There are times when I crave something sweet, simple and, preferably, chocolate. At these moments, nothing fits the bill as perfectly as brownies. I like mine fudgy, as opposed to cakey, and I don’t mind a little adornment, like a glaze or frosting. This week I
decided to get back to basics with a brownie topped with peanut butter frosting. The brownies are made with lots of bittersweet chocolate (I used Guittard, one of my favorites), and a touch of brown sugar for a caramel flavor. The frosting, which is mixed by
hand, is mostly peanut butter with a little softened butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. The brownies must be cool when you frost them, and need to be refrigerated for at least an hour before cutting, ensuring that you’ll get perfect brownie squares. I suggest you bring the brownies to room temperature before serving, for the best texture and flavor, though they’re still pretty darned good right out of the fridge. I like Jif brand peanut butter best, but any non-natural type will work.
Makes 9 brownies
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or use pastilles)
½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
2 large eggs
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
½ cup (108 g) light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (64 g) all-purpose flour
Peanut Butter Frosting:
3/4 cup (180 g) creamy peanut butter (not natural)
3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (57 g) confectioners’ sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the brownies:
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil so that the foil extends at least 2 inches beyond the edges of 2 opposite ends (this will make it easy to remove the brownies from the pan).
2. Melt the chocolate with the butter in the top of a double boiler. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugars until well blended and smooth. Add the salt, then the melted chocolate and vanilla extract and mix until well blended. Add the flour and mix until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Bake the brownies for 22 to 25 minutes, until the top is no longer shiny and the brownies are set (they will still be moist inside). Cool completely.
Make the frosting:
4. In a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, beat the peanut butter with the soft butter until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until blended and smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract. Spread the frosting over the cool brownies and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting.
5. Cut the brownies into squares to serve.