Friday, March 21, 2008

Feelin' Nutty

When I was asked by our good friends in Healdsburg to bring some noshes for our picnic today, including 'finger food' dessert, I knew just the thing to make. While drooling over many recipes in Dorie Greenspan's Baking; from my home to yours (sorry about the ruined pages Natasha, but you chose well!), The Peanuttiest Blondies caught my eye. Full of both peanut butter and chopped peanuts, plus chocolate chips, what better cookies for a picnic?

As I was lining up the ingredients, I mentioned to Sweetie that I was making peanut butter blondies. He asked if I could make brownies instead. Since I already had a powerful urge to make these cookies, I decided to add some cocoa powder and brownie them up a bit. Worked like a charm!

These bar cookies are thick, have a nice bit of crust on top, a moist and dense interior, full of chopped peanuts, chocolate chips, and a flavor similar to peanut butter cups. The chocolate flavor is not too intense. At the picnic none of us could stop at just one brownie, either, so you know these are well worth making. They are easy, too. The hardest part is chopping the peanuts, so you know you can do it, right?

With spring officially here, add these to your picnic basket or lunch'll be glad you did.
Peanuttiest Brownies
makes 16 brownies

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup peanut butter – crunchy or creamy,
but not natural
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp.
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brewed coffee, cooled (optional)
1 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
1 cup chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate
(I combined ½ cup semisweet chips and ½ cup milk chocolate/caramel swirl chips)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lina a 9-inch square pan with poil, butter the foil and put the pan on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the peanut butter and butter together on medium speed until smooth. Add both sugars and beat for 1-2 minutes, until well incorporated into the butter. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape beaters/paddle and bowl.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough; the dough will be thick. Add the peanuts and chocolate and give the mixer a few turns to stir them into the dough. If the chunky ingredients aren’t mixed in after a few seconds, just finish the job with a sturdy spatula – don’t over mix the dough. Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and level it.

Bake the brownies for 40-50 minutes or until the top is dry looking and a thin knife (or toothpick) inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.

When it is completely cool, carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and turn them out onto a rack. Peel away the foil and invert onto a cutting board. Use a long knife (I used a serrated bread knife) to cut into 16 bars, each roughly 2 ¼ inches on a side.

Serve plain or with ice cream. Great with milk, hot chocolate, coffee and tea.

Wrapped well, these brownies will keep for about 3 days at room temperature or for up to 2 months in the freezer…that is if you can resist eating them all as soon as they are cool enough to cut.


  1. Oh how my hubby would be loving me for making these. Perhaps I will be kind and make them for his lunches next week.

  2. I think I stopped and fell on the floor, moaning, at the word 'picnic'... feeling very, VERY sorry for myself, not only having no Healdsburg and no brownies, but no sun for a picnic!!!

    Man, these sound yummy, peanuts and chocolate -- two favorites! YUM!

  3. Anonymous5:22 AM

    ooo..brownies! :)

  4. What a perfect picnic treat!!

  5. Oh yum these look delicious. I adore the peanut and chocolate combo. I bet they went down a storm on your picnic.

  6. HAR! Elle.. I just left Laura's blog after leaving her a comment on how she's absolutely torturing me with her chocolate peanut butter swirl brownies and then I come here and see these divine chocolate peanut butter brownies! Is this a conspiracy?

    'kay well.. my hips and arse just don't have a chance and slimming down. It's official. I will be making these as well.. because you just can't have enough chocolate/peanut butter brownies in the house. :D


  7. Love these! So has everyone who has been lucky enough to sample some of the ones I've made. Can't go wrong with Dorie.

  8. Peabody,

    Hope your hubby enjoys them as much as mine did.

    Tadmack, You MUST come visit and re-experience N. CA sometime...I can hear the longing...and I'd love to meet.

    Maryann, Yep who can hate brownies :D

    Deborah,They do travel well and taste great as picnic food.

    Katie, Well, we almost fought over the crumbs, but not quite.

    Lis, Don't worry about the calories...that's what climbing stairs or weeding or whatever is for...just enjoy the chocolate and peanut experience :D

    Brilynn, Dorie can't be beat...even playing around with these worked like a charm.

  9. Anonymous2:22 PM

    Isn't that just like you to take something wonderful and make it even better. Glad you like the book. What's a cookbook without drool?
    Love you, Natasha

  10. Gosh, those look picnic perfect! Now I just need to wait for it to warm up a bit. Maybe I could just have a picnic on the living room floor as an excuse to make these.

  11. I would love to go to a picnic you were invited too. Great idea to combine the two ideas.

  12. Too much peanut butter in the house and these would be perfect!

  13. I've never really had a good brownie.

  14. For the first two paragraphs, I kept thinking "But they're brown, not blonde, brown!!". Then by the 3rd paragraph it made sense. :) These look soooo good in such a naughty way.

  15. Can't wait for picnics and hiking in the mountains...I'll take 2 batches of these along please.

  16. Anonymous6:19 AM

    I love blondies... and to "brownie the up..."! Perfect!

    I also love Healdsburg and wish I were there for a lazy day of wine and sun.

  17. I neeeeeeed some brownies. It's been so long. These look so moisy and chewy. Just the way we love them!