Scrumtious Sunday: Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
I once had grand plans to veganize as many cookies as I could in Martha Stewart’s Cookies cookbook. I was gonna take her down. Downer than down.
Obviously, that didn’t happen. And perhaps for my own sake that’s a good thing. And yet here I am with a very vegan version of her Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies.
You should make these brownies. Like now. Your lips will thank you.
Be sure to read my notes below the recipe before you plow through it; I noticed some things about the recipe that it would be good to know before going ahead with it. Also, I highly recommend using an oven thermometer.
Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies (adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies (2008))
1 stick (1/2 cup) Earth Balance buttery flavour sticks, brought to room temperature and cubed
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup sifted all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup unbleached cane sugar
3/4 cup silken Mori Nu tofu
1-2 tbsp rice milk, or more as needed (to thin the batter to a pourable consistency)
2 tsp vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Filling
4 tbsp (1/4 cup) Earth Balance buttery flavour sticks, brought to room temperature and cubed
1/2 cup icing sugar
3/4 cup smooth unsalted natural peanut butter, room temperature
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat your oven to 325 °F. Thoroughly grease an 8×8 baking pan and line with parchment paper, allowing for a little bit of overhang to lift the brownies out of the pan once they’ve cooled. Also butter the paper as well (but not the overhang).
2. To make the brownie batter: In a heat proof bowl, combine the unsweetened chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, and Earth Balance. Place the bowl over a simmering pot of water. Stir the mixture with a spatula until thoroughly melted. Remove the bowl from the pot and transfer mixture into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix to combine.
4. With a hand blender or small food processor, puree the silken tofu until smooth and all lumps are gone.
5. Using a whisk, combine the cane sugar with the chocolate mixture. Fold in the silken tofu until the mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Fold the mixture to the flour using a spatula and continue to gently mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Set the bowl aside.
6. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the peanut butter filling and mix until completely smooth.
7. Pour 1/3 of the brownie batter into the baking pan. Don’t worry if the mixture is a little thick; just spread it gently with a spatula. Drop tbsp-sized dollops of the peanut butter filling on top of the brownie batter, about 1″ apart. Pour the rest of the brownie batter on top and spread gently and evenly to fill the pan. Drop dollops of the remaining peanut butter filling on top of the batter. Using a butter knife, gently swirl the filling across the top of the batter, then run the knife through the layers lengthwise and crosswise.
8. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Use a toothpick to test the doneness; it may have a few crumbs clinging to it, but it should not be wet with batter. Don’t test at the center or edges of the brownies. Let cool for at least 15 minutes, then use the parchment to lift the brownies out of the pan. Let cool completely before cutting.
– The substitution of the tofu for the eggs may call for a little moisture to be added to the brownie batter. About 1 tbsp of milk should do it, if you think it’s necessary. But be very careful if you want to add more than 1 tbsp – your batter could end up too runny and not firm up after cooking.
– Be really careful not to over mix the batter in step 5. I noticed the more I mixed, the thicker the batter got. Because of this thickness, the batter won’t really pour out of the bowl. This is okay. It’s still pretty easy to spread it in the pan.
– If you’ve never used a knife to swirl as called for in this recipe, don’t worry if it looks like you’re making a mess. The brownies will look good when they come out of the oven.
– The original recipe called for a baking time of 45 minutes. I noticed that after my brownies came out of the oven the batter was a bit jiggly and they sank down quite a bit, even though I tested it with a toothpick that came out clean. And I did use an oven thermometer. I put the pan back in the oven for 10 more minutes, even after it had been sitting out of the oven for almost 15 minutes. The brownies rose again and were firmer and higher when they came back out again. Set your timer for 45 minutes, but check the brownies carefully to see if they need a little more baking time. They should be pulling away a little from the sides of the pan.
– Try not to skip using the parchment paper. I had to leave my brownies cooling overnight on the counter, and in the morning I didn’t have time to take them out of the pan. When they came out of the fridge, the parchment paper made it so much easier to get them out of the pan. Otherwise, I would not have been able to get them out of the pan. And it just makes for all-around easier removal and even cutting.
– I almost always use the EB buttery sticks in my baking because of many disasters using the EB in the tub. The buttery sticks have a much firmer texture, even at room temperature, and often produce better results in everything I’ve made. Using the EB in the tub in this recipe could lead to the brownies seeming greasier and having less of a firm, fudgy texture.