Rich and fudgey dark chocolate brownie, swirled through with crunchy peanut butter, and topped with salted pretzels. A must for fans of salty sweet treats.
The other day we had an unexpected visitor to the house. We were sitting on the sofa watching an episode of The Tudors (we’re just getting started, i think we might get hooked!) and a giant huntsman spider ran across the wall. I’m not talking about a regular big spider, this was an enormous beast, bigger than my hand, with a chunky body and long, thick legs.
Naturally I jumped up, screamed and ran to the other side of the room. I installed myself safely on the stairs and watched while Andy tried his best to usher it out the window. With an eight leg advantage however it was too quick and ran to hide behind the air conditioning unit. Now we don’t know where it is. I’m hoping its given up and relocated outside, but every time I pick something up I do it very carefully, just incase its hiding underneath.
Up until now I thought we were pretty safe from spiders here. I’m happy with most bugs except for spiders and cockroaches. The latter are a sad fact of Hong Kong living, but I’m learning to deal with them, becoming a master of the trap it under a glass technique. Spiders on the other hand, except for a few massive ones out on country hikes, I’ve never really seen. Not even normal little house spiders. It seems horribly unfair that the first one we see in our house could easily take down a small bird.
I baked these brownies with one eye looking over my shoulder incase it re-emerged, occasionally jumping at imagined hairy legs and sending flour flying. What have brownies got to do with giant spiders? Well, the way I see things, a bit of sugar is essential to calm the nerves after a traumatic experience!
These brownies are wonderfully salty sweet. The brownie base is dark, rich and fudgey. The peanut butter swirled through it gives a lovely creamy saltiness. I used crunchy peanut butter to give added texture, but smooth would work well too. Make sure you bring your peanut butter up to room temperature before attempting to swirl it through the brownies, this make it much easier for you, making sure you get a little bit of peanut butter in each bite.
The brownies are topped with salted pretzels, which may sound a little odd, but they add a little more saltiness, which pairs beautifully with rich chocolate, balancing it out, stopping it being sickly. They also add a lovely biscuity crunch to each bite, and look so pretty twisted on the top.
Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies
250g unsalted butter
100g cocoa powder
100g white caster sugar
275g light muscavado sugar
150g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
50g crunchy peanut butter (at room temperature)
30g salted pretzels
Grease and line a 23cmx23cm square baking tray or brownie tin.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
In a large pan over a gentle heat, melt together the butter, cocoa powder and sugar. Keep stirring the mixture, keeping the cocoa powder and sugar from catching on the bottom of the pan. Once everything is melted together, put to one side to cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until airy. Fold into the brownie mixture.
Next, fold in the flour and salt.
Once fully combined, pour into your prepared tin.
Spoon the peanut butter in teaspoon sized amounts over the top of the brownie mixture. Use a knife to gently pull the peanut butter through the brownie mixture, swirling it gently through.
Arrange the pretzels on top of the brownie mixture.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top if set and the middle still a little bit sticky. You may need to cover the brownies with foil half way through cooking to prevent the top from browning too much.
Cool completely in the tin.
Slice and serve.