Now that we have almost recovered from the
trauma disappointment of a Super Bowl loss by the Niners, we can reflect on the positives from last Sunday. And there were plenty of positives: friends, family, cocktails and some very good food. Our friends all brought good cheer and some very tasty snacks and drinks (thanks guys!). The Kentucky Royale was the featured cocktail (along with some Scofflaws and cold beer) and we even got some exploding / fermenting probiotic hot sauce that splattered on the ceiling when we opened it (somewhat aptly named “Sunny Bang”, website here). Happily no one was hurt, and good times were had by all (even me, after I finished wiping down the ceiling…seriously).
One of the highlights of the day came at dessert. We will post a few of the things we served, but will start with these Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies. Oh boy are these good. And they taste just like you would expect, with deep chocolate, peanut butter and some extra zip from salt. What’s not to like? But then you also get some texture and crunch from the pretzels and pieces of peanuts, and that’s what takes these brownies over the top. And they even taste good with a beer.
Carolyn made these brownies from a King Arthur Flour recipe. And as you may know, we are big fans of King Arthur Flour recipes. Why? Because they almost always work and they give recipes by volume and weight- a good thing for the home baker. We did adapt the recipe somewhat for our tastes by using bittersweet chocolate chips and double-dutch dark cocoa (mix of dutch process cocoa and dark cocoa) to amp the chocolate flavor and darken the color. But we are sure the recipe will still be just fine with regular chocolate chips and cocoa powder.
As far as making the brownies is concerned, there is just a bit of extra work (not much) but it is pretty cool, even fun. The brownie batter follows a basic recipe and making the peanut butter topping is just mixing the peanut butter, melted butter, sugar, pretzel pieces and vanilla. While it takes a few minutes to make the topping, your reward (other than a decadent brownie) is the fun of swirling the topping into the brownie batter. Call us food geeks if you must, but it’s hard not to smile when you mix peanut butter and chocolate. It just seems “right”. Looks cool too.
To finish up the brownies you just add some more chopped peanuts, pretzel pieces and peanut butter chips to the top of the brownies, then bake, cool slice and serve. And the whole thing takes about an hour. And considering the reaction of our guests (and ourselves), making these brownies is an hour well-spent. Not only did we love these brownies, we all went for seconds as a consolation when the Niners
were jacked by the refs came up short. 😉
(Adapted from King Arthur Flour)
Notes Before You Start:
- Double-dutch dark cocoa is an optional, but very useful, way to deepen chocolate flavor and darken color. A “nice-to-have” ingredient. Regular cocoa powder works fine.
- The chopped peanuts and pretzels do add a bunch of salt. You may want to taste them both and knock some salt off the pretzels (just shake them in a bag for a bit) to balance the flavor. You can always sprinkle some salt on top of the brownies if you need it, but it is hard to take the salt away if it’s baked-in.
What you get: Chocolate-y, sweet, salty, smooth and crunchy brownies. What else do you need?
What you need: No special equipment required.
How long? About an hour. Totally worth it (IMHO).
- 1/2 cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (3 oz.) bittersweet (or regular) chocolate chips
- 1 cup (7 oz.) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup (1 oz.) double-dutch dark cocoa power (or regular cocoa powder)
- 1/2 cup (2 1/8 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup (2 oz.) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup (2 oz.) confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 cup (7 1/8 oz.) creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup (1 1/4 oz.) broken / crushed pretzel pieces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz.) lightly slated peanuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup (3 oz.) peanut butter chips
- Grease a 9-in square or 11 x 7 baking dish. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
- In a heatproof bowl, melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave (or over a simmering pot of water).
- Pour the chocolate mixture into a large mixing bowl and then stir in the sugar. Then stir n the vanilla and eggs, one at a time.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder. Stir into the wet ingredients until combined. Pour the batter into the baking dish and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the butter, confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, half of the pretzels and the vanilla until smooth. Spoon the mixture over the top of the brownie batter and swirl them together with two butter knives.
- Sprinkle the top of the batter with the remaining pretzels, chopped peanuts and peanut butter chips and lightly press them into the batter. Add a dash of kosher or sea salt, if you like.
Baking the brownies:
- Place the pan with the brownie batter into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean (with just a few moist crumbs attached). Remove the brownies from the oven and allow to cool completely. Slice and serve.
- Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies (dovediscoveries.wordpress.com)
- Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pretzels (amerooniedesigns.blogspot.com)
- ultimate fudge brownies with peanut butter chips. (sallysbakingaddiction.com)
- Decadent Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies. Did I Mention They’re Skinny? (thecocinamonologues.com)
- Double Chocolate Brownies, With Love (withloveandchocolate.wordpress.com)
- Banana-Peanut Butter Chip Brownies (asweetbaker.com)