Black and White Peanut Butter Brownies

Earlier this week my friend Jeannette sent me a text saying she was having one of those days, the kind that can’t be over fast enough, and asked if I wanted to bake when she got home. She lives in Texas and I’m up in RI, but we do this a lot – choosing a recipe to make together and then texting about our experiences as we go. I swear, she always finds the best recipes! So, even though it was about 8 million degrees out on this particular day, I was more than happy to turn on the oven and bake with her. That’s what virtual friends do, right? πŸ™‚

Black and White Peanut Butter Brownies

The title of the recipe doesn’t exactly give away everything that’s going on in these brownies so let me give you a rundown. Instead of using cocoa powder or unsweetened chocolate for the base as brownies typically do, white chocolate is substituted. Peanut butter is stirred into the base as well, and then chocolate chips are mixed in and sprinkled on the top before baking. These are pretty much a peanut butter and chocolate lover’s dream!

I happen to love white chocolate but I know it has its haters. If you’re one of them, I think you’ll probably still really enjoy these brownies. They don’t taste like white chocolate, it just lends sweetness and richness. They’re super chewy, in the best possible way, and they bake up with that elusive and highly desirable thin crackly crust on top. I let the brownies sit overnight before cutting into them, but once I did, all bets were off. They’re easily one of the most irresistible things I’ve baked in a while!

Black and White Peanut Butter Brownies

I’ve tried to make white chocolate brownies about 10 times before and it’s been an epic fail each and every time. I couldn’t figure out why until I made this recipe. The key is that you really don’t want to let the white chocolate get too hot – it scorches and separates and there’s no saving it once that happens. You shouldn’t have any problems if you follow the instructions below, and once you get past melting the white chocolate, this recipe is a cinch. And the brownies are so good they’re totally worth heating up your kitchen on a hot summer day!

Black and White Peanut Butter Brownies
adapted from King Arthur Flour (via une Gamine dans la Cuisine)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 oz) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9×9-inch pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the brownies out afterward. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Add the butter to a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. When the butter is almost completely melted, remove the bowl and add the white chocolate. (Do not return the bowl to the double boiler.) Stir to soften and melt the white chocolate. The goal here is to melt the white chocolate without letting it get too hot, or it’ll separate and scorch. If you chopped it finely, it should melt easily in the hot butter. Add the sugar and whisk until incorporated. Stir in the vanilla and salt, then let the mixture cool until lukewarm.

Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking to incorporate. Stir in the peanut butter until the batter is smooth, then add the flour and baking powder and use a rubber spatula to fold it in. Mix in about 3/4 of the chocolate chips.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading in an even layer. Sprinkle the reserved chocolate chips over the top. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the brownies are light golden brown on top and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Remove the pan to a wire rack, and allow the brownies to cool completely before lifting them out and cutting into squares for serving.

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