Monday 2 August 2021

Excellent Brownies

Good morning! I am posting my new peanut butter brownie here so that I can easily find it later. Last week I went to the internet to find my old banana bread recipe and, lo, the only place in the web it was lodged was Seraphic Singles. 

First, credit where credit is due: this excellent recipe is from "And Also the Crumbs Please". The one difference is that I halved the recipe to fit into my 20cm (8"x 8") tin and feed two people for no longer than 3 days. If you have children and a 9" x 13" tin, you should use the original recipe (link above). However, if you are making these for a grown-up dinner party (which I recommend), stick to my recipe.

Peanut Butter Brownies (8 big pieces)

Chocolate part

1/2 cup melted butter, cooled 

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 med-to-large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup plain flour (UK okay) via dip-level-pour method

1/2 cup good (e.g. Green & Blacks in UK) cocoa

1/2 tsp salt

2 oz/60 g of dark chocolate bar (Tesco okay) broken into small pieces

Peanut butter part

1/2 cup 100% peanut butter (mix it up in the jar with a spoon before measuring)

1/8 cup melted butter, cooled

1/4 sifted (or sieved) icing sugar

1/4 salted peanuts (B.A. hides ours, so I had to leave the kitchen while he got them out)


1. Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C.

2. Line 20 cm square tin with enough baking paper so that you can pull it out afterwards.

3.  Just blend the butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla with a whisk.

4. With the whisk, stir in the flour, cocoa and salt until just combined, and then fold in the small chocolate pieces. Too much stirring is bad, apparently, making the brownies more "cakey" and less moist. 

5. Clean off the whisk to whisk together in a separate bowl the peanut butter, 1/8 c melted butter and icing sugar. Then fold in the peanuts. 

6. Randomly throw big spoonfuls of the chocolate batter and the peanut butter batter into the pan. 

7. Draw a swirl through the batter with a knife, but don't mix it up. 

8. Put the tin in the oven and bake just until it no longer jiggles when you shake it. For my oven, that was exactly 30 minutes. Start checking at 23 minutes, says the author. If you put a fork or toothpick in, it should come out dirty. 

9. Take out the tin and check that even the top-middle is firm to the touch. Then leave to finish baking, as it were, in the tin outside the oven for 10 minutes. Then take the brownie bake out with the baking paper to cool in the paper on your cooling rack. Don't give into the temptation to scrape sweet peanut butter off the paper with your finger, or you will burn yourself.

10. When it is throughly cooled, cut it into 8 bars with a bread knife. 

Sweet and salty, it goes very nicely with vanilla ice-cream. It is also reminiscent of the excellent peanut butter chocolate brownies at Edinburgh's Stockbridge's "The Pastry Section". Naturally it would be banned from every primary school in the West. 


Peanut butter is not the staple in the UK that  it is in the USA and Canada, but fortunately we can get the peanuts-only version in Tesco as well as the kind with nasty palm oil. 

As children, my siblings and I loved Reese's Peanut Butter Cups advertisements on television, which usually involved some sort of slapstick in which quarrelling chocolate and peanut butter fans collided and accidentally invented the chocolate + peanut butter concept. During one of B.A.'s hospitalisations, I went to a Hotel Chocolat outlet for some expensive comfort in the form of chocolate-and-peanut bars. They were very fattening, but whatever gets you through, eh? 


  1. That looks delicious. Does 'the West' include Britain or are you still allowed to eat peanut products in school there?

  2. Actually, I can't remember. I imagine peanut allergies are all the rage here, too, but I will have to ask one of the few parents I know who sends her children to ordinary British school.

  3. Well, you don't have to if it involves extra effort but I was curious to know if that fad had caught on anywhere else. I mean, I know there are real allergies but it's hard to believe there are that many lethal ones. My memory of elementary school lunches is the smell of tuna fish and p.b.j. sandwiches, with oranges and oreos for dessert, and - rather surprisingly - nobody seemed to die of it.