Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies


Take a deep breath.

These brownies, at first glance, appear to be wicked complicated and involved, but, after making two batches in the space of one week, I am here to tell you that, no, they are actually pretty darned simple to toss together – especially if you just re-use the bowl you stirred the caramel in for the peanut butter and the chocolate layers. Hey, nobody’s in the kitchen with you…

01bButterfingerbzLOSo, yeh.

Brownies baked with Butterfinger and chocolate chips.

Topped with caramel and crushed pretzels.

Topped with extra chunky peanut butter and crushed peanut butter puff cereal.

01cCaramelbzLOTopped with melted chocolate chips.

Sound like your kinda munchie?

I thought so.

The cool bit is, since I made these twice, I was able to tweak the recipe, from the very nice folk at Pillsbury, a bit.

Let’s start with the original recipe, then I’ll give you options…

•1 box brownie mix
•1/2 cup veggie oil
•1/4 cup water
•2 eggs
•1 cup Butterfinger chips
•1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

02aBrowniebzLOTopping One:
•13-/12 oz caramels
•1/4 cup water
•2 cups broken pretzels

Topping Two:
•1/4 cup salted butter
•1 cup confectioners’ sugar
•18 oz jar extra crunchy peanut butter*
•2 cups slightly broken peanut butter and chocolate puff cereal – I cut it back to one cup for the second batch

02cBakedbzLOTopping Three:
•1-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
•1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

*I couldn’t find an 18 ounce jar, but a 16.3 ounce jar seemd to work pretty well.

Heat your oven to 350º and apply cooking spray to a 13×9 pan.

Stir the brownie mix together with the eggs, oil, and water until well combined, then stir in the Butterfinger and chocolate chips.

03aPretzelsCrushbzLOTurn the batter into the prepared pan and pop into the oven for 25 minutes or so, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean – the chocolate chips may make the brownies a bit juicy.

Place the brownie pan on a rack and set aside to cool.

While the brownies are cooling, crush the pretzels in a gallon-sized zipper bag with a rolling pin.

03ePretzelToppingbzLONo rolling pin? No problem! Use a wine or liquor bottle.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a ‘wave safe bowl with the water.

‘Wave on high for one minute, then give ’em a good stir.

Pop back into the ‘wave and continue to cook, stirring every 15 seconds, until the caramels have melted and are smooth.

Stir in the crushed pretzels and spread over the brownies.

04dPButterLayerbzLOLightly crush the puffed cereal in the zipper bag you used to crush the pretzels.

Place the butter and peanut butter in a ‘wave safe bowl (go ahead, use the caramel bowl if you like) and hit 30 seconds.

Give it a stir, then add the confectioners’ sugar and stir until combined. I ended up ‘waving my mixture for about 45 seconds – 05aChocolatebzLOstirring every 15 seconds – until the butter and peanut butter were soft enough to blend well with the sugar.

Stir the crushed cereal into the peanut butter mixture and spread over the pretzel and caramel mixture.

Last step!

Add the chocolate chips to your ‘wave safe bowl and hit 60 seconds on high.

CaramelStartbzLOStir, then repeat, stirring every 15 seconds, until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Spread this over the peanut butter layer and set aside to cool completely.

Slice, serve, and enjoy.

See? Not so hard, but still very tasty!

Now, for the good part…

See, when I set about to make the second batch, I forgot to buy caramels.

06dCaramelbzLOWhat to do?

Why, make caramel, which is really pretty simple…

Homemade Caramel:
•1 cup butter
•1 cup brown sugar
•1/2 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup (or corn syrup)
•1 tsp baking soda

06ePourBrowniesbzLOBring the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup to a boil in a tall pan, stirring constantly, and let bubble for two minutes.

Stir in the baking soda – this is where stuff will get foamy, so you’ll be glad of that tall-sided pan – then remove from the heat.

Pour the caramel over the baked brownies in the pan, then sprinkle with the crushed pretzels.

Make the peanut butter layer as noted above then spread that over the caramel and pretzel layer.

07bConfSugarbzLONow, about that top chocolate layer…

I got to thinking about this while making the second batch and chose to stir 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar into the melted chocolate chips before spreading it over the peanut butter layer.

Worked a treat.

08aPBCrunchbzLOThen, since this was at the tail end of July 4 weekend, I added red, white, and blue jimmies over the top; which was a pretty big hit with the under ten crowd at our gathering.



Topped with home made caramel and crushed pretzels.

Topped with peanut butter.

Topped with chocolate.

Topped with jimmies.

What’s not to love?

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