Sunday, January 9, 2011

DIET BUSTER ALERT: Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies with Salted Peanuts

DIET BUSTER ALERT: If you're on a diet or have resolved to not eat sweets after stuffing one too many Christmas treats down your pipe last month I advise that you exit this page.  Now.

Still here?  Alright fellow non-dieters and sweet lovers, you're in for something  very very delicious in this post.  If you're actually on a diet and you're still here, you must be a masochist or each their own :).

You know what's funny is that the healthy White Bean Roasted Red Pepper Dip that I posted last was like one of my least visited posts ever.  Clearly you all are like me and aren't down with the healthy mumbo jumbo.  This is probably why the majority of the blogs that I follow are so dessert heavy.  Not only are they beautiful to look at on the computer screen ( can almost lick your screen and taste it!) but overall, you're just meeting what your audience desires. 

My blog has some dessert but I actually focus more on entrees.  The main reason is that a girl's gotta eat and unless I want to be 500 pounds I just can't sustain myself on cakes and cookies alone :).

So this recipe is what Chris chose  for me to make for our Dinner Club Ugly Sweater Christmas Cookie and Secret Santa Exchange.  I was uninspired by what to make and so presented Chris with a few options on what I could make.  I knew full well that this would be his selection when pitted against fruity and chocolate sans PB cookies.  But you know what?  It turns out it was a good pick because everyone at Dinner Club, with ugly sweaters and all, agreed. 

Me pinning ugly Christmas pins to Chris' shirt a la Prom Style
Look at me!  I *jingle* our dog Toby lol.  (That's a bell around my neck in case you can't tell.)

Dinner Club 2010 Ugly Sweater Christmas Cookie and Secret Santa Exchange

 We went in expecting to just have a good time in our Ugly Sweaters but leave it to Jeff and Jackie to make everything a (secret!) competition.  This recipe won "Best Tasting" which is a complete honor given the talent of each and every person in our club.  To round out the competition, Emily's macarons won "Best Looking" and Kemani's Fat Boy Cookies as we dubbed them (ie: a bar cookie concoction that he created which included a random assortment of all known candy bars!) won "Most Interesting".

The spread: Egg nog and peppermint macarons (Emily and Scott), Jeff's Chocolate Surprise (Jeff), Kemani's Fat Boy Cookies (Kemani), Snickerdoodles? (Toni), Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies with Salted Peanuts (Christine and Chris), Cream Cheese Cherry Cookies (Sigmund and Kristen).  I feel like I might be missing some so friends please feel free to correct me!
Our plates runneth over...

This brownie is just as the description says.  A perfect harmony of rich fudgey brownie studded with salty peanuts, topped with wholesome peanut butter as if you just licked it off a spoon, and then finished with a layer of bittersweet ganache.  Holy diet buster!  Sadly, my ganache cracked a bit when I went to cut it.  This did not impact the flavor at all so for me, I said who cares.  Perfectionists may desired to let the bars come up in temperature a bit before trying to cut into bite size squares.  (Yes, BITE SIZED.  They're too rich to eat anything bigger!)

Special shout out to our talented unofficial photographer Emily for these gorgeous photos above to remember the day by.  These are some of the best friends I have ever known and I hope we'll continue this tradition for many years to come :).

One Year Ago: Herb Breaded Tilapia and Light Oat Bread

Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies with Salted Peanuts
Printer-Friendly Version 
(note: printer-friendly does nothing to reduce the caloric content of these brownies haha!)


For the Brownies
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
For the PB Frosting and Ganache

  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter (do not use natural or old-fashioned)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used a dash of cinnamon instead)
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped


For brownies:
  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving long overhang; butter foil.
  2. Place 3/4 cup butter in heavy large saucepan. Add both chocolates; stir over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar, vanilla, and salt, then eggs, 1 at a time. Fold in flour, then nuts. Spread in prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Place pan on rack; cool.
For frosting and ganache:

  1. Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter and 1/4 cup butter in medium bowl to blend. Beat in powdered sugar, salt, and nutmeg, then milk and vanilla. Spread frosting over brownies.
  2. Stir chocolate and 1/4 cup butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Drop ganache all over frosting; spread to cover. Chill until set, about 1 1/2 hours. Do ahead Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.
  3. Using foil as aid, transfer brownie cake to work surface; cut into squares. Bring to room temperature; serve.
Source: Originally from Bon Appetite (January 2007) by Dorie Greenspan as seen on Rose's Recipes

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