Hope you're all celebrating your labors today. I brought peanut butter brownies to the party. Yes, it was very thoughtful of me.
The first time I made these (or tried to) was for an actual party. But I didn't give myself enough time and I put my husband in charge of taking the brownies out of the oven. Well, they looked done and he took them out and then I shoved them in the fridge to try to cool them off and made the frosting and then frosted them two minutes before we had to leave. When we got to the party, the frosting had melted/separated, which made them look creepy and gross, and the brownies (save for the edges) were gloppy and rawish. Nevertheless, they got eaten up--every one, and before many other foods. Perhaps you're thinking that this story simply illustrates that my friends don't have very discerning tastes. But I took it as a sign. If the brownies could be that desirable totally messed up, think how rocking they would be cooked and with non-separated frosting (such high standards, I know).
And it was true. These brownies are completely rocking. I fully appreciate a good, regular brownie, but these transform a regular brownie into something special. You could bring it to a picnic OR serve it at a dinner party. Despite my first mess up, they're not hard either, although you truly must give the brownies time to cool before frosting them, so plan for that.
Fudgy Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting
makes 1 9x13 inch pan
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cool time: 2 hours
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Cost:$3.55 for the brownie part, $5.33 for all. That's more expensive than many of the treats I make, but note that if it makes 26 brownies, that's only $.20/serving
(butter: .80, chocolate chips: 1.70, sugar: .50, eggs: .30, flour: .07, cocoa: .18)
(cream cheese: .60, butter: .25, sugar: .35, peanut butter: .30)
Chocolate Drizzle: $.28
(chocolate: .25, butter: .03)
I used the same fudgy brownie recipe I use for my mint brownies. It's a brownie that always does well with frosting.
1 1/2 (3/4 C) sticks salted butter
10 1/2 oz chocolate chips (just less than 1 bag)
1 1/2 C brown sugar (I think white would also work just as well)
1 generous tsp vanilla
3/4 C flour
6 Tbsp cocoa
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan.
Melt butter, chocolate, and sugar in microwave, stirring every 20-30 seconds. (Alternately, you can do this in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until smooth.)
Allow it to cool just a minute or two and add vanilla. Whisk in eggs (whisk them in so you don't risk getting blobs of egg in your batter--it's not hard; you just don't want it to sit in warm chocolate for any length of time).
Combine flour and cocoa. Add to wet mixture.
Spread batter in your pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out pretty much clean (which means that if it has a few moist crumbs stuck to it, all the better, but you don't want it coming out with batter clinging to it). Mine cooked up in pretty much exactly 20 minutes.
Let cool completely. That's going to take a good couple hours. You might be able to speed it up by putting it in the fridge or freezer, but evenso it's going to take some time.
5 oz cream cheese, at room temp
1/2 stick (1/4 C) butter, at room temp
2 1/2 C confectioners' sugar
1/3 C smooth peanut butter (NOT all-natural because that may cause the oil to separate out)
Beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioner's sugar a cup at a time, mixing thoroughly. Add peanut butter and beat thoroughly. Do not, I repeat do not, get a spoon and start eating it right them and there. Remember your cake. And your butt. They will both thank you not to consume all of this straight up out of the bowl.
For the chocolate drizzle, you're going to make an unsweetened drizzle. Have a little faith. It plays with the super sweet brownie in a very coy manner. If you don't have faith or believe that a brownie should be coy, you may substitute a dark chocolate instead of unsweetened chocolate.
1 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 Tbsp butter
Melt together in microwave, stirring every 15-20 seconds.
Pour over mint frosting in stripes as prettily as you can (which is surely prettier than I can).