April 30, 2013

Peanut Butter Bliss Brownies

When my coworker shows the first issue of our new Vestavia Hills paper to potential advertisers, here's what happens: Flip page, flip page, flip page, flip page.... (stare at page because these babes are on it)... Coworker says, "They are as good as they look. I tried them"

Brilliant baker of Vestavia Hills submitted this recipe photoless, so of course I had to play test kitchen and bake them, make 'em look pretty for the camera and then bring them into the office.
The Formula:
Dense, chewy brownie base
Super thick layer of peanut butter icing
Chocolate Ganache
Beware, they are rich, as in the normal person can only eat a small piece (but I am not normal in this regard). And they will give you a 13x9-inch pan worth of far-from-skinny bliss, so bring 'em to  eaters of sweets.

Peanut Butter Bliss Brownies
Amy Jason, Vestavia Voice, May 2013

Best Basic Brownies
10 minutes prep

4 (1-oz.) unsweetened baking squares (I use Baker’s)
3/4 cup butter (no substitutions)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of an 11-by-7-inch pan with aluminum foil, with a slight overlap; spray foil with spray oil.

Microwave chocolate squares and butter in large glass bowl for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in both sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring gently after each addition. Gently stir in flour, vanilla and salt just until blended.

Pour in prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes; reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue to bake for 3-6 minutes. Check center of brownies with a toothpick; you should see a few moist crumbs, but not excessive gooey-ness. The brownies will continue to set as they cool, and will set more in the fridge after they have been iced. Let cool before icing.

Tip: For a thicker brownie, you may use an 8-by-8-inch pan and increase cooking time slightly. For a thinner brownie, you may use a 9-by-13-inch pan and decrease cooking time slightly.

Peanut Butter Icing
5 minutes prep

3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

Combine icing ingredients; mix well by hand or electric mixer and spread over cooled brownies. Chill one hour.

Chocolate Ganache Topping
3 minutes prep

1 cup chocolate chips
6 T. butter, softened

Melt chocolate chips and butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted. (Or microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring at 30-second intervals until melted and smooth.) Spread over peanut butter icing on brownies; chill.

Lift brownies from pan using foil side as handles. Cut while chilled, and then let warm slightly to room temperature. For best results, store brownies in fridge, covered tightly in foil.

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