Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pretzel and Toffee Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

These are so very tasty!  I made these when I was 'stress baking' after hearing my dad was taken to the hospital 2 weeks ago. This is how I cope when I am 22 hours away.  Happy to say he is doing well after heart surgery and my baking is now for him, since I am with my folks for a week!

Pretzel and Toffee Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies


2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) butter
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup coarsely crushed pretzels
1/2 - 3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits (not chocolate covered) Beth used chocolate covered ones

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 9X13-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Lightly grease with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium microwave-wafe bowl (you can do this on the stovetop also). Microwave for one minute intervals, stirring in between, until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set the mixture aside until it cools slightly (is warm to the touch not hot). It will look gritty but it will become smooth once the other ingredients are added.

3. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

4. Melt the peanut butter in a small bowl on low heat in the microwave until pourable, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drizzle the peanut butter over the brownies and lightly swirl with a butter knife. It's alright if you don't get awesome drizzle action going on; the peanut butter in my brownies formed almost a separate layer and it was fantastic. Sprinkle the pretzels, chocolate chips and toffee over the top.

5. Bake the brownies for about 22-25 minutes until set but still slightly sticky in the center when a toothpick is inserted. Let cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.

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