Posted by Quay Lo:
There are many recipes for a peanut butter brownie on the internet and I won’t claim that this one is the best. However, this recipe is a very quick and easy approach that yields a delicious result and it is one that we guessed at as we went along. We were challenged to come up with a worthy dessert recently, but were given very short notice. We had little time on our hands to prepare. This is the result of starting with a boxed brownie mix and ending with a far richer and more interesting dessert.
The box recipe called for adding 2 eggs, ¼ cup water, and ½ cup vegetable oil. Stir all, bake at 350°F (175°C) for 40 minutes, and joila!...a very quick pan of brownies. This would yield, according to the instructions on the box, the “fudgy” version of the branded mix. There was also a cake-like version that called for 3 eggs, instead of two. Here is our version:
You will need:
A medium mixing bowl, a food processor or blender, a small bowl, a mixing fork, a measuring tablespoon, a rubber spatula, and an 8 inch by 8 inch baking pan, slightly oiled. For the frosting you will need a whisk, and a “bain marie” or a 1 quart sauce pan, and a metal bowl that fits in the mouth of the sauce pan such that an inch of water in the pan does not touch the bowl.
One box of your favorite brownie mix
¾ cup smooth peanut butter 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1 egg 2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil 1 cup water
(for the topping see below)
Instructions for the brownies:
Set oven to 350°F (175°C)
Slightly oil an 8” by 8” baking pan and set aside. Place dry mix and walnuts in a medium mixing bowl.
Into a food processor add:
¾ cup smooth peanut butter
2-4 tablespoons cooking oil (or peanut oil if you have it)
Pulse until well mixed (using the third and fourth tablespoon of oil if needed) Remove contents to the mixing bowl that already holds the dry mix from the box.
In a small bowl, stir one egg with a fork and add to the mix.
From a cup of water, start by adding 3 tablespoons of the water to the mix and stir, adding spoonfuls of water as needed until the mix is well blended, (but not so liquid as to be pourable) Avoid using a whisk or an electric mixer. Instead use a mixing fork and avoid adding any air to the mix by a using a slower, more deliberate motion.
Using a spatula, transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to the oiled 8” by 8” baking pan, spreading evenly across the pan.
Bake at 350° F (175°C) for 35 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to completely cool.
Ingredients and instructions for the frosting:
In a one quart sauce pan add 1 inch of water. Select a metal mixing bowl that fits on top of the sauce pan without touching the water below. At medium high heat, boil the water.
When the water is boiling place the metal bowl on top and add:
2 ounces (60 grams) of dark chocolate, broken into pieces
2 tablespoons of chili oil (this really punches up the frosting. Don't worry, it won't be a spice burn.)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of thick cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 heaping tablespoons of icing (powdered) sugar
Whisk ingredients together until the chocolate is melted and the ingredients well blended.
Remove the metal bowl and whisk briskly for 30 more seconds, incorporating air. Cover and set aside until completely cooled.
Notes: This should yield a shiny, thin frosting that spreads easily and should cover the baked brownie mix with a frosting that is approximately 1/4 inch (.75 cm) thick. If you want more adjust accordingly. Pictured is a 1/2 recipe version as we prefer less frosting.
We plated this with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and a maraschino cherry, and used some of the cherry syrup to splash around for color.