There’s only one thing I love more than dessert, and that’s two desserts in one. Double dessert fusion eliminates the stress of choosing one or the other; you get the best of both worlds. Since I’m about as indecisive as they come, a combo dessert can be the difference between saving my sanity and having my head explode from stress.
About a week ago, when I was trying to decide what to make for the Clinton Farmers Market, I was caught in between two of my favorites: brownies and cookies. I then thought to myself, “Why not have them both?” The obvious idea from that point was a chocolate chip cookie brownie bar. But of course, you guys know your Smart Cookie Cook here had to put a Smart Cookie Twist on that classic dessert duet.
There’s only one way to upgrade an already awesome cookie-brownie bar, and that’s to make it a Peanut Butter Cookie Brownie bar. This takes two treats that, individually, are already amazing and loved by all, then merges them together in salty-sweet symphonic bliss. You get that classic, incomparable coupling of peanut butter and chocolate, plus the textural contrast of super fudgy brownie and crispy, chewy cookie.
When I brought these to the Farmers Market on Thursday, they disappeared in a flash. See what all the buzz is about and make a batch yourself.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- If you’re going the semi-homemade route, I suggest using a boxed brownie mix and sticking to the homemade cookie dough. This is for two reasons: 1) Boxed brownie mix is the better of store-bought baked goods and 2) the peanut butter cookie dough is crazy easy to make, no chilling required.
- I used my favorite brownie recipe, but any brownie recipe would work.
- You’ve got to wait until the brownies are almost done cooking to add the cookie dough or the cookies will burn.
- Don’t over-mix the brownies; that’s what makes them cakey.
- I think a mix of dark & light cocoa provides the perfect level of chocolatiness.
- Please, please use parchment paper. You’ll save yourself a lifetime of work! It lets you lift the brownies straight out of the pan like a sling.
- Check out the original recipe for the Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies that I used in these brownies here.
- Check out the original Fudgy Cocoa Brownies recipes that I used here.
Peanut Butter Cookie Brownies
Brownie base adapted from allrecipes.com; peanut butter cookies adapted from Epicurious
For the brownie layer
- 1 cup butter, melted (plus more for greasing)
- 3 cups white sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 + 2 tbsp. dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the peanut butter cookie layer
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- generous 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9×13 baking sheet and line with parchment paper so that excess paper hangs over the edges. You will use this to lift the brownies out of the pan later.
- Make the brownie batter: Combine the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Lightly beat in the eggs, one at a time, just until incorporated.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until blended. Do not overmix. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until flaky layer has formed on top but the brownies are still just slightly gooey in the center. Remove from oven.
- While the brownies cook, make the peanut butter cookie dough. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour in thirds and stir until smooth. Roll into scant tablespoon-sized balls then press flat on top of the partially baked brownies in an even layer. Once you’ve covered the surface of the brownies, return to oven and bake for another 5-1o minutes, or until cookies are just turning golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs.
- Let cool for 15 minutes.Use parchment papers to lift out brownies like a sling or simply flip them out onto a cutting board. Let cool completely then slice ‘em thick and enjoy.