Sunday, November 1, 2009

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownie Bars

The rainy season is, thankfully, in full swing and winter is finally upon us! Friday morning, it began raining all over the country. I'm not talking about drizzling. I'm talking about such storms and such rain that the Kineret, pretty much our only natural fresh water source in Israel, has risen a few centimeters. This is a big deal as there's been a shortage of rain and we're totally dependent on G-d for our rain and sustenance. So thank G-d! Let the rains keep coming! As for the winter, today I finally wore a turtleneck and boots and tights! And wasnt the only one! I'm so excited! It's been hot for far too long. Anyway, this Shabbat was a sort of girl's weekend. I spent it in a city outside of Jerusalem called Maale Adumim with my friend L (who just got engaged!), A (whose birthday we were celebrating-- Happy birthday, didush!) and E. I had a good time meeting L's family and sisters and just catching up with the girls. Of course, as I was being hosted and we had a birthday to celebrate, I baked challot (they were raving about them!) and peanut butter chocolate brownies. Those were baked specially for A, the next best thing for her after Chocolate Mint Squares (which after making for her twice, I refuse to make again!). This recipe comes from Cindy Mushet's huge and authoritative baking tome, The Art and Soul of Baking. I've been wanting to bake from this for the longest time, but never had anything to bake from it until now. These brownies are nice and peanut buttery with a really good chew. They were addictive, just as the recipe describes them and they disappeared well before it was even officially A's birthday. I guess it doesnt really matter- as she had most of them :) Easy to assemble, I found the most annoying part to be that my peanut butter swirl sunk, possibly because I let them go a few minutes too long, or maybe because it just darkened in the oven and blended in. Either way, aesthetics were irrelevant because these really were delicious. I let my girls go at the scrap corners, and they agreed. Pretty much the only change I made was to omit the peanuts. But IMHO, no one missed them. Also, using a scale, if you have one, makes measuring the peanut butter a breeze.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownie Bars
from the Art and Soul of Baking

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 stick unsalted butter or margarine, softened
2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup (6 3/4 ounces) smooth peanut butter
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups (6 ounces) flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a nine by thirteen inch pan with a sheet of parchment. Set aside.

Break up the chocolate and place it in a saucepan.
Melt, stirring until smooth. Set aside.Place the sugar and margarine in a bowl.

Cream on medium for about five minutes until much lighter in color. The texture will be sandy- that's ok.Add the peanut butter,
and continue beating until the peanut butter is thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the eggs one a time,
(add the vanilla too!) and beat until well incorporated.
This is what you should have.
Add in your dry ingredients,
and stir without overmixing.
Remove half of the batter and add it to the chocolate mixture.
Combine the two as best as you can.
Take half of the remaining plain batter and spread it in an even layer in the pan. It will be skimpy, but that's fine.
Spoon the chocolate/peanut mixture over this bottom layer,
and spread it out evenly. An offset spatula helps here.
Dollop the remaining plain batter over the top,
and using a toothpick, swirl as attractively as you can manage. I didnt do such a good job. Oh well.
Bake the bars for 3-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. My swirl disappeared and so they look like ordinary brownies. But one bite..... Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 20-30 minutes. Cut and plate!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hey!! i loved the A comments!!
awesome cake! you rock!!