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.
For the Peanut Butter Layer:
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. salt
For the Brownie Layer:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 7 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 X 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving a couples of inches overhanging around the sides. Lightly spray the parchment paper/foil with non-stick spray and set it aside.
- Make the peanut butter layer. Using your hand mixer, cream together the peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extra and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Set aside.
- Make the brownie layer. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Turn the heat down to low and whisk in about half of the chopped chocolate. Once it’s melted, remove the saucepan from the heat. Whisk in the sugar. Then whisk in the eggs, bourbon and vanilla extract. Whisk in the flour, cocoa powder and salt. The batter may appear grainy at first, but it will become smooth as you continue to whisk it. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate.
- Pour about 3/4 of the brownie batter into your prepared baking pan, spreading it evenly. Then spread all of the peanut butter batter evenly over top of the brownie batter. Dollop the remaining brownie batter on top of the peanut butter layer. Then drag the tip of a knife through the two batters to create a swirly pattern. Scatter the raspberries on top.
- Transfer the brownies to your pre-heated oven and bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan once half way through baking. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.
- Once the brownies have cooled, lift them out of the pan using the overhanging parchment paper/foil. Cut into squares.
- The brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Recipe adapted from my Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies.