Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Bars - first made January 20, 2003

Since it's Halloween, thought I'd post some recipes that can use up any leftover Halloween candy. If you have peanut butter cups leftover, you might like to use them in this recipe from The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle. This makes really good brownies and the "surprise" part is the peanut butter cup that's in the middle of each piece. The tricky thing with this brownie is lining up the peanut butter cups correctly and then knowing where to slice so that the peanut butter cup is (ideally) in the middle of the brownie or at least somewhere in there so you don't see it coming out the side. I sliced the top brownie in half so you could see the inside but the brownie on the left bottom has a PB cup peeking through so you know I was off by a bit.

What I've found helps is to not completely submerge the peanut butter cups or else you'll completely lose sight of them. After you make the brownie batter, wait a few minutes as the batter will stiffen up. This will help support the weight of the peanut butter cups as you arrange them in the pan so they don't sink straight to the bottom. The downside of the more stiff batter is it's harder to spread over the peanut butter cups without rearranging them. The recipe calls for only 16 peanut butter cups so 4 rows of 4 but I find that cuts into relatively large pieces. I prefer to do 5 rows of 5 or 4 rows of 5.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
16 miniature peanut butter cups

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325˚F. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil so that the foil extends 2 inches beyond 2 opposite sides of the pan. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the pan.
2. Place the butter and chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and cool the chocolate mixture until tepid.
3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Stir until blended.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until blended. Gradually beat in both sugars, mixing just until blended. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate mixture and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until blended.
5. Scrape half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the peanut butter cups evenly over the batter, in four rows of four cups each. Press down lightly on each cup. Scrape the remaining batter over the cups and carefully spread it into an even layer, without moving the cups. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool the brownies completely in the pan on a wire rack.
6. Using the ends of the foil as handles, lift the brownies out of the pan. Cover the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
7. Remove the plastic wrap from the brownies and invert them onto a cutting board. Peel off the foil. Reinvert the brownies and cut them into 16 squares.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or freeze up to a month.

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