Now full disclosure on this recipe. It honestly came out of a complete guess and stuff I already had on hand. Like we’re talking a ‘cheater recipe’. We had a party we had to go to and I truthfully wasn’t up to baking. I just was exhausted. Yes me, the Energizer bunny needed a break. I had been pushing it extra hard in the gym, twice a day… every day and my body was just beat. Work has been super busy, life was in my face non-stop. It was one of those “Life, can you just give me 15 minutes of nothing so I can take a deep breath and relax… please?” moments.
The only thing I had to make was the brownie base. I had just made ganache the day before, hot fudge is a requirement in our house at all times and from an order I had the day earlier, I had a bowl of peanut butter cup cookie dough leftover.
Now making brownies has to be one of the easiest baked goods to make. No mixer, just stir in a bowl AND some lumps are OK. Do you know why you never use an electric mixer on brownies? For one you have the likelihood of over-mixing it. You would add way too much air in it thus making the brownie more fluffier than cake/fudgy. Second, you have the possibility of developing the gluten in the flour. If you do that your brownies can end up more bread-like in consistency. Mixing them by hand gives them their fudgy dense-like texture. If you absolutely need to use a mixer, put it on the lowest speed possible and just mix until just incorporated.
I whipped up the batter, poured it into 2 8″ spring form pans with the outside wrapped with foil to prevent leakage and popped them in the oven. Now if you don’t have those pans you can easily use 2 round cake pans but be sure to line with parchment paper and leave at least a 1″ overhang all the way around to help lift it out when they are cool.
Here’s another tip I can share – did you ever make brownies and when you pull them out of the oven and place on the cooling rack the middle sinks? Know why this happens? Even though you mixed them by hand air bubbles formed in the batter. So it rises while baking and as they cool, they ‘pop, thus the middle sinks. What I do is half way through my brownie baking I will take the pan (with gloves or potholders) and pick them up and tap them against the rack a few times to help pre-pop the bubbles. No more sinking when they cool!
While the brownies were cooling I scooped out 2 cups of ganache to a heat proof bowl as I wanted that warmed and thick – spreadable. I also took out the hot fudge and peanut butter cup cookie dough (which is AMAZING and really should be illegal!!!) to come to room temperature. I did this, especially for the cookie dough as it would make it easier to spread on.
Now the whipped ganache frosting I waited until it was time to frost before I actually whipped it up. If you whip it then place it in the fridge for a bit, it’s almost impossible to spread on and then if you let it get soft again and re-whip it can get grainy. It’s still edible but…. just wait. It’s worth it!
As you can see this brownie cake is truly decadent but what’s funny is that it wasn’t overly sweet. It’s rich yes and you definitely can’t eat a huge slice of it (well you can if you eat like Mr. Fantabulous) but for me I was completely satisfied with a small sliver.
What I loved about the taste is that you get so many different textures … super creamy from the frosting, then that thick ganache followed by super creamy peanut butter with chunks of peanut butter cup. Now add another layer of thick rich fudge followed by a dense fudgy cake brownie. Seriously this dessert is definitely a diet buster but like I’ve been saying for years… EVERYTHING IN MODERATION!
With this recipe you end up making 2 8″ brownie but the recipe only calls for one. You have a few options here. You can freeze the one and use later on, you can make something else out of it (trifle perhaps?) OR you could make this a double decker dessert. I know, right! We’re talking a bajillion calories and you’d probably have to be pant-less for a while as even your fat stretchy pants wouldn’t fit after eating this.
Hmmmm.. wait. Pantless??? I may eat this then. LOL I hate wearing pants. Well okay let me clarify…. I HATE putting pants on after working out/showering. It’s such an effort for me and I swear it’s torture. Since one of my daily workouts is at our work gym I am forced to put pants back on (damn it). LOL
Needless to say this dessert was a huge hit at the party and was the first to go. When the one girl said “about how many calories does this have?” as she was on her third piece I said “Um, you may not want to eat again until next Friday…” LOL
So while this dessert looks super complicated it’s really not. You can make everything ahead of time (just don’t whip up the frosting) and assemble that day. I can so see this on a poker night with the guys (and girls – lord knows I love me some Hold ’em!) or if you’re kids are having a sleep over! Give them one of these and a bunch of forks and tell them to go at it! Just lay down one of those vinyl table clothes and let them dig in.
Also you can certainly make these bite sized. You can the brownies in mini muffin tins, cupcake pans or use a round cutter and make rounds out of the big brownie itself. It’s pretty versatile and totally scrumptious!Print
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- almost 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp chocolate extract (can substitute in vanilla)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 Tbl cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 1 1/2 cups Decadent Hot Fudge , warmed to spreadable
- 2 cups Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Dip
Make the Brownies
- Preheat oven to 350°F, rack in the middle.
- Spray 2 8” spring form pans with cooking spray and wrap the outside with foil. If you do not have them, line 2 8” round cake pans with parchment paper leaving a 1” overhang. Lightly spray.
- In a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler stirring occasionally. Essentially you want to bring about 1” of water to a simmer then place your bowl that has the butter and chocolate in it over top but NOT touching the water.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Stir in the sugar, salt, and chocolate extract.
- With a sturdy mixing spoon, beat the eggs in one at a time until blended.
- Add flour, espresso, baking powder and cocoa and beat until the batter is just smooth. Don’t over mix.
- Divide the batter into the pans.
- Bake ~30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean – a few moist crumbs are okay.
- Set the pans on a cooling rack
- While cooling take a thin blade and go along the edges to loosen.
- Allow to cool completely on the rack.
- Remove from the pans and place on the cooling rack.
- Once cooled wrap one of the brownies in plastic wrap and foil and freeze for a later use.
- Place the prepared brownie on a serving platter.
- Spread the hot fudge on top going almost to the end but leaving a 1/4” space around the edge.
- Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
- Next gently scoop or spoon out the peanut butter cup cookie dough on top gently spreading out evenly.
- Slowly spread in the warmed ganache going just to the edge.
- Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Lastly smooth on the whipped chocolate ganache.
- Store in the fridge.