Two birthday brownies: Butterscotch peanut butter cheesecake and triple chocolate chip
Sometimes more is most definitely more. There is something about American food that seems to encourage outrageously over the top combinations and brownie is no exception. Just when you think you’ve done enough, added enough extras, pimped it up to the max, then you should just sling in one more thing. That’s what gives it the edge. Hence this possibly excessive but amazing combination of peanut butter cheesecake, peanut butter chips and butterscotch chips, swirled into a squidgy dark chocolate brownie. The alternative brownie is pretty much my default brownie – a fudgy dark brownie base studded with chunks of milk and white chocolate.
These were destined as office treats to celebrate R’s birthday, with an extra batch made for my office too. Unfortunately for R, he doesn’t have a wife who bakes for him on demand, so I took the role of kitchen aide, with him doing the heavy duty weighing and mixing whilst I sat back and just provided the details.
There is a massive amount of brownie here – this made about 50 pieces, enough to keep our respective colleagues in a state of sugar fuelled contentment for the day. Normally I only make half this amount.
Start by melting 20oz dark chocolate and 20oz butter in a bowl suspended over hot water in a pan. This will take a while and whilst I am happy to risk the microwave for smaller quantities, I wanted to take the safe road for this. Stir from time to time and eventually, after about 15 mins maybe, you should have a smooth glossy mixture. Keep your eye on the water throughout, keep the heat low and don’t allow it to go above the barest of simmers.
Then add a fairly colossal 24oz caster sugar, 8 eggs and 12oz plain flour, 1 tbsp baking powder and 1 tbsp cocoa powder. Stir until smoothly combined. The vast amount of mix here resulted in quite a bit of decanting from one bowl to another until I discovered the only vessel big enough was my largest casserole dish, so be prepared!
Now split your mix roughly into two. Add 100g white chocolate chunks and 100g milk chocolate chunks to one half, and then decant into a lined baking tin, around 25cm square.
The other half is for the peanut butter flavour. Stir in a good handful each of peanut butter chips and butterscotch chips. I can only encourage non-American readers to seek out peanut butter chips and butterscotch chips. I fill every nook and cranny in my suitcase with bags of chips whenever I go to the US as they are harder to find and fairly expensive in the UK. If these are unavailable, I think milk and white chocolate would be good substitutes. Decant into a second prepared baking tin.
To make the peanut butter swirl, mix about 75g cream cheese and 1/3 cup of smooth peanut butter in a separate bowl. Beat until combined, then add 1/3 cup of light brown sugar and half an beaten egg. When I made this, I made twice as much peanut butter filling and there was far too much to swirl into my brownie. I ended up baking the rest separately in a small dish, but it did save me the faff of using half an egg. Splodge this mixture on top of the brownie mix and then swirl through gently to achieve a rippled effect.
Bake at 160C for about half an hour until just set in the middle. If in doubt, I always think it is better to have a bit of barely cooked extra fudgyness in the middle than overbake the whole tray.