Monday, April 15, 2013

Peanut Butter Cup Crunch Brownies

 I recently saw this recipe on a blog called Brown Eyed Baker.  I had seen it on a few other sites, with variations to the recipe as well as the name, and thought I'll have to try them some time. So when I was looking for some kind of 'picky uppy' dessert to bring to my Jeanie's, I decided that this was the perfect time. It just falls into the "how can this not be good?" category. They also fall into the "OMG Are you kidding me?" category. They're seriously over the top!!!
 So here they are! I tweaked the amounts of the ingredients ever so slightly (because you know I can never just leave a recipe alone) and now they're even more amazing! They're rich and decadent, chewy and crunchy,  and simple to make too!
 Kristin once told me "The peanut butterier the better." Well, seriously, I don't think you're gonna find anything that is more peanut butterier than this! You should definitely add these to your brownie repertoire!

1 batch of your favorite brownie recipe for a 9x13-inch pan
1 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped
14 Reese's peanut butter cups, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups Hershey's milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1. Prepare the brownies according to the directions and bake for about 5 minutes less than the recipe states. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with the peanuts and chopped peanut butter cups. Return to the oven and bake for 5 additional minutes.
2. While they are finishing baking, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. (you can also melt them in the microwave, stopping every 20 seconds or so to give them a stir, or use a double boiler). Stir in the cereal to evenly coat. Remove the brownies from the oven and evenly pour the chocolate and peanut butter mixture over top. Spread to cover evenly. Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting and serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

You don't have to use chips. You can use regular milk chocolate bars, and then just chop them up.
 I used a regular bag of Hershey's milk chocolate chips. There was about 1/2 cup of chips leftover in the bag, so I just sprinkled them over the brownies after I finished spreading the rice krispie mixture. I think it adds a nice little decorative touch! And for a little extra pop of color, you can also sprinkle M&Ms or Reese's Pieces over the top! How fun is that?
 I used 14 Reese's cups because that's how many were in the bag. The original recipe called for 8 (which was clearly not enough, as far as I'm concerned). Feel free to use however many you like!
 To make perfectly perfect brownies, use a 9x13 pan with square edges (some pans have rounded corners). You'll get perfectly shaped brownies with no odd ones that have rounded edges.
 I like to let it chill until firm, then remove the whole batch from the pan in one piece. Otherwise, your knife will ruin the pan, and you wont get perfect cuts. It's much simpler to put the whole batch on a cutting board and use a big sharp knife to cut them into perfect squares.
 I like to spray the pan with baking spray (not the regular Pam, but the one that has flour in it). You can also grease the pan with butter or shortening, line it with parchment paper (make sure you leave some hanging over the edge) and then grease the paper, then bake as usual. The parchment works like a sling to lift the brownies out of the pan.
 This recipe is WIDE open for variations. Use any kind of chips, or chopped candy. You could even do a blondie version. Perhaps next time I'll use snickers bars....yum!

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