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Peanut Butter, Pretzel, and Chocolate Brownies

June 11, 2012

Things have been kind of sucky lately… I have been grumpy and sullen, and I swear at everyone on the metro under my breath.  It’s bad, folks.

Nate is a saint for putting up with my mood swings, and I seriously couldn’t ask for a better husband.  His favorite dessert is brownies, and baking helps me blow off steam.  So, baking a yummy pan of brownies has its rewards for both of us.

Have you tried the chocolate-covered peanut butter pretzels from Trader Joe’s?  If you haven’t, you should because they are awesome.  So awesome, in fact, that I can single-handedly eat a whole bag in a couple days.  These amazing pretzels were my brownie inspiration.

I’ve made the same Cook’s Illustrated brownie recipe several times, and I decided it was time to diversify.  Several months ago I tried the Ad Hoc at Home boxed brownie mix, and they were super yummy.  If the boxed mix tastes so good, I figured following the actual recipe in the cookbook would give great results too.  I am happy to say I was right!

The brownies are a little crumbly, and they’re basically little brownie sandwiches packed with peanut butter, salty pretzels and chunks of dark chocolate.  Nate almost ate a third of the pan in one sitting.  They are also really good served with vanilla ice cream.


Peanut Butter, Pretzel, and Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home

I took some liberties with the recipe to make it a little more easily accessible, since I’m not one to make things that require ingredients that I need to order in advance.  I used plain old cocoa powder instead of alkalized cocoa powder (I don’t even know what that is) and dark chocolate chips rather than finely diced 61-64% chocolate.  The brownies came out great even with the substitutions!

3/4 cup flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), cut into cubes
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup crushed pretzels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×9 pan. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and salt.

In a small saucepan (or in the microwaveable glass bowl), melt half of the butter. Put the remaining butter into a medium bowl and pour the melted butter over the non-melted butter. Stir until remaining butter melts, and mixture is creamy with small bits of butter floating around.

In a stand mixer, mix together eggs and sugar for 3 minutes, or until pale yellow in color and thick. Add vanilla. With the mixer on lowest speed setting, alternate adding 1/3 of the sifted dry mixture and 1/3 of the butter until just combined.

Spread batter half the batter into prepared pan and layer on the peanut butter, pretzel bits and chocolate chips.  Cover with remaining half of brownie batter and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs sticking to it. Completely cool brownies in pan before cutting.

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