The “crunch” is in parentheses in the title because it was supposed to come from sprinkled toasted peanuts on top of the brownie and I didn’t do it. I didn’t have peanuts on hand when I made this since I rarely bake with peanuts. Heck, I don’t even buy crunchy peanut butter. I’m an almond and pecan girl myself.
But I did sprinkle the top of the brownie with chocolate chips and mini peanut butter cups, available at Trader Joe’s. (Honestly, I don’t work there but I shop there a lot.) The mini peanut butter cups are usually the main reason I bake peanut butter-flavored stuff. I’m not an avid peanut butter fan but the mini peanut butter cups are cute. Yep, that’s all it takes for me to bake with them. Plus, the advantage of making peanut butter baked goods is I can eat a sliver as a taste test and be completely indifferent to the rest of the batch and let them go to others without a pang. I have friends who are peanut butter fanatics who just gave me the side eye but I’m just keepin’ it real.
Anyway, this is a easy fudgy brownie to make and dress up for the peanut butter-ness. You make the brownie batter, swirl it with melted peanut butter then top off with a generous amount of chocolate chips and peanut butter cups. You can add the toasted peanuts that I eschewed if you wish. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s and access to those cute mini peanut butter cups, the regular size ones will do – just cut them into halves or fourths for maximum cuteness effect. You can even add peanut butter chips as well in keeping with the chocolate and peanut butter theme. There’s no going wrong between the two flavors.
This was a typical brownie for me, meaning a sliver was fine and I moved on. Chocolate peanut butter lovers would probably rhapsodize about it so this would be a good one to try out on them.
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed lightly salted peanuts or 1 cup mini peanut butter cups or both
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Melt the butter and chocolate in the top half of a double boiler set over hot water. Stir until melted, blended and smooth. Remove bowl from the heat and stir in the sugar and salt; mix to combine. Set aside to cool.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring after each one to incorporate fully. Add vanilla. Fold in flour and cocoa, and mix until just combined.
- Microwave the peanut butter until loose and runny, 10-15 seconds. Fold the peanut butter into the brownie batter, leaving some streaks. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and scatter the chocolate chips, peanut butter cups and peanuts, if using.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 30 minutes.
- Cool brownies completely before slicing.