March 09, 2013
As I was going through past recipes, I realized that I have yet to make brownies! I know right?! They are obviously one of the most delicious baked goods on the planet. I really don’t know what I was thinking by looking these beauties over. This is the problem we have in our house. Sure we love our fair share of sweet goodies, but because there are only two of us, we can never finish everything that I make. I literally still have cookies left over from Christmas that I decided to freeze in hopes that I will think of some creative way to use them. I’m not so sure how that will work out. We’ll see. I’ve really tried to start making less portions of things, but it’s so hard to modify your original recipes! At least I find it difficult, especially with baked goods. I think that this was my first true success at modifying my previous recipe to fit the needs of only two people. Zach has more of a sweet tooth than I do, so I made these brownie bars just for him. Ooey Gooey chocolateyness and creamy peanut butter filling. Top it with some coarse sea salt and you have yourself a super flavor packed brownie.
I don’t know if everyone knows this, but brownies from scratch are about just as easy to make as brownies from the box. I’m not kidding. Don’t get me wrong, I love brownies from the box (Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines have made our lives so much easier while still keeping it tasty). I just don’t think people know exactly how easy they really are to make. The sky is really the limit in the creativity of making brownies. You can make regular chocolate brownies, gluten-free brownies, vanilla brownies. Some people even make brownies with black beans. It’s really totally up to you. This brownie recipe makes your classic homemade brownie with an added kick of stout beer. Hey you need some kind of liquid in there! May as well incorporate some beer! The peanut butter filling is extra special and extra simple. It’s really just like making a peanut butter frosting for your cupcakes, not the kind that you would be able to pipe (it’s too runny), but one that you could spread very easily.
For this beer pairing, we decided to go with Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar. I feel like going with a simple stout would be taking it a little easy. Besides Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar is just so so so good. If you’ve never had it tastes exactly like it sounds: delicious. It’s smooth and malty but has that kick of nuttiness that pairs so well with the peanut butter filling in this brownie recipe. I would certainly go no other way with this pairing =)…or you could try a glass of milk or a cup of coffee, but that really doesn’t count, now does it?
Well we have our second “Chopped” challenge tonight for date night, and it’s my turn to whip these strange ingredients into something spectacular. I really think this could end in a disaster! Either way, I should probably start cooking now, since it will probably take me 8 hours to cook =). Good or bad, I will be sure to share my adventure with you tomorrow!
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature, divided + 1 tablespoon
- ½ cup white granulated sugar
- ½ cup honey
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup stout beer
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract + 1 teaspoon
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 package (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
- coarse white sea salt for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with a non stick spray and set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, with paddle attachment fixer, cream together ½ cup of butter, sugar and honey. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix to combine completely after each one. Add the beer and a tablespoon of vanilla extract. Beat until creamy and all ingredients are completely incorporate. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, fine sea salt and baking powder. In ½ cup increments, add the dry ingredient into the wet. Mix until completely combined.
- Pour the brownie batter into your prepared dish and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely (about 1 hour).
- Meanwhile, prepare your peanut butter filling. In the bowl of your stand mixer (with paddle attachment fixed) cream together the remaining ½ cup of softened butter and the peanut butter. Once smooth, slowly mix in the confectioners sugar until creamy and incorporated. Add in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and heavy cream.
- Once the brownies have cooled, spread the peanut butter filling on top of the brownies (all the while leaving the brownies in the baking dish). Cover and refrigerate over night or until peanut butter has slightly hardened.
- Once cooled and slightly hardened, remove from the refrigerator, and remove the parchment paper (along with the brownies) from the baking dish. Transfer to a cutting board. In a small dish, melt your semi-sweet chocolate chips along with a tablespoon of butter via the microwave oven. In increments of 30 seconds, stir in between each increment until all of the chips have melted. Drizzle the brownies with the melted chocolate (optional) and shake some coarse sea salt on top. Cut the brownies into 1½ in x 1½ in squares and keep refrigerated or store at room temperature until ready to serve. Enjoy!