Um. I don’t really have some deep and unequivocally witty story to tell about this recipe. They’re kind of my downfall. You know when you don’t just want dessert, but you crave it to the point where you need something intensely chocolaty and melty (and oh-did you-say- peanut butter?) in your belly? That’s just what it has to be. Just put down whatever you’re doing and make brownies, then eat peanut butter chips and put what’s left in them, and cover them with reese’s cups- but make sure you buy a big bag so there’s leftovers for later. Nope, I’m not fooling around.
(Sorry there aren’t more pictures. I was too busy eating)
If you’ve ever been to Levain Bakery, then you’ll appreciate that these brownies taste exactly like the dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookie. If not, then all I can say is that this recipe is akin to a heaping 6oz mound of under-baked chocolate dough thoroughly studded with peanut butter chips. Fin.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
just hardly adapted from here
9-12 Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins, Cups, preferably mini of what you can find
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Unwrap the Peanut Butter Cups. When you put the brownies in the oven, put the peanut butter cups in the freezer. This will help the chocolate not melt as much.
Sift together the flour, unsweetened cocoa powder and kosher salt. Set aside.
In a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the light brown sugar, sugar, melted unsalted butter and vanilla extract on medium speed for 3 minutes.
Add in the eggs, at a time.
Slowly add in the dry ingredients on low speed. Then take a spatula and fold the ingredients together.
Add in the peanut butter chips and fold them in.
Spread the batter into a lightly greased 8 by 8 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
Cool the brownies for a cooling rack.
Once they’ve cooled for 20 minutes, press the peanut butter cups on top of the warm brownies in rows of three.
Cool the brownies completely before cutting into pieces. If the peanut butter cups start to melt a bit, don’t worry. If they start to melt too much, place the brownies in the freezer for a couple of minutes to stop the melting.
My friend Karen and I came to the conclusion that you know food network chefs are lying about whether or not their food is good when their reaction to tasting it is saying things like “this really is such a good temperature,” “that tiny drop of lemon really makes the dish,” or “the consistency is perfect,” instead of actually eating it. There should really be some type of barometer on the side of the TV, letting us rate the perceived deliciousness of each dish by our interpretations of people’s facial expressions as we sit an gossip about things of lesser importance as if we were regulars on The View. I don’t really know what that has to do with anything at all, but I did find myself sampling many many foods as I baked through this long weekend. I visited my friend in Long Island who I went to Italy with (took the LIRR for the first time!) and had my first red mango. When I got home I made this gingerbread cake, which is really quite tasty; the pears become caramelized on the top and form a gooey crust, and the cake underneath is perfectly moist and spiced. Although it was good, I went out afterwards and bought Ben and Jerry’s milk and cookies and cookie dough ice creams because the cake just didn’t do it (I don’t know about you, but I don’t really crave gingerbread cakes). It’s like choosing between a chocolate lava cake and a slice of a fruit tart. They’re both delicious, and the tart is perfect to impress, but really, who are you kidding?
Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread Cake
2 1/2 firm pears (preferably Bosc)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup molasses (preferably mild)
1 cup boiling water
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Peel and core pears and cut each into 8 wedges.
Melt butter in skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides. Reduce heat to low, then sprinkle brown sugar over bottom of skillet and cook, undisturbed, 3 minutes (not all sugar will be melted). Arrange pears decoratively over sugar and cook, undisturbed, 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together molasses and boiling water in a small bowl. Beat together butter, brown sugar, and egg in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes, then alternately mix in flour mixture and molasses in 3 batches at low speed until smooth.
Pour batter over topping in skillet, spreading evenly and being careful not to disturb pears, and bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
Cool cake in skillet on a rack 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of skillet, then invert a large plate with a lip over skillet and, using pot holders to hold skillet and plate tightly together, invert cake onto plate. Replace any pears that stick to skillet. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I’m a little embarassed for a few reasons, among them that I’m such a blogging slacker (I honestly think I need to make a schedule or something), and also having the first thing I write to you about in nearly a month be called whoopie pies. I really don’t understand why they can’t just be called what they are- cookies that are basically just cake, with frosting in the middle. Or something normal that I’m not embarrassed to say to people as I hand them out. Cookie cupcakes? Maybe. I’ll think of something.
Anyway, I digress from the re-emergence of pumpkin into my life. As soon as the weather dropped, I went to the supermarket determined to make something fall-like- I can be very festive, you see. I had no idea what to make, but I grabbed a few cans of pumpkin off the shelf and Googled as many pumpkin-related desserts as I could. Pumpkin pie? Too overdone. Pumpkin bars? Pumpkin cookies? Pumpkin cheesecake? My research skills began to disappoint me.
The idea of whoopie pies didn’t impress me at first either; I usually know them as being filled with a fluffy cream (almost like denser whipped cream) rather than a frosting, and I just don’t like light things in my dessert. I know that sounds awful. But dessert is dessert. If you want something light, eat fruit. So I kept looking and found a variety of recipes that called for a more frosting-like filling made of cream cheese and butter. This recipe has just that, and really tastes just like pumpkin-pie cakes with cream cheese filling. They’re so so good. But really, please call them something else when you make them.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
from Rachael Ray
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, 1 stick melted, 1/2 stick softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, separated (the 1/2 tsp is used for the filling)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt
1-2/3 cups flour
4 ounces cream cheese, chilled
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the baking powder, the baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour.
Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon, make 24 rounds of batter total for the two baking sheets (12 each). Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the confectioners’ sugar and the remaining 2 pinches salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix on low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Spread the flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake.