There’s nothing like a good brownie. Brownies are probably one of my favorite desserts. Fudgy, chocolatey, and with so many different ways to dress them up- what’s not to love?
The first variation that come sto my mind whenever I think of brownies is peanut butter. It’s the perfect partner for chocolate. Plus there are so many ways to add peanut butter to brownies! When I was younger my family used to make box brownies all the time and my brothers favorite thing to do was add peanut butter chips. Now a days I am happy to say that I have discovered much more fanci-ful ways of adding peanut butter to brownies- Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies, Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Bars, Peanut Butter Truffle Brownie, Oreo-Peanut Butter Brownie Cups, and now these more traditional Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies.
Peanut butter and chocolate are truly meant to be and even I can admit that- that’s not even my favorite flavor combination (I’m a mocha girl at heart). And these brownies were truly delicious. I used my favorite chewy brownie recipe by Cooks Illustrated and then swirled in an easy sweetened peanut butter mixture by Martha Stewart. Both recipes are great which makes for one out-of-this-world brownie! A fair warning though- this recipe makes a 9×13-inch pan of brownies that is pretty darn thick. Perfect if you are making them for a party or a large family, but if you only want a few you can easily cut the peanut butter swirl recipe in half and use a ghiradhelli box brownie mix and bake in a 9″ or 8″ square pan. If you are looking for a from-scratch 9″ or 8″ square brownie recipe, this one isn’t bad (not as great as this brownie recipe here which I LOVE). And in that same way, you can very easily use a box brownie mix for the 9×13-inch batch too. I baked these up for a group of people that helped me move. You can’t ask people to spend a day lifting and carrying heavy furniture and boxes for you without providing them with any food… I also baked some chocolate chip cookies and got some pizza. It ended up working out perfectly- they were eaten right up. I always say that when you are baking for a large group of people you want to make something that is very identifiable with the most basic of flavors- chocolate chip cookies and brownies are my go-to. Almost everybody knows what they are upon sight and generally speaking, 95% of people enjoy them.
I did have a few leftover brownies which I individually wrapped in plastic wrap and froze. Brownies really do freeze beautifully. Another reason why I love them- virtually no waste with leftovers : )
- For the Peanut Butter Swirl:
- ½ cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1½ cups creamy peanut butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Brownies:
- ⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa
- 1½ teaspoons instant espresso (optional)
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2½ cups (17½ ounces) sugar
- 1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon table salt
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into ½-inch pieces
- For the Peanut Butter Swirl: Mix together all the peanut butter swirl ingredients until smooth; set aside.
- For the Brownies: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 by 13-inch pan with parchment paper.
- Whisk cocoa, espresso powder (if using), and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.
- Scrape half the batter into prepared pan and dollop with half the peanut butter swirl mixture. Scrape the remaining batter in the pan and dollop with the remaining peanut butter swirl mixture. Using a knife, swirl the peanut butter mixture throughout brownie batter. Bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 2 hours.