Wednesday, October 7, 2009

[Cookie 044] Peanut-Butter Swirl Brownies

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I did it again. I fell off the blogging bandwagon, so to speak. I've also being saying "so to speak" a lot, but that's an entirely different, unimportant matter. You'll have to forgive me if I sound a little silly in this post, or if I say "so to speak" a lot, or misspell words, or go onto too many tangents, or write insanely long run-on sentences like this one. You see, I had a truly college-dorm-life night last night. No, this does not mean that I went to a toga party, or that I drank my body-weight in hard liquor, or that I stayed up studying for midterms all night, or any combination of these collegey things. Instead, I went to bed at my usual time, but woke up at 5 am to the sound of the fire alarm blaring and my bedroom being flashed with a strobe light.

Ah college.

So every kid living in my building had to get up and out of bed, file down the stair case in our pajamas, and stand outside in the drizzling rain while the fire trucks flashed their lights at us. Not amused, no I was not. And I was in the middle of the dream, no less! So when the alarm went off, in my dream some random lady was explaining how it was a "Filipino Fire Drill!!!!" My other friend woke up thinking "Celery! Celery! Celery!" to the rhythm of the alarm.

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That's not cool. If anything it should be "Cookies! Cookies! Cookies" or something of that ilk. But it probably wouldn't ever have been "Peanut-Butter Swirl Brownies! Peanut Butter Brownies! Peanut Butter Brownies!" because they were pretty forgettable (side note: did you like my nice little segue from anecdote to recipe? My sleep deprived mind is getting creative on me...)

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So yes. These brownies. They sounded and looked good enough to eat--but sadly weren't that great. That's the second brownie recipe in a row that didn't quite work out as I had hoped, but this time I'm not sure if it's the recipe's fault or my own/my oven. To cut to the chase, they came out super dry and dense. Seriously, when I cut into the brownies and removed the first piece, it came out like a cleanly cut little brick. No gooey edges, no flaky top, nada.

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Was it the fact that my oven is off by 100ยบ? I doubt it, because I use an oven thermometer and set the temperature within 5 degrees or so. Maybe it was the recipe, who knows. The point is, we added some vanilla soy milk on top, and voila! Brownies a la mode...kind of. I dunno, I was a little disappointed.

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This picture is so awful, but it really cracks me up for some reason...

However, there was one nice benefit! The peanut butter mixture that you put in the brownie batter is totally delicious (in a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup way) and the recipe left me with a bunch leftover. I stuck it in some tupperware and put it in the fridge, where it solidified and proved to be a delicious addition to bananas, pretzels, and the like.

So, yeah, not the best thing I've made from The Book by far, but it was fun to make the swirls in the batter. Give the recipe a go if you're feeling like toying with it a bit--I'm sure when it's made right, they are super delicious.

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Peanut-Butter Swirl Brownies
Makes 9 large or 16 small squares

Ingredients
  • FOR THE BATTER
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
  • 2 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • FOR THE FILLING
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang. Butter lining (not overhang).
  2. Make 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.
  3. Whisk granulated sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, and whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture; stir until well incorporated.
  4. Make filling: Stir together butter, confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.
  5. Pour 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.
  6. 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. Lift out; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

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{End Results}
Baking Difficultly: 3/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 4/5 (Pretty basic stuff)
Tastiness: 2/5
Attractiveness: 3/5 (The swirls got a little funky and bubbly, but they have potential for being really pretty)
Is it worth it?: Well, if they're always going to come out like mine, I'd say no...but I've got a feeling that if they aren't so dry, they will be really really worth it!

{Pairings}
Drink: Vanilla Soy Milk (if you're into that)
Song: Dryspell -- Aesop Rock
Activity: Uh...

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lizzie:
I'm so glad you did this one, I was just going to ask you to do it. I made this a few weeks ago using a brownie mix (cheating, I know). I, too, found that the brownies ended up REALLY dense and a bit dry. I think the issue is the peanut butter mixture. First off, there's too much compared with the brownie mixture. Second, I think it's too peanut buttery.

I'm going to make them again this weekend and 1/2 the peanut butter portion of the recipie as well as adding 1 tbs more butter to thin the mixture out a bit. I'll let you know if that works.

But thanks for putting up your post on this, I was worried it was all me.

jennyB

Kim said...

I can see how the peanut butter mixture would be delicious and worth making on it's own :D Too bad they turned out dry, sorry to hear that.

Dolce said...

Pics look great though. Especially the swirl ones...

Kitchen Bliss! said...

Hi there! I stumbled across your blog while looking for my next Martha recipe from the cookbook to try out. I thought there would probably be at least some one out there avidly aiming to bake all the recipes in the cookbook! However, I didn't commit to every recipe as some of them didn't look that tasty to me or too delicate to drag into work.. my goal is to make all the recipes I've eye'd from Martha's Cookie cookbook and bring them into work and put out a jar for donations from my coworkers for a charity. I started a few months ago and we're almost at $300! Anyway, thanks for giving me the idea of the Iced Applesauce cookies, that will be perfect for this time of year. I look forward to seeing what you bake next!! Good luck! Oh I am also quite impressed you're doing all this in a small dorm kitchen! Amazing!! -Anne

jfklds said...

those two pictures of the lindt chocolates and wrapper are pretty great. really beautiful. i wish there was more photography like yours in the food industry. and i do understand why that picture cracks you up. i looked at it and thought about you looking at it and cracking up and i cracked up

claire

vitamine A said...

Looks so delicious and tasty. I definitely going to try this. Its mouthwatering recipe. Thanks for sharing.

Barbara said...

Oh my... I don't know whether to cry or salivate. Sad the cooked brownies weren't super good, but want the batter so much I could cry - or salivate. I miss you!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

What a cool project - I love all your cookie pics. They make me drool :-)

lauramay said...

I have to say, those brownies look nothing short of decadent. My salivary glands are working overtime just looking at those pics.

Adriana said...

I made peanut butter swirl brownies the other day... after reading a thousand blogs trying to find a recipe i liked, i found at good housekeeping a recipe that worked perfectly, the trick? it's the peanut butter swirl!

most recipes just swirl plain peanut butter, come to think of it, it's just butter getting dried out in the oven... now the people from good housekeeping mix it with egg! which i think is the trick to avoid dryness! maybe it's worth a shot!