SMiLes by Meg

Peanut Butter Brownies

When I first started this blog, I think I envisioned myself making a lot more brownies than I actually do. In creating categories for my recipes, I apparently didn’t think “Bar Cookies” was specific enough, and made a whole separate category for “Brownies.” But now I have 23 recipes under Bars and only 11 under Brownies. Let this recipe be a first attempt at remedying this situation.

Other things requiring addressing: my silence on sourdough despite a promise of Sourdough September. Rest assured, I do in fact have a starter bubbling away on the countertop, much to the dismay of Erik’s new roommate. However, I’ve also had many more opportunities to bake not-sourdough bread than I was expecting, and couldn’t resist posting the recipes I’ve been working on. Thus the uninterrupted flow of my usual sweets. So I think the solution is going to be a new heading on the blog, “Sourdough”, under which I’ll post some information on how to make your own starter, how to care for it, what to bake with it, and whether a two week starter can even hold a candle to the 150 year starter I acquired from a friend up here (Thanks, Cathy!). Stay tuned!

As for these brownies. Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite food bloggers to follow on Instagram. Not only are her pictures drool-inducing, her recipes have never failed me. So when she reposted her peanut butter swirl brownies the other day, I couldn’t resist.

First, in a small bowl (or large plastic bowl if you, like me, are living in a furnished apartment that lacks proper bakeware), whisk together the peanut butter, sugar, egg, vanilla extract, and salt until smooth. A hand mixer will be infinitely more effective than hand whisking here. Set aside. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate and butter in 30 second bursts, stirring well after each addition, until smooth. You could also use a double boiler if you feel so inclined, but I honestly have gotten pretty lazy on that front recently and rely much more on microwave melting. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted chocolate and sugar. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Whisk in the vanilla extract and salt. Finally, using a wooden spoon, mix in the flour until well blended and smooth. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and spread a thin layer of brownie batter (about 1/3) into the bottom evenly. Spoon dollops of peanut butter batter around on top of the brownie batter, and then spoon the remaining brownie batter between the peanut butter as much as possible. Take a butter knife and draw loose figure eights in the batter. If you used a hand mixer on the peanut butter mixture, this is where it will show – you’ll get much smoother swirls of peanut butter. Mine turned out to just kind of redistribute lumps of peanut butter. Finally, sprinkle a handful of chocolate chips over the top. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan. When cool, cut into squares and transfer to a wire rack to cool further. And that’s it! I’ve almost convinced myself these will be good hiking treats, what with peanut butter making them health and all. If nothing else, they will taste absolutely delicious while sitting on Harding Icefield this weekend.


Peanut Butter Brownies


Peanut Butter Batter:

  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Brownie Batter:

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. In a small bowl, beat together all ingredients for peanut butter batter until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate and butter in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring after each burst, until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together melted chocolate and sugar.
  4. Whisk in eggs, one at a time.
  5. Whisk in vanilla extract and salt.
  6. Stir in flour with a wooden spoon until creamy.
  7. Spread brownie batter in bottom of a greased 9×13 pan in a thin layer, using about 1/3 of the batter.
  8. Drop dollops of peanut butter batter over brownie batter. Drop dollops of remaining brownie batter between peanut butter batter.
  9. Using a butter knife, draw figure eights through the batter, creating swirls.
  10. Sprinkle batter with chocolate chips.
  11. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  12. Remove from oven and cool in pan. When cool, cut into squares.