Hi. It’s me, again. Do you remember me? I know, it’s been a while …
After an abrupt and 10-month long hiatus, I’m back! And with my return to my blog, I bring you brownies. But these aren’t any ordinary, run-of-the-mill brownies — these are the type of brownies that put most others to shame, the kind of brownies that make you forget all about any brownies previously consumed that originated from a box mix (unless we’re talking Ghiradelli box mix brownies — those are awesome and should never be forgotten under any circumstances).
Before going any further, let’s address the 10-month old elephant in the room, shall we? My last post is dated July of 2016 — and it’s currently May of 2017. AKA, my ‘break’ was very, very, VERY long. So long, in fact, that I really don’t think we can even call it a break. So from here on out, we’ll just call it a hiatus (because not only was it long, but it also wasn’t completely wanted — kind of like how I feel about the hiatuses between each season of Game of Thrones).
Long story short, as soon as I started working full-time, I learned why adults usually look so tired — work is actually kind of exhausting! And I really love my Netflix and HBO and basically any book I can get my hands on, which means even though I didn’t take a hiatus from the kitchen (my Instagram knows what I’m talking about), that final step of documenting, editing, and sharing my recipes post-baking usually got glossed over as I hopped into my PJs with a book or the latest season of The Americans (and WestWorld, and Taboo, and The Walking Dead, and… Gilmore Girls…. please don’t judge me).
Like I said, though, my hiatus from the blog definitely has not been reflective of my time spent trying and developing new recipes and basically making a disaster out of my sister’s kitchen. Which means I’ve got quite a few recipes to share and plenty more to play around with, so there’s plenty to come 🙂 In the meantime, let me finally introduce you to these brownies… because I really do think a proper introduction is necessary here.
My favorite brownie base — soft, fudgey, and so so chocolatey — that I created for my Salted Caramel Turtle Brownies last year got a serious peanut butter makeover for this recipe. Seriously, if you are peanut butter and chocolate OBSESSED, you are going to love these. They will make all of your peanut butter and chocolate and brownie dreams come true.
Let me walk you through these bad boys, layer by layer: on the bottom, you’ve got that perfectly fudgey and intensely choclatey brownie base, followed by the thickest layer of what’s basically a peanut butter buckeye filling that you’ll probably ever see in a brownie, sprinkled with plenty of chopped up peanut butter cups (because why not?), and topped with another layer of that perfect fudge brownie. Plus some more peanut butter cups. And some peanut butter and chocolate drizzles.
Over the top? Perhaps. Delicious and loved by all who are not peanut butter- or brownie-averse (brownie-averse people actually exist – this is a shocking revelation I have only recently stumbled upon myself)? Answer: YES.
Sorry for the long post. And the even longer ‘break’… let me make it up to you, beginning with the recipe for these brownies 😉
Peanut Butter Buckeye Brownies
Makes: 1 9-inch pan
For the Peanut Butter Layer:
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I use Jiff)
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 -3/4 cup peanut butter cups, chopped
For the Brownies:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I like to use Ghiradelli)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
3 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
3 Tablespoons bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line a 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the peanut butter and softened butter until completely blended and smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar until smooth; set aside.
In a medium-sized and microwave-save bowl, place the butter and chocolate chips. Microwave for 30-40 second intervals until melted and mix until smooth. Add the sugars, salt, espresso powder, and vanilla, and mix until well-blended. Mix in the eggs until the batter is smooth and no traces of egg remain. Stir in the cocoa powder and the flour, just until blended.
In the prepared baking sheet, pour in half of the brownie batter and spread into an even layer. Dollop the peanut butter filling you made earlier all over the layer of brownie batter you just spread out, distributing it evenly. Sprinkle with the chopped up peanut butter cups (reserving a small handful to sprinkle over the top of the finished brownies, if you’d like). Dollop the remaining brownie batter all over the top of the peanut butter filling (you may need to stir the remaining batter at this point if it’s stiffened a bit so that it’s at spreading consistency again); spread into an even layer — it’s ok if you see some peanut butter peeking through!
Using a butterknife, marble the brownies as much or as little as you’d like (or completely skip this step if you want a thick peanut butter layer undisturbed by any traces of brownie batter marbled thorughout) by dragging the blade of the knife throughout the brownies in a swirling motion. Gently shake the pan to even out the batter so they bake evenly and sprinkle with the remaining chopped up peanut butter cups.
Bake for 30-38 minutes, until the edges are set and the center just barely shakes when the pan is gently shook. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Place in the fridge for at least an hour (this will make cutting the brownies cleaner and easier).
Melt the peanut butter in a small bowl for 20-30 seconds and drizzle about half of it all over the cooled brownies. Add the chocolate chips to the remaining melted peanut butter and microwave at 20 second intervals (mixing each time) until melted and combined. Drizzle all over the brownies; return to the fridge or freezer until the peanut butter and chocolate drizzles are set. Slice and serve as desired; these brownies can be left at room temperature, but I think they’re at their best and fudgiest kept in the fridge.