I first made these peanut butter brownies for a Mother’s Day BBQ years ago. I went by myself because my husband had something that day. What it was escapes me now. But it was a fun day. Our friends, Jaime and Omar, invited us and some other friends up to their house for the day. I took the kids with me and we had a blast talking and laughing with our friends over good food. Jaime is a fantastic cook and everything she makes is to-die-for. Jaime is the one I make the Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cake for. It’s her favorite and she’s my favorite.
Anyway, these Peanut Butter Brownies with Milk Chocolate Ganache and Salted Peanuts are pretty amazing. I seem to remember one of the BBQ attendees asking me to marry him over them. Or something like that. :) They are THAT good.
How Do You Make Peanut Butter Brownies From Scratch?
It’s actually very easy to make peanut butter brownies without the use of a brownie mix. It only takes a few minutes longer than opening up a package to stir the batter together. Plus, it starts with melted chocolate and butter, so they are 1000X better than any mix!
To the melted butter and chocolate, sugar, vanilla, and salt are added. Then eggs are beaten into the batter one at a time. The flour is the last ingredient added. The ratio of chocolate, butter, sugar, and eggs to flour yields thick, fudgy brownies as opposed to cake-like brownies. Just enough flour to hold the batter together.
The peanut butter layer is what sets these brownies above the rest. This recipe calls for making a simple, lightly sweetened peanut butter frosting that is spread over the baked brownies and is then topped with milk chocolate ganache, followed by salty chopped honey roasted peanuts. They are nothing short of amazing!
These peanut butter brownies are based on Dorie Greenspan’s recipe from Baking: From My Home To Yours. It’s a fantastic book, and still one of my very favorites of all-time. (affiliate link)
How To Know If Brownies Are Done Baking
The other important factor in making peanut butter brownies from scratch is to NOT over-bake them. It’s better to under-bake slightly than to over-bake. The brownies will continue to set up after being removed from the oven. The top should look dry and the center should be set. Testing with a toothpick inserted into the center is the best way to know if the brownies are ready to take out of the oven. There should be a few moist crumbs stuck to the toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, the brownies are probably over-baked. If it comes out covered with gooey batter, they’ll need a bit longer – as long as 5 more minutes.
A Few Last Tips For Making Peanut Butter Brownies
Use the best ingredients for the best brownies ever. I’m not saying to go buy $20/lb. chocolate. I like using Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Bars. They are good quality and the right price – less expensive than chocolate chips pound for pound. If using chocolate chips, use a high quality brand such as Guittard, Ghirardelli, Enjoy, Pascha, or Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods store brands.
Refrigerate the brownies for easier and cleaner cuts. This recipe makes 30 bars, but they can be cut into smaller squares as they are incredibly rich.
- For brownies:
- ¾ cup butter
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- For Peanut Butter Frosting:
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter
- ¼ cup butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- For Ganache and topping:
- 8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup honey roasted peanuts, chopped
- For brownies: Line a 9- by 13-inch pan or baking dish with parchment paper or foil, and grease liberally with butter. Leave a little parchment or foil hanging over the edge of the pan for easy removal when the brownies are baked.
- Place chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Melt, stirring occasionally, and remove from heat. Alternatively, place chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on 50% powder for 30-60 intervals until melted.
- Whisk in the sugar, vanilla, and salt into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs one at a time and beat in with a wooden spoon. Fold in flour. Spread in prepared baking pan.
- Bake for 325°F for 25-30 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the brownies. There should be some moist crumbs attached to the toothpick.
- Let brownies cool completely before assembling. (I put them in the fridge.)
- For Peanut Butter Frosting: Place butter and peanut butter into the bowl of an electric mixer or use a hand mixer. Beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and cream a little at a time until it is spreadable. Add vanilla. Set aside until needed.
- For Ganache and topping: Place milk chocolate and cream in a double boiler or use a microwave. When chocolate starts to melt, remove from heat and whisk until smooth. Set aside until ready to use. (Don't refrigerate. Keep at room temperature.)
- To assemble: Spread the peanut butter frosting evenly over the brownies. Place in fridge or freezer to chill and allow the peanut butter frosting to set.
- Pour the ganache over the top of the peanut butter and spread it evenly over the entire surface. Sprinkle with the roasted peanuts. Chill until ready to serve. Cut into 30 bars. Serve immediately or store in cool, dry place or fridge for up to a week.
Other types of nut or seed butters can be used in place of the peanut butter.
The original recipe calls for adding 1 cup chopped roasted and salted peanuts to the brownie batter. I prefer it without, but feel free to add them in if desired.