Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

I need to clarify. These brownies, a.k.a. heaven squares, also have caramel in them. It’s a trick I learned from a chef on the Food Network. If you mix the peanut butter with caramel, it has this amazing texture and literally makes you weak in the knees. Especially when combined with chocolate.

Quite seriously they are the epitome of ridiculousness in the brownie world. They combine several awesome flavors: caramel, chocolate, and peanut butter, which really means they have no choice but to be outstanding. It’s in their DNA (er…their ingredients).

I made myself give them away to friends because they were out of control in my house and would have suddenly disappeared. However, they are not to be missed so get baking!

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies Adapted from Bobby Flay

Ingredients:

for the peanut butter caramel

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the brownies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 5 ounces high-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee crystals
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

How To:

Pour cream into a small saucepan and heat to a simmer over low heat. In a separate saucepan (small or medium), combine the sugar and water. Cook over high heat without stirring until deep brown. This takes about 10 minutes, but watch the mixture so it doesn’t burn. It is a short time between colors. Once you acheive the right color, whisk in the warm cream until smooth and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat to whisk in the peanut butter, corn syrup, salt and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour into a clean bowl and let cool until thickened at room temperature, about 1 hour/ You can also place it in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. Mixture will turn to caramel.

For the brownies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchement, leaving an overhang on two sides. Spray parchement with non-stick spray.

Combine the butter, unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and instant coffee crystals in a double boiler (or place a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water) over low heat to melt. Stir mixture until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for several minutes.

In a large bowl whisk eggs, both sugars, vanilla extract and salt until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate mixture while whisking until smooth, making sure to scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the flour in two additions (the batter will be thick). Stir in the semisweet chocolate chunks.

Place half of the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Drop tablespoons of the peanut butter caramel mixture every few inches over the top of the batter. Add remaining batter on top and smooth over the caramel dollops. Dot remaining caramel over the top. Using a knife, swirl the caramel into the batter to get the marbled effect. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The top should be set but still soft; a cake tester will come out a bit gooey. Cool in pan for a few hours.

The brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or can be frozen for a few weeks.

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