So it's a cold and rainy day here in Memphis...and what better way to beat the blues than to bake! Though really, it's not like I ever need an excuse to bake something. I realized that what makes baking so fun is that I always get excited to bake something; there's never a moment when I dread going into the kitchen and making something tasty.
With these three ingredients, how can you go wrong really?
This is the syrup I used in place of the hazelnut extract that I wasn't able to find anywhere.
With that being said, I found this recipe on cookiemadness.net, thus I'm of course giving all credit to Anna who is a baking genius. I, however, did tamper with the recipe just a bit. Instead of using a dark chocolate bar with hazelnuts in it, I bought a package of hazelnuts and toasted them. Then I added 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips to the Nutella swirl mixture.
I know that Nutella has a hint of hazelnut flavoring, but I wanted to make it more prominent with the addition of the actual hazelnuts themselves. Plus I thought that the batter might need some hazelnut flavoring as well. I searched two grocery stores for a hazelnut extract and came up empty-handed. On the way home as I was trying to think of an alternative, it hit me that I have some sugarfree hazelnut coffee flavoring syrup. I was weary of how good it might taste in a dessert, but on the bottle it said that it can be used in baking. So I added a tsp. to the peanut butter brownie mixture and it gave it a nice, subtle hint of hazelnut. Yum.
Peanut Butter Brownies
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. hazelnut syrup (regular or sugarfree)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. butter
1/4 cup Nutella
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted (toast in a oven at 350 degrees for about 10 min. or until fragrant)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x11 inch pan with aluminum foil.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until slightly crumbly, but able to be smoothed when stirred with a spatula. Beat in vanilla and peanut butter. Add eggs one at a time just until mixed--don't overmix. Add baking powder and salt until well blended. Add flour until it is just incorporated and spread peanut butter mixture into prepared pan.
To make the swirl mixture, place chocolate chips, Nutella, and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until smooth (about 1 1/2 min.). Add in hazelnuts.
Drop spoonfuls of Nutella mixture of peanut butter brownie batter and drag a knife through to make a marbled pattern. Bake on center rack for 30 min. or until brownies begin to pull away from the side of the pan and center seems set. Cool pan on a wire rack. When brownies hit room temperature, chill them for an hour or so. Lift from pan and cut into squares.