loyal reader contest!

guess what? you already lost...

cause the thing is, there's this guy at work - we'll call him Junior - and he checks this blog every morning. without being reminded. and it makes me happy :)

in honor of his loyal readership, i decided to make him something for his birthday... since he was the one who got nervous that someone else was going to take the brownies, i figured that brownies were the way to go...

that sounds like a good story, right? whatever, i was totally selfish in my choice. (shh, dont tell him...)

see, i was reading smitten kitchen and i saw her peanut butter brownies... and here's what i read:

"Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed
until mixture is light and fluffy, then add peanut butter and beat until
incorporated. "

Um, so let's get this straight - you want me to first make the irresistable butter/sugar combo and then i add peanut butter?????


typically, i say that my version of heaven is a big Target with a Starbucks attached to it... I'd like to add an addendum to that and say that i'm fairly certain that it also has a big fluffy pool of butter/sugar/peanut butter right outside... (i used to think that butter/sugar/cream cheese was the holy grail... i was sorely mistaken. )

its a really good thing that baking is NOT an exact science, because i dont even want to tell you how much of that i ate before cooking it... both at that stage, then after i had added the flour and everything else... (I'm fairly sure i went thru half of a bottle of hand soap cause i kept licking my fingers and figured my co-workers and i arent really close enough for me to not wash each time...) even with raw egg... it was worth salmonella...

of course, this wouldnt be a post from me without a mistake, right?

see how nice that all looks going into the baking dish? all lovely and fluffy and tan. solid tan. evenly colored tan.

5 minutes after i put it into the oven, i realized that i was supposed to mix chocolate chips in there...


I contemplated leaving them out - who would know? however, in a moment of true perseverance, i pulled it back out of the oven and proceeded to mix those chips in... right there in the baking dish...

you know what happened next, right? yeah, half the chips melted... (which is why i really hope you didnt click on that other link earlier, cause this is one of the reasons that her pictures are WAY prettier than mine...)
but whatever... i figured that, while the asthetics may be off, the taste probably wouldnt be...

plus, the whole thing was going to be covered in ganache anyway...
(i was accused of using chocolate frosting-from-a-can on these. i can assure you that is honest to goodness ganache... made from callebaut bittersweet & semisweet chips)

and honestly, is ANYONE ever going to complain about peanut butter chocolate brownies??? regardless of what they look like??? seriously???


last night i found them to be a bit too sweet - the kind of too sweet that makes you feel a little sick and wish for a big huge glass of milk and a banana cause your system cant take all of the sugar...

tonight, i found them to be pretty much perfect... i guess that banana i ate earlier made all the difference... or maybe it was the fact that i hadnt eaten half of a bowl of sugar/butter/peanut butter earlier tonight...

Peanut Butter Brownies
Courtesy of Butterwood Desserts, West Falls, New York via Gourmet, October 2007, via smittenkitchen.com (with adaptations along the way)

Peanut butter 'brownie' layer:
2 sticks (½ pound) unsalted butter, softened
1¾ cups sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter (good ol' jif or other normal brand. Nothing fancy needed)

2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups bittersweet chocolate chips (9 ounces)

preheat oven to 350° Line the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper and spray the bottom and sides with cooking spray for baking (or do the standard butter/flour prep)

beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy
add peanut butter and beat until you cant resist sticking your fingers in and trying it

beat in whole eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla

add flour and beat on low until just combined

Mix in chocolate chips (by hand)

spread batter evenly in baking pan

bake until brownies are deep golden - 40 to 45 minutes. A cake tester (fork, toothpick, etc) may still have a few crumbs attached... as long as they are crumbs, thats ok.

leave in the pan and cool completely. (may take a couple hours. may take a few minutes in the fridge if its late and you just want to be done already.)

ganache layer:
½ cup heavy cream

1½ cups chocolate chips (9 ounces) - half semi-sweet, half bittersweet

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

put chocolate chips (1½ cups) in a heatproof bowl

bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over chocolate chips and let stand for a minute or so.

add butter to the mix and whisk until all is incorporated (chocolate is melted and there are no lumps of butter or chocolate)

spread ganache on cooled brownies and let stand until set. Throwing it in the fridge may speed this process up... (i'm impatient. sue me.)

then cut and enjoy. makes anywhere from 8 to 40 brownies, depending on how gluttonous you are.


Critics' Pick Admin said...

Those look AMAZING! I'm going to run to my big Target-with-a-Starbucks and buy some chocolate chips RIGHT NOW. I'm not kidding.

Rochie Saks said...

now i'm all curious as to who "junior " would be. and i'm even more ready to get back to the office than i already was, and i've been very very ready.
4 weeks to go....

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