Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Whipped Peanut Butter Frosting

There are people out there who will tell you eating your feelings isn’t a good thing.  Most of the time, I don’t argue with this logic.  But sometimes chocolate really is the answer.  Rich, dense chocolate brownies with fluffy peanut butter frosting and a healthy sprinkling of seat salt, to be exact.  

brownies peanut butter frosting

Sorry, health gods.

I’m human and sometimes I cave.  When I do, I want it to be worth it.  I don’t put sugar in my coffee, breakfast is usually plain yogurt with a dab of honey and naturally sweet fresh fruit, and I eat loads of vegetables.  I truly do have an apple nearly every day.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a Coke (other than maybe an airplane-sized ginger ale on my spring break flight).  So when life hands me a string of difficult days, I try not to feel too guilty making fudgy brownies and topping them with the airiest whipped peanut butter frosting.

It’s called balance and it’s healthy.  No apologies.  No guilt.

peanut butter chocolate brownies

Dense, fudgy, uber chocolatey brownies become a decadent splurge when topped with the airiest whipped peanut butter frosting and a healthy sprinkling of sea salt.

Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Whipped Peanut Butter Frosting
from Annie’s Eats

For the brownies:
10 TBSP room-temperature unsalted butter
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. plus 2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 c. all-purpose flour

For the frosting:
6 TBSP room-temperature unsalted butter
3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. confectioners’ sugar
pinch of salt

additional sea salt, such as fleur de sel or Maldon, for sprinkling

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Line an 8×8-in. baking pan with lightly greased parchment paper. 

2.  Cut the butter into large chunks and place in a large heatproof bowl.  Add the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water to create a double boiler.  Allow the butter to melt completely, whisking occasionally until ingredients are fully combined.  Set aside and let cool until just warm to the touch.

2.  When the butter mixture is sufficiently cooled, stir in the vanilla followed by the eggs, one at a time, whisking until just smooth.  Fold in the flour until no streaks remain.  Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake 20-25 minutes, until just set.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

3.  To make the frosting, combine the butter and peanut butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar and salt on low speed, then increase speed to medium-high and whip until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.          

4.  Spread the frosting in an even layer over the cooled brownies.  Sprinkle with additional sea salt, as desired.  Slice and serve.

Note: If making ahead of time, store in the refrigerator, allow to come to room temperature before serving, and sprinkle with sea salt just before cutting.  

Yield: 9 servings

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