A Tale of Two Parties

January 15, 2008


Because I wouldn’t want any of you to think I’m any less crazy than I’ve previously promised, I want you to know that I’m cooking for two parties this weekend. One, an engagement party for my friend Brynn (she of the pasta making past) and her fiance, will feature an elaborate spread of tapas. The night before will be more of a casual feast—really an excuse to play Guitar Hero, an XBox game that will win you more friends than you can imagine.


You might think that this one-two punch of parties would be putting me over the edge. Well, I might be over the edge: you should see the grocery list and my various to do lists. But I am loving it. It’s the perfect way to end my winter break. (Yes, Kevin, this is a “break” for me. I swear.)

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos and the recipe.)


But the key to my sanity (well, near sanity) is planning ahead. Each day this week I’ll be making anything and everything I can in advance. And I thought these brownies—which will round out Friday’s all-American menu I’ve got planned—would be the perfect project to get out of the way early on this week.


And it was, in that they’ll definitely hold up well in the fridge until Friday. But I hadn’t really considered the fact that there would be absolutely no way that I could deny Kevin a sample. Or the fact that they are calling—screaming, really—for me right this very second (it’s way, way before noon right now) asking me to eat them.


They’ve been calling to me like this since I accidentally sampled the peanut butter frosting—which became the middle of the three layers of these treats, blanketing a fudge-y layer of peanut-studded brownies and cloaked by a thin layer of bittersweet chocolate ganache. We all just have to cross our fingers that these brownies will make it to the weekend, because I might just be truly powerless against the peanut butter frosting.


But let’s not neglect the frosting’s friends, the brownie and the ganache. Each of the three layers is absolutely phenomenal on its own, but together they are truly spectacular. Really, it just seems wrong to call them brownies. The simple name belies their wonderfulness. This one recipe alone is enough to make me a Dorie Greenspan believer. I’m heading to Amazon right now to buy her much-blogged-about cookbook.


But putting aside the fact that these brownies are in grave danger of disappearing before the party for which they were meant, I’m still glad I made them in advance. Because this way, I get to share them with you today. So that you too can make them as soon as possible. And then again for a Super Bowl party. And possibly a third time for Valentine’s Day. But, I warn you: do not make them before you intend to eat them. And if you do make them in advance, good luck to you.


Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies with Salted Peanuts
Dorie Greenspan for Bon Appetit

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Frosting and ganache
1 cup chunky peanut butter (do not use natural or old-fashioned)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

For brownies:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving long overhang; butter foil.

Place 3/4 cup butter in heavy large saucepan. Add both chocolates; stir over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar, vanilla, and salt, then eggs, 1 at a time. Fold in flour, then nuts. Spread in prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Place pan on rack; cool.


For frosting and ganache:
Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter and 1/4 cup butter in medium bowl to blend. Beat in powdered sugar, salt, and nutmeg, then milk and vanilla. Spread frosting over brownies.


Stir chocolate and 1/4 cup butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Drop ganache all over frosting; spread to cover. Chill until set, about 1 1/2 hours. Do ahead Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled.


Using foil as aid, transfer brownie cake to work surface; cut into squares. Bring to room temperature; serve.



9 Responses to “A Tale of Two Parties”

  1. Nancy Says:

    can’t wait to try these. My mouth is watering now.

  2. amanda Says:

    I’ve been searching for the most decadent, perfect,chocolatey and dense brownie around and I looked through my Dorie book and this one might’ve been the one I was eyeing too. Talk about wow! this looks so heavenly. that frosting is peanut-butter filled goodness. I whipped up some cupcakes and used a peanut butter frosting from the barefoot contessa and I had to pry myself away from the bowl… that didn’t stop me from licking the spoon though 🙂

  3. ourkitchensink Says:

    Nancy: Don’t wait! And, trust me, they are mouth-water-worthy.

    Amanda: I think this is the brownie for you. I’ve seen that Ina Garten recipe you mention several times and strongly considered making it. Even though I haven’t, I have a feeling that these brownies are along the same lines, but maybe a bit more “grown up,” thanks to the bittersweet chocolate. If you make them, let me know what you think!

  4. Joe Says:

    these look much better than the chocolate peanut butter rice krispies I made… *drools*

  5. JEP Says:

    You are torturing me…I need to buy the ingredients & make these ASAP!

  6. Angela Says:

    I love peanut butter brownies!

    Dorie’s recipes always produce outstanding products – just wondering if anyone tried using natural or old fashioned peanut butter instead? Does it make a difference in the texture? I wonder why Dorie mentions not to use natural peanut butter…

  7. Lynn Says:

    I’ve been in a brownie mood and these look just divine! Great photos.

  8. ourkitchensink Says:

    Angela: I haven’t bought non-natural peanut butter in years and I typically have no trouble baking with it. But Dorie’s note in the ingredient list seemed like a strong admonition, so I followed her instructions. I assume it has something to do with consistency. This frosting was really light and fluffy and I would guess that the more grainy, runny (sometimes) consistency of the natural PB might get in the way. If you give it a try with natural PB, let me know how it goes.

    Lynn: Thank you! These will be just the thing to satisfy your brownie mood.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: