Looming in a few days hence, was a house party and we were tasked with bringing dessert. With much success in the past, I thought I’d give the Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie recipe, another whirl. You may recall I’ve made them almost a year ago for Seder because they are flourless; and for a girl’s weekend away in NYC.
My over-the-top addition at that time was a smattering of Reese’s pieces and mini peanut butter cups as a final flourish, not only for color, but because who doesn’t like more peanut butter and chocolate?? This time my topping was cocoa dusted dark chocolate truffles (such as those from Trader Joe’s) for a sophisticated approach. Another change was using the recommended bittersweet chocolate for the ganache as opposed to the dark chocolate I chose before.
Rule #1 with brownies: The baking time is an estimate, you really do need to watch your brownies closely to get the perfect brownie. You should rely on a toothpick. And unlike cake, you’re not looking for a clean toothpick when you pull it out. You want moist crumbs stuck all over that toothpick. Start checking on the edges of the pan. It cooks faster there and if you don’t pull the brownies out soon enough, you’ll have dry edges. NOT COOL. (Ours took the entire 37 minutes.)
The peanut butter is an important part of this recipe and it helps to really cut the overall richness and sweetness. Best to use a natural creamy peanut butter with a low sugar content, at 2 grams or less, such as Justins.
For that party, we had every intention of bringing a half gallon of good vanilla ice cream to pair with the brownies figuring it would make a nice counterpart to the rich chocolate. Alas, we forgot. But eagle-eyed Julia spotted the carton in the freezer and she quickly decided she would have them both for dessert that evening. (Yes, we did bring some leftovers home from the party.)
The next morning she informed me that she nuked the brownie for about 15 seconds to just soften the ganache/truffle topping, and waxed poetic over how the ice cream was a perfect partner and actually helped cut back on all that richness. It kind of defies logic that adding more sweetness tones down the richness, doesn’t it?? Enjoy…
Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies with Ganache and Truffles
Peanut Butter Filling
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg room temperature
- 12 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter cut into small cubes
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 10 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 7 oz. cocoa dusted dark chocolate truffles, roughly chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Lightly spray an 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper leaving an overhang for easy removal. Set aside.
Peanut Butter Filling
- In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, sugar, and egg. Mix until throughly combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine chocolate chips and butter. Melt in 30-second increments, on high heat in the microwave, stirring in between.
- Add eggs one a time, stirring in between until combined.
- Add dry mixture to wet mixture and stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. This will take one or two minutes.
- Stir in the mini chocolate chips.
- Pour two-thirds of the brownie batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Drop small spoonfuls of the peanut butter mixture on top of the brownie batter. (I flattened the spoonfuls in my hands for a more even coverage.)
- Spoon on remaining brownie batter and smooth with the back of a spoon or offset spatula. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Bake for 33-37 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. (Watch the brownies closely after 30 minutes. Don’t rely on the time so much as the inserted toothpick.)
- Let brownies cool completely on a cooling rack or in the fridge. (This could take up to 2 hours on the counter.)
- Place bittersweet chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. (The smaller you make the chunks, the quicker it will melt with the cream.)
Since the two Ghirardelli bars only weighed 8 ounces, I added 2 more ounces of bittersweet chocolate.
- Heat whipping cream until scalding hot and pour over the top of the chocolate.
- Let sit for 5 minutes and then stir until smooth. (If chocolate hasn’t melted all the way, heat on high heat in 15 second intervals in the microwave, stirring in between, until chocolate is fully melted.)
- Pour mixture over the top of the cooled brownies and use an offset spatula to spread over the top until smooth.
- Use the parchment paper overhang to pull the brownies out and cut into squares.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Recipe adapted from one on momontimeout.com