As national brownie day approaches on December 8th, I couldn't think of a better way to show my love than by creating a brownie devoted to one of my favorite flavors: peanut butter. In the design process, I thought of simply adding peanuts and peanut butter to a brownie batter, but decided that was too simple. I then thought of swirling up a chocolate batter and a peanut batter, but decided that I wanted something as outrageous and decadent as possible (the richer the better is my motto when it comes to desserts made between Thanksgiving and New Years). So I went extreme. I decided to concoct a three tiered brownie that would build a dose of peanut butter into each layer.
I pulled out my basic brownie recipe, which I call my Perfect Brownies, as the base. Though pretty darn chocolaty as is, I threw in an extra ounce of deep dark 70% bittersweet chocolate to ensure that the texture would be super fudgy and truffle-like. I also added in 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter, and swapped half of the granulated sugar for the rich caramelized flavor of brown sugar.
Fresh from the oven, I had to drum up every ounce of strength not to tuck into these bad boys while they were still warm and gooey. Patience! As soon as the pan of brownies cooled, I whipped up a peanut butter filling of peanut butter, confectioner's sugar, and butter, then spread a deep layer of it over the top. Over that, I spread yet another layer of peanut butter and dark chocolate, this time in the form of a chocolate peanut butter ganache. In the fridge they went. After 3 more painful hours of waiting, I had a fridge saturated with the smell of chocolate and peanut butter (not a bad thing), and, finally, my reward: moist squares of chewy chocolaty brownie, satiny peanut butter cream, and a luscious chocolate icing over the top. And without crunchy peanuts, these truffle-like brownies are as as smooth as silk.
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About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore as a freelance writer for Time Out Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.