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Author Notes: Peanut butter and chocolate are two of the most blissful flavor combinations. These Salted Peanut Butter Caramel Brownies are a happy medium between fudgy and cakey (becoming more fudgy on the second day). In lieu of adding a thick peanut butter to these already rich brownies, a salted peanut butter caramel is made first and swirled in. A lighter addition that creates a balance with the salty and sweet of the brownies, with the perfect amount of chocolate intensity. —Teresa Floyd
Makes 24 brownies
Salted Peanut Butter Caramel
- 3.75 ounces sugar
- 1 ounce water
- 7 ounces heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 ounces creamy peanut butter
- In a small pot, combine the heavy cream and fine sea salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and keep warm.
- Combine the sugar and water in a medium-sized pot. Over medium-high heat and without stirring, cook the sugar until it begins to caramelize and reaches a deep amber color. Immediately, remove the caramel from the heat and steadily whisk in the warm cream. It will bubble up, so take care to add slowly and carefully. Whisk in the peanut butter until thoroughly combined.
- Pour peanut butter caramel into a clean bowl and allow it to cool and thicken for at least 1 hour. You can prepare the caramel up to three days before hand and keep stored in an airtight container until ready to use. Any left over caramel can be reheated and used for topping desserts or allowed to cool and used as a filling.
- 5 ounces all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 12 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate (62% - 70%), melted
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder or fresh finely ground coffee
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 7.5 ounces sugar
- 3.5 ounces brown sugar, lightly packed
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 4 ounces salted peanut butter caramel
- pinches fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9x13-baking pan with parchment paper or spray the bottom and sides of the pan with oil.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the still warm melted chocolate, butter, espresso powder, and vanilla extract. Whisk in both of the sugars until combined. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture and gently whisk them together in until just combined. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the surface. With a spatula, fold in the flour mixture until no streaks are visible.
- Pour the brownie batter into the prepared 9x13 baking pan. With an offset spatula or spatula, smooth the surface of the batter evenly. Using a spoon, drizzle on the peanut butter caramel in wave-like motions across the surface of the brownie batter. If the caramel is too thick, reheat slightly in order for it to flow more easily. Next, using a butter knife or skewer, drag the point of the knife through the top of the batter surface in a similar wave-like motion. Do this in the opposite direction of the caramel waves, so it will produce a nice marbleized/swirl effect. If using, sprinkle the fine sea salt all over the surface of the batter.
- Place in the oven and bake for 28 minute or until a toothpick inserted, in the center, comes out with only a few crumbs. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling wrack to cool completely. When ready, cut into squares and enjoy. Brownies can be kept in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 5 days.