|A wee bit too fudgy|
First, make the peanut butter layer and spread as the bottom layer. Then make the brownie layer, stir in the chopped up Snickers and spread over the peanut butter layer. Bake. The two layers combined made for a thick brownie so this was a little tricky. You don't want to overbake it but you don't really want to underbake it too much. You want fudgy, not raw. The challenge is the edges and corners will always bake first so while they might be done, the middle could still be raw. Or the middle would be perfect but the corners would be dry. For thick brownies, it's just a risk I have to take. The frosting is more like a penuche. It sets very quickly so top it immediately over the brownies and smooth.
As for the end results - hmm, I think I liked this better in concept than in my execution. As mentioned, the risk with thick brownies is baking them properly. I baked these for over 40 minutes and a toothpick poked in the corners and edges came out completely clean and one inserted near the middle came out with very moist crumbs. I thought that would be the right time to take them out but turns out I was wrong and most of the middle was still too underdone. The Snickers also added to the gooeyness but if your brownie is already gooey by itself, more goo isn't necessarily mouth-watering. It wasn't bad but it could've been better. I also might've screwed up the frosting somehow as it hardened and was crumbly. I think it would've been better if it was a bit creamier like a more traditional frosting. The ironic part? Remember I said I didn't like peanut butter by itself? Well, the peanut butter layer on the bottom was the best layer of the three! LOL. I might have to make it by itself after all.
Peanut Butter Layer
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Fudgy Brownie layer
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup unbleached flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup Snickers, chopped into small chunks (add more if you wish)
1. Line a 9-inch x 9-inch baking pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
2. For the peanut butter layer: sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the peanut butter, butter, and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and the vanilla and mix until combined thoroughly. Add the flour mixture a little at a time until it is mixed well. Spread the batter in the pan, smoothing the top.
3. For the brownie layer: in a ceramic mixing bowl, cut the butter into chunks and melt in the microwave for 1 minute. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
4. Add the cocoa powder and sugar to the butter and whisk until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Add the vanilla and whisk until mixed well.
5. Measure the flour and salt and sift together into the batter. Mix the batter gently until well combined and no trace of the dry ingredients remains. Add Snickers.
6. Spread the batter evenly over the peanut butter layer and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or with only crumbs, not batter, on it. (Watch this carefully - depending on the thickness of your brownie, it might need more baking time.)
7. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 1 hour. Make frosting as directed below.
Peanut Butter Frosting
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
7 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons shortening
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1. Combine the sugar, milk, shortening, butter, and salt in a medium heavy saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil while stirring constantly.
2. Once it reaches a boil, let it cook for 2 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat; immediately add vanilla and peanut butter.
3. Beat until smooth and quickly spread on the brownies. Let the brownies cool completely before cutting.