Wednesday, July 22, 2015

salted peanut butter brownies

hands down this is the nicest summer the pacific northwest has ever seen. never do i remember it being HOT at 10am, or being able to stay out past 9pm without a light jacket. past summers were bearable with no AC - hitting temps that only made my apartment unbearable about three days each summer. this summer has broken record after record for heat and sunshine in seattle. ridiculous. ridiculously amazing. i'm having a blast soaking it all in.

my only complaints are some challenges i've had baking in the kitchen. not only was the indoor temp at my house registering 90 degrees this past weekend, but add an afternoon of cooking and baking and i started wondering if it was possible for a person to melt!

needless to say, it probably wasn't the best day to bake my favorite brownies. but hello! when you're craving peanut butter + chocolate, i'm convinced there isn't a better combination than these brownies.

they are so incredibly decadent. rich and thick and gooey. 
you only need a small bite to satisfy the largest sweet tooth.

best brownie recipe around.

recipe from date night in

brownie ingredients
3/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more for pan
3oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
i don't think i've ever included this in these brownies. fyi.
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour

frosting ingredients
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon flake salt


1. preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. grease 8 inch square pan. line the pan with parchment paper so that 
a couple of inches hang over the edge. then, grease the parchment paper.

i've made this recipe multiple times, and trust me, these brownies are so gooey you'll definitely be glad you greased AND used the parchment paper. not doing so just makes for a huge mess!

also, i think i used my 9 inch square pan this time, 
but an 8 inch would produce a slightly thicker brownie.

3. place the butter in a medium saucepan and melt over medium-high heat. 
allow the butter to cook until the milk solids bubble up and settle into the pan and caramelize. 
swirl the butter in the pan in order to see the color of the little bits on the bottom. as soon as 
the milk solids are folder and the butter smells nutty, 2-5 minutes, remove the pan from heat.

4. pour the browned butter into a medium bowl and add the hopped chocolate. 
let stand for 1 minute to melt and then whisk together.

5. whisk in the sugar and vanilla while the butter mixture is still warm. 
stir in the eggs, salt and espresso powder, if using, until well blended.

6. over the bowl with the chocolate mixture, sift cocoa powder and flour. 
fold the ingredients together until just combined using a spatula.

note: i've sifted my cocoa and flour 75% of the time i've made the recipe, 
and then sometimes i'm too lazy and skip this part all together. cocoa does clump easily, 
so if you're going to be lazy, just be sure no large clumps get in your brownies. 
i don't think there is a noticeable different in the outcome of the brownies.

7. pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until 
a toothpick inserted in the middle pulls out clean. let cool to room temp.

8. now for the frosting... with an electric mixer, whip together butter, peanut butter, 
and confectioners' sugar in a large bowl. continue to mix until everything is 
well combined and the frosting has lightened in color.

9. frost the cooled brownies and finish with the flake salt.

if the brownies are too fudgy, feel free to pop them in the fridge for a while.
this was necessary on my 90 degree day!

my selection of cocoa powder

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