When you just want to relax, pull out the stretchy pants and indulge in something rich and satisfying, I can't think of anything more suitable than a brownie (or three...who's counting?) Especially when the brownie is laced with peanut butter. Dark chocolate and peanut butter are deliciously deadly, the Bonnie and Clyde of the confectionery world. Lethal, dangerous and undeniably, irresistibly intriguing. I would mar my perfect record and do time for these.
Peanut Butter Mocha-Maple Brownies (adapted from Martha Stewart)
Mocha Brownie batter
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces of semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 Tablespoon of espresso powder
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Maple Filling
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 Tablespoons of maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ganache frosting (optional but may lead to remorse if skipped.)
1 1/2 cups of bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
Brownies: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, allowing a 2-inch overhang. Spray the foil and set aside.
Prepare the batter: Put butter and chocolates in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted. Let cool slightly. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
Whisk granulated sugar and espresso powder into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, and whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture; stir until well incorporated. Set aside while you make the filling.
Filling: In a large bowl, on low speed, beat together the butter, confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, maple syrup, and salt until smooth.
Pour about one-third of batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Drop dollops of peanut butter filling (about 1 tablespoon each) on top of batter, spacing about 1 inch apart. Drizzle remaining batter on top, and gently spread to fill pan. Drop dollops of remaining filling on top. Gently swirl peanut butter filling into batter with a butter knife, running the knife lengthwise and crosswise through layers.
Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Using the foil overhang, carefully lift the brownies out of the pan and place on a wire rack. Cool completely before ganaching.
Ganache: Put chocolate chips into a medium-size heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan, bring cream to a gentle boil. Pour the hot cream over chocolate chips and let mixture stand for about 5 minutes.
Using small concentric circles, gently whisk in butter until it is incorporated, chocolate is melted, and a smooth mixture forms.
Pour/spread the ganache on cooled brownies and let stand until set, about 20 minutes.
Makes about 12-14 brownies