A week ago, Canadian chef Michael Smith visited Montreal during a promotional tour for his seventh cookbook, Back to Basics. The Prince Edward Island-based television personality came to Appetite for Books to talk about how he got started in the kitchen, his cooking evolution, and his new projects. With a complimentary glass of wine, he presented a couple of the new recipes, one of which was these peanut butter swirl brownies. While everyone in the audience grabbed the savoury dish after Smith’s engaging talk, I sneaked a slice of the brownie (life’s short, eat dessert first!).
With a thread of peanut butter swirling at the surface, these brownies’ rustic charm is part of their appeal. For those of you who categorise brownies according to texture, whether they be fudge or cake-like, these are on the cakey side. He uses 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract in the brownie batter, and you taste it. So next time I will scale down that amount. The balance of peanut butter swirl and brownie batter is just right. I find peanut butter often overpowers a dessert, but that’s not the case with this recipe.
Source: Back to Basics
Yields 12 large brownies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
•peanut butter swirl
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1) Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper.
3) Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sand salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
4) Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl and set it on top of a saucepan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate and butter. Stir until the mixture is smooth and shiny.
5) Remove the bowl from the heat. Whisk in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
6) Use a spatula to gently fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. Set the smooth batter aside.
•peanut butter swirl
1) Whisk the peanut butter, butter, icing sugar, nutmeg, and vanilla together until smooth.
1) Pour half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Spread it evenly.
2) Drop scoops of the peanut butter mixture over the brownie batter, using half of the mixture.
3) Pour the rest of the brownie batter into the pan.
4) Drop scoops of the remaining peanut butter mixture over the brownie batter. Use a knife or the handle of a spoon to swirl the peanut butter mixture into the batter.
5) Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool.