I wake up this morning with the thought of one thing “Brownies. Today. Pronto.” and that’s what I did. I had spotted this recipe before, its from the Throwdown with Bobby Flay show on Food Network; an episode that i missed. Eh. I think its a cute show! Too bad I missed it!
Anyway, so I got this new pot from my dad’s warehouse (we have a restaurant supply business here, so its fairly convenient) to use specifically for candy making. 3 quarts tends to be just right, and it is. I love this pot…I love it to death. Not like LOVE love, but love. You know? Lovely love that makes you smile when things turn out right? Yes? No? Okay.
Very simple and easy to make. I personally love to make caramel and the challenge of getting it just right, because it is fairly easy to do it wrong and you can end up with a pile of sugar. I’ve had this happen before…my reaction wasn’t pretty.
I don’t want to discuss this anymore. I’m an adult. I CAN SAY THAT HOLY COW! Where did all the good years go?
Its pretty good, more fun to make than it tastes. But then that is my opinion, I’m not a huge fan of peanut butter. It comes on a bit strong, I would have preferred a caramel flavor with a hint of peanut butter. Plus its pretty :).
Okay, so, brownies. Start with your chocolate. I didn’t have unsweetened, because that’s not the way I roll. I used 85% chocolate and some dove chocolates. Fairly simple! Oh, butter and espresso powder were melted in there too…I should have told you that…sorry.
Now, put your eggs in a separate (but still color-specific!) bowl and add your sugars. I didn’t have the muscavado sugar, but it said light brown, so i assumed it was a fancy brown sugar. In goes my generic, homemade brown sugar (Staple Recipes). Whisk until smooth.
Then, to that, you pour in your cooled chocolate mixture and mix it all in.
Then mix in your flour, then you’re good to go!
In the recipe, it says to line the pan with foil. I normally do that, but i had some parchment on hand, so I sprayed the pan a bit, then cut short, diagonal lines on the corners of the parchment paper then pushed it down into the pan, there you go! Perfect! Now, spread half of the mixture into the pan then plunk in half of the peanut butter caramel mixture by tablespoons. I realized it had to be half when it was too late, but its fine. No biggie.
Top with the remaining mixture and GENTLY spread it over, then top with the remaining peanut mixture, and swirl with a knife, then bake. Now, the recipe says 23-25 minutes. This might be fine and good with a smaller pan, but with mine, it was WAAAAY too liquidy after this time frame. I added 12 minutes and they were PERFECT. Cool completely, then refrigerate for about an hour, then cut. These are super rich and fudgy. Well, fudgy is an understatement, these ARE fudge. The peanut butter and caramel kind of just…hits you. Its nice and pleasant. Not bad at all!
Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
Pinch sea salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
6 ounces high-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, plus 4 ounces
1 teaspoon espresso powder
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown muscavado sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Bring the cream to a simmer over low heat in a small saucepan (I don’t think that this is necessary, just use cold, it’s fine). Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over high heat and cook, without stirring until amber brown. Slowly whisk in the warm cream until smooth and let cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter, corn syrup, sea salt and 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let cool until thickened at room temperature, about 30 minutes.
Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on the narrow ends. Spray the foil and pan with nonstick spray.
Combine the butter, unsweetened chocolate, 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder in a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Let the chocolate melt over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, both sugars, vanilla and salt until smooth. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the flour in 2 additions (the batter will be thick). Stir in the remaining 4 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate.
Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Using a tablespoon, drop dollops of half of the peanut butter caramel every 2 inches over the top of the batter. Carefully add the remaining batter and smooth over the caramel. Smooth the top and dollop the remaining caramel over the top. Use a butter knife to swirl through the batter to get a marbleized effect.
Bake until the top is set but still soft and the edges are puffed and just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 23 to 25 (I added 12 minutes to this, and they turned out really well, after the given time, the brownies were almost liquid) minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out still gooey (be brave!–underbaking the brownies is one of the secrets to their fudgy texture). Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the neatest cuts, refrigerate the pan for about 20 minutes before cutting the brownies. Using the foil, lift the brownie slab out of the pan. Carefully peel off the foil and put the brownie on a large cutting board. With a large sharp knife, cut the brownies into 48 squares. (The brownies can be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 3 days; they can also be frozen, well wrapped, for up to 2 weeks.)