Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

This is really just a variation on the Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies I posted a few weeks ago, but as with so many things, it’s amazing what an difference a few of small tweaks can make.

I liked the original recipe but felt that the batter was insufficiently chocolate-y and was slightly too cake-like. The flavors also seemed kind of one-note.

For this batch, I ignored what I said I would do in my prior blog post.  Instead, I substituted some of the flour for cocoa powder, used a mix of white and brown sugar, and added just a bit of malted milk powder to the brownie batter. I also added a tablespoon of whiskey for extra punch.
I really loved how these came out. The brownie layer is denser and has a stronger chocolate flavor, but it’s still less heavy than a traditional brownie, which might be overpowering with the peanut butter. However, enhancing the chocolate flavor heightened the contrast between the two layers in the best possible way.

If you are a dark-dark chocolate lover like me, I’d recommend this recipe over the first one. Both are tasty, but these have more of the flavors for which I was aiming the first time.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

For the Brownie Batter
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 oz. dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa), chopped
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Enough flour to fill a 2/3 cup measure with the cocoa powder at the bottom
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon malted milk powder
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon whiskey

For the Peanut Butter filling
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup natural peanut butter (I used Trader Joe’s creamy salted and was somewhat generous in my interpretation of 3/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment or foil. Grease lining.

Put butter and chocolates in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted, or microwave in 15 second intervals in a microwave-proof bowl until melted, stirring after each interval. Let cool slightly.

Sift or whisk together cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Add brown and white sugar and malted milk powder to melted chocolate and butter. Add eggs and stir until smooth. Add vanilla and whiskey. Add flour mixture, and stir until well incorporated.

For the peanut butter layer, stir together butter, confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.

Pour one-third of batter into the pan and spread even with a spatula. Drop tablespoon-sized dollops of peanut butter on top of this layer, spacing about 1” apart. Drizzle remaining batter on top, and spread to fill pan. Drop remaining peanut butter mix on tip.

Gently swirl peanut butter filling into batter with a butter knife, making sure the knife hits the bottom of the pan and running the knife lengthwise and crosswise through layers.

Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift out. Let cool completely before cutting into squares. Makes 9 large or 16 small brownies.

Printable recipe here. 


  1. Great photo.. a real stunner... and I put whiskey in so many things... it just makes things richer somehow!

  2. Thanks! I was thinking the pictures were kind of lackluster for these, so I really appreciate it. :)

  3. very very Delisious.. I try to do but I do not stay the same ... thanks for the recipe

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