I’ve always been under the firm delusion that I’m the “Oh, She’s Good With Kids” Child-less Friend to my child-full friends. I call it a delusion because if I really think about it… no one has ever asked me to babysit, and I’m not even sure if anyone has asked to me hold their baby or if I’ve just snatched them up.
I don’t do baby talk. That very special voice is reserved for kittens, any other cat that is not a kitten, puppies, and really any dog on the planet. I do ask for a lot of high-fives. I will play Star Wars figurines for at least 20 minutes before I need wine. I can get down with Legos or sing that song from Frozen at the top of my lungs. I’ll get down. I’m your girl. But… when things get tantrum-y (kids, not me), I don’t really know how to deal. Is that when you give a kid a helmet and a nerf baseball bat and send them outside to figure out life? Yes or no because I feel like the answer is Yes which is why no one on planet earth has ever asked me to care for their children.
I have been asked to bake birthday cakes for kids. Children celebrate me for my use of sugar, sprinkles, and my ability to put their favorite sandwich onto a fudge brownie. If we’re talking sugar and playtime, I’ll be your Good With Kids Friend, otherwise you’ll likely need a professional.
We need to talk about brownies. My favorite brownie recipe is made with melted chocolate over cocoa powder. Cocoa powder in a pinch but melting chocolate with butter is best because the fat in chocolate help make the brownies as moist as they should be.
Sugar is whisked into the melted chocolate and butter.
I used turbinado sugar, I’d like to say because of the richness in flavor, but the truth is I ran out of granulated sugar. Turbinado, brown, granulated… these brownies are durable enough for a ‘whatcha got in the cupboard’ baking situation.
Eggs are added to the sweetened and melted chocolate. After whisking in the second egg, it might look as though the batter is curdled or broken. It’s the third egg that makes things right.
Flour, baking powder and salt are whisked into the batter.
The flour to fat ratio is going to make for moist and fudgey brownies, and a very glossy batter. That’s just the ticket.
Peanut butter topping enhanced with melted butter and powdered sugar, vanilla and a good pinch of salt.
It might feel like too much peanut butter topping. That means we’re doing it right. Dolloped generously with strawberry preserves and swirled lightly, just enough to incorporate the peanut butter and chocolate.
Jam present, peanut butter present, and ready for baking.
Baked to fudgey, sweet, peanut butter salty and sublime. These are the sort of brownies that need some resting time to take and hold their shape before slicing. I like them chilled through with so much milk.
Wrap individually and bring to your friends with kids. Also bring a pair of giant Super Soaker water guns and a trampoline. You’ll be the best human alive according to the kids. Likely the worst according to your parent friends. Worth it.
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter, I prefer natural peanut butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup strawberry jam
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper so that it overhangs on two sides and grease the parchment paper as well.
- Boil two inches of water in a medium saucepan. Combine butter, unsweetened chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate in a heat proof bowl and place over the simmering water. Stir until chocolate and butter are melted. Use a pot holder to remove the bowl from the double boiler. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla extract.
- Allow the chocolate mixture to cool slightly then whisk in the eggs, one at a time whisking very well between each addition.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- Fold in the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined and spoon into prepared pan.
- To make the Peanut Butter Filling, whisk together melted butter, powdered sugar, peanut butter, salt and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Spoon the peanut butter mixture and the strawberry jam over the top of the brownie batter and use a butter knife to swirl the two together. Bake for about 40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes our mostly clean with just a few moist crumbs.
- Let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Store, wrapped individually at room temperature. These brownies also freeze well!