Thursday, May 13, 2010

TDF Brownies

I once heard a motivational speaker who was a former beauty pageant queen and she was from the deep South. Every word she said had honey-coated twang. It might just have been that accent that made such an impression, but I can still hear her saying, "Y'all talk death too much!" (Phonetically, that would be, "Yahl tahk dayeth tew muuch.")

You hear death all the time in every day expressions. "These shoes are killing me." "I was so embarrassed I wanted to die." "She was dressed to kill." "I was worried to death." "I could have died laughing." Why are we so obsessed with death? Why not celebrate life?

With that bit of background, you can understand that I approached a new cookbook a bit tentatively. Brownies to Die For . Really? Would you trade the rest of your life for a brownie? I doubt it unless your life was unbelievably horrific or the brownie was astonishingly good. Even then, I doubt it.

But the brownies I made from this book were really good. Really, really good. So, if you like peanut butter and chocolate together, give them a try. And if you feel like your life is a scene from a horror movie, try the brownies. They might give you something to live for and help you to hang in there one more day.

Brownies Worth Living For
(aka Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies)

adapted from Brownies to Die For - Bev Shaffer
Yield: 2-1/2 dozen


---- Brownie Base ----

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unbleached white flour, all-purpose
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4-5 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

---- Peanut Butter Marble Base -----

3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter*
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 tbsp. unbleached white flour, all-purpose
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp. milk, whole or 2 percent
2 large egg, lightly beaten

---- Chocolate Frosting ----

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 tsbsp milk, whole or 2 percent

(* I didn't have crunchy peanut butter, so I chopped about 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, put them in a 3/4 cup measure, and filled the rest of the measuring cup with smooth peanut butter)


1) Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 13x9 baking pan

2) For the Brownie Base: In a med saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring to blend. Remove pan from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Gently stir in chocolate pieces. Spread half of the Brownie Base into prepared pan.

3) For the Peanut Butter Marble Base: In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, combine peanut butter and butter. Add sugar and flour, blending well. Mix in vanilla, milk, and eggs—blending until smooth. Spread Peanut Butter Marble Base over Brownie Base. Spoon remaining Brownie Base evenly over Peanut Butter Marble Base. Pull a knife through the layers in a zigzag motion to create marbling. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted near the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Cool pan completely on a wire rack.

4) For the Chocolate Frosting: Melt chocolates and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often until mixture is combined. remove saucepan from heat. Whisk in sugar, salt, vanilla, and enough milk to make a soft, spreadable frosting.

Frost cooled brownies. Cut into bars. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

These are definitely worth giving a try Lynn. I am enjoying the switl of peanutty goodness.

The College Baker said...

Haha, I never thought about how many expressions out there deal with death. These brownies really do look delicious though. Chocolate and peanut butter- yummm!

Jennifer Jo said...

Another title option: Death Row Brownies. Kinda turns the stomach, no?

The brownies look great. I'm on a Southern kick right now (am fully immersed in The Help)---you'll hear more about it shortly...

Dolce said...

These look like brownies worth living for ;)
Ohhh the peanut butter oozing in the middle... Sigh...

Just had a (small) fire at the office and could totally use this right now!

Barbara said...

There are times when nothing but a brownie will pull me out of the doldrums. I imagine we all feel that way! And your peanut butter brownies? They are truly to die for. Oops...I mean to live for!

Katherine said...

Can you explain how the texture of these delcious brownies is? Thick and really rich?

Also, are they super sweet?

Love your blog!!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Val -You just can't go wrong with peanut butter, right?

College Baker - so you learned something new today?

Jennifer Jo- Can't wait to hear more about The Help. And could you send some my way, please?

Dolce - Ugh to your office fire. Wish I could send you a brownie or two to make it better.

Barbara - Thanks for that correction!

Katherine - They are thick, rich, somewhere in between a cakey brownie and a fudgy brownie. They are sweet, but not toothachingly so. Try them, then you can make your own version to suit your tastes.

Abby said...

Those look *amazing*. I'm such a sucker for any kind of brownie.

I'm also very Southern, but my husband has me beat. His name is Brad, but most people on the phone think he introduces himself as Brian!

Anh said...

Obviously we don’t wanna die for a brownie, but having a good and solid brownie recipe is a bonus. That sounds fab!

grace said...

amen to the redubbing of these goodies, lynn. i don't like when people claim something is 'to die for' either--so macabre, and so completely untrue. these are indeed mighty tempting, though--thanks for the recipe.
and hey--i'll bet you'd love to hear my twangy talk. :)

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Abby - Brad to Brian? That is very Southern, indeed!

Anh - There's too much good food to enjoy to trade life away for just one brownie. Your blog is an excellent example of that.

Grace - I would love that. Call me some time.

elizabeth said...

well, as i was reading this post, i was actually eating chocolate and peanut butter.... so yeah, brilliant combination, always. these do look delicious, lynn.

CookiePie said...

We are on the same page - I bought ingredients last night to make PB-swirl brownies over the weekend, and here I come to your blog to find a fabulous recipe! They look divine!!

eatme_delicious said...

Mmm peanut butter brownies... They look perfect with a bit of a crackly top. I never noticed that about how we talk about death so much.

eatme_delicious said...

Oh wait that's a chocolate frosting not a crackly top!! Even better.

Melinda said...

These just look plain naughty good.
You are a wicked brownie maker.

Katie said...

Lol I had never thought about how we have so many sayings based around death - quite depressing really. These brownies look fab thought.

We Are Not Martha said...

Brownies worth living for sounds SO much better than to die for! And they certainly do look worth living for.... LOVE peanut butter in my brownies :)


Peabody said...

So making these for the peanut butter and chocolate loving hubby!