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Monday, July 30, 2012

Kicked-up Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies

Something about the competition of the 2012 Olympic Games is making me... well... competitive!!

As a child, teenager, and even a college student I engaged in an awful lot of this:
{ECHS Baby!}
I had an awesome experience with team sports growing up, and although I may be a tad less competitive in adulthood, I would say that it is more latent than non-existent.

Although I may be a gold medal winner in semi-homemade baking for this little corner of California - it is time to kick it up the training a notch!

My first trial toward a new championship in the baking world came yesterday in the form of a barbecue thrown for a friend of ours, who will soon be moving to Chile to serve a two-year mission for his church.  We knew we had to give this kid as much support, love, and refined sugar as possible before his service begins.  How better to do that than with a pan-full of peanut butter, chocolate, and pretzels that also paid homage to my water polo past and the current Olympic Games!

The base was a scratch brownie derived from Damaris' recipe over at Kitchen Corners.  I have made this super-simple brownie on a few occasions and it never fails!
So delicious.

These brownies are fantastic all by themselves, but I knew that this competition barbecue deserved a little extra special flair 
(the kid is MOVING to CHILE!) 
and that came in the form of a very simple peanut butter frosting.
{Peanut butter + Brownie = Heaven!}
As any great athlete knows, one should always finish strong. So to achieve the correct amount of tastiness, why not top the whole thing off with some chocolate-covered pretzels?
I could not think of one single reason not to.
We are in this to win this, y'all!
{So much goodness}
Kicked-Up Peanut Butter Pretzel Brownies

For the Brownies:
Recipe by Damaris Palmer at 
Kitchen Corners found HERE
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup all purpose flour
5 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 375*
Place the butter in a small mixing bowl and microwave until the butter is melted.
With a wooden spoon mix in the rest of the ingredients until smooth.
Pour into a small baking pan.
Bake for 15 minutes.

For the Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temp
1 cup creamy peanut butter
Milk, as needed
2 cups confectioners' sugar

Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time (as needed) until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable.
Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.

For the chocolate pretzels:
2 cups pretzels of choice 
(I used sticks, but twists and rods are likely fine as well)
One bag of milk chocolate chips (12 oz.)

Place chips into a microwave safe bowl.
Microwave in 30 second intervals stirring in between to reach the desired drizzling consistency
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper
Lay pretzels over the paper and drizzle chocolate over pretzels
Cool and crush pretzels, then sprinkle over the peanut butter frosted brownies in the desired amount
And just like that, I see a medal winner in my future!

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