Peanut Butter Brownie with Chocolate Ganache

peanut butter brownie - trust in kim

For those who love chocolate and peanut butter, this will be a temptation.  There’s a peanut butter “blondie” on the bottom, filled with chocolate chips, and then a chocolate ganache on top.  It is a two-step recipe, but the second step is so easy. For the chocolate ganache I used half bittersweet chocolate and half  semi-sweet.  I thought it was a great balance of sweetness to the base layer that is slightly sweeter, and my staff at work who sampled this on goodie day agreed.  If you’ve got a real sweet tooth you may want to use only semi-sweet chocolate.

I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen (love her site and cookbook), and she got it from Gourmet Magazine’s recipe from Butterwood Desserts.

What you need for the brownie/blondie:

  • 1 cup or 1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 & 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used a natural peanut butter with no sugar or salt added – if you use this you’ll want to add extra salt to the batter)
  • 2 large eggs plus one yolk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or more if you’re using natural peanut butter

What you need for the ganache:

  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter

What you do:

  1. Begin by rolling out enough parchment paper to line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.  Spread some butter on the parchment, then line the pan with it.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F with the rack in the middle of the oven.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until the  mixture is light and fluffy, then beat in the peanut butter. Beat in whole eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. With the mixer sped on low, mix in the flour until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips,  then spread thick batter into the parchment-lined baking pan, smoothing the  top.
  4. Bake the brownies for about 40-45 minutes, until deep golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. (I used two 9×9 pans, so mine was done early)
  5. Cool completely on a rack before topping with the ganache.
  6. To make the ganache put the chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler or in a bowl that fits on top of a small pot of water.  Add the cream and butter, then turn the heat up on the double boiler until it reaches a low simmer.  Stir with a spatula until the chocolate is melted and glossy.  Spread the ganache over top of the brownie, then let it stand until set.
  7. To cut the brownie remove it from the pan, then run a large knife under hot water, dry it off, and slice the brownie.

peanut butter chocolate brownie - trust in kim

Chocolate Nut Apple Cake

chocolate nut apple cake - trust in kim

For my dad’s birthday I baked this loaf cake.  At first I thought the apple/nut/chocolate combination would be strange, but it really works well together.  I just used a little more chocolate than the recipe asked for.  I found the recipe in Tarek Malouf’s Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.  I have read a number of blogs recently that swear these are awesome recipes, so I thought I’d give it a try.  This was a great recipe to start with!

You need to plan ahead a bit, as the batter needs to be refrigerated for a few hours or overnight. This is a great benefit it you want to make something freshly baked but don’t have time that day; just make the batter a day ahead and bake it when you need it.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam (I used raspberry)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup mixed nuts (I used almonds, walnuts and coconut)
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

What you do:

  1. Beat the butter, sugar and jam with a mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is incorporated.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into the mixing bowl, then beat it until incorporated.
  4. Stir in the nuts, chocolate and apples until they are evenly distributed.  Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  6. Butter and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
  7. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top down.
  8. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Test to see if is done by inserting a toothpick; if it comes out with no batter sticking to it the cake is done.
  9. Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan.