Peanut Butter Stuffed Salted Brownie Cookies

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Cancelled morning lectures obviously means whining here about it being the last week of term and waxing lyrical about all things chocolate (once more). A bit on that later. If I start on chocolate now, I’ll probably forget to add other mundane details about my life, and who would want that right? The ‘first day of the last term’ is a funny thing to say; it really didn’t feel all that long ago when I was panicking to my mother about basic things I might or might not be able to do, like laundry, bedsheets and having enough Asian fare in uni to keep me sane, because the impulsive decision to buy Tesco meal deals doesn’t quite cut it most of the time. It’s all just whizzed by much too fast. The Friday flight home is both an ecstatic and nauseating thought to me.

Despite my pension for café fare, I’m embarrassed to say that not once have I had my favourite alone-time at any one café, though I’ve definitely had the chance to visit some must-see places on my list. I should do a write-up about one of them soon, before I forget and the tides of life push me far ahead, me in blissful oblivion, once more.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

The other day I bought the loveliest little tub of peanut-speckles cashew butter, and just knew I had to use it another mind get-up. It’s practically peanut butter because of all those peanut bits, and since not everyone likes cashew butter and peanut butter is easier to find in stores, I decided to put peanut butter in the recipe title instead of what it really is. It’s not even the processed sort, which some recipes insist on for better results, but really you get a perfect peanut-buttery flavour upon first bite even with the natural unprocessed stuff.

The densest, fudgiest brownie cookie with white chocolate and dark chocolate bits, filled with peanut butter (and in this case, for the sake of aesthetic and flavourful pleasure, salted caramel spread on top). 

I like food hybrids like cruffins and cronuts and whathaveyous. Brownie cookies are on the list. The shape and form resembles that of a cookie, but the texture is all of what you want in a good fudgy brownie– this is not quite the chewy sort, but more dense and fudge-like. Definitely more than what you would guess the texture is akin to in the first picture above. The middle is soft, the edges still squishable. Best part? Adjacency of salt and sweet. Nothing beats it. Yes, my description vocabulary needs a bit of a boost, but squishable is still a word. And an accurate one here, at that.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Peanut Butter Stuffed Salted Brownie Cookies (makes 18-20 medium-sized cookies)

Ingredients

125g (half cup) creamy/chunky peanut butter (natural or processed; either works fine)

30g (1/4 cup) powdered sugar (doesn’t need sifting)

large pinch salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

210g (slightly less than 1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour

35g (1/2 cup+couple of tablespoons) cocoa powder, doesn’t need sifting (I suggest Green and Black’s here)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

115g (1/2 cup or 1 stick) salted butter (unsalted works too, but flavour is enhanced with salted)

230g (1 packed cup) dark brown sugar

60g (a heaping 1/3 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

110g (one heaping half cup) of dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

*optional: an extra handful of white chocolate chunks/chips (30g) and one heaping tablespoon of salted caramel sauce

 

Directions

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and grease (line if you want) 2 baking trays. In a medium bowl, mix together the first 4 ingredients to make the peanut butter filling. Roll into small balls; you should have around 20 balls, if not more or less. Place the balls on a small baking tray and place in the freezer while you work on the brownie cookies.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, chopped chocolate (both white and dark) and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs, two sugars and vanilla extract (add the heaping tablespoon of salted caramel here, if you wish!). Pour the dry mix into the wet mix and mix until just combined. Take out the frozen balls of filling from the freezer. Scoop a heaped teaspoon of dough onto a baking tray, then place one ball of filling in the centre, press down a little, then take another teaspoonful of dough and place on top, smushing around the sides of the filling ball so it’s nicely covered. Repeat until the balls are all enclosed within the gooey chocolatey dough you made.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes– resist baking for longer even though the cookies look and feel weak to the touch after such a short baking time. If you happen to have made very large cookies, then bake for 11-12 minutes, but nothing more than 12. Leave to cool for at least half an hour before eating. These cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days, but they’re best eaten within 2 days, during which they retain the ultimate taste and texture. Eat with coarse salt sprinkled on top or more salted caramel sauce.

10-minute Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Frosting

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Look down at my boots. The wind gets through even those. Tights? Never thick enough. But thank God for Barbours. It’s getting colder… And colder. Despite the bitter air and occasional drizzle that somehow makes the situation 5 times worse, I’m embracing the sudden transition into proper fall here in the UK. Couldn’t believe it when a friend posted a video of soft snow right outside her window, here in South Kensington. It’s happening!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

The cold means more warm chocolate somethings, topped with chocolate caramel peanut butter frosting. Chocolate anythings. Some days just demand brownies, and only brownies. The first time I made this and followed the initial recipe, the whole 20 minutes made it much too dry for my liking, so I adjusted proportions and timing. Lo and behold, everything was gooey and beautiful in less than 10. The excitement was too much. Too much.

You need that rich goo. A dark, deep, intense pleasure. If I want a good, fudgy brownie that’s chewy around the edges, my go-to recipe is right here, so I implore you to check that out as well; it’s just as simple and almost as quick. This is more a mix between a gooey mud pie and dense cake, but the change is welcome and delicious. Topped with caramel peanut buttery goodness, it really doesn’t get much better than this. What do I love so much about this recipe?

  1. It takes 10 minutes. And in my case, just 7, because sometimes miracles happen.
  2. You can use either natural or processed peanut butter (crunchy, if you may) without any disastrous consequence.
  3. You won’t stop licking and picking.

 

Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Frosting (adapted from Sorted Food’s Swedish Chocolate Brownie recipe- serves 9-12)

Ingredients

For the brownies:

110g (half cup) salted, melted butter (or use unsalted, and add a pinch of salt into wet ingredients later)

200g white caster sugar

2 eggs

130g plain, all-purpose flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

55g cocoa powder

40g dark chocolate, melted in a microwave in 30-second bursts

 

For the frosting:

90g ( slightly more than 1/4 cup) chunky/smooth peanut butter; natural peanut butter works perfectly here as well, just make sure it’s properly mixed through

50 dark chocolate chunks, melted in a microwave

75ml (1/4 cup) caramel sauce, store-bought or homemade

 

Directions

Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and grease a square/round 23cm baking pan. In a bowl and with a whisk, mix together the melted butter, sugar, melted dark chocolate and vanilla extract. Add the salt here if you used unsalted butter. Whisk in the eggs and cocoa powder, and continue whisking until the mixture is visibly and texturally stickier and glossier. At this point, add the flour and mix until everything is just combined. Pop the pan into the oven and bake for 7-10 minutes. Whilst it’s baking, mix together the frosting ingredients. You need a fork and self-trust (that you won’t finish the whole bowl before the brownies are even out).

Check the brownies at 7 minutes- there should still be a slight wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven and let cool for a half hour before frosting. Cut into as many squares as you want, then eat and be happy.