Friday, August 12, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Brownies, in honor of Jennie's husband Mikey...

In the past few months of writing this blog, I've learned what a warm-hearted group of people the food-blogging community is, and today, in honor of Jennie's husband Mikey, who suddenly passed away last week, bloggers and food-lovers across the world are banding together for "Peanut Butter Pie Friday".  Please visit In Jennie's Kitchen for Mikey's favorite Peanut Butter Pie recipe.  Tonight, make this pie, or your sweetie's favorite dessert, for someone you love.

I did not know Jennie personally, but my heart goes out to her and her daughters during their time of sorrow.  Since I did not have all the ingredients on hand to make the pie, I made instead Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Brownies, in honor and memory of Mikey.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Brownie Layer:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Peanut Butter Cheesecake Layer:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 pound miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, cut into halves
Preheat the oven to 400 F, and spray a square baking pan with non-stick spray.
In a microwave-safe bowl, or in a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently until completely smooth.  Pour into a mixing bowl and beat in sugar, vanilla and salt.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in the flour, and beat for one minute.

Pour into the prepared pan, and bake for 15-20 minutes, just until the sides are starting to pull away and the center looks set.  Set pan in the freezer to cool down while you prepare the peanut butter layer.

Beat all of the Peanut Butter Cheesecake ingredients, except for the peanut butter cups, in a mixing bowl until smooth and creamy.

Remove the brownies from the freezer.  Sprinkle half of the peanut butter cups on top of the brownies, then spread the peanut butter cheesecake filling on top.  Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until slightly browned on top and set.  Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with the remaining peanut butter cups.  Let cool for at least one hour before cutting.  Refrigerate any leftovers.