Peanut Butter Brownies

I started thinking about this recipe about 8 weeks in to a 12 week intensive training and eating program.  The short version of the story is I knew I needed to get healthier, lose some weight and start being more active than running around a kitchen all day.  To do this, you have to be ready to make some major changes. There are many short cuts advertised for losing weight and getting in shape and in the end, its all just hard work to keep up with workouts and eating clean, everyday…with no exceptions until you reach your goal.

Strict is the best word to describe how I ate from March 3rd until today.  (I’m still being pretty strict in fact, I call it maintenance mode.)   Cravings were not as bad as I expected.  Occasionally I wanted wine, pizza or about 40lbs of chips and cheese dip but as you get closer and closer to that goal it only takes the mind to push the cravings away and focus on the goal.  At the end, all I wanted was sweets.  SUGAR!!!!  My body wanted fat in the beginning but sugar at the end.  While I do desserts, I’ve never considered myself to be a great baker.  I also have not really had a sweet tooth – not that I don’t like sweets but it was never hard to say no – so I never spent much time making them.  But this craving for sugar got me thinking about a lot of dessert recipes…Tons actually, to satisfy this craving.

I will admit I have a small obsession with Peanut butter and if you ask me what is the perfect candy – no hesitation in saying a reeses peanut butter cup.  The first desserts I envisioned were peanut butter cookies, (Recipe coming soon), Peanut butter brownies, peanut butter fudge and just because they are may favorite cakes – pineapple upside down and red velvet.  In the end, I’ve got some recipes for them all I’m sure I will share but we are going to start with the ultimate, perfect, most sensational dessert to break the strict diet and satisfy this craving for sweets…

Peanut Butter Brownies

The recipe below takes this idea to a new level.  There is a crust of toasted pretzles and peanuts, the brownie themselves are laced with reeses cups and topped with a ganache made not from a fine chocolate, but from reeses minis.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Brownies

1/2 pound of butter

1 3/4 cups sugar

10 ounces – 1 1/4 cup Peanut Butter

2 large eggs plus 1 yolk

1 TBs vanilla

2 cups flour

12 reeses peanut butter cups, cut into fourths

Crust

2 cups salted pretzles

1 cup salted peanuts

2 TBs brown sugar

2 TBs melted butter

Ganache

12oz Dark Chocolate Mini Reeses Cups

2oz Dark Chocolate – like a hersheys special dark bar

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Equipment

Measuring utensils

Food Processor

Mixer

Spatulas

Knife

9×13 baking pan

Sauce pan

Parchment paper

Instructions

Pre Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Crust –

In a food processor, pulse one cup of peanuts to break up the pieces just a bit.  Next add pretzles and process until desired consistency is reached.  I left mine pretty chunky.  Next, in a separate bowl, combine processed peanut and pretzle mixture with brown sugar and butter.  Place this on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 minutes – tossing the mixture after 4 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

 

Brownies –

Beat butter and sugar with paddle attchement until creamed and fluffy.  Next, add peanut butter and incorporate into butter/sugar mixture.  Next add eggs one at a time on lower speed, adding the next eggs when the previous was fully incorportated.  Add vanilla.  Begin to add flour on low speed and mix until just combined.  I recommend not over mixing this part.

This batter is pretty thick at this point but its time to fold in the chopped peanut butter cups.  I recommend using a spatula or wooden spoon to do this rather than the mixture as the goal is to keep these pieces as intact as possible.

Butter you 9×13 baking dish and then line with parchment.  Butter the parchment once it is sealed in the pan.  Next, spread the crust evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Finally, working in spoonfulls due to the thick batter, place rounded spoonfulls of batter on top of the crust in the pan.  Try to make these mounds as even as possible.  Once all of the batter is in the pan, use your hands to press the batter into a smooth, even layer on top of the crust.

Bake at 350 degrees about 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of the brownies comes out fairly clean – I would pull the brownies when there are still some crumbs stuck to the knife.

Let cool to room temperature.

Ganache –

This really sets the brownies over the top…

Place dark chocolate reeses cups and dark chocolate in bowl.  Bring cream to a slight boil in a small sauce pan and once at a boil temperature, remove from heat and pour cream over the reeses and chocolate.  I like to let the cream sit in the bowl, melting the chocolate a bit before I begin to stir so give it a minute or so to warm the chocoalte.  Next, using a spatula, whisk or even a wooden spoon, gently stir the cream, reeses and chocolate mixture.  It will take a few minutes but eventually all of the chocolate will incorporate in the cream and a few minutes of stirring after this, the peanut butter will also smooth into the mixture.  (This is a good time to do a taste test…)  When the mixture is smooth with a bit of shine, pour over the brownies.

To finish, place brownies in the fridge to let the ganache set.  Once set, remove from pan by pulling on parchment, cut into reasonably large pieces and enjoy!

*Personal Recipe Disclaimer – I think its important to give credit when it is due.  While I test, tweak and refine all recipes before I post to ensure I think it’s the best version, there is almost always inspiration or a base recipe from a cookbook, family/friends or from the internet used as an initial guide.  Even though I work as a “chef”, one of the chefs greatest tools for inspiration are other chefs and cooks creating and posting wonderful ideas.  Thanks to all of you out there for the inspiration and for those that give this a try, I hope you enjoy my version.

Recipes cited to create this one:

http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/10/peanut-butter-brownies/

 

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3 Responses to “Peanut Butter Brownies”

  1. Mom
    August 23, 2012 at 12:49 am #

    Grant

    I love all of your posts! You are doing a great job. So proud of you!

  2. Derek
    September 4, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    Peanut Butter Cups are my favorite as well! These just look so delicious!

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  1. Chef Grants Peanut Butter Cookies | Grant Cansler - December 12, 2012

    […] you know from the Peanut Butter Brownie recipe, I do love some peanut butter in my desserts and feel like these cookies are best.  They were even […]

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