I have a new favorite brownie. And I think you could have a new favorite brownie too, if you gave these Peanut Butter Cup Brownies a try.
Assuming that is, that you like peanut butter. If you don’t – try these instead. But if you DO like peanut butter, please stay tuned.
These brownies are rich, chocolate-y, and they have an entire Reese’s peanut butter cup stuffed in side. As you’ve probably noticed, I am a huge fan of fillings and stuffings in my baked goods. I love the dash of intrigue and the pump of flavor. These stuffed brownies were truly out of this world, with such a nice ratio of chocolate to peanut butter. It also doesn’t hurt that you brown the butter before mixing it in, or that the recipe includes a full 1.5 cups of cocoa. So chocolatey, so peanut-buttery, so wonderful.
I made these brownies for a friend’s birthday. I felt like baking with peanut butter or caramel for some reason, so I asked which flavor she preferred. She picked peanut butter, this brownie recipe won the round, and off I went to procure peanut butter cups. I actually ended up making something with caramel too, because I just couldn’t resist the urge… but more on that another time.
I took the brownies to my friend’s birthday party at Ocean Beach on an atypically sunny San Francisco Sunday. What’s better than eating brownies and hanging with friends on the beach? Not much, I’d say.
These brownies were a huge hit, and I think it has a lot to do with the texture. Peanut butter and chocolate is a rather common flavor duo in the U.S., but it’s not usually with this combination of textures. Most chocolate/PB recipes either use peanut butter from a jar, or peanut butter chips. Using peanut butter cups adds more depth to the peanut butter flavor because it is thicker, and a bit grainier. But it’s not like eating a straight peanut butter cup, either, because there’s no chocolate shell crunch. In fact, the peanut butter cup’s shell sort of melts into the brownie as it bakes. So you’re getting a straight bite of fudgey brownie right with the thick peanut butter.
This recipe makes a full 9×13 pan of brownies. Since I baked two pans of 9×13 treats that day, I only took 2/3 of the brownies to the beach, and froze the rest.
Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
Original recipe: The Food Charlatan. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.
Yield: 9×13 pan, mine cut into ~30 brownies
Suggested equipment: Mixer, though you could definitely do this by hand
Total Time: ~55 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 1 1/4 cups butter (2 and 1/2 standard sticks. The original recipe called for salted and honestly I didn’t even notice, so I used unsalted and it worked out just fine)
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon water (just at a normal temp, not hot and not too cold)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 12 large Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (or another brand, but make sure they’re the size of regular Reese’s and not minis. Minis would work too but the peanut butter ratio would be different per bite and the large cups help make these brownies so tasty)
Step by Step Directions
Brown your butter
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and let it cook until it’s browned. You should stir the butter occasionally and keep a very close eye on it- butter burns fast. It will foam up as it cooks and then will start turning a bit more golden in color, with small brown bits popping up as the cooking continues. When it starts to smell a bit nutty, that means it’s done
- Remove from heat and pour into a bowl so it can cool off a little before you use it in the recipe, and doesn’t keep cooking in the hot saucepan
Make your brownies
- Preheat your oven to 350F
- Line a baking dish with parchment or foil, and then spray that with nonstick cooking spray. I prefer using foil for this sort of thing but you can use what you have
- Combine sugar, cocoa and salt in your bowl or stand mixer
- Add the butter, and then beat the mixture until it is smooth and almost creamy
- Add water and vanilla, then mix it together
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between each egg addition
- Add the flour and mix until it is just incorporated into the batter. The batter will be thick
- Pour your batter into the pan. You’ll need a spatula to help move it along since the batter is so thick
- Now comes the exciting part! Place your 12 large peanut butter cups in a layer on top of the brownie batter
- Push each peanut butter cup slightly INTO the batter so they’re no longer just on the surface of the batter
- Use your spatula sort of like a paintbrush to swirl brownie batter over the cups. You want the cups to be entirely covered by brownie batter (see pics below)
- Bake for ~25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out batter-free. The center of the pan should be mostly set. Mine baked for exactly 30 minutes
- Let them cool all the way before you slice into squares. I was time-constrained so I sliced a bit too soon and they weren’t quite ready for it and I got a bunch of brownie crumbles in the process. Which I totally threw into my carry container and brought with me to the party anyway, because brownie crumbles are delicious, too!