Thursday, August 6, 2015

Inside Out Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Do we need to go into all the reasons why peanut butter and chocolate are the most amazing combination? I think that's fairly well-documented here. And if you're new here, a quick glance at the recipe index will show you I'm serious about this rich, sweet and salty combo. Seriously, I will try alltherecipes that include these two lovely flavors. Which is why I needed to try these brownies with the peanut butter goodness on the outside of a fudgy brownie, including a peanut butter shortbread crust and a sweet peanut butter candy coating on top. These are glass of milk brownies because you'll need one to help wash down these rich and dense brownies that hit all the right notes on both flavor and texture. I honestly can't remember why I made these the first time (I think they were birthday baking and then I didn't see the birthday girl, so we ate them all?), and then second time I felt bad about eating them all, plus I didn't take a picture so I made them again, but I still can't remember if we shared them with anyone. Bottom line: these brownies are so good you'll want to share but then they will cast a spell on you that you'll forget who you wanted to share them with and eat the whole pan. Twice.

For whatever reason, I wanted to make brownies (see above), so I pulled out the Kind Arthur Flour Cookie Companion cookbook and found these brownies. Decision made. I didn't use the baker's ammonia in the shortbread crust since I don't keep that on hand, and I opted for my favorite fudgy brownie courtesy of Food Network Magazine's 50 Brownies booklet. The topping was part peanut butter, part white chocolate chips and came out perfectly, but you could change up the flavor with either butterscotch or caramel chips. Or marry the chocolate and peanut butter together with milk chocolate chips and peanut butter. When you do make these brownies, be sure to write down the reason why. Otherwise, you'll have promised to make brownies for the neighborhood block party but then have accidentally eaten the whole pan after sampling one to make sure they are good enough to share and you can't show up with an empty pan. No one likes that. Trust me.

Inside Out Peanut Butter Cup Brownies


3/4 cup butter, divided
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour, divided
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Start by making the shortbread crust by beating 1/3 cup peanut butter and 1/4 cup butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large bowl with a hand-held mixer. Add 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon salt and beat to combine.

Stir in 1 1/4 cup flour until incorporated.

Press dough into the bottom a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan, using a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper to press against the dough and work the crumbs together into an even layer.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes until set and edges are slightly golden. While crust bakes, prepare brownies by combining chocolate chips and remaining 1/2 cup butter in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat to melt, stirring to combine. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 3/4 cup sugar and brown sugar.

Allow to cool slightly before whisking in eggs, one at a time. Then whisk in remaining teaspoon vanilla.

Stir in remaining cup of flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt until incorporated.

Pour brownie batter over baked peanut butter crust. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake brownies for 45 minutes until set and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool in pan on a wire rack.

While brownies begin to cool, prepare candy coating by combining white chocolate chips and 1/4 cup peanut butter in a microwave safe dish. Microwave in 30 second increments at 50% power, stirring in between, until smooth and combined. Note: You can also melt and combine by stirring together in a small saucepan over low heat.

Smooth over brownies (need not be completely cooled) like a thick frosting. Allow to set and brownies to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Makes 24 bars.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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