I have to be honest. I am not really a chocolate person. Now, if you put something chocolatey in front me I probably will not say no, (because I have zero self-restraint) but I would not actively seek chocolate. I do like to make chocolatey things for other people though. Today said chocolate treat was in the form of a bribe. You see, my youngest child is a bit of a train wreck. Last week he got 7 stitches in his little soon to be 2 year old head from jumping on the bed. We got those stitches out and seriously the next day he ate it outside on the pavement and has a huge scrape and scab across his face. He looks like he was on the losing end of a bar fight. I had to take him to his speech therapist and I went armed with these babies in hopes that she wouldn’t call Child Protective Services on me.
Back to the brownies, these are no joke. Rich, chocolatey, peanut buttery, caramely, not too sweet, dense chocolate. It may appear that there are a lot of steps and ingredients, but none hard to do or things that you probably do not have on hand.
For the peanut butter caramel:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 Tablespoon corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
For the brownies:
2 sticks butter
6 ounces chopped unsweetened chocolate
2 ounces plus 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
I did not take pictures of the caramel part. Let’s just say that caramel and I have a history. I was concentrating so hard on not burning my sugar that I forgot to pick up my camera. But this one was a piece of cake and it only took me one time to get it right and I did not lose any saucepans in the process. Or get any scars. A story for another time.
So, in a small pan heat the cream over low heat. In another pan, combine the sugar and water. Stir to dissolve and then leave it alone. (You may swirl the pan, but cannot stir or you will get sugar crystals and then you will not get a smooth caramel.) Over high heat, cook until it is an amber color. When you get to the amber color, slowly whisk in the cream and whisk for 1 minute. It will bubble like crazy. Take it off the heat and whisk in the peanut butter, corn syrup, salt and vanilla. Put this mixture in another bowl and let stand for 30 minutes. (I got sidetracked and mine sat for a lot longer than 30 minutes. I just put it back on the heat and it went back to the right consistency.)
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with tin foil and coat with cooking spray. Let the foil hang over the sides so that you can pull it out when it is cool.
In a double boiler, melt the butter, unsweetened chocolate, 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and coffee powder. Let it melt over low heat, stirring frequently until it is completely melted. Remove it from the heat and set it aside for about 5 minutes to let it cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, both sugars, vanilla and salt until smooth.
Whisk in the cooled chocolate until combined. Scrape the sides. Beat in the flour in two additions.
Mix in the remaining chocolate pieces.
Pour the brownie batter in the pan.
Take the peanut butter mixture and dollop over the top of the brownie batter.
Using a butter knife, swirl the peanut butter mixture into the brownie mixture.
Bake until the top is set and the sides are pulling away from the pan. About 35 minutes. I would check at 25 minutes and go from there. When the toothpick comes out still a little gooey, they are done. Underbaking is the key to a fudgy brownie. Let them cool completely.
To get clean cuts, refrigerate the pan for 20 minutes. The original recipe says that you can get 48 squares out of this recipe. I laughed when I read that. But really, these are crazy rich and a few bites is really all you need. Unless you had a bad day or got dumped. Then you have my permission to cut them into 4 squares.
I wrapped my bribe up all cute to share with someone who I hoped would not think that I beat my kid.