Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies

It’s been nearly a month since I made these peanut butter caramel swirled brownies, and when I started editing the photos this week, I couldn’t help but smile as I remembered sharing them with our neighbors. When we moved into this house nearly six(!!) years ago, this couple was the first to welcome us to the neighborhood and we became close immediately. They’ve had three beautiful children (I’m only slightly biased) in the time we’ve known them, have completely outgrown their house and are now in the process of moving. We’re going to miss them so much! I can only hope our new neighbors are half as awesome.

Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies

Anyway, they were outside playing in their yard with the kids that day and I was chatting with them from my deck when I mentioned having made these brownies and offered to bring over a few. The two youngest kids each devoured their brownies in record time and it’s the memory of their chocolate-covered faces and little hands reaching out asking for a second that still cracks me up weeks later. I wonder if the new neighbors will be as enthusiastic about the treats I share :)

If you didn’t run to the kitchen and make the peanut butter caramel sauce after I posted it on Monday, now would be a good time to do so. Better yet, make two batches of the sauce. You won’t be able to keep your spoon out of the first so you’ll need the second one to make these brownies!

Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies

If you’re a fan of fudgy brownies, this recipe is for you. I think (hopefully?) you can even see that from the pictures. The brownies are super rich and chocolatey, a small square will absolutely satisfy any chocolate craving you might have. They’d be fantastic all on their own, but the swirl of peanut butter caramel sauce running throughout really takes them over the top. Actually, I take that back. We may or may not have done this with them, and that was really the ultimate in decadence :)

Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies

Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies
adapted from Bobby Flay (via Food Network)

1 cup (2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
peanut butter caramel sauce (cooled to room temperature)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the brownies out afterward. Spray the foil and pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Add the butter, unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and espresso powder to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second bursts on 50% power, stirring in between each, until the chocolate and butter are both melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk the eggs, both sugars, the vanilla, and the salt together in a large bowl. Add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Switch to a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, and stir in the flour just until combined (the batter will be thick).

Transfer half of the batter to the prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Dollop half of the peanut butter caramel sauce over the top then cover with the rest of the brownie batter. Spread the brownie batter to cover the caramel the best you can (it’s fine if it’s not perfect). Dollop the other half of the peanut butter caramel sauce over the brownie batter then use a thin knife to swirl the batter and peanut butter caramel together.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. (Don’t wait until the toothpick comes out clean – the brownies will be overcooked at that point!) Remove the pan to a wire rack and allow the brownies to cool completely.

Once cool, cover the pan and refrigerate for about an hour (this isn’t strictly necessary, but will make it much easier to cut the brownies). Using the foil “handles” lift the brownies out of the pan and cut into squares for serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.