Mega Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
Can you believe I’ve never shared a peanut butter swirl brownie recipe on my blog before?
Actually, wait. I did share a *skinnier* version about 5 years ago that’s made with zero flour, a blender, Greek yogurt, and oats. Sounds very strange, but it totally works. By the way, I’ve since made them with coconut sugar and they’re SO GOOD.
But, sorry Monday, we’re not on a diet today. This is the real deal. The obnoxiously fudgy dense brownies completely overloaded with chocolate and swirled with an awesomely rich peanut butter filling and– wait for it– filled with chopped peanut butter cups. If you listen closely, you can hear your bikini running away in fright.
I label them “mega” because they’re one of the richest desserts to come out of my oven. The base of the brownies is this homemade brownie recipe, though I add a little more chocolate. If you’ve tried that brownie recipe before, you can imagine how “mega” the peanut butter swirl version is!
I made the first batch of mega peanut butter swirl brownies nearly a month ago when our friends came to visit. I knew neither Kevin nor I could be trusted with an entire batch just to ourselves and I’m going to warn you now– make sure you’ve got company coming over or a large group to help you snack on these! Self control seems to run for the hills. Maybe it’s hanging out with our bikinis.
So here’s how we’re going to make them…
Whip up the homemade brownie batter. That’s easy. Curious about the ingredients and why each is important? Here’s that post you can review.
Add chopped peanut butter cups. ♥
Prepare the epic PB swirl next. There’s a lot of it because we want mega peanut butter swirls in every single bite. Clearly, we’re not skimping on anything today.
Only 4 ingredients needed for the peanut butter swirl: creamy peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, butter, and vanilla extract. You’re using butter and vanilla in the brownie recipe anyway, so really it’s just 2 additional ingredients. The easiest way to combine them all is using a mixer.
How to Perfect the Swirl
Since we’re making a super mega dessert, we want to make sure it looks pretty darn good too. The swirling part is an art, but one you can easily master on the first try. All you do is randomly drop spoonfuls of brownie batter and spoonfuls of peanut butter batter into the lined brownie pan. It’s going to be super haphazard like so:
Save a couple spoonfuls of brownie batter to fill in any gaps or cover any heavy peanut butter sections. Then take a knife and run it up and down both horizontally and vertically, creating swirls of the two batters like so:
Easy stuff, right? Sprinkle the pan with a couple leftover chopped peanut butter cups and pop into the oven.
This brownie recipe, without the peanut butter swirl, takes about 30-32 minutes. The peanut butter swirl adds a couple minutes to the bake time. But I urge you to watch the brownies themselves– not the clock. The bake time is simply a guideline and you shouldn’t be surprised or alarmed if the brownies take longer or shorter. You’ll know the brownies are done when the top looks set. Test them using a toothpick. If there is wet batter on the toothpick, the brownies need more time. If there are a few moist crumbs on the toothpick, the brownies are done. If the toothpick is clean, the brownies are overdone. So keep your eyes on these!
How to Neatly Cut Brownies
Another art you can master on the first try!
- Wait until the brownies have completely cooled. What a buzzkill. But this helps ensure some neatly sliced fudgy brownies! I always stick the slightly cooled pan in the fridge for an hour or so to speed up the process.
- Use a plastic knife. One of those dinky ones you buy for potlucks and picnics. SO WEIRD, right? But a plastic knife strangely keeps layered or swirled brownies neat. It’s my little trick for neatly cut mint chocolate brownies. If you don’t have one and really don’t feel like getting one, just use a very sharp knife.
- Whichever knife you use, wipe it clean with a paper towel between each cut.
That’s all, folks!
My last piece of advice: have a mega glass of milk handy. Or at least some sweatpants.
Mega Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
- 1 cup (16 Tbsp; 2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, divided
- one 4 ounce (113g) semi-sweet chocolate bar, coarsely chopped1
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
- 1 cup (95g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder2
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 cups chopped peanut butter cups
- 1 cup (250g) creamy peanut butter3
- 1/2 cup (60g) confectioners' sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9x13 inch pan or line with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished brownies out (makes cutting easier!). Set aside.
- Brownie batter: In a microwave-safe bowl, combine 3/4 cup butter (12 Tbsp; 1 and 1/2 sticks) and chopped chocolate. Melt in 30 second increments, whisking after each, until completely smooth. Whisk in the granulated sugar until completely combined, then whisk in the eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla. The batter will be light brown and a little dull looking.
- Add the cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Fold it all together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Batter will be very thick. Stir in chopped peanut butter cups, reserving a small handful to sprinkle on top. Set aside.
- Peanut butter swirl: Melt the remaining butter. Using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the melted butter, remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla, the peanut butter, and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Drop big spoonfuls of most of the chocolate batter randomly into the prepared pan-- see photo above for a visual. Top with random spoonfuls of all of the peanut butter batter. Drop random spoonfuls of remaining chocolate batter over any bare spots or heavy peanut butter spots. Using a knife, swirl the batters together. The brownie batter is pretty thick, so do your best. Sprinkle with any leftover peanut butter cups.
- (See note about how to tell if brownies are done in the post above.) Bake for 30 minutes, then test the brownies with a toothpick. Insert it into the center of the pan. If it comes out with wet batter, the brownies are not done. If there are only a few moist crumbs, the brownies are done. Keep checking every 2 minutes until you have moist crumbs. My brownies take 33-36 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into squares. Cover and store leftover brownies at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Make ahead tip: Brownies freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bring to room temperature before serving.
- Chocolate bars are typically sold in 4 ounce bars. I suggest Ghirardelli, Baker's brand, or Lindt. Do not use chocolate chips.
- You can use either natural or dutch-process cocoa powder. I prefer dutch-process for a smoother flavor.
- Use a generic creamy peanut butter like Jif or Skippy. Crunchy could work too. Do not use natural, homemade, or super oily brand as the swirl will not set up properly.
Did you make a recipe?
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Here’s that older recipe for the skinny version!
With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.