening trick. But now that I’ve seen it in action for myself, I’m fully on board with this procedure. It’s legit. If you’re not doing this yet, you need to start ASAP. And that’s my public service announcement for the week. You’re welcome.
Anyways. So I quickly went from having zero ripe avocados to having waaaaay too many ripe avocados. Hence today’s recipe for Jalapeño and Goat Cheese Guacamole with Baked Plantain Chips. And…I have another avocado recipe planned for next week. It’s going to be an avocado party up in this place!
I don’t think I’ve ever met a guacamole that I didn’t like. I have a pretty standard recipe that I make all the time for myself. And I use it on everything from toast to tacos. But today, I decided to spice things up a bit by adding in a whole diced jalapeño pepper. Does that sound scary to you? If so, just start with half a jalapeño pepper, then you can add in more if you want to after you taste it. But I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the level of spiciness. It’s balanced really well by the coolness from the lime juice, cilantro and goat cheese. Your mouth won’t be burning up. Trust me.
You can certainly serve this guacamole with regular tortilla chips. But I thought baked plantain chips sounded like a fun (and slightly healthier) option. Look for plantains that are still green, which are firmer and more starchy than those that are fully ripe. These are important characteristics for successfully making baked plantain chips.
If you’ve ever tried to peel a green plantain before, you know it’s a labor of love. The peel is so stiff, that it can’t be removed by hand the way you would typically remove a banana peel. Instead, you have to cut the peel off with a knife. Well, I suck at doing this. I usually end up making a total mess out of things, wasting a lot of the plantain flesh in the process. So this time, I decided to try my trusty vegetable peeler in lieu of a knife and that worked great! You’ll have to go over each spot a couple of times to make sure you remove all of the peel and get down to the flesh. But I found it to be a much easier and more efficient method for me.
Both the plantain chips and the guacamole are really best when served within a couple hours of preparation. So make sure you plan to make and eat everything on the same day. And heck, you might even want to try out my Jalapeño and Goat Cheese Guacamole with Baked Plantain Chips at your Super Bowl party this year…if you’re into that sort of thing. And if you want more plantain inspiration, try these vegetarian plantain tacos!