Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Peanut Butter Brownies or Cheesecake?

It was Valentine's Day a few days ago which was reason enough to try out a new dessert. But, there are so many to choose from. Looked through that Taste of Home Baking cookbook again and found a recipe for Peanut Butter Brownies.

Peanut butter, chocolate, cream cheese - what's not to like? Yes, I could've just bought a brownie mix, but where's the challenge in that? Instead I far exceeded the cost of a brownie mix. This brownie recipe called for 2 blocks of cream cheese.

And, in the end, I'm still not sure if it was more like a brownie with peanut butter cream cheese or a peanut butter cheesecake with a little brownie in it.

Here's what they looked like when they came out of the oven.

Pretty nice looking, huh? And, here is what they looked like on a plate.

How about a side view.

You know how brownies, cakes, and cookies all taste so, so good when they are warm and right out of the oven? Not with these. We all tasted a little when it was warm and we thought it really didn't have much of a peanut butter taste and they were just okay. Then, I put them in the refrigerator. That did the trick. When cold, these tasted like cheesecake.

I have a really good tip for you brownie bakers. You know when you try to cut brownies and your knife goes in and brings up a whole bunch of brownie with it. This always happens and you get a really gnarly looking brownie. Here is the trick. Drum roll, please? Use a PLASTIC KNIFE! That's right. One day I thought about how mochi is so sticky and you use a plastic knife to cut that, I wonder if it would work for brownies - and it totally worked.

Here's the recipe:
Peanut Butter Brownies from Taste of Home Baking Classics
3 eggs
1 cup butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to the egg mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside 1 cup for topping. Spread remaining batter into greased 9x13 baking pan.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and milk on low until just combined. Carefully spread over batter. Drop reserved batter by tablespoonfuls over filling. Cut through batter with a knife to swirl.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Chill until serving. Makes 3 dozen.

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