>> Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Brownies are my baking arch-enemy (as if that's even possible . . . but I assure you, it is). I've tried making them vegan and not vegan. Using dutch process cocoa powder and using unsweetened chocolate. Oil versus butter. Eggs versus applesauce and bananas. All-purpose flour versus wheat pastry flour. And beyond. Sadly for me, the battle is typically won by the brownie. Somehow last night's clash ended with me as the victor.
Perhaps it was my unyielding determination to succeed that compelled the batter to heed my commands. Maybe it was the fancy brown eggs I used or the splurge-worthy Ghirardelli bittersweet chunks I so thoughtfully melted in the microwave (yeah -- a neverhomemaker doesn't have time to gently melt chocolates in the double boiler). I really don't know, but I'm thankful and won't ask questions. They turned out moist and dense . . . a perfect compliment to any frosting but, of course, the best is peanut butter.
Anyway, this photo was taken of the brownie basking in the early morning sun. AKA this photo was taken at breakfast. Go easy, though. I need to carbo load this week!
What you'll need . . .
- 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance and omitted the salt)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour (I used 1/2 cup wheat pastry flour plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (again, Earth Balance)
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Method . . .
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 13x9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving 2-inch overhang on both short sides.
- Spray foil with a nonstick cooking spray.
- Combine both chocolates and butter in heavy small saucepan. Stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Cool to barely lukewarm.
- Using electric mixer, beat sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in large bowl on high speed until mixture thickens and is pale yellow, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce mixer speed to low; beat in flour and salt, then melted chocolate mixture. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan.
- Bake brownies until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs still attached, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer baking pan to rack; cool 15 minutes. Press gently on edges of brownies to level with center. Cool completely in baking pan.
- Combine peanut butter and butter in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat until well blended and smooth.
- Spread frosting evenly over brownies in pan. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- Using foil as aid, lift out brownies from pan. Cut into squares.
Note from source: Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
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