Sunday, May 15, 2011

Be Exceptional. Bake a Brownie.

If you ever find yourself spending most of the afternoon thinking about brownies
(I never do this), but if you should, this is what you should do.

You should bake brownies. Not just any brownies though. You bake exceptional brownies with peanut butter and pretzels. Then you eat. You break all the rules and you eat a really big piece that takes more of a rectangle shape than a square. Enjoy every bite and forget about those hydrogenated oils and the fact that its 11:00 and Oprah says not to eat after 8:00. You rule your life. Eat the brownie.

Nothing accents a brownie better than a glass of milk. So after you finish cutting that large chocolaty piece of goo, pour yourself a glass. You deserve it.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies
adapted from Martha Stewart

For the Brownie:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon  salt
coarse sea salt for topping

For the Peanut Butter Filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter, I prefer natural peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
large handful of pretzel sticks

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper so that it overhangs on two sides and grease the parchment paper as well. Boil two inches of water in a medium saucepan. 

Combine butter, unsweetened chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and coffee powder in a heat proof bowl and place over the simmering water.  Stir until chocolate and butter are melted.  Use a pot holder to remove the bowl from the double boiler and let mixture cool slightly.  Stir in the vanilla extract.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk granulated sugar into the chocolate and butter mixture.  Make sure the chocolate mixture isn’t too hot and whisk the eggs in the mixture one at a time. Fold in the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and spoon into prepared pan.

To make the Peanut Butter Filling, whisk together peanut butter, melted butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour the peanut butter mixture on top of the brownie batter and use a butter knife to swirl the two together. 

Arrange pretzel sticks on top of the brownie batter. Top with a few sprinkles of coarse sea salt.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

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