My good friend walked in as I was sitting down to write to you about these brownies. She’s had them many times so I asked her what I should tell you. Her immediate response: “Oh my God, they’re delicious! They’ll put a smile on your face.”
These are fudgey brownies, loaded with peanut butter flavor. They use two types of chocolate for a wonderful chocolaty richness – dark cocoa powder and unsweetened dark chocolate. They’re also gluten free, low carb, sugar free and can be made dairy free. They give regular sugary, carb-y brownies a serious run for their money.
This is a take on my standard brownie recipe. I considered adding it as a variation under the regular recipe. But peanut butter swirl brownies are so especially good that I decided they deserve their own post.
These brownies are a one-bowl recipe that is simple to make. There are only 2 important things to know…
The first is absolutely do not use fresh ground peanut butter. I’m referring to the kind you get from the self-grinding machine at health food stores. It is too clumpy and won’t swirl. It just sits there in little unappetizing lumps on top of the batter. It doesn’t melt as it cooks either, which was my hope. So you end up with cooked peanut butter clumps on top of your nice brownies. Any jarred peanut butter should work well. I’ve used Cadia organic and Adams smooth peanut butters and both have worked fine.
The second is not to overcook them. Brownies are supposed to be soft when you remove them from the oven. If you’re not sure, take them out sooner rather than later. A slightly undercooked brownie is still yummy and fudgy. An overcooked one is dry and not worth eating.
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped into 1/2" pieces
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted; or coconut oil for dairy free
- 1/4 cup refined or unrefined coconut oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup xylitol or 1 1/3 cups erythritol (it's not as sweet as xylitol) or a mixture of the two
- 1 1/4 cups almond meal (also called almond flour), preferably Honeyville
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- Adjust oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 350°. Using a 9"x13" baking pan, make a foil sling for easy removal of the baked brownies. This is easier than it reads: Using a normal 12" wide foil roll, cut an 18 inch long piece of foil. Fold it lengthwise so that it is 8 inches wide. Fit it into the pan the long way, pushing it into the corners and up the sides of the pan; allow the excess to overhang the pan edges. Cut another piece of foil 14 inches long and fit it the width of the pan in the same manner. It will be over the top of the first piece of foil and perpendicular to it. Grease foil with butter or coconut oil.
- The 1st piece of foil:
- The 2nd piece of foil over the top of the 1st one:
- Whisk cocoa powder and boiling water together in a large bowl until mixed. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil, or all oil for dairy free. (Mixture may look curdled).
- Add eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and xylitol and continue to whisk until fully incorporated.
- Add almond meal and coconut flour and mix with a rubber spatula until combined. Don't use the whisk or you'll have trouble getting the mixture off it.
- Scrape batter into the prepared pan.
- Drop little dollops of peanut butter over surface of batter. Swirl peanut butter with the tip of a sharp knife. This is extremely fun!
- Bake until a toothpick inserted 2-3 inches from the edge of the pan (not the center of the pan) comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 20 minutes. Do not over bake. See note below.
- Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan and transfer to a flat surface or wire rack. Let cool completely. May be served at room temperature or refrigerated and served cold (they taste even fudgier when cold).
- Note: Oven cooking times and temperatures vary. Judging doneness is the most difficult part. Another helpful thing, besides the toothpick test, is to touch the top of the brownies lightly in the center of the pan with your finger, after only 15 minutes of baking. This will give you a sense of how jiggly they feel when not yet done. Check again every 2 minutes and remove from the oven when you feel the center no longer loose, firming up slightly, but not completely firm. If you're unsure, take them out sooner rather than later. It's better to have underdone brownies than overdone ones.