Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Perfect Couple

In times of tension and stress, nothing comforts me more than the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. When I was rooting through the cupboard and found a partially used bag of chocolate and peanut butter chips, I decided they'd be good in a batch of brownies. I love the excess of frosted brownies, so I adapted a favorite recipe from Tish Boyle's Diner Desserts. While the brownies were baking, I was inspired to send them over the top. I remembered a great recipe from Lora Brody's Chocolate American Style, a peanut butter chocolate chip shortbread that is iced first with a layer of peanut butter, then with chocolate. For my brownies, I first covered them with chunky peanut butter, then with a creamy chocolate frosting. It's entirely possible that richness will be a factor here; I'll have to remember to cut them into rationally sized portions.

These brownies are for Lost Lunch Thursday.

Here's the recipe, as adapted from the above-mentioned sources.

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 11-oz. bag milk & peanut-butter chips
1-1/2 to 2 cups peanut butter (chunky or smooth, your preference)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 oz. milk chocolate
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 350F. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil (preferably Reynolds nonstick foil; otherwise, lightly grease the foil).

2. For the brownies, melt together the butter, the chocolates, and the brown sugar in a large saucepan. (If you use a large pan, you can mix the all batter right in it.) Heat til the mixture is melted and smooth. (If you've used a smaller pan, transfer the mixture to a large bowl.)

3. Stir in the granulated sugar. Then stir in eggs, one at a time, until mixed in. Add the vanilla. Then add the flour and salt, mixing until the flour is just incorporated. Gently stir in the milk & peanut-butter chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top.

4. Bake the brownies for 40-45 minutes. Do not overbake. When done, remove brownies from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 45 minutes.

5. Melt the peanut butter either in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat until just pourable. Gently pour the peanut butter over the cooled brownies and spread it in a layer to coat the brownies. Let cool for about 30 minutes.

6. To make the frosting, melt together the butter and the chocolates over low heat or in a microwave. When melted and smooth, transfer mixture to a mixer bowl, and blend in half of the confectioners' sugar. Then add the salt, half the cream, and the vanilla extract. Add the remaining sugar, and blend until smooth. Then mix in the remaining cream. Beat the frosting until smooth. Drop the frosting in dollops over the peanut-butter coated brownies. Using an offset metal frosting spatula, connect the dollops of frosting by gently spreading the frosting over the layer of peanut butter.

7. When ready to serve, remove brownies from pan using foil sling. Transfer to a cutting board, and cut into squares.


Obscure Reference said...

OMG! Just what separates those from fudge?!

Chris H said...

I'm not sure what separates them from fudge. They're pretty dense. If I get a moment tomorrow, I am going to post the recipe.