With the abundance of snowy, sub-freezing weather, numerous sick days from all members of the household, and general lack of outdoor time, these peanut buttery bars have been baked several times in the past couple weeks. They have been prepared with both boxed brownie mix and from scratch. I can happily report that both ways are equally tasty, but the box is ready in a jiffy. Both baking methods are at the bottom of this post.
When I made these brownies from scratch, I had no unsweetened baking chocolate on hand. So I whipped up my own using the substitution of 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder mixed with 1 tablespoon melted butter, per 1 ounce of needed unsweetened baking chocolate.
The best part of this recipe is that your marbling doesn’t have to be perfect – the baking process will cause your peanut butter to practically sink into the batter and make delicious pockets of peanut buttery goodness. Plus, you can cover any ugly spots with peanut butter chocolate candies. Be sure to use smooth peanut butter – if it is very thick you can stir in some water. However, I have found that using the all-natural, no additive peanut butter works very well, as it often has a higher natural oil content and is easier to spread and drip to make the marbled effect.
I set my cabin fevered child to work decorating with peanut butter candies. Delighted, she only reserved a few to eat. These brownies never last long in our household and the best part is how easy they are to make. Not a peanut butter fan? Swap out the peanut butter for caramel or butterscotch sauce. You are welcome!
Peanut Butter Lover’s Brownies
To make with brownie mix:
1. Prepare 1 box of brownie mix as directed.
2. Drop dollops of creamy peanut butter on top of batter. Use knife to draw vertical lines through batter, and then use knife to draw horizontal lines through the batter, creating a marbled look. Top with chocolate peanut butter candies. Bake as directed.
To bake from scratch: (Better Homes & Gardens, 2002)
1. In a medium, microwave safe bowl, melt 1/2 cup butter and 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (or substitute additional 3 tablespoons butter and 9 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder). Stir well and allow to cool.
2. Meanwhile, grease an 8x8x2-inch or 9x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside. Stir 1 cup sugar into cooled butter mixture. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition just until combined. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
3. In a small bowl, stir together 2/3 cup all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture; stir just until combined. Spread batter into prepared pan. Drop dollops of creamy peanut butter on top of batter. Use knife to draw vertical lines through batter, and then use knife to draw horizontal lines through the batter, creating a marbled look. Top with chocolate peanut butter candies.
4. Bake in a 350° oven 30 minutes for 8-inch pan or 25 minutes for 9-inch pan. Cool on wire rack. Cut into bars.