Sunday, August 07, 2011

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

A blog post? What?

Hey, look, I'm back! With recipes! I have a couple backed up and am making more soon, so I'm *hoping* I'll be a bit more regular in posts and such... no promises, though. Apparently, I'm not great at keeping digital promises (yes, I read the previous post in here. yes, I'm sorry). So,

onward- to the recipe! This one is an original of mine and is pretty tasty, so say many people (classmates, my dad's coworkers, so on).

If you want the cut-and-dry version, look below. If you want a long and garbled version possibly teeming with helpful hints and tips, scroll down to the section labeled "The Long of It."


The Short of It (this is the recipe as it appears in my handy-dandy recipe book)

The Brownies
6 oz (6 squares) unsweetened chocolate
1 C butter
2 1/2 C granulated sugar
3 Eggs
2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 Tsp salt
3/4 Tsp vanilla extract

The Peanut Butter Batter
2/3 C smooth peanut butter
1/2 C+3 Tbsp butter, softened
3/4 C granulated sugar
1 Egg
1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
  • Chop chocolate and place in a microwave-safe bowl with butter. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir until completely melted.
  • Stir in sugar, then eggs.
  • Stir in flour and salt. Batter will be stiff.
  • Add vanilla. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, beat butter and peanut butter together with an electric mixer.
  • Beat in the sugar, the egg, then the vanilla.
  • Beat in the flour.
  • Pour chocolate batter into a greased 13x9-inch pan. Make sure it reaches all the corners and edges.
  • Swirl several tablespoons of peanut butter batter into the chocolate layer, but do not completely mix it in. Instructions with pictures can be found here.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until almost cooked through.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 3/4 C chocolate chips and 1/2 C peanut butter chips. Press into the surface slightly.
  • Continue baking for 5 to 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out relatively clean.
  • Yields at least 20, depending on how you cut it.
The Long of It (this is essentially what's up above, but with a bunch of tips and pictures and other junk you may or may not find useful)

The Brownies
6 oz (6 squares) unsweetened chocolate
1 C butter
2 1/2 C granulated sugar
3 Eggs
2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 Tsp salt
3/4 Tsp vanilla extract

The Peanut Butter Batter
2/3 C smooth peanut butter
1/2 C+3 Tbsp butter, softened
3/4 C granulated sugar
1 Egg
1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
1/4 C all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375 ° F. Chop up the chocolate and the butter and put them all in a microwave-safe bowl, then microwave it for 2 minutes. Seriously. Two full minutes on high, or whatever your microwave's regular setting is. As long as your microwave isn't super-powered, I promise you won't burn your chocolate.

When the microwaving is through, you'll have mostly- or completely-melted butter and partially melted chocolate bits, depending on how finely you chopped them (I don't chop mine very finely at all). See? Toldja. Take a nice, sturdy spoon and stir the butter and chocolate, which will be quite hot, until everything is completely melted. It might take a bit, but this is a good method and so much easier than stove-top melting.

Once your butter and chocolate is completely melted, stir in the sugar, then put the eggs and stir those in all at once. Next, put in the flour and salt and mix them in. Your batter is going to be stiff- close to dough, but not quite there. So, really- stiff. It's supposed to be that way, don't worry about it. In fact, here's a nice picture.


It may turn out a bit thinner than that, though. Add the vanilla and then set this stuff aside.

Next we get to play with the electric mixer to make the peanut butter batter. Goody. My hand mixer- Ham, as I've dubbed him- is my nemesis. Not that he doesn't work properly, I just don't agree with noisy machines. I don't like sewing machines, I don't like vacuum cle

aners, I really, really don't like paper shredders, and I don't like electric mixers.

Regardless, the damn things are useful, so set your mixer up with regular beaters (both a stand or hand mixer will do fine) and blend together your peanut butter and softened butter. Next, beat in the sugar, then the egg, then the vanilla, and lastly, the flour. Then you're done.

A word of advice- no mater how much you dislike your mixer, I wouldn't recommend flinging one of the beaters across your kitchen. At least, not until you've gotten the batter off it.

It was an accident, I swear.

Anyway... Next, pour the brownie batter into a greased 13x9-inch pan and make sure it goes into all the corners and edges. Scoop several tablespoons (use an actual spoon or a small cookie scoop) of the peanut butter batter onto the brownie batter and swirl them in- but don't actually mix it all the way in. Use as much or as little as you want, but I'd suggest using at least half the batter you made. Once again, for instructions and nifty pictures on how to mix in the peanut butter batter, see here.

Bake the brownies for about 20 minutes and take the pan back out of the oven. Sprinkle 3/4 C of chocolate chips and 1/2 C of peanut butter chips over the top of the brownies and push them into the top a bit before putting the pan back into the oven and baking it for another 5 to 10 minutes. When an inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean (if it's completely clean, your brownies may be a tiny bit dry), they're all done. Take them out, but the pan on a cooling rack, and let them cool a while (about an hour or so) before slicing them up.

This will yield as many as you can cut into the pan... anywhere from one very large brownie to around 30 very small brownies.

So, that's it. Happy baking!

How To: Swirling Peanut Butter Batter into Brownie Batter

Okay, so, this is connected to this post. It will make little to no sense without you having seen that one first. So go on... have a look and then come back here if you want.

You'll want to use something like one of these tools to scoop out the peanut butter batter. I prefer the cookie scoop, but if you don't have one a table spoon will do just fine.

Start out with about six or so little balls of batter on top of the brownie batter. You can add more later.

Spread the out a bit so they look like little splashes of batter, as though somebody threw them at the pan. I wouldn't suggest doing that, but if someone wants to try it, lemme know how it goes.

Keep spreading the batter until it looks something like this. Make sure it reaches to the edges, but you can leave a blank space here and there if you really want.

If you want to add more batter that's not only okay, I highly recommend doing so. This is what my pan usually looks like when I'm done, but you can add more or less if you want. I would suggest using at least half the bowl of peanut butter batter, though.

And there you have it! Hope that was handy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The "Secret" is Out- Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello, everyone! First off, I would like to apologize for being a bit of blog hermit... it's been a while since I've blogged regularly, so I'm a kind-of bad with the whole 'checking back regularly thing' but I promise I'll make it part of my daily computer routine: Sluggy Freelance, Questionable Content, Blogger, then e-mail. Yay.

Now, on with the baking! Today, I'll be rambling on about chocolate chip cookies! Happiness and bounding!

---

Ingredients:
4 1/2 C. Flour
2 Tsp. Baking Soda
2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Cinnamon
1 C. Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 C. Light or Golden Brown Sugar
2 C. (16 oz.) Butter (softened)
5 Eggs
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Large Bag of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Now, here's what you do:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Put all your butter in a mixing bowl. Then leave it. You want it to be soft when you go to cream it. Trust me, I lost a very old and dear mixer that way... anyhow, I usually use Land 'O' Lakes Spreadable Butter. It's not really very spreadable, but it's handier than the sticks. 2 tubs= 2 cups of butter.

Next, put your flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon into one large bowl. The largest you have. Then mix it all up. You can use a whisk if you want, but I tend to use a wooden spoon and that does the job pretty well.








After your flour is taken care of, we shall move on to sugar. Measure it all out into another, smaller bowl, or just do what I do: put it on a paper plate. Put the sugar aside and crack all of your eggs into a small bowl or measuring cup, as I did. Add the vanilla extract and mix it up just a little bit. The yolks should be broken, but it should not be at scrambled egg level.


Next, you're going to make loud noises with a mixer. My least favorite part, but then, I don't enjoy loud noises. Anyhow, give the butter which you previously set aside a good poke and if it is still firm, you may want to microwave it just a little bit until it is soft. Try not to melt it, however.

Cream it with the mixer until it looks something like the picture. Add the sugar mixture in parts, mixing thoroughly after each addition. When the sugar is all in, start adding the eggs a little at a time. Once everything is completely mixed together, you can put the mixer away. We're done with that, thank you.


For this next part, you may want a partner. Scrape all of the butter-sugar-egg mixture into the flour mixture, which is why you wanted the flour to be in a big bowl. Mix it all together, and be sure there is no flour left on the bottom. It can be sneaky.

You may want an extra set of arms to take over halfway through. If you've done it right, it takes a bit of arm strength to mix it all up. Making cookies almost once a week for three or four years has made me pretty strong...

When you've combined all the dry and wet ingredients, the mixture should be stiff enough for you to be able to stick your spoon in the middle and have it stand up without falling over. If it's too thin, add some more flour by the 1/4 cup. When it is oven the right consistency, add the whole bag of chocolate chips.

This is the most important part of making cookies: be sure to eat a few of the chocolate chips. This is absolutely necessary. Make sure the chips are completely mixed in. You don't want any cookies to end up without chocolate chips.

If you have two cookie sheets, you'll want to use them both. It'll make things go faster. Cover your cookie sheet(s) with tin foil and scoop the dough into one-inch balls (using a cookie scoop would be ideal, but a couple of spoons will work just fine). Place them on the sheet in five by five rows. Now, the baking time is going to vary, but start out at 5 1/2 minutes. If that's not long enough, continue baking until the tops and edges are golden-brown. If your cookies come out quite brown, decrease the time to about 5 minutes.

When your cookies are done, wait about 3-ish minutes before transferring them to some lovely wire racks. This is better accomplished with a spatula than with your hands.
You'll need a place to stash your cookies. This is our cookie jar. It used to harbor giant pasta shells. This recipe will yield anywhere from 75-100 cookies, so if there's less than 4 or 5 five of you (like at my house), you may want to cut the recipe in half. They keep for a good while as long as you keep them in a receptacle of some kind.
For easy copying and the like, here's that same recipe without all the fun pictures and explanations:
Ingredients:
4 1/2 C. Flour
2 Tsp. Baking Soda
2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Cinnamon
1 C. Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 C. Light or Golden Brown Sugar
2 C. (16 oz.) Butter (softened)
5 Eggs
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Large Bag Chocolate Chips
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Scoop butter into mixing bowl, set aside. Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Put granulated and brown sugar on a plate and set aside. Lightly beat eggs and vanilla extract together.
Cream butter, add sugar mixture in parts to butter, then eggs and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix thoroughly. Add chocolate chips. Put 1-inch balls of dough in 5 by 5 rows on a foil-covered cookie sheet and bake for 5 1/2 minutes or until tops and edges are golden brown.
Let cookies cool for a few minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Will stay good for a while in a container of some kind.
---
So that was probably unnecessarily long. Oh, well... I'll get better at it, I promise. I just need to get into the 'groove'. I hope you all enjoy the cookies!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Well, Hello There

Hello, everyone! I suppose you've heard (or read, as the case may be) that I will be taking over Rayne's "Crunchy Bits" blog. If you haven't... now you know. Yay!

So, this is going to become a recipe blog very shortly. In fact, I am, as we speak, working on my first post for all of you. It will be, as Rayne mentioned, our "top secret" cookie recipe. At least, it's my version.

A few things about this blog and cooking in general: First: I will be making mostly baked goods, just so you know. They're my favorite thing to make, so I'll be making a lot of them. But, I'll try to change it up a little now and then.

Second: My posts will consist lots of pictures and explaining, but I'll always include a condensed version of the recipe at the bottom for an easier baking experience.

Third: Don't worry about screwing up. If you'd direct your attention to my profile picture you'll see that we all screw up even the most simplistic things from time to time (it's a grilled cheese sandwich, in case you can't tell).

Fourth: Most of these recipes will be experimental; as in, I've never made them before... so we'll all have fun finding out how that goes.

Fifth: Have fun. I suggest listening to music while you cook. Baking is all the more entertaining when you dance with your spoon.

Enjoy, and see you as soon as I've thrown together a post about chocolate chip cookies!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

There Have Been Changes

Okay....This is what's happening.  With school and everything else that is going on, not to mention the 'Facebook Ate My Brain' episode, I have decided I needed to consolidate everything into one site.  So...I have taken everything on Crunchy Bits and moved it to Paisley Rain.  Paisley Rain is also a blogger blog and it's URL is http://paisleyrain.blogspot.com/
I sincerely hope you follow me over there.
In other news...
Katy, my daughter, is taking over Crunchy Bits.  She will be presenting recipes and all sorts of good cooking type related stuff as well as a bit of wisdom, humor and probably a bit of attitude.  She's 16, it can't be helped.  I do believe in one of her first posts she will be revealing the secret chocolate chip cookie recipe.

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