Chocolate and peanut butter are a definite contender for best dessert duo. Personally, my love for the pairing has a lot to do with the irresistible combination of sweet and salty.
These rich, chocolatey brownies with enticing swirls of peanut butter throughout send my taste buds into a tizzy with every bite. (And it doesn’t hurt that they’re so visually appealing.)
No More Box Mix!
The base of this recipe, of course, is the brownie. As a kid, I grew up on boxed mixes and loved them (especially the corner piece), but it took some time for me to develop a homemade version that I liked.
A lot of recipes that I tried tended to be more gooey and fudgy brownie. I, on the other hand, am all about the chewy and dense (in a good way) brownies.
The Secret Is a Double Dose of Chocolate
This recipe uses both cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate for a double dose of decadence. A bit of brown sugar in addition to white sugar helps to give that chew I was looking for, and some instant coffee powder makes the chocolate flavor even more pronounced.
These are the adult version of the boxed brownies I loved so much as a kid.
A Double Boiler to Melt the Chocolate
The instructions below call for using a double boiler to melt the chocolate and butter. This just means melting the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl placed over a pot with a few inches of simmering water, which works to melt the chocolate gently and helps avoid scorching.
However, you can also use the microwave (or even a pot directly on the stove) as long as you keep a careful watch so as not to burn the chocolate.
About That Swirl....
When it comes time to swirl in the peanut butter, heating helps loosens it up and allows you to drizzle it over the top of the batter. (I’ve only used standard commercial brands with sugar in them; it might work differently with varieties that don’t have sugar, or where you have to stir the oils together.)
Then use a butter knife to swirl the peanut butter into the batter. Use both the thin blade and the flat edge of the knife so you get an artful mix of thin swirls and large swooshes of chocolate and peanut butter.
Try This! Tahini Swirl Brownies
If you love peanut butter, try tahini! Tahini is a paste or sauce made from ground sesame seeds and used in a lot of Middle Eastern recipes. Like peanut butter, tahini has a nuttiness that works well with chocolate. Give it a try instead of the peanut butter in these brownies—it also makes your brownies allergy-friendly!
More Brownie Recipes to Try
- Fudgy Chocolate Brownies
- Speculoos Brownie Cake
- Guinness Chocolate Brownies
- Best Chocolate Brownies
- Gluten-Free Fudgy Chocolate Brownies
Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350˚F:
Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper; set aside.
Melt the chocolate and butter:
Set the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water—the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Remove from heat.
Make the batter:
Whisk together the eggs, both sugars, coffee powder, and vanilla extract. Add in the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and melted butter-chocolate mixture and stir until evenly combined. (The batter will be very thick, but don't worry! That's how it's supposed to be.)
Press the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish in an even layer.
Add the peanut butter swirl:
Warm the peanut butter in the microwave until it's loosened enough to drizzle, about 30 seconds on high. Stir the powdered sugar into the peanut butter, then drizzle over the top of the brownie batter.
Use a butter knife to swirl the peanut butter mixture into the top of the brownie batter. Be careful not to over mix the peanut butter into the brownie mixture.
Bake the brownies:
Bake the brownies until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean, about 35 minutes. (The peanut butter will probably stick to the toothpick a little bit; that's fine.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Cool and slice:
Let the brownies cool completely to room temperature before cutting them. For cleaner slicing with fewer crumbs, pop the pan in the freezer for a few minutes once it's cooled to room temperature to help with slicing to help keep them from sticking to the knife.