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Sincere Acts of Sweetness

March 15, 2009

Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies with Salted Peanuts

If you're a fan of peanut butter and chocolate, and I mean really a fan, you will absolutely fall head over heals in love with this brownie! It starts with a super fudgey brownie that's studded with chopped salted peanuts, that's topped with a luscious layer of peanut butter frosting, and finished with a generous layer of rich semisweet chocolate ganache. What's not to love?
I made these brownies for my colleague Jim in honor of his birthday. He brought them to our Monday meeting and passed them around during the last five minutes. From the moment Jim took the lid off the container, everyone could smell the rich peanut buttery goodness wafting through the room.

The hardest part of this recipe was removing the skins from the Spanish peanuts I bought from the bulk food section. It took a while, but it was worth it. The smaller peanuts were softer and complimented the brownie texture perfectly. Plus Spanish peanuts have a slightly higher fat content which helps make the brownie that much more fudgey.

You'll notice that there's nutmeg in the peanut butter frosting. I thought it would be odd and was going to leave it out, but after reading some of the feedback on Epicurious, I decided I'd keep it. I'm glad I did too because it did a great job of amplifying the peanut butter's flavor -- it really added a little something extra.

Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies with Salted Peanuts
Yield: I cut about 40 bars, but they were on the small side.
adapted from Dorie Greenspan

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup roasted salted peanuts* with skins removed, coarsely chopped (optional)

1 1/2 cups or chunky or creamy peanut butter (do not use natural or old-fashioned as the frosting will separate)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (very soft)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon whole milk,
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (very soft)
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

For brownies:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325F. Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving long overhang; butter foil (don't use wax paper as it will stick).

Place 3/4 cup butter in heavy large saucepan. Add both chocolates; stir over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in sugar, vanilla, and salt, then eggs, 1 at a time. Take the time to fully incorporate the egg before adding the next one. Fold in flour, then add the nuts. Spread in prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Place pan on rack; cool for half and hour. When the pan is cool enough to touch the bottom, put it in the fridge for half an hour.

For frosting and ganache:
Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter and 1/4 cup butter in medium bowl to blend for 3 minutes. Beat in powdered sugar, salt, and nutmeg, then milk and vanilla. Spread frosting over brownies. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer. (If you can't wait to chill the brownies, you can go ahead and move on to the next step, however chilling the peanut butter frosting firms it up. This will keep it from interfering with your ability to spread the ganache.)

Stir chocolate and 1/4 cup butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Drop ganache all over frosting; spread to cover. Chill until set, about 1 1/2 hours. Do ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Using foil as aid, transfer brownie cake to work surface; cut into squares, cleaning off the knife after each slice.

* You can omit these and use peanut butter chips instead. However if you do use peanuts, try to find a Spanish peanuts as they are smaller and softer. You can usually find them in the bulk isle. If you can't find them, go ahead and use what ever you can find; they will still taste great.


  1. ohhh my gosh! that looks so, so, so good. i love the chocolate and salt combo. freakin yum!

  2. OMG...I am drooling on the keyboard!

  3. I am so glad this is on the screen and not in my house- I'd eat it all! Great flavor combo's!

  4. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness. No words. No words. Okay, trying to pick my chin up off of the floor and stop drooling. Wow, those look delicious. Reese's cups are my favorite candy; I'm a choco-pb girl at heart. I cannot, cannot wait to try these beautiful brownies. Great job!

  5. mmmm that looks crazy good!

  6. wow these look good! Btw, cookie monster was always my fav too, so I love the gmail address! : )

  7. Those look teriffic!!! Nutmeg...who knew? :)

  8. This looks amazing! My family would go crazy for this , GOOD RECIPE!!!

  9. Those brownies looks really good!

  10. This brownie recipe is insane! I must try it, peanut butter and chocolate is the best. Thanks for sharing Julia!

  11. mmm. i love cleanly layered bars like this, especially when peanut butter and chocolate are both involved. i'm also digging your use of nutmeg--very neat.

  12. OH GOD. i actually felt my mouth salivate. SUPERYUM!

  13. This looks incredible! I love chocolate and peanut butter more than any other dessert combination! It would be a crime for me not to make them :)

  14. I really wish I lived closer and we could work together. You'd bake and I'd clean up and do the dishes. I would get a sample and then have another piece after you brought it in to work the following day. Seriously that could work for me and I'd also lose weight because I wouldn't need to bake and I wouldn't ever eat more than two pieces of any one thing!

    Terrific job Julia!

  15. Thanks everyone! I am sure you'll love it as much as everyone did at my work. They were gobbled up pretty fast!

  16. Oh. My. Goodness. This looks so good!!!

  17. Yum! You can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate!

  18. PB & Chocolate - the best combo EVER. Yum! These look delicious!!

  19. ut oh!
    dangerous little gems!


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