(Last day is tomorrow (Sept 30) to vote for Trey's Field of Dreams and enter the baking giveaway a few blog posts below - please vote - thanks!)
I was asked by a friend to contribute to a bake sale trying to raise funds to help a family in need. The family was involved in a car accident where both parents were killed and their two children were left with severe health issues. Family and friends are trying to raise funds to help with the medical expenses. This bake sale is part of the effort. I couldn't have said no even if I had wanted to (which I don't). Baking is the least I can do to help. For any local folks in the Bay Area, the bake sale is being held in downtown Los Altos at the Starbucks on Main Street. Starbucks is donating coffee and the bake sale will be held outside their store on October 2, starting at 9:30 am. Please come by and support the cause (and enjoy some brownies).
As always, I fall back to brownies and other items that can be packaged easily for sale. I'm mindful of my friend Robbie's advice that at bake sales, kids are the purchasing decisionmakers and there's nothing like candy to catch their eye. So I went with this peanut butter brownie and garnished it with Reese's peanut butter cups on top. I baked the brownies per the recipe then about 5 minutes before I took the brownies out of the oven, I placed the peanut butter cups on top to let them melt slightly into the brownie. I only cut the peanut butter cups in half so they'd be nice and chunky to bite into as part of the brownie. Since this only made an 8-inch pan and I needed all of it for the bake sale, I only cut off a sliver for the taste test. Seemed like it turned out pretty well. The peanut butter layer made a nice base for the brownie layer. If you want more texture and for those who like nuts in their brownies, use chunky peanut butter instead of smooth. Feel free to also garnish with chopped up Snickers bars instead of or in addition to peanut butter cups and/or to add peanut butter chips to the brownie layer. Instead of mixing the chocolate chunks into the batter, I spread them in an even layer over the peanut butter layer then covered them with the brownie layer.
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup sifted unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
5 ounces milk chocolate, cut into ¼” pieces
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350⁰F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil so that the foil extends 2 inches beyond two opposite sides of the pan. Lightly butter the top and sides of the foil-lined pan.
2. Make the peanut butter layer: In a medium bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the peanut butter, sugar and egg for 1 minute or until just combined. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Using your fingertips (I used a small metal spatula), press the peanut butter layer evenly into the bottom of the pan.
3. Make the chocolate layer: In a medium bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer set at high speed, beat the butter and sugar for 4 minutes or until light. Add the eggs and vanilla and continue beating for 2 minutes or until creamy and smooth. At low speed, beat in the cocoa and flour until just combined. Stir in the chocolate.
4. Scrape the batter into the baking pan and spread it evenly over the peanut butter layer. Bake the brownies for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted 2 inches away from the center comes out clean (I go for moist crumbs rather than “clean”).
5. Cool the brownies in the pan on a wire rack for at least 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Using the foil as handles, lift the brownies out of the pan. Invert the brownies onto a large plate and carefully peel off the foil. Invert again onto a smooth surface and cut into 12 brownies.