swirl brownies (+ nutella)

You might have noticed that there are only two posts between this brownie recipe and another brownie recipe, and may now be thinking that this blog is having an identity crisis and wants to be a baking blog, but I can assure you, that is not the case.  If I’m coming completely clean, the brownies I posted in March were baked in January.  I know; hard to believe with my impeccable and timely posting record!  The newest batch was just baked last weekend, bringing my total brownie batches baked for 2010 up to 2.  (That total does NOT include a batch of blondies we baked a few months ago when we were too lazy to go on an ice cream run and NEEDED to have something dessert-like – I’m sure almost everyone can relate.)

Last weekend, I was again asked to bring dessert to a dinner gathering at our friends’ home.  I tried to think of non-brownie type goods I could bake, or maybe even some no-bake drop cookies, but no, my browsing brought me back to this not-so-humble brownie recipe.  I mean, really, the search is all over once you spot “chocolate”, “peanut butter”, and “Nutella” in the ingredient list.  Then I decided the brownies needed something else to take them over the top (???).  So I thought why not marble them while I’m at it?  Right?  Ok, the marbling is strictly optional, but I must say, it does make the brownies look pretty.  You can also easily double the recipe if you need to feed more of a crowd; this is more of a half-batch, which suits me just fine.

(Note:  If the peanut butter seems gratuitous after a trial run, feel free to replace it with extra add-ins!  I haven’t tried anything other than peanut butter, so I can’t speak to the suitability of other ingredients, but it’s baking, not neurosurgery – trial and error is encouraged here!)

Peanut Butter and Nutella Marble  Brownies

Adapted from Food Network

Yields 9 brownies

Ingredients

For the brownies:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
4 tablespoons peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
4 tablespoons Nutella

For the swirl:

2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper, or grease pan.
  2. Melt 1/2 cup butter and stir in sugar.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, with an electric mixer (low speed is fine).  Add vanilla.
  3. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients.
  4. In the microwave, heat the Nutella and peanut butter for about 30 – 45 seconds, until consistency is rather thin.  Mix into brownie batter.
  5. Transfer the batter into pan, spread into corners  and smooth the top.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and 2 remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until fluffy.  Add the remaining sugar, beating until well-blended, then beat in the egg.  Mix in the tablespoon of flour.
  7. Spoon/drizzle cream cheese swirl on top of batter; to start, add less than half.  Swirl through batter with the tip of a knife.  If more swirl is desired and the cream cheese mixture is not pooling on top of the batter, feel free to add more and continue with decorative swirls.
  8. Bake 25 – 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow brownies to cool completely before cutting.


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