Did anyone see Ina Garten make these on Food Network last week? I knew the minute I saw them that I had to try them.
This recipe could feed an army. Or a band of hungry ten-year-olds. Or a couple of really lucky friends.
It makes a sheet pan’s worth of brownies. If you have a strong sense of self preservation, cut the recipe in half and make it in a smaller baking dish.
These brownies are dark, fudgy, shot through with ribbons of smooth peanut butter—and dotted with bits of molten chocolate. The batter includes semisweet and unsweetened chocolate, which means that they’re sweet, but not overly so.
These brownies also have a hint of espresso in them. The espresso deepens the chocolate flavor. You can definitely taste coffee notes in the brownies, though, so if you’re not crazy about espresso flavor, use half the recommended amount.
I don’t have a sweet tooth, and I loved them. I need to work on my swirling technique (I was overzealous and some of the peanut butter disappeared into the batter).
I guess I’ll have to buckle down and make another pan. Practice makes perfect, right? (What a burden, I know.)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
1 lb. butter, cut into hunks
1 lb. semisweet regular sized chocolate chips
12 oz. semisweet mini chocolate chips (substitute regular size if you like)
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 extra-large eggs
3 Tbls. instant espresso powder
2 Tbls. pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbls. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup smooth peanut butter
Yields 20 large brownies, or a LOT more smaller ones (makes a 12 x 18 inch pan)
Melt the chocolate and butter
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Put about an inch of water in a medium-sized pot and set it on the stove over high heat so it comes to a simmer.
Put 1 lb. of regular-sized chocolate chips in a large, heatproof bowl.
Toss in the butter and the unsweetened chocolate.
When your water is simmering, set the bowl on top of the pot. Drop the heat to low.
(The bowl will cover the pot, which will be enough to keep the water simmering.)
It will take maybe 15 minutes for the whole bowl to melt (there’s a lot of stuff in there!). Stir occasionally.
(Stir, stir, stir.)
Keep the bowl on the pot until the butter and chocolate have melted completely.
Pull the bowl off the pot (carefully!) and set it aside while you deal with the eggs.
Mix the eggs, espresso, and sugar
Crack the eggs into a large bowl.
Toss in the espresso powder. (Use half the amount if you don’t want to taste it in the brownies.)
Add the sugar. Stir to combine.
You’ll wind up with a kind of slimy, coffee-colored mess. That’s just fine. (You’re stirring here, not beating, because you don’t want to mix a lot of air into the batter. More air = less dense brownies.)
Combine the chocolate and eggs
Pour the melted chocolate/butter into the eggs. Since it was sitting over simmering water, not direct heat, it shouldn’t be so hot that it scrambles the eggs. (If you do wind up with a few bits of cooked egg, just strain them out and keep going.)
Stir to combine…
…until the mixture is uniform.
Be sure the mixture is well combined at this point—and that there aren’t little pockets of egg, etc. Stir as much as you want now. Once you add the flour in a minute or two, you don’t want to stir the batter much at all. (Stirring will start to develop the gluten in the flour, which can make your brownies tough.)
Set it aside for a minute while you deal with the dry ingredients.
Combine the dry ingredients and mini chocolate chips
There’s a scant amount of flour holding these brownies together. Put the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together to combine.
Toss in the mini chocolate chips.
Mix them around to coat them with flour. This light coating of flour helps suspend the chips in the batter, so they don’t all sink to the bottom and glom together.
Finish the brownie batter
Pour the flour mixture into the chocolate batter.
Stir until just combined—i.e. all the white from the flour has disappeared. (You know how in old-fashioned recipes they say things like “beat 40 strokes?” That was to help ensure you wouldn’t overbeat.)
Pour the brownie batter in the pan
Line a 12 x 18 inch sheet pan with parchment paper. Pour the brownie batter onto the parchment.
Smooth it down with a spatula so it’s even and covers the whole pan.
Swirl the peanut butter through the brownie batter
Put several spoonfuls of peanut butter on the batter. Do it kind of evenly, but don’t make yourself nuts. (After all: A “swirl” isn’t exactly precise…)
With a knife, swirl the peanut butter around through the brownie batter. (Make kind of a figure 8 motion with the knife.)
Repeat until you’ve swirled in all the blobs of peanut butter.
Bake the brownies
Pop the pan into your preheated 350-degree oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes. You want a toothpick to come out clean. The top will be a little crackly.
Now, after they’ve been in the oven for about 20 minutes, Ina recommends picking the pan up and dropping it on the oven rack to force the air out from between the pan and the brownies. I didn’t do this (I was tempted, but didn’t want to press my luck), and they came out just fine. It’s up to you.
Cool the brownies right in the pan.
Wait until they’re at least room temp before slicing. Ina Garten recommends keeping them in the fridge.