Every year, I do the same thing. We haven’t seen a trick or treater in these parts since the girls were small – we live out in the middle of nowhere, we have a rather long driveway, none of the neighbors have little kids anymore, and we don’t turn on the porch light.
I leave the porch light off mostly because of Riley, who is not fond of strangers. I can only imagine his reaction to seeing a person dressed up in a costume, with some kind of scary mask on. It would not be good.
Still – I like to be prepared, for even the most remote of possibilities, so sometime during the month of October, I pick up a bag of candy, “Just In Case“.
Just in case some foolhardy parent decides to brave the long, dark driveway of a total stranger, and brings their little urchins up onto our unlit porch to see if the unknown folk within have taken advantage of a pre-Halloween sale and have some candy on hand.
You can guess the outcome – just like every other year, I now have a bag of assorted little candy bars. It’s almost like I want to have leftover candy, isn’t it?
On the other hand, I am not a fan of milk chocolate, and now that Larry is retired, I can’t send them to work with him, so here they sit. Until I decided to make these Peanut Butter Cup Brownies that is. Turns out, I don’t mind even overly sweet milk chocolate one bit, if it is surrounded by rich dark fudgy brownies and topped with a slathering of creamy peanut butter frosting – go figure!
I have a feeling that you’ll find that you feel just the same, so here’s the recipe:
- About 6 snack size peanut cups [.6 oz each] unwrapped and cut in half
- 4 ounces butter, melted
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup Dutch process cocoa [like Hershey's Special Dark]
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoon soft butter
- ¼ cup natural peanut butter [the regular kind is fine]
- 2 cups 10x confectioner's sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk or half & half
- Preheat the oven to 350º and generously butter a 7 x 10 in pan [or 8 x 8]
- In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter and the sugar, stirring to mix well.
- Stir in the cocoa.
- Stir in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking and salt.
- Stir the flour mixture into cocoa mixture, just until combined.
- Layer about ½ of the brownie batter in the prepared pan.
- Lay the peanut butter cup halves out evenly over the batter.
- Carefully spoon the remaining batter over the top, and gently spread in a even layer taking care not to dislodge the peanut butter cups. A small offset spatula comes in handy for this.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, except for a few moist crumbs. [make sure you aren't hitting a peanut butter cup with the toothpick when you test - if you are, try another spot] Move to a cooling rack.
- Use a hand mixer to combine the butter and peanut butter.
- Carefully beat in 1 cup of the sugar, along with 1 tablespoon of the milk.
- Then, beat in the second cup of sugar, and the remaining milk, until very smooth and creamy. It should be of spreadable consistency - if not beat in another teaspoon or two of milk.
- Cool in the pan for 2 hours before spreading on the frosting. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered for up to 4 days - after that, refrigerate.
See – every bar has a little stripe of peanut butter cup peeking out, so you know what you have to look forward to!And, if like me, you are heading out to spend some time with your kids and grandkids, you might want to pack them up into re-purposed Chinese takeout containers and take them along. I promise you there will be no tricks involved when you show up with a batch of these!