Valentine's Day dessert: Peanut butter cup butterscotch brownies

Go all out for Valentine's Day with these loaded brownies. Use peanut butter or butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and mini peanut butter cups to make an unforgettable topping.

The Pastry Chef's Baking
Nothing says Valentine's Day like chocolate brownies topped with candy.

If you think I have a one-track mind when it comes to baking and that track seems to be "brownies," you wouldn't be wrong. Truth is, whenever I get a new baking book, I'm like a kid with a new toy. I play with it often in its early days, captivated by new recipes I "have" to try.

So far, I've been 2 for 2 with good recipes from this book and I went for #3. The original recipe called for making the brownie batter, pushing the peanut butter cups into the batter so it would bake into the brownie and sprinkling the top with chopped peanuts and chocolate chips.

I didn't have peanuts though but I did have mini peanut butter cups from Trader Joe's to use up and peanut butter chips so I decided I'd make the brownie batter then sprinkle all the add ins on top for maximum prettiness. For the most part it worked. The brownie base is very similar to the base I'd used for the Triple Chocolate Brownies.

I dutifully sprinkled the mini peanut butter cups on top, followed by semisweet chocolate chips then what I thought were peanut butter chips. Only as I was sprinkling the last of the chips did I finally realize they didn't smell like peanut butter. Which shows there's nothing wrong with my nose as it turned out I was sprinkling butterscotch chips instead. Oops. There was no way to rectify the mistake so I decided to embrace it and simply rename these as peanut butter cup butterscotch brownies. Like I had meant to make that flavor combination all along. Sometimes you just have to bluff it.

Fortunately, when I brought these into work the next day, no one knew what they were originally supposed to be and the large plate disappeared in good order. So you can make these with peanut butter chips if you're a purist or throw in butterscotch chips if you want something a little different. Either way, the brownie base is moist and fudgy and the brownie itself is delicious.

Peanut butter cup butterscotch brownies 
Adapted from Extreme Brownies by Connie Weis, originally called Connie's Today Show Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

1 12-ounce package miniature peanut butter cups (I used the pack from Trader Joe's)
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
4-1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1-1/2 cups (9 ounces) 60% cacaro bittersweet chocolate chips
6 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/2 cups (10.5 ounces) granulated sugar
1-1/2 packed cups (12 ounces) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups (6.8 ounces) bleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butterscotch chips or peanut butter chips, your choice
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Melt butter, unsweetened chocolate, and bittersweet chocolate chips in the top half of a double boiler set over hot water. Whisk until smooth and completely melted.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs together. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt; whisk until just combined. Add melted butter-chocolate mixture and stir until combined. Whisk in vanilla.

4. Add baking powder and flour and stir until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with a small metal spatula.

5. Sprinkle top evenly with peanut butter cups, butterscotch (or peanut butter) chips, and semisweet chocolate chips. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Transfer pan to cooling rack and let cool completely before cutting and serving.

Related post on Pastry Chef's Baking: Triple Chocolate Brownies

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