Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"A Scrumtrulescent Trip To Yumtown" or "Joy The Baker is My New Best friend (she just doesn't know it yet)"

I've been sort of in the dumps lately, and not just your regular lady dumps. More like the why is it still so cold and endlessly rainy summer will never get here?! dumps combined with your everyday lady dumps.
 And so far my only plan to knock it out: Cutting my t shirts into halters, watching an endless marathon of 30 Rock on netflix streaming,and poaching Joy's blog for recipes because Joy is awesome and I want to be her best friend and braid her hair.

One absolutely magnificent recipe I found on her blog was for a pretzel topped peanut butter fudge brownie, that was just too insane looking to ignore. And happytime bonus: if you're a girl having girl times you'll most likely have everything needed to make these brownies already in your pantry. Or lap depending on how badly things are going. And let me tell you this was definitely the kind of day where I was already eating chocolate, peanut butter and pretzels by the fist full. Oh and marshmallows, straight from the bag. But those aren't in the recipe so lets just say they weren't there. Okay?

I did happen to run into two problems, 1) I ate most of my chunky peanut butter before I decided to whip these babies up, so I subbed in a little Almond butter I had in the fridge. Fun fact: Peanut butter is kind of a tyrant and will basically nuke the almond butter flavor if you ever find yourself in the same boat. Peanut butter + Almond butter = vat of peanut butter. 2) Figuring out how to eat these without wedging my mouth open like a crocodile proved to be a little tricky. I might use the little square windows next time.

Bottom line, make these. Short of snake oil and hard liquor, pretzel topped peanut butter brownies are pretty much a mood enhancing godsend. Just don't tell your cardiologist (he'll give you the stink eye) or your Zumba teacher (she already knows).

For the Brownie:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon  salt
coarse sea salt for topping
For the Peanut Butter Filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter, smooth works the best but chunky and almond are okay too
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
large handful of pretzel sticks
 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan.  Line with parchment paper so that it overhangs on two sides and grease the parchment paper too
In a bowl in the microwave  or a double boiler combine butter, unsweetened chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and coffee powder  and warm /stir/ warm  until chocolate and butter are melted. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool slightly. Stir in the vanilla extract.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk granulated sugar into the chocolate and butter mixture.  Make sure the chocolate mixture isn’t too hot (finger test yall) and whisk the eggs in the mixture one at a time.
Fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and spoon into prepared pan.
To make the Peanut Butter Filling, whisk together peanut butter, melted butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract until smooth. Depending on your peanut butter a little spin in the microwave might be needed to loosen it up enough to stir.
Pour the peanut butter mixture on top of the brownie batter and use a butter knife to swirl the two together. Top the brownie batter with the pretzels (however you like. squareish shapes are easier to cut though)  Top with a few sprinkles of coarse sea salt and  bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes our mostly clean.
Let cool for about 1 hour before slicing and enjoying. It's delicious hot, but really crumbly so beware.

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