Monday, March 28, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies - made March 27, 2011, adapted from Chocolate Chocolate by Lisa Yockelson (book #71) and Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars from Buttercup Bakes at Home by Jennifer Appel

I'm in experimentation mode again.  The brownie base is from Lisa Yockelson's Chocolate Chocolate recipe book and was originally called Toffee Almond Turtle Bars.  But instead of adding chopped up Heath Bars to the brownie and topping with a caramel turtle layer as the recipe directed, I decided to veer towards a peanut butter chocolate combination.  So I chopped up 7 ounces of Reese's peanut butter cups to add to the batter instead of toffee bars but baked the brownie layer per the original recipe's directions.  The brownies turned out fairly thick and took a bit longer than the 33-ish minutes the recipe directed.  I baked them for just over 50 minutes when a toothpick inserted in the center came out with moist crumbs but not raw batter.  The edges were done though so that's always worrying with thick brownies - that the edges would be dry while the middle would be raw.  You really have to pounce on these to take them out at just the right time.  Err on the side of underbaking.

For the topping, I modified the peanut butter crunch topping from the Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bar recipe from the Buttercup Bake Shop book.  I omitted the marshmallow layer altogether since I didn't care for it in the original recipe in the first place. Nothing against the concept of the recipe but I'm just not a fan of marshmallows. Buttercup's crunch topping recipe called for a 9 x 13 pan of brownies and Lisa Yockelson's recipe called for making the brownies in a 9 x 9 pan.  So I cut the crunch topping recipe to 2/3.  It still made a respectable layer, especially compared to how thick the brownie layer was.  Recipe below reflects my modifications.  If you do decide to make the full topping recipe from the Buttercup Bake Shop, then I would suggest baking Lisa Yockelson's brownie recipe in a 10 x 10 pan.  The brownie layer will be thinner but that'll be offset by the crunch layer so you should still have brownies of a decent thickness.

Since the base is a Lisa Yockelson brownie, I almost don't have to mention how good it is.  It's moist and fudgy and the chocolate set up nicely.  The edges weren't dry at all and the middle was all fudgy goodness.  Peanut butter chocolate lovers might really love this one.  I'm actually almost indifferent to peanut butter but I do like it paired with chocolate and I love the rice crispy cereal in the topping.  It gives it some crunch and is almost like eating a soft Nestle crunch bar except it's flavored with peanut butter as well as chocolate.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar Cookie batter
1 cup bleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 ounces Reese's peanut butter cups, each cut into quarters
½ pound (16 tablespoons or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid
4 large eggs
1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup chopped or slivered almonds, optional

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
2/3 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup crispy rice cereal

1.     Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Film the inside of a 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2.     Mix the batter: Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.  In a small bowl, toss the chopped toffee with ½ teaspoon of sifted mixture.
3.     In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the melted butter and melted chocolate until smooth.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until blended, about 15 seconds.  Add the sugar and whisk until combined, about 45 seconds to 1 minute.  Blend in the vanilla extract and melted butter-chocolate mixture.  Sift the flour mixture over and stir to form a batter, mixing thoroughly until the particles of flour are absorbed, using a whisk or flat wooden paddle.  Stir in the peanut butter cups and almonds, if using.
4.     Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
5.     Bake, cool and cut the sweet: Bake the sweet in the preheated oven for 33 to 37 minutes, or until set.  (I baked mine for 50 minutes.)   
6.   To make the topping, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in the  top of a double boiler and stir together until smooth.  When the brownie has baked, stir in the crispy rice cereal into the melted topping mixture.  Spoon and spread the topping in an even layer over the chocolate bar base.  

Bake and serve within 2 days

1 comment:

  1. I like where this experiment has gone. ;) I do love the peanut butter/chocolate combo. Rich and delicious brownies.