I need comfort food. Now. Tout de suite! What says comfort food better than the beautiful marriage of chocolate and peanut butter in a nice hefty, rich brownie?!
I just dropped my son off at the airport, and he is going to visit his cousins in another state. He’s sixteen; he’s old enough to travel alone, but am I going to survive the agony of the next four hours waiting for his text to tell me that he has arrived safe and sound?
I don’t know, that is completely debatable. I have reminded him not to talk to strangers, but he said that he will be alone on a plane and is eager to talk to the person next to him. Hmmm. I told him to buy water after he goes through security…he may be thirsty on his three hour flight. He said, he’ll be fine. I told him not to panic or worry if things seem to be going awry when he first gets off the plane, but he patted my back and told me that HE is not the one who panics or worries.
OK. It’s 6:15 am, and I have a long, torturous four hours until I will know that he has safely met up with his uncle. My blog has been sorely lacking this last two weeks, so why not a little baking therapy? What to make, what to make? I pondered for a minute or two, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks; a girl absolutely needs a peanut butter and chocolate fix in a situation like this (or any time really)!
Ina Garten’s rich and gooey peanut butter swirl brownies were sure to ease my pain and suffering, wouldn’t you say? They are a bit more trouble than your average brownie, and that would be the perfect diversion for my anxious mind. Snapping pictures, dipping my finger in the chocolate, life was beginning to look up, and I was becoming calmer.
That’s what baking does for me. It soothes my soul and usually erases my mind for the time being.
These brownies require refrigeration before serving, so they would not be ready to eat for a couple of hours—perfect since it’s only 6:45 a.m. They’re a bit rich for breakfast. Total chocolate peanut butter decadence may be the understatement of the year.
They are a fudgy, moist type of brownie that never really firms up in the center. I do believe that is how they are intended since Ina warns not to over bake and suggests refrigerating them to help them solidify.
My daughter and her friend devoured their brownies later in the afternoon and I ate one, and one only. They are that rich. I think if they were a packaged product they would actually come with instructions to eat with a tall, cold glass of milk ready at-hand.
This recipe is exactly taken from Ina. As a side note, I did NOT cook them on a cookie sheet like she recommended. I believe that probably would have been a better choice, but my cookie pans are ugly, and I didn’t want to photograph the brownies in those so I used a glass Pyrex dish instead.
It worked fine, but they were very thick and I think a thinner version would have a been a touch nicer so please listen to her sage advice, and later you will have the perfect chocolate-peanut butter accompaniment to your glass of milk.
Ina Garten’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
Makes about two dozen brownies
1 pound unsalted butter, chopped into tablespoon sized pats
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (reserve 1/4 c.)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
Ok…so this is the cheater’s style directions. If you would like Ina’s directions, please click the link, but I figure you are here and you want to know how I did it and made it a little easier. Yes? Then good, here we go.
Heat your oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a baking sheet (cookie sheet).
First, melt the chocolates together (reserving the last 12 oz. of chocolate chips for later) in the microwave in a large microwavable bowl or very large glass measuring cup. I melt it in 1 minute increments on high, stir it up and check to see if it is melted every minute. After two minutes, I put the chopped butter in with the chocolate and microwave another minute, stir. I needed 45 seconds more in the microwave for total melting. Please check your chocolates regularly, otherwise you could end up getting the chocolate past melted and it will start balling up and be over cooked. Not a good idea, but I rarely have the patience for melting over a double boiler so this is how I did it and it worked fine. Add your coffee granules to the hot chocolate so they will dissolve. Stir them up with the chocolate. Set aside your chocolate to cool a bit.
Beat together your eggs, sugar and vanilla on medium speed of a stand mixer. Add cooled chocolate a little bit at a time, beating in between so that your eggs don’t begin to scramble. Mix on medium until incorporated.
In a separate, large mixing bowl, whisk together flour (reserving the last 1/4 c), baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients, 1/3 of the mixture at a time, to the chocolate mixture, beating on low each time to combine. Then in your empty dry ingredient mixing bowl combine the 12 ounces of chocolate chips with your 1/4 c. of flour. Dump the chips into the chocolate mixture and stir on low until they are just dispersed.
This is where I will have to refer to Ina since I actually spray coated a large glass Pyrex baking dish and poured in my batter. See photos above. She recommends pouring it into a prepared cookie sheet. I think this will work better for you since they will end up being thinner and will cook better all the way through.
Finally, measure out 3/4 c. of peanut butter and drop large spoonfulls of the peanut butter every two inches across the top of your brownie batter. See photo above. Then run a butter knife though the peanut butter (don’t touch your knife to the bottom of the pan…it only needs to go through the peanut butter), right to left and then when you hit the left side of the pan, twist your knife, move the knife down a smidge and run it back from left to right through the next row of peanut butter dollops. Do this until you have run your knife through all of the peanut butter. Now do exactly the same thing but up and down. Start at the top right hand corner of your pan and run the knife down and up, slowly moving to the left, etc. You can repeat the whole thing if you didn’t end up with nice swirls.
Taken verbatim from Ina, “Bake for 20 minutes, then tap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie batter. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into large squares.”