I didn’t realize when I took this photo that there was a dry macaroni noodle in the shot, the sort of thing I’d usually try to notice and correct, and that remains in the frame partly because we were in a real big hurry to eat these brownies and my making everyone wait while I took photos was, I’ll admit, a little rude. I’ll crop it out for Instagram, but let the record show that these brownies are the kind of thing that inspire a sense of urgency.
And they are – as I have been told I am so many times – just “a bit much.” They’re show-offs, all fudgy and chewy, with a delicious secret buried beneath a smear of cream cheese frosting – nine whole, perfect Reese’s peanut butter cups. If you’re going to go to the trouble of making dessert for company, it should always be “a bit much,” or why bother? You can eat fruit and yogurt on your own time.
- 1/2 lb. semisweet chocolate chips
- 6 tbsp. butter + 2 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces, divided
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- Pinch salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 9 Reese’s (or comparable) peanut butter cups (about three packages)
- 4 oz. (1/2 package) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease an 8″x8″ baking pan, then line it with parchment paper.
Using a double boiler, a glass bowl over just-simmering water, or a microwave (three rounds of 30 seconds, stirring each time), gently melt chocolate chips and six tablespoons of butter, stirring occasionally until smooth.
Beat the sugar, salt, and one teaspoon of vanilla into the melted chocolate, then add eggs eggs one at a time, beating continuously. Add the flour and stir until just moistened; batter should pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Pour batter into your prepared pan. Press peanut butter cups into the batter (three even rows of three).
Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out mostly clean. If in doubt, err on the side of under-baking these.
Let brownies rest in the pan 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, remaining butter, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa, and remaining vanilla until smooth and spreadable. Frost cooled brownies.
Cut into 16 pieces.