Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Big news. I just discovered a recipe that one-ups my famous Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars. They're named Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies (similar name, different levels of deliciousness). I feel bittersweet about this discovery because the PB Choco Chip Bars hold a very special place in my heart, but dammit these new bars are simply, just better. How can this be, you ask? Well, these have more butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips in it, and a bonus layer of ganache on top. They don't have baking soda/powder in it too so they're more dense- brownie-like. So I guess my other recipe didn't really stand a chance. PB Choco Chip Bars...I still love you, but lets just be friends.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: Makes roughly 32 bars, depending on how you cut them

Ingredients – Bars
2 sticks (1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups (350 grams) sugar
1 cup (255 grams) creamy peanut butter (Pro Tip: I used Skippy Natural, don't use the kind you have to stir first)
2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (9 ounces or 255 grams) semisweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)

Ingredients – Ganache
1 1/2 cups (9 ounces or 255 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, softened

Pro Tip: bittersweet chocolate chips work great too for a more grown-up taste

Directions – Bars
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in middle. Butter a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan, then line bottom of pan with parchment paper and butter parchment.
2.  Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until mixture is light and fluffy, then add peanut butter and beat until incorporated. Beat in whole eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Reduce mixer sped to low, then mix in flour until just combined.
3.  Mix in chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups) then spread batter in baking pan, smoothing top. (It will be thick, almost like cookie batter.)
4.  Bake until brownies are deep golden, puffed on top and a wooden pick inserted in center come out with some crumbs adhering, 40 to 45 minutes. Pro Tip: Mine took 37 mins. Start lower than you think and tack on a min at a time if it's not done.
5.  Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 1 1/2 hours.

Directions – Ganache
1.  Put chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups) in a heatproof bowl.
2.  Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan, then pour over chocolate chips and let mixture stand for one minute.
3.  Gently whisk in butter until it is incorporated, chocolate is melted, and a smooth mixture forms.
4.  Spread ganache on cooled brownies and let stand until set, about 15 minutes. Best if made the day before.

Have a glass of milk handy, because you're going to need it.

Recipe: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

"Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars." These badboys are as amazing as they sound. I had to make them as soon as I discovered the recipe over a decade ago in my mom's cookbook "All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed Baking Book" by Judy Rosenberg. Best. Cookbook title. Ever. I whipped up my first batch for Thanksgiving and my family went absolutely nuts for them. They now insist that I make them for every Thanksgiving and Christmas or else they'd disown me. Well, they never said that last part, but it's mostly likely true. My cousins don't even call them "dessert," they instead call them "appetizers" because they can't wait to eat them until dessert. I like this recipe because clearly it's a crowd pleaser in my family, but mostly because it's a quick, simple recipe. Win-win!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
Recipe from All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed Baking Book
Yield: 30 bars (depends on how big you cut them)

1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour (these measurements sounded odd to me too, but they need to be precise)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup commercial smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I overflow my cup)

1.  Preheat over to 350. Lightly grease an 11x7-inch baking pan with butter or vegetable oil (note: I used an 8x8 for thicker bars).
2.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium-size mixing bowl and set aside.
3.  Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter, peanut butter, both sugars, and the vanilla until light and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stop the mixer to scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula.
4.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat on medium speed until partially blended after each addition, about 10 seconds. After the last addition, beat until blended, about 30 seconds, stopping the mixer twice to scrape the bowl.
5.  Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix with a spatula until the flour is absorbed. Then mix on low speed until blended, 7 to 10 seconds. Scrape the bowl, especially the bottom.
6.  Add the chocolate chips and blend for several seconds. Scrape the bowl. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
7.  Bake the bars on the center oven rack until the edges are deep golden and the center is lightly golden and slightly puffy, 25-30 mins (these taste much better undercooked!) The center will drop when the bars are taken out of the oven. Cut the bars into squares after they have cooled a bit on the rack.

Chewy texture, perfect ratio of peanut butter to chocolate. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving Baking everyone!