Saturday, October 16, 2010

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

There's a reason peanut btter and chocolate make such good partners, I don't know the mechanics of this perfect union of flavours or who discovered it , but I know not to quibble when it comes to deliciousness. Case in point, these brownies, made by dividing a brownie batter into a chocolate brownie and peanut butter blondie batter and then swirling them together to create a delicious treat with the dense fudgy texture of a brownie and the salty satisfying taste of a Reese peanut butter cup. To call these "epic" is an understatement.

I was a little overzealous in my swirling technique. Mine came out less like swirls and more like layers. Not really a problem it just meant equal parts chocolate and peanut butter in each bit, no need to debate which piece i want, i always get the best of both worlds. If only non- dessert things were this equitable. It took quite a lot longer to bake than the original recipe stated but that may have been my oven acting weird . Once baked, they have the firm texture and crackly topping that I think ought to be the marker of a perfect brownie, with a tan coloured swirl of peanut butter. Each bite is layered with the salty sweet and rich combo of peanut butter and chocolate. The addition of the peanut butter chips was an inspired decision on the recipe developers part they add textural complexity and really enhance the peanut butter flavour.

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Makes: about 16 brownies, one 9 inch square

Time: about 1 hour total

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees f. Grease 9-inch square pan. Beat sugars, butter, milk and eggs in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Divide batter in half (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons for each half.) Stir peanut butter and peanut butter chips into one half. Stir cocoa and chocolate chips into the remaining half.
    2. Spoon the chocolate batter into the pan in 8 mounds in a checkerboard pattern. Spoon peanut butter batter between mounds of chocolate batter. Gently swirl batters with knife for a marbled design.
    3. Bake 30-35 minutes (I needed about 45 minutes) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Cut into bars.

From: Betty Crocker's Cookie Book

Friday, October 15, 2010

Savoury Rugelach

Traditional rugelach, which I have blogged about before, are Jewish cookies made of a cream cheese pastry topped with a sweet filling of jam, nuts, chocolate, or cinnamon sugar and rolled into distinctive croissant like shapes. This recipe is an innovative variation on that popular and delicious cookie. Instead of a sweet dough and filling, the cream cheese dough is made with herbs, and is rolled up with toasted pine nuts and black olive tapenade. The finished cookies can be eaten warm or room temperature as very addicting appetizers at a cocktail or dinner party. They can be made ahead and frozen. I love the idea of making savoury versions of traditionally sweet foods, and could see all kinds of flavour combinations in place of the tapenade, pine nut and herb combination used dill and smoked salmon rugelach,fig and goat cheese rugelach....the possibilities are endless!
This recipe uses 1/2 a block of cream cheese and makes about 16 rugelach...for a big party the recipe is easy to double.

Savoury Rugelach with Pine Nuts and Tapenade

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup cream cheese, softened
  • About 1/2 cup olive tapenade
  • About 1/ cup pine nuts

1. Whisk together flour, thyme, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

2. Beat together butter and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add the flour mixture and mix at a low speed until a soft dough forms. Gather dough into a ball, then halve dough, and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Flatten each half, in plastic wrap, forming a 4-inch disk. Refrigerate for six hours to allow gluten in dough to relax (I left it for only 2 hours dough was fine).

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

4. Starting with one disk of dough, roll dough on a floured board into a 9’ round. Spread tapenade evenly over dough (spread thinly it doesn’t need a lot.). Sprinkle with pine nuts. Cut the round of dough into 16 wedges.

5. Beginning at base of wedge, roll up dough as tightly as possible toward point and transfer point side down to an unlined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and tapenade, arranging wedges f dough 1-1/2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Dough can be made one day ahead.

Can be served either warm or cold, reheat if desired at 325 for 10-12 min.

Adapted From: “Gourmet Today” ed. Ruth Reichl