Mega Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. (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.
  6. 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.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Chocolate bars are typically sold in 4 ounce bars. I suggest Ghirardelli, Baker's brand, or Lindt. Do not use chocolate chips.
  2. You can use either natural or dutch-process cocoa powder. I prefer dutch-process for a smoother flavor.
  3. 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.

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