August 17, 2013

The Perfect Brownie

I need not make any other brownie ever again: this is the one.  Superwoman Martha does it again, this time in the form of the best combination of peanut butter and chocolate and cakey soft brownie-ness with just a touch of salt to make it all amazingly yum.  The first batch of brownies I whipped up for a friend's baby shower was devoured with nary a picture (woops!) so of course the solution was to make a second batch later in the week.  ;)  A big benefit of this recipe is that it lends itself to making two batches in the same week very easily!  Mostly pantry staples are used, and just half of a baker's chocolate bar (meaning you can use the other half when you HAVE to have another batch!).

    Chocolate batter
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
   Peanut butter mixture
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.  Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit, leaving a couple inches to hang over the handles (to make the brownies easier to lift out later).  Butter the parchment paper, too.
  2. Set a pot of water to simmer.  Place the butter and both types of chocolate in a large glass bowl that will fit over the pot.  Set the bowl over the simmering water, and stir mixture until melted and smooth.  Lift bowl off of pot (using dish cloth or pot holders) and set on counter to cool slightly.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Whisk the granulated sugar into the chocolate mixture.  Add the eggs, and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in vanilla, then the flour mixture, mixing until well combined.
  5. Stir the peanut butter mixture ingredients together in a medium bowl until smooth.
  6. Pour one third of the chocolate batter into the prepared pan, spreading and/or tilting the pan to evenly coat the bottom.  Drop dollops of the peanut butter mixture on top of the batter, about 1 inch apart.  Drizzle the remaining chocolate batter on top, and gently spread to fill the pan.  Drop dollops of remaining peanut butter mixture on top, filling in between the spaces of the bottom dollops.  Gently swirl peanut butter and chocolate portions together by running a butter knife lengthwise and crosswise through the layers, touching the tip of the knife to the pan as you drag so that you reach through all the layers.
  7. Bake about 45 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted into the brownies comes out with a few crumbs, but is not wet.  Let cool in pan about 15 minutes.  Lift out and let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.  Store in an airtight container.
Look how beautiful these are!

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