Peanut Butter Crumble Brownies

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Things I’ve consistently been craving during this thing called pregnancy: fruit, pizza, and peanut butter.

I mean…not together…ever…and I eat other things as well, but those are the things I keep wanting.  There’s been all the fresh fruit I can get my hands on (Sean always asks me if I’m working on my “night-fruit”, a la Liz Lemon and her “night-cheese”), many pb&j’s, and pizza from our favorite local spot with the best happy hour deal. I’ve been throwing in a lot of kale as well…because balance, right? Truth: a year ago I would not have eaten raw kale salads without the saddest of faces, but lately I’ve been making it at home and ordering a mountain of it when we go to our favorite pizza place.

Anyway, needless to say with peanut butter being one of my main squeezes, my yearly addiction to those damn Reese’s eggs is in extra full-force this year. They taunt me with their perfect peanut-butter-to-chocolate ratio. If you find yourself with a bag, or seven, of those sweet-sweet eggs  and you want to do something with them other than shove them straight into your face (ahem, like me…) you should totes chop a few up and thrown them into some brownie batter. That way, you can pawn them off on your friends, family, coworkers, or any other willing passerby. These brownies not only include those magical eggs, but also a peanut butter crumble on top…because extra peanut buttery goodness is always a good thing.

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Peanut Butter Crumble Brownies

Adapted from this (super-old) recipe.

Honestly, you could use any brownie recipe you like here…I wouldn’t even be mad at ya if you used your favorite mix. Just use something good and be sure to make the crumble topping!

for the Peanut Butter Crumble:

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (smooth is fine, too)

4 tablespoons powdered sugar

4 tablespoons flour

tiny grating of nutmeg

for the Brownie Batter:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 heaping cup of chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs or peanut butter chips

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on 2 sides. Secure the overhang with metal binder clips.

In a bowl, combine the peanut butter powdered sugar, flour, and nutmeg in a bowl. Mix together with a fork until a fairly dry crumble forms. Set aside.

In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, combine the butter, chocolate, and cocoa and stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. When the mixture is still warm, but not super hot, whisk in the sugar, followed by the eggs. After adding the eggs the mixture will be smooth and glossy. Fold in the flour, baking powder, and salt until just combine, then fold in the chopped peanut butter eggs (or peanut butter chips) and spread the batter into the prepared pan. Top the batter evenly with the peanut butter crumble and bake for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownie comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before slicing.

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Brownie Sundaes

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Guys, I know Valentine’s Day gets a bad rap for being too sweet, too commercial, too much…but! I’ve always been a believer in celebrating this day of love and appreciation, whether one is coupled or not. Before I met Sean, all of my Valentine’s were more of a Leslie Knope a la Galentine’s situation…which isn’t bad at all, if you ask me. I love my friends and my girlfriends are so very near and dear to my heart. Girlfriend’s are my spirit animal. It’s just the truth.

So, basically  what I’m saying is that even if you’d rather scrooge the day away, don’t do it alone. Or at least, don’t eat dessert alone. This brownie sundae was made for sharing, you can double up on the brownies and the ice cream and the fudge and just attack it with two spoons–as singles, as friends, as couples, whatevs! and whether it’s romantic or platonic, it’s the day to celebrate the loves of your life! Hugs and sundaes all around!

 

Brownie Sundaes

I cut the brownies out with heart cutters and mini heart cutters to up the festive/cute factor. This is a totally optional step, you can simply cut them into generous squares. These sundaes come together quickly using store-bought ice cream. You can use whatever brownie recipe you love, below I have my favorite. The fudge sauce really is no-nonsense, it comes together perfectly and swiftly in the microwave. The brownie and fudge recipe make enough for several sundaes. 

Brownies (recipe below)

No Nonsense Hot Fudge (recipe below)

Ice Cream (softened slightly for easy scooping)

Toasted Almonds (optional)

If the brownies are room temperature or chilled, pop in the microwave in 10 second bursts until just warm. Place a brownie (or two) in the center of a bowl, spoon a bit of warm fudge over the top of the brownie. Dish out 2-3 scoops of ice cream, top with more hot fudge and almonds (if using). Serve with two spoons.

Spiced Cocoa Brownies

adapted from this recipe. 

10 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa plus 2 Tablespoons

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cold eggs

1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon of sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Preheat oven to 325*F. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment and grease well. Set aside.

In a saucepan over medium-low heat melt the butter. Stir in the sugar, cocoa, salt and vanilla, to moisten and combine well. Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool a few minutes–until no longer hot, but still warm to the touch. The mixture may appear grainy and a bit greasy.

Once the mixture has cooled to warm and the pan is no longer burning-hot, vigorously whisk in the eggs one at a time until completely incorporated–the mixture should be smooth and shiny. Fold in the flour, fold about 40 times. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

In a small bowl whisk together the tablespoon of sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne. Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the top of the brownie batter. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownie comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely before cutting.

No-Nonsense Hot Fudge

recipe from Take a Megabite

2/3 (1, 5 oz. can) cup evaporated milk

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

pinch of salt

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

In a large, heatproof measuring cup combine all of the ingredients. Using the microwave on high, microwave the mixture in 30 second bursts, stirring after each, until the mixture is melted, smooth, and mixed well–about 2 minutes total. Allow the fudge to set up a 1-3 minutes for the best consistency.

Rocky Road Brownies

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Hey!

I’m totes back…and…I made brownies!

I would apologize for the brief hiatus in the last few weeks, but, truth be told…I’m not super sorry about it since I was living life, soaking in some solid family and friend time, and clocking as much niece time as I could. Twelve days ago my newest niece was born and I just can’t resist snuggling new born babes–they’re a wonder, it’s for real. It was an exciting trip home, but I’m glad to be back with my husband, pups, and cooking in my own kitchen.

Anyway, about the brownies! There’s nothing about Rocky Road that I don’t like–chocolate, marshmallows, and nuts–so much texture. These are a rich, fudgy, sticky, gooey, and crunchy. Instead of the standard marshmallow, I switched it up and made these coffee flavored. I tried to bake the marshmallows into the brownies, but that resulted in a soggy, melted, marshmallow mistake.  Since the mallows were homemade I added them at the end of baking, which lets them melt a bit into the brownie, forming an irresistible topping.

Rocky Road Brownies

I adapted my fave brownie recipe for this, you could probably use whatever one you like best with fine results.

Coffee Marshmallows:

adapted from Chuck Hughes

4 teaspoons powdered gelatin

2/3 cup water

1/2 cup strongly brewed coffee or espresso (I used 6 teaspoons instant espresso dissolved in 1/2 cup water)

1 1/2 cups granulatred sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

powdered sugar for dusting

In a small bowl, soften gelatin in 2/3 cup water for about 5 minutes.

Prepare an 8x8inch pan by lining with parchment and spraying lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine 1/2 cup espresso with the sugar, heat over medium high to dissolve and bring syrup to a low boil. Cook 1 minute, remove from heat, and stir in gelatin until it is completely dissolved and combined.

Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the syrup until it become light in color, voluminous, and holds a medium-stiff peak. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and dust the top with powdered sugar. Allow to set up several hours before cutting and rolling each piece in powdered sugar. Can be kept in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.

Brownie:

adapted from Alice Medrich’s Best Cocoa Brownie recipe.

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter

3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, cold

1/2 cup flour

Topping:

1/4 cup chopped almonds

10 marshmallows, cut in half

1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*F. Prepare an 8×8 pan by greasing and lining with parchment. Set aside.

Fashion a double boiler out of a saucepan and a large, heatproof mixing bowl. Add butter, chocolate, sugar, cocoa, and salt–stir to combine until butter is melted and the mixture feels hot to the touch. Set aside and allow to cool to just warm.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in vanilla, then, add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition. Add flour and combine. Once flour is incorporated, continue to stir vigorously for about 40 strokes. Pour into a prepared 8×8 baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownie comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Remove the brownie from the oven, top with almonds, marshmallows, and chocolate chips. Return to the oven, turn off heat, and allow the topping to melt onto the brownie top for 3-5 minutes in the still warm oven. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.