Ever since I made David Lebovitz’s Mint Brownies at Mrs. Weiner’s house- I have been dreaming of creating a peanut butter version. One time, in the Adirondaks, we attempted a peanut butter swirl—but this current version is really PB done right. The idea- like the peppermint patty- was to make a homemade peanut butter cup layer. Success! Of course- you can cheat and just put Reeces cups in the middle- but where is the fun in that?
Also made in blizzard– Vegetarian Chili– yum.
Because it makes such an absurd amount- I decided to halve the mint brownie recipe for an 8×8 pan.
Homemade Peanut butter Cup (double below if making 9×13)
8 oz bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate
¾ cup smooth creamy peanut butter (I read once that you aren’t supposed to use natural kind for this- so I used Trader Joes brand)
¼ cup sifted confectioner sugar
2 tablespoons butter
Measure out 8×8 on a sheet of parchment paper (I did this just by folding the edges over an 8×8 pan- then placed demarcated sheet on bigger flat cookie sheet). In a pyrex bowl set over low simmering water, melt 4 oz of chocolate. When melted, spread on your 8×8 square. Freeze. Mix peanut butter, sugar and butter for your filling. Once chocolate is hardened, spread on PB layer. Freeze again. I left this for like 20 mins so PB could harden a bit. Melt the other 4 oz of chocolate. Gently spread on your PB layer- freeze again. [Can be made ahead- I left mine in the freezer overnight. Can also just enjoy as is!]
David’s Brownies- originally a Maida Heatter recipe. So I halved the recipe below for 8×8. [see brackets]
8 ounces (225g) unsweetened chocolate [4 oz]
8 ounces (225g) unsalted butter [4 oz- 1 stick]
5 large eggs, at room temperature [2.5 eggs. I cracked two in. Then cracked one in a mason jar- scrambled up. And approximated half an egg]
2 teaspoons vanilla extract [1 tsp]
1/4 teaspoon salt [generous 1/8]
1 tablespoon instant coffee or espresso [approximated this to 1 ½ tsp]
3 1/2 cups (350g) sugar [1 ¾ cups]
1 2/3 cup (170g) sifted flour [5/6 cup flour, approx. 3 oz or 85g if you have a scale]
1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF (218ºC).
2. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with foil, shiny side down. Smooth the foil then butter it lightly or coat it with nonstick spray- see Just the Tips #2.
3. Chop the chocolate and cut the butter into cubes, then warm them together in a medium bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat as soon as both are melted and smooth.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or by hand, whip the eggs, vanilla, salt, instant coffee, and sugar on high speed for about ten minutes until foamy and stiff.
5. By hand, stir in the chocolate mixture, then the flour.
6. Smooth half of the batter into the pan. Place a layer of PB cup- can break up but I just measured an inserted giant slab.
7. Pour the rest of the batter over the mints and smooth the top.
8. Bake the brownies for 35 minutes [my 8×8 I left in for 25 mins. They were probably a touch underdone], rotating the brownies midway during baking.
When the brownies are done, they will have a firm crust on top but a toothpick inserted into the center should come out wet. Do not overbake the brownies.
9. Let the brownies cool completely [this took several hours], then lift them out of the pan and slice into rectangles. [I was impatient about this- bad idea- but melted PB- so effing good. I left in the fridge overnight to firm up]
Storage: The brownies will keep at room temperature for up to three days. They can be frozen, well-wrapped, for up to two months.