Oh my peanut butter cups! Chocolate and peanut butter is one of those combinations that is just so tempting. When you bring them together in a decadently rich, fudgy brownie, you better stand back because the result is outrageously good! Today’s recipe starts with a perfect brownie base and is topped with chopped peanuts and milk chocolate chips. Inside, waiting for you like the best surprise ever, is a layer of miniature peanut butter cups! It’s a little square of chocolate peanut butter heaven worthy of Today Show fame and a large glass of milk!
It comes to us from the new book, Extreme Brownies! This yummy collection includes 50 wildly creative, extensively tested recipes from Connie Weis, owner of Brownies & S’more in Virginia Beach, VA. Page after page is filled with anything-but-ordinary brownie recipes from a lady who seriously knows her brownies. A baker who believes that brownies can’t just look great, they have to taste great and have the right texture — and her recipes will have you baking these killer brownies at home. Whether it’s Connie’s best-selling Caramel-Stuffed Sea Salt Brownies or her signature “PMS” Brownies, these babies are over-the-top delicious. A brownie named Holy Heavenly Hash? What about a Big Fat Walnut Chocolate Chip Brownie? Or a Kitty Kat Krunch Brownie? And then there’s an entire section on blondies too. You better clear some time in your schedule because you’ll want to try them all! So let’s start with today’s extreme brownie recipe!
Enjoy Connie’s Today Show Peanut Butter Cup Brownies!
Connie Weis gives us the scoop on her Today Show Brownies:
“When I’m in the kitchen, I like to listen to either the TV or radio (preferably NPR) for background fodder as I’m cooking. One day on the Today show, Hoda Kotb held up a package of brownies she’d bought at a grocery store as one of her favorite things that she likes to share with viewers. I made a mental note that my brownies looked a lot better, and one day I would send her some. About six months later I did, and I hoped I would get a reply from Hoda, maybe with an autographed picture. Instead, I had an email from the producer asking me if I would like to come on the show to do a cooking segment. I was thrilled, and in July 2012, some friends and I went to New York and had a blast with my 15 minutes of fame. One of the results of that appearance, however, is that I always have people at my booth asking for the Today show brownie, so as much as I like to change up my selection, this is one I always have to bring.”
TODAY SHOW PEANUT BUTTER CUP BROWNIES
by Connie Weis, author of Extreme Brownies
(makes 12 large squares or 24 smaller bars)
Vegetable shortening for pan
1 (12-ounce) package miniature peanut butter cups
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter
4½ ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1½ cups (9 ounces) 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1½ cups (10.5 ounces) granulated sugar
1½ packed cups (12 ounces) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1½ cups (6.8 ounces) bleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons (0.07 ounce) coarsely chopped salted peanuts
¼ cup (1 ounce) milk chocolate chips
1. To make the brownies, adjust an oven rack to the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Prepare a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Lightly grease the foil in the pan.
2. Unwrap the peanut butter cups; set aside.
3. Cut the butter sticks into 1-inch slices. In a small, heavy saucepan, melt the butter pieces over the lowest setting. While the butter is melting, chop the unsweetened chocolate into ¼-inch pieces and add to the melted butter along with the bittersweet chocolate chips. Use a small whisk to speed the melting process. When the chocolate is melted and completely smooth, turn off the heat but leave the saucepan on the burner while proceeding with the recipe.
4. Using a large whisk, lightly beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Place the sugars and salt in a separate small mixing bowl, then whisk into the eggs just until incorporated. Briefly whisk the melted chocolate mixture, then gradually whisk into the egg mixture until just combined. Briefly whisk in the vanilla.
5. Place the flour and baking powder in the small mixing bowl; whisk together to combine. Sift through a medium strainer directly onto the batter; stir in with a silicone spatula until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a small offset spatula. Push the peanut butter cups into the batter; do not place any within ½ inch of the pan sides. Use the offset spatula to cover the candy with the batter. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts over the batter, then place the milk chocolate chips evenly on the batter.
6. Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, then refrigerate the pan for 7 to 8 hours, or overnight. Remove from pan and cut into squares.
Excerpted From Extreme Brownies: 50 Recipes for the Most Over-the-Top Treats Ever by Connie Weis. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2014. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.