Sunday, August 10, 2014

Peanut Butter Cobbler Brownies

There are only two thoughts going through my head right now...

1) I bet 4 sticks of celery balance out 4 pieces of brownie.

2) Hand-washing is the devil.

How can those two things occupy the same brain space?

I guess it's no surprise that thoughts of chocolate run through my head nine times out of ten.

But, you probably never guessed that thoughts of hand-washing regularly creep up in between to torment me. I hate hand-washing! But I have too many silky, lacy, beaded clothes that require a delicate touch. They end up piling up into Everest until I can no longer see the surface of my desk... they just sort of hang everywhere. Every night I say, "I'll do the hand-washing"... but I eat brownies instead.

I'm sure you were hoping this post would be about more than just my feelings of detest for delicate clothing and manual cleaning, so let's just get on with it.

Chocolate and peanut butter is for life. Thank you Reese's for packaging this combo in bright orange for us to never forget.

I've done it many many times here on the blog and don't dream of stopping.

This recipe involves a very peanut buttery cookie-type batter... or is it a dough?... it's more like a very thick batter...  The peanut buttery bit is laid down as a base for a dark chocolate brownie and then dolloped over and around the chocolatey-ness as well.

This is how I bring cobbler into the 21st century. A cobbler is really just a an excuse for not making pie. Pie is amazing and pie will always win in a cobbler vs. pie stand-off.

But if we move outside the box a bit and take cobbler out of the fruit context, then cobbler can actually be great in the theatre of chocolate and peanut butter.

It's a complex explanation for something that just tastes bloody delicious.
Let's get cobbler back into our life. (But just remember, pie comes first.)

Once you make the peanut butter mixture, you set aside about 1/4 cup and spread the rest evenly into the base of an 8x8-inch baking pan.

Then onto the brownie bits...

After some creaming, melting, stirring and spoon-licking, you pour the brownie batter over the peanut butter mixture and spread it out evenly.

There is nothing wrong with that picture, unless peanut butter prefers to be on top... well... I'll get to that...

The reserved peanut butter mixture gets dropped over the brownie mixture in teaspoon-sized portions as the oven awaits.

It all gets baked at once. The peanut butter parts of the edge pieces that get baked through a bit more will have a chewy, sort-of pound cake type texture to them, while the middle pieces will be gooey and fudgey and totally sexy.

Choose what position you prefer - I always go for the middle. Gooey is where my heart is.

Peanut Butter Cobbler Brownies
Makes 16 brownies

Peanut butter layer:
¼ cup (56 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (110 g) packed light brown sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) smooth peanut butter
1 large egg
¾ cup (105 g) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda

Brownie layer:
¼ cup 
(56 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs
120 g (4 ¼ oz) bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa)
1/3 cup (50 g) all-purpose flour

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper.

For the peanut butter layer, cream together butter, brown sugar and peanut butter using a wide rubber spatula until a bit light and fluffy. Stir in Beat in egg until combined. Sift flour and baking soda over the mixture and stir it in until incorporated. Reserve about ¼ cup of the mixture and place it in the fridge. Spread the remaining mixture evenly into the base of your prepared pan using an off-set spatula and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

To make the brownie layer, cream butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until fluffy. Beat or whisk in eggs, one at a time, until blended. (The mixture may look a bit curdled at this point, but it will come together with the power of chocolate.) Add warm melted chocolate and stir until smooth and homogeneous. Sift flour over the flour mixture and fold it in until combined. Pour brownie batter over peanut butter layer and then drop teaspoon-sized pieces of chilled peanut butter dough over the brownie batter.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is shiny and peanut butter dough is golden. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with a few moist sticky crumbs. Let cool completely before cutting into squares. Brownies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for a week.
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