Today is my brother’s 30th birthday. Of the two of us, I have the bigger sweet tooth. That being said, when he does eat sweets, he doesn’t mess around. Each year of our adult lives, I’ve been making dessert for his birthday dinner, and each year, he suggests the same “guidelines” and leaves me to choose the perfect recipe: chocolate with peanut butter, or Oreo. The boy certainly knows the best flavor combos! This year, I figured the suggestion was no different, so imagine my surprise when he said brownies! While I could have just used that as an excuse to go easy this year and reach for a box, I could never do no such thing for such a milestone birthday! I took it as the chance to merge his apparent simpler tastes of his 30’s with his favorite flavors of his 20’s. Not to mention, merge my favorite flavors together into one fudgy bite. These brownies were rich, but delicious. Definitely the right way to ring in a new decade. Happy birthday, Michael!
For the Brownies
10 tablespoons Butter
4 ounces Semisweet or Milk Chocolate Chips, divided
1 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 tablespoon Butter, softened
1 tablespoon Powdered Sugar
Peanut Butter Cups, chopped (about 15-20 miniature size)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. To a large, microwave safe bowl, add the butter along with 2 ounces of the chocolate, and microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Whisk in the sugar until completely combined. Add the vanilla and eggs, whisking until smooth. Stir in the cocoa powder, flour, and salt until just combined. In a small bowl, mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon of butter until smooth. Pour half of the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish. Drop the peanut butter mixture onto the brownie batter and sprinkle with the remaining 2 ounces of the chocolate. Top with the remaining brownie batter, gently spreading it toward the sides of the dish, if needed. Bake for 30 minutes (my oven took more like 45 minutes), until the brownies are set on top. Allow the brownies to cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
5 1/2 ounces Semisweet Chocolate, chopped (I used chips)
1 tablespoon Creamy Peanut Butter
2 teaspoons Vanilla
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to just below a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and peanut butter until it is melted and smooth. Set the frosting aside to cool and thicken as the brownies are cooling. Once thickened and cooled, spread the frosting on the brownies and sprinkle with chopped peanut butter cups. Allow the frosting to set for about 30 minutes (I popped them in the fridge) before slicing into 16 squares.
SOURCE: Half Baked Harvest