Peanut Butter Brownies are rich and decadent with an amazingly fudgy texture. They're studded with peanut butter chips and swirled with peanut butter on top for a chocolate/PB lover's DREAM! And since they're also flourless, they're naturally gluten-free!
Well, y'all, this is one of those recipes that I tested, perfected...and then proceeded to make two more times for various occasions within the next week -- simply because they're that good! I think it's safe to say that these are the Peanut Butter Brownies of your dreams. 😉
About these Peanut Butter Brownies
This Peanut Butter Brownie recipe is made from scratch, but the steps are straightforward and nothing about them is difficult.
Because these brownies are flourless, they have a moist, fudgy texture.
And because they incorporate two types of chocolate, they boast an intense chocolate flavor.
As for the peanut butter, it's found in two forms as well: as peanut butter chips studded throughout the brownies, and straight swirled all over the surface.
Basically, if you are a fan of the infamous chocolate + peanut butter combo, you are going to be very happy you try these beauts!
Real ingredients result in some real tasty Peanut Butter Brownies:
- Semi-sweet chocolate. I use chopped chocolate baking bars (such as Baker's or Ghiradelli), but you could also choose to melt chocolate chips. See "Tips, Tricks, & Special Equipment" below (just above the recipe card) for tips on melting your chocolate.
- Butter. Unsalted and at room temperature.
- Sugar. Granulated.
- Eggs. At room temperature.
- Vanilla. Pure vanilla extract makes all of the difference here...don't waste your time (and your other quality ingredients) with the imitation stuff. 😉
- Espresso powder. Also sometimes labeled "espresso instant coffee." Ina taught me long ago that a tiny bit of coffee/espresso brings out the deep flavor of chocolate with no noticeable coffee aftertaste. I happen to agree and always add a dash of espresso powder to my chocolate desserts. If you don't have any or fear you'll taste it, however, feel free to leave it out.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder. This recipe was created using a good-quality regular cocoa powder. But you could substitute dutch-processed if that's what you have on hand.
- Peanut butter chips. To carry that peanut butter flavor throughout! For extra decadent brownies, you could choose to incorporate some regular chocolate chips or chunks into your batter as well.
- Peanut butter. I find that "no-stir" creamy peanut butter works best in this recipe. Heat it until warm and stir it until smooth so that it's nice and thin before drizzling and swirling on top of the batter.
How to Make Peanut Butter Brownies
(The below photos are intended to be helpful, but please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for FULL DIRECTIONS.)
- Grease an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper overhanging the top edges. Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.
- Use an electric mixer to cream the butter, then beat in the sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Blend in the vanilla, espresso powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Beat in the cooled, melted chocolate and, finally, fold in the peanut butter chips.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan, holding back one big spoonful.
- Drizzle the warm peanut butter over the top of the batter and dollop small amounts of the reserved (spoonful of) brownie batter on top of the blobs of peanut butter.
- Use a toothpick to swirl the peanut butter and brownie batter together until the "design" is to your liking.
- Bake until the center is set, puffed, and a toothpick inserted comes out just clean.
- Place the pan on a wire rack and allow to cool. Once completely cool, loosen any non-parchment paper edges with a plastic knife or a thin, hard, plastic spatula (to prevent scratching your potentially non-stick pan).
- Use the parchment paper to lift the slab of brownies from the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice into 12 or 16 bars, depending on your preferred size (but keeping in mind that these suckers are RICH!). Wipe the knife clean between cuts for neat edges.
Time. To. ENJOY!!!
Since these Peanut Butter Brownies are flourless, they're already naturally gluten-free, assuming that your other ingredients (such as cocoa powder) are also GF.
Helpful Tips, Tricks, & Equipment
- Since your chocolate needs to be melted and cooled, this step can be done in the microwave (which is my preference, since it's quick and easy) or over a double boiler on the stove. Just be sure to stir frequently so as not to burn your chocolate, since chocolate pieces (and chocolate chips, in particular) can retain their shape until stirred.
- If you melt your chocolate in the microwave, step down the number of seconds in each increment between stirring. For example, I heated my chopped chocolate for 45 seconds and stirred, then 30 seconds and stirred, and then a final 15 seconds and stirred. At this point, my chocolate was nice and smooth. However, keep in mind that every microwave is different -- and different brands of chocolate may melt at different rates -- so yours may require more or less time total.
- I prefer making brownies in a metal baking pan as opposed to a glass or ceramic one. Metal bakes evenly and prevents over-browning. Choosing a pan with sharp corners and straight edges will yield nice, neat brownies. And it's actually okay if your pan isn't non-stick since you'll be greasing it and using parchment paper anyway.
So go forth and make these decadent, amazingly addictive Peanut Butter Brownies!
And, psssst...if you end up loving this flourless brownie recipe so much that you decide it might be fun to change it up, you can always swap out the peanut butter chips + peanut butter for other goodies:
White chocolate chips + a seedless raspberry jam swirl?
Milk chocolate chunks + a caramel sauce swirl?
The possibilities are deliciously endless... 😉
More Chocolate Desserts
- Warm Chocolate Cobbler
- Homemade Chocolate Cake Mix
- Triple Chocolate Fudge Cookies
- Homemade Chocolate Syrup
Peanut Butter Brownies
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, such as baking bars
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder, OPTIONAL
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¾ cup peanut butter chips
- ⅓ cup creamy “no-stir” peanut butter, heated until warm & stirred until smooth
- Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan (or spray with nonstick cooking spray) and then line with parchment paper, making the pieces long enough to hang over the top edges of the pan.
- Finely chop the chocolate, place in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat in the microwave for 45 seconds; stir. Heat for 30 more seconds and stir well, scraping the sides of the bowl. Then heat in additional 15-second increments, stirring well after each one, until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set aside to cool. (Alternatively, you may melt the chocolate in a double boiler on the stove.)
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter. Add the sugar and blend. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 3 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl after the first minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, scraping the bowl as necessary, and blending until smooth. Add the vanilla, espresso powder (if using), salt, and cocoa powder; blend for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl, add the cooled, melted chocolate, and beat on medium-high for 1 minute or until smooth. Fold in the peanut butter chips.
- Hold back one big spoonful of batter and spread the remaining batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Drizzle the warm peanut butter over the top of the batter in the pan, dollop small bits of the reserved brownie batter on top of the peanut butter, and swirl with a toothpick to achieve your desired design.
- Rap the pan against the counter to remove any trapped air bubbles. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the center is set, the brownies are puffed, and a toothpick comes out just clean, taking care not to overbake. Place the pan on a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
- Once the brownies are cool, loosen the non-parchment paper edges with a plastic knife or a thin, hard, plastic spatula. Then use the parchment paper like a sling to carefully lift the slab from the pan and onto a cutting board. Use a large knife to slice into 16 brownies. Store in a sealed container at room temperature.
- Chocolate chips may be used in place of chopped chocolate baking bars.